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These down jackets will help you stay cozy all cold weather season. tjm essential down jacket
Whether you're looking for an everyday transitional piece to wear as the temperature drops, a durable style for your next outdoor adventure or a lightweight pick that compresses for traveling, there are plenty of down jackets on the market to choose from, but it can be difficult to decide which jackets are worth it. The best down jackets balance warmth and weight and are constructed with high quality materials to keep you protected in cold and wet weather.
At the Good Housekeeping Institute, our experts test all sorts of cold-weather gear — from winter boots to fleece-lined leggings to heated gloves. We recently conducted a test on winter coats and down jackets, collecting over 30 samples for analysis from popular and top-performing brands. Our Textiles Lab analysts first evaluated all of the samples, their fabric, fill and design features. Then, we shared the samples with consumer testers who were able to share their thoughts on overall fit, comfort, style, warmth and more. Altogether, we collected over 1,000 data points for analysis, which we used to make our picks for the best down jackets.
Keep reading to learn all about how we test down jackets and coats, plus a helpful shopping guide. But first, here's everything you need to know about our top-tested down jackets.
Our best overall down jacket from Patagonia is both sleek and sustainable in design. The simple shape with slightly tapered seams down the front can be easily adjusted with drawstrings at the hem for a more fitted look. Plus, it's made with 800-fill-power RDS-certified responsibly sourced down and 100% recycled nylon ripstop, and our experts appreciate the Fair Trade Certified production processes. The jacket folds compactly into its own pocket for easy transport and even comes with a repair patch in case you need to make a quick fix.
In the Lab, analysts appreciated the jacket's quality construction, including a thicker outer material coated with a water-repellent finish, a brimmed hood for protection from wet weather and roomy pockets for plenty of storage. They did notice some loose down peaking out around the hem and pockets but no fraying threads or faulty seams. There were no complaints from our tester who appreciated the shape of the coat, describing it as "not restrictive or too tight" but also not "overly puffy," and she loved the easy-to-use drawstrings to adjust the fit. It also received perfect ratings for comfort and warmth.
Down jackets can cost well over $100, some even soaring into the $200 to $400 range or more. However, this pick from Uniqlo sells for just $80, which is a total steal for a true down jacket. The nylon material is covered in a water-repellent coating and lined with an anti-static material to prevent clinging and unwanted shocks. Available in 12 colors, including neutrals and bolder colors like the pink pictured here, there's bound to be a hue for you. If you prefer a more fashion-forward option, the brand offers a shiny puffer model, too.
With a boxier cut and slightly cropped hem, it's more on-trend than some other picks we tested, but the looser style isn't for everyone. One tester shared that it "doesn't necessarily flatter your body," but she found it to fit nicely and said it was true to size. In the Lab, our analysts loved that the 750-fill-power jacket is lofty and warm, but it's still compressible enough to fit into the included small carrying pouch. Packing it up is easy, according to our tester. The material was described as "luxe" during testing, and analysts agree that the fabric is more substantial and smoother than some other jackets.
When you're looking for a down jacket with a longer hemline and more coverage from cold air, this one from Eddie Bauer extends to hit at the thigh rather than the hip and features curved seams down the front to prevent it from looking too boxy. It may be longer than other down jackets, but it's not at all bulky and is still lightweight, thanks to fine nylon and polyester fibers and the 650-fill-power down (a lower fill power than other jackets but still warm). We love the more inclusive size range, too, complete with options for petite, plus-size and tall shoppers.
One tester described this jacket as "the perfect fall coat," saying it's both ultralight and super warm and giving it perfect scores for comfort. In the Lab, our experts appreciated the quality construction with details like zipper pockets to protect belongings, elastic trim around the cuffs to keep drafty air out and a fitted hood that stays in place. Our tester gave the closures and adjustable features like zippers and elastics high ratings for being easy-to-use. Analysts noted some fraying seams and down poking out around the hem, as did a few reviewers who say they've experienced down shedding with extended use.
