by Staff Writer
Down is renowned for its softness, warmth and lightness of weight, which makes down comforters, also known as duvets, some of the warmest, lightest kinds of bedding available. Those who have experienced the supreme pleasure of sleeping with a down comforter seldom want to use any other kind. Whichever kind of down bedding you choose -- a down featherbed, a duvet, down pillows or a down blanket -- from our bedding and bath store, you can rest easy knowing you have chosen to buy the finest in luxury bedding. In this down buying guide you will find information on how to buy down comforters and choose the right down bedding for your home.
Down: Down is a fluffy cluster located underneath bird feathers. As these clusters intertwine, tiny air pockets are created which trap insulating heat and provide a constant body temperature. Down is used as insulation in down bedding, especially down comforters and down blankets. Down is mixed with feathers in down featherbeds to make them more fluffy while still adding the bulk needed for support.
Types of down: Goose down is by far the most commonly used type of down for down comforters. White goose down is usually used because it doesn't show through white comforter shells. However, many companies use grey goose down in items made with darker material. Grey goose down is simply darker; it isn't lower quality down. While most manufacturers use goose down, duck down is also used sometimes. Basic duck down and duck feathers are used in featherbeds and lower-end down comforters. In contrast, eider down, harvested from eider duck nests, which are lined with the down, is some of the rarest, softest and most expensive down available.
Down fill power: The insulation qualities of down are measured by fill power: 1 ounce of down = XXX cubic inches. The higher the cubic inches (the fill power of the down), the fluffier and warmer the down will be. Fill power is tested by placing 1 ounce of down in a container and then stirring it. Loft is measured in cubic inches. The down is then compressed and left to sit untouched for 24 hours, after which the cubic inches are again measured. The space that 1 ounce of down occupies, in cubic inches, is the fill power. A fill power of 700 or more is outstanding quality in down bedding, 600 to 700 is excellent quality and 525 to 600 is good quality. While high fill power offers more warmth for weight, even the lower fill power in down may be enough for your bedding. The warmth and comfort provided by down fill in any down bedding usually exceeds any other material.
Down comforter construction: Knowing a few important construction terms will help you purchase the right comforter. For example, a box-stitch shell is a box-patterned cover used in comforters and featherbeds. The stitching helps keep the down in place so it won't shift as it is used. Baffle-box construction features a piece of fabric set perpendicular to the top and bottom of the material. Baffle walls enable down to expand fully for its highest loft and creates depth and strength in the bedding. Gusset edges surround the outer edge of the down covering to maximize loft. Thread count (TC) is the total threads which run vertically and horizontally in a square inch of the fabric which creates the cover for the down product. Higher thread count indicates tighter weave and gives softness to the material. A higher TC weave adds to a fabric's down-proof qualities -- how well it contains the down fill.