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In the world of bedding, duck and goose down are the best materials for sleep. They are known for being soft and comfortable, but at the same time breathable with excellent temperature regulation. However, they have flaws – they can be allergy-inducing, expensive, and difficult to maintain and clean. Because of this, many synthetic materials were developed to imitate the feel that down offers, while avoiding its pitfalls.
There is a wide range of diversity for down alternative comforters. They are all made from synthetic materials, but they vary in terms of price and composition, so choosing the right one can be difficult. Take a look at our guide as it contains our top picks and offers essential information about these products.
Top Picks for the Best Down Alternative Comforters
Before reviewing the essential information, take a look at our top choices. Let’s start with our Editor’s pick – the Buffy Comforter, that offers a great night of sleep in all aspects. For the best all-season comforter we have chosen the Tuft & Needle Down Alternative Duvet Insert, and for the best winter-weight, we have picked Chezmoi Collection Goose Down Alternative Comforter. The best luxury model is the Parachute Down Alternative Duvet Insert, while the choice for the best value is the Superior Down Alternative Comforter. Let’s take a look at them individually.
Superior Down Alternative Comforter
- Microfiber shell
- The right amount of weight and warmth
- Baffle-box stitching
- Affordable price
If you are interested in buying for a highly valuable down alternative comforter at an affordable price, then the Superior Down Alternative Comforter is the right choice. Our best value pick offers excellent temperature during all seasons. WIth the hundred ounces of polyester fill, it has the right amount of weight and warmth distributed. The fill is held together with baffle-box stitching, which also gives the polyester more space in each compartment that is sewn. The stitching will keep its loft and preserves the temperature all year long. With the microfiber in the shell, the product has a soft and smooth feel.
- Shell fabric based on Eucalyptus
- Warm, soft, and airy
- Eco-friendly polyester fill made out of recycled plastics
- Free trial with free returns
Our Editor’s pick is Buffy Comforter. With its innovative, creative, and eco-friendly design, it provides excellent temperature regulation during all seasons. Its shell contains a fabric that is derived from Eucalyptus. The polyester fill is made from recycled plastics – about 50 plastic bottles are used and eliminated from the environment when each comforter is made. Apart from being eco-friendly, it is also comfortable, breathable, and stays warm in cooler periods and cool in hotter periods. It is an excellent choice for all seasons. The most important thing is that it is hypoallergenic, and suitable for individuals with sensitive skin. Along with the product comes free shipping and a full refund within a sleep trial period.
Tuft & Needle Down Alternative Duvet Insert
- Pure cambric cotton shell
- OEKO-TEX certified
- Two different weights available
- No-clump polyester fill
- Machine washable and dryable
- 100-Day trial
- Two-year warranty
- Free shipping & returns
The best all-season down alternative comforter is the one and only Tuft & Needle Down Alternative Duvet Insert. The company has an honorable reputation with its signature quality mattress, sheets, bedding, accessories, and excellent customer support. This model is made with a polyester fill that aims to imitate the feel of down but without any sticking or clumping. The fill is encased in a shell made from pure cambric cotton, with loops that are used for attaching to the cover. It is available in two weights – medium and light. The medium version has baffle-box stitching, while the lighter one has sewn-through stitching. However, they are both designed to maintain the filling evenly distributed and in place, and they are much bigger than the standard sizes. As for washing, this duvet can be washed and dried in your machine, provided that you follow the manufacturer instructions. Tuft & Needle has free shipping for their products anywhere in the U.S. In addition to that, the Down Alternative Duvet also has a 100-day sleep trial and a two-year warranty.
Parachute Down Alternative Duvet Insert
- Sateen cotton shell
- Hypoallergenic microfiber fill
- OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certified
- Baffle-box stitching and double-stitch piping seams
- Machine wash- & dryable
- 90-day sleep trial
- Five-year warranty
- Free shipping and returns for the U.S.
Our choice for the best luxury model is the amazing Parachute Down Alternative Duvet Insert with a fill that is encased in a shell made of pure sateen cotton for providing ultimate comfort and insulation. This duvet insert has baffle-box stitching and double-stitch piping seams that make sure the microfiber is evenly distributed and won’t fall out of place. This comforter also has OEKO-TEX certification for standard, which means that it is made from natural materials, without any synthetics or harmful chemicals. This product can be washed and dried normally, and it comes with a 90-day sleep trial, five-year warranty, and free shipping in the U.S.
