What is a duvet, and how to find the best one? – Complete Guide

Having an excellent duvet or comforter is essential for a great night’s sleep. But what is a duvet? How can you decide which one will be best for you? What are the advantages of having a duvet? Reading this post, you will get all the answers and be an expert on duvets so that you will buy your next bedding confidently with no doubts.

So, what is a duvet?

There are many items on the market, comforters, quilts, bedspread, coverlet, and duvet. More or less, they are used for the same – keeping you warm and decorating your bedroom, but they are still different things. All have their characteristics, advantages, and disadvantages that define who, when, and where they can use. Duvet is one of them, but what is the duvet, then?

Duvet is a large bag sewn from a cloth and filled with down, feather, wool, or any other synthetic alternative. They originated from Europe, and using them is often called European style sleeping. Duvets usually are plain white and are not decorative; they are not quilted. You should consider them as an insert rather than a beautiful bedding element. Duvets typically are fluffy and soft and can keep you warm during the night.

Duvet is a quilt?

No, quilts are not inserts but ready to use blankets. Traditional quilts have exceptional designs and are real expressions of art.

Are duvets and comforters the same?

No, they are used for the same but are not the same. There are some similarities. The primary purpose of these bedding elements is to keep you warm during the night while sleeping. You can use them all season; variations are available for hot or cold sleepers as well. The filling can be the same for all, down, feather, or synthetics.

But after all, there is one key characteristic that tells if it is a duvet or a comforter. Duvet is an insert that requires an additional cover, while a comforter is ready to use right after you pull it out of the box.

If you are interested in this topic and would like to know more about the duvet, comforter, and quilt mystery, and learn which one is which check out our Buyers Guide on this subject.

Pros and Cons of using a duvet

Duvet is a bedspread?

No, bedspread is a single layer cover to decorate your entire bed to the floor. It is just a design element on the top of your bed, such as additional throw pillows and blankets.

Using a duvet cover is having advantages and disadvantages as everything has. These pros and cons can depend on personal preferences, but in general, we can summarize as it is in the following:

Duvet Pros

  • Easy to care – pull down the duvet cover with one move and toss it to the washing machine.
  • Variety – buying a new duvet cover is a quick and cheap way to change your bedroom’s look.
  • Durability – duvets are inserts protected by a cover; it increases their lifetime.

Duvet Cons

  • More complicated – not a complete bed-in-a-box solution, additional cover required to use, and that also needs to be changed frequently.
  • Don’t stay put – the duvet can drift in the cover.
  • Price – Duvet plus duvet cover can be more expensive than a comforter
  • Allergens – Less frequent wash can trap allergens.

What can be in your duvet? – Choices for the filling

When it comes to filling, you might get confused. Words bombing you, fill power, tog, thickness, down, feather, down-blend, all down, hypoallergenic, synthetic, down alternative, and so on. Let’s make some order in this chaos.

Fill power

Fill power can describe how much air your duvet can trap. The more air it traps, the more comfortable and softer you will find it. Air is a perfect heat insulator, so a higher ability to trap air provides a warm feeling since it keeps your body’s warmth under the blanket. Duvets usually can be found up till 600 fill power, but high-end luxury items rarely reach 900. So if you are looking for a warm and luxurious feel duvet, go for the highest fill power you can find and afford.

Fill weight

Fill weight is the down weight simply measured in ounces; higher fill weight means heavier item. If it is heavy, it doesn’t mean it will be hot as well. High fill weight with low fill power just results in a weighted blanket with poor heat isolation. Ideal fill weight is mainly a personal preference and determined by the fill material itself and its quantity.

What about tog?

Blankets such as duvets and comforters are often categorized and sold by tog. Tog is a measure of thermal resistance and meaning how much warmth it can keep based on the outside temperature. Low tog value items are trapping less heat than higher tog value ones. So if you have to decide between duvets by tog value, you can refer to these categories:

  • Lightweight summer duvet: 3.0-4-5 tog
  • Spring/Winter medium weight duvet: 7.5-10.5 tog
  • Weight Winter duvet:12.5-16.5 tog

Filling choices

We can distinguish two main types of fillings that are used for bedding, natural and synthetic ones. Synthetic duvets are an excellent choice if you suffer from allergies; natural products are lightweight but warm.

Natural fillings

Down-filled duvets – Down provides high breathability and is so fluffy and soft that it is hard to surpass. Down of geese and ducks was designed to keep these birds warm in chilly water, so why won’t it be perfect for keeping you warm in your bed? Very high quality down can come from Hungary, Sweden, or Canada. When you shop for a down product, look for the words “100% down”, “all down”, or “pure down” to be sure that it doesn’t contain feathers.

Feather-filled duvets – They are less expensive than pure down versions but still warm and lightweight. It feels more robust, not as fluffy.

Feather and down-filled duvets – It is some mixture of down and feather. They are less expensive than all down duvets but still providing some of the fluffiness and luxurious feel. They are perfect combinations of weight and warmth.

Wool filled duvets – Wool is also great in trapping the air but much heavier than down or feather. If you have concerns about allergens, it is good to know that wool is hypoallergenic. Less breathable than down products, but still a perfect thermoregulator and wicking away moisture perfectly.

Silk/bamboo filled duvets – Silk and bamboo are also perfect natural hypoallergenic choices with high breathability and thermo-regulator skills.

 Looking for a budget-friendly but still an excellent option?

Buy a duvet made of grey feather instead of a white one, and you will get almost the same experience for less money.

Synthetic solutions

The great benefit of non-natural fillings is that they are hypoallergenic and can be washed more regularly than natural duvets. So if you suffer from allergies and have concerns about natural filling because of that, choose one of the synthetic solutions.

Microfibre – It is made to be a perfect down alternative. The extra-fine fibers are even lighter than feather-filled natural duvets.

