The Ultimate Quilt Buying Guide: Everything You Need To Know About Buying A Doona

The Ultimate Quilt Buying Guide: Everything You Need To Know About Buying A Doona

When it comes to a good night's sleep, few things can compare to the comfort and warmth provided by a high-quality duvet or quilt. The right choice of bedding can transform your sleeping experience, ensuring restful nights and rejuvenating mornings. With the many variations available in the market, finding the perfect quilt is a highly personal choice, dependent on your desired weight, warmth and fabric preferences. Discover everything you need to know right here about buying a duvet, ensuring that your nights are filled with peaceful slumber and your bedroom reflects your personal style and comfort preferences.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the lifespan of a doona?

The lifespan of a doona will depend on its quality and how well it is cared for. A good quality doona that is properly cared for should last around 5 years and beyond. It is recommended to wash and air them often, avoid pulling too hard when tugging on corners, use a quilt cover for protection, and store them in a dry and cool place when not in use.

What is a high-loft quilt?

A high-loft (or hi-loft) quilt refers to a type of quilt that has a thick and fluffy filling or batting which provides more warmth and insulation. The thickness, weight, and warmth of a high-loft quilt depend on the type and amount of filling used. High-loft quilts are ideal for cold or harsh climates and can be used all year round, depending on the climate.

What is GSM in quilts?

GSM stands for "grams per square meter" and is a unit of measurement used to determine the weight or density of a textile. In quilts, GSM is used to measure the weight or density of the filling or batting used in the quilt. A higher GSM rating indicates that the quilt's filling is thicker and heavier, providing more warmth and insulation.

What is the best quilt for sleepers with allergies?

It is first important to distinguish the difference between the terms 'anti-allergy' and 'hypoallergenic' when it comes to bedding in general. Anti-allergy means that the quilt has been treated specifically to prevent and protect against the build-up of dust mites. Hypoallergenic means the materials used to make the doona are very unlikely to trigger an allergic reaction.

When it comes to the best type of quilt for those who suffer from allergies, wool or bamboo is the best choice. These fabrics are naturally hypoallergenic and wick away moisture, creating a dry environment that's inhospitable to fungus, mould and dust mites.

Quilts vs. Duvet vs. Doona vs. Comforter - what's the difference?

Gainsborough Down Alternative Quilt
Gainsborough Down Alternative Quilt

You may wish to clarify some of the terms we use when discussing bedding. If you become a little confused when hearing words like quilts, duvets, doonas and comforters being used interchangeably, here is a breakdown of each term:

What is a comforter?

A comforter is a type of bedspread that is composed of thick, warm, and insulated material, encased in a soft and durable fabric shell. It is generally used as the top layer of bedding or as a standalone bed covering. Comforters are considered an 'all-in-one' bedding option since they do not require a quilt cover like doonas do. They can be placed over your existing quilt for added loft and warmth during the colder seasons.

Similar to a comforter, a coverlet is a lightweight and decorative bedspread that is generally used as a decorative top layer on the bed. Coverlets are thinner and less insulated than comforters, making them more suitable bedding for the summer months.

What is a duvet?

The word duvet is French for down and is again just another word for a doona. The word duvet is mostly used in Europe and is used less in countries such as Australia, America and the UK.

What is a doona?

The word doona is what we Australians call a comforter, a quilt and a duvet. Doona is thought to have come from the Danish word dyne, which means down feathers. Originally a trademarked word of trusted bedding brand Tontine, Doona is now a commonly used word in Australia.

What is a quilt?

A quilt is just another word for a doona or duvet and is used interchangeably in many other countries such as New Zealand.

Summer Quilts vs. Winter Quilts vs. All-Seasons Quilts

If you live in a place with a consistent climate, one type of quilt may be sufficient throughout the year. If you live in a climate with distinct seasonal changes, you may want to consider investing in both a summer and a winter quilt. or an all-season quilt depending on your needs.

Best Quilt for Summer

Summer quilts are built to be lightweight and breathable, made from thin yet quality materials. They do not provide much insulation and many summer quilts have moisture-wicking and cooling properties to keep you cool and comfortable in hot weather.

Best fabric types: Cotton, silk, bamboo, and polyester blends are all great materials for summer quilts. Cotton is perfect for hot and humid climates as it is cool and breathable, while silk and bamboo are soft, lightweight and luxurious materials. Polyester blends tend to be more affordable and can wick away sweat from the body.

