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Everyone needs a bed cover, but the specific type and material are a personal choice. Whether you're interested in vegan-friendly bedding, have a feather allergy, or are looking for a reasonably priced substitute for authentic down, a down-alternative duvet is an excellent choice.
We compiled duvets that fared well with our home testers and researched standout designs for various sleep styles. Our top pick is the Buffy Cloud Comforter, a reasonably priced option that's perfectly lightweight yet cozy.
Scroll down for the best down-alternative comforters currently on the market.
Best Overall: Buffy Cloud Down Alternative Comforter
Lightweight yet cozy
Our number one pick is the Buffy Cloud Comforter. It earned a 4.8 out of 5 overall score from our at-home tester, who liked the soft, breathable shell and lightweight yet cozy fill. This vegan duvet scored 4s for fabric quality and durability, as it held up well in the wash, and 5s for softness and overall value.
Though the fill is a synthetic substance (polyester), it's sourced from recycled materials. And since the lyocell shell comes from the pulp of renewable eucalyptus trees, it's an all-around sustainable product.⁴ Breathable and not too hot but still plenty warm, this down-alternative comforter is ideal for year-round use.
We also like that it's machine-washable, but bear in mind hang-drying is recommended. One other thing to note is that the sizes aren't exact, which can make your duvet cover look a little baggy.
Best Budget: Utopia Bedding Quilted Comforter
Several colors available
Not very lofty
The Quilted Comforter from Utopia Bedding earned a 4 out of 5 score from our home tester. She appreciated its breathability, cozy warmth, machine-washable design, handy corner loops, and supremely affordable price tag. This insert comes in six exact sizes, so you won't have to worry about excess fabric hanging off from your duvet cover.
In addition to white, it comes in eight different colors. So if you're not a fan of duvet covers, you can go without it and just rock one of these chic hues. This isn't the loftiest comforter on the market, but it's an excellent lightweight option for folks on a budget. Another thing to note is that the shell is microfiber (polyester), which isn't great at wicking away sweat.
Best Splurge: Cozy Earth Bamboo Comforter
Two weights available
If you're open to splurging on a truly amazing bed cover, Cozy Earth won't let you down. This entire comforter, including both the shell and fill, is made of bamboo-sourced viscose. The material is not only a sustainable, renewable resource, but it's also inherently breathable and exceptionally soft.
What's more, bamboo has natural temperature-regulating and moisture-wicking abilities. This makes it perfect for people who run hot or experience night sweats, though it's also plenty warm and cozy. And if you prefer a little more loft, upgrade to the "extra" fill level.
Best for Hot Sleepers: Pottery Barn Hydrocool Down-Alternative Duvet Insert
Calling all hot sleepers! The HydroCool Duvet Insert from Pottery Barn clocked a 4.9 out of 5 overall score from our home tester. They liked the incredibly soft shell, lightweight yet cozy feel, and machine-washable design. More to the point, they were thoroughly impressed with its temperature-regulating abilities.
This down-alternative comforter has a breathable cotton shell with a 300 thread count to ensure adequate airflow. The fill is 60 percent recycled polyester sourced from plastic bottles and 40 percent HydroCool performance polyester. According to the maker, the high-tech fibers draw sweat away from your skin so you stay cool throughout the night.
Best All-Season: Brooklinen Down Alternative Comforter
Long-staple cotton shell
Made from recycled materials
Not machine washable
Down-alternative duvets can be suitable for year-round use—"You just have to be careful that you're not purchasing one that is on either end of the weight scale," says Logan Foley, Managing Editor at SleepFoundation.org. Keeping this in mind, we recommend Brooklinen's All-Season Comforter, which the brand touts as the "Goldilocks of comforters."
In terms of construction, this duvet has a 100 percent long-staple cotton shell with a supremely smooth sateen weave. The polyester fill is sourced from recycled plastic bottles, and baffle-box construction ensures it's evenly distributed. One thing to note is that this bed cover isn't machine-washable—Brooklinen recommends spot-cleaning or dry-cleaning if needed.
Best for Winter: The Company Store Legends Hotel Primaloft Alberta Down Alternative Comforter
Five colors available
When winter rolls around, you'll be glad to have the PrimaLoft Alberta Comforter. Available in two weights—medium warmth and extra warmth—it's made to meet different needs. This duvet is filled with PrimaLoft, a type of polyester microfiber known for its down-like loftiness and thermal qualities.
As for the shell, you're looking at 300-thread-count cotton sateen finished with a combing technique to maximize softness and enhance the comforter's insulation. While this comforter is on the pricier side, you'll definitely get your money's worth in terms of warmth, comfort, and durability. We also like that it comes in a few colors, so you can forgo a duvet cover if you want to keep things simple.
Best Lightweight: Parachute Down Alternative Duvet Insert
Prefer something a bit lighter? Your best bet is Parachute's Down Alternative Duvet Insert. It comes in two densities, all-season and lightweight, the latter of which is just the thing for hot sleepers and summertime use.
The super-fine microfiber fill is designed to mimic the natural fluffiness of real down, only it's hypoallergenic and vegan. Woven from 100 percent cotton with a sateen weave, the shell is breathable and soft with a subtle sheen. Though this duvet insert doesn't come in exact bedding sizes, we like that it's machine-washable and dryer-safe.
Best Medium-Weight: Casper Mid Weight Down Alternative Duvet
Suitable for year-round use
Not too warm but still plenty cozy, the Casper Mid Weight Duvet is ideal for year-round use. The fill fibers are made of 100 percent recycled polyester that mimics the loftiness and lightweight insulation of real feathers. Inspired by down-filled puffer jackets, the sewn-in chambers hug your body while keeping the fill in place.
