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The Ultimate Guide to Buying Quilts Kept Simple

A RightBites Buying Guide! Buying Quilts

The change of seasons is usually the major trigger for purchasing a new quilt. In summer, quilts get changed for a lighter variant and in winter, it's back to a much warmer one. So how do you know which quilt is best for you for which season? Well, there is no correct answer and it is determined by a number of factors:

1. Preference on fill - do you want wool, feather, synthetic or eco-fill? This will be determined by allergies and whether you want washable or dry cleanable only.

2. Level of room insulation - what variances in temperature do you need to deal with? ie is the room poorly insulated so gets very cold at night or well insulated so keeps a regular temperature. This has a large influence over your winter quilt selection.

3. General airflow temperature - is there a fan or reverse cycle airconditioning to factor in? In Summer, quilts have just as an important role to play in the hotter months when you are trying to regulate your temperature (and you might have fans, breezy windows and air-conditioners to contend with).

 

But next to pillows, quilts are the main other item to consider if you have allergies or needing to improve your quality of sleep.

The latest quilt manufacturing techniques, especially in the synthetics range, are designed for summer and winter and are great for those with allergies. One of the other main advantages of newer quilts are that most of them are washable at home and therefore more suitable to the rigours of family life (and saves on those expensive dry cleaning bills!). Read on to learn more!

 

 

Other Guides 

How to buy Sheets (or Quilt/Doona Covers)

How to Buy Pillows

More Guides & Tips

What are the standard Quilt sizes?

  • Single size 140 x 210 cm
  • King Single 180 x 210 cm (yes it's the same as a double!)
  • Double 180 x 210 cm 
  • Queen 210 x 210 cm
  • King 240cm x 210 cm

Remember quilt sizes are generally bigger than the mattress size that they are designed to fit. If you need mattress/sheet sizing, go here.

How long should a quilt last?

Like pillows, the life expectancy of a quilt is mainly dependent on what type of quilt it is. Generally cheap polyester quilts have a life of anywhere between 2-5 years depending upon how much it is used and what quality of cover it comes stitched with. A good quality polyester quilt (usually with a better quality polyester filling or even a treated polyester filling for allergies), will last 5 years plus.

How do you know when its time to replace a feather quilt? Clearly if feathers are sticking out or you are starting to see lighter patches between the down (ie the down has started to disintegrate), it's time to be replaced. Generally around 10-15 years or more is what you can expect from these types of quilts (especially those more expensive feather based quilts brands that have guarantees lasting 10 years plus).

Washing a Quilt

How long you can keep your quilt is also influenced by how many times have you washed it in a year? Generally, polyester quilts of all types are washable and ideally should be washed at least 2-4 times per year! Why? Just like any other bedding item, they do capture dust, mites and particles of skin.

Wool and feather-based Quilts will need dry cleaning and a good airing occasionally. It is recommended to dry clean once you have finished with these products for the season and before you put them away.

 

GSM and filling

Quilt thickness or density is measured by 'gsm' (grams per square metre). The thickness of the filling and the type of filling determine how warm the quilt is.

Generally microfibre quilts between 150-300gsm are on the thinner side and only suitable for warmer months (depending upon your climate of course). Quilts more suitable for winter are usually in the 400-600 gsm range if microfibre or wool based, and 700-1400 for the feather based quilts. Feather based quilts can have very similar gsms even if a quilt for winter vs more warmer months because the weight doesn't change, but the fill type (ie more down than feather) might. 

You will also find a corresponding relationship on price and quality with gsm. Cheaper quilts have a lower gsm generally whereas more expensive quilts have a higher gsm.

A number of quilt manufacturers also use a 'high loft' (equivalent to 2-3 blankets, 450 gsm), 'light loft' (equivalent to 1-2 blankets 300gsm) or 'super loft' (equivalent to 3-5 blankets 500gsm) rating. This is to help customers in determining warmth factor. 'Light Loft' is therefore a suitable summer blanket and high/super are more for cooler nights.

Filling also determines price ie whether it is microfibre, wool or feather based as explained in the next section. 

Polyester vs Microfibre Quilts

Synthetic quilts are another name for Polyester quilts and are the most popular around due as they are not expensive. They usually have a cotton stitched cover with a polyester filling. Some of these polyester quilts even have a treated polyester filling for allergy sufferers. Cheaper polyester quilts are around 150-250gsm level (ie an average amount of filling). Polyester these days is much more breathable than of old. There's nothing wrong with a budget polyester quilt for Summer although of course, it isn't going to last as many years as more expensive microfibre variants.

Microfibre is a type of synthetic and is the result of a different and newer manufacturing technique. Microfibre is definitely one of the wonder fabrics of modern day (see our Buying Sheets/Doona Cover Guide where Microfibre is explored in more detail) as they are generally easy to care for, breathe just like cotton and dry quicker.

Microfibre quilts also exhibit greater characteristics of fluffiness feeling more like a 'luxury' feather/down product as they to have a higher gsm filling eg 300gsm+.  Microfibre quilts are filled by blowing in a fine denier fibre to give the effect of being filled like 'down'. Obviously microfibre quilts will be a little more expensive than your standard polyester range but are great purchases for warmer months.

Dacron is a trademark (brand) of polyester made by DuPont and commonly used worldwide by many manufacturers especially as filling for upholstery and bedding. A number of quilt manufacturers use this and it makes for an excellent value quilt.

Most quality synthetic quilts are perfect for those suffering allergies as compared to natural down, feather or wool quilts. They are also much lighter!

Down, Feather & Wool Quilts

Whilst manufacturers still make Duck and Feather blends of quilts, with the arrival of Microfibre and wool based quilts, Duck & Feather blends are not as popular as they once were (mainly due to the practicality of microfibre).

However, both down and feather offer great insulation (down being the lighter feathers under normal feathers of geese or duck) and offer the same benefits as the newer synthetic types of quilts. Be aware that over a long period of time, the feathers will slip around and deaden, and ultimately crumble to dust if you keep it beyond its expected life.

Wool, like Duck & Down generally is dry clean only (but check the labels) and suitable for those that prefer 'natural' fabrics. However, they are definitely not suitable for allergy sufferers (unless it has been treated and specified as so). A number of Australian bedding manufacturers produce a range of excellent quality wool (sheep, alpaca etc) quilts with hypo-allergenic properties. There's also a good range of wool quilts that are made especially lightweight for Summer. 

 

 

Eco fill Quilts

 

There are a few Australian manufacturers producing very innovative quilts using eco-friendly fills like recycled plastic or euculyptus or bamboo fibre. For those seeking an environmentally sound choice, you can't go past these types of quilts and they perform the same job and more in keeping you warm and cosy. They have greater advantages of anti-allergy properties and minimise bacteria because of their natural inherent properties of the fill and fabric. In environments of high moisture/humidity, these are just perfect as standard cotton fabric can breed mould.

Our Eco-quilt range

Our Summer quilt range.

Our full quilt range.

 

With a comprehensive range of cheap bedding and sheets as well as quality donna covers sold online, browse the Right Buy range today!