Comforter vs Duvet: What’s the Difference?

blue duvet on a bed with blue pillows

Comforter vs duvet: both are popular, affordable, and readily available. So which do you choose? Before selecting the same style you used before, read on to learn about the exact differences between the two in terms of materials, care, longevity, and price. Maybe you’ll decide to try something new!

What is a Comforter?

A comforter is a thick blanket, typically available in various patterns and colors, containing synthetic fiber. It sits on top of your bed above your linens, and it typically arrives in sets with a pillow sham, standard pillowcase, and sometimes a bed skirt. 

The comforter is convenient because it’s only one piece, and you can simply remove it from the bed and wash it at home when it’s due for a cleaning. Compared to a comforter vs duvet, most comforters are quilted, ensuring that the filling inside won’t move around. While synthetic filling is common, it’s not your only option. You can pick from a wide variety of textiles available on the market.

What is a Duvet?

A duvet also called a duvet set, comprises two parts: a cover and an insert. In terms of comforter vs duvet comparison, duvets are different because the duvet insert doesn’t sit on its own (and doesn’t arrive in patterns or colors). Instead, you can customize the duvet set by purchasing different colored duvet covers used to encase and protect the insert. 

You usually buy the duvet insert on its own, and then you can purchase a duvet cover and matching pillow shams separately. The duvet cover’s job is to make it easy to care for your set because you can simply take off the cover and wash it at home, but you don’t need to wash the duvet insert. Duvet inserts aren’t usually machine washable. How the duvet cover fits over the insert varies per set. Some use zippers, some use ties, and others may use snaps or buttons. 

How to Use a Duvet Cover

There are multiple ways to put on a duvet cover. Some people might feel intimidated the first time they need to put on a cover, but there’s no need to worry: here’s the step-by-step for a few different methods. Remember, this doesn’t apply only to duvet inserts. If you want to protect your comforter or switch out the pattern/color, you can purchase the same duvet covers as your comforter and use them the same way as a ‘comforter cover.’ When considering a comforter vs duvet, one thing about comforters is that you won’t need to learn how to use a duvet cover. 

colorful green duvet cover

Classic/Traditional Method

1. Lay your duvet insert flat and aligned with your mattress.

2. Turn the duvet cover inside out and find your insert’s two corners.

3. While holding the corners, flip the duvet cover onto the insert, pull it down, and secure it over the bottom two corners. Then, zip it up.

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California Roll Method 

1. Turn your duvet cover inside out and lay it flat on your mattress.

2. Place the duvet insert or comforter on top of the cover.

3. Roll the comforter/insert together with the cover. Ensure the edges align perfectly, then put the comforter roll in the cover.

4. Zip the cover, then unroll, and straighten it out if necessary. If your duvet cover uses corner ties, tie these before rolling.

Comforter vs Duvet Materials

Something that a comforter vs duvet share in common is the variety of materials used for filling. So no matter whether you’re choosing a comforter or duvet, you have the same options for filling. 

Cotton

Cotton is one of the most versatile fabrics for clothing and a comforter vs duvet alike. It’s breathable, hypoallergenic, affordable, but still very high quality. You’ll get a light comforter if you use cotton, and it won’t be as fluffy as one with synthetic polyester or down.

Down

Down is a luxurious, traditional bed filling material. Many pillows use down filling, but you can also buy comforters and duvets with down. They are typically more expensive and provide warmth, but you can’t wash them at home. This material is typical for duvet inserts because you wouldn’t need to wash it since you’d only wash the cover.

blue pattern comforter on a bed

Wool

If you live somewhere particularly cold or simply appreciate blankets that provide warmth, wool may be the perfect fabric for you. It traps heat effectively and is heavier compared to other textiles. However, you can’t usually machine wash sheep’s wool comforters or duvets.

Synthetic Fabric

This fabric includes ‘down-alternative’ like microfiber/polyester. For the comforter vs duvet topic, materials are more common in comforters because they can easily make them with machines instead of natural processes, making them more affordable. They are also hypoallergenic, lightweight, and convenient because they are machine washable. 

