As winter has fallen upon us, we all want the warmest duvets in the market. Do we know how to measure the warmth given by the duvets or do we simply look at how chunky the duvet looks and perhaps how heavy it feels that we conclude to the warmth it will provide? It is important to choose the right bedding for the time of year and for your own personal needs. The perfect duvet weight and filling will keep you at the best temperature to enjoy deep and restorative sleep.
This time around we look at the different duvets, the jargon used and what is best for this cold weather.
There are two main things to decide on:
Type of filling – natural or synthetic
Tog rating – high or low
A duvet is only as good as its filling. Natural duvets contain natural fillings such as feather, down, cotton and wool. Natural duvets are considered luxurious as they are soft and last longer than their synthetic counterparts. Because the filings are natural, they are able to breathe thus regulating how warm you get keeping you warm in winter and cool in summer. These fillings trap air to create a duvet that’s warm, drapes well around your body and looks lovely on your bed. Life span on natural duvets is about 15 years making it durable compared to synthetic duvets at 10 years.
Feather is flat and curved in shape, with a quill shaft running between the fibres. Firmer and heavier than down, feather offers a more substantial feel of duvet. A feather duvet will require more filling than a down to get the same tog rating
Down is a three dimensional cluster of very fine filaments, with no quill shaft between them, and widely recognised as the world’s best insulation material. Lighter and loftier than feather, down offers a super soft and lightweight feel of duvet, with excellent warmth and a beautiful drape around your body. The larger the down the warmer the duvet (because the down clusters form big air pockets of insulation) and also the more lightweight it is (because it takes fewer clusters to fill it).
Duck feather and Down vs Goose Feather and Down
Duck feather and Down gives a heavier feel and more voluptuous however cheaper than Goose down and feather. Goose Down and Feather especially goose from colder parts of the world give the best duvet, they are softer, lighter and provide great warmth for the same filling.
Does it matter where the feathers and down come from? Feathers and down from Europe are generally sourced from the coldest parts of Scandinavia, where the birds develop a highly insulating coat to keep them warm in freezing weather. European-made duvets will be of a higher quality than duvets made in China, but not as premium as duvets whose feathers and down come from the colder regions of Hungary, Siberia and Canada.
Synthetic duvets on the other hand contain fillings that are man-made /synthetic fibres, like hollow-fibre and microfibre, or silk, which is naturally free of dust mites. A common misconception on synthetic duvets is that they will not provide the same warmth as natural duvets, this not true at all. Synthetic duvets can provide the same warmth as their natural counterparts.
These days, synthetic duvets aren’t necessarily made of stiff and clunky foam. Many on the market are silky soft, cosy warm and beautifully lightweight with a wonderful drape. Just beware of cheaper versions, which will soon become lumpy and uncomfortable. They are practical in that they are cheaper and can be washed domestically washed.
Although synthetic duvets are inherently dust mite free, but make sure you choose one with a mite proof cotton cover. The life span on synthetic duvets is usually 10 years.
Synthetic duvets are hypo-allergenic so good for those who suffer from allergies, asthma and eczema.
You can machine wash synthetic duvets at 30°C.
Another fancy term used in duvets is Tog. A tog rating tells you how warm a duvet is. The higher the tog rating, the warmer the duvet is. Tog rating is based on the duvet’s ability to trap warm air. Natural duvets have better thermal properties than synthetic duvets, so they need less filling to achieve the same warmth.
A tog rating is given irrespective of filling. So a 9 tog natural duvet will be just as warm as a 9 tog synthetic duvet. It might just feel a little lighter as natural duvets require less filling for same warmth.
Silk duvets can’t be measured by tog rating because the fill is made of floss, instead, their warmth is given by weight in gsm (grams per square metre), but a comparable tog rating can be given.
Babies under 12 months : Babies under 12 months shouldn’t sleep with duvets, quilts or pillows. Instead, I would advise using a baby sleeping bag, which is difficult to kick off or slide down over their head. Choose 1 tog in summer and 2.5 tog in winter.
Children under 10 years: Young children should use a lightweight tog rating as their small bodies trap more air, making them much warmer than adults would be under the same duvet.
A first duvet should be the lightest 3 or 4.5 tog. As a child grows, they may want a warmer 7.5 or 9 tog.
Children over 10 years
Older children may want a toasty warm 10.5 tog duvet, especially if their room is quite cold.
Help your child to regulate their own temperature by choosing a lower tog duvet and leaving a quilt or blanket, folded concertina style, at the bottom of the bed. That way, they can easily pull it up for extra warmth when they need it. In high summer, switch the duvet to a cool top sheet with a quilt or blanket.