Duvet Insert 101: How to Pick the Best Duvet Insert in Malaysia

Duvet Insert 101: How to Pick the Best Duvet Insert in Malaysia

Posted by Vin Li Yap on

The search for the perfect duvet insert is no easy task – but just how difficult is it? You could get an insert that is too warm, not warm enough, not fluffy enough, too stiff, or one that isn’t down proof (the list goes on). And given that duvet inserts aren’t the cheapest thing to buy, you do not want to be making a mistake. After spending 6 long months designing what we think is the perfect duvet insert, we are giving YOU the ultimate guide on picking the perfect duvet insert in Malaysia for your needs.


1. Fill Power

When it comes to duvet inserts, you often hear the term “fill power” being thrown around. You probably associate a higher fill power with a higher quality, more expensive product, but what does fill power actually mean?

Down fill power is the unit of measurement for how much space one ounce/gram of down takes up. Most fill powers will be displayed with the units in³/oz or cm³/g. Most high-end duvet inserts have relatively higher fill powers. The higher the fill power, the higher the quality and the longer it will retain its loft and fluffiness. The fluffier it is, the more air it traps and therefore it will provide better insulation. 

However, fill power is not a measure of firmness. For example, a higher fill power down is not firmer than a lower fill power down, but it is likely to be higher in quality and will be more durable.


2.What Fill Power is Best?

There is no correct answer to this as it all depends on your needs and preferences. The best fill power for your duvet insert is highly dependent on how much insulation you require from the product and what type of climate you live in. Here in Malaysia, a duvet insert with extremely high fill power downs may not be suitable as it may be too hot and stuffy for our climate. Our Kapas duvet inserts have a fill power of 600+ to get the fluffiest of duvet inserts, without being too warm. The information below by Downlinens will help you identify the perfect fill power range for you…



3.Type of Construction

There are many ways a duvet insert can be constructed. The most common types of construction includes baffle box, guest and sewn through box stitch. Much like the fill power, there is no “official” best type of duvet insert, but the best one for you depends on what you are looking for in the product. Kapas made a duvet insert with a sewn through construction as we believe comfort is the priority. We felt that the sewn through construction would provide the loftiness and fluffiness of baffle box duvet, whilst ensuring that the duvet isn’t too warm for our tropical climate – the best of both worlds!


4. The Baffle Box Duvet Inserts

The baffle box construction involves thin pieces of fabric (called “baffles”) being sewn between the top and bottom layers of the duvet insert, which creates these walls called “baffle walls”. This creates a three-dimensional box which allows the comforter to fully expand and will provide you with the maximum amount of insulation and warmth. Baffle box duvet inserts are the best option for those of you looking for the most amount of warmth.

Additionally, the baffle walls create boxes in the duvet insert and this prevents the down inside from shifting around, ensuring that it is evenly distributed within the duvet insert. Baffle box comforters are also superior when it comes to durability. The extra fabric (the baffles) reduces the wear and tear of the product, which can potentially increase the longevity of the duvet insert. For these reasons, baffle box duvet inserts are usually the most expensive – but you definitely get what you pay for.


5. Gusset Duvet Inserts

Gusset duvet inserts contain walls around the outer edge of the fabric to connect the top and bottom layers. This sort of makes the entire duvet insert a 3D shape, instead of just two pieces of fabric being sewn together. The height added to the duvet insert enhances its loft and maximises insulation.

Gusseted comforters can also feature a baffle box or sewn through construction as well. The image on the right shows a gusseted baffle box duvet insert.


6. Sewn Through Box Duvet Inserts

This type of construction involves the top and bottom layers of the duvet insert being sewn together in a box pattern. However, unlike the baffle box construction, there is no piece of fabric/”baffle” sandwiched in between the top and bottom layers.

This ensures that the downs are evenly distributed and are suitable for warmer climates as it does not provide as much insulation as the other two types of constructions. Because the top and bottom layers are directly sewn together, this may cause “cold spots” around the stitching areas as there is less down/fill in those areas. With that being said, this is not always a negative thing, especially if you live in a tropical country like Malaysia.


7. Other Construction Details

You would also want to look out for a duvet insert with double stitching and piping. This will make it harder for the down to escape and it makes the overall product more sturdy. Comforters with just a single stitch will result in the down having a higher propensity to escape the fabric. Even down proof fabrics struggle to fully contain the down and feathers, so a double stitch will just make the duvet insert more durable.

