Difference Between Feather and Down Duvets

Posted by Cuddledown ‍ on

Are you looking to upgrade your duvet? Replacing your duvet is recommended once you feel that your current one deteriorates, which naturally happens over time.

Two of the popular luxury options are feather or down, or a blend of the both (feather and down). Choosing between these options can be daunting as they each have their set of characteristics - pros and cons - and differences. Have a read on for a helpful and informative breakdown of the differences between the two.

Down or Feather Duvet: a Quick Comparison

Let's briefly mention what the feather in down have in common: namely, that both are plumage from goose or duck - you can read about the difference between the sourcing here ➞. Feather and down fills are sourced from different parts of the plumage and each have their own differentiating characteristics. 

Below is an indicative table for a quick comparison between the fills: 

Feather Fill

Down Fill

The feathers are found on the outer layers of the bird, which covers large sections of their body - such as back and wings.

The down is located at the sub-layer of the underside of the bird - this is the protective insulating layer.

Feathers are typically larger and contain a spine - called a quill - giving the duvet a chunkier look and feel.

Down fibres are light and fluffy feeling, and lighter as they don't contain any quills.

Feather are heavier and flatter, making for a weightier duvet, and are sometimes blended with down for a plumper look and feel. Down is light and airy, which makes for a more malleable and breathable duvet, and superior at trapping heat for insulation.


Addressing the key question as to “which type is better?” - the answer is: a 'down'-filled duvet. It's ultimately the superior of the two fills, thanks to its lightweight comfort and superior breathability and insulation. 

Your preference may differ depending on what you're after. Feather duvets are bulkier and heavier, giving it a weightier feel which some sleepers may prefer. Perhaps the biggest drawback of feather duvets (beside for its relative weight) is that occasionally a feather quill may poke through and may cause discomfort during bedtime.

On the other hand, down-filled duvets are superior at trapping a greater amount of air, thus providing better insulation. Thanks to their fluffy clusters, down fibres also have the ability to better regulate temperature, so you get to sleep more comfortably; down duvet are noticeably loftier (plumper) that feather counterparts. Down clusters tends to have great longevity, and a high quality down duvet should last quite some years. Down duvets will lose out to the feather counterparts when it comes to their price, as it's the more expensive of the two (though the cost can be offset by it's potentially longer usage lifetime). There are also duvets available with a blend of both down and feather - these aim to offer a balance of price and quality.

Goose vs Duck Feather and Down Duvets

Beyond the feather vs down discussion, there's also a choice of the original of the feather or down fill used in a duvet. Down or feather duvet fills can be sourced from duck or goose, and there's much discussion to be had as to which bird offers the superior of the two fills. There is a misconception regarding the differences between goose down and duck down - namely that goose down is always better than duck down.

Generally, high-end goose down is superior to high-end duck down, though the range does overlap and can be quite comparable. The fact is that when the cluster are of similar size, goose down will tend to have  superior insulating power than duck down. Because geese are larger than ducks, they often possess larger, higher-quality down clusters with higher fill power. Also, geese tend to live in colder climates than ducks, and are naturally inclined to produce larger down clusters.

So, in Conclusion..

We've learned that down - whether from duck or goose - is the 'superior' fill compared to feather thanks to it's supple, lightweight and insulating properties. But feathers aren't without their merit, as this is the more affordable fill and is heavier which makes it a great choice for sleepers that prefer a heavier duvet.

Here at Cuddledown, we're pleased to offer a range of goose down duvets ➞, including our featured Hungarian Goose Down Duvet, all featuring pure cotton casing, and are all OEKO-TEX® & NOMITE certified, and ethically sourced ➞.


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