Recommended GSM: For summer quilts, the recommended GSM range is between 100-150. This will ensure that the quilt has enough good quality and breathable insulation while still being lightweight.

Best Quilt for Winter

Winter quilts are made from heavily insulated materials. They are ideal for the colder months, as they provide warmth and insulation, trapping body heat to keep you warm on chilly nights.

Best fabric types: Wool and Down are the most popular materials used for winter quilts. Wool is an excellent insulating material, and it regulates body temperature naturally. Down, on the other hand, is an insulating material that is fluffy, soft and provides excellent warmth.

Recommended GSM: For winter quilts, the ideal GSM range should be around 350-400. This will ensure that the quilt is thick and heavy enough to trap heat and keep you warm throughout the night.

You can read all about the best quilts for winter right here.

Best All-Season Quilt

All-season quilts, as the name suggests, are designed to be used all year round, offering a balance between warmth and breathability. They come with a medium level of insulation that provides an adequate level of warmth in winter while not being too heavy for summer.

Best fabric types: Natural fibre blends such as cotton, silk, and wool are ideal materials for all-season quilts. They provide excellent insulation, breathability, and temperature regulation. Synthetic fibres such as microfiber and polyester are also great options as they are lightweight, soft and comfortable.

Recommended GSM: A GSM range between 150-250 is recommended for all-season quilts as they offer the right level of insulation and breathability, keeping you comfortable in both hot and cold weather.

Quilt Size: What size doona do I need?

Tontine Cotton Comfort Quilt

Be sure to factor in the size of the doona before making your purchase. As a rule of thumb, always remember to go one size larger than your mattress. Here are some of the benefits of choosing a larger quilt:

  • More warmth: Upsizing to a larger quilt offers better heat retention as it reduces the chances of air escaping.
  • Look and feel: A larger quilt also makes your bed look aesthetic and inviting, draping comfortably over its edges.
  • It's easy to upgrade your bed size: You never have to worry about buying new quilts if you decide to switch to a bigger bed size.

Bonus tip: Always remember to measure your mattress before buying a quilt. This is because Australian quilt and mattress sizes could differ from those sold in other countries.

Size guide for quilts


Width (cm)

Length (cm)

Super King












King Single






Quilt Fill Types: What is the best type of quilt fill to buy?

If you're wondering what is the best kind of doona to buy for a night of restful sleep, take the time to figure out your personal preferences first. The choice of fill, for instance, impacts a quilt or doona's warmth. To understand the best doona filling, let's look into the features and benefits of some of the most popular fill types.

Best Quilt Fill Types For Cold Weather

Feather & Down Quilts

If you're looking for the softest and most luxurious quilts that money can buy, make a feather and down quilt your top choice. In that, look for the ratio of down to feathers. Down helps contribute to the quilt's softness and warmth without adding to its weight, while feathers work to add bulk. Pure goose down is thus one of the softest and lightest fillings for your quilts and pillows. In that, look for a quilt where the filling is stitched in box construction. It keeps the fill in place, warming you evenly.

  • Pros: Down quilts offer excellent insulation and are breathable, lightweight and durable. Down quilts are primarily preferred for winters or by cold sleepers looking for extra warmth. Today there are options available for all-year use as well.
  • Cons: These doonas are more expensive than all other quilt types and need dry cleaning and maintenance. What's more, they could cause allergies in those with sensitivities. Still keen to buy? Look for quilts with anti-bacterial treatments. Down doonas, while breathable, will trap body heat, leading to overheating.

Wool quilts

These are an excellent choice if you're looking for warmth and durability. A soft and comfortable fill fibre, wool stays dry much longer than cotton or down with similar exposure to moisture and humidity.

  • Pros: This natural material is unique in responding to different temperatures. Wool quilts can keep you cool during summers and warm during winters, making them perfect for year-round use. The material also wicks sweat away from the skin. It's hypoallergenic and anti-microbial - making it excellent for those with allergies. Wool quits are ideal for hot sleepers and those who experience night sweats and hot flashes.
  • Cons: These doonas are naturally heavier and flatter than other quilts. Most quilts may only be dry cleaned, making maintenance tedious. That said, today, shoppers can access machine-washable wool quilts to make upkeep easier and hassle-free.

Wool vs. Down Quilts











May cause allergies

May cause allergies

Moisture resistance

Absorbs up to 30% of its weight in moisture

Loses insulating properties when wet


Dry cleaning or machine-washable required.

