Down Comforter Fill Power Guide

by Eric Cotten | Last Updated: March 1, 2017

fill power500, 700, 900 fill power – if you’re wondering what these numbers mean, you’ve come to the right place.

Investing in a down comforter can completely change the way you sleep by enveloping you in cloud-like luxury. However, to get a down comforter that is fluffy and cozy to your liking, it all comes down to choosing the right fill power.

A bunch of comfort scientists came up with a way to measure fluffy comfort quality and they called it fill power. To help you understand what exactly this genius measurement means, we’ve broken the science down plain and simple to help you choose the best down comforter for your sleep needs.

What is Down Filling?

To understand fill power, you must first start with the basics, which for down comforters means the source of their comfy filling – geese!

Well, in most cases it’s geese, or more specifically fluffy geese down feathers. Down feathers are the underlying layer of thin and soft feathers found on various species of birds, including geese and ducks.

Think of a baby bird – fluffy, right? That’s because they are covered in these luxurious plumes.

The reason baby birds – and humans – love down is because these fluffy clusters can trap air, giving you the feeling that you are enveloped in a soft and cozy cloud.

Most comforters are made of duck or geese down, but there are also synthetic alternatives on the market.

What is Fill Power?

So, you’ve seen the fill power numbers advertised on down comforters, but what exactly do these numbers mean? Fill power is the measurement of how many cubic inches one ounce of down can fill when allowed to reach its maximum loft (or fluffiness).

This measurement is determined by collecting 1 oz. of down in a plexiglass cylinder and compressing it with a weighted disk. Once the down is fully compressed, the measurement stops and it determines its fill power.

Fill power typically range from 400-900, and the higher the fill power the fluffier, and higher quality your comforter will be. For this reason, if you are looking for ultimate fluffiness and “puff” out of your comforter, you will want to be on the lookout for a higher fill power.

Fill power is also a sign of how large the down clusters inside your comforter are. Larger clusters create higher fill power ratings because they can trap more air inside their filaments for greater insulation and warmth.

Large down clusters are much rarer than small clusters, however, which is why down comforters with higher fill powers are more expensive.

Fill Power Guide

To help you choose the perfect down comforter for your needs, we have created the following guide to fill power.

  • 400-500: Medium quality down used for thin and soft comforters – ideal for summer months.
  • 500-600: Good quality down that creates a medium loft, great for all seasons.
  • 600-800: High quality down that is used in fluffy comforters with a large loft, offers great insulation that will keep you warm and cozy during winter months.
  • 900+: Very high quality down. Fill powers this high are very rare and are only used in the most luxurious comforters. This fill power will offer maximum insulation due to its large down clusters.

Fill Power vs Fill Weight

Though often mistaken as interchangeable terms, fill power and fill weight are two different things. As we have just discussed, fill power determines the loft, or fluffiness of your comforter, but it does not, however, indicate its firmness.

Loft weight measures the amount of down material that is used in your comforter to achieve a certain density. This will determine how soft or firm your comforter will be, as well as its overall weight.

In fact, when comparing a single 800 fill power down cluster with a single 400 power down cluster, the higher the fill power, the lighter the cluster is. This is because larger clusters can trap more air between their filaments.

The Down Low on Down Fill Power

Now that you know what down fill power means, you can invest in a comforter that will offer all the fluffy coziness that you need for the sleep you’ve been dreaming of.