Duvet vs. Comforter – What’s the Difference?

Duvet vs. Comforter – What’s the Difference?

We often use the terms “duvet” and “comforter” interchangeably. While these items are similar, they are, in fact, two different types of bedding.

In brief, the main difference between a duvet and a comforter is that a duvet requires a duvet cover, while a comforter comes with a built-in cover. However, these are not the only differences. This article will explore what defines a duvet and a comforter and the exact ways they are different.

Definition of a Duvet

In French, duvet means down comforter. This is because a duvet is generally a soft, plush quilt filled with different types of stuffing. The duvet originated in Europe and was typically filled with down, hence, down comforter. Down comes from the soft, fluffy inner fibers of ducks and geese that naturally insulate heat. These days, in addition to down, duvets tend to also come with firmer feathers or synthetic fibers. In general, duvets are white or an off-white color.

A duvet needs a protective covering called a duvet cover. In the same way that a pillowcase protects a pillow, a duvet cover protects the duvet from damage due to body oil, spills, or other bodily fluids. Duvet covers are easy to clean, while duvets often require special cleaning such as dry cleaning. Therefore the advantage of using a duvet cover is that you don’t have to worry about cleaning your duvet as often.

Definition of a Comforter

A comforter is the American version of a duvet. It has layers of fabric containing down, feathers, or synthetic fibers held in place with stitching.

In general, comforters usually have less stuffing than duvets. For this reason, a comforter may be less fluffy and feel flatter than a duvet. As a result, they tend to be less heavy and are usually supplemented with a top sheet or quilt on chillier nights.

Comforters don’t require a protective covering. They are usually sold as a set with sheets and pillowcases and come in various colors and patterns.

Comforters are not easy to clean, and though many can be machine washed, they are often hard to fit into household washers. For this reason, it’s generally recommended that you use a top sheet between your body and the comforter. This will allow you to wash the comforter less often. However, you can put a duvet cover over a comforter if you so choose.

Comparing Duvets versus Comforters

Given that duvets and comforters are extremely similar, it can be hard to know which one to choose. For this reason, we’re going to compare the price, cleaning, style, warmth, and ease of use of both these bedding types to give you an idea of which you should buy.

  • Affordability

Duvets and comforters are available at a variety of prices. However, when budgeting for a duvet, you have to keep in mind the duvet cover’s extra cost. Furthermore, once the duvet is stained or damaged, it may be impossible to fix or clean and therefore need to be replaced.

Comforters are also difficult to fix if they become damaged. However, comforters tend to come bundled with sheets and pillowcases. Buying this set tends to be more economical than buying sheets and pillowcases separately.

  • Ability to Keep Clean

Duvets are usually too bulky or too delicate for household washers and therefore require dry cleaning. However, duvet covers are easy to clean, and using one means you should rarely if ever, have to clean your duvet.

Comforters can usually be machine-washed, but it really depends on the size of the comforter and the size of your machine. In some cases, you may have to use an industrial washer or have it dry cleaned. You will need to clean your comforter more frequently than a duvet since it doesn’t have its own cover.

  • Style Options

A duvet requires a duvet cover, but this means you can change the look of your bedding as often as you want. You can even have a different duvet cover for every season. Comforters, by contrast, can’t be changed as easily. You will require a completely different comforter if you want to change the look of your bed. This can be expensive and will require that you have space to store multiple comforters.

  • Warmth and Comfort Capabilities

If you live in a four-season climate, comforters provide options for both the cold and warm months. With a comforter, you can add or remove sheets and quilts to adjust to the temperature.

Duvets tend to be plusher and heavier. They don’t require additional sheets or quilts. This means that you should be kept quite warm and unencumbered by additional material in the winter. However, in the warmer months, you may find the duvet’s heaviness to be too warm.

  • Ease of Use

It’s recommended that you use a top sheet and a quilt with a comforter. These extra bedding items can mean that it takes you longer to make your bed. However, putting a duvet cover on can be a tricky ordeal. You have to line the duvet up inside the cover precisely. Furthermore, you usually have to connect the cover to the duvet with snaps or ties. It sounds easy, but it does take time to get it right. The last thing you want is to have your duvet sliding around inside the cover.


The main difference between a duvet and a comforter is that a duvet needs to be covered, while a comforter has a built-in cover. This means that when you dress your bed with a duvet, all you require in addition to the duvet and cover is a fitted sheet and pillowcases. By contrast, a comforter often involves the addition of a top sheet for hygiene reasons and a quilt for warmth. Luckily, comforters often come in sets that include sheets and pillowcases, which is easier on your budget. With a duvet, you have to factor in the cost of the duvet cover and the sheets and pillowcases when doing your budget.

Furthermore, duvets tend to be heavier and are therefore great for colder months but can be uncomfortable in warmer months. By contrast, a comforter tends to be lighter, and you can add or remove sheets depending on the temperature. However, using a duvet with a cover means you can easily change your bed’s look. All you have to do is put on a new cover. To change the look of your bed with a comforter requires a whole new comforter. That can get expensive and is inconvenient storage wise. That being said, changing a duvet cover can be tedious and time-consuming. While a comforter requires adding more layers to your bed, it is not as difficult as trying to get a duvet to fit correctly in a cover.

In sum, a duvet is good if you don’t like having many layers on your bed, want to wash and change the style of your bed frequently, and don’t mind being a bit warmer in the summer. By contrast, a comforter is best for people who like layers, don’t need to change the look of their bed frequently, and like the option of more sheets in the winter and less in the summer.

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