- How to Find the Best Winter Comforter: Top 5 Picks  - October 21, 2021
With winter fast approaching, all creatures are busy preparing for the cold season. Fortunately, we don’t need to hibernate or stock up on food. Rather, one of the most important things we have to do to prepare for winter is to buy the right bedding.
With the weather slowly but surely changing, it seems that winter is becoming harsher and harsher with each passing year. It seems as though every new winter season is trying to break some sort of record. In light of this, choosing a good comforter to get you through a potentially harsh winter is a worthwhile investment.
But with the overabundance of options on the market, selecting the best winter comforter can be quite a challenge at times. Fill material, fill power, cover, thread count, weight—with such a wide range of criteria to follow, how can you find the right comforter for you?
In the following comforter buying guide, we’ll go over everything you need to consider when shopping for a winter comforter and walk you through our top recommendations. After reading through this guide, you should be able to choose the right comforter to get you through the cold season.
What to Consider Before Choosing the Best Winter Comforter
There are several important things to consider when shopping for a winter comforter. Here’s what to bear in mind when buying a comforter for the approaching winter.
The fill and shell of a comforter will determine its breathability. Both the fill and shell keep heat or help drive it away. Down works as natural insulation and regulates temperature, but it can still feel warm for some people.
Polyester down alternatives may also keep heat, but some are lightweight and breathable. Natural fibers such as eucalyptus and cotton are moisture-wicking and breathable.
Down: This is the soft plumage present underneath birds’ feathers. Down comforters are usually filled with goose or duck down, which have different warmth levels and cluster sizes.
Goose down typically has bigger clusters for a greater fill power and extra warmth, adding extra loft to the comforter. On the other hand, duck down is composed of small clusters that provide a soft, fluffy feel that’s also still insulating.
Down can be pricey, and you may want to check for certifications and trustworthy suppliers that show that the down was ethically sourced.
Down alternative: This is artificial fiberfill, usually made of polyester that replicates the texture of down. Down alternative comforters are ideal for people who prefer vegan bedding or those who suffer from allergies.
Down alternative comforters tend to be more affordable, but they aren’t all created equal. How well an alternative down comforter regulates temperature and the quality of its fill determines how long it’ll last without getting lumpy.
Wool: Sheep wool is another good fill material for comforters. It works as natural insulation, staying warm in colder environments and cool in warmer climates. This makes it perfect for all-season comforters.
Cotton: This natural fiber is breathable, lightweight, and soft. It provides less insulation than down, so it’s typically found in lighter comforters designed for summer use. Natural cotton is dearer, but some people prefer it since it’s grown and made without toxic chemicals.
Eucalyptus: Plant-based fibers, including eucalyptus fibers, are becoming more and more popular comforter fill materials. Eucalyptus fiber wicks away moisture and heat and resists allergens. And since eucalyptus is an inexhaustible resource, it leaves a lower carbon footprint.
If you often get really hot or often feel cold at night, you’ll want to buy a comforter that doesn’t make your problem worse. For instance, if you often suffer from night sweats or overheating, the best option for you is a lightweight comforter to cool you down.
When figuring out how to pick the right comforter’s weight, consider the TOG ratings. These indicate the level of thermal resistance in the fabrics—in other words, how warm the fabrics are. Higher TOG ratings indicate that the comforter is warmer.
But since wool is an organic fiber, the moisture and warmth around it determine its breathability. This means that you can never fully rely on a TOG rating. That’s why you should check out descriptions like warm, medium, or light to have a clue of which comforter could be right for you.
If you’re still not sure of which comforter weight to choose, consider buying an all-season comforter to give you different options based on the weather.
The space that an ounce of fill material takes up will determine the fill power of a comforter. The more space taken up by the fill material, the more warmth and loft it will have. Fill power directly affects how much warmth a comforter will provide.
Up to 400: A comforter with less than 400 fill power won’t provide serious warmth. While it can be helpful for some people, it won’t be heavy enough to really retain heat, so it works better as a blanket for summer.
400-599: Comforters within this fill power range are still ideal for summer. However, those close to 600 fill power can also be ideal for winter. This fill power range is improved, but it still won’t provide adequate warmth.
600-799: Comforters within this fill power range are best for people who need substantial warmth without paying over the odds. Comforters between the 600-700 fill power range may be ideal for those who sleep hot or for areas that aren’t too cold, while those between the 700-799 range are useful for winter.
800+: Comforters with a fill power of 800 or more are heavy blankets. This level of loft will keep you really warm during winter and will last for years to come.
The shell of a comforter means its exterior and it may be made of different materials, such as:
Wool: Due to its soft and warm feel, wool is a multipurpose textile that comes with moisture-wicking properties. Also, wool is expensive and heavy and therefore a less common shell material for comforters.
