Updated January 6, 2021Most people don’t think twice about the difference between a quilt and a comforter, but if you’re going to be spending a few years’ worths of nights underneath one, it’s probably worth it to know what you’re buying.While they’re both made to go on top of your other bedding, quilts and comforters are quite different—with distinct weights, feels, and heat retention abilities, meaning you’ll want to be aware of your personal preference and the differences between the two covers before you shop. Let’s talk about what a quilt is, what a comforter is, and how they’re different.What’s A Quilt?If you ever spent the night at Grandma’s house as a kid, chances are you slept under a quilt. The quilt is an old-school outer bed cover meant to go over a few sheets and blankets, and it has a long history of not just keeping people warm, but helping them socialize as well (like at quilting bees).Back in the day, quilts were made of scraps of recycled fabric because textiles were so expensive and difficult to produce. Today, of course, quilts aren’t just made of patches—they come in all kinds of fun styles and patterns.A quilt has three layers: a top layer, a thin layer of batting (usually made of cotton, wool, or polyester), and a bottom layer. In a traditional quilt, the top layer is made of different pieces of fabric sewn together in a pattern or design, and some of these designs can get quite complex.What’s A Comforter?Like a quilt, a comforter is a warm coverlet made of two layers of fabric with stuffing in the middle, but unlike a quilt, a comforter is typically one single piece of fabric on the top and bottom rather than many pieces stitched together. Quality comforters are also usually a lot more stuffed than quilts, making them warmer and heavier.Comforters don’t have the stitching patterns typical of quilts, but they can feature a baffle box or sewn-through construction. With sewn-through, the two sides of the comforter are stitched together, leaving compartments for the filling to help hold it in place and keep it from clumping. This makes the comforter look kind of like a stuffed patchwork quilt, with big squares running from one end to the other—though the squares are all just stitching running through a single piece of fabric rather than many patches sewn together.Baffle box comforters have a thin piece of fabric sewn between the top and bottom layers, helping keep the filling plumped and the comforter at the full loft. Baffle box comforters will also have big squares like their sewn-through counterparts, but they’ll look even thicker and more stuffed. Baffle box comforters can have a cloud-like look because their filling is being held up by the center fabric layer.What’s the Best for You?There are a couple of different factors you’ll need to consider when shopping for a comforter or quilt, but two of the most important ones are feel and look.FeelOne of the biggest differences between quilts and comforters is their weight and thickness. Normally, quilts are thinner and more lightweight than comforters because their stuffing layer is not as thick. Comforters, on the other hand, are stuffed pretty full, so they’re thicker and heavier and can retain a lot more warmth than most quilts.If you like to have lots of blankets, sheets, etc., then you’ll probably be a fan of the quilt, since you’ll need to pair them with other bedding to stay warm enough on cold nights. Also, if you’re a hot sleeper, a good quilt can provide you enough coverage without firing up the night sweats.Meanwhile, those who like the feeling of sleeping under a cloud will likely need a comforter. They’re also great for sleepers who want a heavier, warmer cover than a quilt, or for individuals who don’t like to bother with a bunch of bedding layers.LookQuilts are great for those who want a more classic or antique look in their bedrooms, and if you like to change things up a lot, having a few different quilts lying around can give you the option to alternate your decorative layer whenever you want. Quilts also come in a wide array of funky patterns and neat designs, making them a more fun option for kid’s rooms.Comforters normally have a more modern look. Their lines are sleeker, their patterns are often sharper, and you can get them in tons of monochromatic colors as well. They’re almost always the bedding of choice for upscale hotels and professional decorators, so they may be better for people who want a more stylish bedspread.FAQsWhat is a duvet, and is it better than a comforter?A duvet is a soft flat bag meant to go inside a removable cover, meaning it’s more similar to a comforter than a quilt. If you like the feel of a comforter and the ease of a blanket, duvets can be a good choice. Since your body only comes into contact with the duvet cover, you don’t have to wash the duvet insert all that often.Depending on the size and material your comforter is made of, you might have to take your comforter to the laundromat for cleaning, or instead, have the comforter dry cleaned. A duvet solves that problem, giving you the feel and weight of a comforter without the added inconvenience. Duvet covers typically have buttons or a zipper, so it’s easy to just pull the insert out of the cover and wash the cover only.What kind of comforter filling do I need?There are lots of fillings for comforters, from down and down alternative to cotton to wool to synthetic alternative fibers like rayon and polyester. The kind you need really depends on your preferences and how cold your sleeping environment gets. If you want to stay toasty, down feathers, wool, or polyester are probably up your alley. But if you’re a hot sleeper, light and breathable fillings like cotton, Tencel, or bamboo might be more your speed.Are quilts or comforters better for hot sleepers?Comforters have a lot of stuffing and usually sleep warmer than quilts, so a quilt will probably be better for you if you wake up sweating a lot. Quilts are lighter and thinner than comforters and can offer you a bit of weight and insulation without overheating you. Plus, if you do get cold, you can always grab an extra blanket, as quilts are made to be layered.Is a quilt/comforter different than a blanket?Yes. Quilts and comforters both feature a top and a bottom layer of fabric with at least a little stuffing in the middle. Blankets are a single layer of warm or heavy fabric without anything inside. Blankets can have patterns and stitching, and electric blankets have a heating wire running through them, but if a “blanket” has cotton, down, or other fillings in it, it’s not a blanket.Should I get a weighted blanket?Weighted blankets can be great for anxious individuals who need some reassurance while they sleep because these blankets mimic a technique called deep pressure stimulation—a form of therapy that relaxes the nervous system by putting pressure on the body.This technique can help ease pain and anxiety, and since weighted blankets offer similar pressure to hugs and squeezes, they may make you sleep calmer and more peacefully if you have anxiety, insomnia, or chronic pain. They may also help children with disorders like ADHD and autism.Bottom LineQuilts and comforters are a lot more different than many people think. They can impact not just the look of your bedroom, but how warm and weighed-down you are and even how well you sleep through the night. If you like a thick, heavy cover to keep you cozy while you sleep, you’ll likely be happier with a comforter or duvet. But if you want a little bit of insulation without a lot of weight or substance, a quilt is probably best.This article is for informational purposes and should not replace advice from your doctor or other medical professional. Comments Cancel replyLeave a CommentYour email address will not be published. Required fields are marked * Comment Name Email I agree to the Terms and Conditions of this website.