What To Look For When Shopping For A Down Comforter
Purchasing a down comforter (duvet) is an investment in your quality of life. Like any other investment, it pays to get it right the first time.
Down Proof Fabric
Lower quality down comforters are made with lower quality (less expensive) materials: Low grade cotton (even some "Egyptian" cottons can be inferior) is used for the yarns and the fabric will not feel as soft or supple as a ticking made with a higher grade cotton; if you are a tactile person this can matter. Inferior weaves will leak down; if you want your down comforter to last (and prefer that your down remain inside your comforter instead of all over your bedroom), this is important.
The very best down proof fabrics are woven to be very soft, lightweight, breathable and strong, all while preventing the down from leaking. That's a lot to ask from a fabric. Look for a thread count between 260 and 450. Thread counts above 500 will be prone to leakage and will be relatively heavy in weight, so please keep this in mind when dazzled by that 1000 thread count down comforter bargain. Bottom line on thread count and down comforters: Extremely high thread count does not equal quality.
Less expensive fabrics are usually made "down proof" by starching the fabric, vs. using a specialized down proof weave and expensive finishing techniques. If the care instructions state "Dry Clean Only" that comforter has likely been starched to make it down proof. Once the starch wears or is washed off, the fabric will begin to leak down.
Less expensive down fills will usually be from China and, sadly, may often be something other than advertised; duck down sold as goose down, 550 fill sold as 650 fill, Asian down sold as European down: The list goes on. Often times the merchant is not even aware of what they are selling. Inexpensive fills are can also be of questionable cleanliness and purity, resulting in unpleasant odors.
What to look for in quality goose down: It may seem obvious, but make sure you're getting Goose Down! It is also very important that the down is properly cleaned and sanitized without the use of bleach and other harsh chemicals. A "Fill Power" of 650 or better is desirable, resulting in a lighter yet warmer down comforter. Most of the better quality goose down in the world today comes from Hungary and Poland and this is what you'll find in the vast majority of "luxury" down bedding. It will either be advertised as "European White Goose Down", or it will be region specific, such as "Hungarian White Goose Down".
Plumeria Bay® uses only the very best quality goose down that originates from Canada and Germany. This goose down, while highly desirable, is not widely available.
What about Siberian Goose Down? Isn't that the best? Siberian goose down is nothing more than a deceptive trade name. Any company that advertised their product as containing Siberian goose down would instantly be crossed off my list, if I were shopping for a down comforter. Period.
Most department store down comforters have down that originates from Asia, with a Fill Power of between 550 to 600. Fill Power is a term that describes the size (and quality) of the down cluster. A larger down cluster will insulate better (more warmth with less weight) and last longer. Beware of down bedding that uses "Down" as the description on the law label. These products are likely filled with (inexpensive and smelly) duck down. If you want goose down, the law label must say "Goose Down". If you want White Goose Down, the law label must say "White Goose Down".
Baffled Box construction is a design that uses internal walls to prevent the goose down from shifting from one side of the comforter to the other, or from the middle of the comforter to the edges. Baffles also help to eliminate cold spots, while allowing the down to reach its fullest loft. We use this construction, with a couple of important differences, exclusively in all of our down comforters. Our duvets are made with a "sealed" baffled box. In other words, our baffles have a valve that seals the opening used to insert the down into each box. This extra step prevents the shifting of down from box to box. It is costly, and is not typically used in most comforters that are advertised as "baffled box".
Additionally, our baffles are generously sized. This avoids the "marshmallow" effect commonly seen in overstuffed comforters with smaller baffles. Our larger baffles also enhance the flow of the comforter, enabling it to softly cuddle & move around you, while allowing the down to loft and insulate without being constricted in any way.
So, as you can see, not all baffled box comforters are created equal. Also, look for potentially misleading descriptions such as "Baffled Box and Cross Stitched". This is basically a hybrid (and less expensive) style of construction, where the "cross stitching" results in a "sewn through" or "quilted" down comforter.
Read the warranty carefully! Beware of companies that do not offer a reasonable warranty. We stand behind our products. All of our down comforters offer a 20 Year Warranty against any defects in manufacturing (this includes down leaking and shifting) and a 30 Day Satisfaction Guarantee.
We are proud of our goose down comforters and pillows and are honored by what our customers say about our products and service. If you can, get
another persons opinion about the product you are considering.