All products featured on GQ are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Finding the best down comforters—or duvets, which it turns out are a slightly different thing—took some work. We’ve curled-up in, napped under, and flopped onto an absurd selection of the most well-reviewed ones that we could find. All in service of discovering the comforter or duvet that’ll keep you just the right kind of cozy.
Once you’ve upgraded your mattress and sheets, a down comforter or duvet or duvet insert is the next essential piece of bedding on the list. Whether temperatures are dipping below freezing, or spiking so high you think your bed might need its own air conditioner, you want the most breathable, all-around best comforter that money can buy. Why should any night’s sleep take place in anything less than the luxury of a fluffy cumulus cloud?
But before we get there, first, we need to answer an important question:
It’s understandable why you’d get them confused, since they’re both thick, fluffy blankets. A duvet insert—which is what we’re referring to when we’re talking ‘bout a “duvet”—is intended to be used with a separate duvet cover, which you can wash separately and swap. A comforter is basically a duvet insert with the cover sewn on. That makes cleaning it a bit harder. And in different colors, prints, or patterns without having to replace the whole thing.
The best comforters and duvets should:
- Feel soft
- Provide a whole lotta warmth
- Breathe enough to keep you from sweating
- Be machine washable
- Have a satisfying fluffiness (described as “loft”, and often a function of “fill weight” or “fill power”—we’ll explain in a moment)
Oh, and in the case of duvet inserts, they ideally have those loops at the corners that let you snap them into the cover. So handy!
But those are the basics. The best comforter is specific to you. You have to look deep inside yourself to triangulate your ideal fluffiness-breathability-warmth ratio. Are you a hot sleeper? Allergic to down feathers or synthetics? How much are you willing to spend?
There are two key metrics that tend to determine price for a comforter or duvet: fill power and thread count. Fill power is a measurement of the quality of the down—or down-like stuff—inside. The number represents how high the down will loft. Basically, a fluffiness factor. Higher fill power generally means a warmer, puffier, lighter, and longer-lasting down comforter or duvet.
Thread count measures how tightly woven the cotton shell is. A higher thread count generally means more heat—but less breathability. High fill power plus high thread count equals a tundra-strength comforter or duvet.
In order to focus the scope of this mission, we first judged a mountain of queen-size comforters based on hand-feel: basically, upon first touch, how luxe does the shell material and puffiness feel without any kind of cover? Then, after narrowing down some initial contenders we spent several nights sleeping with each finalist. (Note: duvets were tested alongside a 310 thread count sateen duvet cover; duvet covers typically range from 300-400.) Later, we brought in a bunch more new comforters and sent them out to members of our staff to reevaluate our options.
Be warned, prices on duvets and comforters can get pretty steep. A lot of the best duvets we tested, particularly the ones made with real down, cost more than $300. And you do get what you pay for here: those options often proved to be the ones our testers were the most enthusiastic about. But we did find one option that was around $200 that we are enthusiastic enough about to recommend as a new favorite. On a fundamental level, though, the most important thing about a comforter isn’t price. It’s how badly do you not want to leave your fluffy feather nest when that alarm goes off in the morning? Every type of sleeper is different, but we all just want to feel swaddled. Sheets and pillows and mattresses define the slumber experience on a basic level, but none can match the bliss of diving into a truly luxurious duvet. Below, you’ll find our favorite comforters and duvets.
The Best Down Comforter for Hot Sleepers
If you’re a hot sleeper or you live in an apartment where you don’t have any control over the heat, then you’re probably looking for maximum plushness and minimal heat retention. This is a tricky balance to strike, but Snowe’s down comforter has nailed it. It has solid loft without too much poofiness, and a good weight that swaddles your frame nicely without making you feel like the Michelin man. Plus, it’s box stitch construction ensures that the fill stays spread evenly throughout the comforter—no weird hot spots. You won’t wake up sweating or having kicked the covers off the bed once.
Best Down Alternative Comforter
Not all alternative fill comforters are created equal. Some have synthetic filling that runs way too hot. Some are weirdly crinkly and loud. The shaved microfiber polyfill of Brooklinen’s down alternative mimics nearly all of the comforts of feathers, including that luxurious hand-feel. The weight-heat-loft ratio is also sublime. At 700 fill power it’s a lovely happy medium for a year-round duvet. Plus, its duvet covers come in a lot of the same interesting patterns as its bed sheets. While the Buffy alternative down comforter and its recycled plastic fill gets spotlighted often (our thoughts on that farther down), the Brooklinen was the one we wanted to sleep under.
The Best Plush-as-Hell Comforter
The Riley goose down comforter in the extra warmth density has an impressive 750 fill power. But what really sets it apart is its loft. This is a thick duvet. So thick in fact that one of our testers compared it to a memory foam mattress. That thickness gives this duvet a weight we generally only see on models that are $50 to $100 more expensive. Sleeping underneath it feels like you’re receiving a gentle hug all night long. If you or your partner tend to sleep cold, the extra warmth comforters from Riley are perfect options. (If you want something a little thinner, but that still has the feel of a premium comforter, we also like Riley’s all-season down comforter.)
P.S. Riley’s chunky knit throw is the star of our Winter 2020 Best Stuff Box. Grab this $79 blanket—plus a suite of GQ-loved grooming goods—for $50 when you sign up now.
The Best Budget Comforter
If you want a fluffy comforter on your bed, our two primary picks above are the way to go. They’re both worthwhile investments. But sometimes, an investment doesn’t make any sense. Like, say, if you’re a college student who just needs something to hold them over during those twin bed days. If that’s the case, don’t just buy the first thing you see on Amazon. Get the Slumbercloud Cumulus Comforter. The comforter is thinner than the ones we like from Snowe and Riley, but it’s still a bit thicker than your average blanket. It has more than enough down to keep you warm, but you might want to add some fuzzy pajamas to the mix if you’re a particularly cold sleeper.
