You may find this hard to believe but duvets were barely used in the UK until the 1960s, when Habitat founder Terence Conran imported the idea from Sweden for the British mass market.
They’ve been used by the rich and those living in the coldest conditions since far earlier though, from the continental nobles who took to using them from the 16th century onward, to the Norse folk who made the very first duvets using eider duck down in Viking times.
Duvets today remain as luxurious and as practical ever – and thankfully, they’re available at prices to suit many people’s budgets.
Your most important consideration will be which seasons you need your duvet to cover. Do you plan on using the same moderately warm duvet year-round, or will you have two or three duvets of different weights to change with the seasons? If you’re getting two duvets, we’d recommend buying one heavy, one thin. If you’re getting only one, look out for a spring/autumn option.
Duvets are categorised using a unit called tog, which measures thermal insulance. The higher the tog, the warmer the duvet. These are the tog weights most advisable for each season in the UK:
Most of the duvets featured in this article are available in a range of togs to suit different times of year, including all-seasons options which come as two separate duvets that can be fastened together when the weather gets cold.
Another factor to consider carefully is the materials used. Popular fillings include goose feathers, duck feathers, wool and synthetic fibres, the latter of which is in some rare instances made from recycled plastics.
The materials that make up your duvet will define its properties, including its feel, heat retention, ethical credentials and suitability for people with allergies.
There are also distinctions within individual material types. For instance, Hungarian goose down is reputed as being of especially high quality: the long tradition of breeding geese for bedding in that country.
Depending on who you ask, duvets need washing anywhere from once every few months to annually. This will depend on factors including the time of year and the permeability of your duvet cover, as well as your personal preference.
Care instructions vary among duvets, and we would therefore urge you to read the care label of your duvet before washing. We’ve made a note of whether a duvet is machine washable or not in the key specs at the start of each of our reviews.
We had a good, long lie down and/or sleep under each of the duvets featured in this article. We were on the lookout for comfort, movement, and warmth appropriate to the relevant tog rating. We also considered finer details such as stitching, quilting and fastenings – details that can turn an excellent product into an outstanding one.
Key specs – Sizes: Single, double, superking; Weights: All-season; Materials: 100% British wool filling, 200 thread count organic cotton percale cover; Machine washable: Yes
Woolroom’s all-season duvet is in fact two individual duvets: one lightweight and one medium. You use the light one over summer, the medium in spring and autumn, then popper the two together in winter for maximum warmth. A few of the other duvets featured in this article are also available in this clever format, but we like this one best.
The cotton cover feels beautifully cool and pure. It soon warms up once you’re underneath it though, especially if you’ve doubled the duvet up. We were also impressed with Woolroom’s attention to detail, down to the pleasant matte texture of the poppers used to make this double duvet into one.
And not only is it luxurious, it’s also surprisingly low-maintenance. You can machine wash it with wool detergent at up to 40°C.
Key specs – Sizes: Single, double, king, superking, emperor; Weights: 4.5 tog, 10.5 tog, 13 tog, all-seasons 13.5 tog; Materials: 70% polyester microfibre and 30% tencel filling, 100% cotton percale outer cover; Machine washable: Yes
We can’t emphasise strongly enough what a fantastic bargain this duvet is. For as little as £45, you get an impressively well-finished product with an outstanding capability for keeping you just the right level of cosy.
It feels comfortable and enveloping in a way unique to microfibre duvets, with filling that moves incredibly fluidly with your body.
If you struggle to find the right temperature at night, this could be the duvet for you, especially if you’re buying the all-seasons version, which includes a 4.5 tog duvet and a nine tog one.
Key specs – Sizes: Single, double, king, superking; Weights: 4.5 tog, 9 tog, 10.5 tog, 13 tog; Materials: 100% Hungarian goose down filling, 420 thread count cotton sateen cover; Machine washable: Yes
Lots of bedding companies name their products after clouds, but this duvet is the only product we’ve encountered that truly merits that association.
It’s sublime. The 420 thread count cotton sateen cover seems almost liquid in its softness, and the A1 grade Hungarian goose down filling felt as if it were barely there despite keeping us perfectly toasty.
We liked the decadent touch of adding champagne piping around the edge – not that this duvet isn’t lavish enough regardless.
Key specs – Sizes: Single, double, king, superking; Weights: Approx. 3 tog, approx. 5 tog; Materials: British organic wool filling, 100% cotton cambric casing; Machine washable: No – dry clean only
Here’s an outstandingly inventive option from Devon-based organic bedding makers Naturalmat. Ultra-thin, quilted and with extra-crisp edges, the Organic Wool Duvet had us scratching our heads at first – but our dubiousness soon turned to satisfaction once we were tucked up under it.
