Goose Down Industry Definitions
- by Darren Salkeld

The following definitions have been put together to aid in your search for Ultimate Comfort & Warmth. If you have any questions you would like answered, please send me an email.

Fill Power:

"Fill Power" is a term used in the Down Bedding industry that tells the quality or insulating value of the down filling material. The higher the fill power is, the better/stronger the down material is. To test the filling power, one ounce of down is compressed with a pre-determined weight. When the weight is removed, the down expands and the volume of space it occupies is measured in cubic inches.

Then it is normally just stated as the number, followed by the words "fill power". For example, a goose down filling that occupies 700 cubic inches of space per ounce, would be listed as 700 fill power!

A comforter with a high fill power doesn't have to physically weigh as much as one with a lower fill power to be just as warm because the insulating power is increased as the fill power increases! You will remain extremely comfortable all throughout the night when you use down comforters that have high fill power.



Turbidity is a test to see how transparent the rinse water is when you are finished washing the down and feathers. Turbidity is, in fact, the true overall level of cleanliness of the down material as it determines the amount of dust and dirt that remain in feather and down products!

To perform this test, a sample of down is put in a container of distilled water and vigorously agitated for 20 minutes minimum with a mechanical shaking device. The sample water is then poured into a graduated tube that is 1,000mm high. This tube has a crosshair site at the bottom of it. When you pour the water into the tube, you must be able to just see the crosshair in the bottom.

Naturally, the higher the level of water is, while still seeing the cross-hair site, the cleaner the down is! When the water comes to a level where the crosshair will just go out of sight, you stop pouring the water into the tube and take a reading of its height.


Oxygen Number:

The Oxygen Number is a well know test for determining the cleanliness of the down and feather material. This test is a little more scientific to perform, but works just like the turbidity test.

The oxygen count test determines the amount of foreign organic matter on the surface of the down and feathers. To qualify as “clean” the oxygen number must be less than 10. The test is actually determining the chemical decomposition of the down filling material.

The maximum North American industry standard is 10mg/100g sample of down.


Net Down Content:

First of all, there is no such thing as "100% Down" or "Pure Down" for any kind of down on the market -- no matter what anybody tries to tell you! Down content is measured as "Net" Down Clusters.

By law, a product can be described on the label as "Down" or "Goose Down" when it has 75% net down clusters or more in it.

The higher the net down content is, the stronger the down is!


Comforter Style:

A "Sac" is just that... Have you ever seen a comforter that is basically just a big bag and the goose down and feathers go where ever they wnat? Urrggg, avoid these at ALL costs.

A "Channel" is the kind that has long tubes that run from head to toe. The goose down is notorious for moving right to your feet, and then ultimately the comforter falls off of you in the middle of the night. Not a good choice.

A "Sewn Through" comforter is one that may have many patters, diamonds or just plain old boxes sewn into it. The designs are sewn from one side of the comforter straight though the material to the other side restricting the lofting ability of the goose down. It is no wonder there is no comforters like this on the market with truely high fill power goose down in them... They would never get the chance to expand or loft up being sewn through really tight like that. Not a recommendation of mine, no matter how cute the designs may look on it!

A "Baffle Box" is a style that allows maximum loft of the down filling material and eliminates the down from shifting. The baffle box comforter is separated into three dimensional “boxes”. Yes, they actully have walls in them so the down can expand and loft up! This also keeps the weight of the goose down evenly distributed over your entire body and allows you to sleep throughout the night without interruption. The baffle box comforter is by far the best style on the market today for goose down filled products.


Thread Count:

Thread count is the sum of the warp and weft of the threads per square inch. The higher the "thread count" is the tighter woven the material is. The material will have a smoother and softer feel to it when it has a higher thread count.


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