In the image on the right, you can see the gold piping in the edges of our Kapas duvet insert. It’s a nice decorative touch and increases the longevity of the product.


8. Thread Count

Most of you are probably familiar with this term. We use thread count as a measure of quality for our bedsheets and towels, but it also has a huge impact on the quality of your duvet inserts!

Thread count is the number of yarns woven together per square inch. For bedsheets, a higher thread count results in a tighter weave, making the fabric softer and more luxurious to the touch. In a down duvet insert, the higher the thread count, the tighter the weave, and the better the insert contains the fill, making it more durable. 

However, there are so many bedsheets and duvet inserts with absurdly high thread counts but are still not durable. This is because low quality threads are used. A thread count of 180-300 is more than enough to provide you with a high quality, luxury product, so there is no need to splurge on a duvet insert with a 1000 thread count!

Our Kapas duvet insert has a 300 thread count casing, which provides all the luxury and durability that you need.


9. What is GSM?

GSM stands for “grams per square meter”. The higher the GSM the more dense the duvet insert will be. Much like thread count and fill power, a higher GSM is usually associated with a higher quality product. This is true to a certain extent, but it is important to consider that the higher the GSM, the heavier the duvet insert will be. This may not be necessarily the best option for you if you are looking for a lightweight and breathable duvet insert.


10. Types of Down

 Type of down Description
Goose Down Goose down is usually perceived as the best type of down in the bedding market and are therefore the most expensive. This is because geese are much larger birds and they therefore produce the biggest down clusters. This results in a higher fill power (650-800) which provides more warmth for chillier climates.
Duck Down Duck down is considered less fine than goose down and is therefore less expensive. Duck down clusters are smaller (as ducks are smaller than geese) but they still provide an excellent amount of warmth and are more suitable for warmer climates. Duck downs have a fill power of 500-600, and therefore make it a great option. We chose a duck down for our duvet inserts as we thought it was the most appropriate for our Malaysian weather and that goose down may be too warm and stuffy.
Alternative Downs Synthetic down is made from hypoallergenic fibres that are designed to mimic the structure of actual down. Synthetic down is in fact much cheaper than goose and duck down. It is very fine and thus provides a good amount of warmth. The main reason why people buy synthetic downs is if they are allergic to feathers and/or are asthmatic.

The most common types of synthetic/alternative down are cotton, microfibre and polyester. Synthetic downs retain their insulating properties when they are wet. However, more synthetic down is required to provide the same amount of warmth as natural down and therefore synthetic down duvet inserts tend to be much heavier; synthetic down inserts are also typically less comfortable and are stuffier. However, if you must buy a synthetic down (if you are allergic or asthmatic), cotton is the most superior alternative – it is much lighter and more breathable.



11. Down vs Feather: What’s the Difference?


Though down and feathers are different things, they both come from either geese or ducks. 

Feathers are the outer covering of a bird – this is what allows the bird to fly, and they contain quills (the stem of the feather). Down fibres lie beneath the protective feather covering of the bird. Down is usually found on the bird’s belly as it acts as an insulator. In fact, down is known as nature’s most effective insulator as it traps air, creating insulation. Unlike feathers, down is breathable and does not contain quills.


12.Down to Feather Ratio


As discussed in the section above, down is lighter and more insulating than feathers. Therefore, the more down there is in a duvet insert, the warmer and loftier it will be. Downs are light and fluffy, and do not contain any quills (a feather duvet insert may result in the quills poking out of the fabric which is never a pleasant thing). Also, down provides excellent temperature control, adapting to the temperature of your body (keeps you cool in the summer and warm in the winter).

Therefore, pure down duvet inserts are considered to be one of the best options if you want an incredibly warm duvet insert. However, if you want a duvet insert that is both fluffy yet not unbearably warm, we suggest you go for a duvet insert with a 80:20 down to feather ratio.


13. Down Proof Fabric

Down duvet inserts, pillows, or any article of bedding or clothing that is filled with down or feathers, requires a special fabric: a “Down Proof” fabric (this is sometimes referred to as “Ticking”). This will help prevent broken down clusters (known as “fibres” and feathers from leaking out of the fabric and poking its way through to the surface.

