Difference between Goose Down and Duck Down

Looking to buy a new duvet, pillow, or maybe a winter jacket. But then you come across two filling options…..Duck Down and Goose Down? Which makes you wonder what is the difference between those two? Don’t they both come from birds? As you might have also noticed by now…. there is a lot of price difference between duck down and goose down? Ugggh......so much information......but which is better and why?

Even though both Duck down and goose down feathers are found on birds, there is a lot of difference when it comes to choosing which is the best in terms of filling for your comforter/duvet or pillow. The type of filling inside your product is one of the most important factors that determine the quality and price of what you are paying for!!

The type of filling directly affects the warmth, weight, price, and feel of your duvet/ quilt, as well as choosing the right insulation material could help you get a comfortable sleep. We understand the confusion when it comes to deciding the best and warmest material to get you through the snappy cold. What’s all the hype with goose down? Does the lighter cheaper duck down feather compare to the tried and true goose down?

We get it, you have a lot of questions when it comes to deciding what’s best for you and your family, and that is why we have created a complete step by step guide to answer all your questions!!

Duck down and Goose down are the most common type of natural filled products used for duvets, pillows, and jackets, as help provide the perfect warmth to get you through the chilly winters! Even though both come from waterfowl species of birds, which gives them a similar structure, they do have some differences between them.


Goose Down Under quote


So, what makes them so special!

Although goose down and duck down are structurally similar, you may notice that goose down feather is often more expensive and more desired than duck down feather. This is because Goose down does not have any odor. Whereas Duck down might have a slight odor. This highly depends on the quality of the loft and cleanliness of the product.

Wait wait…..Before we get into the specifics of duck down and Goose down feathers, let’s get to know what is down!!


What is down?

Down is the light, airy and fluffy coating found under the visible feathers seen in birds; geese or ducks. Down can be understood as three-dimensional clusters that are made up of fluffy filaments and have a quill that is undetectable. The type of down used to fill your duvet, comforter, or pillow helps determine the insulation and warmth generating ability of your product.

Down helps create warmth through a process known as lofting- this refers to the fluffiness of the down. Pure Down is a lot lighter since they don't have the long stems like that of feathers. Duck or Goose down is perfect for providing you with warmth and proper insulation if that is what you are looking for. Because of their light and fluffy, properties, goose down is also considered to be one of the best fillings for your quilt and fluffy pillows.

Down also has the ability to absorb moisture and sweat released by our bodies, which helps ensure a cozy and calm sleep during the night. It also has the amazing ability to breathe which ensures proper regulation of temperature which gives it one of the best insulation properties when it comes to heating and cooling features. You might notice Goose down to be a more expensive option as compared to duck down or feathers because it is difficult to obtain, unlike feathers that are abundantly available on birds.


All about Goose Down?

Goose down has always been considered to be like caviar!! Goose down clusters is generally larger than duck down because they come from larger birds bought up in colder climatic conditions. As a result of their natural environments, goose tends to have naturally larger feathers than duck down. Consequently, their down tends to produce higher and better fill power. Their larger filaments help trap more heat which helps result in better insulation for your warm winter products.

Goose down also tens to have less to no odor as compared to duck down, because of their dietary factors. Geese mostly eat grass!!

Goose down tends to be less is also less greasy in appearance as compared to duck down, which has a naturally oily texture- which makes their feathers appear slightly grey. The natural oil in duck down could add some amount of weight to the overall down-filled product, which might affect the fill power and loft quality. Since goose down is much stronger than duck down, a product with 100% goose down filling also has better fill power.  

Now you can see what’s all the hype about!!


Quack Quack……Duck down!! What is it!

Duck down feathers are a by-product of the meat industry! The birds are not harvested or killed for their down fur or feathers as they are mainly raised for meat, eggs, and foie gras (mostly all goose and duck is eaten in China, which is where these birds are mostly harvested). Even though the majority of the fill feathers come from China, they are also produced in Canada, Turkey, Poland, Hungary, and many other European destinations.  

In the last few years, the demand for goose down has drastically increased. Down is going up (Pun intended). Even though goose down is more expensive as compared to duck down, the demand for goose down fill has continued to rise, because of it’s the higher premium quality of fill.

The biggest difference between goose down and duck down is it’s fill power. But what does it mean.....? Fill helps determine the quality of your bedding in terms of fluffiness and softness. More fill means that the fill power is higher, and the comforter/ duvet will provide you with more warmth. It also helps determine the quality and durability of the quilt, as a duvet with higher fill would mean it lasts longer.


Since geese are much larger birds than ducks, they are also the only birds that produce sufficiently large plumules for high-end down products. The outcome being that high-end down products remain highly dependent on goose down fill which is indirectly related to the rise in prices.

