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We Found the Most Cooling, Lightweight Bedding for Hot Summer Nights

Well+Good logo Well+Good 7/23/2021 Zoe Weiner
a made bed in a hotel room: Bedding for summer © Photo: Getty/Blend Images Bedding for summer

Cooling and lightweight comforters are likely on everyone's shopping lists right now. “Warm weather” and “down bedding” don’t exactly go hand-in-hand—especially if you, like me, are currently suffering through 90-plus degree nights in New York City with no air conditioning. However, if you, also like me, are one of those people who would rather sweat to death underneath a blanket than dare sleep on top of it, this one’s for you. I got to the bottom of whether a comforter or duvet was the best option to stay cool on hot summer nights—and the best shopping choices.

What's the difference between a comforter and a duvet?

First, let’s break down the difference between the two (because they're often used interchangeably). "A comforter is usually one piece. It has duvet-like fillings such as down, feather, wool, and other synthetics fiber. And it also has a stitched-in cover that's designed to be shown on top of the bed and can not be removed," explains Jacob Xi, co-founder of Olive Wren Home. "Similar to the concept of a pillow and a pillowcase, a duvet is usually an insert to a duvet cover that slips over the duvet to protect it." But just as an FYI, you'll likely still see "comforter" being used in place of a duvet (hence our labeling of the products as you scroll down!)

Duvet covers tend to be less expensive than a full-on comforters, so if you like to change your decor up with the seasons, this might be the way to go. They also are often easier to wash (though as anyone who's tried to put them back together post-wash can attest: the process isn’t actually that easy).

There's a third option, though, that you may not have considered: “A quilt is a bit lighter than a comforter, with less fill to make up the construction,” explains Vicki Fulop, co-founder of Brooklinen. "They work well as an alternative to comforter during warmer months or as a layering piece in the winter.”

What's the best bedding for summer?

As for what you should use during the summer? It's a matter of preference. "It really depends on your sleep preference, because quilts provide a nice weight while not holding in too much heat,” says Fulop. "Those who have strong A/C or live in cooler climates, however, might want to  look for lightweight comforters [or duvets]." There's another thing to consider if you tend to run hot at nights: the fabric of the blanket you choose. Reach for breathable fabrics, like cotton or French linen, according to the pros.

The best cooling comforters and duvet inserts

a large bed in a room: buffy buffy
The Buffy Breeze Comforter — $179.00

Yes, the hype is real (and worth it). The Buffy Breeze is specifically designed for warmer climates. Made with 100 percent eucalyptus fiber, this comforter is buttery soft and also feels as close to sleeping on air as you can possibly get. Details like the wave-stitched pattern make it so you can use the comforter as-is, or pair it with a duvet cover (if you like the look or just don’t trust yourself/pets/children with all-white). Buffy also makes eucalyptus duvet covers that are equally breezy and in nine different colors and patterns. Comforters go from $179 (Twin) to $259 (King/Cali King).

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a bedroom with a bed and desk in a room: brooklinen brooklinen
Brooklinen Down Comforter — $143.00

Starting at $143 for a Twin (Full/Queen is $233, and a King/Cali King is $323), Brooklinen’s lightweight comforter is encased with 100 percent high-quality cotton and features a down cluster fill, so it’s hypoallergenic. It’s easy to stuff into a duvet cover with its corner loops. If you’re looking for a comforter for every season, Brooklinen offers three types of comforters: Lightweight, All-Season, and Ultra-Warm.

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a person lying on a bed: avocado avocado
Avocado Alpaca Duvet Insert — $279.00

This option is a true duvet insert, so unlike comforters, this one is designed to be slipped into a duvet cover. Made with natural alpaca fiber, this insert is super cooling. (You probably though alpaca=wool-y heaviness, but alpaca fiber actually known for its breathability and sweat-wicking properties.) The fabric is also organic and the cotton percale case is 100 percent GOTS certified. Prices start at $279 for a Twin.