If you suffer from allergies or just prefer a down alternative, consider this jacket from Outdoor Research, which is filled with synthetic polyester that's designed to mimic real down clusters and compares to a 700 to 800 down fill power. The 10-ounce jacket with a nylon shell is durable, abrasion-resistant and lightweight, suitable for outdoor activities. The brand offers the jacket in sizes XS to 4X with six color options, and if you prefer to go without a hood, you can opt for the same jacket in a hoodless design.
Lab analysts were impressed by the unique diagonal quilting pattern, meant to reduce the amount of stitching needed and to provide "uninterrupted" warmth, as the down is spread across the jacket without being totally boxed in. Our tester loved how high the jacket's collar and zipper extended, sharing that she could go without a scarf while wearing it, and she gave the zipper perfect ratings for being easy to use. Reviews for the jacket mention inconsistent sizing, and our tester felt as though the sleeves were a little long and wished she could adjust the hood to fit better, so be sure to review the sizing chart before buying.
Most down jackets are on the thinner side, made with high fill-power down so they're lightweight and warm, but they miss out on some elements that make a traditional winter coat so cozy. This jacket from Under Armour is a bit bulkier than other down jackets but is designed to be ultra comfy and warm. The jacket features 700-fill-power down, fuzzy fleece lining in the pockets and around the collar and the brand's Infrared lining in the upper body. The Infrared lining absorbs and holds onto your body heat, trapping more warmth inside of the jacket to keep you extra toasty.
When our experts evaluated this jacket in the Lab, they were wowed by the substantial fleece and infrared linings and by how lightweight the jacket felt, despite its puffier design. One tester appreciated the "spacious" pockets and elastic trim around the cuffs to keep cold air out, but she did notice the plastic zipper felt "a little stiff" and that the outer material was a bit noisy. The jacket received perfect ratings for being attractive and flattering, but it is a little oversized, so if you're in between sizes, you may want to consider sizing down.
At only 6.8 ounces, this down jacket from La Sportiva is lighter than any others we evaluated in the Lab and nearly half the weight of many of our picks. Although it's so lightweight, it's still packed with 700-fill-power down for warmth. The silhouette is tapered and formfitting, but design elements like underarm gussets allow for less-restricted movement. There are two zippered pockets to keep your belongings secure, along with two large pockets inside that you can fold the jacket into when you're done wearing it. Elastic trim lines the hem, collar and cuffs to prevent warm air from escaping and cool air from flowing into the jacket.
This jacket is covered in seams and stitching, but our Textiles Lab analysts didn't find any loose threads or down peaking through. According to our experts, the polyamide material felt very thin and was a little noisy in Lab evaluations, but the synthetic material is still durable, and the thinness is a tradeoff for the jacket being so light. One tester was surprised by how warm the jacket felt when she initially tried it on because of its thin appearance and recommends sizing up because of the fitted design and short hemline.
Marmot's innovative WarmCube design is meant to help you stay a comfortable temperature based on your level of activity, meaning it circulates heat while you're moving around and traps heat while you're stationary. The 700-fill-power down is soft and lofty yet lightweight and fills the torso where you need the most insulation. The hood is unlined, as are the sleeves, which when combined with the jacket's large underarm gussets allows for increased range of motion, making it a great option for outdoor activities and workouts.
Our Lab analysts were impressed by this exercise jacket's unique design and durable nylon ripstop material. One tester loves how light the jacket is and shared that she plans to layer it in colder weather because the sleeves are thin and fit well under her winter coat. Both our tester and analysts appreciated the whopping six pockets — four deep zippered pockets on the outside of the jacket that keep belongings secure and two large pockets inside of the jacket for additional hidden storage.
This jacket from L.L.Bean has loftier down than any other jacket we evaluated in the Lab, with a fill power of 850 and amazing insulating properties! It folds into its own pocket with zippered closure and attached corner loop, making it easy to take on-the-go. The recycled nylon shell is durable and smooth, and the coat is sewn with curved seams for a tapered, more fitted look. Plus, it's available in nine colors and extended sizing for plus and petite shoppers.
