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Posted by Nicholas Crusie
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Duvet vs. Comforter: What's the Difference?

5 min read

Whether you're a duvet or comforter type of person, the quality of your bedding is crucial. While both duvets and comforters act as blankets, the two have slight differences. Bedding can get expensive, especially if you opt for hypoallergenic, all-natural, or vegan products.

Knowing what to buy can save you big bucks in the long run. The last thing you want is to spend a chunk of cash on bedding that will end up in the guest room. So, let’s discuss: duvet vs comforter, which one do you need?

What Is a Duvet Set? 

When we’re talking about the comforter vs duvet discussion, you’ll need to know more details. A duvet consists of two pieces — the duvet cover and the insert. The insert is a soft blanket, sometimes filled with feathers or other materials, and put inside the cover. Like the bread on a sandwich, the cover is an outer case that protects the duvet insert. 

Duvets can last longer than a comforter or other bed topper, as you can wash the outer layer far more often than you need to clean the duvet itself, meaning that you can usually avoid dry cleaning. Not to mention, duvet covers are usually reasonably priced, so you can switch up the color or design without replacing your whole blanket.

What Is a Duvet Insert?

A duvet insert is what goes inside the duvet cover. 

Inserts can be made of different materials with varying price ranges. A high-end down duvet insert will have duck or goose down feathers (similar to a high-quality comforter), but there are more affordable options on the market. 

Some duvet inserts are made with down alternatives (like synthetic fibers). These synthetic materials are usually more affordable than the traditional duvet insert. 

What Is a Duvet Cover?

A duvet cover usually resembles a quilt and has similar stitching. However, duvet covers are two pieces of fabric sewn together with an opening left for the duvet insert. The cover has snaps, buttons, or corner ties to close the opening.

For a high-quality duvet cover that won’t break the bank, opt for a 500-thread countsateen weave fabric. With this type of cover, you’ll experience optimal softness and fluff without the guilt of overspending.

How Does a Duvet Cover Work? 

While the thought of piecing your bedding together after each wash can seem daunting, a duvet ensemble is simple and easy.

Think of your duvet as a pillow and pillowcase. The duvet cover acts as the pillowcase, and the insert is the pillow. You simply slip the insert into the cover. 

While duvets offer various benefits — design, comfort, and convenience — their main appeal, and the main difference between a duvet and a standard comforter, is style. Since duvet covers are interchangeable, your bedding can match any vibe or correlate with any season or holiday. 

Thanks to their breathability and softness, duvets are also extremely comfortable year-round. Not to mention, washing a duvet cover is much less taxing than an entire comforter. 

Full duvet covers even come in various materials, so you can use your warmer duvet covers in the winter and thinner ones in the spring and summer. Duvet covers are essential to prolonging the life of your duvet insert. They provide a protective layer, keeping dirt, body oils, grime, and everyday wear and tear away from your insert. 

Pros and Cons of a Duvet Cover Set

Duvets have pros and cons, but so does most everything (even chocolate). At the end of the day, you just have to find out what will work best for you and fit the look of your bed and bedroom once you’re done investigating the difference of duvet vs comforter.

Pros

Easy to clean and machine washable

Duvets are nice because they're easy to clean. All you have to do is unzip the outer layer and toss it in the wash. 

Duvet covers are much thinner than an entire comforter, so it won't take as much time in the washer or dryer. 

More versatile 

Considering the cover can be removed and replaced with different colors and patterns, we'd say the duvet wins the versatile portion of this contest. 

If you love re-decorating and switching it up often, we think a duvet might be more up your alley. 

Warmer

Duvets are a bit thicker than comforters, as their filling offers more insulation. If you're a cold sleeper, or if you s/o like to keep the AC below freezing at night, we suggest investing in a duvet. 

CONS

Can clump together 

Since your new duvet is not a quilted blanket, it might be prone to some clumping that you wouldn’t experience with a new comforter. This can get frustrating, but the fix is super easy. 

Put your duvet in the dryer to help remove clumps. Simply place your duvet in your dryer with a few tennis or dryer balls. Give the duvet ten minutes before removing it and massaging out any remaining clumps. Put back for ten more minutes, and your duvet should be clump-free. 

Another method to remove/prevent your duvet from clumping is by turning it around once a week or so. All you have to do is rotate the head and foot of the duvet every so often. This method helps prevent the material from sitting in one stop for too long, which can cause clumping. 

