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The best duvet covers of 2021

(CNN) —  

If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that getting a good night’s sleep is something that we wish for every time our head hits the pillow. While there are many factors that contribute to whether or not this actually happens, such as your mattress, pillows and sheets, another thing to consider is your duvet cover.

A duvet cover adds a protective layer between you and your comforter; think of it as a pillowcase for the duvet (or comforter), where you can easily wash the cover without having to wash the bulky thing underneath it. A duvet cover also allows you to change the look and feel of your bedding without having to change the entire comforter.

CNN Underscored tested 12 of the most popular duvet covers, evaluating everything from quality to the color options available. After a few months of testing, there were four that gave us the best night’s sleep:

Hands down, the Casper Sateen Duvet Cover (starting at $99) was the best duvet cover we tested. From the moment we took it out of the bag, we knew this one would be a winner. Between the zipper closure at the bottom to the hidden holes on the corners to more easily attach the cover to the duvet, the design of this duvet cover blew the others we tested out of the water — all for a middle-of-the-road price tag.

For the colder months, or for those looking to outfit their cozy cabin, the L.L. Bean Ultrasoft Comfort Flannel Comforter Cover will give you the utmost softest feel, while adding some warmth, as it was made from the thickest material we tested. And at less than $100 for a king size cover, its quality and comfort surpass the price.

Want something a little more than plain jane when it comes to design? If so, the Boll & Branch Signature Eyelet Duvet Cover is the perfect middle ground: It’s elegant but adds some design elements with borders. A full overlay also covers the bottom buttons, completing the design border. The quality is superb with all stitching, ties and buttons fully secure. Note that this duvet cover isn’t cheap — in fact, it’s the most expensive of all we tested — but it’s one of the few luxury brands that also includes shams, making it easy to ensure that your bedding will match.

If you love walking into a hotel room and getting comfy on those sleek-looking beds, you’ll love the Mellanni Microfiber Duvet Cover. With hidden button covers and matching shams and pillows, this comfortable duvet cover will lend an elegant vibe to your bedroom — at just around $30 in total for a five piece set, an absolute steal in our book.

Best duvet cover overall: Casper Sateen Duvet Cover ($99-$139, depending on size; casper.com)

Casper Sateen Duvet Cover
PHOTO: Casper
Casper Sateen Duvet Cover

The Casper Sateen Duvet Cover checked all the boxes for us: For starters, it’s 100% cotton with a smooth, sateen feel that’s soft, not silky. During our testing, washing the cover was a breeze and it dried completely with one cycle.

It was also unmatched in terms of features and quality. While most other duvet covers are fastened at the bottom with buttons — which can be time-consuming and, frankly, annoying — this one uses a zipper, fully hidden on both the top and the bottom, so you’ll never see it or feel it against the skin. Throughout the entire testing process, we buttoned many buttons and there were many times we had to redo the process as we missed a button somewhere. Having a zipper to close the cover in literally a second? Truly a game changer.

Then, there are the ties. Instead of two pieces of material tied in a bow, this cover features a snap tie, which means you’ll secure the corners through the duvet cover by snapping the material together; they very snuggly to ensure the duvet didn’t move around. While it might not sound like it makes a big difference, when you need to take the duvet cover off of the insert, not having to untie the ties is quite helpful. The snaps also stayed fully secure and never came undone.

Now, the real highlight of this product: With every duvet cover we tested, we had to rummage our hands inside the duvet to get those ties attached. With this cover, though, there are hidden holes on the outside of the corners, allowing easy access to tie — or in this case, snap — the ties to the duvet cover to secure the two items together. This is extremely unique and truly made this comforter stand out against the rest.

The duvet cover also ships for free and allows for a 30-night risk-free trial. If you aren’t happy with your duvet cover, just send it back — for free — and you’ll be reimbursed the entire purchase price. There’s also a one-year warranty as well.

The main downside of this cover is its color selection, with eight colors to choose from, including your more basic hues, such as white, grey, driftwood and navy. That is to say, if you’re looking for something bright and vibrant, you probably won’t find any shades or designs that work for you.

We truly enjoyed not only how it felt sleeping with this duvet cover, but also the many time-saving features that plenty of the others in our testing lacked.

