Ever wondered what makes your down pillow or comforter good? Is it fill power, loft, weight, insulation, or all of it?
Fill Power is the measurement of loft or fluff. The higher fill power means your comforter or pillow will retain its firmness longer, provide greater insulation and generate an altogether lighter and fluffier experience. The type of filling directly affects your duvet’s warmth, weight, price, and feel. Moreover, choosing the right insulation material could help you get a comfortable sleep.
Hence, fill power can help you to understand what makes certain down products like Goose and Duck down duvets are premium sleep accessories.
According to our in house sleep expert and CEO here in Down Under Bedding, Tony Sagar
"The larger the clusters of Down, the better will be the insulating power be of your Down product."
Down Under Bedding, President Tony Sagar provides a simple explanation right here. Surely after reading this blog, you will become an expert at buying good quality Down-filled products and bedding accessories!
What is Fill Power and Is It Important?
Fill power for down fill = Thread count for cotton sheets
It indicates the quality of your down product and you would often see this term in relation to down-filled products like duvets, comforters, jackets, and pillows.
Fill power is directly related to the size and proportions of down clusters in your duvet, which tends to be higher for goose down when compared with duck down. To find out more about their difference, we've made a separate blog for this: Goose Down Vs. Duck Down Bedding: Which Is Better For You?
So, when you think of down fill the first thing that pops into your mind is Goose Down. Right?
Yes, you got it right! Down does come from Geese. It is the light, airy and fluffy coating found under the visible feathers of these birds. It is also a rare find and hence, expensive which is why these down-filled products are on the higher side of the price range. Read our blog about why Goose Down is The Best Fill for You to know the reason behind this.
How is Fill Power Measured?
Fill power comes from several lab tests that measure the cubic inches of loft per ounce that down fill produces. If a product has a fill power of 500, it means that one ounce of down feathers takes up 500 cubic inches (ca. 8 l). The more the down is per cubic inch, the more air is trapped. This helps make your down-filled accessory warmer as the air pockets trap the heat and slow down the rate of heat loss from your body, keeping you warmer and cozier for longer.
Then, What is Loft?
Loft helps measure the fluffiness of your down-filled product. It can be defined as the number of cubic inches filled by an ounce of down. The loft of down is one of the most important factors determining your down merchandise price.
Is Loft The Same as Fill Power?
Fill power represents the down product’s size and quality. It directly impacts how much loft (fluffiness) a pillow carries and the loft in turn determines how long the pillow will retain firmness.
The higher your down product's fill power or loft, the better its quality, and the better the quality of your down, the greater its insulating properties.
Result - a warm, cozy, and long-lasting down pillow or duvet. The down loft can range from 300 to 900 cubic inches (14.75 l) per ounce.
It is one of the most important factors in determining the price of the down product, which is usually perceived as expensive. However, down products usually have good endurance and can probably last forever if properly managed. Thus, making them an investment.
Assessing and Analyzing The Loft Of Your Down
Wondering what all those numbers in your duvet or comforter’s description mean?
Well, they signify the quality of insulation and tell you how warm your quilt will keep you.
Try this. Sit on a down cushion or slide under a down comforter. You'll notice a difference right away. Down filling tends to be softer and will compress as you add weight to it, however, it also regains its normal shape quickly. That's because the clusters possess loft and are naturally designed to maintain their original form.
For instance, check outDown Under Bedding's Hutterite Goose Down Blanket with Corner Ties. It is filled with premium quality white Canadian goose-down fill and boasts 850 lofts. It also provides exceptional insulation while being ultra-lightweight.
Now coming to the product that attracts the most questions. Down Pillows!
How To Choose The Best Down Pillow?
You should keep three aspects in mind while choosing your down pillow.
Loft for Pillows
It is true that the finer and more luxurious option goose-down pillows carry a higher price point since the materials used to create them are not as readily available or easy to find. But, these are the top reasons you should consider switching to down bedding and invest in better sleep:
- Easily and naturally contours to your body
- Allows natural breathability
- Hypoallergenic for dust mite allergies
- Naturally lightweight
Down Fill Power in Pillows
The “fill power” of a down pillow refers to the size of the down clusters within it. These clusters are lighter, loftier, and more flexible than feathers. They're also warmer.
You might find the number showing fill power on the label of your duvet, comforter, or jacket.The down fill power ranges between 350 and 900 and indicates how many cubic inches a single ounce of down occupies.
Note that only down can have fill power, whereas feathers do not. The video below explains the difference between down and feather.
The maximum fill power you can find is 900, representing the top-quality cushion or pillow you can buy. The higher your fill power, the largest sized clusters inside the item. It will also feature better insulation for a better loft.
