Comforter vs. Blanket
Comforter or blanket? Let’s cover the pros and cons of each to see which bedspread is best for your sleeping needs.
There’s a strong chance that you’re already familiar with comforters and blankets, but you might not know exactly how they differ or what kinds of people each is best for. So, let’s take a closer look at what comforters and blankets have to offer.
What Is a Comforter?
In general, comforters and blankets are more similar in their purpose than their construction. As a blanket statement, both kinds of bedding are meant to cover you up and keep you warm. However, comforters have a different feel from blankets and include different materials in their designs.
First off, while both comforters and blankets are a single “piece” of bedding, comforters actually have three layers: an outer shell wrapped around a filling inside. Typically, comforter filling is made from materials such as down (soft bird feathers) or down alternative (a synthetic alternative to down), both of which are known for their warm, fluffy, and insulating feel. For the outside layer of the comforter, sleepers can choose from a variety of materials, depending on their preferences and price range, such as cotton, bamboo, silk, or polyester.
- Loft—It’s hard to deny the satisfaction of super fluffy, cloud-like bedding. So, if you’re looking for your bed to feel like a plush, hotel-style bed, you’ll probably want to start your search with comforters, especially those with an extra fluffy material in their filling.
- Durability—Comforters are thicker than blankets, they tend to need less machine washing, and they generally get less wear and tear. As a result, a high-quality comforter can give you literal years of quality rest. On the other hand, you likely won’t be keeping many thinner blankets around for longer than that.
- Customizability—There’s plenty of options on either side of the comforter versus blanket debate, but one advantage of a comforter is that you get to choose the fill you want and the cover you want. This means that you can choose the warmth, thickness, and feel of your comforter all at once. But, for blankets, you’re pretty much stuck with a single fabric.
- Price—There’s lots of advantages to having a comforter, but they do come at a cost. For example, a typical down comforter might cost you about $100, while a cheap fleece blanket can cost as little as $3. Overall, while many shoppers do find the investment of a quality comforter to be worth the upfront cost, those on a super tight budget will likely prefer a blanket.
- Maintenance—One downside of comforters is that they do require more upkeep than blankets. In addition to some comforters needing drycleaning, many others also need to be carefully dried and fluffed. For example, this can mean washing your comforter separately and trying it with tennis balls to punch out any clumps.
- Temperature control—It’s no secret that comforters are designed to be thick, soft, and especially warm. This is great news if you’re a cold sleeper in the middle of January, but not so much for a hotter sleeper in the summer. In this case, our recommendation for those who want more ventilation is to stick with a blanket.
What Is a Blanket?
You might be thinking, “I already know what a blanket is”—but it’s worth also knowing specifically what blankets have to offer in comparison to comforters. In this case, the biggest difference here is that blankets are a single layer of a single fabric with no fill. But, that’s not to say that all blankets are the same.
Sleepers can choose from a variety of blanket thicknesses, sizes, and materials ranging from thinner cotton throw blankets to wintery and heavy wool blankets. And, for sleepers who want even more substantial and hugging bedding, weighted blankets are a possibility as well.
- Easier cleaning—For the average blanket, you can just throw it in the washing machine with the rest of your laundry, and it’ll come out clean in a few minutes. However, this isn’t necessarily the case for comforters which can require drycleaning and additional fluffing to keep their filling from clumping.
- Multipurpose—Comforters are pretty much just meant to be slept under. But, blankets can be used in the same way or as decorative additions to furniture and beds. Plus, you can even combine a blanket with a comforter for extra layers of comfort.
- Hypoallergenic—Sleepers with asthma or those who suffer from allergies should keep in mind that comforters generally trap more dust mites and allergens. This is because comforters tend to be thicker and many have feathery down as their filling. On the other hand, thinner blankets trap fewer allergens and are easier to wash all the way through.
- Less durable—Blankets are thinner and tend to get more cuddling and pulling from sleepers and pets alike. And, while blankets are easier to wash than comforters, they’re also thinner and tend to be cheaper too. As a result, you’ll likely end up replacing your blankets every five to 10 years.
- Less fluffy—Your typical blanket can be a lot of things, but usually not that fluffy—at least not compared to a comforter. Because blankets have a single layer of fabric and no filling, they can really only be as fluffy as the fabric they’re made from.
- More bedding—If you’re a cold sleeper who’s looking for something warm, a single comforter can get the job done. But, while layering up blankets can work too, your bedding can end up cluttered and tangled. So, for those who want warming bedding without stacking anything, a single comforter is the way to go.
