Difference Between Feather and Down Duvets

Difference Between Feather and Down Duvets

Difference Between Feather and Down Duvets

Is it time to change your duvet? According to sleep experts, we should replace our duvets every 4-5 years with new ones for better sleeping quality and hygiene reasons as duvets tend to deteriorate over time. The main two options that we have are feather and down duvets 

Choosing between a feather and down duvet can be a tough choice as each type comes with its own set of characteristics, pros, and cons. If you are contemplating which type you should buy, read the rest of the article for a quick yet enlightening comparison. 

Down or feather duvet: a quick comparison

Perhaps the only common characteristic between down and feather duvets is that they both use feathers as their main filling material--their main difference though is, they come from different feather parts. Here is an indicative table for a quick comparison of each type: 

Feather Duvets

Down duvets

●      Use duck or goose feather found in the outer part of the bird, which covers large sections of their body. 

●      These feathers are typically very soft and tender and have a spine that stretches towards the middle (also being called “quilt”) originally intended to help keep birds warm and comfortable when flying.

●      The shape of feathers is long but flat and therefore plenty of them are needed to fill up the feather duvet.

●      The feathers are heavier and denser compared to other filling materials, making the feather duvet bulkier.

●      The filling material of down duvets lies on the top body part of the duck or goose, just beneath the outer body of the main feathers (down clusters).

●      Their shape closely resembles a dandelion head with a round middle part (also called “plumule”).

●      These down feather clusters are softer and more lightweight compared to feather duvets.

●      Down-filled duvets can also allow more air to pass through for higher breathability and comfort.



Now, regarding the key question “which type is better?” it depends on what you are seeking. For instance, feather duvets are bulkier and more solid and therefore they are able to provide extra support and warmth during sleep. They also tend to last a tad longer compared to down duvets. Perhaps the biggest downside of feather duvets is that in some cases, the quilt part of the feathers may poke through and may cause discomfort during bedtime. They are also not as breathable as down duvets.

On the other hand, down-filled duvets trap more air during sleep and have the ability to regulate temperature so they do not make you feel too warm or cold while sleeping. If the down clusters are also large enough, the down duvet will last for more (up to a couple of years more), given proper care. The not so favourable attributes of down duvet covers include their cost, which is more expensive compared to their feather counterparts and their small yet considerable odds to cause allergic reactions. 

Goose feather vs duck feather duvets

Feather duvets, as specified earlier, can be filled with either duck or goose feathers. Some types may even mix feathers with down clusters and so they can combine the best of both worlds. However, there are key differences between duck and goose feather options. Here is a comparison table for each type:

Duck feather

Goose feather

●      Breathable and allow temperature regulation

●      Feel denser and heavier-need more filling to provide sufficient heat insulation

●      Tend to smell more compared to goose feather options unless they are treated with a special cleaning substance.

●      A good quality duck feather duvet can be a real value-for-money product that will cost less but will last for a few years.

●      Breathable and allow better regulation of temperature

●      The larger the bird, the bigger the feathers are and so more down is used

●      More lightweight compared to duck duvets and require less filling to provide heat insulation

●      Tend to be less smelly 

●      Come in many different options, based on their origin and quality e.g Siberian, Hungarian, U.S.


Duck or goose feather pillows: which one to choose from?

 Besides duvets, you also get to choose between duck and goose feathers and/or down clusters in your pillows. In general, many of the properties of goose vs duck feather duvets apply to pillows as well but there are a few specifics that you need to consider as well.

 For instance, a common type of pillow, regardless of where it comes from (duck or goose) is filled with a mixture of down and feathers--all-down filled pillows are rare and expensive while all-feather pillows are old-school nowadays and can be uncomfortable and feel stiff to the touch. Therefore, a combination of both allows more versatility and enhanced quality while keeping the cost affordable.

 If you still want to make a choice between duck and goose down/feather filling in your pillows, here is a quick comparison table: 

Duck feather/down pillows

Goose feather/down pillows

●      More common compared to goose

●      Feathers/down comes from smaller birds and therefore the filling capacities are smaller

●      Thinner and denser compared to goose-feather or down pillows

●      Tend to be more smelly

●      Cost less compared to goose feather-down pillows

●      Rarer compared to duck

●      Their feather/down filling comes from well-endowed birds and thus they offer a higher filling capacity

●      Fluffier and more lightweight

●      Tend to smell less

●      Cost more compared to their duck counterparts

Given the above properties of each type, making an ideal choice is just a matter of personal preference. For example, if you value quality over cost, goose feather pillows are a better choice. Goose feather pillows are also great for those who are easily bothered by smells and like their pillows nice and fluffy.

On the other hand, if you want a less costly option and you like your pillow to be thinner and flatter, you may choose a pillow with a duck feather filling.

Also, regardless of your choice (duck Vs goose), make sure you are buying a product from a reputable company that processes feathers and/or down in a way that is least likely to cause any allergies. Some companies may use dust mite killers or protector substances for this purpose, since a large option of allergic reactions comes from unwashed and dust-mite infected pillow filling. 


Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published