What Is the Difference Between a Comforter and Blanket?

If you think that choosing the right bedding for you is a walk in the park, you might want to think again.

There is the blanket, there is the duvet, then there is the comforter. Each has its own pros and cons. But before you could appreciate that, you must first know how they differ from one another. 

In this post, we will cover the differences between comforter and blankets. They are two of the go-to choices when it comes to beddings so the information you will find here can come in handy later. 

Blanket vs comforter: a quick comparison

The quickest comparison between blankets and comforters all goes down to the layer of cloth they are made of and the level of heat they can give. So basically, a blanket is made of a single layer of cloth. Blankets are typically used during warmer seasons.

Nonetheless, they can be as thin as a bedspread or as thick, especially those made of wool or fleece. They are usually placed on top of the bed. 

On the other hand, comforters are made of two and more layers of cloth and other layers of insulating fabrics providing more heat and comfort during colder seasons. They are sized to fit the bed because they are sheets meant to be bedcovers. But during winter, you can use comforters as your blankets too. 

Related: What is the average size of a bedroom?

What is a blanket?

Generally, a blanket is anything that is thicker than a bedsheet. It is made of a rectangular, single sheet. Some of the most popular materials used for blankets are cotton, wool, and fleece. While wool and fleece blankets could be used as a replacement for lightweight comforters, they cannot have the same insulation capacity as comforters. 

The most expensive blankets could reach up to $15. But there can be more expensive ones depending on the level of warmth they could give (talk about silk or cashmere). 

Pros

  • Lightweight and made of a single layer of fabric. 
  • Can have high insulation property if made of wool. 
  • Comfortable and good for warmer seasons. 
  • Easier to store and maintain. 

Cons

  • Insulation property is dependent on the material. 
  • Can only be fluffy if made of fleece or wool. 

Related: Types of blankets

What is a comforter?

A comforter is thicker bedding with front and back outer layers usually made of cotton, polyester, or silk and heaps of insulating material in between. The insulators can be made of fleece, wool, cotton, or silk. 

In terms of their warmth level, of course, they are way warmer than blankets. Since they can be used like blankets now, most comforters have detachable lower layers to be less warm during summers. During winters, you can also open the loft and add cotton or wool for it to fluffier and warmer. 

In terms of the price range, the lowest price would be at $20. High-end comforters start at $100 and up. Comforters are usually more expensive than blankets. 

Pros

  • Made of more layers of fabric. 
  • Has a greater insulating capacity to give you warmth. 
  • Best for colder seasons. 
  • Comfortable, fluffy, can be used as a bedsheet. 

Cons

  • Hard to store because they are too big and fluffy. 
  • They trap dust and mites, causing allergic reactions. 
  • Quite high maintenance. 
  • Does not provide much airflow during warmer seasons. 

Related:

Difference between blankets and comforters

The most prominent difference between blankets and comforters is that comforters are used as bed toppers and they are comfortable and warm enough on their own without the aid of blankets. They have high insulation properties and come with an array of patterns and designs. 

On the other hand, blankets are thinner than comforters and have a lower insulating capacity. They are made of single-layer fabric. It could be fluffy like comforters when they are made of fleece and as nearly warm if they are made of wool. Blankets are topped on the duvet or comforters if they are used as bed covers. 

Factors to consider when buying a blanket

There are three things to consider when you are considering buying blankets: size, type of fabric, and weave. 

Size

Of course, you have to know the right dimensions of the bed and consider your length too. You would not want your feet exposed at night when you cover yourself with the blanket and you do not want your throw blanket to be that big or it would be a hassle during movie nights so pick the right size for the blanket that you want. 

Fabric

The blanket’s fabric has something to do with the level of warmth it has. Cotton is warm but it is heavy. Cotton is low maintenance and hypoallergenic. Down is feathery and lightweight, synthetic fibers are inexpensive but they are more vulnerable to wear. Fleece is the best for kids, vellux are the hotel blankets and cashmere is super elegant, soft, and expensive. 

Weave

This one is considered for airflow. Thermal blankets are loose, ushering in more airflow during the summer. Knit and quilted weaves are made for colder seasons as they are warm and heavy. 