Cotton: Cotton is the most common material for comforter shells due to its softness and combination of affordability and durability. Some people prefer cotton while others report that it’s not breathable and suits hot sleepers better.
Cotton and synthetic blends: For cotton less moisture retention and added breathability, some shells blend cotton with other synthetics, including polyester.
Silk: Silk tends to protect against overheating and has long been a favorite of many for its smoothness. But it’s harder to maintain and more expensive, so it’s used less frequently.
Thread count usually helps you find the right sheets for your bed, but it’s also a critical consideration when selecting a comforter. The higher the thread count, the tighter would be the woven fabric.
While your comforter might not need to feel as soft as your other bedding, a high thread count is often a sign of a high-quality product.
Downproof matters more than softness when it comes to the shell of a comforter. As such, a higher thread count means that your fill material is less likely to gradually leak out and cause a billowy, dusty mess.
A good comforter should have a thread count of at least 300. While some comforters have a thread count of 1,000 or more, your comforter doesn’t need that to be functional and comfortable.
Without extra stitching in the interior of a comforter, the fill material can move around and create an uneven loft all over. A number of construction styles stop this from occurring, including:
Baffle box: This involves the making of rectangle- or square-shaped stitched pockets with an extra fabric strip that supports higher loft. Each rectangle or square has the same size of filling, so there’s no worry about the comforter being flat in one corner and fluffy in another.
Sewn-through: This style involves stitching the bottom of the comforter to its top to make little compartments that contain the down. Therefore, the fill won’t shift around much, but it’ll have a rather restricted loft. This style is ideal for lightweight duvets.
Channel: This comforter design comes with parallel fill material channels, letting the fill material move within the channels. However, if you’d like one part of your body to get warmer, or your partner prefers extra warmth, moving around could be helpful.
Gusseted: This comforter construction involves the bottom and top of the comforter being joined together with an extra strip of fabric around the exterior, helping create a fluffier feel and added loft.
Diamond-quilted: Typically constructed with the sewn-through technique, diamond quilting employs a diamond-shaped stitch style to connect the bottom and top layers, making pockets for the filling material.
Although some comforters require no duvet cover, having one helps your product last longer. Even so, comforters should be washed once or twice a year, based on each one’s fill material.
Many down comforters require dry-cleaning only, but you can always clean down alternatives at home using a large-capacity washer. To avoid the risk of damage, make sure to check if the cleaning instructions state that the comforter can be machine-washed. Here’s our guide on how to wash a comforter best.
Climate and Season
The perfect comforter for you will depend on how warm you want to be while sleeping and your location. Those who usually overheat at night, or live in warmer locations, don’t usually need comforters with a greater fill power.
Some folks prefer to use one comforter during summer and another during winter. If you stay in a temperate location, you should be comfortable with a medium-range fill power throughout the year. Balancing fill weight with fill power is important for ensuring that your comforter fits your climate and lifestyle.
Down is often costlier than other comforter fill materials due to the long process of its harvesting, cleaning, and preparation, as well as demand. However, down is also pricier, thanks to its unparalleled comfort, loft, and warmth.
Comforters are available in a variety of sizes. They come in Twin XL, Twin, Full/Queen, Full, Oversized Queen, Queen, Oversized King, and King. Of course, if you get a comforter that’s much smaller than your bed, it won’t be useful and will look silly.
The ideal comforter should be about 8 inches longer than the user’s height. For any person under 5′ 9″, the right standard size should be 66″ x 86″. If you are taller, go for an oversized comforter.
Most down comforters come in white only since they’re designed to be used alongside another duvet cover. The covers come in a wide variety of colors, fabrics, and patterns and may be switched with ease whenever you want to change the look of your bedroom.
When looking for the best comforter, you’ll come across a number of certifications. The most common ones include RDS and OEKO-TEX.
RDS is short for Responsible Down Standard. It basically means that the down was obtained from a certified supplier that follows stringent animal welfare practices, so you can rest easy in the knowledge that the geese or ducks that gave away the down were reared humanely.
OEKO-TEX refers to an international alliance of 18 independent test and research institutions that determine the safety of textile products. If your comforter is OEKO-TEX-certified, this means it’s been made without using toxic chemicals and meets OEKO-TEX’s sustainability standards.
Our Top Picks
Our comforter recommendations below take into consideration all the factors mentioned above, including fill material, fill power, comforter weight, comforter construction, thread count, and, above all, quality. The following list contains a variety of top-notch comforter options to help you select the best one based on your budget, climate, and sleep preferences.
Best Overall Option: L.L. Bean Permabaffle Box Goose Comforter
If you want a real down, the Permabaffle Box Goose Comforter from L.L. Bean uses a special gate function to stop the movement of the fill inside the comforter.