You might also find some jackets with fill power 900. Consider this the most premium item out there because 900 fill power is the best that you can get!
To compare, you can examine the furniture and soft toys at your home. These products tend to have a lower fill power (around 500).
Also, note that if you're looking for a fluffier pillow, opt for a higher fill power and luxury materials. While some manufacturers use a down feather blend in their bedding, it's best to stick to premium quality goose down to ensure your best night's sleep.
Normally, any item with a fill power of at least 650 is considered a premium. Down fills under 650 are usually considered to be in the commercial realm.
Disclaimer:Fill Power is unregulated by standard and does not include any feather or synthetic fill products.
Fill Power should only be used for Pure Down Products; however, manufacturers misuse the word and use it to define other things, which could be misleading. You may find that many synthetic and down alternative products refer to the term fill power in their description, which can be very misleading. Fill power should only be used to refer to products with down fill.
Fill Power vs. Fill Weight
Now that you have learned all about fill power, let’s understand what is fill weight and why is it important!
You might have noticed that people often talk about fill power, but hardly anyone mentions fill weight in their product descriptions. Why is that? Fill power helps determines the loft and quality of your down products, whereas fill weight is a measure of the volume of your down accessory.
Fill power --> Quality
Fill weight --> Quantity
Simply put, fill power is the horsepower of your down product insulation, while fill weight is the torque.
Both are equally essential when buying a down-filled product, but as you also may have noticed, many brands do not highlight the fill weight. This can leave you with an unsatisfactory purchase as weight directly impacts your product's insulation.
According to the experts at World Travel:
"This is a very interesting thing that people often overlook. For one thing, many manufacturers won’t even tell you the amount of insulation in their jackets – they’ll usually tell you about fill power, sometimes about down/feather ration, but they often skip this one. That’s because it actually plays a really big role in keeping you warm.
Maybe you’ll see a jacket that’s insulated with 700 fill power down for $50. And that is too good to be true – what the manufacturer isn’t telling you is that there’s probably very little insulation in that jacket. Meaning that it is not completely insulated and it has cold spots, and you won’t actually be warm in it."
The higher the fill power in your down product, the better the quality and the more compressible it will be. Fill weight helps regulate the softness and firmness of your products.
For example – it is easier to store your down-filled duvet comforter in a small condo during summer than a duvet filled with a synthetic or wool blend. The amazing compressibility of down makes its storage easy and accessible in small spaces without damaging your product.
Furthermore, down-fill weight is also fundamental in establishing the warmth of your product. When a product has a lower down fill, it could mean cheaper quality. It would not provide you as much warmth as down-filled bedding with higher fill power.
Similar to Thread Count … The Higher the number means, the better Loft and comfort. Down Under Bedding carries 500 Fill Power to 900 Fill Power. All Down Under Bedding Down Duvets are Made in Canada for premium Quality. So, when searching for a product with more warmth, you should consider checking out fill power as well as fill weight.
Take Note: The higher the number of fill power the better the loft and quality of your down product. A product with loft 850 will be better than one with loft 500.
What Does Down Fill Power Mean For Pillows?
Fill power signifies the warmth and quality of your down pillow. Loft helps determine the firmness of your down pillow.
You might have heard the term 'pancake pillow'. Down pillows are referred to as pancake pillows because they tend to become flat as a pancake in the morning.
Your down-filled pillow becomes flat in the morning from the weight of your head but can be easily adjusted by fluffing it. The best time to do this is in the morning while making your bed!!
As the loft inside your pillow is responsible for firmness, fill power should not be considered a measuring factor. In fact, the firmness which illustrates your pillow to be soft, medium, or firm is determined by the fill weight. This can also be adjusted by the amount of down fill inside the pillow's shell.
Still figuring out which one to buy? Check out these 5-star rated down pillows. This is the perfect pillow for both side and stomach sleepers. It is considered super-soft and helps provide support. This pillow has a 550 loft provided by the white down; it's so generously stuffed. It also comes with a 100% down-proof cotton cover to enhance the feel of this super soft and comfy down pillow.
Who wouldn't want to sleep on a cloud-like pillow!! I am already dreaming!!
Busting Some Popular Fill Power Myths
|The higher the fill power, the firmer the pillow.||
Not true. The higher the fill power of down, the softer your pillow will be.
|The higher the fill power, the heavier the pillow.||
Down is known to be super light and fluffy. It is the lightest material even when compared to feather pillows.
The Bottom Line is, the better the quality, the higher the price will be. If you are looking for an ultra-lightweight and highly compressible duvet, jacket, or another item, it is better to go with more fill power. But if you want to consider something more affordable and the weight and bulkiness are not an important factor, then you could go with one that has less fill weight, say about 500.