Duvet vs. Comforter: What’s the Difference?

Written by: Andjela Kastratovic
Updated: 02/20/2023

Our bed is supposed to be a comfortable place to rest and get enough energy for the next day. And it’s not just about the mattress—bedding accessories are a huge part of comfort.

But some terms need to be clarified. For example, what’s the difference between a duvet and a comforter? Aren’t they the same thing? 

Well, not exactly. Keep reading our duvet vs. comforter guide to discover the differences between these two. 

What Is a Duvet?

A duvet is a blanket filled with down or synthetic material. The name comes from the French word for down, because traditional duvets were filled with these fine down feathers. 

Today, most duvets are filled with feathers, alternatives for down feathers, wool, cotton, or silk. No matter what material it is made of, a duvet insert cannot be used on its own; it must be used in conjunction with a duvet cover. 

A duvet insert usually doesn’t have any quilts or stitches, so you’ll have to fluff them occasionally. They also generally don’t have any decorations on the fabric because they’re meant to be used with a duvet cover. 

Care instructions vary, but the insert itself is harder to wash, and you’ll probably need to take it to a dry cleaner. However, duvet covers are easier to clean and can take frequent washing. 

Duvets are known for their warmth and fluffiness, so they’re definitely used when you want to get cozy during the cold winter. 

What Is a Duvet Cover?

A duvet cover for a duvet insert is like a pillowcase for a pillow. A duvet cover adds an extra layer to protect the duvet insert and keep everything cleaner and more comfortable. The duvet cover is closed with buttons, a zipper, or ties. 

Duvet covers come in many styles and decorations, making it easier to change your bedroom decor when you wish to. They can also be made from various materials, most commonly cotton, linen, and silk. Get an organic cover if you also have an organic mattress

Unlike the duvet itself, the covers are easy to wash. You throw them in the washing machine and follow the instructions on the label. Getting a duvet inside the cover can get tricky. 

What Is a Comforter?

Like a duvet, a comforter is a soft, fluffy blanket that keeps you toasty. It’s usually filled with synthetic fibers like polyester or cotton blends, quilted or stitched to keep the filling evenly distributed. But a comforter is not the same as a quilted blanket.

You don’t need a protective layer for a comforter; it’s meant to be used on its own or with a top sheet between the body and the comforter. Comforters tend to be slightly bigger than duvets, so your comforter will likely hang off the sides of the bed.

Because of this, comforters are very decorative. You can get them in bed-in-a-bag bedding sets with matching sheets and pillowcases. 

Comforters are harder to wash because they’re bigger and bulkier and get dirty faster, but care instructions can vary.

Even though they’re warm, most comforters are not as thick as duvets, and you might need extra blankets or an additional cover on top during the winter. Unless you’re a hot sleeper who needs a cooling layer to go along with your cooling mattress. 

Duvet vs. Comforter – the Key Differences

Most people mix up these two bedding types, and we get it. In fact, they can get very similar. 

But let’s take a look at what makes them different. 

Before we continue, remember that most of these points, except for the first one, depend on the manufacturer and aren’t set in stone. 

The Main Difference 

The main difference between a comforter and a duvet is in the top layer.

Duvets have an unfinished look and must be used with a duvet cover on top of the insert. 

On the other hand, comforters are one piece of quilted fabric, and they’re not meant to be used with a cover. 


Duvets are generally smaller than comforters and are the size of the mattress, but they’re fluffier. 

Comforters have a more flat look and are meant to hang off the sides of the bed. Duvets usually match the bed’s size and look fluffy. 

However, keep in mind that the size of the duvet or comforter can significantly depend on the manufacturer. 


Both duvets and comforters are toasty and snug, but a comforter isn’t as toasty.

A thick duvet is a great choice for the winter because it has more insulation. And you could even use them during the summer, especially if you get a good duvet cover, like one made from linen. 

Comforters are only slightly less cozy than duvets. You can use them on their own during the warmer months, but if it gets freezing, you will want to put an additional blanket on top. 


This is another point in the duvet vs. comforter debate where the answer depends on the manufacturer, materials, and other aspects. 

In the end, they tend to have the same price point.

Duvets can be costly, especially if you opt for natural fill materials, like down and feather filling or merino wool. But a down alternative is cheaper and just as comfy. Adding extra duvet covers also adds to the cost. 