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a made bed in a room: bedsure bedsure
Bedsure Duvet Insert — $25.00

This affordable duvet insert has over 20,000 5-star reviews (and is currently 15 percent off!) and a solid 4.7 out of 5-star rating on Amazon. Made with a sweat-wicking, cooling microfiber material, you definitely won’t compromise on comfort or fluffiness. One reviewer writes, “This blanket seems to hold a perfect temperature…..not too hot, not too cold. It’s snuggly comfy. Looks fantastic on the bed. Although white can stain easily, it washes up and fluffs back into shape looking new again.” Prices vary based on size.

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Best summer quilts

a made bed in a bedroom: parachute parachute
Parachute Everyday Linen Quilt — $279.00

If you’ve worn a Parachute robe before, then you probably get the allure. Parachute is known for its airy yet luxurious textures fit for a vacation on the beach. Or just in bed. Their Everyday Linen Quilt is fluffy and light, perfect to use alone or layer with once it gets chillier. Crafted with 100 percent European flax with a polyester fill, it’s also Oeko-Tex Standard certified. Get a Full for $279 or Queen/King for $299.

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a grey chair in a room: company store company store
Company Cotton Voile Quilt — $135.00

Classic in every way, The Company Store makes a durable, go-to quilt that you can find in a wide variety of colors. Made with a cozy-soft cotton voile material (with a cotton fill), this quilt is suitable for summer nights, but can easily be bulked up with more layers for the months ahead. Prices start at $135.

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a bedroom with a bed and a window: gap quilt gap quilt
Gap Home Washed Frayed Edge Organic Cotton Quilt — $55.00

The Gap’s bedding (which is exclusively sold at Walmart) is a super affordable option if you want a light quilt you can cuddle up in during the hottest summer months. Made of 100 percent organic cotton with a polyester fill (Oeko-Tex certified!), we like how this quilt has a subtle undone look with the frayed edge detail. While you can’t go wrong with white (unless you have pets—then you can go very, very wrong), the line also has a pretty blush pink we’re eyeing. Prices vary based on size.

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The best summer bedding sets

a large bed sitting in a room: citizenry citizenry
Citizenry Stonewashed Linen Bed Bundle — $455.00

If you’re looking for quality and an elevated aesthetic, look no further than Citizenry’s linen bed bundles, which include a sheet set (one flat sheet, fitted sheet, and two pillowcases), a duvet cover, and two extra pillowcases (which is a nice bonus for those who go heavy on the pillows). Crafted with French flax and Portugal linen, these sheets are supremely soft, lightweight, and breathable, and will only continue to get softer the more you wash them. You’ll also sleep (even easier) knowing they’re Oeko-Tex certified and designed sustainably. Prices start at $455 for a Full.

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brooklinen brooklinen
Brooklinen Linen Move-In Bundle — $760.00

Brooklinen’s bedding is internet-famous for a reason. Marrying quality with modern elegance, falling asleep bundled up in these sheets is a dream. Breezy and cloud-like, this mega set is light enough for hot summer nights, yet cozy enough for fall as well. Made of 100 percent linen from Belgian and French Flax, this set has it all: one hardcore bundle (which includes a core sheet and duvet cover), one comforter, two pillowcases, and even some complimentary Laundress detergent. The price tag is hefty, but you actually save 17 percent buying all of these bedding goods in one sweep.

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a large bed sitting in a room: mellanni mellanni
Mellanni Bedspread Coverlet Set — $45.00

If you have a tighter budget, you can still score a comfy and hot weather-friendly bedding set that’ll last you. Mellanni has earned itself a great reputation for delivering on quality and looks for an impressively low price. This three-piece set (which includes two shams and a bedspread) is made of microfiber, a sweat-wicking material that’s even more durable than cotton. Dubious? One Amazon customer wrote, “Beautiful workmanship, quality product. Ordered a king for my king-size bed, drapes almost all the way to the floor on three sides. Is meant as a coverlet to go over a quilt, so product is thin, as it should be. Very satisfied.” Prices vary based on size.

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