Whether you’re looking for warmth, breathability or the best value option, our guide will help you pick the best duvet filling for you
Anyone who has braved a British winter knows how crucial a warm, comfortable and high-quality duvet can be to getting a good night’s sleep. However, when replacing worn out items, duvets are often overlooked, and we end up making do with sleeping under lumpy, musty quilts that no longer fulfil their purpose.
When looked after correctly, a good duvet can last for many years, but the Sleep Council, (cited here by bedding brand Soak & Sleep) generally recommends changing your duvet out every two to five years. Once you’ve decided to invest in a new duvet, you’ll likely find yourself with a number of questions. Handily for you, our guide below attempts to address any queries you might have in regards to duvet type and filling, and we also offer examples of our favourite duvets of each type.
How to choose the best duvet filling for you
First things first, duvet fillings can be generally divided into two categories: natural and synthetic. Natural fillings for duvets include down and feather, most often from geese and ducks, as well as wool. The most common synthetic fillings for duvets are microfibre and hollowfibre. We’ll examine these two categories in more detail below.
Aside from the actual material itself, how your duvet is filled is also important, and can be expressed via two ratings: tog and fill power. A duvet’s tog rating refers to its ability to trap warm air, and can range from 2.5 to 13.5, with duvets at the lower end of the scale being more suitable for the warmer months, and higher tog duvets being better suited to wintry months and colder climes.
The higher a duvet’s fill power, the better quality and durability you’ll get out of it. This statistic is measured in grams per square metre (gsm) and can range from between 350gsm and 750gsm for naturally filled duvets, and 475gsm to 750gsm for synthetic fill duvets.
Natural filled duvets: Types and options
Natural filling duvets have lots of excellent qualities: They insulate heat very effectively, are suitable for use year-round thanks to their breathability and are highly durable, tending to last much longer than synthetic filling duvets. Some naturally filled duvets are even safe for machine washing, provided you have a large enough washing machine. The main caveat is that these perks mean that natural filling duvets can be quite expensive.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the common natural duvet fillings.
Down: Under their tougher outer feathers, birds have a layer of soft, fine feathers known as down. As a duvet filling, down is soft, lightweight and highly insulating, while also providing solid moisture wicking to curb nighttime sweatiness. When choosing a down duvet, take into consideration whether you’ll be after a goose down duvet, which will be softer, lighter and warmer, but more expensive, or a duck down duvet, which will fall behind a little in these categories, but should cost considerably less. Another thing to look out for with this material is any guarantee from the manufacturer regarding allergen and dust mite testing, as down and feather duvets can sometimes cause flare ups in allergy sufferers.
Feather: Filled with the larger exterior feathers mentioned above, these duvets tend to be heavier and less fluffy than down duvets, due to the larger, flatter feathers used to fill them. Many users enjoy the extra heft of feather duvets, as they provide a reassuring downforce in a similar vein to a weighted blanket. Drawbacks of feather duvets are that the occasional quill can sometimes poke through, and that they can’t quite compete with down when it comes to breathability and insulation.
Down and feather: Many naturally filled duvets use a combination of both down and feather, with a mix of these two materials providing a good balance of insulation, fluffiness and weightiness. Down and feather duvets can be purchased in different filling ratios, so, depending on which features you find most attractive, you will be able to find a duvet that is perfectly balanced and suited to your needs.
Wool: Due to its fairly dense structure, wool tends to make duvets heavy, and a little unwieldy. It provides solid thermal insulation, though not as good as feather or down duvets. However, wool, as a duvet filling, does have its niches. It is one of the best materials for anyone with allergies or sensitivities, as it is naturally hypoallergenic, and is suitable for those who get too warm, since it is highly breathable and excellent at moisture wicking. Wool filled duvets can also be a lot cheaper than down or feather duvets, which doesn’t hurt.
Silk: A rarer find than the materials mentioned above, silk can make for a luxurious duvet filling. Silk is naturally hypoallergenic and dust mite resistant, and has excellent insulation and breathability. As far as how it feels to sleep under, silk filled duvets are soft, fairly dense and relatively mouldable, meaning they will adjust to the shape of your body more effectively than other materials.
Synthetic filling duvets: Types and options
When compared to natural filling duvets, synthetic duvets can come up a little short; they’re typically less durable, less insulating and not quite as fluffy or soft as down, wool or silk filled duvets.
