You Won’t Miss Any of the Feathers With the Best Down-Alternative Comforters
And they’re less costly than their traditional counterparts.
Updated Jun 30, 2022 11:50 PM
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Comforters are at the center of all bedding, and owning a high-quality, cozy one really goes the distance when transforming your sleeping situation to match that of a luxurious hotel bed. You’re probably familiar with (or have slept under) duck or goose down, but we’re talking about its more allergen-repellent cousin, the best down-alternative comforters. For Malorie Goldberg, interior designer at Noa Blake Design, it’s their unique mix of fibers that makes them a catch. “It’s so important to consider reputable brands that have developed and perfected a fiber blend, which usually involves cotton and some form of a synthetic material to make down-alternative comforters. Many, if not all, are pretty hypoallergenic,” she explains. And if you’re like us, we’ll take any possible chance at fewer dust mites and pollen getting trapped in our bedding.
For a bedding addition that is animal-friendly (no feathers found here), down-alternative comforters check that box and tend to be less costly than their traditional counterparts. From our favorite all-season to the softest sateen with a baffle-box construction, consider swapping out your current comforter for one of the eight picks, below.
- Best Cooling: Brooklinen Down Alternative Comforter
- Best All Season: Parachute Lightweight Down Alternative Duvet Insert
- Best Stitching: Serena & Lily Primaloft Duvet Insert
- Best Weight Options: Boll & Branch Down Alternative Duvet Insert
- Best for Colder Months: Coyuchi Climate Beneficial Wool Duvet Insert
- Best Plush: Snowe Down Alternative Comforter
- Best Coverless: Hill House Home The Cloud Duvet Insert
- Best Budget: Amazon COHOME Down Alternative Comforter
Best Cooling: Brooklinen Down Alternative Comforter
Fill material: 100% hypoallergenic recycled PET microfiber | Weight: Lightweight, all season, ultra-warm | Sizes: Twin/twin XL, full/queen, king/California king | Care instructions: Spot-clean or dry- clean if needed
What we like:
- Comes in 3 varied weight options
- Corner loops to attach the duvet cover
- Made from repurposed plastic bottles
- Can’t be placed in washer
- Can’t be bleached or ironed
Why we chose it: Not all down-alternative comforters are meant to be superwarm—this one comes in a lightweight option that’s great for staying cool overnight.
While many down alternative comforters offer a lightweight option, this one feels truly airy with its 100% cotton sateen shell, baffle-box construction (a type of stitching that allows for a more consistent temperature all over), and plushness that feels good but doesn’t overpower to the point that you’re kicking off your bedding in the middle of the night. Anastasia Casey, founder and CEO of IDCO Studio and cofounder of Design Camp, has had this pick for some time and it’s a true favorite. She loves that the fill is made from recycled PET bottles but still “retains all its coziness.”
Best All Season: Parachute Lightweight Down Alternative Duvet Insert
Fill material: 100% hypoallergenic microfiber fill | Weight: Lightweight, all season | Sizes: Twin/twin XL, full/queen, king/California king | Care instructions: Dry-clean or machine-wash cool
What we like:
- Finished with durable double- stitched piping seams
- Comes with a 5-year warranty
- Can be dry-cleaned or machine-washed
- Requires mild liquid laundry detergent
Why we chose it: If you’d rather buy just one down-alternative comforter that works from winter to summer.
Parachute is a tried-and-true bedding brand, so it should come as no surprise that it excels when it comes to its down-alternative duvet insert, available in lightweight and all seasons. Thanks to its sateen shell, your body will breathe better all while the baffle-box construction keeps everything evenly distributed. (Translation: It won’t be warm in some spots and cool in others.) Our tester preferred the all-season fill over the lightweight fill, but that’s only because winters get very cold where they live.
Best Stitching: Serena & Lily Primaloft Duvet Insert
Fill material: 100% PrimaLoft fiberfill | Weight: Light, medium, heavy | Sizes: Twin, full/queen, king/California king | Care instructions: Machine-wash cold on gentle cycle
What we like:
- The brand’s 60-day risk-free trial
- Oeko-Tex certified, aka doesn’t have any harmful chemicals
- Requires mild detergent and dryer balls
Why we chose it: Baffle-box construction is already a major bonus, but baffle-box construction and piping? Sign us up.
When shopping for a down-alternative comforter, it’s highly recommended to purchase one that features baffle-box construction, also known as those stitched square shapes you see on comforters. As Casey points out, it ensures even distribution and avoids awkward bunching in any one spot, plus it maintains a level temperature throughout. As a cherry on top, this comforter has sewn piping along the sides in a soft gray to define its style.
