Baby, It's Cold Outside
Tips to pick the warmest bedding. Plus, the GH Research Institute tests the
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
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
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
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
*Standard price range for a queen-size comforter
If you're a fan of flannel but hate the unsightly fuzz balls that form after a
few washings, try Lands' End Supima Ultimate 6-oz. Flannel Bedding ($149 for
queen set; $169 for king set). These linens maintained a soft, pill-free
surface in our evaluation—even after five spins through a washer and dryer.
If it's wrinkles that drive you crazy, check out Lands' End 400 Thread Count
No-Iron Supima Cotton Sateen Sheets ($79 to $189 per set, for sizes twin
through California king). In our tests, the bedding came out almost completely
crease-free, thanks to a wrinkle-resistant finish. A less expensive winner:
Wamsutta 300 Wrinkle Free Sheets ($30 to $80 per set, for sizes twin through
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