Chezmoi Collection Goose Down Alternative Comforter
- Polyester cover
- 79 ounces of warm, lofty polyester fill
- Box-stitching that holds material evenly in place
If you are looking for the best winter-weight comforter, then you should take a look at the Chezmoi Collection Goose Down Alternative Comforter. With 79 ounces of polyester fill, it provides excellent warmth even on cold nights. Thanks to the box-stitching, the material remains evenly distributed and in place, and the same goes for heat distribution. The cover is made from polyester to provide exceptional durability and breathability. With the polyester combination in the fill and cover, it is also machine washable. This model is an excellent choice for allergy sufferers. Because of its very accessible price, we recommend it as our second choice for the best value.
Down Alternative Comforter Buying Guide
After reviewing our top recommendations for down alternative comforters, it is time to take a look at their most important aspects in general.
Types of Fabric Used
The material of a comforter is what determines the comfort and feel you have when you are sleeping. However, there is a wide range of material choices, and it can be challenging to decide which one you prefer without trying it out. Although we cannot help with that completely, what we can do is show materials that are considered the most comfortable. Keep in mind that this is just an overview of the most popular materials and that the choice ultimately depends on your personal preference.
Polyester is a synthetic material. Because of the non-allergenic fibers, it is an excellent choice for people who suffer from allergies. Even though polyester fills are not as breathable as natural-fiber fills, they have exceptional durability and affordability. However, polyester can be uncomfortable during warmer seasons as it tends to trap moisture and heat.
Primaloft is a high-end synthetic fabric that was created to imitate the performance of down. Even though it is warm and lightweight, it is also water-resistant due to the treatment applied to it during production. If it gets in contact with water, it won’t lose any loft, a problem that is common for down.
Another type of down alternative is gel fiber. It uses gel-infused fibers that help retain heat, but comforters made from it are often warmer than basic models with polyester materials.
Since cotton is a natural material, known for its softness and comfort, products made from it provide exceptional breathability, excellent temperature regulation, and comfort. Since it is a natural fiber, it will remain cool when it comes in contact with your skin. It also has excellent moisture wicking abilities and breathability. As it ages, it gets softer and more comfortable, but it also wrinkles and shrinks if washed often.
Silk is a natural and breathable material that is as soft as down, but it requires dry-cleaning since it can stain easily. It is excellent for both winter and summer seasons, and allergy sufferers as well. It is also costly, delicate, and without the insulating power that down has. Lighter silk models are more suitable for summer with about 200 grams per square meter (gsm), while heavyweight models provide more warmth during the winter periods with around 400 gsm.
Wool is a natural fiber with hypoallergenic properties and is an excellent option for individuals who have sensitive skin or suffer from allergies. It provides softness and warmth, but at the same time, it also wicks away moisture, gives moderate body temperature, and resists smells and bacteria. However, it is expensive and not always machine-washable.
Fill power is the main attribute of both down and down alternative comforters that you need to consider. It represents the number of ounces of down used, and it is also the primary driver of warmth. If the fill power is 400 or less, there is limited warmth and less loft, but from 400 to 599 the comforter will offer better heat retention and more warmth that is not suitable for colder periods. The fill power between 600 and 799 is for all-season models or higher-end winter products because the loft will trap heat and make sure you have a cozy sleep environment. With more than 800 fill power, the comforter will have serious insulation and loft, but it will also be too hot to use for summer.
Advantages and Disadvantages
Down is a great fill material that gives the comforter serious warmth and softness, all in a lightweight size. However, it’s not perfect. As we said, it has some severe limitations, which can also be said for its alternatives. By nature, down alternative comforters are warm, cozy, and luxurious. They can be used during all seasons of the year, depending on the construction. Let’s take a look at various pros and cons of these products that can help you understand them better.
The most significant advantage is the price. Down, especially higher quality down is expensive. Even the models that are considered to have a lower price still fall out of the budget for most customers. However, down alternative models with the same value are available at a much lower price. They are also hypoallergenic, while down products can still be the cause of allergies for some people. Unlike down, down alternative is easier to maintain. They are not as delicate as down, so they can be machine-washed and dried without any risk of damaging the material. However, warmth is where alternative materials fall short. Natural down is warmer, but down alternative models pack in more substantial content in more significant quantities to make up for this. The biggest disadvantage is short lifespan (and it is even lower with low-quality models).
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Tanya is a professional writer and editor with a B.A. in English from the University of Chicago. Tanya has been fighting insomnia for most of her adult life, and she knows firsthand how vital a good night’s rest can be for people with sleep problems.