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When the weather gets colder, it's time to put away your lightweight blankets and pull out the extra fluffy comforter. While down comforters get all the attention, down alternative comforters are nothing to look down on—in fact, today's down alternative comforters feel like the real thing, except they're made without animal products, are less irritating to those with allergies, and are typically much less expensive.
When looking for a down alternative comforter, it's important to consider the weight, construction, and materials used, especially if you're a hot sleeper. To make the search a little easier, we researched the comfiest, coziest options on the market today.
Here, the best down alternative comforters for every type of sleeper.
Best Overall: Brooklinen Down Alternative Comforter
Sizes: Twin/Twin XL, Full/Queen, King/Cal King | Material: Microfiber fill with cotton sateen shell | Weight: Lightweight, All-Season, Ultra-Warm | Care: Spot clean or dry clean only
You might be worried that down alternative comforters aren’t as fluffy as their feathery counterparts. That’s not at all the case with Brooklinen’s recently relaunched Down Alternative Comforter, though. If you’re the type who wants to be swaddled in a thick, snuggly cloud, this is the comforter for you.
It has a 100 percent cotton sateen shell that’s filled with either fibers made from recycled plastic bottles or shaved microfibers that mimic the fluff of down, depending on the weight. There are three weights to choose from: Lightweight, All-Season, and Ultra-Warm, so you're sure to find your ideal match whether you're a hot or cold sleeper. Like Brooklinen's down comforters, the down alternative option has a baffle box construction and corner loops for easy maintenance.
Best Budget: Amazon Basics Down Alternative Comforter
Sizes: Twin, Full/Queen, King | Material: Microfiber shell and fill | Weight: Light, All-Season, Warm | Care: Machine washable
Need a new comforter but not willing to shell out over $100 for one? Go with Amazon Basics’ Down Alternative Comforter. In addition to its very affordable price point, this comforter checks all the boxes: lightweight, warm, and machine-washable.
Just take note that it's made from 100 percent polyester (both the shell and the filling), so even the most lightweight version is likely to trap a bit of heat. Hot sleepers will probably be just fine with the Lightweight version all year long, while those who sleep cold should check out the All-Season and Warm versions.
Best Splurge: Four Seasons Down Alternative Duvet
Sizes: Twin, Full, Queen, King/Cal King | Material: Polyester fiber fill, calendared cotton shell | Weight: All Season | Care: Dry clean only
There’s nothing quite like staying at a five-star hotel, and now you can bring that luxury into your own home thanks to the Four Seasons' bedding line. The hotel's Down Alternative Duvet provides plenty of warmth, a solid amount of fluff, and a touch of total luxury, resulting in a hotel-like bedscape that you can recreate in your own bedroom.
This polyester-filled comforter has a 100 percent calendared cotton shell, which means it has been finished with high heat and pressure to create a glossy, satin-like sheen. It has baffle-box construction and double-stitched edges for durability, but take note that it is dry-clean only.
Best Organic: Coyuchi Climate Beneficial Wool Duvet Insert
Sizes: Twin, Full/Queen, King | Material: Wool batting fill, organic cotton shell | Weight: All season | Care: Machine washable
Looking for an alternative to down that's not polyester? Coyuchi’s Wool Duvet Insert is filled with a wool batting that's temperature-regulating and hypoallergenic, not to mention totally cozy. It's made from wool that's sourced from a California ranch, which utilizes carbon farming to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and a 100 percent organic cotton shell.
Wool is less lofty and more dense than down, so this insert will feel thinner yet heavier than a regular down comforter. Since wool is a natural insulator, both hot and cold sleepers can get comfortable. It's definitely more expensive than your typical down alternative comforter, but worth it for the quality materials.
Best All Season: Tuft & Needle Down Alternative Duvet Insert
Sizes: Twin/Twin XL, Full/Queen, King/Cal King | Material: Polyester fill, cotton shell | Weight: Light, Medium | Care: Machine washable
Fluffy but not overly cumbersome and cozy but not overly warm, the Tuft & Needle Down Alternative Duvet Insert has found the Goldilocks spot. Impressive, given that Tuft & Needle is primarily known for its mattresses.