Difficult to insert

This con is quite minor and is dependent on what kind of duvet you purchase. You will most likely only experience this if your duvet isn't the highest quality. However, with practice, you can put your duvet together in around five minutes. 

The insert can be difficult to fit inside the cover if it's not the correct size, which happens more often than you'd think. This can be easily avoidable by reading reviews online before purchasing. 

Also, always read the washing labels. Once your duvet cover shrinks, it can be nearly impossible to fit the insert in. Yes, you can always buy a new cover; but that takes time and money, and we’re busy sleeping.

Not as warm 

We may have already touched base on this aspect, but the duvet is known for its lightweight and movability, so if you're looking for a heavy-duty winter blanket, then this might not be for you. 

Some people sleep hot, and some sleep cold. The optimal room temperature during sleep is between 60 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit. It really depends on personal preference. If you're a warm sleeper no matter the season, then a duvet may be right up your alley. 

Okay, now you know what a duvet is. But we’re not done. Let’s keep the conversation going: what is a duvet cover vs comforter?

What Is a Comforter?

Now that you know what a duvet is, let's talk about comforters. Depending on what you grew up using, comforters may be super familiar or totally foreign. Either way, we have more information to offer!

Comforters are quilted blankets, often filled with cotton, hence why they're a bit warmer than duvets. Once you purchase your comforter, they're ready to use — no cover needed. 

Comforters are quite convenient as there is no need for a cover. Plus, they're (often) sold in sets, so you won't have to go searching for a matching sheet and pillowcases. 

Duvets have their fair share of pros, but so do comforters. You shouldn't rule either out before analyzing both lists provided — let's get into it. 

PROS

Great prices

Comforters are usually easier on your wallet. But that's not to say they are cheap by any means. You can still get a very high-quality comforter without breaking the bank. 

Comforters are usually less expensive because you only need to buy one piece. You must make multiple purchases with a duvet, as they aren't usually sold in sets with bed sheets and pillowcases either. 

It comes ready to use

Unlike a duvet, there is no need for assembly — your comforter comes snuggle-ready. While duvet assembly is quite easy, it may be something for you to consider. We know how crazy life can get, and anything that can save us a few minutes is worth it. 

Won’t clump up 

Unlike a down comforter, your duvet is quilted, so you won't have to worry about it clumping up. 

Lightweight 

If you live in a known state for its hot summers, then a comforter might be your best option. Yes, comforters are plentiful in the wintertime but can get too big and bulky come those warmer months. 

Comforters might be too hot for the summer, but that's not to say you can't just buy both and switch them out throughout the year, right? Or, if you’re a true comforter fan, you can even layer two on top of each other. Either way, you can be comfortable and cozy. 

CONS

Difficult to clean 

If you don't have an ant-bacterial comforter, you may find yourself constantly wanting to wash yours. If so, you may want to consider a fluffy blanket that is a bit easier to wash. You should consider an antibacterial comforter. It stays cleaner for 3x longer; less laundry equals more free time.

Antibacterial bedding can offer other benefits, such as super healthy and clear skin. 

Can flatten over time

Comforters are notorious for flattening overtime. This is due to the cotton inside losing volume. Not all comforters are made of Supima cotton; some last longer than others. 

This can be easily avoidable if you purchase a high-quality comforter. All it takes is a bit of review research to avoid this bedding mishap. 

Caring for Your Duvet

Duvet care is arguably easier than caring for and washing another bed covering. They’re lighter, and the only piece that’s washed regularly is the cover, which is easily removed. 

Give a Daily Shake

Your duvet care doesn’t just include a simple machine wash every couple of weeks. Duvets require a bit of everyday TLC. As you know by now, duvets have a tendency to clump up, but shaking your duvet out before your cup of morning coffee will prevent these clumps from forming. 

Eco-friendly Detergent and No Dryer Sheets. 

Washing your duvet insert should be a seasonal task, as the cover protects it from any germs, bacteria, and oils. As for the cover, it should be washed whenever you wash your sheets ( at least once per week).

Always read the label before commencing your wash ritual. Generally, the duvet cover should be washed alone on a gentle wash cycle with cold water. Avoid harsh laundry detergents and fabric softeners. We suggest using an eco-friendly detergent — the fewer ingredients, the better!

