Duvet vs. Comforter – What’s the Difference?

Duvet vs. Comforter

Are you still confused between a duvet and a comforter?

Some people find duvets to be more useful while others feel a comforter is all they need. Both are bedding accessories popularly used in cold countries. 

We can understand if you have never heard of the duvet before. When it comes to bedding accessories, different countries have different jargon. Nevertheless, there are some small variations between a duvet and a comforter. 

What is Duvet? 

In cold parts of the world like Northern Europe and North America, people prefer to tuck themselves in a downy duvet instead of piling up layers of sheets and bedding. Not only does a duvet help people get a restful sleep, but it also adds to the aesthetics of the bed. For the same reasons, they are used extensively in lavish hotels across Europe.

Duvet is a French word that means down (bird feathers). There is a lot of controversy surrounding its terminology. Also, some bedding manufacturers have added to the confusion by using the word “comforter” in place of a duvet, particularly in America. In Australia, a duvet is known as a doona. While in England, it is traditionally called a continental quilt (or only “quilt”). 

In case you are wondering how a duvet keeps you warm in winters. A duvet, like any other form of bedclothes, insulates you from the external environment. The duvet does not generate heat. It is your body that produces all the heat.

Hence, the more layers (of bedding) you pile on top of your body, the more you feel warm as there is no way for heat to escape. It stays intact between your body and the bedding you use to cover yourself.

How Does a Duvet Cover Work?

A duvet cover is a protective casing made from cotton cloth. It keeps the filling intact and also protects it from wearing out or falling apart. 

It works similarly to a pillowcase or a pillow cover. Usually, a duvet is a cotton bag filled with duck/geese feathers; it is soft and delicate. You could easily rip the whole thing apart while rolling over from one side to another.

The cover also protects the duvet from dust or dirt floating in the air. Also, you don’t want the feathers to absorb your body fluids like sweat, making it stink after just a few days of use. Instead of washing your duvet weekly, you can wash the duvet cover once every week. Soaking and rinsing the duvet requires far more effort than cleaning a duvet cover.

How Do You Use a Duvet Cover?

There are several ways to use a duvet cover. But before knowing how to use it, you need to take a few factors into account:

  • What is the size of your bed? 
  • Do you sleep alone or with a partner? 
  • Are aesthetics important to you? 
  • How often do you launder your bedding?

Once you have the answers to the above questions, you can now purchase a duvet cover suited for your individual needs.

You can put on a duvet cover either by flipping it inside out and pulling the duvet in with your two hands or by rolling the duvet cover by placing it on top of the duvet. The latter method is easy and quick. 

What is a Comforter? 

As we already stated earlier, a duvet is known as a comforter in America. Apart from a few exceptions, it performs the same functions as that of a duvet. 

A comforter is a part of traditional American bedding. It is similar to a quilt but had only two lengths of fabric sewn together with space in between for the filling to go. 

In this next section, we will discuss in detail the differences between a duvet and a comforter.

The Difference Between Comforter And Duvet

We understand why some people get confused when differentiating a comforter from a duvet. They both perform the same function, look similar, and are stuffed with duck/geese feathers. 

Unlike a duvet, a comforter does not need additional protective cover. Once you take it out of the package, you can use it without having to worry about stuffing it in a cover — although you could do it if needed. Plus, being an American product, a comforter is more commercialized. It’s an embellished and restructured version of a traditional European duvet.

Secondly, the quilting or stitches allow the filling (down or synthetic material) to stay evenly distributed throughout the length of the bedding. The filling stays intact between the square quilt patterns in a comforter.

A duvet, on the other hand, is easily distinguishable. It consists of two elements: the filling and a cover. A pillow and pillowcase is a perfect analogy to describe a duvet, and it’s cover. So, to use a duvet, you do need to insert the filling inside the cover. The cover can be zipped, buttoned, or may have ties to keep the filling uniformly distributed throughout the length of the cover. 

Duvet vs. Comforter – Which is Better?

When you compare a duvet with a comforter, the only advantage a comforter has over a duvet is that it is easy to use and ready to go the moment you take it out of the package. You do not have to worry about stuffing the cover with the fill. So, to make your bed with a comforter, it takes way less time than it does with a duvet.

On the other hand, a duvet gives you the flexibility of changing the cover every other week. As a cover protects it, it does not get soiled or greasy quickly. The cover takes all the beating, and the duvet stays neat and spotless. Also, you get to try out several different duvet covers with many colors and design patterns. 

In conclusion, we don’t think one is better than the other. But it all depends on what you are looking for. As long as your needs are met, it really doesn’t matter whether you buy a duvet or comforter. 

In a nutshell, a comforter works best for those who hate making their beds. Whereas the fluffiness of a duvet provides extra insulation from the heat, and it is easier to clean.

Can a Duvet Cover Be Used on a Comforter?

Yes, you can put a duvet cover over a comforter as there are only upsides to it. Ideally, a comforter doesn’t need extra protection, but if you want to prolong its life, then doing this might be a wise option. 

You should also take into account the fact that the lifespan of a comforter is determined by the number of wash and dry cycles you put it through. The more you wash it, the more it will wear out.

Secondly, a duvet is designed to be used with a cover, but a comforter isn’t. Still, you will have several brands selling comforters with loops or buttonholes in them. We recommend you buy a comforter with a facility to put a cover if needed. Just like you do with a duvet, a comforter can be stuffed inside a duvet cover — held in place by buttons, hooks, ties, or clippers.

Should I Use a Lighter Blanket Along With a Comforter?

Most people use a lighter blanket along with their comforter for added insulation and also to protect the comforter from dirt. There is nothing wrong with this. But are you, like many other people, putting on the lighter blanket on top of yourself first and then the comforter? If yes, then you might be making a huge mistake.

According to a report by JapanToday, sleep experts believe that most people are using their blankets wrong. They put the comforter on top of the blanket either to protect it from bodily fluids like sweat or for the aesthetic benefits — most comforters come with colors/patterns matching to the bed.

The Japanese sleep scientists conclude that people are way better sleeping with putting the comforter first and then a blanket on top of it. This is due to the heat retention capabilities of the down used as a fill. The down is the inner layer of duck/geese feathers. It protects them from the cold weather, which is why it is used in the first place.


Before purchasing a duvet or comforter, make sure you are clear with what you need. To reiterate, both are bedding accessories used for the same purpose — with their upsides and downsides. 

Let us know what you learned from this post? What did you end up choosing?