What Is Fill Power?

Posted by Frank Bekas on
What Is Fill Power?

What is fill power?

Fill power is a measure of the loft or "fluffiness" of a down product that is loosely related to the insulating value of the down. The higher the fill power the more air an ounce of the down can trap, and thus the more insulating ability an ounce of the down will have.

We use the recognised European method for calculating fill power, not the USA method. When fill power is calculated a cylinder is used, the European method uses a cylinder that is 289 mm in diameter with a compression weight of 94 grams, the US uses a cylinder that is 241 mm in diameter with a compression weight of 68 grams. The cylinders have 1 ounce of filling place in it and the compression placed on it creates the fill power.

The problem with these 2 different methods is where the US uses a skinnier cylinder with less weight compressing the filling. This will mean when the ounce of filling is put into the cylinder it will higher up the cylinder, less compression on it means it will also compress less. This basically gives a false  higher reading.

Many Chinese, USA and Canadian manufacturers use the misleading US method for calculating fill power so if someone tells you they have a fill power of 900+ it will be the US fill power rating. You can basically take off 100-150 to get the recognised European rating.

What is a Good Fill Power?

Most quilts sold in dept stores have a fill power around the 500-600, why only this amount? It usually because the down is a Chinese down. A fill power of 650 or better is more ideal. We have a number of downs with a fill power higher than 650, with the Polish Goose down at 850 and the best commercially available filling in the world the Altai Siberian Snow Goose down at 900. We also have a very high quality Muskovy duck down with a fill power of 700!

Is Hungarian Goose down the best and why?

No, Hungarian Goose down is not the best. Just because a filling originates from a particular country wont mean it automatically is good. You can have good or bad/average fillings from any country. The problem with Hungarian Goose down these days is the Chinese are buying most of the down. Due to this the down clusters are smaller than what they usually would be.  Young birds only produce small down clusters, older birds produce larger down clusters. The larger the down cluster the higher the fill power, this is why these days you wont find a high fill power Hungarian Goose down. Legally the Chinese can add 30% duck down to the blend and still get away calling it Goose down so this only further compromises the quality.

What downs are the best that we sell?

The best down we have is the 95-98% Altai Siberian Snow Goose down (its actually classified feather free under the European standards) at 900 fill power. The next best is the 95% Polish Goose down 850 fill power, close behind is our 95% Hungarian Mother Goose down at 800 fill power, followed by the 90% Muskovy Duck down 700 fill power, Ukrainian Goose down 700 fill power, 90% Hungarian Goose down 650 fill power and the 95% European Duck down at 600FP.

Down % does not guarantee it will have a high fill power. Look at our 90% Muskovy Duck down, its fill power is 700 where the 95% white European duck down with the higher % has a fill power of 600.

All of our downs are European downs and are European Rated Class 1. All of our fillings meet the strict Australian standards and quarantine and customs inspection requirements. 

Now the Feather factory/Danish Eiderdowns say they only use EU (European) standard downs, which is probably true but you know you can import Chinese downs that are processed at the EU standards. Just because its a European standard doesnt mean they are actually from Europe! Now they have been given 18 months or so to prove they import downs directly from Europe and they still have failed to do this. As mentioned previously Chinese imported downs with a European Standard will never have the fill power numbers suggested. They just don't.


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