Down proof fabrics that are filled with feathers or a high percentage of feathers need to be stronger than a fabric that is only filled with down as feathers have sharp quills that are able to poke through weaker fabrics. However, these stronger down proof fabrics are usually stiffer and are less soft.

However, quality sateen fabrics hit the sweet spot; they are super down proof, and are light and fluffy. They provide the best of both and there is no need for you to make a trade off! For this reason, our duvet inserts are made from a down proof cotton sateen casing.

Another thing to keep in mind is that down proof fabrics make a crinkly sound. This is because these fabrics are quite stiff, as mentioned before. This crinkly sound is essentially unavoidable as all down proof duvets have this quality. However, this noice will diminish over time and use. If you are looking for a completely noiseless duvet insert, a cotton one is your best bet.

14. Certification

It may be hard to figure out what products are of a high quality by yourself. So, if you’re short on time and can’t afford to get bogged down in all these details, the certifications that a duvet insert has can be a great indicator on whether or not it is a good product. Our Kapas duvet inserts are certified by both of the following certifications.

15.Responsible Down Standard (RDS)

The responsible down standard certification (“RDS”) certifies products that contain feathers and down from certified farms. It ensures that the feathers and the duvet used in the padded products derive from geese and ducks raised in compliance with the principles and criteria of animal welfare


OEKO-TEX® enables consumers and companies to make responsible decisions which protect our planet for future generations. The testing and certification process on which our standards are based guarantees maximum consumer safety. If a textile article carries the STANDARD 100 label, you can be certain that every component of this article, i.e. every thread, button and other accessories, has been tested for harmful substances and that the article therefore is harmless for human health.



That may have been a lot of information for you to consume, so here is a table summarising everything that was discussed in this article!


 Category  Conclusion
Fill Power The higher the fill power, the more air that is trapped by the down and therefore the more insulting the duvet cover it. If you live in extremely cold weather, a very high fill power would be most suitable. However, if you live in a tropical country like Malaysia, a fill power of 600 will more than suffice.
Type of Construction The baffle box construction will allow maximum loft and is the warmest out of the three options discussed in this article. It also helps to keep the down evenly distributed within the fabric. Gusseted duvet inserts also make the duvet into a 3D shape and thus also maximises loft. Sewn through box duvet inserts are less insulating as there may be “cold spots” near the stitching areas, but this could be great for warmer climates. Also, look out for duvet inserts with double stitching and piping for a super high quality product!
Thread Count Generally, the higher the thread count the higher the quality as the better the insert contains the fill, making it more durable. Our Kapas duvet inserts have a thread count of 300!
GSM The higher the GSM the more dense the duvet insert will be. The higher the GSM, the heavier and denser the product will be. So, if you are looking for this, go for higher GSM. If you want your duvet cover to be light and less warm, opt for a lower GSM option.
Types of Down Goose down is typically seen as the best type of down as the down clusters are the largest. They have the highest filling power and are the most insulating. Duck down is still a good option, although duck down clusters are relatively smaller. Synthetic down is a great option if you are allergic to feathers and/or you are asthmatic. Synthetic downs like polyester and microfibre often leave you hot and sweaty, but if you are looking for a down alternative, cotton is your best bet.
Down to Feather Ratio 100% pure down duvet inserts are seen to be the best and are hence the most expensive. However, as down is more insulating than feathers, a 100% down duvet insert will be very warm, and this may not be the best option for those of you living in warm climates. A mix of down and feathers ( higher proportion of down in comparison to feathers as down is light and fluffy) would be a more climate appropriate option.
Down Proof Fabric Down proof fabric is really important especially when inserts are filled with a down-feather blend. As feathers have quills, they may poke through fabric into the surface if a durable, down proof fabric is not used. However, most strong down proof fabrics are stiff and are not fluffy. High quality sateen is a great option as it is extremely down proof and it also provides the softness you are looking for in a luxury duvet insert. That is why our duvet inserts at Kapas Living are made out of 100% cotton sateen!


So, in conclusion, there is no strict formula to picking out the best duvet insert. It all depends on what you are looking for in your perfect duvet insert. We hope this “duvet insert 101” guide broke down the process of picking the best product for your needs and we hope you found clarity on what it is exactly you should be looking out for when you are on your duvet insert hunt – whether that be online or in person. Kapas Living is all about practical comfort for everyone, everyday. Check out our newly released down and cotton duvets today!

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