A special washing process may be required.

Best Synthetic Quilt Fill Types

Synthetic quilt fibres include microfibre, polyester and down alternatives. Microfibre is typically at least twice as thinner as polyester. These doonas make for affordable, lightweight and practical choices for shoppers on a budget.

Microfibre Quilts

Microfibre, for instance, is exceptionally versatile and can be crafted as the best quilt for summer. Alternatively, this fibre can be moulded into a warm, cosy alternative to goose-down quilts with a higher GSM and fluffier loft.

Polyester Quilts

Polyester doonas, like microfibre, are also incredibly affordable, easy to clean and lightweight. They're hypoallergenic and can be used by people with sensitivities. Polyester, unlike microfibre, doesn't breathe as well, causing overheating and discomfort for hot sleepers. Ideal for cool sleepers during winter.

Microfibre vs. Polyester Quilts





More breathable

Not so breathable. Traps heat




Ease of Maintenance

Machine washable

Machine washable





Less soft compared to microfibre








Best Quilt Fill Types For Warm Weather

Bamboo quilts

Bamboo doonas are composed of natural bamboo fibres and feel lightweight. We think it's one of the best quilts for summer and well-suited for hot sleepers or people living in warmer climates.

  • Pros: Bamboo is a natural and sustainable fibre. It's fast-growing, resilient and naturally renewable. It helps to naturally regulate your body's temperature, keeping you cool during the summer. Ideal if you're someone who likes a warm quilt without bulk. Fibres are resistant to bacteria, mould, dust mites and odour, improving sleep quality and overall bed hygiene.
  • Cons: Bamboo quilts can be expensive, wrinkle easily, and may not be as durable as other types of quilts.

Silk quilts

A luxurious and comfortable fabric, silk tends to drape around your body, comfortably moulding to its shape, giving you a heap of comfort while you sleep.

  • Pros: Silk is hypoallergenic, making it ideal for asthma and allergy sufferers. With the correct type of care, silk can last for decades. While synthetic doonas can trap heat, making you too warm during sleep, silk naturally wicks moisture away from the body.
  • Cons: Silk quilts are generally more expensive than synthetic varieties. They also need more maintenance and care.

Cotton quilts

Cooler than polyester, cotton is a natural fibre that breathes well. Available in varying GSMs, you can pick one for every season.

  • Pros: Cotton doonas are lightweight and breathable, making them a good choice for hot sleepers. A 100% cotton quilt will be hypoallergenic, which is safe for allergy-prone sleepers.
  • Cons: Cotton retains more heat than bamboo, which is why it could be far from ideal during Australia's hot summers. Also, these quilts are not entirely as soft or comfy as bamboo.

Bamboo Quilts vs. Silk Quilts vs. Cotton Quilts


Silk Quilts

Bamboo Quilts

Cotton Quilts


Very soft

Very soft

Moderately soft













Temperature regulation












Ease of care

Dry clean only

Machine washable

Machine washable

Buying a quilt - Choosing the Right Weight & Warmth

It's easier to choose the correct weight and warmth when you know the density and height of the quilt. These are typically calculated using two measures - GSM and loft.

Quilt Weight - How to choose the best GSM for a quilt

As mentioned earlier, GSM refers to the fill material's weight - the more grams of filling per square metre, the warmer the quilt. Here are some examples to help you decide on the best quilt for your bed.

  • Best Quilt for Summer: 150-250 GSM
  • Best Quilt for Autumn/Spring: 300-350 GSM
  • Winter: 500+ GSM

Ultimately, your quilt's warmth depends on how warm you enjoy being in bed. Are you looking for something that helps regulate your body's temperature? Is year-round comfort a priority? Does your partner sleep at a different temperature than you?

Quilt Height - what is loft?

Loft measures the quilt's height or thickness. So a higher loft equals high GSM, except when it comes to down filling, in which warmth is measured in fill power.

What is fill power?

It measures the quality of the down in a quilt and is a good indicator of its warmth. A higher fill power automatically translates to a fluffier loft. Here are some examples of fill-power according to seasons.