Hollowfibre – These fibers are thicker and more robust than microfiber but efficiently trapping the air. It can be a better non-natural alternative for those who prefer more weighted blankets.

How to choose the one that will be the best for you?

We are far behind in defining what is a duvet; now, you are getting a real expert on the topic. Use all the knowledge we have and a bit more, and find the perfect duvet for you by following the upcoming steps. Get an excellent duvet, and enjoy every relaxing moment of the night.

What sleeping type are you?

First of all, find out what sleeping type you are. You can be one of the following. Find out which one:

spectacular duvet cover

Warm sleeper – You often kick off your bedding and get quickly hot while sleeping. Most likely, you like to keep your home cool as well.

Normal sleeper – You don’t have any special needs. Usually, you sleep well under any condition; only extreme weather conditions can bother you. You are the one who even doesn’t know where the thermostat is in the house, rarely touching it.

Cold sleeper – Layers are never enough, and there is always a little hole where cold air can attack you. You like to keep your home warm and never leave open the window at night.

How warm?

Now you know for sure what type of sleeper you are, but how thick and warm duvet will you need? Try to find the perfect combination of warmth and weight. It is the real challenge on your way seeking the ideal duvet.

Tog value describes the warmth of a duvet, so here is a great thumb rule you can use to determine what duvet to choose by seasons:

  • for summer: less than 7 tog, 4 tog one will work perfectly
  • for spring/autumn: more than 7 tog, but less than 10.5 tog, 9 tog duvet will be ideal
  • for winter: more than 10.5 tog, 13 tog  one will provide enough warmth
  • all-season duvets: all-season duvets are slightly different. They are two separate duvets that can be tightened together. You will get two duvets, one around 4 tog for summer, and a second one around 9 tog for autumn/spring. Just put them together and will get 13tog, which will be ideal for winter use.

Remember, these rules are made for normal sleepers, so if you are a warm or cold sleeper, it is good to choose a category up or down for a perfect sleeping experience.

Tog value won’t tell the weight of the blanket. Cold sleepers usually prefer more weighted options such as wool or hollowfibre, while warm sleepers can find more comfortable a lighter filling such as silk, down, or bamboo.

Which filling?

As you could see before, there are many choices of fillings, natural, and synthetic ones as well. It should be your preference which one you find the most comfortable. If you suffer from any allergies, choose hypoallergenic ones, and keep in mind that the synthetic ones can be washed more often.

Wool and hollowfibre can provide a more weighted feeling while down, feather, silk, and microfiber fillings result in lightweight options.

What size?

The ideal size of a duvet usually depends on your bed’s dimensions. Standard duvet sizes for most common beds will help you to find the duvet cover you need. If you prefer more coverage, it works great if you buy one size bigger duvet than your bed.

Name of the bedBed size (inches)Best duvet size (inches)
Twin39×7568×86
Twin XL39×8068×90
Full54×7578×86 – 86×86
Queen60×8090×90
King76×80104×92
California King72×84104×92

In Europe, couples usually use two single size duvets instead of one big one. It makes the personal comfort level higher, and everyone can decide what thickness and warmth suit its needs.

How is it constructed?

Did you ever think that the construction of a duvet can make any difference? No? I think you are not alone, but it does. Let’s see the most prevalent build-up methods:

  • Quilt stitching – It is a simple grid pattern that resulted in the stitching of both layers. This technique’s leading disadvantage is that there will be cold spots next to the stitching, but you will pay less for this construction.
  • Baffle box – The most expensive duvets with high fill power are constructed this way. There are little baffle boxes in a checkerboard pattern that allows the filling to reach its maximal loft while holding it in its place. 
  • Channel –  Stitching runs parallel with the edge of the duvet. In most cases, these lines are vertical, but horizontal ones are available too. This type of seaming allows the filling to move up and down or side by side in the duvet. It is practical if you need more warmth around your feet.
  • Gusset – There are “walls” of fabric around the duvet supporting the duvet to keep its height and loft. In the case of the middle area construction, these duvets are usually baffle-box designed as well.

Choose what fits your needs the best. A cold sleeper might prefer a baffle box construction, while a quilt stitching one will be better for a warm sleeper. If you share your duvet with someone and your partner likes a more filling channel design, allow the opportunity to re-allocate the filling between the sides.

What is the shell material?

The shell of duvets is usually made of cotton. The reason is simple. Cotton is a cheap but durable and breathable option. You should be aware of the thread count that refers to the number of threads per square inch. (For example, the fabric has a thread count of 200, which means there are 100 threads lengthwise and 100 threads widthwise.) A higher thread count means higher density. A dense fabric is a batter to keep feathers in the shell and avoid thickening. Go for a 300 thread count cover that will be dense enough and won’t cost extra money.

Manufacturers use 100% Egyptian cotton for high-end or luxury duvets, which is the best quality cotton. You can find more info about fabrics and their features in our Buyers Guide about duvet covers if you are interested.

What about the warmer months?

Now you know what is a duvet and how to decide which one you will need. Duvets are perfect for keeping you warm. But what if it is warm enough outside? Can you use them during the summer as well?

Most people like the weight of the blanket on their body during sleep. It can provide a feeling of comfort and safety. A lightweight summer duvet can be ideal for this purpose. Use one under 4 tog, and you can avoid overheating.

Another great option is to pull out one of the most breathable duvet covers from the closet and use just the bare cover as a blanket without any insert. That way, you can save the price of a thin summer duvet cover.

To summarize

Now you are a real expert for sure, it is not a question anymore, what is a duvet? You can choose confidently among fillings, sizes, and different constructions. If you still have questions, don’t hesitate to ask them. Otherwise, I wish you to enjoy your new duvet’s comfort that you will buy later on.

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