DUVETS AND COMFORTERS: WHAT’S IN A NAME?
They might appear to be more or less the same thing, but there are important differences between duvets and comforters. It’s worth understanding the distinction when you’re choosing your bedding.
Put simply, most people in the US use the term comforters, while Europeans refer to duvets. However, many individuals who speak of comforters actually mean duvets without realising.
Both are a type of thick, fluffy bedding that covers you at night to keep you warm and comfortable.
But when you look into the official definitions, they’re not the same. Duvets are generally used with removable duvet covers. Comforters either have built-in covers or no covers at all.
- Popular in the US
- Built-in cover or no cover at all
- Harder to clean, often requires special care
- Available in an array of colours and patterns (but once you’ve chosen, you’re stuck with it)
- Often used in conjunction with a top sheet
- Mostly sold in sets together with sheets and pillowcases
- Favoured in Europe
- Used with a removable, easy-to-wash duvet cover
- Doesn’t need frequent washing thanks to the protective cover
- Versatile – just buy a new cover to change your look
- No top sheet necessary, unless you prefer one
- Mostly sold individually
The case for comforters
There are pros and cons to everything, and comforters have their qualities.
Soft, thick, quilted bedding, they may be filled with down, wool or synthetic fibres.
The filling is evenly distributed and held in place by stitching. One drawback: this potentially allows the manufacturer to use a less-than-premium quality filling. Why? The more stitching, the easier it is to camouflage bad filling.
There is often less filling than in a duvet, so it provides a flatter, less fluffy experience. When it gets really cold, you may need to add extra blankets.
Because there’s no cover, it pays to use a top sheet beneath the comforter to keep it clean. In fact, the need for sheets and sometimes blankets can appeal to sleepers who like the layered effect.
You can choose a matching set of comforter, sheets and pillowcases, which makes styling your bed simple.
When it comes to cleaning, comforters are trickier than duvets. Their bulk can make them too big for the washing machine, so professional dry cleaning is required.
An alternative solution? Put your comforter in a cover – just like a duvet!
in praise of duvets
Duvets have the edge on softness and fluffiness. Originating in Europe, they were always filled with naturally insulating down. Duvet actually means “down” in French.
Today, they can also be filled with wool or synthetic alternatives. The most luxurious duvets contain eiderdown, collected from nests of the eider duck.
Most duvets are white or light in colour. The fabric encasing the filling can be made from cotton, silk or synthetic material.
Duvets are blessed with duvet covers. Removable, protective, fully washable and easy to change, they come in a wide variety of colours, patterns and styles. Which means duvet users can change the look of their bedroom just by changing the duvet cover.
There’s no need for a top sheet as the duvet cover does the same job. With a single covering instead of several layers, freshening up your bed can be achieved in a matter of moments.
Duvets can potentially camouflage bad fillings too, when they are made with box stitching. Our duvets aren’t box-stitched, but channel constructed, a technique we have perfected over the decades. This leads to warm, comfortable, fluffy duvets that insulate brilliantly yet weigh very little.
Comforters, on the other hand, are never channel constructed.
The secret to channel construction is the absence of cross-seams. Instead, air flows freely from head to toe, providing optimal temperature and moisture regulation. This trumps box-stitched bedding, such as comforters, where the air can only circulate inside each box.
Channel-constructed duvets also wrap around your body better, keeping draughts at bay. The incredible lightness combined with the perfect balance between warming and cooling is irresistible.
Duvet lovers and converted comforter fans: