Where can you find down and feathers in general?
Down and feathers are usually found in gooses or ducks. Basically, one can say that down forms the inner layer of feathers and feathers the outer layer. The down has the task of protecting the animals from the cold or the heat and to ensure a temperature balance. The feathers, on the other hand, have the more pragmatic task of protecting the animal from the environment.
What are the differences in structure?
Down looks like a snowflake and is basically very airy, loose and soft. Feathers are significantly heavier with their long, hard keel in the middle. Feathers are also significantly larger than down, which means they have more filling capacity and weight.
The individual hairs in the down are usually longer and more branched than in the feather. This ensures positive properties in terms of heat storage and insulation. The down also only has a small three-dimensional core that resembles a sphere. As a result, the down is not as hard.
What are the differences in quality?
There are clear differences in quality, especially when it comes to duvets. A distinction is made here between a duvet, a mixed down/feather duvet and a pure down duvet. The rule of thumb here is: the higher the proportion of down, the higher the quality of the duvet.
Due to the loose composition, the down stores a lot of air and still remains light, fluffy and voluminous. This makes a pure down duvet a perfect heat accumulator that still creates a remarkable temperature balance. Warm in winter and not too warm in summer.
The advantage of duvets with 100% down is also that the cotton edging does not have to be as thick as there are no prickly feathers. The thinner border again has a positive effect on the breathability of the duvet.
Which material provides the higher cuddle factor?
Down is significantly softer and more flexible than feathers. This is particularly noticeable when you scrunch up a duvet with a certain proportion of feathers and do the same with a down duvet. The latter not only adapts better to the body at night, but also fills out the air gaps created during sleep better. This gives the feeling that a duvet with 100% down is the softest.
Which material is more expensive?
Down is the more exclusive, higher quality, but also the more expensive material. However, it is not so easy to quantify the exact price difference between down and feathers, as there are different parameters that are important:
- Which animal? (goose or duck)
- Which race? (e.g. eider or mallard)
- What color? (brown or white)
- Is it new or old down/feathers?
- How high is the proportion of feathers or down?
- Where and how were the animals kept?
Blankets and pillows with feathers also need a thicker cover, as the hard quills of the feathers can otherwise prick you uncomfortably. The down comes with a thinner cover.
We therefore recommend that you always read the description of the duvets and pillows carefully and contact support if you have any further questions.
Conclusion: So is down generally better than feathers?
You can't give a general answer to that. For the duvet, you can usually answer the question with yes, for the pillow it tends to be no.
An example: If you fill a pillow with 100% down, you would sink very deeply into the pillow. This can even negatively affect sleeping comfort. Therefore, it always needs a certain amount of springs, which provide stability through the harder keel. In the case of cushions that use 3-chamber technology, however, the proportion of feathers is usually limited to one chamber.
When buying a duvet or pillow, it is best to make sure that you have at least 14 rehearsal nights. This gives you a comprehensive overall impression of quality and sleeping comfort.