Factors to consider when buying a comforter

Buying a comforter is different from choosing a blanket. It goes beyond just weave and size. For comforters, you have to consider the season in which you are buying it, the insulating materials that you could add to generate more warmth, and the care requirements that it needs for the dirt and dust not to be trapped inside. 

Season

Comforters are not only good for the cold season, they can also be used every day in lieu of blankets.

There are lightweight comforters that can be used every day like blankets if you are in a colder region and every day is damp and drafty. But if the temperature drops and in need of extra warmth, it is time to buy that fluffy and big comforter. 

Material

Down comforters made of duck or geese feathers are very warm and comfortable but are more expensive. There are also alternative down comforters made of cotton, polyester, and other synthetic fiber.

They are less expensive, just as warm, and are a better choice for those with allergies. For this, also check the fill power of the comforter. The fill power lets you know the amount of insulator you can add inside the comforter. 

Care label

If the tag just says good for spot cleaning, look away, you do not need that comforter. It is only good at the surface level. You want a comforter which you can thoroughly clean. As such, what you need is a dry-cleanable or machine washable comforter to avoid trapping dust and dirt inside. This is good for kids’ bedroom comforters or for those that are prone to allergies. 

What can I use instead of a comforter?

Quilts

This material has been existing since the time of empires. They are traditional woven fabrics made of natural fabrics from silkworms. So basically, quilts are made of three layers: a woven cloth for the top part, an insulating material in the middle layer and another woven cloth in the bottom called batting or wadding. 

As a traditional fabric, quilts come in various designs and patterns. Some are still made by hand and it takes a year for it to be made. If a thicker insulating material and a wadding are inserted, they could be made as comforter substitutes. 

Duvets

If you are looking for an insulated fabric that keeps you cool under the sheets during summer and keeps you warm during winter, a duvet is a flexible choice. A duvet is made of two layers of fabric including insulators like comforters. But unlike comforters, the insulating fabric is detachable. 

This distinct feature makes duvet a perfect complement for comforters because you can spread them atop them to keep them clean and look elegant. This is the case for hotels. You would usually find the bedsheet, the comforter, the duvet, and on top of it would be the blanket. 

Related: What is the difference between a comforter and a duvet?

Blanket Layering

It is also called a blanket cover layered atop a blanket and functions more like a decorative fabric. Blanket covers are usually used in hotel beds, protecting the linen from dirt and avoiding frequent laundry. This fabric is usually made a combination of cotton and polyester. This makes ironing unnecessary for quite a while. 

Comforter vs Blanket: Which one is better?

The point is, there is only so much that we could compare when it comes to blankets and comforters. While they could be comparable in terms of material and level of warmth and even price range, they do two different things. 

Blankets are used for snuggling or just to stay warm during drafty nights in the spring or fall. Comforters, on the other hand, are specially made for warmth especially during winters. They are packed with a lot of insulating materials giving more comfort than blankets during the colder seasons. 

Fleece blanket vs comforter

While considered as synthetic fiber, fleece can be comparable to wool. So as a blanket, they can be as warm as lightweight comforters or those that only have three layers of fabric. Comforters on the other hand are heavy, fluffy, and super warm. 

If you are thinking of more convenient cleaning and easy storage during the winter, a fleece blanket could get you through the day. But if you think you need all the warmth you could get, still go for the comforter. 

Comforter vs Blanket: FAQs

Before pushing for your final choice, you still have to know some important facts about blankets and comforters. Consider these as heads-up to what you can and cannot do when it comes to these two types of bedding. 

Can you use a comforter as a blanket?

Yes. Although comforters are usually used as bed covers, you can use lightweight comforters as blankets any day. But during colder seasons, sleeping directly under the warmth of a comforter and adding a blanket topper will help you maintain the right amount of warmth that will give you a night of comfortable sleep during winter. 

Do you sleep on top of a comforter?

This depends on the season. During warm seasons, you could sleep on top of a comforter and use it as a bedcover to maintain the warmth that your back and spine needs for comfortable sleeping. But of course, during colder seasons, sleeping underneath it will help you with giving your body enough warmth. 

Can you put a heated blanket under a comforter?

Heated blankets are electric blankets. This means that there is a thin cord plugged in to insulate the blanket which thickens it and makes it fluffy for more warmth. The point with heated blankets is that they should never be placed under a comforter or any blanket for that matter. It should also not be positioned under you. If you do this, you are risking overheating.

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