Comforters are usually more affordable because they’re made from synthetic fibers, but you’ll still need a top sheet and other bedding. You could also quickly get tired of the design. 

At least bed-in-a-bag bedding sets with the comforter, sheets, and pillow cases are pretty cheap. If you’re looking for a budget-friendly option, they win. 

A lot of online mattress sellers also sell bedding that goes along with the mattress, and they often have discounts. 


A duvet is easier to take care of because you only need to wash the duvet inserts every couple of months and keep it fluffed. The duvet covers can easily be washed in a washing machine. 

Although you likely won’t be able to wash the insert at home, you’ll need to take it to a dry cleaner. 

Comforters are more prone to getting stains and dirt on them because they don’t have a layer of protection on top. Some comforters can be washed in a washing machine, but some can’t. Make sure to check the label of your comforter! 


Having a cover also means that duvets are less prone to wear and tear, so they’re usually more durable than comforters. 

However, it all depends on the construction and materials. High-quality duvets and comforters can last a really long time. 


Last but not least, let’s consider the visual appeal. 

Duvets don’t really hang off the bed, and they look fluffier. The duvet insert isn’t decorated, but that’s what the duvet covers are for. 

A duvet is a better option if you want to change styles and play with your bedroom decor. 

A comforter comes as-is, which is excellent if you are okay with keeping your bedding set looking a certain way. Also, comforters feature a quilted pattern and come in a lot of design options.

They also hang off the sides of the bed nicely and give a layered look. You just need to get a matching set of sheets and pillow shams.

Duvet vs. Comforter – Pros and Cons

As with anything, both duvets and comforters have their good and bad sides. Here’s what you should keep in mind: 

Duvet Pros

  • Warmer and fluffier
  • Removable and washable duvet cover
  • A lot of style options for duvet covers 
  • No need for a top sheet 

Duvet Cons

  • Harder to assemble 
  • Tends to be smaller 
  • Needs to be fluffed up from time to time 
  • The duvet covers are sold separately

Comforter Pros

  • Just one piece of fabric
  • Hangs off the sides o the bed and gives a layered look
  • The quilts and stitching keep the filling in place
  • Often comes with matching pillows  

Comforter Cons

  • Not as warm and fluffy 
  • More prone to stains, wear, and tear 
  • Harder to clean
  • You’ll need a top sheet 

Duvet vs. Comforter – Which One Should You Choose?

Both duvets and comforters are cozy, but in the end, it’s all about your preferences when it comes to bedding choices. 

If you want a warmer and fluffier cover, go for a duvet. Duvets also make it easy to change styles, and they’re easier to keep clean. Although the cover can be tricky to put on and the insert itself is harder to wash.

And if you want to avoid putting on a cover and are okay with just the top sheet, go for a comforter. They’re usually less warm and fluffy, but you can always put on blankets as an added layer if it gets freezing. Comforters do need to be washed more often, though. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Use a Duvet as a Comforter?

Duvets don’t need to be washed as frequently; you can just wash the duvet cover. However, the duvets themselves are usually reserved for the dry cleaners.

You could wash some comforters at home, but some need dry cleaning. It all depends on the materials. 

Check all the labels, because they’ll tell you how to wash your bedding the best. 

Can You Put a Comforter Inside a Duvet Cover?

A comforter usually doesn’t need covers, but you can add a duvet cover if you want to. But keep in mind that duvets are usually smaller than comforters, so your comforter might not fit all the So, before purchasing new bedding covers or sheet sets, double-check the dimensions of both the comforter and the sheet set! 

Final Thoughts

Well, that’s all you need to know about duvets and comforters. What do you think? Which one is a better choice for you? Duvet or comforter?

The duvet comes with a cover, and it’s warmer and fluffier, while a comforter is more oversized and simpler to use. There is no correct answer; just choose the one that feels more comfortable. 

We wish you a good night’s sleep! 

Reviews written by:

Andjela Kastratovic - Co-editor

Anđela is a content writer by the day and an Illustrator by night. She loves anything creative, but sleep takes the cake – that’s why she enjoys writing for Anatomy of Sleep so much!

While in high school, she got accepted for her dream job – a ‘professional sleeper’. Her job was to test new mattresses from a local mattress brand and write reports on the quality of sleep. Ever since then, she’s been in love with reviewing mattresses and putting her compelling research into ultimate buyer’s guides. While not exploring the latest brands, she likes to illustrate and spend time with her dog and friends.