Best duvet cover for warmth: L.L. Bean Ultrasoft Comfort Flannel Comforter Cover ($64.95-$95, depending on size; llbean.com)

L.L. Bean Ultrasoft Comfort Flannel Comforter Cover
PHOTO: L.L. Bean
L.L. Bean Ultrasoft Comfort Flannel Comforter Cover

If you’re looking for a cover that’s ultra-soft with a little added warmth, you’ll absolutely love the feel of the L.L. Bean Ultrasoft Comfort Flannel Comforter Cover.

Truthfully, we weren’t sure if we were going to like sleeping with flannel. If you sleep hot, the thought of an additional warm layer might not seem appealing. But despite the slight warmth it lended, we were delightfully surprised to find it breathable and not the sort of fabric that made us wake up sweaty. The material is also beyond soft (and our kids loved snuggling into our bed, deeming it their favorite cover).

We didn’t notice any piling even after being washed, although we did observe some lint buildup after washing this particular cover (though that’s somewhat expected with flannel, especially during the first few washes).

The duvet cover — available in eight different solid colors — features inner ties and hidden buttons on the bottom, and while it didn’t wow us in terms of elegant design as our other top picks did, that’s likely because, well, it’s flannel. The price point is also spectacular at less than $100 for a king-size duvet cover. Most of the other quality covers we tested were much pricier, making this what we consider a truly valuable purchase. L.L. Bean also offers a 100% satisfaction guarantee for a full year.

Ultimately, this soft flannel cover exceeded our expectations, delivering a comfortable night’s sleep. If you’re looking for a little extra warmth and coziness in your bedroom, this cover will complete your bedding.

Best luxury duvet cover: Boll & Branch Signature Eyelet Duvet Covers ($298-$338, depending on size; bollandbranch.com)

Boll & Branch Signature Eyelet Duvet Covers
PHOTO: Boll & Branch
Boll & Branch Signature Eyelet Duvet Covers

From its silky-smooth feel to its elegant design, the Boll & Branch Signature Eyelet Duvet Cover is the epitome of luxury in every way. That combination of buttery-smooth comfort with unparalleled craftsmanship puts it leaps and bounds above anything else we tested — though that does come at a hefty price.

Like most other covers we tried, there were inner ties and buttons on the bottoms; the ties were well made and a fabric overlay fully hid the buttons. We could tell that every design element was well thought of and the quality top-notch.

The cover we tested was from the brand’s eyelet collection, which added some extra detail and a tasteful charm without seeming busy or over the top. Other designs in the line include hemmed, embroidered and colorblock, so while there are no plain options, there are some subtle design elements in basic colors. Unfortunately, though, the colors for the embroidered eyelet option are limited to white and pewter. (Their other designs add some more color choices, but still just basic colors.)

Note that the duvet cover comes in only two sizes: full/queen and king/California king. This means if you are looking for a duvet cover for a twin size bed, you won’t find it here. The cover comes as a set with two shams — and while we didn’t focus on shams during our testing process, we do want to point out that their design was also top quality, offering the same embroidered eyelet, with a zipper closure, which means your pillow will never fall out.

Storing this duvet cover was also incredibly easy. It comes in a bag (made of the same material) which easily fits the cover, even after it was slept in. While some other covers also came in a storage bag, fitting them back in after use was slightly challenging, and zippering the bag was difficult. There’s no zipper on this bag, which instead includes a cinched tie.

Similar to the duvet covers we tested from many other online-only retailers, Boll & Branch offers free shipping and returns and a 30-day risk-free trial.

As the most expensive cover we tested, we had expectations for this one from the beginning — ones that were certainly met. If your budget allows and you’re looking to upgrade the vibe of your bedding with something that’s equally elegant and functional, this is absolutely the duvet cover we’d recommend.

Mellanni Microfiber ($27-$32.97, depending on size; amazon.com)

Mellanni Microfiber
PHOTO: Amazon
Mellanni Microfiber

For those on a tighter budget, you simply can’t beat the Mellanni Microfiber Duvet Cover. At around $30, you get not just the duvet cover, but also two shams and two pillowcases. (In fact, this was the only set we tested that included pillowcases plus shams.)

Despite its low price, we found this cover, made of 100% polyester, to be almost just as soft as the Casper cover, though slightly thinner, and with no fancy stitching. The inner ties and the buttons at the bottom — two-hole buttons, we should note, which are usually not a feature on high-end products, but fortunately, they are fully hidden thanks to the cover’s design — felt very secure. It’s available in 14 different color options: eight solid colors, plus six designs, including floral, paisley and polka dot.

