Difference Between a Duvet and a Comforter

So, you're down to choosing between a duvet or a comforter for the bed. A duvet -- pronounced "duvay" -- is of French or Norse origin, depending on whom you ask, and it usually contains quilting and ticking. Americans interchange the words duvet, duvet cover and comforter all the time, not knowing the difference between the three terms. But when you go to buy a duvet and a duvet cover versus a comforter, you'll find out in short order the big difference between the two: the cost.

beautiful woman sleeping and smiles in his sleep
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Woman asleep under comforter

Comfortable Comforter

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Comforter on top of bed

As a one-piece cover for bedding, the comforter can serve in place of a bedspread when it is attractive enough to match your room's decor. Typically filled with a synthetic fiber-fill product, or down, and quilted to keep the filler in place, a comforter is just a big fluffy, blanket-type piece of bedding. It may be used year-round or just during the colder winter months. Comforters come in all sizes and prices, and they typically represent the most inexpensive choice between the two bedding products, unless you opt for a high quality down version.

Distinguished Duvet

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Child's feet underneath duvet

The duvet insert is a flat, soft bag filled with wool, down or synthetic materials. The word "duvet" simply means bird down, the soft under-feathers that do not have stiff quills. Duvet inserts come with duvet covers that act as a protective layer over the soft, flat down-filled bag. This allows you to remove the duvet cover when needed for washing, without having the hassle of washing a down-filled duvet. Duvet inserts and covers cost more than synthetic-filled comforters because of the two-piece arrangement and the filling material inside them.

A Duvet Pillowcase

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Woman smiling beneath duvet with striped cover

The duvet cover acts in the same way that a pillowcase does because it provides another form of protection over an expensive duvet, removable when needed. But unlike the pillowcase, the duvet comes with a variety of closure fasteners on one end. Some duvet covers have button closures, while others may have hook-and-loop fasteners, zippers, ties or snaps. Look for duvet covers that have the strongest closures and reinforced stitching for the longest use.

The Duvet Choice

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Woman jumping onto duvet

Duvets are on the high-end for bedclothes, so if you plan to make a purchase, take the time to research the duvet insert and its cover. Duvet inserts and covers are rated in the same manner as sheets, by thread count. Thread count measurements determine the number of threads per inch. But a higher thread count number may not indicate quality, as some manufacturers cheat when counting threads and use lower quality fibers. A minimum of 300 thread count made from extra-long staple cotton should be sufficient.