by Staff Writer
Down is the ultimate in softness, warmth and luxury. Down bedding is also renowned for its durability and lightness of weight. Those who have experienced the supreme pleasure of sleeping in down bedding seldom want to use any other kind. Whether you choose a down featherbed, a down comforter, down pillows or a down blanket from our bedding and bath store, 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 needs.
What it is: Down is a fluffy cluster located underneath bird feathers. As these clusters intertwine, tiny air pockets are created that trap insulating heat and provide a constant body temperature. Down is used as insulation in down bedding, especially down pillows and down comforters. Down is mixed with feathers in down featherbeds to make them fluffier while still adding the bulk needed for support. Down is analyzed by hand and separated into the following: down, down fiber, down residue, feathers, quill feathers, land-bird feathers, goose or duck feathers and color and size of down clusters.
Types of down: Duck down is the least expensive down. White goose down is the most commonly used down. Grey goose down is used in items made with darker material. Eiderdown is the rarest down, and is also the finest and warmest of down products. Female eider ducks pluck their own down and use it to cover and warm their eggs. The rare eider down is harvested by hand from abandoned duck nests.
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. Very high quality down will reach or exceed a fill power of 700; still, even the lower fill power in down may be enough for your needs. The warmth and comfort provided by down fill in any down bedding usually exceeds any other material. 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.