Silk

Silk is cooling, lightweight, breathable, and the type of blanket you’d see on a king’s bed. It also has anti-bacterial properties and is hypoallergenic. This material is perfect for every season, but a few things to be wary of are that silk is difficult to wash,  stains easily and can be expensive. In terms of a comforter vs duvet, comforters may have a silk outside layer while a duvet cover may arrive in silk, but it’s not a filling material. 

Comforter vs Duvet: Pros and Cons

Now that you know the available options, it’s time to decide between a comforter vs duvet. The handy list below separates the major differences between the two. 

Duvet Pros

  • Long-lasting duvet insert
  • Easier to switch patterns and designs
  • Machine washable duvet cover
  • Higher quality filling 
  • More comfortable

If you’re prioritizing comfort and durability, the search between a comforter vs duvet may prove a duvet to be the right choice for you. They typically make duvets of higher quality material than comforters, so the inserts are more expensive and typically not machine washable. If you want a luxurious down blanket, you’re more likely to find a duvet. Additionally, you don’t need to worry about wear and tear over time because you won’t be washing your duvet insert—only the cover. Covers are cheap and easily replaceable, but inserts aren’t because they are typically designed to last. Comforters may not last as long because they get washed often. 

Duvets are also easy to care for because you only need to wash the covers, which are thin and are machine washable with other clothing. Last, if you are someone that enjoys changing their bed linen pattern and color, you don’t need to worry about committing to any single design if you stick to duvets in the comforter vs duvet case. You can purchase as many duvet covers as you like and switch up your bedroom’s look whenever you feel like it. 

folded grey comforter on a bed

Duvet Cons 

  • More expensive
  • Can be challenging to put on
  • A duvet insert is hard to wash in case of a stain

What first comes to mind when assessing the downsides of duvet sets in the comparison between a comforter vs duvet is that the two-piece duvet design can be challenging to maintain. For some, getting the cover over the large, bulky duvet is a feat. Luckily, it gets much easier over repeated washes, and there are multiple ways to put it on. You can opt for a cover that uses zippers, buttons, or ties if you have a preference. Additionally, the duvet insert might shift inside the cover, so you may occasionally need to open it back up and straighten it out. Especially if you have a larger bed, this can also be difficult to do without removing the cover and fitting it over the sheet another time. 

Comforter Pros

  • More affordable
  • Hypoallergenic (generally; check your individual product)
  • Machine washable (generally; check your individual product)

Comforter vs duvet blankets can be similar in pricing, but it is easier to find more affordable comforters. They’re easier to shop for because you can buy them in a single purchase, while you’d need to make two separate purchases for a duvet set. For those who are sensitive during sleep and have sleep allergies, they usually fill comforters with synthetic fibers like down-alternative that are hypoallergenic. Last, comforters are machine washable, unlike duvet inserts. If you prefer a lighter blanket, comforters are thinner and lighter than duvets.

Comforter Cons

  • Flattens over time
  • Larger/thicker comforters may not be washable at home
  • Can’t switch out colors and designs

Comforter We Love

  1. Ultra-Soft Micromink Sherpa Comforter Bed Set
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One notable downside to a comforter vs duvet is that comforters lose their ‘fluff’ as they flatten. They may not last as long as duvets because of regular washing. If you have a larger bed, you may not even be able to wash your comforter at home since it won’t fit in the machine, so you may make more trips to the dry cleaners than you expected. If you decided after a while that you no longer like the color scheme/design of your comforter, you’d need to purchase a new one to change it, while with a duvet, you can have multiple covers. 

white duvet on a bed

Comforter vs Duvet Care

Caring for your comforter vs duvet set can be different based on whichever you have. If you have a duvet, you’ll need to wash the cover and not the insert. With a comforter, you will need to wash the entire blanket. 

If you have a comforter but don’t like the idea of washing the entire blanket, you don’t need to. When it comes to a comforter vs duvet, most comforters are similar in size to duvet inserts, so you can purchase duvet covers and fit them over the comforter, then just wash the covers. It also gives you the ability to change up your bedding design. 

