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Duvet vs. Comforter: Which One Should You Get?

Does your head hurt from trying to figure out the differences between a duvet and a comforter? You’re not the only one. The terms are often used interchangeably, and while they look alike, they’re two different products. 

Comforters used to be more popular in the United States, while duvets have always been the go-to in Europe. However, these days, more and more Americans are opting for duvets. 

We want to settle this debate once and for all to help you decide whether a comforter or a duvet deserves the prime spot on your bed. Which one requires more maintenance? Is one warmer than the other? Does one offer more longevity? Let’s find out.

Our Duvet vs. Comforter Video

What Is a Duvet?

A duvet is a type of thick, quilted, rectangular blanket that’s usually white and filled with either down, feathers, cotton, or synthetic fibers. For reference, down is the super soft plumage found under the exterior feathers of waterfowl. In fact, the word ‘duvet’ is the French word for ‘down’, as this is what duvets were traditionally filled with when they first emerged in Europe in the 17th century1, though finally gaining mainstream popularity in the 1960s.

A duvet sits on top of your bed and covers the mattress, with a little overhang on the sides of the bed. Duvets are designed to sit inside a cover that keeps it clean and hygienic – the cover has an opening at the bottom that’s secured with buttons, ties, fasteners, or a zip. 

What We Like About Duvets

  • Changeable aesthetic – The possibilities are endless with a duvet – simply buying a new cover can change the whole look of your bedroom. Duvet covers are usually available with matching pillowcases – either in a set or as optional extras.
  • Versatile feel – Duvet covers come in a range of fabrics, such as cotton, linen, sateen, and percale, so you can find what feels best. Light, breathable fabrics like linen and cotton can be great for summer, while something like flannel could be a thicker, cozier option for winter. 
  • Less frequent cleaning – As it’s protected by a cover, the duvet itself can be washed less frequently than a comforter. Of course, you’ll need to wash the cover regularly, but it’s a lot less cumbersome than washing the whole duvet. 
  • Fluff factor – Duvets tend to be fluffier than comforters as they’re often thicker and contain more fill. This can enhance the look of your bed, as well as make it feel more cozy. 

Potential Drawbacks of Duvets

  • Putting the cover on – It can be challenging putting a duvet inside its cover by yourself, and the larger the duvet, the harder it might be. However, a trick is to flip the cover inside out before putting it on. Lay your duvet flat on the bed and then put your arms inside the inside-out cover so your hands are at the top two corners. With your hands inside the cover, grab the bottom two corners of the duvet. Making sure you have a good grip, shake the duvet until the cover rolls over its entire length. Make adjustments before securing the duvet cover with any fasteners. 
  • The cover is an added cost – Having to purchase a separate cover for your duvet adds to the overall cost. If you don’t have access to a dryer, you’ll likely need two sets to ensure you always have a clean, dry cover available for use. 
  • Filling can get clumpy – Duvets are usually stitched to keep the filling in place, but the thicker, fluffier filling can sometimes clump together unevenly. The duvet insert may also bunch together inside the cover, making it look a little messy.
  • May need professional cleaning – Depending on the size and fill of your duvet insert, it may not fit into your washing machine, so it could require professional cleaning, which is an added effort and expense. 

Who Should Buy Duvets?

People who live in cooler climates may prefer a duvet as they tend to be thicker and warmer than comforters. You can also purchase duvets for different seasons, often sold in tog (thermal overall grade) ratings, which refers to the duvet’s ability to trap warm air and keep you toasty. 

Note that 1 tog is the coolest, while 15 tog is the warmest. If you love switching up the look of your bedroom, buying different duvet cover sets can be a great way of doing this. We’d recommend duvets for people who don’t like the feel of a top sheet, as a duvet doesn’t require one since you can wash the cover more frequently. If you plan to not use a top sheet, though, be sure to wash your duvet comforter every one to two weeks.

How to Pick the Right Duvet for You


Your main area of concern here is the fill of the duvet insert, which is available in natural or synthetic variants. Down and feathers are popular natural fillings, although cotton, wool, hemp, and silk are also available. Down is a better insulator than feathers, which means down duvets feel lighter than feather duvets of the same tog rating since they require less fill. 

Synthetic duvets are usually filled with polyester fiber, which is often called “down alternative.” These tend to be heavier, less breathable, and less insulated than natural duvets, though they’re usually cheaper and easier to wash. 

You should also consider the fabric used for the duvet casing, which is usually made of either cotton, polyester, or a blend of the two. Cotton casing will be more breathable than polyester, which is something to consider if you live in a warmer climate. 