Another thing that differentiates duck down from goose down is that duck down might have some odor it, the reason for his is that since ducks are smaller and lower than geese, their bellies tend to be in direct contact with the ground. Even though a lot of cleaning and treatment processes are put in place to remove the majority of the odor, some people with a sensitive sense of smell may be able to detect a slight odor.  


Difference between Goose down and Duck down


What is the difference between Duck Down and Goose Down?

Goose down feathers are considered to provide more warmth than duck down feathers, which gives you one of the more reasons to find that most good quality winter comforters/ duvets and jackets have this type of down filling. The composition of down feathers makes them lighter and fluffier than others which adds to an airy and soft texture.

Winter products are generally filled with down feathers from either goose or ducks. Since Geese are larger birds than ducks, their feathers are also generally larger which means they have bigger down clusters. A larger bird from a colder region also means warmer feathers, and higher quality of down filling for your duvet/ comforter.  

Their filaments of Goose down are able to trap more air and provide more insulation. The general rule of thumb is the bigger the down cluster, the warmer the duvet.  Given all other factors are equal, a goose down duvet with more fill say 90 percent will be warmer than the duck down duvet with the same fill power.


Regardless, of these differences, both products are equally good insulators as they share a very similar structure. Along with that down is known for being super durable. So if you take proper care of your down-filled products, they are worth every penny and time spent searching for them!!


Why you should buy down filled products

What makes down products so special!

Down bedding is preferred due to various reasons such as:

Lightweight: Down fill is the lightest and warmest natural insulator you would find out there! Because of it’s unique warmth to weight ratio, down products are easily compressible and lightweight.

Resist clumping: The down feathers are so light and flexible that they can easily mold into any shape. Their naturally flexible ability also helps resist clumping to ensure steady coverage for your bedding. They are super easy to store in small places as their natural ability helps the feathers bounce back to life. Even after repeated washing, you would find that your duvet remains intact and fluffy (unless there is a small hole…..this could be a problem!!)

Breathable ability: Down has the natural ability to absorb our body’s moisture.  The feathers in down trap air while allowing moisture to escape, ensuring you stay warm and cozy throughout the night. Since down allows air to natural circulate between your bedding and you, it makes for the perfect bedding option for all seasons; as it helps keep you warm in winters and cool during summers. But hey! If you are a hot sleeper, better to test it out yourself, don’t take my word for it!

Super duper warm: When it comes to keeping you warm and cozy, nothing compares to down-filled products. Down gets formed in small crisscross shaped clusters, which not only help trap heat but also provide a natural breathable ability to your down-filled products.


How to take care of down filled products?

How to take care of down-filled products?

Down has a three-dimensional cluster-based structure that has nearly no quill and is easy to compress. This makes is resilient to last for years provided you take proper care of it. It is recommended that you wash the down-filled item very minimally. The best would be to dry clean or spot clean the material as and when need be since washing down and feather related products could cause the fill to poke out from the product.

The nature of stuffing inside the duvet determines whether you can wash it or not. It is always recommended to check the label for care instructions for your bedding items. We understand that you may not wash your down duvet as often because of its bulkiness. And we suggest your regularly wash your duvet cover for best longer protection against dust mites and germs to your duvet/ comforter. We recommend washing it more than one to two times a year.

When it comes to cleaning your down duvet, you have two options; dry- cleaning and machine wash. Dry cleaning uses chemicals that get absorbed in your down fibers, such as carcinogen; which tends to stay in your down feathers for a while and leaves a residue which you may breathe-, not a healthy arrangement.

We would suggest you use a laundromat instead of home laundry, this is because of its size. Laundromats are usually three times the size of a household machine and provide the duvet/ comforter with ample space to move during the wash cycle.

Pro Tip: The use of duvet covers, and or pillow protectors/ covers for your down-filled bedding items.


Down and goose duvet


Down Under Bedding products are certified with yellow tags to ensure the finest quality of goose down in your comforter/duvet. Items marked with this yellow tag certify that they contain Canadian White Goose Down, from Mature Geese that were raised by the Feather Industries in Western Canada. Their Down and Feather products are lab tested and come with the top-quality assurance that matches with the international quality standards for Down products.

All our specified (goose down) products are made with 100% goose down feather blends to ensure proper insulations throughout. Remember Goose down is different from duck down as they have higher filling power as compared to duck down with the same percentage of fill ability.    

Both Goose down and Duck down are equally good insulator, as both types of down fill tend to maintain loft and warmth for many years if properly take care of! So basically, just keep in mind the quality, fill power, and price range when making a down-filled bedding purchase.

Even though Goose down has a higher status of being more supreme in quality than Duck down, they are both quite similar! Yes, there is a slightly higher price you might have to pay for Goose down-filled products, but it is worth it!! Test it for yourself!