  • Light warm: up to 400
  • All-season: 400-599
  • Winter warm: 600-799
  • Ultimate winter warm - 800+

Quilt Buying tip

In Australia - you'll see a quilt warmth rating of 1, 2 and 3, coupled with a description that tells you how warm the quilt can get and the best seasons to use. For instance, a quilt with a warmth rating of 3 or a description indicating 'super warm' would be most suitable for winter. You'll find that some products are also measured in thermal overall grade (TOG). Typically 4.5 to 6.0 TOG is best for summer, 7.5 to 10.5 TOG for all seasons, while 13.5 to 15 TOG is highly suitable for winter.

Thermal Overall Grade (TOG) - What does 'TOG' mean?

TOG measures the quilt's ability to capture and retain heat, a high TOG value indicates a warmer quilt. However, remember that TOG is not an indicator of quality or weight.

Quilt warmth based on your sleeping partner

You may have different sleeping preferences from your partner, particularly with sleeping temperatures. In that case, it can be hard to find the perfect quilt to buy to suit a hot and cold sleeper simultaneously. If this is an issue, consider trying the 'Scandinavian sleep method', which entails making up your bed with two doonas. This means that you can purchase two separate quilts with different features and properties to suit both of your needs. It's also a great sleep hygiene practice, ensuring less partner disturbance during the night.

Doona Care and Maintenance: How To Wash Your Doona

Follow these general steps and care tips to wash your doona, maintain its quality and prolong its lifespan:

  1. Check the care instructions: Read the manufacturer's label or any care instructions provided with your doona to ensure you are following the recommended cleaning method.
  2. Pre-treat stains (if necessary): If there are any stains on your doona, pretreat them before washing. You can use a stain remover or gentle detergent directly on the stains.
  3. Use a large-capacity washing machine: Make sure you have access to a washing machine that can accommodate the size of your doona. It's important to have enough space for the doona to move freely during the wash cycle.
  4. Select a gentle cycle and mild detergent: Use a gentle or delicate cycle on your washing machine and choose a mild detergent specifically formulated for delicate fabrics. Avoid using harsh detergents or bleach that could damage the doona.
  5. Wash with care: Place the doona in the washing machine and start the cycle. If you have a front-loading machine, you may need to balance the load by adding a few towels or similar items. This helps prevent the doona from becoming lopsided during the wash.
  6. Rinse thoroughly: After the wash cycle is complete, run an extra rinse cycle to ensure all detergent is removed from the doona.
  7. Dry properly: Depending on the care instructions, you can air dry the doona or use a dryer. If using a dryer, set it to a low or gentle heat setting. Add a few clean tennis balls or dryer balls to help fluff up the doona and prevent clumping. Ensure the doona is completely dry to prevent the growth of mould or mildew. Low heat is key to drying your quilts in the dryer. Quilts are delicate, so never dry them all the way in the machine. Refer to the care instructions to improve their longevity.
  8. Air periodically: It's a good idea to air your doona periodically. Airing increases the lifespan of your quilt and maintains its freshness. This is true for all fill types.

What are the best quilts and bedding brands in Australia?

When it comes to bedding, there are a number of top brands available that have remained undisputed in Australia for decades, and for good reason:


Tontine is a well-known Australian brand that has been producing high-quality bedding and Australian-made wool products for over 60 years. They offer a range of quilts, pillows, mattress toppers, and protectors. Tontine focuses on providing comfortable and durable bedding options, often incorporating innovative technologies such as anti-allergy and temperature-regulating features.


Gainsborough is another trusted brand available at Harris Scarfe. They specialise in luxurious bedding products, including quilts, pillows, mattress toppers, and protectors. Gainsborough is known for its attention to detail, exquisite craftsmanship, and use of premium materials. Their products often feature advanced technologies for enhanced comfort and support.


A brand that focuses on contemporary and stylish bedding designs. Soren offers a range of quilts and coverlets with modern patterns and colours to suit various decor styles. Their collections often feature high-quality materials and craftsmanship, ensuring both comfort and aesthetic appeal in their bedding products.

More Buying Guides You May Like

Everybody sleeps differently, but what we all long for is an undisturbed and restful sleep. So, whether it's the heavier, comforting wool quilts or the soft like-a-cloud bamboo or cotton quilts that make your rest feel more restorative, find one that works for you and stick with it.

Because the quality of our day is so heavily influenced by the quality of our sleep the night before, it really does pay to find the best bedding you can afford. And here at Harris Scarfe, our complete range of quilts and bedding means it's easy to find heavy sleep heaven. If you need to upgrade your entire bedding ensemble, check out our helpful buying guides on choosing the best bed sheets, as well as how to pick the perfect pillow.