One unique element of this cover is its lifetime guarantee. Mellanni states that you can return the cover at any point for any reason — no questions asked. While many other duvet covers allow for a risk-free trial period of a month or two (and L.L Bean even offers a one-year return policy), we didn’t find any brand that matched this same generous policy.

If you don’t have the budget for a luxury duvet cover, you’re looking for a second set or you need to outfit a guest bedroom, we think the Mellanni Microfiber Duvet Cover is an excellent find, providing the best bang for your buck.

Everything you need to know about duvet covers

As mentioned above, a duvet cover serves two purposes: a protective cover for your duvet and a decorative piece to your bed’s overall design. Ultimately, it’s an added element that can be swapped out often for different seasons or to change the look and feel of your bed without actually changing the duvet insert. This is especially convenient since duvet covers are less expensive and significantly easier to store. This also allows you to wash just the duvet cover, instead of the big and bulky duvet or comforter, which many times are dry clean only or too big for your washing machine. It also means you don’t need a top sheet — a personal preference for some.

Duvet covers also have many common features. Inside of the four corners of the cover, you’ll typically find ties. This allows you to secure your cover to the duvet as most inserts also have loops to be tied to. This keeps your duvet in place, so it doesn’t get bulky and slip around within the cover.

Once your duvet is in place, with the ties secured (if the cover has them), you’ll then need to secure the top and bottom cover together. Typically, most duvets have buttons, but some will have a zipper or ties. Not only does this allow the cover to stay secure, it also adds to the overall design of the duvet cover.

How we tested

Although there are hundreds — and maybe thousands — of different duvet covers available, we picked the top 12 to truly put to the test to find the best one. This means we slept — a lot — with each duvet cover for three nights total. On the first night, we slept with the cover right out of the box, without being washed. We then washed the duvet cover and slept with it again for the next two nights.

We compared performance, quality and durability, and the overall buying options for each duvet cover. We put price aside in our matrix, but this is definitely something to consider when you make your purchase as duvet covers can range from the $20 mark all the way to over $300 (and more).

We also tested three different fabric types — cotton, linen and flannel. Of course there are some other synthetic fabrics out there, but these are three of the most commonly found fabrics, so we wanted to see if fabric type truly made a difference in giving us a better night sleep — as well as in the look and feel department.

So after months of testing — and sleeping — this is ultimately how we evaluated each duvet cover to find our winners:

Performance

  • Initial feel: Immediately after taking each product out of the packaging, we wanted to see how the duvet cover felt. This helped us determine whether or not the cover needed a wash (or two) to get that full softness feel.
  • Sleep feel: We wanted to gauge how each duvet cover felt while sleeping. Was it soft and breathable? Or was the cover stiff and crinkly? We found duvet covers were on both ends of the spectrum and then everything in between.
  • Post-wash feel: After washing each duvet cover, we slept with the duvet cover again. To our finding, most had the same feel, although there were a few that got even softer.
  • Fit: Although we tested all king size covers, each had slightly different dimensions. This was actually quite surprising to us. This allowed us to see how each cover fit on a regular size king comforter — was there extra room to spare or was it a more snug fit?

Quality/Durability

  • Post-wash/post-use durability: After washing each duvet cover, we wanted to get a sense of how the cover held up. We found that all covers stayed intact, but since we didn’t test them after months of use and wash, we can’t comment on the durability a year from now.
  • Quality: We really looked into the quality of each duvet cover, which included checking out the seams, buttons, zippers and ties. Were the seams strong or were there lose threads? And were the buttons, zippers and ties solidified in place, or loose?
  • Internal Ties: To our surprise almost all of the duvet covers came with inner ties to keep the duvet or comforter in place. Although, some seemed more secure than others.

Options

  • Size options: We wanted to make sure that the duvet cover came in sizes for all bed types.
  • Color options: This included going on to the site to see how many colors and design options there were.

How we rated

Each duvet cover was evaluated using the metrics described above, then given a score. Individual metric scores added up to a total category score. Categories were then added together to get the final tally of points to determine the winner. Here’s how we broke down the scoring:

  • Performance had a maximum of 45 points: initial feel (10 points), sleep feel (15 points), post-wash feel (10 points), fit (10 points).
  • Quality/Durability had a maximum of 40 points: post-wash/post-use durability (15 points), quality (15 points), internal ties (10 points).
  • Options had a maximum of 15 points: size options (10 points), color options (15 options).

