Down vs. Down Alternative: The Breakdown

When you think of sleep, does your brain conjure up images of a cloud of cozy fluffiness? Then you are most likely thinking about the comforter on your bed.

If you are in the market for a comforter or pillow, the plethora of options can be overwhelming. You may spend hours online, combing through thousands of duvets, each one promising to give you the ultimate rest.

Rest assured. We’ve gathered everything you’d want to know about down comforters into one easy resource. 


There’s Down and there’s Down Alternative

The most important dividing factor when it comes to bedding is the choice between down or down alternative. Here’s how to decide which one is the right choice for you.


Getting acquainted with Down

Down is the soft clusters found beneath the tougher exterior feathers. They grow closest to the body of the bird, helping the bird stay warm. Inside your bedding, they do the same job maintaining the warmth.

Since down is a natural product, it comes with a larger price tag.  While down may be an investment, its many merits make the price almost insignificant, if not worthwhile.


Fill Power

The fluffy cloud-like look of your dream bed is due to the down’s fill power. Down expands, giving your blanket an airiness and fluffiness. 

But what does fill power really mean? Fill power is a number that represents the number of cubic inches one ounce of down fills.

Fill power is measured in increments of 50s . Typically, fill power ranges between 300-900, with the higher count able to trap more air enabling more warmth. Our comforters and pillows have fill powers that begin at 560 and increase.

Now you understand that the higher the fill power, the more warmth provided. You may wonder if a higher fill power translates to a heavier blanket.

Perhaps the greatest joy of down is how it can provide wonderful insulation while being super breathable. A higher fill power simply means that the clusters of down can trap more air, thereby creating the fluff and warmth we dream of, lending the comforter a marshmallow soft and airy appearance and feel. Encase yourself in its warm embrace without feeling overwhelmed. 

Going back to the price factor, down is a greater investment than synthetic comforters. Though, when properly maintained and cared for, you can allow yourself to grow attached to your comforter long-term down comforter can keep you warm and comfy for many years , making its price a very worthy investment.

Now, let’s get acquainted with the other commonly purchased comforter, the Down alternative.

What is Down Alternative

When made of fine materials, down alternative performs similarly to pure down. Down alternative is made from materials aimed at mimicking the feel of down, like synthetic polyester fibers or natural fibers made from bamboo, silk or buckwheat hull, yet it offers some of what down does not.

Down alternative is the go to comforter for those who suffer from bird allergies or those on a tight budget.

A quality  down alternative comforter can envelop you in coziness and warmth. However, many more ounces of synthetic fibers are needed to give you the warmth that fewer down clusters can give, resulting in a heavier comforter. 

Depending on what type of sleeper you are, this can be a pro or a con.

The down alternative fill won’t regulate body temperature and is less breathable. If you need those extra layers (or socks) to keep you comfy at night, a down alternative comforter translates into blissful sleep. But if you’re a hot sleeper, a down alternative may leave you feeling irritable after sweaty and sleepless nights.

For many, the price of a down alternative comforter is a competitive advantage. Parents of little toes and little (or big) paws are more relaxed knowing that they can cuddle with their loved cubs without worrying about soiling a pricey comforter. Your down alternative comforter can be easily replaced without your pockets feeling the pain.

Caring for your down alternative comforter is as easy as pressing a button (of your front load washing machine). Though, you should allow more time for drying than with the Down comforters. But don’t get too attached to your down alternative comforter since a synthetic comforter will last 1-2 years if properly maintained, since, over time, the down alternative fill forms lumps.


Down vs. Down alternative: The differences


Down Down alternative
Comfort Soft and lightweight Heavier
Warmth Insulating and breathable Warm and less breathable
Affordability An investment Affordable
Durability Long life span Shorter life span
Maintenance Longer to dry Shorter to dry


Choose a Down comforter if you


Choose a Down alternative comforter if you

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