On the positive side, synthetic filling duvets are hypoallergenic and more likely to be machine washable and easier to care for. They also tend to be much cheaper than naturally filled duvets, and leave more room for engineering, with synthetic duvet manufacturers combining highly technical materials and coverings to try and provide the perfect sleep experience.
While there are many types and indeed subtle variations of synthetic material, the two most common ones are compared below.
Hollowfibre: Made from spun polyester, hollowfibre tends to be springy and lightweight, providing solid warmth and good breathability, due to its less dense, open structure.
Microfibre: The closest synthetic filling to down, microfibre duvets feel plump and fluffy. The more densely woven fibres make for a warmer night’s sleep than hollowfibre.
To round out your search for the perfect bedding, be sure to check out our guide to mattress types, our list highlighting the best mattresses, as well as our round-ups of the best pillows and the best pillows for side-sleepers.
The best duvet fillings in 2023: Natural
1. Scooms Hungarian Goose Down Duvet: Best down and feather duvet
Price: From £125 | Buy now from Scooms
If you like the idea of down, but don’t want to break the bank, this offering from Scooms is one of the better priced options out there. The duvet is filled with 90% Hungarian goose down and 10% Hungarian goose feathers, with a 300-thread count cotton casing.
While its filling and casing are luxurious, Scooms have also put together quite the practical duvet: it comes in a range of tog ratings and has fasteners for attaching extra duvets to control warmth levels, which make it suitable for all seasons, uses quilted pockets to ensure even and reliable filling, and is certified for both its anti-allergen and anti-dust properties. The duvet is also machine washable and safe for both line and tumble drying. If you’re worried about dropping upwards of £200 on a duvet, Scoom’s 60-night trial and ten-year warranty should hopefully allay any worries.
Key details – Tog rating: 2.5, 4.5 and 9 tog; Filling: 90% goose down and 10% goose feather; Casing: 300 thread-count cotton; Fill power: 700; Cleaning: Machine washable; Sizes: single, double, king and superking; Warranty: Ten-year guarantee
2. Gingerlily All Seasons Silk-Filled Duvet: Best silk duvet
Price: From £219 | Buy now from Seymour’s Home
Those seeking a high-quality alternative to down need look no further than silk, with this All-Seasons silk-filled duvet from Gingerlily being one of the strongest options out there. Filled with long-strand A-grade mulberry silk, the highest quality available, this duvet benefits from the material’s excellent temperature regulation, smooth softness and natural resistance to dust mites and other allergens.
While silk is naturally good at keeping your body at a comfortable ambient temperature, this duvet also boasts adjustable tog, allowing you to calibrate your warmth for the perfect night’s sleep. One thing we noted about this duvet in our original testing, was that it was little on the thinner side, which is noticeable when comparing it to fluffy down duvets. However, this is mostly a matter of personal preference, and will suit some people better than others.
If you enjoy the softness and gentleness of silk on your skin, our best silk pillowcase list will help you complete your new silk bed set.
Key details – Tog rating: Equivalent to a conventional 6-8 tog duvet; Filling: 100% pure long strand A-grade mulberry silk; Casing: 100% 300-thread count cotton sateen; Cleaning: Dry clean only; Sizes: Single, double, king, euro king, super king and euro super king
3. Silentnight Duck Feather and Down Duvet: Best budget natural filling duvet
Price: From £70 | Buy now from SilentnightWhile duck feathers and down might not be quite as luxurious as goose, this duvet from Silentnight still brings all the positives of a natural filling duvet, being plenty soft, insulating, lightweight and breathable. Even with its excellent levels of comfort and warmth, value for money might still be its strongest attribute, as it is available for just a fraction of the cost of the duvets above, and even beats out some of our synthetic-filling picks for price.
Covered in a breathable cotton casing, this duvet is also hypoallergenic and resistant to dust mites, according to Silentnight. The duvet is available in a number of sizes, as well as two tog variations, a super snug 13.5 suitable for the colder months, and a 10.5 tog that, while still warm, will be suitable for longer stretches of the year.
