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Sleeping is a big part of our days, and as such, a big part of our lives — to put it in perspective, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends at least seven hours of sleep each night for adults aged 18 and older. And while there are lots of great ways to improve the conditions around our sleep to help us hit that seven-hour goal — we’ve written about pillows, sleep masks and sleep aid products, for starters — the duvet is especially important. The right duvet can help you regulate your temperature while you rest, thereby improving your ability to stay asleep throughout the night, as studies have shown.
We spoke with experts about duvets and any important shopping considerations you might encounter as you set out to choose the right one. We also rounded up some top-rated duvet inserts to consider based on their guidance.
Top-rated duvet inserts to consider
Since we don’t test duvet inserts, we turned to professors of product design to learn about what to consider when shopping for great options.
Although picking the right duvet insert is largely a matter of preference, we prioritized great user reviews and decent warranties. For down duvets, we prioritized responsible down certification, or Responsible Down Standard (RDS) — a set of guidelines that ensures animals were not subjected to unnecessary harm in the creation of the duvet. All of the down duvets we recommend here are RDS-certified.
Down duvet inserts
Parachute’s Down Duvet Insert is filled with 85 percent down and 15 percent down and feather fibers. It has a 750 fill power (the higher the number, the fluffier and more insulating the duvet or insert is). On the outside, the insert is covered with a sateen cotton shell, and Parachute says it’s reinforced with a double stitched piping seam.
In terms of warmth, you can buy the duvet insert in two options — Lightweight or All Season (the latter of which the brand says is designed for cold nights without being too heavy). Parachute offers its down duvet insert in three sizes — Twin/Twin XL, Full/Queen and King/Cal King. This duvet insert has an average 4.7-star rating across more than 500 reviews. Parachute also offers a down alternative duvet insert that’s stuffed with hypoallergenic microfiber fill, if you’d prefer something a little less expensive. Parachute’s Down Duvet Insert comes with a 10-year warranty.
The Legends Hotel Organic Cotton Down Duvet Insert from The Company Store is both RDS- and Oeko-Tex-certified, which means it’s been tested for harmful levels of toxic substances using laboratory tests performed by independent textile and leather testing institutes across the world. It’s filled with hypoallergenic down and it has a 600 to 650 fill power, meaning it’s a little heavier than the Parachute Down Duvet Insert. On the outside, the insert is covered with organic cotton and a cambric shell.
The Company Store’s Legends Hotel Organic Cotton Down Duvet Insert comes in several warmth options — Light, Medium, Extra and Ultra — and in four sizes: Twin, Full, Queen and King/Cal. King. It has an average 4.5-star rating across a handful of reviews. And if it should ever fall short of expectations, it comes with a Lifetime Guarantee — The Company Store says it will accept returns at any time and offer an exchange or merchandise credit in return.
Filled with down feathers and with a fill power of 650, the Tuft & Needle Down Duvet Insert’s Oeko-Tex-certified cambric cotton shell should feel breathable, the brand says. The Tuft & Needle duvet insert comes in two warmth options — Light and Medium — and three sizes: Twin/Twin XL, Full/Queen and King/Cal King. It has an average 4.7-star rating across 106 reviews. Tuft & Needle also carries a Down Alternative Duvet Insert with a polyester fill.
It’s important to note that the duvet insert is intentionally oversized to appear fluffy, the brand says, so be sure to check its dimensions before you buy it. The Tuft & Needle Down Duvet Insert comes with a 100-night trial, so you can return if it doesn’t end up working out for your bed, and it has a two-year warranty to cover defective materials or workmanship, the brand says.
Casper’s Humidity Fighting Duvet is filled with 750 fill power down and it has a 100 percent cotton shell. Casper says the duvet is constructed with sewn-in chambers to keep its down in place. It’s made with an added layer of merino wool to naturally wick away moisture and prevent you from sleeping too hot, Casper says.
For warmth, you can buy the Humidity Fighting Duvet in Mid Weight or Lightweight, and the duvet comes in Twin/Twin XL, Full/Queen and King/Cal. King sizes. This duvet has a 4.5-star rating across 113 reviews. Casper also offers a regular Down Duvet that comes with 600 fill power down, if you’re less concerned about how hot you sleep and want to save a little money. The Casper Humidity Fighting Duvet comes with a one-year warranty.
Down alternative duvet inserts
When searching for down alternative duvet inserts, we found very few that came with long warranties. (Some didn’t come with a warranty at all and we noted their return policies instead.) Though we prioritized those that did, others we highlighted for their popularity or great reviews. Down alternative duvet inserts are also machine-washable, making them easy to care for.
Parachute’s Down Alternative Duvet Insert is the best option that we’ve found in our research thanks to its reasonable price, multiple density options and five-year warranty (no other down alternative duvet insert we found offers this reassurance). It comes with 100 percent hypoallergenic microfiber fill and a 100 percent sateen cotton shell and a 4.7-star rating across more than 500 customer reviews. Like its down counterpart, you can buy the Parachute Down Alternative Duvet Insert in three sizes: Twin/Twin XL, Full/Queen and King/Cal. King.
The Company Store’s Company Essentials Down Alternative Duvet Insert has a synthetic fill that’s hypoallergenic and medium warm for year-round use, the brand says. (While its down counterpart comes with the four warmth options, the Down Alternative Duvet Insert only has one.) It has a cotton shell, too.
It comes in five size options: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen and King/Cal. King. It has an average of 4.8 stars across nearly 70 customer reviews. And though it doesn’t have the same Lifetime Guarantee that its down counterpart has, the Company Essentials Down Alternative Duvet Insert comes with a “Rest Easy Guarantee” that gives you three months to return it if it doesn’t meet your expectations.
