Down Comforters vs. Alternative Down Comforters

by Bambi Turner
Published April 29, 2010 | Updated June 12, 2015

A good comforter is an essential item for any comfortable bed. Down comforters are an especially popular type of comforter in many homes, though down alternative comforters offer many benefits for allergy sufferers. Although both offer durability and warmth, there may be some debate between down comforters versus alternative down comforters concerning which one is right for you. When choosing a comforter, consider factors such as cost, warmth, and aesthetic appeal to help you make the right selection.

Down and Alternative Down:

Shop Down Bedding

Shop Down Bedding ▸

  • Fill Materials Are Different

    Contrary to popular belief, a down comforter is generally not filled with feathers. Instead, it is filled with the soft, fluffy undercoating found beneath the feathers on ducks and geese. Down alternative comforters are filled with synthetic materials, like rayon or polyester, rather than traditional down. Manufacturers may also use wool in place of down and synthetics, since wool is naturally resistant to dust and allergens.

  • Exterior Fabrics Are Similar

    The exterior fabric on both of these types of comforters may be made from silk, cotton, or synthetic blends. Cotton is the most popular, and you can choose between various thread counts for both types of comforters.

  • Care for Each Type of Comforter Is Different

    Down comforters can be fairly difficult to clean, and while they can be machine washed, dry cleaning is suggested. Down alternative comforters can usually be machine washed.

  • The Weight of the Comforter Is Different

    Down alternative materials are usually much heavier than regular down, which can be uncomfortable for some people who prefer light bedding. Both types of comforters are available in a variety of fill weights, however.

  • Choose Down Alternatives If You Have Allergies

    While down is very warm and comfortable, it can also be problematic for allergy sufferers. Some people may be allergic to the undercoating used to fill down comforters, while others are allergic to the dust mites that tend to live within the down. Down alternatives are safe for allergy sufferers and are usually fairly resistant to water and moisture. Wool and synthetic comforters are also highly resistant dust mites.

  • Down Is a Classic Choice for a Reason

    One of the primary benefits to purchasing a down comforter is its superior level of warmth. No man-made material or alternative product has been found that can compare to down when it comes to warmth. Down bedding is also breathable, which helps to wick moisture off the body. Down tends to hold its shape well and can be expected to last for many years.