There is virtually nothing that will serve you for so many hours in a day; every day, every week, every month, for decades. There is nothing that you will use so closely and personally that will comfort you so completely. Given proper care, a high quality duvet will last for 20, 25, 30 years or more.
What is the difference between a duvet and a comforter?
Comforters are a single unit consisting of a decorative cover typically stuffed with cotton or polyester. It is one piece, so neither the insides nor the outside can be customized at will or even at the off-set to suit your needs.
Duvets are used to fill duvet covers, so they are more customizable and easier to care for. Rather than having to wash a bulky comforter, you will usually only have to wash the duvet cover. If you have a duvet you love, you can change the cover to suit your mood or décor. If you have a duvet cover you love, you can change the duvet to suit the seasons.
The options for duvets and duvet covers tend to be much more diverse and of higher quality than comforters, so with a duvet you can be sure to get exactly what you want!
Duvets are typically differentiated by their filling (down, feather, wool, silk, and synthetics) and then by their shell (cotton, bamboo, organic, etc). The different qualities of each fill vary in the care they require and their potential longevity. They each have their own unique properties and benefits. Find out more about each kind below!
Types of Duvet & Pillows
- Down & Feather Filled
- Wool Filled
- Silk Filled
- Synthetic Filled
Down & Feather Duvets & PillowsWhat is Down?
Down is nature’s great insulator. The first undercoating of feathers on a goose or duck, down clusters are constructed of thousands of soft fibers radiating out from a central core. This structure traps air, which is why down products keep you warm, but still let moisture escape – keeping you snug and dry.
When shopping for down, you want to look for two things: high fill power (fluffiness) and purity (hypo-allergenic down). Next, you will want to consider exactly how much warmth you will need – if this is going to be a summer duvet, choose a light weight. Otherwise, a medium or heavy weight will keep you cozy – depending on the climate and whether you easily overheat (remember, down is warm).
High quality down is carefully washed, rinsed, dried and sanitized to ensure the product is hypo-allergenic.
Down clusters are incredibly soft, and down duvets are loved for their wonderful fluffiness and cuddliness.
What are feathers?
Feathers grow over down and have a distinct quill. Getting a duvet that is a blend of down and feathers or all feathers will considerably decrease the price of the product. However, the feather's quill in particular makes it much harder than down, and consequently less comfortable. Feathers are best suited for down-touch pillows and feather beds, which surround the feathers with a layer of down to create a firmer pillow or mattress topper that is a balance of comfort and affordability.
How does the quality of down vary?
The quality of down varies in numerous ways, mainly revolving around its loft and maturity. The better the quality the down, the larger its cluster and the greater its insulation abilities.
It is not the down itself that actually does the insulating, it is the tiny air pockets trapped by the down fibers. The smaller and more numerous the air pockets, the more efficient is the insulation, as convection currents that carry heat away are eliminated. Thus, the greater the loft of the down per ounce (the fluffier it is), the greater its insulation powers. Essentially, the higher quality the down, the better it will be able to adapt to different temperatures, both cooler and warmer. Lesser quantities of a high quality down can keep you just as warm if not warmer as greater quantities of a lower quality down. The best downs, then, have the largest cluster size.
There are different reasons for variance in down cluster size. In general, goose down is superior to duck down simply because it usually comes from a larger bird. But more important than the kind of bird, it is the bird's size and maturity that determines the quality of its down. So in fact, a high quality duck down is better than a low quality goose down. (In fact, what is largely considered to be the best down in the world, Eider down, is gathered from ducks!)
Mature down traps more air, puffs up more, and breathes better than lower quality immature downs. Since it takes less weight of a high quality down to fill a duvet, the best duvets are also the lightest and puffiest. Mature down is less fragile than immature down, and will also last longer.
Baffle Box Stitching
Baffle Box is a stitching technique used in down duvets that allows the down to loft, but keeps it evenly distributed for maximum warmth and support. The baffle box stitched duvets are the best available on the market.
Care Instructions for a Down Duvets & Pillows
- Shake and fluff the duvet every morning after use. This will help to keep the fill evenly distributed.
- Keeping a duvet cover on the duvet will make it so you will hardly ever have to wash it, increasing its longevity.
- It's usually recommended that when necessary, you wash your duvet in a large, commercial washing machine. Chemicals in dry cleaning can break down the fibers of the fill. Professional cleaning services for down are also available.
- Dry the duvet on gentle heat in the dryer. When it's partially dry, take it out, give it a good shake to break up damp clusters of filling, and finish the drying. Make sure it is thoroughly dry: any left over moisture can cause the down to clump and ruin.
- If you choose to air your down duvet, keep it out of direct sunlight as the sun can make the down brittle.
LongevityA well-taken care of down duvet can last many, many years. After time, down begins to break down and powderize, and the duvet will become flatter and will perform less. If this time comes, this may be the indicator that it is time to replace your down duvet. For individuals who have the very best and most expensive downs such as Eiderdown, it may be an option to salvage the down inside the duvet that is still in good condition, supplement it, and use it to fill a new duvet. Some people may be familiar of such stories where the finest duvets are passed from generation to generation.
Wool Duvets & Pillows
The Wool Advantage
Many people tend not to realize how much their bedding affects the quality of their sleep, and how easy it would be to make a few inexpensive changes that could greatly benefit their sleep.