One tester loved how easy it was to pack this jacket into itself but shared that the jacket in its final packed form is a little bulky. She described the pockets as "extremely generous" and appreciated the inner zippered pocket for extra storage space. Another tester said that the hood with adjustable drawstrings and brim stays in place better than the hoods on many other coats she's worn. In the Lab, our analysts noted quite a bit of fraying and loose threads around the bottom hem and seams, as did online reviewers of the jacket. Both our tester and online reviewers suggest sizing down for a snugger fit, so be sure to check out the brand's sizing chart.
Our Textiles Lab analysts conducted extensive market research, working with well-known outerwear brands to choose the best and newest jacket styles for the upcoming cold weather season. We consider online product information, including any design specs and material details, such as fabric and fiber type, insulation and overall construction before reviewing.
Next, we evaluate each jacket in the Lab, analyzing the overall quality and design features such as outer material, lining, pockets, closures, hoods, sleeve/cuffs, drawstrings and seams (pictured here).
We also share jackets with consumer testers who try them on and wear them for real-user feedback. They share with us their thoughts on the jackets' appearance, comfort, fit, warmth, pocket space, ease-of-use for closures and more. Testers can share their thoughts on what they like and dislike about the jackets, along with what they think the best use is. As the weather permits, we will continue gathering more information from testers about the jackets' performance in winter climates to ensure our initial data remains accurate and up-to-date.
There are down jackets designed to meet different needs, and it's important to choose the right one to ensure you stay warm and comfortable in colder weather. When shopping for a down jacket, here are a few things to consider:
✔️ Material: It's common for down jackets to be made with synthetic fabrics, using fibers like nylon or polyester. Nylon materials are water-resistant and durable, typically used for the outer shell of a jacket. Polyesters aren't quite as durable but are still a great, sometimes more affordable option for outer shells. You'll also find many jackets are lined with polyester material.
✔️ Insulation type: There are two primary types of fill used for cold weather jackets: down and down alternatives (synthetics).
✔️ Fill power: Technically, fill power is a measurement for the volume of down fill in cubic inches per ounce. In layman's terms, fill power impacts the loft and warmth of the jacket. Higher fill power means the down takes up more space and, as a result, traps more air and provides better insulation. Most down jackets have fill powers around 600-850, which are all considered to be warm. Note that fill power and weight are not the same thing. Weight refers to how much down is used in the jacket, and fill weight for down jackets is typically pretty low because the jackets are thin and not intended for extreme cold. Know that only true down jackets have a fill power, while down alternative jackets may list their fill power equivalent.
✔️ Weatherproof design: Look for flat seams that are sealed to keep fill in and wet weather out. Also keep an eye out for features like drawstrings that adjust hoods and hems for a more secure fit and inner cuffs or elastic around sleeves to keep drafty air from getting inside and warm air from escaping.
✔️ Packability: Some down jackets are bulky and take up quite a bit of space, but there are many down jackets on the market that are lightweight and easy to compress. This makes them simple to pack when traveling or to carry along on an outdoor adventure. Packable down jackets typically come with separate carrying pouches or can fold into their own pockets.
✔️ Style: There are down jackets that are more functional than fashionable and vice versa. Consider where and how you want to wear your down jacket before buying. A boxier cut jacket is trendier for everyday wear but may allow more chilly air to flow in. If you're hoping to exercise in your jacket, look for design features like underarm gussets for better motion. An ultra-thin jacket with a tapered fit is nice for layering and is flattering. Hooded jackets take up more space when packed, but a hood provides extra protection from the elements and added warmth.
fire resistant work jacket Amanda Constantine is a home and apparel reviews analyst at the Good Housekeeping Institute where she evaluates clothing items, including intimate apparel, shoes and swimwear. She recently worked directly with dozens of brands to test best-selling coats and jackets, along with new styles from the 2022-2023 season. In the Lab, she evaluated each coat, analyzing construction elements and the overall quality. She then coordinated consumer testing, sharing each coat with someone who was able to provide real user feedback. Altogether, over 1,000 initial data points were collected for analysis, and more testing will be conducted as weather permits. She also drew from former coat testing conducted by Textiles Lab executive director Lexie Sachs.