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Goose Down vs Duck Down: What’s The Difference?

Goose Down vs Duck Down

Goose Down vs Duck Down

Which is better – goose down or duck down? This is a question that is often asked in the world of bedding products. It is an important question to consider when you are looking for a down comforter for your bedroom. As you may already know, goose down has a higher value when compared to duck down. However, this depends largely on the product – for example, a high-quality duck down comforter may be better than a mediocre goose down one. It also depends on your specific needs and your budget. Let us take a quick look at a few things about the goose and duck down to find out which one is a better choice for you.

Is There a Major Difference Between Goose and Duck Down?

This is another important question to ask when checking out down comforters for your bed. The answer is no. Both types of down provide equal insulation, and they both share the same essential structure that makes down an incredible insulator. If there is a difference between a goose down comforter and a duck down one, it would be that the duck down blanket has about 87% of the insulating power that the goose down comforter has.

Goose down and duck down have the ability to maintain their warmth and loft for many years, maybe even decades, if they are well cared for. It does not matter which bird provides the feathers or down for your comforter. The secret is to find a well-made down comforter from a reputable manufacturer and take proper care of it to ensure that you always have a cozy and luxurious sleeping experience for many years.

Here is a look at a few important things you should know before deciding between goose and duck down:


Generally speaking, regardless of fill power, there is no major difference between the durability of goose down and duck down. Part of how durable they are depends on the down’s fat and oil content – there is an inherently higher content of oil and fat in some birds. Moreover, down, whether goose or duck, is an organic product and will vary from one season to another because of several factors including weather, bird condition, feed, etc. To ensure warmth-trapping – keeping the down resilient and pliable – there needs to be a certain percentage of fat and oil.

If the down is “over washed” during processing and an excessive amount of oil and fat is removed, it can become dry and brittle. This makes it easier to break down, which in turn decreases the fill power of the down. High-quality down comforters have properly processed down to optimize performance and durability, irrespective of whether it is goose or duck down.


As mentioned earlier, down is a natural product. Although a certain percentage of fat and oil is necessary to ensure its resilience and pliability, the presence of these substances also plays a part in the scent of the down. People with a highly acute sense of smell may notice a slight odor, even when the down is in the cleanest condition.

Because there is a difference between the feeding habits of goose and duck, there may be minor differences in smell between goose and duck down. This is due to the scent in the oil content, which is necessary to make the down resilient. You should look for a down comforter made with DWR-treated down – you will find that the odor of these products is minimal.

Higher Fill Powers

Birds, whether goose or duck, that are older more mature tend to provide down with higher fill power. When a bird lives long, it’s down cluster becomes more developed. Furthermore, to ensure that they achieve the fill power they desire, processors sort through large down clusters, small down clusters, feathers, etc. to produce down of a certain fill power and content.

Currently, the highest goose down fill power is roughly 1,000 FP. However, this is available in very limited quantities, and usually at extremely high prices. Comparatively, the highest-end and most expensive down, Eider duck down has an anecdotal rating of up to 1,200 FP. The more common fill power range for goose down and duck down is between 450 and 850 FP. As a result of improvements in the sorting process that filters out extra small down clusters and fibers, high-end 850-FP duck down has become more accessible in recent years.

Down fill power is an important metric in the textile industry, particularly when it comes to products such as jackets, bedding, and sleeping bags. This measure indicates the quality of the down, referring to the loft or “fluffiness” of the down and its insulating properties. Here, we provide an extensive list of down fill power ratings, each signifying a different level of quality and warmth.

  1. 300 to 400 Fill Power: This is considered the lowest grade of down fill power. Down with a rating in this range will provide a minimal amount of warmth and loft. While it is the least expensive, it is also the least efficient in terms of insulation.

  2. 400 to 500 Fill Power: This range signifies a medium grade of down. Products with this fill power are warmer and loftier than those in the 300 to 400 range. This down is commonly found in mid-range bedding and clothing.

  3. 500 to 600 Fill Power: This is a good quality level of down, often found in quality outerwear and comforters. These products provide a nice balance of warmth, loft, and value.

  4. 600 to 700 Fill Power: This range represents high-quality down. It offers superior loft and insulation, meaning you’ll stay warm without the bulk. Products in this range are often considered premium, commonly found in high-end outerwear and bedding.

  5. 700 to 800 Fill Power: This is excellent quality down, providing outstanding warmth with minimal weight. It’s often found in premium outerwear and luxury bedding. It is highly compressible, making it ideal for activities like backpacking where weight and space are at a premium.