Customers like its fluffiness, and it boasts all the key features you need in a comforter, such as a 600 fill power down, responsibly sourced and regularly cleaned during production, as well as a down proof cover. The design also features built-in loops to help you easily fasten a duvet cover.
But keep in mind that this comforter is one of the pricier ones you’ll find, with the king size costing a whopping $579.
- Machine washable
- Responsibly sourced down
- Construction keeps fill material evenly distributed
Best Down Alternative Option: Damask Stripe Lightweight Synthetic Fill Comforter
The Damask Stripe Lightweight Synthetic Fill Comforter from Cuddletown is one of the best down alternative comforters on the market because it’s both warm and lightweight, which not many synthetic fills are. It’s also available in both a lighter version (“summer”) for warmer climates and a heavier weight (“Level 2”).
Customers will love the soft texture of the all-natural OEKO-TEX-certified cotton exterior fabric that ensures there aren’t any unsafe amounts of toxic chemicals.
The comforter features a box-stitched design, which sometimes doesn’t keep the fill material separated as effectively as in a baffle box design. However, it washes well without changing its appearance much.
- Comes in six sizes
- Synthetic fill for people who prefer down alternative comforters
- Good warmth despite being lightweight
- Box-stitched construction usually doesn’t stop shifting that well
Best Value Down Option: Down Feather Blend All-season Comforter
Many real down comforters cost several hundred bucks, but the Down Feather Blend All-season Comforter from Home Depot goes for less than $100.
The fill material is a mixture of feathers and down, which helps reduce the price, but the features tick all the boxes for an excellent down comforter, such as an all-natural cotton cover, RDS-certified down, machine wash abilities, as well as corner loops to fasten to a cover.
- Responsibly obtained fill
- Inexpensive down comforter
- The fill contains only 60% down
Best Comforter Collection: Brooklinen Down and Down Alternative Comforters
When it comes to Brooklinen comforters, you can take your pick from six different options: Down and down alternative fill material and three weight options for each. The weight options include lightweight, ultra-warm, and all-season, offering something for every customer depending on how hot or cold they become at night.
Both fill materials are only dry-cleaned, but they boast great features such as a baffle box construction, soft cotton cover, as well as corner loops to fasten to a cover.
- Baffle box construction
- Three different weight options
- Various down and down alternative options
- Can’t be machine-washed
Best Organic Option: Coyuchi Three Season Duvet Insert
For those who prefer organic materials, the Coyuchi Three Season Duvet Insert uses responsibly sourced down fill and an all-natural cotton shell. It’s also available in a recyclable cloth bag to avoid plastic packaging.
The lightweight 600 fill power is perfect for use all year round, but there’s also a winter-weight variant with added filling for extra warmth.
- No plastic packaging
- Ethically sourced down
- Organic cotton cover
FAQs on How to Find the Best Winter Comforter
Answer: Before picking a winter comforter, make sure to:
Understand the thermal regulation of your body
Choose the fill material
Choose the comforter construction
Choose the comforter size
Answer: To get the perfect comforter, be sure to:
Measure your bed mattress
Measure the thickness of the mattress
Measure your bed’s height
Answer: The best bedding for winter includes:
Brooklinen Ultra-warm Down Comforter
Utopia Bedding Set of Comforters
Coyuchi Cloud Brushed Natural Flannel Sheets
L.L.Bean Wicked Cozy Warm Blanket
Beautyrest Warm Mattress Pad
AmazonBasics Micromink Sherpa Ultra-comfort Comforter Bed Set
Brooklinen Heathered Cashmere Sheets
Answer: While your comforter will probably need a duvet cover, selecting one with a quality shell only enhances your comfort. Find shells from breathable smooth eucalyptus fabric or 100 percent cotton—both choices are perfect for helping you keep cool through each season.
Answer: The most comfortable comforters on the market are:
Permabaffle Box Down Comforter
Buffy Cloud Comforter
The Company Store White Bay Comforter
Coyuchi Three Season Duvet Insert
SleepSmart Down-Alternative Comforter
Brooklinen Down and Down Alternative Comforters
Linenspa Down Alternative Comforter
Cuddledown Damask Stripe Artificial Fill Comforter
StyleWell Down Feather Combination Comforter
Summarizing How to Find the Best Winter Comforter
When the temperature dips, all that matters is keeping warm and comfortable, especially when you’re sleeping. Instead of dialing up the thermostat, get a down comforter to stay warm all through the night. Whether you’re buying a real down or a down alternative, you’ll want to ensure you’re getting one that’ll provide enough warmth and will last for a long time.
Few things can compare to a restful night’s sleep, so choosing the right winter comforter is vitally important. We hope that our winter comforter buying guide has taught you everything you need to know so you can pick the right comforter weight, comforter size, fill material, and fill power for your brand new winter comforter.