​What is a Duvet Tog, and Which Tog Do I Need?

Posted by Emma Carlton - Buying and Merchandising Manager on 13th Dec 2022

​What is a Duvet Tog, and Which Tog Do I Need?

If you’ve ever bought a duvet you’ll have spotted that little number on the packaging which denotes its tog rating. You probably have a vague idea what this number means. You’ll know that the higher the tog, the warmer that quilt’s probably going to keep you. But what does this funny little word- tog-really mean? And, more importantly, how can you choose the right duvet tog for a comfortable sleeping temperature all year round.

For most Brits, a duvet of somewhere between 10.5 and 13.5 tog is the go-to, providing a good level of warmth in our typically cool climate. However, a 13.5 tog duvet can be difficult to live with in the height of summer when temperatures can suddenly shoot up to 30°C or even more. And then there’s those winter months when a typically cosy 10.5 tog duvet barely takes the chill off a freezing night in the minus numbers.

According to our recent Insta Poll, over half of you don't know which tog you should be using for each season despite 40% of you changing your duvet with each season. 

Although there’s no one size fits all when it comes to duvet tog ratings, but we can help you to make the best choices for your household with our informative guide to choosing the best duvet tog to suit you.

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All About Duvet Tog

Two rolled up duvets.

Let’s start at the beginning. What exactly do we mean when we talk about ‘tog’ and how important is it to consider the tog rating when buying a duvet for your bed?

What is a ‘tog’?

The tog rating on a duvet is all about creating a standard, meaning that a 15-tog duvet in one shop has a similar thermal insulating power to a 15-tog duvet in a completely different store.

Taken from the term ‘togs’, an informal word for clothing (which derives from the Roman ‘toga’), the tog was first created by The Shirley Institute(i)- the Manchester-based HQ of the British Cotton Industry Research Association -as a simpler way to express thermal insulation in textiles. Before the tog, thermal resistance would be expressed in the less snappy m²K/W. Some boffins now refer to tog as an acronym (or, rather, abackronym) of ‘thermal overall grade’.

How is a tog calculated?

Let’s get scientific! A tog is a measurement of the thermal resistance of an area, with one tog equivalent to 0.1m²K/W. This means that where the flow of heat is equal to a single watt per square metre, thermal resistance in togs is equal to 10X the temperature difference between the two surfaces of a piece of fabric(ii). Got it? Not quite there yet? Don’t worry, you will be.

What’s important to know, is that there quite are a few duvet tog options out there:

  • 2.5 tog duvets are very light and ideal for very warm climates
  • 3 tog
  • 4.5 tog
  • 10.5 tog
  • 12.5 tog
  • 13.5 tog
  • 15 tog duvets provide extremely good insulation for very cold weather

Here in the UK, you’ll most commonly come across duvets that fall into those middle tog ratings– 4.5 to 13.5 tog -which is generally a pretty good spread to cover our relatively mild climate. Another thing to bear in mind? The tog rating stated on packaging is generally a minimum, meaning that the duvet inside could, in fact, have a rating of up to three togs higher.

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Why is a tog important?

Woman sitting up in bed wrapped in a duvet holding a mug and smiling.

As you can see, a tog rating is a much simpler way of expressing how toasty your new duvet is going to keep you. Checking the tog of a new duvet is so important because, contrary to what you might think, weight doesn’t necessarily equal warmth.

If you’re a keen hiker and camper, you’ll probably know only too well from your sleeping bag shopping experience just how important it can be to balance lightweight construction with maximum warmth. This same weight/warmth wizardry is often applied to the making of modern duvets, especially those constructed using synthetic fibre fillings such as polyester. Keep this in mind when choosing a new quilt because although a heavier duvet may feel cosier and more comforting, it won’t necessarily provide the warmth you’re expecting. A quick glance at the tog rating of a duvet, however, and you’ll know exactly how warm it’s likely to keep you.

Choosing the Right Duvet Tog

Where to start then, when choosing a whole new duvet? You’ll have a few things to consider, including size, weight, filling and, of course, tog…

A duvet tog for all seasons

One of the difficulties you’re likely to have when picking out your new duvet is finding the right tog for your comfort. In addition, finding one that will suit you whatever the weather can be challenging. After all, that great summer duvet isn’t likely to provide you with the warmth you need in the winter.

Many people opt for two duvets, a lighter tog for the warm summer months and a winter tog duvet for use in colder weather. They often attach together with poppers meaning they’re easy to pair for colder nights.

