How to choose a doona. Your definitive Australian doona buying guide.
Who doesn’t love to snuggle under the covers on a chilly winter's morning? Your doona can impact your quality of sleep, and we cant have that!
It’s important to choose the right doona for you, and it is not an insignificant investment.
Here at Bedloves, we want you to be happy, but we dont think you need to spend all your savings on a quilt.
But first, you may have wondered. What is the difference between a doona, duvet, quilt, comforter, bedspread or coverlet?
What is a doona?
Doona, duvet, quilt and comforter are all terms that describe a bag the size of the bed or larger filled with material – usually feathers, wool or synthetic fibres that maintain air pockets for warmth.
The term “Doona” so legend has it, was coined by a manufacturing company and trademarked to describe one of their bedding duvet's.
The popularity of the "doona" product meant it was adopted by Australians to describe this bedding. The name doona is attributed (by the manufacturing company) to the Norse or French word “Dunn”, or feather down.
This bedding will be placed in a removable 'doona' or 'quilt' cover for washing and aesthetic reasons. The doona (and its cover) will replace or go over the top sheet, and can replace the need for blankets.
What is the difference between a doona and a bedspread?
The terms coverlet, patchwork quilt and bedspread are used to describe an outer layer, thinly stuffed with material, usually sewn across the surface of the outer layer for ornamental reasons or to hold the material in place. They are usually highly decorative and used in the top of all bedding.
What factors to consider when choosing a quilt.
1. Consider what age the user is
If the doona is for an older child, teenager or adult, they will have no problem in telling you what their preferences are.
However for babies and young children it is a different story. There is a risk that the children may be overheating, or too cold at night or even a risk of SIDS if too many loose covers are used. Consider skipping a doona and use a gro-bag instead.
For us more mature women or pregnant women, we may generate enough heat at night and only need a very light doona. Elderly with poor circulation may need more warmth in winter.
2. Does you have any allergies or sensitivities?
This is particularly relevant in Australia where we have one of the highest incidences of asthma.
Other allergies could be skin rashes or irritations or simply the feel of the material. If you do have sensitivities consider going for a bamboo doona.
These bamboo blend doona's use sustainable bamboo, are eco-friendly, hypoallergenic, anti-bacterial and mould and dust mite resistant quilt that will keep you warm through the change in seasons.
Alternatively, and VERY affordably, you could go a microfibre quilt. Similar hypoallegenic fill, just not originating from bamboo.
3. What weight or thickness do you prefer?
It might sound crazy, but my husband doesn’t like any heavy bedding on his feet. He will pull apart a hotel bed before you can check the minibar!
In Australia, unlike the UK and Europe, we use the weight of the doona as an indication of how warm the duvet is. That is the Grams per Square Metre, or GSM.
Using weight would be enough if you were comparing wool with wool, but it doesn’t enable us to compare different materials. (eg, duck down to microfibre). It also doesn’t take into account the loft (or the size of air pockets in the filling) or breathability of the inner fill and outer material.
Using weight as the choice of warmth is a little bit archaic, as Europe use the tog system. Even Australian sleeping bags have a temperature rating, rather than relying on the bags weight.
That said, Summer weight doonas are considered to be 200 to 400gsm. All season or mid-season doonas are around 400-600gsm. Winter doonas are 700gsm and 800gsm.
And then within those weights, the natural materials such as duck feather down and goose feather down will be warmer than wool. Wool (or even Merino Wool) is warmer than microfibre and cotton is the coolest of all. Why? Because it has to do with the loft and breathability as mentioned previously.
So if you are looking for a super cosy, weighty doona, consider goose or duck down. But be warned! These are warm!
4. Consider the climate temperature
I’m going to state the obvious. Lighter doonas should be used in hotter climates. Yep, I think you knew that anyway!
The lightest doonas you can get are the Summer time doonas (which seem to disappear when out of season. Check here to see if we still have any).
Other climate considerations are to think about is the humidity (potential for mould), or is the house in a cold area, but always with central heating on?
Are you going to be washing it regularly? Then consider a cheaper wool doona, or a microfibre doona.
5. Want different Summer and Winter doonas, or one doona for the whole year?
That dirty ‘s’ word – storage. Living large in my small house, I don’t have the luxury of a spare cupboard to store a couple of doona’ for everyone.
So we have compromised with one light weight merino wool doona which gets us through all but about a month in winter where we have a small oil heater upstairs at night.
By November, all doonas are stored away and we just use the empty doona cover as extra sheeting on top of our top sheet.
We have some throw-rugs around if we get slightly chilly early in the mornings.
Keep in mind I am a human heater, my daughter doesn’t like to sleep in anything but a sheet – even in winter, and my husband likes to have his feet Free of bedding, so this works very well for our family.
We have a good "Buy 2" value option for those looking for two different weighted doonas here.
Most doonas come in a storage bag so make sure you don’t get too excited and throw it out when you first purchase.
Also if you are a family of 4 or 5 or more, buying a summer and winter doona every few years for everyone gets expensive!
6. How easy are are the washing instructions?
Perhaps you have
- a young one not toilet trained yet,
- a teenager with body odour that can latch onto anything and wont come out
- someone who insists on drinking (and spilling) milkshakes/ garlic soup/red wine in bed
- the dog has been known to get bored or hungry
- the doona as a back yard rug which was left out there in the rain
- had a camping trip with the doonas where it was a little muddy
Is there a chance (and this goes against all of my ‘slow fashion’ re-use / re-cycle ideals, but sometimes thats life) that this doona isn’t going to last more than say 3 years?
Then consider a cheaper one that you aren’t going to get so upset about if life happens.
Also, keep an eye on the care instructions of the doona. We make sure we put care options on all of our quilts to help you choose.
The bamboo blend and the microfibre quilts are gentle machine wash.
Hand washing a king sized doona is a good fitness work out.
7. How much are you prepared to spend?
Having wored in the linen and bedding business for over 5 years, I thinkI could comfortably say that a great deal of the cost of your quilt would be marketing, and if you buy from a physical store, it also pays for rent.
You can get some good quality doona’s for under $100. In fact, we have SEVERAL in our quilt collection here.
I strongly advise doing your homework, and then be practical.
Choosing a doona that is best is about material, weight, warmth, and how you are going to use it. Dont get caught up in brand names.
So which one is the best to choose?
Well unfortunately (and fortunately) it is a very personal choice, because everyone has different needs.
However today is your lucky day. For a short time (whilst stocks last), we are taking 35% off our Queen and King sized Australian Merino Wool Doonas in a midseason weight of 500gsm. We think these are great and are hoping for some feedback from our customers saying something similar. You dont need a coupon, the price has been discounted and can be found here.
If you have missed out on this promotion, but are interested in our discounts, make sure you sign up for our newsletter here.