Other duvet covers we tested

Parachute Sateen Duvet Cover ($150-$210, depending on size; parachutehome.com)

Parachute Sateen Duvet Cover
PHOTO: Parachute Home
Parachute Sateen Duvet Cover

From the moment we took the Parachute Sateen Duvet Cover out of the packaging, we fell in love. From the initial touch to laying in bed with it, this duvet cover was ultra soft. In fact, it was by far the softest cotton cover we slept with out of the bunch, and we really looked forward to getting in bed with this cover every night. During our test, we washed this cover not once, but twice, and even found that the cover became softer with every wash.

Aside from the softness appeal, this duvet cover also has an extremely elegant design to it. There’s a half-inch border framing the entire duvet cover and hidden button closure at the bottom, which really gave it a finished look. This stood out to us as most other comforters we tested didn’t offer any subtle border. The duvet cover is inviting and really made us want to snuggle right up with it.

Our one main gripe with the functionality of this duvet cover is the button placement. The buttons are placed further away from the edge, which makes it a little more difficult to button. But, by no means did this cause the same frustration as it did with the linen version of this brand. It just took some getting used to — and we did find it easier the second and third time putting it back on our bed.

While we truly do love this comforter, the price is significantly more expensive than the Casper brand, but it lacks the functionality of the zipper, inner-corner snaps and hidden corner holes. We also didn’t feel like the softness of this comforter, when compared to the Casper, made up for the price difference. And while the border stands out in terms of a design element, there are only four different color options — white, sand, light grey and slate. So, if you are looking for something outside of the basics, you won’t find any other options.

Parachute also offers free shipping and return and a 60-day trial-period. As one of the more expensive duvet cover options, this is important as you truly will want to love your duvet cover.

Brooklinen Classic Duvet Cover ($109-$135, depending on size; brooklinen.com)

Brooklinen Classic Duvet Cover
PHOTO: Brooklinen
Brooklinen Classic Duvet Cover

You simply can’t go wrong with any product from Brooklinen, especially their Classic Duvet Cover. The cover is 100% cotton and while not as soft as the Parachute Duvet Cover, it was close. Truthfully, if it was just a tad softer, there’s a good chance it would have made our top four list.

The inner corner ties were very long, making it easy to tie and untie to the duvet — a task which is surprisingly not as easy on some of the other covers. The buttons were close to the edge making it super easy to close. And after washing the cover, we found very little wrinkles — an important feature to make your bed looking elegant at all times.

This cover comes in three different sizes: twin, double/queen and king/california king — although you’ll find that many of the colors aren’t available if you are looking for twin sizing. There are eight different standard colors, plus limited time colors that come and go. This allows you to select anything from plain white and grey to various patterns. We also found that the patterns are fun, but still elegant.

For just $109 to $135 — depending on sizing — we found this duvet cover to be a great price point, especially compared to some of the others that are quite similar.

Company Store Legends Hotel Supima Cotton Wrinkle-Free Sateen Duvet Cover ($139-$219, depending on size; thecompanystore.com)

Company Store Legends Hotel Supima Cotton Wrinkle-Free Sateen Duvet Cover
PHOTO: The Company Store
Company Store Legends Hotel Supima Cotton Wrinkle-Free Sateen Duvet Cover

The Company Store has a ton of duvet cover options, but we specifically tested out the Legends Hotel Supima Cotton Wrinkle-Free Sateen Duvet Cover, which comes in 15 different beautiful colors. Right out of the bag, it was significantly heavier than most and we knew it was not going to provide the same softness as some of the others.

This cover is definitely thicker than most, which adds a little bit of extra warmth, but even after being washed, it wasn’t soft. But, that can be a personal preference and a warmer, heavier feel might take priority over softness for some.

The title also describes the item as wrinkle-free, but we found it actually to be quite the opposite. We found it to wrinkle a lot — significantly more than many of the others. So that is something to take into consideration, especially if you like that clean-crisp look for your bedroom

With that being said, the duvet cover was well-made, with all buttons, seams and ties intact. And it truly did feel like it’ll last for many years, regardless of the number of times you wash the cover.

Riley Sateen Duvet Cover ($129-$189, depending on size; rileyhome.com)

Riley Sateen Duvet Cover
PHOTO: Riley
Riley Sateen Duvet Cover

The Riley Sateen Duvet Cover was another one of our favorites, although the price point was slightly higher than what we were hoping for. We thought it was very comparable to the Brooklinen cover, but over $50 more expensive.

This cover is also 100% cotton, very well made and had hidden buttons at the bottom. Unlike some of the other sateen covers, it also had a slight sheen — a personal preference depending on what you are looking for. We wished it was a little softer, but it still gave us a great night sleep.