Assuming your comforter doesn’t face any spills or stains, you’ll only need to wash it twice a year. If you have a small or cheap comforter, like one used for a child’s bed, it may fit in your washer. You should always use a gentle liquid detergent, not a powder detergent. If there are any minor stains and you do not want to wash the entire blanket, you can soak them overnight in a cleaner like OxiClean. You can take your comforter to the laundromat if your home machine is too small or to the dry cleaners if your comforter isn’t of down material (the chemicals at the dry cleaner may ruin down). When you wash your comforter, it is ok (and even recommended) to do multiple cycles to guarantee that it will stay clean for a while. When drying it, don’t use high heat. Keep it on low or medium, and pause every so often to take out the comforter and fluff it out. Remember to use a top/flat sheet so that you don’t need to wash your comforter as often. 

In the case of a comforter vs duvet, an upside to duvets is they are perfect for those who get annoyed by using an additional blanket (like top sheets—Do they end up at the foot of the bed in the morning?) Because duvets have a cover, you can place them directly on your fitted sheet and avoid any flat sheet mess. However, this also means you need to wash your duvet cover often, as often as you wash your bedding (once a week). Remove the duvet cover from the insert and put it in your washing machine and some tennis balls to help remove dirt and body oils. Wash it gently with mild detergent and warm water. You can dry it normally or let it air dry. For inserts, which are typically made of expensive material, it is best to have them professionally laundered if they get dirty. Comforter vs duvet care requires more work for a duvet, but duvets are also longer lasting. 

Comforter vs Duvet Pricing

In terms of price, both duvets and comforters have a great range. Many factors play into it: filling material, top material, manufacturing costs, and where they’re made. Duvets are typically pricier than comforters. Duvet inserts may have a higher thread count, ensuring comfort and durability (they are made to last much longer than your standard comforter). They usually get filled with higher quality materials like down, and last, manufacturing duvet sets resulting in a higher sale price. A comforter vs duvet in terms of price ranges widely, anywhere from $30 to $400. 

man sleeping under a comforter on a bed

What to Know Before Purchasing Your Comforter or Duvet

Besides knowing if you want a comforter vs duvet, you should always examine the individual product 

When Should I Buy a New Bedding?

Knowing when a replacement is necessary may be difficult to point out when it comes to a comforter vs duvet. You may have grown used to the feel of your old blankets, even though you’re overdue for an upgrade. Watch out for a lifeless, flat comforter. The most notable wearing that happens to comforters over time is flattening. If you felt clumps of filling distributed unevenly throughout the blanket, it may have clumped up over time, and there’s not much you can do besides getting a replacement. You may feel that your blanket isn’t providing the same warmth as when it was new due to flattening and clumping. The same rules apply to a duvet, but the duvet is more durable when comparing a comforter vs duvet.

Watching Out For Materials

Some products may deceive you when describing the materials used. Make sure you know the difference between down and down-alternative or synthetic down. They are two completely different materials. Alternative down is hypoallergenic and cheaper, but it doesn’t last as long. It’s not as fluffy and is typically made of synthetic material. Real down is expensive, comes from ducks and geese and lasts longer, having a more luxurious feel. Both materials are excellent and suit different needs, but pay attention to whether or not it is truly down. Back to the comforter vs duvet argument, you can typically find duvets in higher quality down, while synthetic materials are common in comforters. 

tan duvet on a bed

Comforter vs Duvet: Which is Best For You?

All in all, choosing a comforter vs duvet doesn’t need to be difficult when you know exactly what you’re looking for. Here’s a quick rundown of the points covered in the article:

Consider a duvet set vs a comforter if

  • You don’t want to commit to just one design/color
  • You want to keep the same blanket for as long as possible
  • You prefer a blanket with higher quality filling
  • You don’t enjoy sleeping with flat sheets/top sheets
  • You like the idea of a removable cover you can wash
  • You don’t mind potentially spending more on a comfortable blanket

Consider a comforter vs duvet if

  • You don’t want to have a two-piece set you may need to straighten out
  • You want to save yourself the hassle of putting a duvet cover on the duvet insert
  • You want an affordable option
  • You have children or pets that might spill/stain the bed, and a duvet cover isn’t enough to protect it
  • You like having one blanket that you can wash a few times a year without needing to take it for professional washes
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