Baby, It's Cold Outside
Tips to pick the warmest bedding. Plus, the GH Research Institute tests the latest flannels
Find Your Comforter Zone
Best for: Very cold climates
Cost*: $239 to $600 (the most expensive are the lightest and fluffiest)
What to look for on the package: A 100 percent cotton cover with a thread count of 300 or more. The higher the count, the less likely it is that down clusters will poke through. Prewashed fill: People often believe they're allergic to down, but it's really the dirt and dust trapped within the fill that triggers a reaction.
Care: Protect with a duvet cover. Machine wash the comforter yearly, more often if needed. Tumble dry (add cotton sneakers to prevent clumping).
Best for: People who overheat under warm covers and wake up feeling sweaty. Wool wicks away moisture, so you cool off naturally.
Cost*: $200 to $300
What to look for on the package: A cover with a high thread count (300 or more). A tight weave prevents the wool fibers from protruding. (People aren't usually allergic to wool—just irritated by the abrasive texture.) A cover that is washable—otherwise, you'll have to spend a lot on dry cleaning.
Care: See instructions for down fill, above.
Best for: People who have allergies or asthma. The fill is naturally hypoallergenic and inhospitable to dust mites.
Cost*: $369 to $800 (grade-A, long-staple silk is the most durable and the priciest)
What to look for on the package: A cover with a thread count of 300 or more The tight weave will protect the silk so it lasts longer.
Care: Use a duvet cover. Dry-clean at least once a year, more often if needed.
Best for: The budget-conscious. This affordable synthetic option is made of microfiber polyester. It's almost as warm as down, but it's also heavier.
Cost*: $149 to $250
What to look for on the package: Large stitched squares (at least 12 inches square). The bigger the individual sections, the more space there is for air to circulate through the fill and the fluffier your comforter will feel. (Packaging may refer to sections as baffle squares.)
Care: Machine wash and tumble dry as needed. Bonus: This fill holds up well in repeated cycles.