Unfortunately though, the Riley Sateen Duvet Cover doesn’t have as many solid options — bright white, mist blue and slate grey. So if those three colors work for your design, then perfect. But, if you are looking to branch out a little bit more, Riley might not have those color options for you.

Although, they do have three other colors and designs for a slightly higher price point, in their Reversible Color Block Sateen Duvet Cover collection: true navy, slate grey and mist blue. While we didn’t test these exact covers, they seem to be the same as the one we slept with, just a different design.

We really did love the Riley Sateen Duvet Cover, but we wish it was slightly less expensive, had more color options and was a little softer.

IKEA Puderviva ($59.99-$119, depending on size; ikea.com)

IKEA Puderviva
PHOTO: IKEA
IKEA Puderviva

The IKEA Puderviva was our last set to try and unfortunately, was also the most disappointing. We love IKEA products as they usually offer significantly better value than what you actually pay for, but this duvet cover didn’t follow the same model.

The sheets were extremely rough, so if you are looking for something soft to the touch, this isn’t the cover for you. With all of the other duvet covers we were perfectly comfortable without a top sheet, but with this item, after a few minutes in bed, we immediately put a top sheet back on our bed.

This cover also doesn’t have some of the same features that all of the other covers have — and features you’d absolutely want in a duvet cover. For starters, there are no ties inside the cover in the corners. These ties help keep the cover connected to the duvet, which helps the insert from moving around. Additionally, this cover has ties at the bottom of the cover — instead of buttons — to connect the top and bottom. While the ties actually added some character, it means that you can see the inner duvet slightly — an aesthetic you may or may not like.

Now, the cover does include two shams, but you’re still looking at a mid-range price point for this set — and much more expensive than some of the other budget duvet covers on this list that we actually liked better.

Nestl Bedding 3-Piece ($24.95-$28.95, depending on size; amazon.com)

Nestl Bedding 3-Piece
PHOTO: Amazon
Nestl Bedding 3-Piece

With over 40 colors to choose from, it’s hard to not find a Nestl Bedding Duvet Cover set that works with your interior design needs — especially at a price point of less than $30 for a king set and even less if all you need is a twin.

But if you are looking for something to last for many years, we aren’t certain that this duvet cover will hold up. The cover feels thin and the inner ties don’t feel too intact. There are also some threads hanging out and many buttons to fidget with, which can be frustrating for many.

With that being said, we did wash the cover and it felt the exact same as prior to being washed. And if you are one that likes to change up your duvet cover from time-to-time anyways, then you might need one for the long term. Instead, you might prefer one that fits the bill with a slew of color and size options.

Cultiver Linen Duvet Cover ($260-$285, depending on size; cultiver.com)

Cultiver Linen Duvet Cover
PHOTO: Cultiver
Cultiver Linen Duvet Cover

When we saw that we were going to be testing a linen duvet cover, we had low expectations. But to our surprise, sleeping with the Cultiver Linen Duvet Cover significantly exceeded our expectations and actually made us rethink linen in general.

The comforter was super soft — although lightweight — and allowed for a great night sleep. This was not your tough and rigid linen, but instead more on the smooth and softer side.

Now, with that being said, this comforter will give you a completely different look than most of the other linens on the list. We think this would be perfect if you are going for the “beachy” theme. Even the buttons have more of that iridescent shell look and feel.

So depending on the look you are going for, this cover could definitely work, but it would have to be for the right location.

Parachute Linen Duvet Cover ($210-$270, depending on size; parachute.com)

Parachute Linen Duvet Cover
PHOTO: Parachute Home
Parachute Linen Duvet Cover

We really wanted to love this one — since we loved the Parachute Sateen Duvet Cover so much, but unfortunately, this cover didn’t do it for us. And this was even after the high expectations we had of linen material after testing the Cultiver Linen Duvet Cover.

We found that the Parachute Linen Duvet Cover wasn’t very soft and unfortunately wrinkled quite easily. This didn’t allow for the coziests of sleep and it definitely didn’t give the bed that complete look. Instead, after making the bed, it looked like my kids had a fun time using the bed as a trampoline.

We also found the cover hard to button after we put it on the duvet insert. The buttons are approximately 5” away from the edge (similar to the sateen version), but because of the material and the wrinkles, matching up the buttons and actually securing them together was troublesome.

Read more from CNN Underscored’s hands-on testing:

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