Duvet versus comforter? This is a debate anyone deciding on their bedding will have to get into. Some of us already have our preferences, from long-time habit or trial-and-error, whilst others are perhaps going about choosing their bedding for the first time by themselves. It might not seem like that big a deal at first glance, but in the long run, comfort, longevity and maintenance considered, it’s worth it to get into the fray armed with the right knowledge of what exactly you’re facing. Let’s take a look at what distinguishes duvets from comforters and the pros and cons of both.
A duvet is essentially a down or synthetic fiber filled insert, fluffy and soft to keep you warm through the night. The reason we’re calling it an ‘insert’ is because it essentially goes inside a duvet cover – pretty much in the same way we don’t use a pillow without slipping on a pillow case, the duvet is usually used with a duvet cover. This has a couple of benefits – for starters this eliminates the need of a top sheet (unlike comforters), so that’s one less thing you have to worry about and expend time on when you’re making the bed in the mornings. The purpose of the top sheet, intended both to keep the comforter clean and also as a decorative and customizable touch to your bedding, is fulfilled by the duvet cover. A removeable cover has the benefits of being easy to throw in the wash or to swap around with other covers to change the look or aesthetics of your bedding and room when you’re hankering for a decorative or thematic change.
Duvets are sold by bed size, and don’t hang over the sides of your bed as much as comforters do. Because they’re more thickly filled compared to comforters, they tend to hold their shape better than comforters too, remaining plush and fluffy for a long time. Another plus for many is that the duvet, despite keeping you toasty warm, is pretty lightweight and of a manageable size.
A downside, though, is the fact that the duvet itself is usually not machine-washable, and has to be dry cleaned. Because duvets don’t come in bedding sets, you’ll also have to expend a little extra effort to make sure your duvet matches the bed linens and pillow cases you’re using, so if mixing and matching endeavors are likely to wear you out, you might want to opt for ‘bed-in-a-bag’ set comforters instead. Speaking of which –
If you’re not up for the creative and aesthetic demands of matching up your covers with the rest of your bedding, comforters are your easy out. Coming in a set along with matching bed linens, pillow cases and often top sheets, these are also sold by bed size, but hang down the sides of the bed, unlike a duvet. Also unlike a duvet, they don’t come with a cover, but with patterns and/or designs printed right on them, matching the rest of the set. If changing the cover is problematic for you, or if you’ve experienced duvets which tend to bunch and slip out of place inside their covers and would rather not deal that (there are options out there which help secure the duvet in place under the covers but some people object to duvets by preference), comforters are the way to go. Filled with synthetic fibers or down, comforters are then stitched or quilted to keep the fill in place. Great for when you’re looking to give your bed a layered look, they go over your bed linens, often with a decorative top sheet over them – this can add that one extra step to your morning when making your bed, but if you don’t mind that, you’re pretty much good to go. Comforters also have one up against duvets, since they can be tossed in the washing machine along with the rest of your bedding.
The downside here is the lack of customizability. Because the comforter is a single piece with a design or pattern printed right on it, it’ll only match the specific set you bought it with – which means you can’t use it interchangeably with other bed linen and pillow cases, at least if you want to have some kind of theme or consistency going on. Some see purchasing multiple bedding sets as a waste, especially as, compared to duvets, the more sparsely filled comforters tend to bottom out and lose their plush softness after a period of use.
Comforters are, however, available as single pieces – these often come with a cover, so they operate more as a duvet. Often, the words might even be used interchangeably.
So which should you pick?
It all boils down to a matter of personal preference. If you’re looking for maximum coze, soft and enduring plush that won’t flatten and bottom out for a while, and don’t want too many layers on your bed, go with the duvet. Since you won’t have to bother with a top sheet, this is all you’ll need to stay snug and warm at night, the cover keeping the insert inside clean and removable so you can just toss it in the wash on laundry day while you switch up your bedroom’s look with a different cover. If you’re also the type to want frequent changes in how your room looks and feels, duvets offer more room for customization than the fixed design of a comforter.
If you can’t be bothered with duvet covers and are more likely to commit to one consistent style, comforters are a great bargain instead. In fact if you have the space and budget for the linen closet, you can store all your bedding sets there to whip out when the occasion demands it. Since you don’t have separate covers to wash, and can machine wash the comforter as a whole with the rest of the linen, some also see this as a pretty convenient alternative – you can skip the top sheet altogether to max out this convenience, too, so you don’t have to bother with that when you’re making the bed or doing the laundry.
As we prefaced this by saying, it all comes down to preference. What is troublesome and time-consuming for some may not be a bother for others, whilst the priority of your choice of bedding naturally differs from individual to individual. Then there are also factors to consider like the season you’re going to be needing it for, whether you have pets who share the bed, and so on.