Down Comforters VS Down Alternative: Is There Really a Difference?

One of the best feelings in the world is being able to stay in bed, surrounded by warmth and comfort, while looking out the window at the terrible weather outside, and knowing you don’t have to go out any time soon. If you are a fan of staying warm, a down comforter could turn out to be a good companion for many winter nights to come. But if you are confused about the different types of comforters available for purchase, you might be wondering which is the best option in the down comforters vs. down alternative debate.


Down comforters are filled with naturally insulating down that’s found under the feathers of geese and ducks. On the other hand, down alternative comforters are made with synthetic materials that mimic the insulating properties of natural down. These materials can vary from cotton and polyester to rayon. While you might be tempted to think that down comforter are the absolute best choice, you will soon come to realize that there’s a product suitable for each situation, and down alternative comforters are not as bad as they sound.

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Taking a Closer Look

There are different aspects to consider before choosing one option over another. It’s important to prioritize the things that matter most when looking to buy a new comforter, just to make your choice easier. Each one of these two products will perform differently in terms of how much it weighs, how comfortable it feels, what are the types of external fabrics it’s typically paired with, how easy it is to clean, and more.


While down comforters have a lot of benefits to the consumer, one of their major downsides is the fact that some people might not react well near this material. Some people could be naturally allergic to down, just like other people have pet dander allergies and can’t afford to have any pets around the house. Even more, down comforter can trap dust and other contaminants, which can trigger allergic reactions.


Down alternative comforters use synthetic fibers, and most of them are hypoallergenic. This is one of the reasons why people turn to the alternative instead of choosing a comforter made with natural down. However, there are also some down comforters that have encasings made with fabric that’s down-proofed, which means that it diminished the possible negative outcomes of a person coming in contact with allergy-triggering down.

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Outer Fabrics

The exterior fabric of a comforter is can also make or break the deal. Down comforters are typically matched with other natural materials, ranging from luxury cotton to silk. There are some down comforters that are paired with microfibers because these blends are more resistant to stains.

Down alternatives have a wider range of exterior fabrics to go with because they use both natural and synthetic blends for the outer casing. When you buy a down alternative comforter, you can choose between Tencel, fleece, polyester, plus different types of cotton. It all comes down to which of these fabrics you like best.


Fill Power


Also referred to as “loft”, the fill power of a down comforter is a reflection of its insulating properties. In other words, the higher the fill power, the warmer you’ll stay during the winter. Some of the best comforters have a fill power that varies between 550 and 750. If you pick a number higher than that, you’ll end up having an excellent comforter, with great insulating abilities. Down comforters are naturally good at insulating, which means that it doesn’t need as much stuffing as a down alternative to keep you warm. Consequently, down comforters are lighter, despite their great insulation properties.

Down alternatives, on the other hand, need a lot of synthetic stuffing to reach the insulating capacity of a comforter made with natural down. That means that down alternative comforters will be heavier. At this point, it’s important to mention that down is more breathable compared to the synthetic filling. As a consequence, people who use down alternative comforters are more likely to feel sweaty and uncomfortable during the night.


As you may have already guessed, a product that’s made with natural materials will also be more expensive. And down comforters are no exception. Because they are made with limited natural resources, down comforters will always be more expensive compared to their synthetic counterparts.

With down alternatives, the filling is cheaper to produce, which makes the end product more affordable. If you’re looking to buy a down comforter, but are on a very limited budget, a down alternative might be the better option.


Down Comforters vs Down Alternative Comparison

Down Comforters Down Alternative
  • Lightweight despite the good insulation
  • Naturally breathable
  • Typically paired with exterior fabrics made with natural materials
  • Costs more
  • Gets heavier the more filling it has
  • Less breathable, causes the sleeper to sweat
  • Paired with natural and synthetic outer fabrics
  • Less expensive


Down Comforters Pros: Down Alternative Pros:
  • Naturally insulating properties
  • Requires less filling for more insulation, making the comforter more lightweight
  • Traditional down is stronger than the synthetic alternative
  • More affordable
  • Can be paired with a wide variety of outer fabrics
  • Best suited for allergies


Down Comforters Cons: Down Alternative Cons:
  • More expensive
  • Could trigger allergies
  • Become heavier the most filling is added
  • Have a shorter lifespan
    compared to natural down comforters


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Have you ever tried sleeping under a down comforter or an alternative? Which one did you like best? While it may seem that down comforters are the absolute best choice, they do have a series of disadvantages that you have to be aware of before making the purchase.

Down comforters have amazing insulating power, while also being able to stay lightweight, making it easier for you to switch positions at night. On the other hand, you could be allergic to natural down (or some of the particles that down fabric traps onto its surface), in which case a down alternative could be the best choice.

Even more, if you are conditioned by a tight budget, down alternatives have a lot of pros that you can benefit from, without having to spend a fortune to buy one.