Duvets & pillows buying guide

Make your bedroom a haven of comfort by choosing your bedding with care. The type of pillow or duvet you choose, and whether you to use mattress protectors or toppers, can all make a difference to the quality of your sleep. We have all the information you need to select these essentials. We also recommend you take a look at our buying guides to beds and mattresses.

Find out more about choosing duvets and pillows in our video guides, and take a look at our Made in UK duvets video to find out how we make John Lewis natural-filled duvets in our Lancashire factory.

Tog ratings, fill power, construction and sizes

Tog ratings

The weight, softness and warmth of a duvet depends on its tog rating and filling, and tog ratings are based on a duvet's ability to trap warm air. The higher the tog rating, the warmer the duvet, with 2.5 – 7 tog perfect for spring and summer and 10.5 – 13.5 ideal for autumn and winter.

Natural-filled duvets traditionally have better thermal properties than synthetic, and need less filling to achieve the same level of warmth, so their weight can be deceptive.  Our best quality Canadian goosedown, for example, is very light indeed but has excellent thermal performance.

We have also specifically designed a lightweight synthetic duvet to combat those that do not like natural. The Lightweight Luxury has excellent warmth without the heaviness.

If you want flexibility and versatility, all-season duvets are a great choice. They consist of two separate duvets, usually a lightweight 4.5 tog for summer, a warmer 9 tog for autumn and spring, and connect together for a 13.5 in winter.

Lightweight summer duvet 3.0 - 4.5 tog
Spring/Autumn weight duvet 7.0 - 10.5 tog
Winter weight duvet 12.0 - 13.5 tog

Ask in our shops about custom-made duvets made at our Herbert Parkinson factory in Lancashire, for couples who like differing levels of warmth in bed; no compromise is necessary as each side of the duvet can be given a different tog rating.

Fill power
Duvets containing feather and/or down are also given a "fill power". This is the volume occupied by the filling and it varies depending on the quality. It's about how well the filling recovers and relates to thermal efficiency.

The higher the fill power, the better the duvet. With fill power ratings between 345gsm (grams per square metre) and 750gsm for our feather and/or down duvets and 475gsm to 750gsm for our synthetic and specialist duvets, you're sure to find bedding that suits you perfectly .



All our natural duvets come in a boxed wall construction, where the filling held in each box allows an even distribution and prevents cold spots. Always shake your natural duvets from the side, and not the bottom, to prevent the filling from moving between boxes. For added comfort and quality all our natural duvets have Nomite cases - Nomite guarantees that no feather escapes.

All synthetic duvets are constructed in a way that allows the filling to stay in its place, making them easier to maintain.



Duvets for children

When choosing a full-sized duvet for a child, unless their bedroom is very cold, it's best to stick with a lighter weight duvet of 4.5 tog. As children are smaller it means that their duvet traps more air and increases the level of warmth over and above that experienced by most adults. A heavier duvet may well prove uncomfortable and is not recommended.

For babies and toddlers, we sell cot and cotbed duvets in our Nursery departments. Please note though, that duvets and pillows aren't suitable for children under 12 months, and that a room temperature of 18°C is recommended by many health professionals. 

Duvet sizes

Single - 135 x 200cm (mattress size W90 x L190cm or 3' x 6'3")

Double - 200x 200cm (W135 x L190cm or 4'6" x 6'3")

Kingsize - 230 x 220cm (W150 x L200cm or 5' x 6'6")

Super kingsize - 260 x 220cm (W180 x L200cm or 6' x 6'6", or 2x zip and link beds)

Emperor size - 290 x 235cm

If you like your bed to have a fuller, well-made look, or find that you and your partner tend to fight over the duvet, then you might want to choose one that’s a size larger than your bed.

You may also find that an adult (or a growing teenager!) sleeping in a single bed may prefer a double duvet for better coverage and drape.

Our duvet covers are made to fit these sizes. All our bedding is sized for the beds we sell.


Duvet fillings & ranges

Natural fillings

Duvets with natural fillings are soft, light and comfortable, in the same way that natural fibres help your skin 'breathe' more effectively. They are also highly resilient and tend to last longer than those with synthetic fillings. We guarantee all our natural duvets for 5 years.

Down duvets are lighter in weight than feather and down, but still offer the same level of warmth, and our options are all hardwearing and great value. 

All our natural bedding suppliers provide us with a guarantee that their feather and down is sourced only as a by-product of the food industry. In addition, they’re monitored to ensure they practice the highest standards of animal welfare. 

The higher the proportion of feather in a duvet, the cheaper and heavier it becomes. Many people prefer a heavy duvet, but don't confuse weight with warmth, as a top quality down duvet may feel very light but has extremely effective thermal properties. 

Natural-filled duvets should be professionally laundered because they need to be thoroughly dried, and this may be difficult for you to achieve at home. Please refer to the care guide that comes with your product on how to look after it. The number of times a duvet is laundered will have an impact on its lifespan, as will repeatedly lying or sitting on top of it as this has the effect of compressing the filling and eventually diminishing its ability to trap air.


