Duck down or goose down: Which is actually better?

Duck down or goose down: Which is actually better?

Summer is coming to an end and temperatures at night are slowly cooling down. As soon as the temperature starts to drop, many people start to wonder if they should switch from summer bedding to winter bedding. This choice is especially important for people who tend to sleep better in cooler bedrooms.

The ideal bedroom temperature for most people should be around 18 degrees and the humidity around 50%. If the temperature falls below 18 degrees, it’s generally a good idea to switch to warmer bedding to avoid feeling cold at night. Warm bedding can not only prevent you from feeling cold, but also ensures a better and more restful sleep. People who sleep in a bed which is too cold change their sleeping position more often, and therefore have trouble sleeping. This leads to their feeling tired the next day and to poorer work performance.

Duvets and pillows made from duck and goose down have been proven to be excellent providers of warmth and insulation. This 100% natural raw material has been used for centuries as a filling for pillows and blankets. The reason for this is simple - down and feathers are far superior to artificial fibres as filling material! In high-quality down duvets, the filling consists of 90% down. In this article, we will explain the difference between duck and goose down. We’ll also provide an answer to the following question: What is better? Duck or goose down?

What is down?

To understand the difference between duck and goose down, we should first take a look at what down is. Down comes from different species of birds and refers to the lower plumage. Down stores the birds’ body heat and keeps them snug and warm in winter.

Unlike feathers, down doesn't have a quill; its shape resembles that of a snowflake. Down is extremely soft and is an incredible insulator. Apart from the common duck and goose down, there is also eider duck down. Eider ducks are mainly found in Nordic areas, such as Iceland, and are considered a protected wild species. As the down must be collected from the nests by hand and cleaned in a complex process, it is particularly precious.

What are down’s special properties?

Down has radially arranged feather branches which are negatively charged. Due to the negative charge, down clusters always remain at a distance from each other. This creates cushions of warm air between the individual clusters, which protect the birds from the cold. The volume of trapped warm air provides excellent insulation.

In addition, down is extremely breathable and can absorb moisture very well. At night, the body loses up to one litre of sweat, which is why the ability of a fabric to absorb moisture is so important when choosing the right bedding. This is because mites and bacteria can accumulate in damp bed linen, causing unpleasant odours or even skin irritation. Down is breathable, so it not only absorbs moisture, but also releases it to the outside.

Another advantage of down is its elasticity. Down is highly elastic, retaining its original size and even under high pressure. Furthermore, down is more stable and robust than synthetic fibres. Even if the purchase of a good down duvet may seem expensive at first, it is a worthwhile investment due to the fact that down duvets are extremely durable and can be used for several years without any problems.

It is important to wash duck and goose down products from time to time in order to prevent the buildup of unpleasant odours. When washing down, you should make sure to use a gentle mild detergent or wool/down detergent, because conventional detergents can cause the down to stick together. This causes the down to lose its insulating properties.

How is down sourced or obtained?

Feathers and down from the ducks are only taken after the animals have been slaughtered. In the case of geese, however, the feathers can also come from live animals. The practice of live plucking is prohibited in most European countries.

When buying down, you should therefore make sure that you check which labels or certificates the products have been awarded. Clothing labelled with the Global Traceable Down Standard (TDS) or the Responsible Down Standard (RDS) doesn't contain feathers or down from live-plucked animals. In addition to live plucking, force-feeding is also prohibited for these products.

The DownPass label is particularly respected in the bedding industry. Bedding products that have been awarded the DownPass seal of approval can be traced back by means of an individual test number. The bedding is filled with feathers and down that have been ethically produced and sourced; the entire supply chain of a DownPass product can be traced. In addition, the quality of the products is also controlled by independent testing institutes.

Duck or goose down: What is the difference?

Duck down

A duck down cluster is on average about 1.5 cm in size. In general, the larger the down cluster, the better its thermal power. In terms of size, goose down is slightly superior to duck down because it is larger.

The fill power of duck down is 550 cuin. The fill power indicates the volume the down takes up after a certain time spent under compression. It is measured by the Anglo-American unit cubic inches per ounce. The higher the compressive strength, the better the thermal insulation. High-quality down measures a fill power of 700 to 800 cuin.

Although the thermal and insulating power of duck down is very high, that of goose down is a little better. This difference also bears out in the price of the respective materials, which is why duck down usually costs less than goose down.

Goose down

Goose down clusters have a larger diameter than duck down and are about the size of a euro coin. This means that goose down has more air pockets, and can thus store heat and keep out the cold better.

The fill power of goose down depends on the type of down. Duvets filled with goose down usually have the same fill power as duck down. Eider down has the highest bulking power and can reach up to 800 cuin and more. Eider down is also superior to ordinary goose down in terms of size.

In terms of price, goose down is usually slightly higher than duck down. However, depending on the quality of the goose down, the price can vary considerably. Eider down is by far the most expensive type of down.

Conclusion: Duck down or goose down - which is better?

Ultimately, we want to address the question: which is better? Duck or goose down? Both types are natural products with incredible properties. Goose down is a bit better in terms of insulation, but depending on the type of goose down used, the difference can be minimal and hardly noticed.

If you like to keep warm at night, it doesn't matter whether your blanket is filled with goose or duck down, as both blankets will keep you snug and warm. If you want to save a little money when buying a new blanket, we recommend duck down. If you live in a country with extremely cold winter temperatures, we recommend goose down or even eiderdown.

Duck or goose down at Zizzz

At Zizzz, we also offer products made from goose and duck down. All our products filled with down bear the Downpass label. At Zizzz, we only use the finest European goose and duck down. Our duck down duvets are produced in the Black Forest region of Germany, while our goose down pillows and duvets are made in Switzerland.

Our duck down duvets have a fill power of 575 cuin and are extremely soft. Our down duvets are filled with 90% down and 10% feathers. Since our down comes exclusively from animals raised in Europe, its quality is particularly high.

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