If you have the budget and the storage space for two duvets, this is the ideal solution for sleeping in a changing climate and gives you the option to sleep under two duvets when the weather gets really cold. Generally, a three or 4.5 tog duvet will give you the covered comfort you need in summer without overheating. And when things get chilly a 13.5 tog duvet tends to be the most popular option, although a 10.5 tog paired with a blanket or light quilt you can add or remove as needed also works well.

The right duvet tog for children

Girl in bed smiling and clutching duvet under her chin.

Experts recommend that children under the age of twelve months don’t use duvets, (though you’ll notice that infant sleeping bags are also graded by togs). But once your child graduates to a big kid’s bed, they’ll need something to keep them toasty at night.

Young children are less able to regulate their body temperature than adults and have a tendency to wriggle around at night. For this reason lighter tog duvets- 4.5 tog is ideal -are recommended for toddlers. You can always add a blanket or warmer pyjamas for cooler nights.

As your little one gets older, they’ll be better able to guide you towards the best duvet tog to keep them comfortable. Whatever age they are, we recommend opting for machine-washable bedding because accidents can happen.

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Choosing a duvet for elderly sleepers

Shopping for an elderly relative? While older people can, of course, tell you what they’ll need for night-time comfort there are a few things to bear in mind:

  • Older people can experience body temperature fluctuations. With this in mind it can be a good idea to layer up a lower tog duvet with blankets that can be easily pulled on and off as needed
  • Elderly people are more susceptible to the cold. In cold UK winters, older relatives may need a warmer duvet than the rest of us
  • An older person may not have the strength or mobility to deal with a heavy duvet. Choose the lightest weight quilt you can find for the tog you need
  • Nerve issues can cause discomfort. Some elderly people will experience health problems that cause skin discomfort. Opting for a light duvet with a cover made of soft fabric may help to minimise irritation

Duvet Tog and Your Budget

We know that when it comes to furnishing a home, your budget is a big consideration. Let’s be honest, practical items like duvets and pillows aren’t the most exciting thing to spend your hard-earned cash on. And yet we spend so much of our time in bed. So how do you make the most of your money when buying new bedding?

Choosing a duvet to suit your budget

Available in all shapes and sizes, from single to super king, and in a wide range of fabrics, manmade and natural alike, there’s a multitude of duvets out there to choose from. Usually, synthetic fibre filled duvets are more budget-friendly compared to those filled with, for example, down or silk.

So does the tog of a duvet affect price? Generally, a higher tog duvet will be a little more expensive than a lightweight summer duvet because they’ll tend to contain more material. You may be tempted to opt for a lower tog duvet if your budget is a little tight. However, this could prove to be a false economy, encouraging you to leave the heating on for longer, switch on an electric blanket or buy more blankets or warmer PJs.

One clever way to save on duvet outlay without compromising on comfort is with an all-season duvet, like this Slumberland All Seasons 9 + 4.5 tog duvet. A three-in-one solution, this set contains two duvets which can be connected with simple poppers. This means you’ve got the cool comfort of a 4.5 tog duvet for the height of summer, a mid-weight 9 tog duvet for spring and autumn and, when things get really frosty? A combined 13.5 tog to snuggle under.

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The cost of washing a duvet

An open washing machine reveals a rolled up duvet inside.

In addition to the initial outlay of a new duvet, you’ll need to take care costs into consideration too. A machine-washable duvet is a must if you’re lucky enough to have a machine large enough to fit one (the average UK washing machine will wash a single duvet or a lightweight double, however it may struggle with large or bulky duvets).

If your duvet isn’t machine-washable (or your machine isn’t large enough) you’ll need to factor in professional cleaning costs. Depending on the service, duvet size and even your location, this can cost anywhere from £10 to £20 per duvet. The good news? Experts say that a duvet only needs to be cleaned once a year.

How many duvets do I really need?

So how many duvets does the average household really need? Most people will opt for two duvets per bed, allowing for a spring/summer and autumn/winter changeover to suit our changing climate. Young children, as we previously mentioned, may only need one lower tog duvet for all year round comfort, although a back-up is advised.

If you’re lucky enough to have a spare room for overnight guests or if your children often host sleepovers, you may also need additional duvets for friends and family. These spare duvets are also handy for use while your own duvet is being washed and dried.