This comforter features a breathable 100 percent cotton shell and a polyester fill that’s perfectly lofty—even the lightweight version demonstrates a solid fluff factor once it’s been given a little time to breathe after unboxing. But at the same time, the comforter is easy to manage, even when stuffing it inside a duvet cover. Unlike other comforters, this one comes in only Light and Medium weights, and either choice is smart for year-round use.
Best Heavy: Riley Down Alternative Comforter
Sizes: Twin/Twin XL, Full/Queen, King/Cal King | Material: Microfiber fill, cotton percale shell | Weight: All-Season, Extra Warm | Care: Machine washable
If you generally run cold or you want a winter-only down alternative comforter, Riley’s Extra Warm model is the option for you. It provides an impressive amount of warmth, but thanks to its 100 percent cotton percale shell, it’s still pretty breathable.
If the Extra Warm version is a little too warm for you, Riley also makes an All-Season variation, which still provides a cozy sensation with a little less bulk. Best of all, this down alternative duvet is machine washable—just be sure to tumble dry with dryer balls to prevent the filling from bunching.
Best Lightweight: Parachute Down Alternative Duvet Insert
Sizes: Twin/Twin XL, Full/Queen, King/Cal King | Material: Microfiber fill, cotton sateen shell | Weight: Lightweight, All Season | Care: Machine washable
If you're a hot sleeper or want a comforter you can comfortably use year-round, consider a lightweight option like Parachute's Lightweight Down Alternative Duvet Insert. Featuring a 100 percent cotton sateen shell and microfiber fill, this comforter feels as good as it looks. It comes in both Lightweight and All Season weights, but the lightweight version is particularly stellar if you're looking for something airy yet cozy. It comes with a five-year warranty and can be either dry-cleaned or machine-washed.
Best Cooling: Buffy Cloud Comforter
Sizes: Twin/Twin XL, Full/Queen, King/Cal King | Material: Recycled PET fill, eucalyptus fiber shell | Weight: All-Season | Care: Machine washable
If you're a hot sleeper, the Buffy Cloud is pretty much as close to a perfect comforter as it gets. While it’s completely light and airy, it has just enough heft to make you feel comfortable while you sleep. Should you want to go even lighter, there’s the Buffy Breeze, which is a 100 percent plant-based comforter.
The Buffy Cloud has a super silky shell made from cooling eucalyptus fibers, and a fill made from recycled plastic bottles. It doesn’t sound like it would work, but it absolutely does. And if you're unsure, you get a 7-night trial before you get charged, so you can test it out before you commit.
What Our Editors Say
"Just before winter, I treated myself to all new bedding—sheets, a duvet set, new pillows, and a new duvet insert. The Buffy Cloud Comforter is certainly an investment, but since we spend so much of our lives sleeping, I figured it was worth it and I wasn't wrong. It's super soft, not too warm (I'm a hot sleeper), and the filling stays in place. It really does make me feel like I'm sleeping in a cloud."—Kate McKenna, Email Editor
Best Colorful: The Company Store LaCrosse LoftAIRE Down Alternative Comforter
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King/Cal King | Material: Microfiber fill, cotton twill shell | Weight: Light, Medium, Extra | Care: Machine washable
If you don’t want to use a duvet cover over your comforter, a solid choice would be The Company Store's LaCrosse LoftAIRE Comforter, which comes in a whopping 17 different colors. Aside from classic options like white and gray, there are also bolder hues like chianti and forest green.
The machine-washable comforter is made from a cotton twill shell and filled with a proprietary blend of synthetics that does an excellent job of staying super fluffy, just like down. It comes in three weights to accommodate both hot and cold sleepers—or those who share a bed and need to compromise. If you do want to change up the comforter’s look with a duvet cover, there are loops on the corners to keep it in place.
