Down coats or “puffer jackets” have become a cold-weather staple in modern times, and for a good reason. Whether they’re stuffed with goose or duck down or synthetic fibers, these jackets possess excellent insulation qualities. No matter how cold the weather or temperature might be, the filling traps your body heat and helps regulate your body temperature. Here are a few women’s down coats we recommend.
Why buy a down coat?
Down coats offer a layer of insulation that regular jackets typically don’t provide. They are great for low-intensity and high-intensity activities in cold weather, keeping you warm and comfortable without weighing you down. Despite the potentially bulky look, most are actually very lightweight. This combination of insulation and a featherweight feel has made down coats an effective and popular choice for the colder months of the year.
What should you consider in a down coat?
Here are a few things to think about before buying a down coat:
- Down vs. Synthetic: The type of insulating material your coat is filled with will affect its warmth, weight, and compactness. Both types of fillings have their benefits and drawbacks. Down is warmer, more compressible, and quite durable. On the other hand, it’s also pricier, isn’t hypoallergenic, requires higher-maintenance care, and doesn’t insulate as well when wet. Synthetic filling does much better when wet, is hypoallergenic, and doesn’t cost as much, but it’s heavier and bulkier, isn’t quite as warm, and is less durable than down. Some manufacturers offer a blend of the two, which balances both materials’ pros and cons into a middle-of-the-road situation.
- Outer Material: You’ll want to make sure that your down coat’s outer shell is as tough and resistant to wear and tear as possible. This is especially true if it’s filled with down since it can leak out even tiny holes or tears. You also don’t want a material that is too heavy since this can negatively impact a jacket’s warmth. Nylon is considered the best choice since it’s both strong and light. Polyester is also a good option. If you live in an area with a lot of precipitation, you’ll also want to look for a puffy jacket made from a material that has a durable water-repellent (DWR) or another waterproof coating.
- Features: There are several features with functions you may find useful or convenient in a puffy jacket. They may have pockets externally on the jacket at the chest, hips, or waist, or an internal chest or stash pocket. Some models will have hoods; some don’t. Some hoods will be removable; others will be lined with fur or fleece. Others have a drawstring or elastic cords at the hood or hem for some size adjustability and as a way to tighten the jacket to keep out cold air. Others will be windproof, waterproof, or machine washable. Some, usually down-filled models, even come with their own specialty storage bag known as a “stuff sack.” Think about which of these features and functions you’d find most useful in a down coat.
What are the ethical considerations of down coats?
Real down coats are typically filled with goose or duck feathers, and ethics come into play when the animals are sometimes live-plucked to gather the down. If this is a concern for you, look for synthetic down, “traceable down,” or “certified responsibly sourced down” from organizations like Responsible Down Standard, Downpass, or Global Traceable Down Standard. These certifications mean that the harvesting practices of those who provide the down are ethical.
Wantdo Women's Down Coat
A classic puffy down coat that includes a media port for headphone wires.
Pros: You can’t go wrong with this option that combines all the classic benefits of a down coat with some more updated, modern features. The shell is made of nylon coated with a DWR finish, which is light, soft, and breathable. The nylon-bound elastic cuffs and hem also help keep body heat sealed in and cold air out, optimal for protection against the wind. The insulation is made mostly of duck down with some feathers mixed in as well. The down is compressible for easy packing, and the nylon material is light enough that you can even wear this jacket under another layer if desired. Features include an attached hood, a front zipper, two zippered hand pockets, and two deep interior pockets, ideal for hiding and securing items like keys and your wallet. It also has a media port for headphone wires, plus a small loop at the left shoulder to fasten the headphone cord in place.
Cons: This jacket doesn’t have a detachable hood or any drawstrings to pull it tighter, so the hood could easily slip off your head in the wind. It also might be a tight fit if you have a fuller bust. The straight cut can make it harder to zip over the hips.
Bottom Line: This classic down coat can pack down into an included compact traveling pouch for maximum portability. It’s available in multiple colors and sizes and certified to meet the Responsible Down Standard, so you can purchase this down jacket knowing that it’s ethically sourced as well as long-lasting and convenient.
Eddie Bauer Women's Lodge Down Duffle Coat
A high-quality down coat that extends from head to shins to keep you warm.
Pros: If you’re looking for a long down coat to keep your whole body warm in the cold, this is a great option. It’s ultralight and warm, filled with 650 fill premium down. It hits just below the knee. The upper body is lined with fleece, and the collar and interior storm cuffs provide additional protection. The jacket has a polyester shell with DWR finish, so moisture won’t soak into the fabric. Even better, this jacket can be machine washed and tumbled dry on low with clean tennis balls.
Cons: Depending on your height, this jacket could be a little too long for you, even in petite sizes. Some reviewers found that it runs a bit small. If you plan to wear additional layers underneath, it’s recommended to go up a size.
Bottom Line: While a bit of a splurge, this jacket provides a great universal fit—it’s not too slim nor too relaxed. It’ll keep your whole body warm instead of just your upper half, so if you want to combine function and fashion, this is a great down coat.
Amazon Essentials Women's Lightweight Puffer Coat
This lightweight coat is a classic wardrobe staple for everyday wear.
Pros: This down coat is made with 100% polyester, including the fill, so it’s a great synthetic alternative to duck down. It is safe to put in the washing machine, a plus for those who want a jacket that’s easy to keep clean. It’s easy to layer the jacket over your favorite tops and sweaters, and it has a zipper closure. The pockets also have zippers to safely stow your keys and wallet in.
Cons: The hood on this jacket is not removable, unlike some other coats. Some people found the sizing to be inconsistent. It’s not as warm as other options, either.
Bottom Line: Ordering up a size will allow you to easily layer your favorite sweater underneath for additional warmth. The jacket comes with a bag to store it in when it’s not in use, which is also a convenient feature for traveling.
Orolay Women's Thickened Down Jacket
An oversized duck down coat designed with high density for additional warmth.
Pros: If you’re looking for a stylish coat that provides impressive warmth, this is a great choice. This trendy down coat is 100% polyester and filled with 90% duck down and 10% duck feather. The polyester has 60% higher density, so it will keep you exceptionally warm while you’re out and about. The jacket is also windproof and has six large pockets to add function and fashion. The hood is fleece-lined, keeping you cozy on chilly days.
Cons: The jacket might fit narrowly around the hips, which is something to consider when determining your size. Some people found the stitching coming undone after heavy wear.
Bottom Line: This down coat’s impressive warmth and modern look offer a unique coat that is sure to be a head-turner. Get it in one of the several lovely colors.
Valuker Women's Down Coat
A flattering women's down jacket with a removable faux fur trim on the hood.
Pros: This wind- and water-resistant coat features a unique two-way front zipper that makes this coat exceptionally practical. It’s 90% duck down with a fill power of 700, so the lightweight coat will preserve your body heat and keep you nice and cozy. The jacket has two deep outer pockets with button enclosures to secure your valuables.
Cons: This jacket is designed to adhere to your body shape, making a fitted appearance. This may not be the most comfortable style for everyone. Some people found that the coat runs a little small in regular sizes and a little large in plus sizes, so be careful when picking your size.
Bottom Line: This jacket holds up to the usual wear and tear and is built to be durable and long-lasting. It’s a great value for the cost and will keep you warm with the high-quality down filling.
Having a quality down coat will ensure you stay warm and healthy during colder months. There are numerous factors to consider when purchasing a jacket, but ultimately, it comes down to the right level of insulation, the fit, and the design that’s right for your unique needs.