Big Retailers vs. Speciality Shops for Down Comforter

Begonia2005July 20, 2014

I know I very recently opened another thread related to down comforters but I would appreciate some views on the specific topic of making this type of purchase from BIG RETAILERS vs. SPECIALTY SHOPS.
I will call the first BR and the second SS.

The BR category would include any retailers such as overstock, amazon, sears, Macy's, TJ max, or even LL bean and others like that. They may be online, department stores,discount stores - but in general, everyone has heard about them and they sell a variety of goods, not just sleep-related.

The SS category would include small, niche stores without large advertising budgets, that specialize in down products, particularly comforters, or maybe sleep products, more generally.
Examples would include Cuddledown, Daniadown, the,Three Dog Down, Plumeria Bay, etc. In general, they tend NOT to have their main products on sale.

Going beyond recs of specific products, I would like to know whether there is any significant and tangible difference in overall quality between down comforters sold by BR vs. those sold by SS.

Based on my research, you pay about double for what APPEARS to be the same type of product (say, a medium warmth down comforter, same filling power) if you buy from SS as opposed to BR.

However, I also get the sense that the SS product is tangibly superior in make, feel, comfort, durability and overall quality.

Most people probably go the BR route simply because they appear to be a better deal and they are "handy"; but I have read too many reviews now on BR comforters that say the down flies out of the comforter everywhere, the fabric feels noisy, down bunches up and leaves empty spots, etc.
Plus I have seen a few myself and I can confirm the above.

Trouble is I have a hard time getting to any of those finer Specialty Shops to touch their version to be able to tell the difference and decide whether they are truly worth the extra price or they are just places for those who don't like to shop where the "plebeians" shop.

I am one of those who believe in the "I am too poor to get cheap stuff" approach.
For important things, I try to buy as high quality as I can afford and keeping whatever I am getting forever. I also prefer very high quality used to crappy brand-shiny-new.

I can't stand constantly buying new things just to replace some sub-par product that doesn't last as long as it should and it just lines up the pockets of large corporations.

At the same time, if I making the effort to shell out the money for something sold as "superior", I expect it to be tangibly so and not just arriving wrapped in a silky red package.

Having been advised to "just pay the money when it comes to down", I would be frustrated to know I could have gotten pretty much the same quality from Overstock or Costco at a much nicer price.

If anyone owns a down comforter from an SS type store, would you mind sharing your experience? Why do you think it's so much better than those you could have bought from a BR for less ?

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Elraes Miller

While in NZ I bought a down comforter that has lasted 12 years and still like new. I really didn't have a clue if it was the right selection. It was from Fairy Down. Back then the dollar was quite less, so the price was far below buying one here.

My daughter has bought two from large stores at sale prices and they were awful, didn't last and had the feathers constantly poking through.

There are sites which explain how to determine the best. Bottom line is down percentage, added feather count lowers the quality. And we don't know where the feathers came from. Fill rate is also important.

I would trust any down from NZ or Australia. Their business is to stay high on the list with the best products. They also have a separate resource for clothing, outdoor/camping products.

Link is for online resources for FairyDown. I checked one I was familiar with and shipping nationwide was $10. Not sure what currency values are.

Here is a link that might be useful: Fairy Down online

    Bookmark   July 20, 2014 at 7:40AM
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My sister and I both have multiple down comforters from Costco. We have had them for at least 10 years. They are all box stitched. We send them to the local laundry to be washed. We are both quite pleased with our comforters.

Sis also has a comforter from the Company Store that was considerably more expensive than the Costco comforter. I don't believe she finds it to be superior to the Costco comforter.

I have one non-Costco comforter. I don't know where it came from. It is considerably smaller than the Costco purchases.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2014 at 8:17AM
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my kids used to like down comforters and i bought them from kohl's, bb&b and macys... usually, those stores have different levels of quality and clearly, the cheaper comforters i bought didn't last as long, but one of my kids had one that lasted quite a few years and through many washings- i think i got that one from bb&b.

i have bought many down pillows from cuddledown and the company store and dept stores and i am not sure there is alot of difference between them. the key is to buy the better down pillows which aren't cheap wherever you get them. and, with pillows, they get washed somewhat frequently and the loft of any down eventually diminishes- specialty store or not...

    Bookmark   July 20, 2014 at 9:11AM
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I second the Costco down comforters, and I am usually a little snobby about those sorts of things. Beer budget - champagne taste. You know. Anyway. the Costco comforter is soft and warm and wonderful and I've had it for about 15 years. Kirkland brand.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2014 at 2:25PM
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I have liked the charter club comforters from Macys.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2014 at 4:49PM
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