Classic Duck Feather & Down
Featuring an 80% duck feather and 20% duck down filling encompassed in a plain 230 thread count piped pure cotton cover with down-proof casing.

Great value and high quality, it's designed to keep you warm and comfortable with natural breathability for a good night's sleep.

Fine European Duck Down
Naturally lightweight and comfortable, our Fine European Duck Down collection is made in the UK and filled with 80% duck down and 20% duck feather, encased in a 240 thread count cotton casing with down-proofing.

Breathable and filled with clusters of down that are lighter and softer than feathers, it's lightweight but warm and boxed construction helps to prevent any cold spots.

Supreme White Goose Down
Beautifully soft and lightweight without compromising on warmth, this naturally breathable Supreme White Goose Down range is made in the UK.

Made with European goose down and feather, it provides more warmth with less weight than duck down for a refreshing night's sleep.

Luxury Hungarian Goose Down
A truly luxurious offering for a wonderfully comfortable night's sleep, our Luxury Hungarian Goose Down range features a 90% Hungarian goose down and 10% goose feather filling within a down-proof cotton cover with a rich 300 thread count, woven stripe finish and piped edging.

Made at our Herbert Parkinson factory in Lancashire, the down filling offers a lightweight insulated solution that is naturally breathable.  

We also offer this filling in a split Mine and Yours duvet, perfect for couples who can't agree on how warm their duvet should be - it comes with a cosy 10.5 tog on one side, and a cooler 7 tog on the other. 

Anti Allergen Pyrenean Down
Innovative and groundbreaking, our Anti Allergen Pyrenean Down range is not only super soft and comfortable, but is also hypo-allergenic and therefore perfect for allergy sufferers who prefer to sleep in natural down.

Clinically proven to reduce allergy symptoms, it does not contain optical white, formaldehyde, perfume or any other unnecessary treatments that can affect airways and allergies.

Filled with the large, soft clusters of down from Pyrenean ducks, it is encased in a luxurious and tightly woven cotton cover that is down-proofed to seal in the natural filling.

Superior Siberian Goose Down
Designed by nature to be lightweight, warm and supremely soft for ultimate comfort, our Superior Siberian Goose Down range features a 100% Siberian goose down filling encased in a 350 thread count cotton cover with piped edging, down-proofing and jacquard detail.

Made in our Herbert Parkinson factory in Lancashire, the large and super-soft clusters of down come from geese living in the Arctic tundra of Siberia and offer lightweight insulation.

Ultimate Winter Snow Goose
Exceptionally fine bedding of unparalleled luxury, our Ultimate Winter Snow Goose Down range offers a sumptuously soft surrounding for the best night's sleep.

Featuring 100% Winter Snow goose filling - the highest insulated down from geese that live in the arctic tundras - its supremely soft clusters offer the ultimate in insulation in a lightweight form.

It's encased in a plain cotton cover with a high quality 350 thread count, with a grey piped edging and down-proofing Nomite case.


Synthetic fillings

Our synthetic duvets give the same warmth as natural fillings, and are a practical choice if you're allergic to feathers and down, or if your duvet is likely to require frequent washing as synthetic fillings dry more easily. 

However, the number of times a duvet is laundered will have an impact on its lifespan, as will repeatedly lying or sitting on top of it as this has the effect of compressing the filling, eventually diminishing its ability to trap air – especially with a synthetic duvet.


Soft Touch Washable
Silky and soft, for the ultimate in comfort look to our Soft Touch Washable range. Featuring a microfibre filling that is encased in a super-soft polyester cover, it offers lightweight warmth and a comfortable, bouncy feel that recovers shape well after washing.

Active Anti Allergy
This innovative Active Anti Allergy range is sure to give you a great night's sleep, free from the worry of allergies. Featuring a special microfibre and Amicor filling that actively prevents dust mites, it is clinically proven to reduce allergy symptoms.

It's encased in a pure and soft cotton cover with a luxurious 200 thread count and piped edging for comfortable breathability.

Breathable Microfibre
Luxurious with innovative breathable filling, the Breathable Microfibre range features modal, which regulates body temperature and wicks away moisture for a comfortable night's sleep.

Featuring a microfibre and modal filling encase in a light blend of cotton and modal with piped detail, it is ideal for allergy sufferers.

Natural/Synthetic Blend: Cashmere Soft
Soft and luxurious with a lovely 'bounce back' quality, this Cashmere Soft bedding range is filled with a hypoallergenic blend of plump microfibre and opulent cashmere encased in a silky soft pure cotton cover with 230 thread count and piped edging.

Lightweight Luxury
A luxuriously lightweight duvet that boasts a lovely natural drape across the body for added comfort. It features an ultra-light and very fine Dacron Quallofil hollowfibre filling that is encased in a smooth cotton cover.  

Each duvet is individually made by combining two separately quilted panels, which are then hand finished and bound together, creating an extra air layer inside the duvet that eliminates all cold spots.