The color or design of your duvet cover will most dictate the style, but you should also consider the thickness of the duvet, which will affect the overall aesthetic of your bed. This will come down to personal preference – some people prefer a thick, fluffy bed, while others lean towards a sleeker look. A down duvet will give you warmth without bulkiness, while a feather or synthetic fill will require more filling for the same level of warmth. 


Duvets are sold in sizes that correspond with the size of your bed, such as Twin, Full, Queen, and so on. However, sizing can vary from store to store, so check the exact measurements of a duvet to ensure it meets your needs. If you’re super tall, share your bed with a blanket thief, or have an extra-tall mattress, you may prefer to size up. 

What Is a Comforter?

A comforter is a type of thick, quilted, and rectangular blanket that sits on top of your bed as the last layer of bedding. It consists of a fabric casing that has soft, fluffy material sewn inside it, which is stitched in place to prevent clumping. The filling and casing are made with either natural or synthetic materials. 

People often layer comforters above top sheets or other blankets, and they’re designed to cover the mattress and hang generously over the sides of the bed. 

Explore: Best Comforters

What We Like About Comforters

  • Ready to use – Comforters don’t require covers, so they can be used straight away. This can take some hassle out of your purchase. 
  • Larger sizes – Comforters tend to be slightly larger than duvets, offering more coverage and overhang. Aesthetically, this is down to preference, though some couples may prefer the larger size of a comforter if they often find themselves fighting over the covers. 
  • Filling is evenly distributed – Unlike a duvet, which can sometimes get clumpy inside the cover, the all-in-one comforter is quilted with evenly distributed filling, which helps it maintain its shape.
  • Can be purchased in sets – Comforters come in a wide range of designs and can often be purchased in sets with matching shams, which gives your bedding a more cohesive look. 
  • Layered look – Comforters can make it easier to achieve a layered look as they’re not as bulky as duvets, so you can go wild with adding extra sheets and blankets.

Potential Drawbacks of Comforters

  • Requires more frequent washing – Comforters aren’t protected by a cover like duvets are, so they need to be washed more frequently. It’s recommended that you wash your comforter every three months, but you can pop them in the dryer on high heat every 10-15 minutes in between washes, which should help get rid of any dust mites. Many people use a top sheet as a barrier between their body and the comforter, which can buy you more time in between washes. 
  • May not fit in your washing machine – As comforters tend to be larger than duvet inserts, they may not fit into your washing machine, although this depends on the size you have. However, they do tend to be thinner than duvets, which may work in your favor when it comes to fitting inside your washer. 
  • You might get bored of the look – Unless you buy more than one comforter set, which will be a lot pricier than buying an extra duvet cover, you’ll be stuck with the same bedding aesthetic. If you get bored easily and prefer to switch things up, we’d probably recommend getting a duvet instead. 
  • May not last as long as a duvet – As it requires more frequent laundering, a comforter may not last as long as a duvet insert, but that’s also dependent on the quality of the product. Don’t forget to check the care label before laundering to avoid any nasty surprises. 

Who Should Buy Comforters?

If you struggle to regulate your temperature while sleeping, you may prefer a comforter as its thinner design means it can be layered with other blankets, which you can shed if you’re feeling too warm. Those who prefer bedding with more overhang may lean towards comforters, as they usually provide more coverage than duvets. 

If the thought of grappling with a duvet and its cover fills you with dread, we’d recommend a comforter, as it’s ready to be thrown on the bed after laundering. Plus, if you don’t have the time or energy to shop around for a separate duvet, cover, and sheets, a comforter might be the best route as they’re often sold in complete bedding sets. 

How to Pick the Right Comforter for You


Like duvets, comforters are available with natural or synthetic fillings. You can choose from down, feathers, cotton, wool, silk, or hemp if you prefer the natural route, while polyester fill/down alternative is a popular synthetic filling. 

Down is the best insulator, which could be ideal for those who live in cooler climates. If you tend to sweat a lot at night, you might prefer a natural fill, as these are more breathable. However, synthetic comforters tend to be cheaper and easier to wash. 

The outer fabric of a comforter is usually made from cotton, polyester, or a cotton-polyester blend. Again, hot sleepers may prefer a cotton-covered comforter, which will be more breathable and moisture-wicking. 


Your comforter will be the focal point of your bed, so you should choose one that complements your decor and bed sheets. With so many different colors, prints, and stitch patterns to choose from, you’re bound to find one you like. 