Allswell’s Year Round Down Alt Duvet Insert is made with a 100 percent anti-allergen polyester fill and a 100 percent cotton cover, according to the brand. Because it’s dubbed a “year round down alt duvet insert,” it’s only available in one density. (We’ve recommended Allswell’s Down Alternative Pillow, too.)
The Allswell duvet insert is offered in three sizes: Twin/Twin XL, Full/Queen and King/Cal. King. It comes with a 4.2-star average rating across more than 70 reviews. The Allswell down alternative duvet insert comes with a 30-day return policy.
Like the Casper Humidity Fighting Duvet that we recommend above, West Elm’s Cooling Down Alternative Duvet Insert is especially good for hot sleepers, because, according to the brand, it has a polyester fill that’s meant to absorb and evaporate moisture. It also comes with a 100 percent cotton cover. It’s hypoallergenic and Oeko-Tex-certified, too.
Like other duvets in this guide, you can decide between two densities: All Season, which is lighter for sleeping cool throughout the year, and Extra Warm, which is warmer for cold climates. It comes in three sizes: Twin/Twin XL, Full/Queen and King/Cal. King. The West Elm Cooling Down Alternative Duvet Insert comes with a 30-day return policy.
What is a duvet?
Experts told us to think of a duvet as a type of top-layer bedding blanket usually used for heat and insulation. Many duvets are made with materials like cotton, bamboo and Tencel (a fabric that’s similar to rayon and made from wood pulp), which can give them cooling properties — these materials can be moisture-wicking and breathable, as we covered in our guide to cooling mattresses.
Your duvet’s filling — from wool and feathers to microfibers and other materials — determines whether it’s a down duvet or a down alternative duvet. (More on that below.)
Oftentimes you’ll see the words duvet and duvet insert used interchangeably. A duvet often refers to both the duvet insert and duvet cover together, but a duvet insert is only ever what goes inside a duvet cover. Though it’s sufficient just to use a duvet insert, a duvet cover can be a useful addition to help keep your duvet insert clean. Plus, duvet covers are often decorative and come in many different colors and prints.
Duvet versus comforter
Although “duvet” and “comforter” are sometimes used interchangeably, the two are technically different. While a duvet is usually sold separately from a duvet cover — which you can then pair with your duvet — a comforter already comes with a built-in cover. A comforter is usually “made from polyester fill with a quilted decorative cover that cannot be removed,” experts told us.
Down duvet versus down alternative duvet
A down duvet is made from the “undercoating or under feathers of duck or geese” and is known for its lightness and warmth, according to Anupama Pasricha, an associate professor of apparel and design at St. Catherine University in Minnesota. Down duvets are especially lightweight and breathable compared to down alternative duvets, too.
There are ethical concerns when it comes to the production of down, including the plucking and pulling of birds’ feathers and the conditions they’re kept in, Pasricha informed us. If you want to make sure the down duvet you buy is ethically sourced, Pasricha recommended looking for a responsible down certification, or Responsible Down Standard (RDS), a set of guidelines created by the Textile Exchange, a nonprofit organization focused on sustainability. A responsible down certification means that the down and feathers used came from animals that were not subjected to unnecessary harm, according to the organization.
A down alternative duvet uses fiberfill that is made from polyester or other synthetic stuffings, which you can also find in pillows and stuffed animals. Because the fill is made from a synthetic material, it can be good for anyone with allergies or those specifically allergic to down. These fibers are “made in different sizes and shapes to mimic down feathers,” explained Kiersten Muenchinger, an associate professor of product design with a focus on sustainability at the University of Oregon. Down alternative duvets are also machine-washable, which makes them easier to care for than traditional down duvets.
When it comes down to choosing between down and down alternatives, you might see that down alternative is sometimes more affordable — direct-to-consumer retailers like Parachute and Brooklinen offer alternative options for slightly lower prices than their down offerings.
You might also see down alternative duvets billed as more eco-friendly, but that’s not entirely true. “Low energy consumption in production and durability in use are the environmental strengths of down alternatives,” Muenchinger explained. “The durability from down alternative comes from not degrading as quickly as the animal product down does, both in our air and in a wash.” While the fiberfill in down alternative duvets makes them washable, microfibers can find their way into water streams — you should consider washing your duvet cover instead of the duvet itself, Pasricha suggested.
How to pick the right duvet for you
Picking the right duvet is ultimately a matter of personal preference, experts told us. Pasricha recommended thinking through what’s best for your lifestyle and preparing for longevity by taking good care of your duvet. For kids, a down alternative duvet that can be continually washed might be preferable. For adults, contemplate whether you want a duvet to be lightweight (which down is), according to Muenchinger.
If you go with a down duvet or insert, you should also consider fill power, or the number that measures the quality of the down product. Typically, the higher the fill power, the fluffier and more insulating it is, though the quantity of down also plays a role. Some down alternative duvets will advertise fill power, but according to Casper, down alternative fill is harder to quantify since it’s made up of various materials. We highlighted this number in each of our down duvet recommendations.
If you’re worried about eco-friendliness, certifications like the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) and Oeko-TEX, which Pasricha specifically mentioned, can be helpful markers for sustainable bedding, but they aren’t the only thing to consider.
“Certifications show that companies are committed to their products and their eco-initiatives enough to go through the time and the expense of going through certification processes,” Muenchinger said. “But I don't recommend any certification as a standard for your purchasing decision. Your experience, needs and your long-term use is the best foundation for an environmentally friendly duvet.” Because a duvet is an investment, thinking about how long it can last with you is a better way to ensure eco-friendliness than certifications, she told us.