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Puffer Jacket vs Down Jacket – Differences? Similarities?

A man in black puffer jacket.

You may want to start preparing for winter before it arrives in full force. This means making sure you have a proper coat or jacket to keep you warm. If you reside in a cold area or are even vacationing in a cold area, you will need something that will be durable and keep you warm.

Having something long-lasting and insulated is important. A coat that can easily be used throughout each year’s winter will give you less planning for the years ahead, but also a trusty jacket to rely on. When you are looking for a jacket to buy, you will undoubtedly come across the puffer jacket and the down jacket.

They can seem quite similar and are usually used as synonyms. There are some differences between the two before you start your shopping spree for winter. If you want the right jacket for you, it is best to know about what you are looking at.

What is a down jacket?

Down jacket isolated on a white background.

A down jacket is a quilted jacket that is usually lined with feathers from a goose or duck. They are natural materials that work well for heat insulation. The down jacket was created in the 1930s by Eddie Bauer.

He was an outdoorsman who was faced with hypothermia in the winters. After facing a near-death experience, he invented the down jacket. The down jacket was used to insulate your heat and avoid hypothermia in the outdoors.


The down jacket is durable and made to withstand heavy winters. It was made specifically for heavy winters and snowfall. So, its insulation is one of the best someone can buy.

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The down jacket is usually the go-to for outdoor activities during the winter. It is made with lining on the end and the cuffs to keep warmth inside.


Down jackets are usually quilted with down feathers. This gives off the “puff” style, coinciding with the puffer jacket. The down jacket is made for the winter and is quite practical.

It is understood that it is not made for fashion in mind, but rather for survival in mind. Since the jacket was created through a near-death experience in the winter, it relies on durability and insulation before fashion.

What is a puffer jacket?

A man in black with puffer jacket.

The puffer is the sister jacket of the down jacket. They have a similar appearance, giving it the name the “puffer.” However, its difference lies in the material inside.

Puffer jackets are made with synthetic insulation rather than down feathers. The synthetic fabric is still just as durable as down. The puffer jacket does a great job of keeping the heat in and keeping you warm.


Like the down jacket, the puffer jacket was made to keep its wearers warm. Since the puffer jacket is derived from the down jacket, it’s undoubted that they both can provide a similar experience. The puffer jacket’s synthetic insulation is lighter than down but still provides the same kind of insulation.

It is a great jacket for the winter, and is durable throughout work activities and exploring the outdoors.


The puffer jacket is quilted with either horizontal stitches or diagonal stitches. This gives off its “puff” look, naming it the puffer jacket. Just like the down jacket, it is made for practicality.

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It is filled with insulation, and stitching at the cuffs and bottom, for a person’s warmth. While they can be fashionable with different types of stitching or colors, the importance of a puffer jacket lies in its ability to keep people warm in the winters.

What makes them different?

Black male down jacket isolated on a white background.

The jackets are very much the same in their aesthetic. Both jackets come with horizontal stitches or diagonal stitching to create style and puffs. They are both usually water-resistant and prepared for the outdoors.

The down jacket is created with goose and duck feathers for insulation. As a way to be more cost-efficient and animal-friendly, the puffer jacket is created with synthetic insulation instead.

Which one is better for the winter?

Photo of men in puffer jackets standing on a white snow.

When it comes to heat insulation, you may be wondering if one is better than the other for heat insulation. However, these jackets have quite comparable insulation. The synthetic insulation of a puffer jacket does a similar job to the down feathers would.

The down jacket, however, can be quite heavy while being packed with feathers. The puffer jacket is lightweight and does not obstruct any mobility.

Does the down jacket clump up?

One important difference to note is that the down jacket clumps up as it gets older. As you wash it and as time goes on, the down jacket’s feathers bulk up together, making it stiff and clumpy. The puffer jacket’s synthetic insulation does not do this, as it is not made from feathers.

Which one is heavier?

The down jacket is undoubtedly the heavier jacket of the two. The down feather insulation weighs it down. However, its weight helps greatly in keeping heat inside.

If you are trying to keep things lightweight, the down jacket may not be the best option. The puffer jacket is lightweight with added insulation. It allows you to keep moving on an outdoor adventure without losing energy.

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Can the puffer jacket get bulky?

Woman in blue jacket uses mobile in outdoors.

Added insulation on a puffer jacket can make the jacket much larger than it usually is. This may cost you some mobility while wearing it. While the down jacket can be heavy, the puffer jacket can get bulky with added insulation.

Is the puffer jacket more cost-efficient?

The puffer jacket can be more cost-efficient since it is made from synthetic insulation. The price ranges from 50 to 100 dollars. A down jacket is on the pricier side due to its down-feather materials.

A down jacket runs from 100 to 200 dollars, making it pricier than its sister jacket.

Which one is better?

Both jackets have their disadvantages and advantages. While the down jacket can clump up over time, the puffer jacket can be quite bulky. However, even with its bulkiness, the puffer is much more lightweight than the down jacket.

When it comes to choosing from the two, it is dependent on cost and longevity. The puffer jacket is lightweight, can go through years of use, and has a friendlier cost for your wallet. The down jacket, while it is very similar, may not be as durable through the years as a puffer.

However, they will both undoubtedly keep you warm in a heavy winter. Both jackets are made for outdoor durability, so both are great options if you are looking for a winter jacket. If you prefer down feathers as a material, the down jacket may be the one for you.

However, if you want something lightweight and cheaper, there is always a cost-efficient puffer jacket waiting for your purchase.