What Is A Duvet? Everything You Need To Know

Written by
Purple Staff
Last Updated
January 31, 2023
min read

A duvet (a.k.a. duvet insert) is a type of blanket that contains stuffing to keep the sleeper warm, typically used in colder climates. It differs from a comforter in that a duvet is usually fluffier and inserted in a duvet cover. 

Read on to learn everything you need to know about duvets and comforters, including their similarities and differences.

What Is A Duvet?

duvet vs cover

A duvet is essentially a blanket of fabric that contains natural fillings like feathers, down, or wool. It can also contain a synthetic alternative, like microfibre or hollow fibre. This fluffy blanket is mostly used in cold countries during the winter months as it keeps the sleeper warm. 

The word “duvet” is of French origin and means “down” or “fluff”. Duvets are sometimes also known as comforters (American), quilts (British), and continental quilts (Australian). 

What Is A Duvet Cover?

A duvet cover is a protective layer for a duvet. It consists of two pieces of thin material sewn together with an opening at one end for inserting a duvet. 

What Is A Duvet Insert?

A duvet insert is another term for a duvet and refers to the top layer of bedding that is inserted inside a duvet cover. Duvet inserts are also known as down comforters in America. 

How Does A Duvet Differ From Other Bedding?

duvet vs other bedding

A duvet differs from other bedding in that it's made of two layers of material with a soft, fluffy filling inside. It’s designed to be inserted into a duvet cover and is often used during colder months. 

The words “comforter”, “duvet”, and “quilt” are sometimes used interchangeably by retailers. Though they are similar, the word “comforter” is typically used in America, while “duvet” and “quilt” are more common in Europe. 

For comparison, here’s a list of other bedding types and how they differ from duvets:

  • Comforter: A comforter is a thick, quilted blanket made of two layers of material. It is typically filled with a synthetic material that keeps you warm during chilly nights. Comforters are a standalone pieces of bedding as they don’t require a cover.
  • Quilt: A quilt is a type of blanket that’s made of two (or more) layers of fiber or fabric with padding in the middle. Quilts are typically made with a patchwork design and are sometimes used as decoration, though more often they are used as bed covers. 
  • Duvet cover: A duvet cover is a lightweight, protective layer of material used to cover a duvet. It’s made of two layers of material sewn together, with an opening at one end where the duvet is inserted. 
  • Bedspread: A bedspread is a decorative, lightweight cover for your bed. It’s designed to cover your bed from top to bottom, going over your pillows and draping down the sides. 
  • Blanket: A blanket is a large, single piece of woven cloth that’s used to keep warm or as a bed cover. Blankets are usually made of natural materials like wool.
  • Sheet: A sheet is a thin cloth covering for your mattress. There are different types of sheets (e.g. fitted, flat sheet) that vary in thread count and material.

Advantages Of A Duvet

  • A duvet is very soft because of the stuffing used in it. 
  • It’s easy to keep a duvet clean because it’s protected by an easily removable cover. 
  • You can change your bedding style simply by replacing the covers.
  • Duvets are typically more affordable than comforters. 

Disadvantages Of A Duvet

  • Duvets are prone to sliding around inside the duvet cover. 
  • They require bed covers at an additional cost. 
  • It can be a hassle to take the duvet covers off and put them on.

Duvet vs Comforter: What's The Difference?

The main difference between duvets and comforters is that duvets use a duvet cover, while comforters are a standalone item (no cover needed). 

How To Wash A Duvet

The first thing to do when washing a duvet is to check the tag for washing instructions. If the tag instructs dry cleaning only, make sure not to wash it in a machine. This is because certain materials like down, wool, or silk can be damaged if proper care isn’t taken.

If the tag says the comforter or duvet is machine washable, then you’re good to go. Just be sure to follow any specific instructions on the tag before washing and drying. 

Washing machine: Generally, the best way to wash both duvets and comforters is to wash them separately on a low, soft setting with mild detergent. If they’re too big for your washing machine, take them to a laundromat with industrial machines. 

Drying: Dry duvets and comforters on a low heat setting, and add tennis balls to keep them fluffy. 

Still unsure? See our guide on washing a duvet.

Key Takeaways

Duvets are typically lighter and fluffier, while comforters are heavier and flatter. Duvets use an insert and cover. Which makes it easier to take the cover off and wash.

Purple offers the perfect duvet that gives you all the warm, cozy benefits of down without pokey feathers.

What Is A Duvet FAQ's

Is a duvet just a blanket?

A duvet is a type of blanket that contains stuffing, providing extra warmth.

Is it better to sleep with a duvet or a blanket?

It’s better to sleep with a duvet if you live in a cold environment, while a thinner blanket is better for hot environments. 

People living in cold countries use duvets during the cold months but sometimes switch to thinner blankets during the summer months. People living in especially warm climates typically use no blanket or a thin blanket paired with cooling sheets and pillowcases. 

Can you wash a duvet?

Yes, you can wash a duvet. Just make sure to read the tag on the duvet before washing it at home, as certain duvets need special care. Even if the tag says that your duvet is machine-washable, it’s best to wash it on a low setting with mild detergent and use a low-heat setting to dry it.