Offering a distinct feel and profile to other duvets, we found Naturalmat’s creation to be surprisingly cosy and comfortable, despite its slenderness. We’d strongly recommend the 300g version as a lightweight summer option for those intending to use different duvets throughout the year. It’s also ideal for people who prefer their bed to look very flat.
Use the cotton ties on each corner to join a couple of these duvets together ready for the coldest weather.
Key specs – Sizes: Single, double, king, superking; Weights: 9 tog; Materials: 80% Hungarian duck down and 20% Hungarian duck feather filling, 100% Egyptian cotton cover; Machine washable: Yes
Is that a technical term, snuggly? Because that’s just how this duck down and feather duvet from Heal’s felt to us.
Duck feathers tend to be a little less soft than goose feathers, which can mean duck duvets feel more tactile, albeit a little less light. This one, packed with Hungarian duck down and feathers, feels extremely plump and luxurious. The edges are very well stitched too, so the amount of escapee feathers should be relatively low. We also love the beautiful, off-white Egyptian cotton cover.
Key specs – Sizes: Single, double, king, superking; Weights: 4.5 tog, 9 tog; Materials: 70% goose down, 30% goose feather filling, 100% cotton cambric casing; Machine washable: No – dry clean only
The Goose Down Duvet from Naturalmat is a taste of the luxury end of the duvet market, which comes at a price less eye-watering than most.
It feels especially light to sleep under and is not as enveloping as some heavier duvets can seem. We feel that makes it better suited to those who like their bedding fresh and light. It has nice, crisp edges, which makes it particularly easy to work down into the duvet cover when making the bed.
Key specs – Sizes: Single, double, king, superking; Weights: 10.5 tog; Materials: Advanced Smartfil fibres made using 100% recycled microfibre filling, 100% recycled soft touch microfibre cover; Machine washable: Yes
We can’t commend The Fine Bedding Company highly enough for creating this remarkable eco-friendly duvet. The filling is made from approximately 120 recycled PET plastic bottles, while the cover is made from 100 per cent recycled materials, and the whole thing is manufactured at an “Eco Factory” running on renewable energy.
This also happens to be the comfiest duvet of any sort we’ve encountered at such an affordable price. It feels extremely soft and squishy, which is great for those who like to cuddle up to their bedding.
If you’re concerned you won’t be able to stop thinking about the duvet’s past life as a bunch of plastic bottles, we’d urge you to reconsider: would you think the same way about ducks or geese and a feather duvet? We suspect not.
Key specs – Sizes: Single, double, king, superking; Weight: 7.5 tog, 10.5 tog, 13.5 tog, Materials: 100% silicone polyester microfiber blend filling, 100% polyester microfiber outer; Machine washable: Yes
Busy households, step this way. Marks & Spencer’s duvet could save you significant time and hassle when it comes to keeping your duvet clean. It can be machine washed at up to 40 degrees, and tumble dried in a standalone machine. Better still, its fibres are engineered to dry quickly and withstand multiple washes. We found it held up on all these accounts during testing.
On the bed, we found this duvet to be fairly comfortable, but not spectacularly so. It’s best suited to making your waking life easier, rather than making your nights more luxurious. A good budget-friendly option.
Key specs – Sizes: Single, double, king, superking, emperor; Weights: 3 tog, 4.5 tog, all-seasons 7.5 tog, 9 tog, 10.5 tog, 13.5 tog, all-seasons 13.5 tog, all-seasons 15 tog, all-seasons 18 tog; Materials: 90% Hungarian goose down and 10% feather filling, 280 thread count cotton casing; Machine washable: Yes
This lovely duvet demands to be sunk into and only ever departed from grudgingly. Its maker, Soak & Sleep, has a wonderful way with goose down, which in the case of this duvet has been treated in thermal spa water before stuffing. The result is a plump, pliable material that springs back into shape within a few seconds of being touched.
With nine tog ratings and five sizes to choose from, this is the most flexible duvet we’ve tested, provided every variant is in stock. We love the beautiful silvery piping around the edge too.
Key specs – Sizes: Single, double, king, superking; Weight: 10.5 tog, Materials: Hollowfibre filling, 100% cotton cover; Machine washable: Yes
In our experience, reasonably priced duvets don’t get much comfier than this. In fact, if you enjoy the heavier feel of a synthetic duvet, you might even prefer Silentnight’s duvet to some of the costlier goose or duck feather options on the market.
What stands out about this duvet is how well it moves though, flowing seamlessly with your body as it tosses and turns. This could make it a great choice for restless sleepers who want to avoid waking their partners with their rustling.
We’re always glad when we can say one of the most affordable products is one of the best, and that’s exactly the type of product we’re talking about here.
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