If you are considering a feather bed, you may come across some confusing terms, and one in particular is baffle-box. What does it mean?
Feather beds are designed to lie on top of your mattress and add a layer of comfort. Unlike mattress pads, they are really thick and range in size from 2″ to 5″ in height. In theory the larger the gusset, the more filling will be contained. More filling means a softer experience, but there are many other things to consider in your purchase.
The filling is the most important element of how comfortable it will be. Most store models will use a 5/95 grey duck blend, which is 5% down and 95% feathers. This type of feather mixture is pretty firm. A nicer option is a 10/90 blend.
The height adds to the comfort of a feather bed. We advise those measured at three-plus inches in height. We also prefer them with a pillow top layer, whether down topped or polyester topped.
The actual construction of a baffle-box feather bed is to have a series of rectangle boxes filled with the feather mixture. As it is made, a nozzle is inserted into each box and the filling is left in place. The baffle-box design allows the fillings to stay in place with minimal shifting of the fillings.
Many consumers like the baffle-box design because it makes care and maintenance relatively easy. You can give a good shake at various points along the feather bed to keep the feather blend fluffy.
Other styles of feather beds, like channel baffle or euro bags, require much more daily primping. The trade off is that the easier to care for baffle-box feather bed is not going to be as fluffy or soft as one of the other styles. This is because the filling moves around more easily in the latter styles.
Some stores will carry a basic baffle-box design, while others will offer a pillow top or down top version. Even the best ones selling for several hundred dollars have feathers which can poke you on occasion. So a pillow top layer basically cushions you against the chance of a stray poking feather. Between a polyester pillow top and a down top, generally speaking, the polyester top models will offer you less poking. While a down top is absolutely luxurious, it is still hard to beat the cushioning capability of a good poly pillow top layer.
As for care and maintenance, it is important to point out that it cannot be machine washed due to its sheer size. We recommend you add a feather bed protector to your purchase to limit daily wear, add a layer of fabric cushioning, and to keep stray feathers from leaving your bed.
Basic feather bed protectors can be purchased between $25 and $100 based on the thread count, presence of specialty features, and fabric content. When a protector is used, it is advised to change your covers every couple months to give it a good clean washing. For maximum enjoyment regardless of design construction we suggest a quick daily fluffing, specifically around the torso area.