Duvet inserts keep you warm and turn an ordinary bed into a personal retreat. Duvets are made in various weights, from lightweight to heavy. The best duvet insert is often made of natural goose down wrapped in a breathable, 100 percent Egyptian cotton shell. Goose-down fill isn’t for everyone, but the microfiber and down-alternative fill found in more affordable inserts provides good insulation, loft, and faithfully mimics the soft feel of down.
Some duvet inserts must be dry cleaned, while others are machine washable. The right insert for you will be just the right weight and loft for your climate. For some shoppers, a cooling insert is in order, while for others, only a heavy model will do. This shopping guide offers expert tips and recommendations to help you decide which duvet insert features you need for maximum comfort.
- BEST OVERALL: Egyptian Bedding Luxurious Goose Down Comforter
- RUNNER-UP: Cosybay 100% Cotton Quilted Down Comforter
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Linenspa All-Season Down Alternative Comforter
- BEST DOWN: Puredown White Down Comforter
- BEST COOLING: TEKAMON Summer Cooling Queen Comforter
- BEST LUXURY: Globon Luxurious Goose Down Comforter
- BEST HYPOALLERGENIC: APSMILE Luxurious All Seasons Goose Down Comforter
- BEST 100% EGYPTIAN COTTON: Royoliving Premium Silver Down Comforter
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Duvet Insert
Shell materials, fill materials, and fill power make a big difference in the insert’s warmth and feel. Some fabrics crinkle noisily when you rustle them, which may disturb your sleep. Others enhance breathability, or more securely contain down and feathers to prevent them from escaping. There’s a wide range of duvet insert options for different temperatures and personal preferences.
Duvet inserts come in all standard bed sizes, including twin, twin long, full, queen, king, and California king. However, shoppers should also consider mattress height as they decide which size duvet to buy. Plush mattresses can be up to 20-inches thick, and can leave the covers hanging mid-mattress. You’ll certainly be covered as you sleep, but the bed may not have the look you want.
If you have a particularly thick mattress, consider buying a duvet insert one size larger than your mattress. The extra length can help it drape more naturally over the mattress for a cleaner look.
The most common fill types are down and down alternatives, like polyester microfiber fill or cotton. Down is the soft, innermost insulating layer of bird feathers. Most high-end duvet inserts contain down for its natural insulation, light weight, and durability. Inserts may contain all down or a mix of down and feathers. However, feathers don’t have the insulation, loft (height), or softness of down.
The highest quality and most expensive inserts are made primarily, if not entirely, of natural down and will be labeled as “all down,” “100% down,” or “pure down.” Inserts that are a mix of down and feathers are more affordable. You may see the percentage of each listed on the label, like “90 percent down, 10 percent feathers” or “60 percent down / 40 percent feathers.” The higher the percentage of down, the better the insert’s durability, loft, and insulation.
Some people are allergic to feathers, which makes a down insert problematic. Duvet insert manufacturers often put their down and feather fillings through a vigorous washing and sanitizing process to remove most allergens. An insert that’s been through this thorough cleaning process is usually labeled “hypoallergenic.” Though hypoallergenic, duvet inserts that contain feathers might still bother people with very sensitive allergies.
One of the main benefits of down-alternative duvet inserts is their hypoallergenic properties. Down-alternative inserts are made of microfiber or cotton, and are typically more affordable than those made with feathers. Some manufacturers even coat their down-alternative fillings with silicon to create clusters that feel more like down. The disadvantages of down-alternative duvet inserts are they’re usually heavier, less breathable, and less durable.
“Fill power” refers only to natural down, and it’s an important factor in determining a down insert’s quality and warmth. Fill power is the down’s fluffiness, loft, or height. A higher fill-power down has greater loft. The more loft down has, the more space it occupies per ounce, which reduces overall weight. Consequently, less high fill-power down is needed to insulate the body. Duvet inserts made with high fill-power down are typically fluffier and warmer than those made of a low fill-power down, but they weigh less.
