down comforter buying guide

Confused? Let me come to your rescue. This guide to down comforters contains the answers to every question you'll have when you are looking for a comforter. This buying guide/faq is a collection of questions I've received from readers over the years.

Table of Contents

I hope this handy guide helps you in your search for your perfect comforter!

Have a question that's not on this list? Send me an email and I'll get back to you in a jiffy!

(Okay, it may take me a day or two to reply, but rest assured I will give you an answer.)


I've already chosen the best comforters that strike the right balance between quality, features, and price.

If you want to save time and leg work, check out my list of the highest rated comforters to get the most value for your money.

How do I choose the right size comforter for my bed?

There's a quick rule of thumb you can use to pick the right size comforter. I call it the 12-12-12 rule.

To get the same look that you see in magazines and hotels you'll want to buy a comforter that has at least 12"-13" of drape over the sides of your mattress.

Here's a list of the dimensions that will give you the recommended 12" of drape on all 3 sides of your bed. If the comforter you're looking at falls a couple inches short of these measurements it will still fit your bed. Just be aware that it might not look "right". The comforter may not reach the edges of your bed or it won't hang low enough down the edges of your bed.

Check that your comforter is at least this big:

  • Twin: 68"x90"
  • Full: 80"x90"
  • Full/Queen: 88"x88"
  • Queen: 86"x94"
  • King: 110"x96"
  • California King: 110"x108"
  • Dual or Eastern King: 102" x 94"
  • Daybed: 66" x 92"
  • Waterbed Single: 66" x 92"
  • Waterbed Queen: 86" x 86"
  • Waterbed King: 102" x 86"

You should always err on the side of being too generous. While you can always use a comforter that's bigger than your bed (queen sized comforter on a twin sized bed), the reverse doesn't work. How silly would a tiny twin comforter look on a queen sized bed!

The measurements above should work for most mattresses. If you want to be certain, measure the size of your mattress before you decide which comforter you want to buy. The dimensions of your comforter should measure 12"+ larger than your mattress on both sides and at the foot of your bed. Get a comforter that's one size bigger if necessary.

What size comforter should I get to fit my duvet cover?

A bigger comforter is also better than one that's too small when choosing a comforter to fit your duvet cover. A comforter that is one size larger than the duvet cover will fit without any problems. You will not notice any bunching once you fluff and shake it out.

However a comforter that is smaller than the duvet cover will leave the edges of the cover empty with nothing in between the two sides of fabric. Not only is this very ugly, it won't feel very nice when your arms and legs get tangled up inside the extra fabric.

What's the best material for the cover (shell) of a down comforter?

The outside fabric covering on a comforter is called the "shell". The best type of fabric for down comforter shells is 100% pure cotton. Cotton lets air flow freely and does not trap sweat in. Some other fabrics used for comforter covers include microfiber and polyester.

Sounds simple enough right? But here's where things get tricky. You'll often notice that the product descriptions will describe the fabric in terms of "thread count". Other terms you'll come across are "Egyptian cotton" and "European batiste".

What on earth do these terms mean? Here's a quick explanation.

Thread count: Coming Soon

Egyptian cotton: Coming Soon

Batiste cotton: Coming Soon

What fill power is good for a down comforter

Coming soon

What warmth level do I need?

Coming soon

What does baffle box construction mean?

Coming soon

Can I still use a down comforter if I have allergies?

Many people wake up with a stuffed nose and itchy eyes when they sleep in down bedding. This is usually caused by an allergy to dust mites. All bedding including pillows, comforters, mattresses, and blankets have dust mites.

Down comforters can end up with higher amounts of dust mites due to improper cleaning. "Allergy safe" comforters are made with materials and/or processes that minimize the number of dust mites. These special materials and processes include:

  • Special covers that block out dust mites. The covers will be treated with a blocking layer/treatment and the cover will have a tighter weave.
  • Hypoallergenic goose down cleaned many times to wash out any dust and dander that gets trapped in the down feathers

Can't live without the softness and plushness of down? An allergy does not mean you have to live with polyester comforters for the rest of your life!

Take a look at my list of the top rated allergy-safe down comforters and find a down comforter that won't make you itch and sneeze.

Down alternative comforters are another option if you are allergic to down bedding. Down alternative comforters are made with polyester fillings that mimic the feeling of down. While alternative comforters are the safest choice for allergies, they are not as comfortable as a comforter filled with real goose down. If you have a sensitive nose, down alternative may be your only option.

See which down alternative comforter I found that feels almost like the real thing.