The Best Truly Cheap Comforter
The universe of comforters under $100 is filled with a ton of junk. You’ll see a lot of very flat pieces of fabric with very little fill. The down alternative comforter from Italic is not such a comforter. Like the comforters from Buffy, the Italic comforter employs a fill constructed from recycled water bottles and has a Eucalyptus shell. In fact, Italic says its comforters are made by the same manufacturers that are responsible for the ones from Buffy. By comparison, we found that the Italic felt a lot nicer to the touch and a lot more densely packed. That means it’s a little bit less breathable than some of the more premium options on the list, but if you tend to sleep cold that might be exactly what you need. At the very least, it’s an incredible option to grab for your guest room.
The Best (And Only) Wool Comforter
This Coyuchi duvet insert is unique among all the ones we’ve tested. Instead of goose down clusters, duck down, or some sort of hypoallergenic alternative, the comforter is filled with wool. Wool! While this might seem like the makings of a “winter-only” comforter, wool turns out to be a surprisingly breathable fabric. The comforter is warm, but pleasantly light, and doesn’t really cling to the body like some heavier inserts. Those prone to overheating will appreciate this. Among the several comforters and duvet inserts Coyuchi makes, this is our clear favorite. It also happens to be slightly cheaper than the company’s other duvet. It’s a great option for anyone looking for a reasonable price point and eco-friendly sourcing.
The Best Weighted Comforter
Sure, any comforter will immediately upgrade the coziness factor of your sleeping arrangements. But if you truly want to max them out, you should get a weighted comforter. A weighted comforter is exactly what it sounds like, a duvet insert with a heavy fill material in lieu of more typical lightweight down fill. The result is something that isn’t at all cloudlike—it feels more like your favorite person in the world giving you a gentle hug. This Brooklinen one comes in a bunch of different fill weights and sizes (up to California King), and checks all the right boxes. Despite being much heavier than most other down-alternative quilted comforters, our testers never overheated or sweated through their sheets while sleeping underneath it. It is kind of an advanced bedding move, so maybe try a cheaper weighted throw blanket first before really dropping the dough on this one.
The Feathered Friends comforter in the medium weight has a luxurious hand feel. One of our testers described it as “extremely fluffy, like a gigantic pillow.” (His pup likes it too.) We think the Riley comforter offers a slightly higher value, but if you’re looking for something with a bit more squish, this is a great alternative.
West Elm’s new line of comforters includes four different options, which each offer a different combination of warmth and loft. This down alternative version is great for hot sleepers—it’s packed with just enough specially-treated moisture-wicking temperature-regulating fill to be cozy, but not suffocating. And thanks to its baffle box construction, that fill stays spread evenly throughout the entire lightweight comforter. The best cooling comforter is still likely one from Snowe, but this one is an excellent alternative.
…and this West Elm duvet includes a unique fill made from a combination of down and a soft Tencel fabric, which gets inserted into an organic cotton sateen shell. The result is a fluffy yet breathable comforter with a buttery smooth exterior. Even if you don’t want to use a duvet cover, you’ll get excellent sleep under this one.
The L.L. Bean permabaffle box down comforter is another alternative for extremely cold sleepers. Our testers found its weight pleasant to sleep under, but you can get something with a higher fill power and similar weight for less money. It also comes in a couple of color options.
With a slightly lower fill power of 650, but a high 400 thread count, the tightly packed down of this Crane & Canopy comforter maxes out on warmth and weight. A good option if you don’t want to use a duvet cover or top sheet.
Snowe’s conventional down comforter is a relatively lofty cloud comforter. Its down alternative offers the same level of high-end durability as our top pick, but without nearly as much loft. It’s got an ultra-soft cotton shell and a microfiber fill, but not so much that you’ll feel smothered. The result is a super breathable comforter for hot sleepers who struggle to find that Goldilocks body temperature at night.
Like the Riley extra warmth duvet, Parachute’s all-season duvet clocks in at 750 fill power, a plushy pouf! We prefer sleeping under the thicker Riley, but if you want something lighter, the Parachute is the way to go.
It’s hard to find an affordable comforter that pull-out couch guests will be legitimately grateful for, but this is it.
For those slightly-less-welcome guests (like your significant other’s random cousin who somehow visits four times a year), don’t empty your wallet. BONUS: perfect for fort-making when working from home on snow days!
Coyuchi’s more-conventional three-season duvet insert is a decent duvet with a 600-fill power rating. It feels a lot lighter (cloudlike, even) than other duvets of the same fill ratings, which makes it a great option for someone who tends to sleep hot. Plus, we appreciate how transparent Coyuchi is its sourcing, and that its down comes from a duck farm in Indiana. But we found that the comforter wasn’t as smooth and soft as other ones we’ve tried. When we moved around underneath it, it made a lot of audible crinkly noises, like it was made with crumpled paper. This is usually only the case with duvets made with down alternative options. Still, once we had settled for the night, we did appreciate the box stitched comforters evenly distributed warmth.
Boasting slightly oversized dimensions to keep the shape inside your duvet cover, this is a solid option for hot sleepers who still want something on the fluffier side.
We appreciate that the Buffy comforter is made with a special fill from recycled bottles, but found it to have a scratchy hand feel. It is super breathable though, which might make it good for people in warmer climates.
The Linenspa all-season comforter is another inexpensive comforter worthy of consideration. It feels a lot cheaper than the high-quality ones from Snowe and Riley we recommend immediately out of the box. But it does offer an impressive amount of loft for the price.