Duvet inserts are usually designated as low, medium, or high fill power:
- Under 400: low fill power, adequate for warmer months
- 400 to 600: medium fill power, adequate for all seasons
- Over 600: high fill power, best for colder months
High fill power is not always better. If you live in a warm to moderate climate, for example, you might swelter under a high fill-power duvet insert. Be sure to read labels and packaging carefully, because fill-power labels on duvet inserts that contain both down and feathers can be misleading. These inserts may be labeled 600 or 700 fill power, but they contain 70 percent feathers and just 30 percent down. In this case, the insert might not be as warm as you’d expect because of the low ratio of down to feathers.
Most duvet inserts have a cotton or bamboo shell. Cottons of all types are used to make duvet shells. High-quality Egyptian cotton has incredible breathability and softness, and doesn’t rustle during movement. With time, the cotton will get softer too. Bamboo duvet covers are popular for their cooling and moisture-wicking properties.
When shopping for the best duvet insert for your needs, take note of the shell’s thread count. Higher thread counts indicate better-quality material. The better the shell material, the less chance there is of feathers poking through the shell, which can be uncomfortable. Look for a shell material with a 300 to 400 thread count, which is enough to maintain breathability and durability.
Ease of Cleaning
Down is machine washable in warm water on the gentle cycle. It’s often machine dryable, too, as long as it’s on low heat (high heat can singe the down). However, some manufacturers recommend air drying the insert even if it is possible to machine dry it. “Dry clean only” duvet inserts aren’t uncommon either, especially if there’s a mix of materials.
A duvet insert’s construction affects even distribution of the filling and the down’s loft.
- Baffle Boxes: Most duvet inserts have a stitched checkerboard pattern, but those with baffle boxes have additional sewn-in fabric within the checkerboard to hold the down in place and maintain the loft. It’s a more expensive technique that’s usually found in high-quality duvet inserts.
- Quilt Stitching: A duvet insert with quilted stitching looks very similar to one with baffle boxes. However, a model with quilt stitching doesn’t have the additional strips of fabric that hold the down in place, so they typically aren’t as expensive and the down is more likely to clump and pool.
- Channels: The stitching on a duvet with channels runs in one direction, so the down or filling can be moved and adjusted within the channel. This construction is less expensive and allows you to move the down in the channel to adjust the warmth or coolness in different areas of the duvet.
- Gusset: A gusset creates a wide fabric seam at the side of the duvet insert. The gusset helps maintain the filling’s loft and may also be baffle-stitched. Like baffle boxes, this type of construction is more likely found on all-natural down inserts.
Our Top Picks
These recommendations are a mix of natural down and down-alternative duvet inserts that outperform their competitors. The shell construction and fabrics offer breathability and, in some cases, extra cooling.
Ethically sourced Responsible Down Standard (RDS) down and an OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certified Egyptian cotton shell provide peace of mind and all-season warmth. RDS down is certified for humane animal handling and practices, while the OEKO-TEX Standard 100 assures that all components of the insert are free of harmful substances.
A 750 fill-power down-and-feather mix fills the durable, baffle-box shell construction. All the down is washed and sanitized to reduce allergies. The breathable cotton shell rustles a bit when you move, but it keeps the feathers contained and softens with time. This insert also has anchor loops, so it won’t shift inside a duvet cover.
Cosybay’s comforter, which is a mix of goose down and duck feathers, offers all-season comfort with breathable softness and good loft. A 100 percent cotton shell reduces noise and keeps the down and feathers fully contained in each quilt-stitched box.
Anchor tabs in the duvet insert’s corners keep it from shifting inside its cover. This insert is machine washable, which will save you expensive trips to the dry cleaner.
The Linenspa down alternative comforter can be used as either a duvet insert or a comforter. These comforters come in different colors and don’t require a cover. This model has eight duvet loops, so you can cover it for easier care and washing.
This comforter is machine washable and its microfiber fill provides good warmth. Not only is this Linenspa insert a good option for the budget conscious, it’s also a great pick for those who don’t like the feel of feathers or who have feather allergies.
The Puredown is a noteworthy duvet insert because of the down’s quality and its Responsible Down Standard certification, which means that the animals from which the down is collected are not harmed. The down in this Puredown comforter has also been carefully sanitized to reduce allergens.
This insert is a mixture of down and feathers, providing fluffy loft and excellent warmth with 600 fill-power down and a 75-25 down-to-feather ratio. Double needle-stitched baffle boxes keep the down evenly distributed and prevent feathers and down from escaping. It’s contained in a breathable, 100 percent cotton shell. Each insert size comes in either a light or all-season warmth rating, so buyers can choose the warmth level they need.
