Tips to Consider Before Buying a Down Comforter: Key Factors
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A lot of people say that purchasing a down comforter can really be an investment. This statement is really true. I’ve had mine for almost 15 years now. Some of the best down comforters cost a fortune, so you really have to be sure that you are getting a good one. Good thing, we are here to give you tips to consider before buying a down comforter.
In fact, we are not only going to discuss general tips that will aid you in your future purchase, but we will also give you the key factors to look out for in buying a down comforter. Hopefully, with the knowledge that we will provide you by way of discussing what a down comforter is, you will be able to make a wise choice.
So, buckle up—or settle down on your bed (after all, we are talking about comforters)—as there are some technical things that we are going to discuss. Nevertheless, we will try our best not to make it too complicated for you. Ready to get started? Then keep on reading.
What Is a Down Comforter?
Is a down comforter something you put facing downwards on your bed? Despite our efforts to be witty, obviously, this is not the case. It is called down comforters because these comforters are made from clusters of feathers under the feather of birds. They usually come from the belly of a goose or duck.
The end result is having a light and airy comfort. At the same time, it is a good insulator because the feathers trap the heat and insulate the heat in between the tiny pockets of air. Furthermore, it is also quill-less and breathable.
Due to these features, down comforters are versatile as you can use them as a duvet or as an actual blanket. Let us now go over the factors to consider before buying a down comforter.
Tips to Consider Before Buying a Down Comforter
What most people know is that the higher the down percentage is, the higher the quality of the comforter. However, that is not always the case, especially if you are going to use the comforter for a specific purpose. So, here are six major factors to consider before you buy a down comforter:
- Fill Power
- Size and Weight
- Thread Count
This is the most important factor to watch out for because the material is the core of your down comforter. There are three major kinds to choose from:
- Goose down
- Duck down
- Grey vs. White down
Let us first talk about Goose down. There are several types called Hutterite Down or Hungarian Down (aka European Down) . This is known as the most premium type of down comforter. The reason behind this is that geese are larger birds compared to ducks, so the feathers that can be gathered are in large clusters, which can provide more warmth—perfect for fall and winter. By default, it is also hypoallergenic.
Duck down, on the other hand, is very affordable and can be easily bought almost everywhere. Its quality, however, is not as exquisite as that of a Goose down. This is great for those who like less filled comforters as their feathers tend to run on the thin side.
Lastly, we have Grey vs. White down. These are just a mix of feathers which is great for people who like soft, but at the same time, firm comforters. The white feathers provide that softness, while the grey ones tend to keep their shape. Traditionally, white was the down of choice because they had white fabrics and the grey color tended to make the white color a little duller in color. However, with duvets and covers, this isn’t really an issue.
One final thought on the material. There are some such as Chinese Goose Down or Siberian Goose Down that are of lesser quality because they are taken from very young geese whose feathers have not had proper time to mature. Siberian Goose down is a marketing ploy as there are no geese from Siberia. Often, it is just Chinese Goose Down under another name.
Simply put, the fill power refers to the power of insulation of the comforter. The down from older and more mature duck or goose has higher fill power than the down from the young ones. The down cluster develops with the age of the birds. The most common fill power is 500 to 600. This fill power is not the best for those who live in colder climates as there is not a high insulation rate.
As for 600 to 700+ fill power, these can provide a lot of warmth, especially if you are not using a house thermostat. For those places that go through all the seasons, this fill power is adequate to be used during the cold and warm months.
700+ is the best fill power of all. However, this type of down comforter is something that you will not use all the time because it generates a lot of heat. Do keep in mind that this is the fluffiest, so if that is your purpose behind getting a down comforter, this one will be a good choice.
This pertains to the stitching patterns and that leads to how the comforter will insulate and distribute heat. The more common designs are:
- Baffle box – a perpendicular interior that results into boxes from top to bottom that keep the feathers in place.
- Ring stitch – there are small strings typically throughout the comforter to help keeps the feathers in place.
- European bag – there are no stitches inside, which will then let the feathers pool at the middle of the comforter.
Size and Weight
This refers to the size of your bed and the weight of the comforter. Some people prefer to have an extended comforter that touches the floor. Others want a lightweight comforter. A tip to follow regarding the size is to add five inches to the current size of your bed.
As for the weight, you can also consult the material and fill power to have an idea on how heavy or light your comforter will be. Do keep in mind that the heavier it is, the warmer it will feel due to the amount of feathers it contains.
What thread count should my down comforter have? This seems like a crazy question to ask because you’ll probably be covering it with a duvet cover or shell, but the thread count affects the comfort and luxury experience.
Thread count is the density of threads sewn into the comforter per square inch. A higher thread count increases the breathability and makes the surface feel smoother. A higher thread count shell makes the comforter bouncier. A lower thread count is downright crunchy in texture, feel and sound.
Another point to check: is the fabric shell down-proof? The tighter the weave, the less chance that the down will work its way through the shell. You don’t want to get poked as you sleep right? Tighter weaves will also wear better. The shell should have a minimum count of 180, but a count of 300 or more is best. Finally, the higher the thread count, the longer your down comforter will last.
Last but definitely not the least, do look for signs and indications that what you are going to get will make you feel comfortable. At the end of the day, no matter how expensive or inexpensive your comforter is, all that matters is that you are comfortable.
Those are the tips to consider before buying a down comforter. Looks pretty basic, right? Just remember that the higher the fill power, the greater the quality. This is the case because, again, down comforters are all about good insulation. Furthermore, the best feather to use by default is that of a goose.
Lastly, keep in mind that even though we have set these factors in stone, it is still all about your preference. You can take this read as a general guideline, but in the end, it is all about buying a down comforter that will make you feel relaxed and happy.