While duvet covers are often chosen with aesthetic reasons in mind, purchasing a duvet can be a more overwhelming decision. Like a good quality mattress, a duvet should be an investment, lasting between around five to ten years before ideally being replaced. There are lots of different options for the right duvet — many high-quality duvets are made from down feathers, but those with allergies might need to consider a duvet made from synthetic materials.
And then there’s tog levels, which relates to how much the duvet can retain heat while also being breathable. Lower tog levels should be chosen for warmer weather — some people might swap out a “summer” duvet for a “winter” duvet when temperatures drop — and for children, who generally get warmer more quickly than adults.
Best down-filled duvets
Duvets filled with goose down are often best for the winter months, and have a more “snug” feel than others. “I personally love a big, soft, voluminous duvet that wraps around you like a cosy warm hug but without feeling too heavy, so for me it’s got to be down-filled,” Jasmin Robertson, a.k.a. @brickdustbaby, tells the Strategist UK. “We’ve had our M&S duvet for a while and it’s still a joy to sink into each night.” With a 13.5 tog value, the Hungarian goose-down M&S duvet is still breathable, but thick and warm enough for colder temperatures. M&S has a detailed feather and down policy, which lays out its ethical standards for all its products.
For a cheaper alternative, Vanessa Agyemang, interior designer and founder of design studio Copper Dust, recommends M&S’s duck-feather and down duvet, which also has a 13.5 tog value and a pure cotton cover. Agyemang explains that “feather duvets tend to be lighter in weight and can last up to a decade — they retain heat and provide a snug, cosy feel.”
“When it comes to beds and bedding, it’s got to be Hypnos,” claims Simeon Thompson, founder and interior designer at London-based JSJ Designs. Made from 100 percent natural fibres, this Hypnos duvet is made from both goose down and feathers, making it a snug, luxurious option. “We’ve used their goose-down duvets in our hotel projects for years for their ultimate comfort,” Thompson tells the Strategist UK, “and guests always leave rave reviews.”
[Editor’s note: We reached out to Hypnos to confirm its down standard and certification. We’ll update this story with their response. ]
Best down-alternative duvet
While down duvets remain a very popular option, those wanting to avoid animal products of any kind may want to stick to synthetic materials. For people who have allergies, a duvet made from synthetic materials such as hollowfibre or microfibre may also be more suitable than a down-filled option. Agyemang explains that these synthetic materials are “well-suited for allergy sufferers, last for about five years and are usually machine washable.” She likes the Soak and Sleep microfibre, which mimics the “loft and lightness” of goose down, making this a great synthetic option for those who still want the comfort and snug feel of a down-filled duvet.
Best hypoallergenic duvets
If you suffer from allergies or particularly sensitive skin, down and/or feather duvets may be a no-go. Shareen Kapoor, director of Shareen Kapoor Interiors, calls John Lewis’s anti-allergy 3-in-1 duvet her “favourite, and the one I use.” This hypoallergenic duvet is actually comprised of two separate duvets, which clip together to make “a snuggly 12.5 tog in winter, or a much lighter 4.5 tog in warmer months,” Kapoor explains. The cover is 100 percent cotton, and the breathable duvet has been given the Allergy UK seal of approval by the British Allergy Foundation. “It is very soft,” Kapoor confirms, “and feels like down without feathers — it also has strong stitching which gives you reassurance when machine washing.”
Also hypoallergenic and made from microfibre filling and a 100 percent cotton cover, this King of Cotton duvet similarly offers the option of two separate duvets, to easily switch between the summer and winter months. However, you can also simply get the lightweight 4.5 tog duvet for summer, the “standard” 10.5 tog for autumn, or the 13.5 tog for winter. Kapoor calls this “a lovely microfibre duvet that is a great price,” adding that they use King of Cotton “for most of our bedding and towels, as they offer great prices and have fabulous products.” King of Cotton promises that all of its feather and down products conform to Oekotex’s certification standards, which guarantees the absence of any chemical or other harmful substances, and the company also visits all of its suppliers in person to witness their production practices themselves.
