The terms duvet and comforter are often (incorrectly) used interchangeably to mean the same thing. But while extremely similar, what you may not have realised is that there are a series of subtle differences between the two that’ll change your sleeping experience.
To straighten things out, in this article, we’ve explained what each is, as well as delving into the differences between a comforter vs duvet. So, without further ado, lets help you make your next bedding decision…
What is a duvet?
It’s a term you’ve likely heard all your life, but what exactly is the definition of a duvet? Well, in simple terms, a duvet is a soft-stuffed quilt that’s filled with anything from down and feathers to warming wool or ethically sourced bamboo. Deciding on a duvet filling is an important process, so before investing in new bedding, make sure to find one that suits you.
The filled duvet is then paired with a removable outer casing, which can give your duvet character, extra comfort, and added softness.
What is a bed comforter?
A comforter is a thick and cosy stuffed blanket that lays on top of your bedding. Sounds similar to a duvet, right? Well, almost, but not quite.
Unlike a duvet, a comforter doesn’t require a cover; instead, it’s a straight-out-of-the-packet sleeping solution that comes complete with a comfortable attached outer casing. This means you can throw it straight onto your bed and start enjoying the benefits immediately without struggling to put a duvet cover on. Think of it as a slightly thinner all-in-one duvet and duvet cover combination.
The main differences between a duvet and comforter
Though a duvet and comforter might appear extremely similar, sometimes even indistinguishable, there are some key differences to be aware of:
- Cover vs no cover: While a duvet requires a cover to protect the stuffed blanket from dirt and grime, a comforter comes equipped with an attached outer casing. To improve hygiene and ensure your comforter stays cleaner for longer, people often sleep beneath a top sheet with the blanket on top.
- Ready to use: Because a comforter doesn’t require a cover, you can add it to your bedding and enjoy the benefits immediately. In contrast, a duvet requires an additional casing, so you’ll need to go through the process of separately choosing a cover and putting it on your quilt.
- Aesthetic: A duvet offers a clean finish to your bedroom, with a single top layer that covers your mattress. Meanwhile, because a comforter typically accompanies a top sheet, they’re often used to provide a layered aesthetic.
- Thickness: Duvets are typically seen as being thicker and heavier than comforters, which can mean they’re more adept at keeping you warm in the winter months. On the flipside, because comforters are generally a little thinner, they’re ideal for summer.
The pros and cons of choosing a duvet
We’ve delved into what a duvet actually is, and how it differs to a comforter, but what are the main benefits and drawbacks to consider?
There are numerous benefits of choosing a duvet, including:
Easy to clean
Keeping your duvet clean is typically quite straightforward, because a duvet cover takes the brunt of any dirt, grime, spills, or stains. While it’s recommended to clean your duvet every six months, you can quickly throw your cover in a weekly wash with your bed sheets and pillow covers.
Because your duvet doesn’t come with an attached cover, you have the flexibility to choose a design that suits your personality and budget. You’ll likely have your go-to style, of course, but you also have the option to build up a selection of patterns and textures for whenever you want to freshen up your space. This versatility often gives duvets the edge over comforters when people are deciding which bedding to choose.
Easy to replace
Just as duvet covers are easy to replace when they’re dirty or you fancy a change of style, they’re also simple to swap out if you notice wear and tear or damage. In most cases, your duvet will remain unaffected, and you can simply put on a new casing.
Making the bed
While you’ll need to fit your cover, once sorted, making the bed with a duvet is a breeze. Duvets are often a thick top layer that don’t typically require a top sheet or extra blanket, meaning all you need to do is lay your quilt over your mattress and you’re set.
Though there are many benefits of choosing a duvet, it’s also important to be aware of the potential drawbacks:
Need a separate cover
Because duvets don’t come with an already-attached outer casing, you’ll need to purchase a set of covers which are often sold separately. This can extend the time spent browsing, but it’s often worth the wait once you finally find a duvet cover you love (we’d recommend eucalyptus silk for ultimate comfort).
