Down 101: Understanding the Quality of Down

woman holds large handful of down in her open hands

It may seem daunting, but there are a few simple concepts in determining the quality of down. The quality of the down can vary depending on the age, and even the species of bird. When choosing down for our exceptional duvets, St.Genève always opts for mature down with a high Loft, rather than the small clusters of down from young birds.

Mature Down

The down from older, more mature birds is larger and has more filaments. More filaments mean higher density and superior cling, so the down can trap more pockets of warm air.

It’s clear that mature down is better – so why isn’t everyone using it in their products? Most companies would rather promote a low price rather than a high quality. St.Geneve has been partnering with suppliers who share our value of bringing quality, mature down to the market.

 Fill Power aka ‘Loft’

The difference between downs can be measured objectively by fill power, also referred to as ‘Loft.’ Loft is the measure of fluffiness of a down, and is also a good way to gauge the quality of the down.

Loft refers to the number of cubic inches that one ounce of down fills. A higher loft value indicates a high quality of down. You’ll notice that a quality down comforter with high loft, like those made at St.Genève, will be light and fluffy and unbelievably warm.

Loft is tested in a lab under specific conditions – such as temperature and humidity – that can be recreated. The more mature the bird, the higher the loft. In addition, the filaments found in high quality, mature down are much stronger. Products with lower loft come from younger, immature birds and have weak, brittle down that will break down and need to be replaced much sooner.

What loft should you look for when purchasing your next down product?

Bargain or department store down can measure as low as 300-400 loft. Good quality products start with a loft factor of about 550, and extraordinary down clocks in with a loft of 850 or higher.

View our full line of down products here or find a stockist near you.

Down 101 Series