Jill Barrett's Weekly Blog - Time for a warmer duvet?

Posted on 25 October 2015

Hello! With the clocks changing this weekend and the long nights closing in, it's time to consider a nice new warm duvet to keep the winter chill away. So this week I'll talk about the things you need to consider when choosing a new duvet. These include:


  • Warmth of duvet or 'Tog Rating'

  • Natural duvets

  • Man-made duvets

  • Natural and Synthetic Mix

  • Why are some duvets heavier but not as warm?

  • Why are some duvets so much more expensive than others?


Tog Rating

Duvet imageThe term 'tog' refers to a unit of thermal resistance i.e how good a material is at insulating or keeping heat in. The word tog actually comes from the informal word for clothes - "togs" which probably comes from the Roman 'toga'It's used in the textile industry and for household items such as duvets and underlay (if you have under-floor heating you need a lower tog underlay to let more heat through).  In the case of duvets, the heat we are talking about is generated by you! So the lower the tog rating a duvet has, the more of your body heat it will allow to escape. The higher the rating, the more it keeps in. Here's how that corresponds to the seasons:

Spring & Autumn - 4.5 to 10.5 tog

Summer - 3 to 4.5 tog

Winter - 10.5 to 13.5 tog

    This is only an indicator - how you like to feel in bed, and how much heat you naturally generate will be bigger deciding factors.

    Let's look at the different types of duvet:


    Natural Duvets

    Pure Goose DownThese are 100% natural duvets.  The fillings and covers could be duck or goose feathers or down, cotton, silk, wool, and even modal (a wood pulp product) or a mixture. Usually they have a 100% cotton cover to complement the natural filling. Natural fibres and fillings are much kinder to your skin and allow your body to breathe more easily. We sell the amazingly cool 3 tog 100% cotton duvets, which are lightweight and enormously breathable, as well as the 80% goosedown duvets which have been likened to sleeping under a cloud they are so light.

    Silk is kind to your skin and hair and has even been recommended by beauticians to keep wrinkles at bay - ladies please note.

    Duvets which are filled with a mixture of feather and down feel slightly heavier, so if you like to be enveloped by your cosy duvet at night, these are a good choice. 


    Man-Made Duvets

    HollowfibreThese are made from synthetic fibres such as 'hollow fibre' and 'microfibre'. Hollowfibre is a hollow strand of polyester which traps air inside which aids insulation. Microfibre is also polyester but it is specially made to be very fine - even finer than silk, allowing more to be stuffed into the duvet, thus trapping more air. If you have any allergies to feather products, you are best steering clear of any down or feather duvets or you will be in for a very sniffly night's sleep! We are noticing that a lot of people have allergies to dust mites, which can cause asthma or eczema.  These nasty little mites can be kept at bay by washing duvets at 60 degrees and our ever-popular Spundown duvets do exactly that, even fitting into your own domestic-sized washing machine.

    Synthetic duvets are very lightweight, so if you don't like your duvet to rest heavily over you, man-made is the way to go, with even the warm and cosy 13.5 tog duvets being extremely soft and light.


    Natural and Synthetic mix

    Breathe duvetWe are increasingly seeing a mixture of man-made and natural duvets, such as fibre with 10% silk, or fibre with 10% modal (which helps to "wick" sweat away from your body).  The 'Breathe' duvet from Fine Bedding Company is a good example. These are proving very popular with people who are allergic to feathers but prefer the breathability of a touch of nature.  Some duvets have a synthetic filling but are enveloped in 100% cotton covers and this too increases their breathability whilst ticking the 'lightweight, anti-allergy' box too. 


    Why are some duvets heavier but not as warm?

    Feather and down filling is heavier than synthetic filling and even with a light tog rating such as 4.5 tog, they will feel heavier than a 10.5 tog synthetic duvet, which is warmer.  The presence of feather adds weight, stability and bulk, so if you like to feel enveloped by your duvet at night, go for a feather and down filling.


    Why are some duvets more expensive than others?

    This is all down to supply and demand I'm afraid - a high percentage of down in your duvet will push up the price as down only comes from the very fine breast feathers of the bird.  The more down in your duvet, the lighter and fluffier the feel. Think of how soft a chick feels, as it is completely covered in down until it's feathers start to grow.

    Another factor affecting price is the origin of the down e.g. Hungarian Goose Down is thought to be superior due to the clusters being larger than normal, and pure white.

    Cotton is also more expensive than a synthetic equivalent such as polyester, and so a cotton cover with a high thread count, although breathable and luxurious, will cost you more.


    That's it for this week, hope you found it useful. Come and chat to our expert Linens Team if you want to find out more. Next week will be all about our Christmas displays, going in this Monday 26th October! 


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