Duvet Tog and More: The Practicalities

There are other things you may need to take into consideration when buying a duvet. Not just the right tog, but the right material and duvet technology to suit specific personal needs. These requirements might include:

  • Weight: while some people love a weighty duvet, others find heavy covers suffocating. Because, as we know, weight doesn’t always mean warmth, it’s possible to find lightweight yet warm options if that’s your preference
  • Allergies: certain natural duvet fillings can cause allergy flare ups. Down and feathers are particularly common allergens with wool also causing reactions in some people. Our manmade fibre Simply by Bensons 10.5 tog anti-allergy duvet keeps dust mites and bacteria at bay and is machine-washable, making it easy to minimise dust and pet dander. A microfibre cover is a softer choice for delicate skin too
  • Washability: skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis, bed wetting or night sweats might mean you’ll need to wash a duvet more often. In this case a well-made machine-washable option is a must, with a second duvet kept as back-up for middle of the night bedding changes
  • Vegan: if you don’t eat meat or wear leather you might have considered whether your bedding is animal-friendly too.

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Duvets and body temperature

One of the biggest troubles we see people have when deciding on a new duvet is finding something to suit their personal climate. While it’s easy to say that one duvet is the best choice for hot summers and another for cold winters, it’s not that straightforward if you’re running a few degrees outside of the norm.

If you suffer and shiver with the cold and chills, layering up with a thicker duvet, plugging in an electric blanket or bringing a hot water bottle to bed can help. But what about those who feel the heat, even in lower temps? Plenty of us struggle with this problem- those going through menopause, people on certain medications or folk who simply run hot -and that can make finding the right duvet difficult.

Some bedding, like the Staples & Co 10.5 tog Fresh Balance duvet, can help make hot nights easier to deal with. This duvet uses Hydrocool technology to wick away and evaporate moisture, helping to keep you cool and dry. Other products, including temperature regulating mattresses like those in the iGel range and Hypnos ranges, can help too.

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What if you can’t agree?

Woman and man in bed facing away from each other looking unhappy.

Those of us who share a bed with a partner may have an additional stumbling block to clamber over. In many cases couples struggle to agree on how to dress their bed. If you shiver your way through the night while they toss, turn and swelter there could be an easy compromise. In Scandinavian countries couples each sleep under their own single duvet, no matter the size of bed their share. This gives you the option to select the tog that suits you, and make seasonal changes when you’re ready, without disturbing your sleeping partner. It helps combat the ‘duvet hog’ issue too!

Choosing the Right Duvet Tog at Bensons for Beds

When it comes to kitting out your bedroom look no further than Bensons for Beds. In addition to our huge range of bed frames and mattresses we also offer all the bedding you’ll need, including duvets, to create a bed you’ll really look forward to snuggling into each evening. Whether you run a little warm or need to fully tog up with a heavy duvet to keep you as snug as a bug in a rug at night, we’ve got the ideal quilt to suit your needs in a range of practical togs for all year round comfort.

And if, even after reading this in-depth guide, you’re still a little unsure where to start when it comes to selecting a new duvet for yourself or a family member, we can help! Just drop into your local Bensons for Beds showroom or give us a call on 0808 144 6160 to speak to a member of our friendly and well-informed team. They can guide you through the process of buying bedding and our phone team can even place an order for your dream duvet to be delivered right to your home.

It’s not just duvets that we can lend a hand with, of course. From adjustable beds for elderly parents to bunk beds for kids, orthopaedic mattresses to memory foam plus guest beds, headboards, dressing tables and more, Bensons for Beds offers everything you’ll need to create bedrooms that combine the style and comfort you’re looking for. All at a price that suits you. We can even lend a hand with the practicalities, with home measuring guides, a mattress recycling service and finance options, including Klarna and interest-free credit, to help ease the confusion and financial burden of those big buys.

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(I) https://collection.sciencemuseumgroup.org.uk/people/ap8781/shirley-institute

(ii) What does TOG mean? (definitions.net)

December Instagram Poll Results:

Do you change your duvet for the seasons?

Yes (41 votes) 40%

No (61 votes) 60%

Do you know which tog your duvet should be for each season?

Yes (48 votes) 47%

No (55 votes) 53%

authors profile
Emma Carlton
Buying and Merchandising Manager
Emma has worked at Bensons for Beds for 10 years and is a fundamental part of the Bensons’ team, her wealth of breadth and knowledge is invaluable. Emma’s drive, determination, and tenacity ensures we provide our customers with the market leading products to suit our customer individual needs, at great value prices.
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