The TEKAMON’s cooling powers come from a combination of cooling technology in the cover and a lightweight filling that provides minimal insulation. HNN cooling technology enhances breathability by maximizing airflow. The sleeper stays cooler as more heat and air escape from the body, while a light layer of insulation keeps the body just warm enough.
This lightweight insert can be used as a duvet insert or a comforter. It has corner ties so it won’t sag inside a duvet cover, and comes in a variety of sizes and colors.
The Globon’s high 700 fill-power goose down provides incredible warmth with the ultimate in lightweight softness. Its loft lets you really sink into warmth while barely feeling the duvet insert itself. A Texcote Nano water-repellent treatment on the down makes it particularly resistant to sweat, and, of course, water, maintaining the insert’s warmth even if humidity or moisture touches the bed. This treatment also keeps the insert from losing its loft.
Another terrific feature of the Globon goose down comforter is its 100 percent cotton sateen cover. Sateen’s identifiable sheen looks luxurious and feels thick and smooth. Best of all, it keeps the duvet insert quiet while you sleep.
Though it’s labeled a comforter, this model functions as a duvet insert, too. Thorough cleaning in ECO soap helps remove potential allergens from the APSMILE down comforter. This insert also has an Egyptian cotton/polyester blend shell that’s OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certified, which means it’s free of harmful (and potentially allergy-inducing) substances.
The down in this comforter boasts an impressive 750+ fill power, meaning you get maximum warmth and loft in a lighter-weight duvet insert. Finally, the down is Downpass certified. Like RDS, Downpass assures humane treatment of animals in the down-harvesting process.
The Royoliving’s 100 percent Egyptian cotton shell brings the benefits of luxurious cotton to the bedroom. Egyptian cotton’s long staples make each thread softer and stronger. This cotton is OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certified, so it’s free of harmful chemicals.
The quality of the cotton ensures that this comforter will be plenty durable, and the cotton is so soft that it won’t rustle with movement. On the inside, this Royoliving duvet insert has an 80-20 ratio of down to feathers. The stitching in the shell keeps the down and feathers evenly mixed, so you’re not likely to end up with a cold spot in the middle of the night.
FAQs About Your New Duvet Insert
You might have a few more questions about what exactly a duvet insert is and how it can keep you comfortable while you sleep. Refer to these common bedding questions and their answers.
Q. What is a duvet insert?
Duvet inserts are typically made of down, polyester microfiber, or cotton, designed to fit inside a washable duvet cover for protection, used with a bottom sheet only, or with a top sheet between it and the sleeper. Some duvet inserts are machine washable, while others must be dry cleaned; inserts that cannot be cleaned in the washing machine are more suitable for use with a duvet cover, since frequent dry cleaning can be expensive and a hassle.
The terms duvet insert and comforter are sometimes used interchangeably. Duvet inserts usually come in white or beige so that they are not seen through a duvet cover. Some duvet inserts have a quilted or baffle box stitching pattern to keep the fill material in place, and this detailing can also add variety to the bed in place of a decorative cover. While some manufacturers design comforters as a type of duvet insert, others offer comforters with colors and patterns as part of a matching bedding set.
Q. Why should you buy a duvet insert?
Duvet inserts are versatile, since they can be placed within a washable duvet cover, used with a bottom sheet only, or with a top sheet between it and the sleeper. If you decide to purchase a cover, you can replace it for a change in décor and keep the same insert.
Duvet inserts are available in a range of sizes, fill materials, and fill powers, allowing you to choose the most suitable one for your climate, budget, and sleeping preferences. You can also buy more than one duvet insert for use in different seasons, to switch between throughout the year.
Q. What is the difference between a duvet and a duvet insert?
There is disagreement on what constitutes a duvet vs. a duvet insert. Some bedding companies refer to the combination of a duvet insert and a duvet cover as a duvet. Others use the terms duvet and duvet insert in reference to the same bedding type.
The important thing to note is that a duvet insert can be used in one of three ways: as a layer of warmth and comfort inside a duvet cover (a thin fabric shell that protects the insert and keeps it clean), with a bottom sheet, or with a top sheet between it and the sleeper.