What Is the Difference Between a Down and a Down-Alternative Comforter?
While both down and down-alternative comforters serve the same purpose, the materials inside, the care instructions and even the weight of each may vary greatly. A down comforter is made from the fine quill-less material beneath the feather layer on ducks and geese, while a down-alternative comforter may be made from synthetic or natural materials, depending on brand. Down alternatives offer solutions for those with allergies or asthma.
Down-filled comforters offer a warmth difficult to duplicate with synthetic materials. A down comforter is typically far lighter in weight than a down-alternative variety with a similar thickness, which is helpful if you prefer lightweight bedding. Air trapped between bits of down provides a good deal of warmth while still allowing the comforter to breathe, so resting beneath a down comforter feels less clammy than under some synthetic alternatives.
Many down comforters are not designed for machine washing, so a duvet cover is required to keep the comforter in top shape. A down comforter is also more expensive than many down-alternative varieties. Down may trigger allergy or asthma attacks in those sensitive to this type of filling or dust mites within it.
Down Alternative: Pros
A down-alternative comforter is designed to emulate actual down in fluffiness and warmth while being safe for sufferers of asthma or allergies. Many down alternatives are machine washable, so they’re easier to care for than down-based versions. They are also less expensive with a wide range of options price-wise, depending on the filling used and the thread count of the comforter.
Down Alternative: Cons
Some down-alternative comforters designed to appear as fluffy as a down comforter are considerably heavier than down, which is a drawback if you prefer lightweight bedding. Synthetic fillings such as polyester do not breathe as well as natural fibers, so a synthetic down alternative may make you feel clammy or sweaty after resting beneath it for a while. Washing a down-alternative comforter may result in shrinkage. Some down-alternative comforter fabric does not hold up well during frequent use or washing, resulting in pilling or worn material.