Best weight options: Boll & Branch Down Alternative Duvet Insert
Fill material: PrimaLoft | Weight: Lightweight, midweight, ultra-weight | Sizes: Full/queen, king/California ing | Care instructions: Machine-wash cold
What we like:
- 100% organic cotton shell
- Can secure with corner loops
- 30-night trial
- Does not come in a twin size
Why we chose it: While most down-alternative comforters come in two weight options, this one has three, perfect for those sleepers who like it not too cool and not too warm.
To some, a lightweight down-alternative comforter just doesn’t provide enough warmth, while sleeping under an ultra-weight comforter is usually a fit for chilly sleepers or very cold climates. Split the difference with this down-alternative duvet insert that offers a handy midweight option.
Best for Colder Months: Coyuchi Climate Beneficial Wool Duvet Insert
Fill material: 100% Climate Beneficial wool | Weight: Heavy | Sizes: Twin, full/queen, king | Care instructions: Machine-wash cold
What we like:
- Comes in a reusable, organic cloth bag
- Sewn-on tufts keep the wool in place
- Dust mite–proof, ideal for those who are sensitive to allergens
- May be too warm for some
- Pricier for a down-alternative comforter
- No corner loops
Why we chose it: If you’re always the coldest in the room.
Brimming with 100% wool sourced in California, Coyuchi’s version of a down-alternative comforter is unlike the others on this list. If you don’t like your comforter to feel like a weighted blanket, this one won’t feel as heavy as synthetic-fill alternatives, as it takes way less material to keep you warm (wool is impressive like that).
Best Plushness: Snowe Down Alternative Comforter
Fill material: 100% Microfiber | Weight: Lightweight, all season | Sizes: Full/queen, king | Care instructions: Machine-wash cold
What we like:
- Oeko-Tex certified
- 330-thread-count cotton sateen cover
- Must be washed separately
Why we chose it: For bedding that feels like a fluffed-up cloud.
The all season of this 100% allergen-free microfiber comforter feels especially sumptuous and packs 40% more fill weight than its lightweight version, but our tester, deputy commerce editor Samantha Weiss-Hills, is all about the latter. “I sleep warm (very warm), so when I wanted to try a new comforter, I gravitated toward Snowe’s lightweight version. As a fan of its percale sheets, I knew I’d love its other bedding. The quilted shell, which keeps the fill in place, is made with the softest sateen that makes me not want to put on my duvet cover—it’s that comfortable.”
Best Without a Cover: Hill House Home The Cloud Duvet Insert
Fill material: Hypoallergenic Comforel fiber | Weight: Light | Sizes: Twin, full/queen, king | Care instructions: Machine-wash cold
What we like:
- Corner loops to secure
- Filled with Comforel fiber, an antimicrobial synthetic fiber
- A bit expensive for a down-alternative comforter
- Machine washable
Why we chose it: So soft against the skin you’ll forget all about a cover.
Beautifully presented in a oh-so-smooth cotton sateen in a perfect shade of white (and hypoallergenic fiber, of course), this looks like laid-back luxury. We get it if you’re tempted to sleep without anything on top, but the inserts are a match for all Hill House Home duvet covers. And those corner loops will keep it from ever shifting around.
Best Budget: Amazon COHOME Down Alternative Comforter
Fill material: Premium whole-piece polyfill filling | Weight: All season | Sizes: Twin/twin XL, queen, oversize queen, full, king, California king | Care instructions: Machine-wash cold
What we like:
- Budget-friendly price tag
- All-season weight
- Corner loops
- Requires gentle cycle
Why we chose it: Not all down-alternative comforters need to be expensive, and this one is proof.
Looking to upgrade your bedding at a price point that won’t break the bank? Priced under $50 for a king, this one has everything you’d need to make your bed the place to be each night: baffle-box construction, all-season weight, and corner loops.
Also on Our Radar
- We’re liking Buffy’s Cloud Comforter rendered in eucalyptus fabric, which is crazy-soft. The recycled fill is earth-friendly, and it’s machine washable, to boot.
How We Chose These Products
There are thousands of down-alternative comforters out in the world, but we sifted through them all to narrow down tip-top construction, warmest or most breathable fill, and eco-friendly aspects. Several designers weighed in on their personal favorites, and Weiss-Hills tested the Snowe comforter herself.
Our Shopping Checklist
The shells of down-alternative comforters tend to only fall into a couple fabric categories. More often than not, they’re made of 100% cotton, or for extra-smooth softness, 100% cotton sateen. This will make the comforter feel more breathable and not heavy.