Specialist duvets
Perfect Mulberry Silk 
Filled with pure silk that has been created by silkworms that mainly feed on the leaves of mulberry bushes, these duvets are naturally breathable and hypoallergenic.

The super-soft 300 thread count cotton sateen cover helps to regulate your body temperature as you sleep, making it the ultimate in bedtime luxury and ideal for allergy suffers.

Gingerlily Silk Made from only the finest 'A' grade mulberry silk, Gingerlily's luxurious 100% silk filled duvets have been designed to improve the quality of your sleep.

Long-fibre mulberry silk threads are layered in a criss-cross pattern to create a silk floss, then covered in 100% cotton sateen for a duvet that drapes lightly over the body for a great night’s sleep.

Devon Duvets Wool Handmade in Devon using wool from pure breed flocks of Texel sheep, these wool duvets are a natural alternative to a down-filled duvet.

A sustainable product as the sheep is reared solely for its wool, the duvet is naturally resistant to dust mites and breathable, so it helps to regulate body temperature all year round.

Duvet protection
We also provide protection for duvets in the shape of an anti-allergen duvet liner, which zips up fully to enclose it; this helps prolong its life, and is ideal for people who suffer from allergies or asthma.

Pillow types & fillings


Pillow types

It's worth taking time to find the type of pillow that will provide the correct balance of comfort and support you need. By all means try in our shops before you buy – our selling assistants will be pleased to advise you. Everyone’s different, and you and your partner may find the same pillows don’t suit both of you.

All our pillows can be laundered in a large capacity machine (wash just one at a time), but synthetic pillows will dry more quickly; some of these are also washable at 60ºC, the temperature at which house dust mites are killed.

It's important to remember that pillows will have a more limited lifespan than duvets, (because of the weight of our heads and the fact that you lie on top of a pillow and flatten it) and over the years the level of support will deteriorate. Natural-filled pillows will keep their shape and level of support for longer than synthetic, but plump all pillows up daily.

As well as standard size pillows, we stock square (sometimes called continental) pillows, which are good for sitting up in bed and for decorative purposes, and kingsize pillows, which are extra wide for use on wider beds.




Synthetic fillings

These provide the alternative for those allergic to feathers and down. As with duvets, we have a range of different hollowfibre types to choose from, including lightweight fine fibres which provide the closest in feel to a down pillow.

Pillows made from latex foam provide excellent support and maintain their shape. They do not collect house dust and are particularly suitable for asthma sufferers.

We also stock memory foam pillows, which are made from a non-allergenic, visco-elastic temperature sensitive material that has unique pressure-relieving qualities, allowing your head and neck to rest in a natural, tension-free position.

Natural fillings

Down and feather pillows mould snugly round the head and shoulders. The more feather there is in a pillow, the firmer it tends to be, and the proportion of down adds softness.

All our natural pillows come in downproof casings, but we would always recommend use of a pillow protector to prevent staining and help prolong the life of a pillow.


What’s your sleep style?

One of the most important things to consider when buying pillows is how you sleep; a pillow that is too firm or too soft can affect your posture and how well you sleep.

Remember to consider your pillow to your mattress too - a firm pillow will not work well with a soft mattress. Also consider your body shape and height; this will affect which pillow you choose as you'll want to maintain a straight spine thoughout your sleep.


Back sleeper – a medium-firm pillow is ideal if you sleep on your back as it provides enough support for the neck without affecting the alignment of your spine.

Side sleeper – a firm pillow is recommended if you sleep on your side as it keeps the spine aligned and prevents hunching and painful necks.

Front sleeper – a soft pillow is great for front sleepers as it provides the right amount of comfortable cushioning.

Mattress and pillow protection

Mattress protectors not only help to prolong the life of mattresses and pillows by protecting against soiling and general wear and tear, but create an extra layer of softness too. They can also keep your bedding fresh and revitalise tired mattresses and pillows. 

The majority of our mattress protectors now come with a Microfresh finish to allow you a healthy and fresher sleep. Exclusive to us, Microfresh eliminates nasty bacteria and odours.

Mattress toppers are a means of softening the feel of your mattress and providing extra support – see our guide to mattresses for further information.

If you are looking for basic, practical protection, we stock a wide range of mattress covers  from completely enclosed polyester protection to luxury pure cotton quilted. We also have pillow protectors to help stop soiling and prolong the life of your pillow.

Our breathable waterproof mattress covers provide a discreet way of ensuring extra protection against soiling.

For anyone who suffers from asthma or other respiratory problems, our breathable anti-allergy protection can be helpful. Our zipped anti-allergy protector is made from a special barrier fabric that allergens cannot penetrate and completely encloses your mattress or pillow.

Use our anti-allergy protectors to keep new bedding allergen-free, or as a safeguard against the allergens already present in old bedding. Look out for the BAFA logo on anti-allergy products.

Duvet protection We also provide the same protection for duvets in the shape of a duvet liner, which zips up fully to enclose it, helps to prolong the life of your duvet, and is ideal for people who suffer from allergies or asthma.

We know that washing duvets and pillows can be a real chore - so using liners or protectors may mean you need to do so less frequently.