Have you been shopping for a down alternative comforter?
You’ve undoubtedly come across multiple different models. Ultimately, however, most down alternative comforters are either filled with traditional polyester or Primaloft.
But what is the difference?
Which is better?
And why does Primaloft cost so much more?
Primaloft is certainly a better insulative material. But does that make for a better comforter? The answer is…maybe!
Primaloft vs Polyester
Let’s do a quick summary of both materials. Then we’ll go in-depth about the advantages of each.
Primaloft was originally invented in 1983 for the US Army.
They needed a water-resistant alternative to goose down for insulation in sleeping bags, jackets, etc.
Goose down is amazing for insulation. But not so much when it gets wet. Which it tends to do in military situations.
By 1989, Primaloft was being used for retail applications. Today it’s regarded as a premium synthetic insulator. It’s quite often described as the closest thing to natural goosedown.
Primaloft is essentially a polyester microfiber.
The long and thin fiber structure provides a goosedown-like feel and performance. It’s lightweight and able to retain heat more effectively than other synthetic materials.
The “current version” of Primaloft features post-consumer recycled content. This basically means recycled plastic – like water bottles.
Regular polyester is what you’ll find in most down alternative comforters. Polyester is made from a chemical reaction using petroleum, air, and water.
Like Primaloft, polyester is a petroleum-based product.
It is cheap to make. Polyester isn’t the best fabric as far as clothing is concerned. But it’s just fine to use for insulation – like inside of a comforter.
Advantages Of Primaloft
Physically speaking, Primaloft is clearly a superior product when compared to traditional polyester.
It is lighter in weight, retains more heat, and is more luxurious to the touch. Primaloft behaves like natural down. But with the added benefit of being hypoallergenic as well.
What does all of this mean?
You need to fill a comforter with more polyester to get the same warmth as you would with Primaloft. A comparable polyester-filled comforter is heavier and bulkier. And due to its thicker fiber construction, it’s also stiffer.
Do you love to envelop yourself with a soft squishy comforter? Primaloft is definitely the better choice.
Primaloft is – if maintained correctly – a very durable material.
The synthetic nature of the fibers means that they will not stain, or hold on to moisture. Like sweat for example. And it won’t be food for bed bugs.
Advantages Of Polyester
Polyester is also thin and light – just not as thin and light as Primaloft. It is also just as durable (again, if taken care of properly).
The main advantage of regular Polyester is cost.
.They are much cheaper than Primaloft-filled comforters. And usually priced for half the price of a comparable Primaloft version.
Which Comforter Should You Choose?
Primaloft is clearly a better insulative material. The average person will enjoy a Primaloft comforter as much as a goosedown comforter.
But not everyone will appreciate the higher cost or the extra warmth for that matter.
If you want the best product, regardless of cost, we would suggest Primaloft.
Maybe you live in a colder climate, and want more “performance” from your comforter – Primaloft. If you want the softer, snugglier/cozier option – Primaloft.
On the other hand, maybe you live in a warm climate. Or you’re just a warm sleeper. Go with a lightweight polyester comforter.
Maybe you’re on a budget.
Or you’re shopping for a secondary comforter – for a guest room/vacation rental/etc. Choose a medium-weight or “All Season” polyester comforter.
How To Maintain A Down Alternative Comforter
We briefly mentioned that a down alternative comforter should be maintained properly. Like natural goose down, synthetic materials also need to be taken care of correctly. If so, you can enjoy them for years to come.
Polyester and Primaloft are both prone to clumping.
Have you ever had a down alternative comforter, or a pillow, that was lumpy and uneven? Or maybe a comforter that had flattened out in certain areas? And no longer offered any warmth?
More than likely, you washed and dried incorrectly. Polyester (and Primaloft) don’t respond well to warm temperatures. High heat causes polyester to clump – resulting in a lumpy and uneven surface.
If you want your down alternative comforter to last a while, wash and dry it properly. When in doubt, follow the care instructions on the tag. Otherwise, the instructions below should apply to most comforters.
Also, make sure that you are using a chlorine-free detergent. Caustic chemicals like bleach will damage polyester fibers.
Step 1: Wash the comforter, by itself, on the gentle or delicate cycle of your machine. Use cold water.
Add a minimal amount of detergent.
If your machine offers the option, set it for two rinse cycles. This will ensure that all of the detergent is rinsed out. Laundry detergent has a tendency to coat synthetic fibers. This results in lumpy and uneven spots.
Step 2: Tumble dry on the lowest heat setting that your dryer offers. Newer machines will have an “air dry” or “no heat” setting. If your machine offers these, use them instead.
You might have to run your machine twice to get it fully dried, so be patient.
Follow these simple instructions. Every time you wash and dry. Your comforter will last for many years, clump-free.
Features To Look For When Comforter Shopping
Let’s look at some important features when buying your new comforter.
Duvet loops, AKA corner ties, keep a comforter securely in place inside of a duvet cover. Look for a comforter that has duvet loops!
Also, ditch the safety pins and use a set of comforter grips or clips.
Cotton Outer Cover
Look for a comforter that has a cotton cover. This will allow the fabric to breathe. This is essential during the warmer months.
Don’t worry too much about the thread count. Your comforter will be inside of a duvet cover. You’ll never actually feel how soft the comforter fabric is.
Cording or Piped Edge
Cheaper comforters will have a simply sewn seam. This type of edge is not very durable. It tends to break apart after a few washes.
Look for cording, or a piped edge. This type of edge is durable, and won’t break apart.
Match the Size
Make sure your duvet cover is large enough for your new comforter.
Many comforters today are available in extra long or “oversized” dimensions. This is great – unless your duvet cover isn’t large enough for them.