The chances are you’ve tried putting a duvet cover on at least once in your life, so you’ll know what we mean when we say it can be a challenge. This is potentially one of the biggest drawbacks of bed duvets, and one of the reasons many people turn to comforters instead.
Because you’re simply putting a cover over the duvet, there’s very little to permanently hold it in place within the casing, so it’s not uncommon to experience clumping from time to time. This refers to the duvet bundling up inside the cover which can become increasingly uncomfortable. Fortunately, there’s a quick fix: giving your duvet and cover a rough shake should even out the filling in no time.
The pros and cons of choosing a bed comforter
We’ve looked at the pros and cons of duvets, but how about the reasons for and against buying a bedding comforter?
Just like there are numerous duvet benefits, it’s useful to know the advantages of choosing a comforter:
Ready to use
Because a comforter combines the filling and outer cover in one, it’s ready to use straight out of the packaging. This is an incredibly convenient, and allows you to enjoy the soft cosiness immediately, rather than having to identify a cover and go through the rigamarole of putting it on.
Gives your bed a layered look
If it’s a layered look you’re after, then a comforter might be calling your name. Often accompanied by a top sheet – and sometimes even an extra blanket - enjoy a series of thinner sleeping layers and decide just how covered you want to be at night. This might especially-suit you in the summer months, when the temperature starts to rise.
Filling is evenly distributed
A comforter is often constructed with quilted baffle boxes or box stitching, which essentially means the outer casing is sewn at various points to give squares of equally distributed filling. This means you’ll never have to worry about your cover clumping at night.
You can use a cover anyway
Just because a comforter doesn’t traditionally require a cover, there’s nothing to stop you purchasing a separate casing that suits your style and personality. This lets you enjoy all the benefits of having a comforter, while also being able to design your bedding just as you’d like. And it can help to breathe new life into your blanket, even when it’s showing signs of wear and tear.
Though there are a number of pros of buying a comforter, there are a handful of drawbacks you should also be aware of:
While a duvet need only be washed twice a year, you’ll likely need to run your comforter through a wash cycle every couple of months. Unless the care instructions say otherwise, you should be able to put your comforter in the washing machine.
Fortunately, between washes, there are some simple steps you can follow to keep your bedding cleaner for longer, including using a top sheet, regularly flipping the comforter, and addressing spills immediately to prevent staining.
A design commitment
Because your comforter comes with the outer casing already attached, it’s important to make sure you’re absolutely certain with the style you choose. Unless you intend to add a separate cover, you can’t change the style, so be prepared to make the design commitment.
May be too thin
Comforters are generally a little thinner than duvets, which might come in handy in the summer months (though, you can of course just choose different duvet tog if you’re finding your current quilt a little warm). However, when winter approaches, you’ll perhaps wish you had something slightly thicker.
Considerations to make when choosing between a duvet and comforter
Now you know the difference between a duvet and comforter, as well as the pros and cons of each, we’ve outlined the final considerations you should make when choosing between the two.
While you can often find duvets and comforters around the same price, it’s important to remember that the former will also require a cover that’s often sold separately. With this in mind, don’t forget to consider the price of your duvet cover when weighing up the cost of each.
When browsing bedding, you may come across a comforter than perfectly complements your space and personal style. However, as highlighted earlier, be aware that a comforter is a major design commitment, unless you start using a separate cover.
On the other hand, you can change your duvet design as often as you like, with an array of varying covers. So, unless you’re ready to stick to your style long-term, a duvet might be your best bet.
If care and cleanliness is one of your top priorities, a duvet is likely going to be the more convenient pick. While a comforter should typically be washed every other month, your duvet should remain clean for up to six months.
Hopefully, you now feel fully equipped to choose between a comforter vs duvet, to find the perfect cover that keeps you cool, cosy, and comfortable at all times. And if we’ve inspired you to upgrade, explore our eco-friendly eucalyptus silk bedding, or discover even more useful insight from our sleep experts over on the Ethical Bedding blog.