Duvet vs Comforter vs Duvet Cover: What Are They?

The words duvet and comforter are often used interchangeably and they generally mean the same thing.

People from the US say comforter, but people from Europe say duvet.

What both words are referring to is a type of bedding that people lay under while sleeping to keep themselves warm and comfortable.

But when you get to the official definitions, duvets and comforters are not quite the same things.

The main difference is that a duvet is typically covered in a removable duvet cover, while a comforter is often used without a cover or has a built-in cover.

Duvet vs comforter – key differences

Duvets and comforters are both thick, fluffy blankets that you lay under to keep warm. They usually sit on top of your bed.

That being said, these are the main differences between duvets and comforters:

Duvet Comforter
Commonly used in Europe. Commonly used in the US.
Has a removable duvet cover. Has a built-in cover, or no cover at all.
Very easy to clean, just remove the cover and throw it in the washing machine. Can be harder to clean and often has special requirements.
Easy to change styles — just buy a new duvet cover that is styled differently. Come in all sorts of colors and patterns, but you can’t change the style after you buy it.
Can be used without a top sheet. Often used with a top sheet between the comforter and person sleeping under it.
Often sold individually. Often sold in sets, with both sheets and pillowcases.

Importantly, many comforters can be used just like duvets if you enclose them in a duvet cover.

What is a comforter?

Comforter on bed

A comforter is a soft, fluffy, thick and quilted blanket that lays on top of your bed. It usually filled with down, down feathers, wool or synthetic fibers.

The filling material is held in place with stitches, which keeps the filling of the comforter distributed evenly.

There is often less filling in comforters, so they can be less fluffy and flatter than duvets. On cold nights, you may need to supplement your comforter with additional blankets in order to keep warm.

Comforters often have a top sheet under them, which provides a layer between the person sleeping and the comforter. This is done for hygienic purposes, so that the comforter stays clean.

Unlike duvets, comforters are often used with layers of sheets or other blankets below them. This can be preferable for those who like their beds to have a layered look.

Comforters are often sold in sets along with sheets, pillow shams and other bedding. The comforter is usually the final piece of your bed styling as it lays on top of everything else. This can make the process of decorating your bed fairly simple.

Comforters can be harder to clean than duvets. Some of them are difficult to put in the washing machine due to their size and bulkiness and many comforters require professional dry cleaning.

Some people put their comforters inside duvet covers to keep them clean, which makes them function just like duvets.

What is a duvet?

Woman sleeping under duvet

Duvets are soft, fluffy quilts that originated in Europe and used to always be filled with down feathers. In French, a duvet literally means “down comforter.”

Down feathers are soft, fluffy feathers that are located under the bird’s tougher exterior feathers. It has very powerful natural insulating properties.

In modern times, duvets are often filled with down, wool or some synthetic alternative. The most expensive and most luxurious duvets are filled with eiderdown, which is a very rare natural resource.

Must duvets are white or light-colored, but they come in many different designs. The casing used to hold the filling material can be made from different fabrics, such as cotton or silk.

Duvets are generally enclosed in a protective cover that is removable and washable, called a duvet cover. The duvet cover protects the duvet, just like a pillowcase protects a pillow.

Using a duvet instead of a comforter makes the entire chore of managing and making your bed a lot easier and faster. It is a single covering instead of multiple items and layers.

You can explore our selection of eiderdown duvets and comforters on this page.

What is a duvet cover?

Duvet covers and bed linens

A duvet cover is what you enclose your duvet in, just like a pillowcase for a pillow. The duvet cover helps protect your duvet and keep it clean. It is usually sealed with buttons or zippers.

It is very easy to throw the removable duvet cover into a washing machine, making it much easier and simpler to keep your bedding clean. If you use a duvet cover and clean it regularly, then you won’t need to clean your duvet for many years.

It is not necessary to sleep with a top sheet when you have a duvet, because the duvet cover serves the same function as the sheet.

Using a duvet cover allows you to easily change the style and colors of your bedding, simply by switching to a different cover. This is an inexpensive way to completely change the style of your bed.

Duvet vs comforter – which is better?

At the end of the day, whether duvets or comforters are better is somewhat subjective as it depends on your personal preferences.

We prefer duvets because they are so easy to clean and care for. Plus, they make the chore of making and maintaining your bed so much easier.

But many others prefer comforters, often because of the styling or because they are ready to go as soon as you take them out of the bag.