When it comes to down-alternative comforters, the fiber fill inside can run the gamut. It’s almost always a synthetic material (except for wool, in some cases), which is why it’s important to look for a fill that’s organic and eco-friendly—who wants to sleep in a comforter that’s brimming with synthetic chemicals? Anne Sage, interior designer and content creator, has generally been partial to PrimaLoft, a premium synthetic microfiber that was originally developed for the U.S. Army back in the 1980s.
“Until recently, I’ve always thought of PrimaLoft as the gold standard for down-alternative comforters—it was developed and patented specifically to mimic most closely the attributes of down, while also being hypoallergenic,” she says. “But I’m intrigued by a lot of the new alternatives that have recently entered the market, such as microfibers made from recycled PET bottles, eucalyptus, bamboo, and alpaca. Each has its own unique benefits, and it really does seem like there’s something for everyone when it comes to down alternatives these days.”
A down-alternative comforter’s warmth is measured by its height or thickness, otherwise known as loft height. This loft height can come in lightweight, medium-weight, and heavyweight thicknesses, and it’s up to how fluffy and warm you want to sleep at night. “The fill of your down-alternative comforter really comes down to personal preference and the climate where you live,” Casey says. “I like to use a light fill during the hot summer months here in Austin and swap it out for an all-season down alternative in the relatively mild winters.” Goldberg says that some of her clients prefer a very flat comforter, while others want something that looks and feels substantial. “We tend to look for a loft level of 500 to 700, which ensures the quality and functionality is high but allows some room in the look,” she says. “If you’re purchasing one for a beach house or something that will live in warmer weather, you’ll want to be on the lower end of loft levels, or the opposite if you want something ultra-warm and cozy.”
While you can skip a duvet cover entirely if you prefer (maybe you love the look of an all-white bed), a down-alternative comforter will last longer and be better protected if you have a duvet cover. Look for a comforter with corner loops that will attach to the corners inside a duvet cover—that way it won’t slip around. Duvet covers can come with buttons or a zipper on the side, and it’s up to your preference which type of opening you choose.
You don’t want to end up with a comforter that doesn’t match your personal preferences. For comfort, Sage says that you should ask yourself: Do I tend to run hot or cold? Do I like the feeling of weight on me when I’m sleeping? That will help you narrow down your choices between lightweight, all-season, and heavy down-alternative comforters. And if you’re looking for a comforter that’s incredibly versatile (meaning it won’t be too warm or too cool), aim for an all-season variety or a mid-weight version. That way, it will take you through the whole year.
Care and Maintenance
While most down-alternative comforters can be placed right in the washer, it’s important to check the care labels before doing so. When it comes to washing, most need a little extra care, as they require mild detergent and a gentle cycle. Tumble dry on low, preferably with dryer balls to keep the fill even-looking. Just be sure to check the care tag or product description for any further instructions. Some down-alternative comforters need to be spot-treated or should be dry-cleaned, so align on that with your lifestyle before purchasing.
Q: I sleep hot. Is there a down-alternative fill that’s known for being cooling?
In general, synthetic fibers aren’t as warming as traditional down, so a down-alternative comforter is already a cooler choice. Eucalyptus is a material that can be quite cooling. Or look for something called HydroCool polyester, which is featured in West Elm’s down-alternative comforter. A cotton shell will continue the feeling of coolness as well.
Q: Is it better to get a quilted down comforter?
Absolutely. A baffle-box, or quilted square, construction will allow the temperature to even out, meaning you won’t feel those cool and warm spots.
Q: Any tips on how to mix and match a comforter with a different duvet cover?
Sage says, “When styling a room for photos, my favorite way to arrange a comforter is to place it in a pretty duvet cover, then fold it in thirds at the bottom of the bed. This way, I get to show off a textured coverlet on the bed beneath the comforter, and I also like how the fluffy folded comforter balances the mass of pillows at the head of the bed. But in my personal life, I prefer to leave my comforter out of a cover altogether and layer a quilt on top of it. Making the bed is quick and easy this way, and I can always push the top quilt off while I’m sleeping if I need less warmth and just want the comforter.”
Anna Franklin, founder of Stone House Collective, urges people to choose a duvet based on the look they want to achieve. “Linen is more relaxed, while cotton can appear crisp and clean,” she observes.
The Last Word
When it comes down to it, buying a down-alternative comforter is almost totally based on personal preference, but it is the perfect blend of hypoallergenic materials to help leave those allergies behind.