Key details – Tog rating: 10.5, 13.5; Filling: Duck down and feathers; Casing: Cotton; Sizes: Double, King, Super king; Warranty: 5-year warranty
The best duvet fillings in 2023: Synthetic
4. Emma Cloud Duvet: Best microfibre duvet
Price: From £115 | Buy now from EmmaUPDATE: Since publishing our review, Expert Reviews has noticed a recent influx of negative customer reviews for Emma Sleep on Trustpilot, with many customers complaining of delays to shipping and a lack of communication over when deliveries will happen. According to Emma Sleep, these delays have been caused by factors “not under [the brand’s] control”, and a spokesperson said that the process of transitioning “order management and fulfilment platforms” has led to these issues. We’ve also been told that resolving these issues is a top priority for Emma Sleep and the company is expecting to resolve the issues in the coming weeks. We will be sure to bring you more information as we receive it.
While not quite as breathable as a naturally filled option, we found the Emma Cloud Duvet to largely live up to its name when we originally tested it, being light, soft and nicely insulating. Besides being solidly put together, the duvet is also very competitively priced, starting at £115 for a single, and rising to only £155 for a king-sized version – although chances are that you will be able to get it at a significant discount, as Emma often runs generous sitewide sales.
Previously available with the same 200-night trial as Emma’s mattresses, the Cloud Duvet currently boasts a 14-night trial, which is a reasonable amount of time to get to grips with a new duvet.
Key details – Tog rating: 6.7; Filling: Polyester microfiber; Casing: Polyester; Sizes: Single – Super king; Warranty: Unspecified
5. Simba Hybrid Duvet: Best designed synthetic duvet
Price: From £139 | Buy now from Simba
Much like the bed-in-a-box company’s mattresses, the Simba Hybrid is made up of a range of materials designed to tick all the boxes for a good night’s sleep. The duvet’s quilted pockets, which help keep the filling evenly dispersed, are filled with recycled Simba-Renew fibres, a synthetic filling that Simbla claims maximises lightness and warmth. Meanwhile, the duvet is encased in highly breathable cotton, with one side using Simba’s “astronaut-inspired” Stratos material, which it says delivers top-tier temperature regulation year-round.
In our original testing we found the material to largely live up to its promises, feeling super-soft and keeping our tester toasty during a chilly autumn test. While its £139-£249 price range is high for a synthetic fill duvet, the Simba Hybrid duvet offers a range of materials and innovations that you won’t find anywhere else.
Key details – Tog rating: 10.5; Filling: 100% recycled plastic ‘Simba-Renew’ material; Casing: Cotton; Cleaning: machine washable at 40°C; Sizes: Single, double, king and superking; Warranty: Unspecified
6. Panda Cloud Bamboo Duvet: Best natural and synthetic blend duvet
Price: From £100 | Buy now from Panda
For those of you seeking the best of both worlds, Panda’s Cloud Duvet makes for a highly unique option. The vegan-certified duvet’s filling blends natural bamboo filling and synthetic microfiber, with a breathable bamboo casing surrounding these materials.
In testing, we found this combination made for a very soft and comfortable covering. However, we did note that although it’s breathable, the bamboo filling was not quite as effective at insulation as other materials highlighted on this list, which means it may not be suitable for those of you who feel the cold easily. That said, Panda’s £100-£160 price range is quite reasonable, and its 30-night trial and 5-year guarantee are hard to match.
Key details – Tog rating: 10.5; Filling: 50% bamboo, 50% nano-microfibre; Casing: 100% bamboo; Cleaning: Machine washable at 40°C; Sizes: Single, double, king and superking; Warranty: Five-year guarantee (plus 30-night trial)
7. Silentnight Warm and Cosy Duvet: Best budget synthetic duvet
Price: From £27 | Buy now from AmazonSilentnight is generally a solid pick for budget duvets and bedding materials, as it tends to make comfortable and sturdy products that won’t break the bank. At 13.5+ tog, this Warm and Cosy microfibre winter duvet promises a high-level of insulation, alongside softness and comfort.
One thing to be aware with this duvet is that while it is soft, the microfibre fabric casing can feel a little sheen-y, and won’t provide the same levels of moisture wicking as a natural cotton casing, potentially making it unsuitable for those prone to overheating or suffer from night sweats.
Key details – Tog rating: 13.5, 15; Filling: Polyester microfibre; Casing: Microfibre fabric; Sizes: Single – Super king; Warranty: Unspecified