The shell is made of Tencel lyocell, a naturally breathable and temperature-regulating fabric that's sourced from the pulpy cellulose fibers of wood. While we wish this comforter was a little more affordable and came in exact sizes, overall, it's a great mid-weight option.
Best Heavyweight: Boll & Branch Down Alternative Duvet Insert
The Boll & Branch Down Alternative Duvet Insert comes in three densities, and the Ultraweight level is one of the warmest, coziest options you'll find. It's filled with PrimaLoft microfiber, a hypoallergenic material that boasts thermal qualities and down-like loftiness. As for the shell, you're looking at 100 percent organic cotton.
Thanks to the baffle-box construction, the fluffiness is evenly distributed and won't shift around over time. We also appreciate that there are corner tabs to keep your duvet cover in place. This comforter is undoubtedly expensive (especially the Ultraweight option), but it's the closest you'll get if you want the same insulation as real down.
Best Temperature Regulating: Sheets & Giggles Eucalyptus Comforter
Not very lofty
No full size
Sheets & Giggles' take on the down-alternative comforter is this premium eucalyptus number. The shell is made of 100 percent lyocell sourced from the pulp of eucalyptus trees, offering a soft, cool-to-the-touch feel. Inside is a poly-lyocell blend of ultra-fine fibers that do an excellent job of keeping you at a comfortable temperature.
Lyocell has the unique ability to draw sweat away from your body and evaporate it quickly.⁴ We appreciate that this comfortable is machine-washable, dryer-friendly, and available in exact sizes. And while it's not the loftiest option around, we also like that it comes in a few colors for those who don't want to use a cover.
Best Silk: Vesta Silk-filled Thermoregulating Duvet
Natural fill material
If you prefer natural materials over polyester, you might consider a silk comforter. Vesta's Thermoregulating Duvet is filled with 100 percent premium-quality silk fibers. The material is naturally breathable and moisture-wicking with unique thermal stability, meaning it keeps you warm when you want it to.
This down-alternative comforter has an organic cotton shell to encourage airflow. Thanks to its temperature-regulating abilities, it's an excellent choice for year-round use. One thing to note, though, is that it's not vegan-friendly, as silk comes from mulberry worms.
The best down-alternative comforter on the market is Buffy's Cloud Comforter, which earned an almost-perfect score from our tester for its reasonable price and lightweight yet cozy feel. If you're looking for something even more wallet-friendly, we recommend the Utopia Bedding Quilted Comforter, a machine-washable, dryer-safe bed cover that comes in several colors.
What to Look for in a Down Alternative Comforter
According to Foley, high-quality materials are paramount for down-alternative comforters, and it starts with the shell (the outside of the duvet). Natural fabrics tend to be the most breathable with moisture-wicking properties, which helps keep you at a comfy temperature while you doze. Cotton is the most common, but you'll also find options with bamboo, eucalyptus, silk, and lyocell shells.
"Down-alternative comforters are a great option for people with allergies, as goose and duck feathers can cause allergic reactions," says Foley. "Vegans will also prefer a down-alternative comforter."
So, what are they filled with then? Ultra-fine polyester fibers are the most common replacement for feathers. Though this is a synthetic substance, it's often sourced from recycled materials, such as plastic water bottles. You'll also find duvets filled with natural materials, like viscose (bamboo) and silk—just keep in mind silk isn't vegan, as it comes from mulberry worms.
Weight and loft
In addition to the fill material, you'll want to consider the weight and loft. "A heavier comforter will be warmer," says Foley, "so consider using a light comforter if you're a hot sleeper or want to use it in the summer months."
If you like the fluffy look and feel of a plush comforter but don't necessarily want something super warm, there are some great lofty yet lightweight designs. Another option is to size up while using the proper duvet cover size. For instance, a king comforter will look super fluffy inside a queen cover without adding too much heat.
What is the difference between a down and a down-alternative comforter?
"Down comforters are filled with the soft clusters found underneath the feathers of ducks and geese," explains Foley. "Down-alternative comforters are not filled with any animal product and are instead filled with either synthetic (polyester, microfiber, etc.) or natural materials (bamboo, wool, etc.)." As mentioned above, silk is also a great substitute for down, though it's not technically vegan.
How do you wash a down-alternative comforter?
The proper way to wash a down-alternative comforter really depends on the material, stitching, and overall construction. But generally speaking, you should be able to launder yours in a standard washing machine on a delicate cycle (or bulky, depending on the loft) with cold or warm water.
Most duvet inserts can also be tumble-dried on low heat, though some call for air-drying. Additionally, some brands suggest spot-cleaning or dry-cleaning only, so be sure to check the instructions before cleaning yours.
When does a down-alternative comforter need replacing?
Most down-alternative comforters last between three to five years, though it depends on the material, usage, and overall quality. If yours is lumpy, flatter than it once was, permanently stained, or has a funky odor, it might be time to swap it out for a new one.
Why Trust The Spruce
Theresa Holland is a commerce copywriter specializing in textiles, home goods, sleep products, and lifestyle. When researching picks for this story, she spoke with Logan Foley, Managing Editor at SleepFoundation.org, for insight into the substitutes for natural down, as well as the different weights of comforters and what certifications they might carry. She looked at insights from our home testers, combed through user reviews, and pored over the product specs of dozens of duvets before landing on the final picks.
You can find more of Theresa's bylines on MyDomaine.