Comforter vs. Blanket Performance Differences
We’ve talked about the pros and cons of comforters and blankets, but let’s go into more detail about how each kind of bedding performs.
Since there’s so much variety in both comforter and blanket designs, it’s hard to pin down exactly how each of them feel. But, the general trend is that the average comforter tends to be heavier and fluffier than the average blanket. Since blankets don’t have any filling, they also don’t have much loft or fluff compared to a comforter. So, if you want bedding that feels like a big, warm cloud, a comforter will be your best bet.
For a list of our favorite comforters, check out the best comforters page.
There’s lots of warm blankets and comforters out there, but cooling blankets are definitely much more common than cooler comforters. In fact, comforters are designed to be warmer since they’re often filled with highly insulating materials like down. So, while cold sleepers may be able to find either a blanket or comforter that keeps them warm, sleepers who overheat will most likely just prefer a blanket.
A high-quality comforter can last you up to 10 to 15 years, making this type of bedding a super durable and long lasting investment. Plus, since many sleepers tend to just lie underneath their comforters, they don’t really accumulate wear and tear that fast.
On the other hand, while plenty of durable blankets do exist, this kind of bedding is usually much thinner and gets more contact use. So, overall you can expect the average blanket to last about five years before it’s time for a replacement.
In terms of the price tag, you’ll generally save more money buying a blanket as opposed to a comforter. However, while it’s true that comforters can cost hundreds of dollars and require more care, they also tend to last longer. So, while buying a blanket will save you some dollars in the short term, you’ll likely end up having to buy another blanket before another comforter.
This one can go either way, depending on whether you care more about customizability in purpose or in feel.
First off, for purpose, blankets offer more uses than comforters can used decoratively in living rooms, bedrooms, and throughout your home. On the other hand, a comforter will pretty much strictly stay lying across your bed. That said, comforters do allow for more options in terms of their feel since shoppers can choose both the feel and fill of their comforter. However, for blankets, you’re essentially choosing just a single fabric.
Comforter vs. Blanket FAQ
Is Sleeping With a Comforter or Blanket Healthier?
If you’re a sleeper who has asthma or allergies, you may find that a thinner, more tightly woven blanket helps you breathe easier. This is because, unlike fluffy comforters which can hold dust mites and pollen, woven blankets are both easier to wash and don’t trap allergens as much.
How Often Should I Wash a Comforter?
Generally, we recommend you wash your comforter about once a month. But, if you tend to sweat in your sleep, if you sleep with a pet, or if you have allergies, you’ll want to wash every few weeks. Lastly, be sure to double check that your comforter is actually machine-washable.
What Does a Weighted Blanket Do?
Weighted blankets, by applying gentle, hugging pressure, offer therapeutic benefits to restless or anxious sleepers. These blankets can work for children over two years old all the way to larger adults, and they can weigh as little as five pounds or as much as thirty-five pounds.
TLDR: Is a Comforter or Blanket Best For You?
In a hurry to pick your next bedspread? Here’s a quick rundown of the main pros and cons of comforters and blankets.
Comforters Are Best For
- Fluffy bedding fans—Comforters are designed with a fluffy and lofty feel in mind. If the idea of sleeping under a warm cloud sounds great to you, then it’s definitely worth considering getting a comforter.
- Luxury shoppers—If you’re looking for a high-quality and luxurious piece of bedding that can last you many years, it might be worth splurging a little bit on a comforter.
- Colder sleepers—Nothing is better in the winter than sliding under a thick and warm comforter. If you’re a sleeper who prioritizes coziness, then a down or down alternative comforter will probably be at the top of your list.
Blankets Are Best For
- Hot sleepers—For those of us who don’t like sweating at night, blankets offer more cool options, ranging all the way from super thin cotton to thick wool. So, if you want anything cooler than super cozy, a blanket might be your best bet.
- Budget shoppers—There are plenty of blankets that are more costly than the average comforter, but the average blanket is much cheaper, and the cheapest blankets are only a few bucks. If thinner bedding and a thicker wallet is what you want, it’s worth looking into getting a blanket instead.
- Low maintenance shoppers—Comforters are more luxurious than blankets, which means they also need a little extra upkeep. While almost every blanket is machine-washable, many comforters require dry cleaning, and even some machine-washable comforters still need extra fluffing too.