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Goose Down vs Duck Down

Goose down generally comes at a greater cost than duck down, but what makes up the difference in price and why has goose down a better reputation?

1. Fill quality

Down either duck or goose comes from larger and older animals which have had time to develop their down clusters. The higher quality of down cluster, the higher fill power you will get. Duck down has today an upper limit of nearly 850 and Goose up to even 1,200 but this is very rare and only for the best quality eider down. A fill power of over 500 is acceptable as lightweight vs warmth quality bag or quilt. To achieve this, normal quality down, goose is more likely to produce better fill power which is a better isolator.

2. Odor

Duck and Goose down are washed and treated before they are filled into the down products. However goose down is from animals that just eat grass and duck comes from an animal that has a more varied diet. This means you can have a slightly different odor from the down types.

3. Durability

Both types of down has some natural oils that keep the fibres shapes and insulation. Overtime with use and wash, if the oils are removed, the down will start to break, the product will become flat and loose insulation. A well looked after bag or quilt will last you for a very long time if treated correct. Goose down tends to keep its durability a bit longer than duck, but only if it is a high grade.

4. What about feathers?

A down product will also have a specification of the fill quality in percentage. This indicates how pure the down is and the rest is made out of small feathers. The highest grades are up to 95-97% and you should stay away from anything below 80%. Feathers have a tendency to puncture the nylon and let the down escape. This is normal, but with a poor quality fill this can go quickly and also be very annoying.

To summarise, goose down generally keeps a higher fill power and insulation, but a high quality duck down can be just as good. Stay above 500 fill power and 80% quality of down and you will have a great and long lasting product.

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