Home » Looking for a new winter coat? Which is better: down or synthetic insulated jackets?

Looking for a new winter coat? Which is better: down or synthetic insulated jackets?

It goes without saying that a decent coat or jacket is a must when facing the cold British weather this winter. There are so many different types and styles of outerwear on the market that it can be a challenge to choose the right one. If you’re wondering which type of winter coat or jacket is most suitable to keep you warm and cosy, we’ve put together a list of pros and cons to compare the properties of synthetic and down fabrics to see which is best.

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Advantages of down insulation in a winter coat:

  • Down is a feather-like fabric that comes from birds, usually ducks and geese. Just as these feathers keep birds warm, when used in clothing they are a natural form of insulation, trapping air to keep the heat in.
  • Jackets with down inside them are effective for keeping warm in very cold weather and you can choose the amount, known as down fill, depending on how much insulation you need. The higher the level of down fill, the warmer the jacket will be.
  • Because down is a natural material, it is usually more durable and long-lasting than other synthetic or man-made materials, especially when cared for properly.
  • Down jackets are also much more practical because they are lightweight and compressible so you can pack them easily.


  • The biggest disadvantage is that it is not usually waterproof and this means that down jackets are not suitable for wet weather conditions and once they get wet, they lose their ability to insulate. Plus, they can take a long time to dry.
  • In addition, they can also be more difficult to wash or clean, and drying time is obviously higher.

If you have serious allergies, the fact that down is not hypoallergenic could be an issue if you choose this for a winter coat. Good quality down can be expensive.

Someone wearing a winter coat with their hood up and back to the camera in a wood

Photo by Daniel Bowman on Unsplash

Advantages of synthetic insulation in a winter coat:

  • Unlike jackets made from down, the biggest pro for synthetic insulation is that it is waterproof and therefore more practical. So if you’re out in the rain, you won’t lose your insulation meaning you can stay warm and it will also be quicker to dry.
  • Synthetic jackets are usually more affordable, so ideal if you’re on a budget.
  • They’re also easier to clean and are often machine washable.
  • Synthetic insulation is hypoallergenic so if you suffer from allergies, they could be the best choice for your winter coat.


  • Since synthetic fibres need to be thicker to create insulation, jackets or coats can often become bulkier and heavier. This can sometimes make them less stylish or more difficult to pack when travelling.
  • Over time, synthetic fibres will start to break down, making them less durable in the long run.
  • In general, the level of insulation offered with synthetic items is no match for the natural warmth you can find with down.

As you can see, there are pros and cons for both types of insulation and the right choice for you will depend on your priorities and what you intend to use the jacket for. In general, synthetic jackets are considered more suitable in terms of water resistance whereas down jackets offer better insulation and warmth overall. You may decide that you want one of each type, to use during different conditions. As well as insulation, cost and other factors, you probably want to know what styles are trending at the moment when deciding on your new winter coat. You can discover the top trends in winter coats in this article from Vogue magazine.

Featured image by Abbat on Unsplash

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