The size of your comforter should match the size of your mattress. So, let’s say you have a Queen mattress, then you’ll want to buy a Queen-size comforter. Double check measurements before purchasing as sizing sometimes varies.  

Duvets vs. Comforters

Still not sure whether to buy a duvet or a comforter? Let’s compare some important attributes.


This is one category where duvets and comforters are alike. Both are widely available with a cotton, polyester, or poly-cotton casing and a choice of natural or synthetic fill. Natural fills include down, feathers, cotton, silk, wool, and hemp, while synthetic fill is usually down alternative. Natural materials tend to be more expensive than their synthetic counterparts. 

Feel and Comfort

Generally speaking, duvets are thicker and fluffier than comforters, although this does depend on the style that you buy, as you can purchase thinner duvets for summer. Both are available with down fill, but a down duvet will give you more of a marshmallow, cloudlike feel as it will likely be more plush than a down comforter. 


Duvets and comforters are both constructed with an outer fabric casing that’s stitched over a natural or synthetic fiber filling. They may look the same, but a comforter usually has a larger surface area than a duvet, offering more overhang. Plus, a duvet is designed to be placed inside a duvet cover to keep it clean, while a comforter can be used over a top sheet.


This depends on the quality of the duvet or comforter you buy. Duvets tend to be more durable as they’re built to last and don’t have to be washed as often as a comforter, which can reduce the lifespan. However, dirt-cheap duvets are likely to be of lower quality, so those ones may not last as long. 


Duvets tend to be thicker and warmer than comforters, although this depends on the fill power and filling type because synthetic materials can trap heat more than their natural alternatives. 

Down is incredibly insulating, so a thick down duvet or comforter may feel too hot for summer, although this material is moisture-wicking and breathable, which could make a thinner down duvet or comforter a go-to for warmer months. The fabric of your duvet cover can also help or hinder its temperature-regulating abilities, as synthetic fabrics tend to be less breathable, making you sweat more. 

Cleaning and Care

Comforters require more regular cleaning than duvets since they don’t have a cover and are less protected from dirt and bacteria – experts advise washing your comforter every three months. A duvet can be washed less frequently as it doesn’t come into direct contact with your body, though you’ll want to wash just the cover more regularly.

Many duvets and comforters can be machine-washed, though this does vary, so always check the care label. As duvets tend to be thicker than comforters, they’re less likely to fit in your home washing machine, so you may need to factor professional cleaning into your budget. 


Duvets tend to be more expensive than comforters of the same size, especially when you factor in having to buy a separate duvet cover. However, this all depends on the type of duvet or comforter you go for – a down comforter will likely be more expensive than a synthetic duvet. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is better, a duvet or a comforter?

This all depends on your individual needs. Duvets tend to feel more fluffy and cozy, which could be nice during winter nights. They also allow you more opportunity to switch up the look of your bedroom by purchasing different duvet covers, and the duvet insert itself requires less frequent laundering than a comforter.

Comforters, on the other hand, are better suited for layering, so you can add or remove additional blankets as the seasons change. They’re also larger in surface area, providing more overhang to cover more of the mattress – this could be suited to tall people, couples who often fight over the blanket, or people who simply prefer this aesthetic.

What is the point of a duvet?

A duvet is a large, thick blanket that’s stuffed with filling that sits on top of your bed, ready to keep you warm and snug while you sleep. Duvets come in a range of fill options, so there should be something for everyone, no matter the climate you live in. A great thing about duvets is that they sit inside a removable duvet cover, which helps keep dirt and germs away from the duvet insert.

Can I use my comforter as a duvet?

There’s nothing to stop you from using your comforter as a duvet. However, as comforters tend to be larger than duvets, you need to make sure you purchase a duvet cover that’s large enough to fit your comforter.

Do hotels use duvets or comforters?

This depends on where you are in the world. European and Asian hotels will generally offer a duvet with no top sheet, but many hotels in America still offer the traditional top sheet and comforter combo. Some hotels might use a triple sheeting system, where a comforter is sandwiched in between two flat sheets, which makes it more hygienic.

Julia Forbes

Julia Forbes

Lead Product Tester

About Author

Julia is the Lead Reviewer at Sleep Advisor, specializing in testing out mattresses and sleep accessories – she’s in the right line of work, because she loves to sleep.

Stomach Sleeper

Education & Credentials

  • Certified Sleep Science Coach


  1. Parkinson, Justin. “Almost 300 years without a duvet”. BBC News. 2015.