Overall, we recommend the Brooklinen Down Alternative Comforter (view at Brooklinen), because it’s extraordinarily fluffy and down-like—and it comes in three weights to accommodate hot and cold sleepers. If you’d prefer a more affordable option, we recommend the Amazon Basics Down Alternative comforter (view at Amazon), which also comes in three weights but has a polyester construction that makes it much more affordable than other options.
What to Look for in a Down Alternative Comforter
Fill weight refers to how much the stuffing of a comforter weighs—simply put, the heavier the fill, the heavier (and warmer) the comforter. Most comforter manufacturers simplify fill weight into three categories: lightweight, all-season, and heavy. Lightweight and all-season options can be used year-round depending on how hot you sleep, while heavy comforters are typically best for just the winter months.
There are two areas to consider when it comes to materials: the shell and the stuffing. In down alternative comforters, both of those parts can be made from natural or synthetic materials.
“On average, a high-quality natural fiber is going to last longer, wash better, and allow for air flow," says interior designer Maiya Kathryn of Maiya Kathryn Design. "But natural fibers do have some drawbacks as they are prone to wrinkling. Synthetic fibers have benefits of being lower cost, wrinkle-resistant, and sometimes moisture-wicking, much like workout clothing.”
Generally speaking, natural materials like cotton are more breathable than synthetic ones like polyester, so hot sleepers should take care to go with something that has a cotton or eucalyptus shell. Be careful with the fill too—most down alternative comforters are made with a polyester or microfiber fill that could cause hot sleepers to sweat more. Ironically, a classic down comforter might be the better choice for hot sleepers, as they're typically more breathable.
When you're shopping for a comforter, be sure to choose one that has a baffle-box construction—aka, individual "boxes" sewn in to keep the fill from spreading. This will keep your comforter lofty, and prevent any clumping. Another good feature to look for: double-stitched piping, which will ensure your comforter is durable and won't fall apart after a year or two.
What's the difference between down and down alternative?
Down is sourced from the ultra-soft undercoat of ducks and geese, while down alternative comforters are filled with synthetic materials that mimic down, usually polyester.
“A down-filled comforter is more expensive than a synthetic fiber option—depending on the level of down it can be two to three times the cost,” says Morse. Just take note that polyester retains heat while down is more insulating, so hot sleepers might sweat more under a down alternative comforter.
Are down alternative comforters hypoallergenic?
Down alternative comforters are much less likely to cause allergies than their down counterparts. “If you are someone with an allergy to traditional down comforters, a synthetic option might be your saving grace,” says Andi Morse, founder and principal designer of Morse Design. “It'll still deliver the look and feel of a down comforter but without the cost, sneezing, or sniffling that can go along with it.”
Interestingly, it’s not usually the down itself hat people are allergic to, though feather allergies are known to exist. Down traps dust particles and other detritus, which can trigger allergies. If you have allergies, be sure to wash your duvet cover once a week, and your comforter a few times a year.
How do you wash a down alternative comforter?
Pay attention to the laundry symbols on the tag of your down alternative comforter! Unlike down comforters, most down alternative comforters are machine-washable, while some are dry-clean only. If yours is in the latter camp, consider using a machine-washable duvet cover to protect your comforter and give you more time between washes.
How long will a down alternative comforter last?
Down alternative comforters typically don’t last as long as down comforters, but with proper care, they can still last years. Opt for natural materials like cotton for extra durability, and look for something that has double-stitched piping. No matter what, be sure to treat your comforter gently and limit washing to extend its lifespan.
Why Trust My Domaine?
For this roundup, Stefanie Waldek considered dozens of down alternative comforters, researching each model for fill, weight, material, and washability. Additionally, she consulted experts, investigated hundreds of customer reviews, and incorporated reports from MyDomaine product testers. The down alternative comforters featured here were selected for various traits, accommodating the different sleep preferences of users.
Kawada, Toshikatsu et al. “An Integrative Evaluation Method for the Biological Safety of Down and Feather Materials.” International journal of molecular sciences vol. 20,6 1434. 21 Mar. 2019, doi:10.3390/ijms20061434