Down and Fill Power
is the way to measure the quality of down. A higher number is better.
Specifically, Fill Power measures the amount of cubic space that
one ounce of down will fill. For example; one ounce of 750 fill
power down will fill 750 cubic inches of space, one ounce of 550
fill, 550 cubic inches of space.
does this mean to you?
A down comforter that has 60 ounces of 750 fill will be lighter,
warmer and fluffier that a comforter that has 70 or even 80 ounces
of 550 fill. So, while the 550 fill comforter may be less expensive,
it is probably not the best deal if you are looking for a lightweight,
warm and fluffy down comforter.
are generally rated from 550, 600, 650, 700, 750 & 800. There
is 900 fill power down available, although quantities of this are
very limited, making it more expensive. Better to Best quality down
comforters usually use 650 to 750 fill, with some using 800 or even
is found in almost all "bargain" or "cheap"
down comforters, even those that claim to be "luxury".
There is a reason for this. Asian down is very inconsistent (inferior)
in quality and cleanliness and is therefore much less expensive.
This is a good one. It sounds great and infers the luxury and warmth
of Russian sable. But really, there
is no such thing as Siberian Down.
Use prudence and know your retailer.
of goose down indicate quality? With one exception, no. The color
of goose down changes seasonally. It turns whiter during the winter
months, and gray to brown during the summer months. It is all generally
classified as "White". The color of down you receive in
your comforter or pillows will depend on when it was harvested,
or the selection process.
by cluster size (fill power) and by color. "White" down
that is actually gray or brown, costs less, and is used in less
expensive bedding. The only problem with this is that the darker
colored down can show through the white ticking of down pillows
and comforters. It is not as aesthetically pleasing, although it
is just as functional.
think of it
this way: Although gray and brown down is functionally the same
as white down, it is also an indicator of quality. A
merchant who goes to the expense of using sorted white down
is also likely to go the extra step when it come to other areas
of quality control. We should also note that even sorted white goose
down may have some darker clusters, as it would be virtually impossible
to remove every single brown down cluster.
we mentioned above is this: Some manufacturer's will actually bleach
gray or brown down to make it white. This destroy's the structure
of the down cluster. It looks great, but the down will quickly break
down, loosing all of it's fluffiness and warmth.
is one type of down that is gray to brown that is superior to all
others; Eider down. Comforters and pillows that use Eiderdown are
considered to be the finest in the world. For
more information on Eiderdown comforters.
About Goose Down
from geese, ducks and even chickens have been used in bedding and
clothing for centuries. Goose down is generally accepted as the
finest natural insulator used for bedding, with one exception, the
down from the Eider Duck. However, Eiderdown is very expensive
due to a limited supply (in many places the Eider Duck is considered
an Endangered Species), so most of our conversation here will focus
on goose down.
of the down
and feathers on the market today is a by-product of the agricultural
industry. After the animal is processed for food, the feathers and
down are processed for use by bedding, clothing and furniture manufactures.
companies may claim that their down "hand-harvested"
or "hand-plucked". You should be aware that this practice is considered to be cruel, and is in fact illegal in the United States and the EU (European Union). Reputable manufactures will only use goose down that is a by-product of harvesting geese for food.
Eider down is hand
harvested seasonally, by hand, from the nest of the Eider Duck.
light, almost lighter than air! Clusters of the lightest down can
float in the mildest of breezes for minutes at a time. Feathers
are much heavier and stiffer then Down, and have sharp pointy quills.
Feathers are not a good insulator, and are more often used as fill
for pillows and cushions.
are separated by forced air during the sorting process. The best
quality largest cluster down floats highest and is caught by racks.
Smaller clusters a little lower, and feathers at the bottom!
that feathers are not a good insulator and are most often used as
fill for pillows, etc. But, unscrupulous down comforter manufactures
will use feathers as fill for their "down" comforters.
By law, they are allowed to have up to 20% feathers and still claim
that their comforters are goose down.
this because it is virtually impossible to completely separate the
smaller pieces of feather from the down. However, quality conscious
manufactures will exceed the level allowed by "labeling requirements"
15% or less feather and broken down cluster content is the threshold
accepted by good manufacturers of quality down comforters for 650
fill, 10% to 5% or less for 750 or higher quality fill.