If you are someone who tends to toss and turn at night, can get too hot or too cold, are ever throwing off the covers only to wake up later to have to pull them back on, you have probably experienced how disrupting this can be to your sleep cycle. The main culprit in the aforementioned scenarios is the moisture that our bodies give off. We lose about 2 ounces of moisture an hour, and can lose up to a litre of moisture at night. Our pores are constantly breathing and releasing this moisture, even if we are not visibly sweating. Our bodies maintain their temperature by evaporation: a drop of sweat can cool nearly a litre of blood by 1.8 degrees Centigrade through evaporation! Thus, our bodies' ability to breathe has a direct impact on whether or not we feel chilled and clammy or hot and sweaty, and it follows that our bedding can impact this ability by hindering, or even helping it.
If you think back to times you've worn a synthetic shirt (like polyester), you may remember being sweaty and the moisture just doesn't seem to go away. Cotton, however, is much more comfortable, because it breathes much better than polyester does. Similarly, being beneath a synthetic duvet will just cause moisture build-up, making you overheat and leading to a cycle of flipping off your covers, cooling down via sweat evaporation, getting cold, and pulling the covers back on again. Down duvets, while excellent insulators and a natural fiber with fair breathability, have no ability to deal with moisture other than what manages to escape, which is hindered by tight down-proof cottons. You may be comfortable at first, but at a point may find you become too hot, and to a lesser extent perform that same cycle as with the synthetic duvet. You may be so accustomed to doing it that you don't even realize you are. Silk duvets, which are well-known for their equalizing abilities, do not have nearly the same moisture-control abilities of wool, and while they tend to be much more breathable than down duvets, cannot boast to be as effective as wool.
The main problem in these scenarios is that moisture is just sitting on your body. While fibers like cotton and silk may be able to hold moisture, they do not do so well at picking it up. Wool has a solution to this problem.
More than any other fiber in nature, wool has a superior ability to wick away moisture - its scales pick up moisture with ease - and it holds up to 30% of its weight without feeling wet to the touch. Wool will evaporate the moisture it has absorbed from your body slowly over time to maintain a balanced body temperature all year-round. This will help keep you comfortable and dry when you sleep, cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
As an added bonus, wool duvets are typically less expensive than silk duvets and much less expensive than the nicer down duvets!
Wool duvets have an outer shell (typically of cotton) and are filled with carded wool that is evenly distributed and held in place by some quilting. No wool actually comes in contact with your body, so wool duvets are perfectly comfortable even to those with sensitivities. Our wool duvets are filled with large sheets of double-carded wool, so they only require minimal stitching to hold the wool in place, allowing the wool to maintain maximum loft.
The outer shell of the duvet is very important to wool, and well-engineered duvets keep this in mind.
The shells of down duvets need to be tightly woven to be down-proof, and this makes the fabric stiffer and less breathable. The baffle box construction combined with the stiffer fabric shell can create air pockets between you and your duvet, making it harder for the duvet to optimally perform. Since the wool in wool duvets cannot escape like down can, its shell can and should be much softer and more breathable. This helps maximize the performance of the wool and its moisture-absorbing properties, and the duvet will drape perfectly around your body like it is tucking you in.
Fabrics for the shells of wool duvets we carry are all light and drapable, and include a soft natural cotton, 100% organic cotton, and a silky bamboo.
Wool duvets do not have the fluffiness of down, but the wool can be handled to maximize its loft. Our wool duvets use premium 100% hi-bulk New Zealand wool that undergoes special carding and manufacturing processes for maximum loft and insulation.
There are many different kinds and qualities of wool out there, but most duvets will use sheep wool from Australia or New Zealand. Aside from this, the treatment and manufacturing process of the wool will directly affect the quality of the duvet.
While wool is an equalizer for your body temperature, there are different quantities of wool you can get to fill your duvet that will affect your base level of warmth. We carry three weights in wool duvets: summer, regular, and winter. Since our homes tend to have very controlled environments, for many people the summer weight is sufficient all year-round. For those who tend to run cooler, like to maintain a low temperature at night, or leave the window open in the winter, they may prefer the regular or winter weights. In this way, you can get a wool duvet that is customized for your needs!
In nature, wool is not a washable fiber. To be made machine-washable, wool must be descaled, and it should be noted that wool performs better when it has not undergone this process. In general, duvets benefit from being washed as little as possible, and the use of a duvet cover adds tremendously to preserving the life of a duvet by keeping it from needing to be washed. However, for those who feel they must have a machine-washable duvet, washable wool duvets are available.
Please note, however, that there are different processes by which wool can be made washable. Some such processes use inexpensive and non-harmful chemicals, but others can use formaldehyde, which is a Category 1 Carcinogen. Be sure to know about what you are buying! All of our wool duvets are hypo-allergenic and petro-chemical free.
Non-washable wool duvets can be taken to a professional cleaning service to be safely cleaned.
Wool duvets can be aired and are benefited by sunlight.
Wool is a resilient natural fiber that lasts a long time! Take good care of it and it will last you many, many years.
- The core of each wool fibre is very absorbent - up to 30% of its weight in moisture. By comparison cotton absorbs 8% and most synthetics as low as 2% - in fact wool is the most hydrophilic (able to absorb moisture) of all natural fibers.
- The wool fiber is unique in that it releases this moisture slowly through evaporation, helping the sleeper stay warmer in winter and cooler in summer, and eliminating dampness in the bedding.
Natural Flame Resistance
- Wool is made of keratin (an animal protein found in hair and nails) and this, combined with the moisture content the wool has absorbed, requires a higher temperature to ignite than other natural and manmade fibers.
- When wool does burn it burns slowly, smoldering and charring. It does not support a flame, gives off very little heat, and course does not release harmful toxic chemical gases.
Natural Temperature Control
- As wool fibres release absorbed moisture heat is given off - in fact a single gram of wool gives off 27 calories of heat when it goes from wet to dry. This helps moderate the body's temperature, allowing it to keep each sleeper comfortable.