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All right, we’re here to settle this once and for all—what is the difference between comforters and duvets? A comforter is a dual-layer blanket stuffed with an insulating material that’s meant to be a standalone piece of bedding (though it’s often styled with a top sheet). A duvet is also a dual-layer blanket stuffed with an insulating material, but it’s designed to be paired with a duvet cover, and it doesn’t necessarily require a top sheet. Why the difference? Comforters are often machine washable while duvets are not, but their covers are. To make things even more confusing, many people—including some brands—use the terms interchangeably. Alas.
But back to the bedding itself—both types are oftentimes filled with down, which is super warm but it isn’t great if you have a down allergy or if you’re vegan. So we’re here to recommend the best down-alternative comforters and duvets.
Here, shop our favorite down-alternative comforters which are made with cotton, eucalyptus, and recycled water bottles!
Brooklinen Down Alternative Comforter
Many people aren’t thrilled with down-alternative comforters simply because they aren’t nearly as fluffy as their feathery counterparts. That’s not at all the case with Brooklinen’s recently relaunched Down Alternative Comforter, though—especially in their ultra-warm weight. If you’re the type who wants to be swaddled in a thick, snuggly cloud, this is the comforter for you.
The comforter has a 100 percent cotton sateen shell—it’s extra soft and smooth—that’s filled with shaved microfibers that mimic the fluff of down. If you’d prefer a downy but lighter option, the bedding also comes in all-season and ultralight.
The Buffy Cloud
While many direct-to-consumer bedding companies focused on sheets as they sprang out of the gate, Buffy turned its full attention to comforters. And boy, did it do it right. 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 it feel like there’s something on top of you at night. Should you want to go even lighter, there’s the Buffy Breeze, which is the first 100-percent plant-based comforter.
The Buffy Cloud has a super-silky shell made from eucalyptus (which requires 10 times less water to grow than cotton) and a fill made from recycled plastic bottles. It doesn’t sound like it would work, but it absolutely does. If there’s any downside to the Buffy Cloud, it’s that it’s dry-clean only, so you might want to invest in a duvet cover.
What 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
Tuft & Needle Down Alternative Duvet Insert
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!
The comforter features a breathable 100 percent Cambrill cotton shell and a polyester fill that’s extraordinarily 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. Though you don’t have to use a cover if you don’t want to—the insert is machine washable.
Sheets & Giggles Eucalyptus Comforter
Sheets & Giggles is all about that eucalyptus life. If you haven’t tried eco-friendly eucalyptus linens yet, you’ll probably be surprised at just how satiny they can be—they even have the same sheen. That also applies to Sheets & Giggles’ Eucalyptus Comforter, which has a 100 percent eucalyptus shell and a fill made from 50 percent eucalyptus and 50 percent poly-fiber made from recycled plastic bottles.
The comforter is so light that it almost feels like you’re sleeping beneath nothing—except for the fact that it still keeps you warm at night. While the comforter can be machine washed, Sheets & Giggles does suggest dry-cleaning, so it might make the most sense to opt for a duvet cover.
Coyuchi Organic Cotton Comforter
Not a huge fan of fluff? Coyuchi’s Organic Cotton Comforter is actually much more akin to a quilt than it is a down-filled comforter or duvet, making it perfect for those who prefer thin, lightweight bedding. It’s definitely prime for summertime use; otherwise, you might need to layer up some blankets for extra warmth.
The comforter is made from 100 percent organic cotton all the way through—no synthetics anywhere—which means it’s more breathable than any other option on this list. It’s also machine washable. Take your pick from a bevy of cool, earth-inspired hues.
The Company Store LaCrosse LoftAIRE Down Alternative Comforter
If you don’t want to use a duvet cover over your comforter, a solid choice would be The Company Store's LaCrosse LoftAIRE which comes in a whopping 22 different colors.
The machine-washable bedding 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.
Brookside Home Designs Down Alternative Chambray Comforter
It’s not often you’ll find a comforter with a pattern, but Brookside Home Designs’ Down Alternative Chambray Comforter has chic, nautical-inspired stripes on one side and a solid color on the other. The bedding is perfect for those who want to change up their decor regularly without having to deal with a duvet cover swap!
The machine-washable comforter is made from microfiber (both the cover and the filling), meaning it’s incredibly soft and velvety, though some might find that it traps the heat a little too well for their taste. In fact, the beachiness of the comforter might even be a little misleading—it’s definitely fluffy enough and warm enough to use through all four seasons.
Four Seasons Down Alternative Duvet
There’s nothing quite like staying in a hotel bed, but these days, you can attempt to bring that sensation into your own home. Many hotel chains are now selling their bedding lines—and sometimes even the beds themselves! The Four Season Down Alternative Duvet provides plenty of warmth, a solid amount of fluff, and a touch of utter luxury.
The comforter is made from 100 percent calendered cotton (calendaring is a process that smooths the textile with heat and pressure) and filled with polyester. And there’s no need to worry about any obtuse branding: The hotel chain’s logo can only be found on the labels.
AmazonBasics Down Alternative Comforter
Can’t wait to order a new comforter? Go with AmazonBasics’ Down Alternative Comforter and put that Prime membership to good use. Even at its very affordable price point, the bedding checks all the boxes: it’s lightweight, warm, and machine washable (although, pro tip: don’t overwash it because the stuffing might shift).
The comforter is 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. But because of that, the lightweight comforter actually works well all year long. If you do want to pack on the weight, there are all-season and warm versions, too.
Linenspa PinchPleat Microfiber Comforter
If pattern is a rarity in down-alternative comforters, pleating is a unicorn. But Linenspa has a PinchPleat Microfiber Comforter that has a lovely feminine textural touch. The machine-washable product isn’t designed to be used with a duvet cover but to be used alone—you wouldn’t want to cover up the pleats anyway!
Offered in white, gray, and navy hues, the bedding is made from ultra-velvety microfiber inside and out, as its name implies, and is extra fluffy and warm. Though it’s marketed as an all-season blanket, we think it’s best for cold weather or strong AC, as the synthetic fibers hold heat in well.