Best ethically made duvets
Made from 50 percent microfibre and 50 percent bamboo, Panda London’s “Cloud duvet” is a great option for an environmentally friendly, ethically made alternative to down duvets. “If you’d rather ditch down and opt for a vegan-friendly alternative, I’m a fan of 100 percent ecofriendly bamboo fibre, which is luxuriously soft and light,” says lifestyle blogger Kate Baxter. “The Cloud duvet is particularly suitable for people with sensitive skin and allergies, as bamboo is uninhabitable for fungi and dust mites, making it naturally hypoallergenic and antibacterial.”
Interior designer Eva Sonaike also recommends the Panda Cloud duvet, telling the Strategist UK, “This is a great hypoallergenic duvet, which I recently bought for my children — it’s really lightweight, but still kept them warm during the cold winter nights.” The duvet has a 10.5 tog rating, and comes in recycled packaging, including a reusable bamboo bag; Sonaike likes that “it doesn’t include feathers and I absolutely love the recycled packaging.”
Another way to make sure you’re investing in an ethical duvet is with John Lewis’s EarthKind option, which has a filling of pre-loved feather and down, and is encased with a pure cotton cover. “I’m always looking for products that are kinder to the environment,” Baxter says, “which is why I’m a fan of this duvet — it feels soft and luxurious, and helps maintain the temperature efficiency of traditional natural fillings, while saving on valuable natural resources and reducing both the carbon footprint and additional landfill waste.” The duvet is only 4.5 tog, so is suitable for the summer months. It’s machine washable, and the 233-thread-count cotton cover is produced in line with the Better Cotton Initiative — an organisation that helps support fair-trade cotton production.
Made from white alpaca wool, this hypoallergenic duvet from Devon Duvets comes highly recommended by Duncan and Charlotte Campbell-Rey, interior designers and founders of creative consultancy Campbell-Rey. “This adorable British company makes 100 percent natural product alpaca duvets, handcrafted by seamstresses in their Devon workshops,” they tell the Strategist UK. “Alpaca fibre is naturally hypoallergenic and has a lovely way of keeping the perfect temperature when sleeping.” Because alpaca wool isn’t used as often as other materials for duvets, tog comparisons aren’t precise, but Devon Duvets estimate that their 400gsm duvet (gsm standing for grams of wool per square metre) translates to around a 7 to 10 tog value.
Best luxury duvets
For those willing to spend a bit more on their duvet, this Fine Bedding option has a filling of 90 percent Hungarian goose down and 10 percent Hungarian goose feather, with a cover made from sustainably sourced cotton. “For a truly indulgent night’s sleep, this goose down duvet is luxurious yet lightweight even in winter,” Kapoor confirms, adding “this is my favourite to specify for clients.” Though the price is a little higher than some of the others we’ve included here, this duvet has a ten-year guarantee, so is a sound long-term investment. There are four different tog ratings to choose from, and the duvet is machine washable. Fine Bedding has been awarded the Global Recycled Standard, which ensures that all of its products meet a criteria for sustainability, and the down and feathers the company uses will only ever be from animal by-products.
Starting at £770, Savoir’s cashmere duvet is definitely an investment — “a lifetime investment,” Sonaike states. Made from 100 percent Himalayan cashmere, the duvet comes in either 10.5 or 12 togs weights, making this an insulating luxury option for the cooler months (according to Savoir’s website, Himalayan cashmere insulates more than wool). “A client of mine recently bought one for her new bedroom,” says Sonaike, “and it feels supersoft and luxurious.”
The Salzburg duvet from Duxiana is made from ethically sourced goose down; the Campbell-Reys explain that all Duxiana’s duvets “are awarded a Downmark (the strictest certification of ethical down), and the Salzburg is filled with hand-sorted goose feathers — the stuff of dreams.” Duxiana’s website states that the mature goose down used in the Salzburg behaves like a “white eiderdown,” an extremely rare, premium duck down. “The Duxiana duvets are just as dreamy as their beds,” the Campbell-Reys add. “Featherlight and wonderful, they make for the longest and cosiest Sunday mornings under the duvet.”
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