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

Written by

Ben Trapskin

I have reviewed hundreds of mattresses, sheets, pillows, duvet inserts, comforters, sleep gadgets, and adjustable beds. My reviews are based on my personal experience and the feedback I get from customers.

Recently updated on December 15th, 2017 at 03:33 pm

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.


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.