Quilt vs. Comforter
Is a cozy quilt or a cushy comforter the best bedding? Read on to learn the pros and cons of each.
So, you’ve decided to look for some new bedding—something more substantial than the average blanket. However, with so many bedding options out there, it can be hard to figure out which is which, let alone which is better for you.
Today, we’re going to cover the pros and cons of quilts and comforters, plus a recommendation for which might be the best choice for you.
What Is a Quilt ?
When you think of a cozy, old-fashioned cabin bed, you probably think of a quilt—and for good reason too. This kind of bedding is snug and warm thanks to its three-layer design of a quilt top (the layer that typically has the crazy patterns), soft batting in the middle, and a third, bottom layer of plain fabric backing.
And, in addition to the huge variety in how this kind of bedding can look and be used, sleepers can also choose from a range of materials for their quilts like cotton, polyester, down, and wool. That said, across the board, the defining traits of the quilt are its three-layer stitched design and its thick but compact feel.
- Temperature control—While comforters are stuffed with insulating and warm filling, quilts only have a single thin layer in the middle, surrounded by breathable cotton. As a result, sleepers who tend to overheat will find that quilts feel more airy and tend to stay cooler throughout the night.
- Customizable—Quilts are perhaps the most customizable kind of bedding out there. Whether you want a custom patchwork or a clean, gridded design, you can find or even custom order pretty much any quilt imaginable. Plus, while comforters are restricted to the bed, quilts can be a decorative piece on other furniture like chairs and sofas, or you can combine them with other pieces of bedding.
- Lightweight—Although quilts have three layers stitched together, they’re actually quite lightweight. This makes them not only great for hot sleepers who don’t want to feel suffocated under the bedding, but great for sleepers who want bedding with easy folding and washing.
- Not fluffy—Since quilts are made from three flat layers of fabric, they lie flat and don’t have the same cloud-like feel that comforters do.
- Less durable—-Since comforters stay on the bed and usually aren’t moved around or used for other purposes, they tend to accumulate less wear and tear than quilts do. Plus, while comforters have simpler designs, ornate quilts can be especially susceptible to noticeable damage and may be harder to repair or clean.
- More expensive—Your typical store-bought quilt and comforter will be about the same price, but if you’re looking for a hand-stitched or custom-made quilt, the price definitely adds up.
What Is a Comforter?
Like quilts, you’re probably familiar with comforters even if you don’t already own one. Simply put, a comforter has several layers (also like a quilt) with an outside layer that encases a filling. Essentially, the purpose of this filling layer is to add loft and warmth to the comforter, so common insulating materials for this filling include feathery down and synthetic down alternative.
Also, while both quilts and comforters have a middle insulating layer, the main difference is that a comforter is more like an envelope holding filling, while a quilt is more like a three-layer sandwich of fabric.
- One and done—On a bedspread, quilts are often paired with other blankets and even a whole comforter. However, for colder sleepers especially, a single comforter can get the job done and look good while it’s doing it. If you’re looking to stay warm and keep your bed from getting “cluttered,” a comforter is the way to go.
- Fluffier—Quilts may have that rustic cozy feel going for them, but comforters have that luxurious, hotel-room feel on their side. For sleepers who want bedding that’s puffy and cloud-like, a comforter is their best bet.
- More durable—You might not think that something so fluffy could be so durable, but a high-quality comforter can last for 15 years. This is because, since they’re so fluffy, comforters don’t really get worn out in the same way sheets or blankets do.
- Less decorative—While there are plenty of nice looking comforters on the market, nothing makes a statement in the same way a hand-stitched quilt does. Plus, while quilts can be an eye catching accessory on a chair or sofa, comforters are confined to one spot—your bed.
- Higher maintenance—This one depends on what kind of quilt or comforter you have, since super ornate quilts with lots of bells and whistles will actually need more care. But, your standard store-bought quilt should be easier to wash, dry, fold, and store than the standard comforter.
- Allergens—Especially if you choose an organic down comforter, the feather filling of your comforter can accumulate pollen, dust mites, and other sources of allergies. So, if you’re someone with allergies or asthma, your comforter may be actually keeping you from getting a good night’s rest.
Quilt vs. Comforter Performance Differences
We’re hit the major pros and cons of quilts versus comforters, but there’s still more to say on the performance of each kind of bedding.
The biggest difference in feel between a quilt and a comforter is loft. Despite actually being the heavier piece of bedding, comforters are fluffy and feel more like a cloud. This means that, while still keeping you plenty warm, comforters don’t really hug you. On the other hand, quilts are much flatter and will lie directly on your body. However, this isn’t to say they’re stifling. In fact, many lighter quilts are actually more breathable than comforters.
Like we touched on earlier, comforters tend to last longer than quilts, assuming everyday use. This is because comforters have less direct contact with your skin and with any pets in bed. As a result, with proper care, your comforter can last you 15 years. For quilts, while they do receive more wear and tear, a properly cared for quilt can last well over 10 years.
Quilts and comforters can be made with similar materials, but the main reasons why quilts are cooler is because they have less insulation, and their outer layers are made of breathable cotton. On the other hand, comforters made of less breathable synthetic materials (like polyester and down alternative) are known to trap sweat and heat during the night.
While the typical store-bought comforter or quilt will cost about $100–$120 on average, the cheapest comforters can run as low as $30, and hand-made quilts can cost $400. Additionally, since comforters are also more durable than quilts, you can expect to replace or repurchase your comforter less frequently.
Quilt vs. Comforter FAQ
Are Quilts the Best For Winter?
While many sleepers will find quilts plenty warm and comfortable during cold weather, comforters actually tend to be warmer and hold more body heat. This is because, compared to quilts, comforters are usually heavier and thicker, and they contain more insulating material in their filling.
What Kind of Comforter is Coolest?
While comforters in general are usually warmer, there are several materials which can add more breathability and temperature control to your bedding. Firstly, lighter comforters made from cotton, linen, bamboo, or silk can allow for more airflow which will keep you from sweating during the night.
During Which Seasons Should I Use a Quilt?
Quilts are a great way to warm up your bed during the winter, and, since they’re lighter, you can use quilts in summer too. For sleepers who want more warmth, a comforter can provide even more insulation, and, for sleepers who want cooler bedding, a blanket can provide more breathability.
TLDR: Is a Quilt or Comforter Best For You?
Don’t want to lose any sleep over which bedding is best for you? Read below for a quick rundown of the biggest pros and cons of quilts versus comforters.
Quilts Are Best For
- Hot sleepers—Compared to comforters, quilts are usually thinner and more breathable. This is because they lack the same middle layer of super insulating filling. So, if you’re a hot sleeper, a quilt will help you stay cozy but cool.
- Hypoallergenic sleepers—Comforters are more prone to gathering allergens such as dust mites and pollen, especially in their filling. For sleepers with allergies or asthma, we recommend quilts for easier breathing.
- Shoppers wanting customizations—With so many quilt patterns and hand-stitched designs out there, quilts are the better choice for shoppers wanting bedding that catches your eye.
Comforters Are Best For
- Fluffy bedding fans—Quilts are more flat and foldable due to their stacked layer. However, if you want bedding that feels like a warming, fluffy cloud, then a comforter is the better choice for you.
- Shoppers wanting lasting bedding—There are many high-quality quilts out there, but comforters are the number one choice for durable bedding with some lasting well over 10 years.
- Sleepers wanting simple bedding—While many sleepers pair a quilt with additional blankets or decorative pieces, comforters tend to have much simpler designs and don’t require additional blankets for warmth. For sleepers who want to keep it simple, comforters are the easy choice here.