  6. 800 to 900 Fill Power: This is an exceptional grade of down, used in the highest quality jackets, comforters, and sleeping bags. It offers the highest loft and the best insulation to weight ratio.

  7. 900 to 1,000 Fill Power: This is the highest quality down available on the market. It’s extremely rare, incredibly lightweight, and offers unparalleled warmth and loft. Products with this rating are often very expensive, given their top-tier quality and performance.

Each of these fill power ratings denotes a distinct level of quality and performance, providing consumers with a range of options to best suit their needs and preferences. When making a purchase decision, one must consider factors such as intended use, budget, and personal comfort to choose the appropriate fill power.


Goose and duck down are both available in white and mottled grey. If you look at things from a historical point of view, the bedding industry desires white-colored down more, which is mainly due to the fact that manufacturers commonly use white in bedding fabric and prefer to hide the presence of down. Apart from a visual difference, white and grey colored down do not have a difference in performance – meaning that one is not warmer or more durable than the other.

The Conclusion

Both goose and duck down can insulate equally efficiently when you take variables such as quality of fill, fill power, processing, etc. into account.  Down quality has a direct connection to everything from the bird’s feed during its lifetime, to the length of its life, to the method of washing that is used in processing.

When you are looking for a great down comforter, you will need to choose between, goose and duck down. It is a good idea to know what goes into the manufacturing process to make sure that you make the best choice. Keep in mind that although goose down is considered superior to duck down, there are countless high-quality duck down comforters available in today’s market. They are, more often than not, more affordable and you get the same insulation that a goose down comforter provides.

Whether you choose goose or duck down, make sure that you pick the best quality down comforter for your bed. You can have a cozy, luxurious sleeping experience and make sure that you get restful, relaxing sleep every night, no matter what time of the year.

If you’re looking for excellent Down duvets and comforters, check out all our bedding reviews.

Goose Down vs. Duck Down FAQ

1. What is the difference between duck and goose down?

Duck and goose down are both excellent insulators, but they have slight differences in their structure. Goose down clusters are generally larger, meaning they have a higher “loft” or fluffiness, which translates into more insulating capacity. Duck down, on the other hand, is a bit smaller and less fluffy, but it’s also typically more readily available and cost-effective.

2. Is goose down warmer than duck down?

Goose down tends to have a higher fill power than duck down, meaning it can trap more air and, thus, provide more insulation. However, the warmth of the down also depends on the fill power – the higher the fill power, the warmer the product. Hence, a high fill power duck down can be warmer than a low fill power goose down.

3. Which is more expensive, duck or goose down?

Generally, goose down is more expensive than duck down. This is due to the larger cluster size of goose down and its superior insulating properties. The rarity of high fill power goose down also contributes to its higher cost.

4. Are there any allergy differences between duck and goose down?

The risk of allergies to either duck or goose down is relatively low, and the difference between the two is negligible. Most allergies associated with down products are usually caused by dust particles left in the down, not the down itself. High-quality down, both duck and goose, are thoroughly cleaned and sterilized, which significantly minimizes allergy risks.

5. Is there a difference in smell between duck and goose down?

Both duck and goose down have natural odors, but these should not be strong or unpleasant if the down is cleaned properly. If there is a noticeable smell, it usually indicates that the down is not thoroughly cleaned or has been exposed to damp conditions. Some people may find a slight difference in smell between duck and goose down, but this is highly subjective and usually unnoticeable in well-maintained products.

6. Is there a difference in durability between duck and goose down?

When properly cared for, both duck and goose down products can last for many years. Their durability is more related to the quality of the down, the construction of the product, and how it’s maintained rather than the type of down used.

If you’re looking for some great down pillows, check out Brooklinen Down Pillows

3 thoughts on “Goose Down vs Duck Down: What’s The Difference?”

  1. Answered my question fully. Well written review. Makes me feel OK that I ordered a duck down comforter with 650 fill power yesterday. I was concerned that I had made a big mistake by not ordering the goose comforter that cost 50% more.

  2. I bought some Ikea duck down pillows and a duvet, and the wet dog smell is still very strong after going though the wash. Is there anything I can do to get rid of the smell? Another source suggests using Down, or any degreasing dishsoap, but I’m not sure that should go into the washing machine.

    • It’s going to smell after washing until all the down hass dried. Throw some tennis balls in when drying. Also do not overstuffed dryer. You will have to dry on low temperature for a long time.


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