Dryer sheets are also a no-go. Like fabric softeners, dryer sheets can leave an unwanted film on the fabric, resulting in detergent build-up over time. We know how delectable dryer sheets and softeners can make your clothes smell, but it’s not worth damaging your beloved bedding. 

Opt for Low Heat

When your duvet is washed and ready for the dryer, ensure you dry it on low to medium heat. High heat can damage the fibers resulting in a rough and bumpy material. 

In addition, it’s not a bad idea to add a dryer ball or tennis ball to ensure an even dry. 

Caring for Your Comforter 

While a comforter's thickness is likely why we gravitate towards these plush bedroom linens, that thickness is a challenge on wash day. 

Many standard washing machines aren’t big enough to accommodate a king-sized comforter. Even if they are, it can take twice the time and energy for your dryer to dry the comforter properly. 

Avoid Harsh Chemicals 

As we recommended for a duvet, steer clear of harsh chemicals and fabric softeners. While fabric softeners make your clothes smell delightful, they also leave an unwanted film on the fabric, resulting in extra cleaning later.

We suggest washing your comforter with cold water in a “bulky bedding” setting (if your machine has it). 

Dry on Low Heat

Once it’s washed, dry your comforter on a low-heat setting (even if it takes twice as long). Consider throwing a tennis ball or dryer ball in there to break up the lumps and help achieve a more even dry. 

Shopping for Your Bedding: Duvet vs Comforter

Whether you’ve decided duvets have your heart or you’re ready to switch over to comforters, you have some shopping ahead of you. Here’s what to know before you buy.

Duvets 101

Duvet shopping may prove pricier, as you have to buy both the duvet insert and cover. However, once you have the insert, it could last up to 20 years. Talk about an investment!

As for the cover, they’ll be much less expensive, and by the end of your first year as a duvet owner, we bet you’ll have quite a few. 

Duvets are fun to shop for as you can get covers to match your current bedroom theme, the season, or a style you’re trying to emulate.

Regarding the material, the best duvet covers are made from Supima cotton with a luxurious 500-thread countsateen weave. 

Comforters 101

Comforter shopping takes a little more commitment, as you can’t switch the cover like you can with a duvet. So, whichever color or pattern you choose should be timeless and one that you won’t grow tired of. 

Basic colors like white, grey, and brown are common, but don’t be afraid to try something different. You know your style better than anyone. If you want that leopard-print comforter, we say go for it!

Bedding technology has seen major advancements in the past few years, meaning there are a few more factors to consider aside from fabric type. You’ll have to decide whether a temperature-regulating comforter will help you sleep — which we think is a strong possibility.

Traditional comforters can be a pain to wash, but an antibacterial comforter means three times less laundry. Your bi-weekly washing just got cut in half! 

Not to mention, your body's core temperature changes as you sleep, which is why night sweats and sleep shivers are common. Instead of spending your night tossing and turning, consider a comforter that will adapt to your body. 

Also, don’t even get us started on coverlets — those are a whole other thing.

Don’t Forget Your Sheets

Yes, the top layer of your bedding is essential, but so is your bedding set. With a luscious comforter or duvet, you’ll need the sheet set to match. A complete sheet set has the following:

  • Top sheet
  • Pillowcase
  • Pillow shams
  • Fitted sheet
  • In some cases, a comforter

If you’re in the market to prioritize your sleep and overall health, we suggest keeping the quality of your bedding as a must-do. Your sleep environment (which includes your bedding) can affect your sleep and overall health. Opting for the softest, most plush sheets can help you get the shut-eye you deserve. 

We know a thing or two about bedding, and as for your sheets, we suggest choosing materials like Supima cotton, and a percale weave will give you that crisp, comfortable hotel feel. Bedding made from high-quality materials means better texture and more durability.

Sweet Dreams 

The start of a good night's sleep starts with your bedding. There is no better feeling than hopping out of a hot (or cold) shower and snuggling up in your warm comforter or duvet. We think either is a great option, but it's dependent on what you're looking for.

Now that you know all the pros and cons, the only thing left to do is buy your new bedding. Duvet cover vs comforter: whichever you pick, good quality sleep is a Miracle. 

Sources:

How Your Bedding Can Affect Your Sleep | Forbes Health

The Benefits of Slumber | NIH News in Health

How Often Should You Wash Your Sheets? | Sleep Foundation

Definition of night sweats | NCI Dictionary of Cancer Terms



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