What Is a Down Alternative Comforter and What Makes It Different From the Real One?

What is a down alternative comforter? Why would you get one?

In your quest for a comfortable and relaxing slumber, you’ve probably come across down alternative comforters a few times.

These products are way less expensive than the luxurious down comforters. However, it isn’t the only reason why they are seemingly popular.

In this guide, we’ll take you to the silky soft world of down alternative comforters.

We’ll cover the differences between down and down alternative comforters and help you decide whether going the inexpensive path is a smart decision.

What Is Down Alternative Comforter?

Comforters are thick blankets or bed coverings that are filled with layers of soft, fluffy materials.

Among the most popular fillers used are down feathers - the soft, fluffy clusters and plumules from beneath the feathers of ducks or geese.

A down alternative comforter is much like the regular down comforter in terms of feel and comfort. However, they are filled with synthetic materials.

What Is a Down Alternative Comforter Made Of?

Typically, this type of comforter contains cotton, rayon, polyester, or synthetic fibers such as microfiber.

They may also include natural fibers like cotton, buckwheat, bamboo, or silk.

Cotton is a natural fiber that's very soft and fluffy. It is also very breathable. However, comforters made with cotton fillers tend to be less warm.

Difference Between Down and Down Alternative Comforters

As you can see, the major difference between a down and down alternative comforter is the material used to fill them.

But that’s not all.


Down comforters fall under the “premium” category. Shoppers can expect to pay $150-$200 or more for a comforter made from duck or goose feathers.

If you’re buying a comforter made from adult geese, prepare to shell out more. Adult geese give the softest down with the highest “fill” power.

Meanwhile, you can get a nice down alternative comforter for $50 to $100.


Down is softer than down alternatives, feather on blue blackground

In terms of softness, down comforters take the lead.

Nature gives us the best sources of premium materials. The inner plumage of ducks and geese are among the softest and coziest there are. They exhibit qualities that no human lab can replicate.

This doesn’t mean to say, however, that down alternative comforters are not comfortable.

Many natural and synthetic fibers or fillers are known for their softness, such as polyester.

If you buy a quality down alternative comfort, you’ll hardly feel the difference when it comes to the softness.


If you live in a very cold region, you can benefit from either a down or an alternative down comforter. It depends on the quality of the product you’re buying.

Down comforters are naturally warm, thanks to those fine feathers known for their incredible insulating property.

However, you can also get the same level of warmth from a down alternative comforter. Just make sure to choose one that contains more fillers. It’s usually thicker and heavier than traditional comforters but it will give you enough warmth.


Breathability is another key difference between down and down alternative comforters.

The problem with thicker types of down alternatives is that they tend to be less breathable. Thus, they can be a bit more uncomfortable during hot days.

Meanwhile, down comforters are highly breathable. This makes them ideal to use all year round.

Fill Power

Fill power is the amount of space an ounce of down takes up. The higher the fill power, the lighter, softer, and warmer the comforter is.

Down comforters generally have a high fill power. That’s why they are a lot more lightweight than down alternatives.

For a warmer and comfortable down alternative, choose a comforter with 600 or more fill power. It’s going to provide you a good deal of warmth although it’s bulkier and heavier.

What Is Goose Down Alternative?

Goose alternative for comforter and pillow; comforter and pillow on bed

As mentioned, geese are the best sources of down.

However, many down alternatives have entered the market recently, offering a similar level of quality and luxury of goose down at a relatively lower cost.

What is goose down alternative made of?

The materials vary. However, the most common are polyester and microfiber.

Polyester makes an ideal alternative fill because of its versatility. It can be manufactured to closely mimic natural down from geese. Gel-infused polyester is used for down alternatives with a high fill power rating.

Down alternatives made from microfiber are preferred for their lightness and extreme softness. They make an ideal filler for all-season comforters.

Benefits of Down Alternative Comforters

At this point, you know the answer to your question “What is down alternative comforter?”.

Still, it’s a little unclear whether it’s the best type of comforter for you.

Let’s take a closer look at the advantages of down alternatives:


Do down comforters give you skin rash?

Then you might just as well choose a down alternative comforter. While down alternatives fall behind down comforters in several aspects, they remain so popular because they are less likely to cause allergies.


Most down alternative comforters are made from synthetic or plant-based materials, making them a vegan-friendly option. If you’re looking for something that fits your eco-conscious lifestyle, it’s the one for you.


If you’re after saving money on comforters, a down alternative perfectly fits the bill.

Easy to Wash

Another benefit of down alternative comforters is they are so much easier to wash. Most of them are machine-washable so cleaning your comforter is your least worry.

Meanwhile, down comforters will need to be professionally laundered to ensure they don’t get damaged.

Frequently Asked Questions

Aside from this question “What is a down alternative comforter?”, you probably have a few more.

Check out these most commonly asked questions about this type of comforter:

What is better down comforter or down alternative?

While real down comforters are superior to their alternatives in many aspects, the choice depends on your personal preferences.

For example, even if you prefer the softness of a real one, a down alternative is still a better option if you are allergic to feathers.

Is a down alternative comforter good?

Yes, it is. It has so many good qualities that make it a popular choice among consumers.

You’ll find down alternative comforters that are incredibly warm and comfortable.

Some "luxury" down alternatives contain cotton shells that enhance the blanket's moisture-wicking properties. Additionally, some products feature baffle-box stitching which helps maintain their high loft and even fill distribution.

Is a down alternative comforter a duvet insert?

A down alternative can work as a duvet insert, although it’s not necessary.

Can you wash down alternative comforters?

Down alternative comforters are low-maintenance. You can wash them using your washing machine at home.

Here are some tips to properly wash your down alternative:

  • Use a stain removal spray to get rid of tough stains before loading the comforter in your laundromat. Make sure to use a large-capacity machine for your comforters.
  • Use warm water and mild detergent to wash your comforter. Select the “delicate” cycle on your laundromat and run it through through the “rinse” cycle twice to remove the soapy residue.
  • Dry your comforter completely, away from direct sunlight. This should take several hours (or maybe over a day).

Final Words

A down alternative comforter is a more affordable option than the real one.

It can be made from different materials, ranging from synthetic fibers like polyester to natural fillers like cotton and bamboo.

Aside from being budget-friendly, down alternative comforters are also hypoallergenic, vegan, and low maintenance. These qualities are their strongest selling points.

If you want a low-cost yet incredibly comfortable and easy-to-clean comforter, a down alternative might just be what you’re looking for.