What's the best kind of wool?

Wool Duvet in A Duvet Cover on a Bed | scooms

Who doesn’t like wrapping a soft and cosy wool throw around themselves snuggled up in bed or on the sofa! But which type of wool is the softest and cosiest? We’ve been finding out what really is the best kind of wool...

(Ok, so we’ve listed a lot of different ‘wool’ types but if we’re being strictly factual, wool is only wool if it comes from a sheep! Alpaca, cashmere, mohair, angora and camel ‘wool’ are all really hair, not wool!) 

  1. Wool - 11 top facts
  2. Sheep’s wool
  3. Lambswool
  4. Merino wool
  5. Shetland wool
  6. Alpaca
  7. Cashmere
  8. Mohair
  9. Angora
  10. Camel
Hungarian Goose Down Duvet

Hungarian Goose Down Duvet

Our Hungarian goose down duvet is naturally breathable with cloud-like comfort. Hand-made in Hungary, filled with the finest, ethically sourced goose down. Free delivery & returns; 60 night trial.

From £145.00 Shop now

 

Wool - 11 top facts!

Wool is a great material to use to make luxury bedding and clothing. Wool has been used in textiles since around 3000 BC due to these wonderfully useful natural characteristics:

  1. Wool is completely natural: Wool has a range of unique properties that synthetics can't match. 
  2. Wool is wonderfully insulating: Wool fibres are crimped not straight which creates air pockets that retain heat.
  3. Wool repels water: Wool can absorb up to 50% of its weight in water without becoming saturated, helping to keep you comfortable even when damp.
  4. Wool is moisture wicking: The wool fibres wick sweat away from the body. As your sweat evaporates, heat is drawn away from your skin; great in hot weather but not so good when it's cold. Wool helps your perspiration to evaporate more quickly, so you stay warm.
  5. Wool is breathable: Wool helps your body regulate temperature; great for staying cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Which is why it's used a lot in outdoor clothing.
  6. Wool is resilient & elastic: Wool fibres can be stretched up to 30% and still spring back, which helps the clothing retain its shape and resist wrinkles.
  7. Wool is highly absorbent: Wool retains liquid easily which means it dyes richly while remaining colourfast, without the need for harsh chemical additives.
  8. Wool is odour-resistant: Wool is naturally more resistant to retaining odours than synthetic fabrics like polyester. Wool absorbs sweat and releases it back into the air, inhibiting bacteria growth and preventing the fabric from retaining the smell.
  9. Wool is hypoallergenic: Wool is naturally anti-allergy and repels dust mites, which is great for allergy sufferers.
  10. Wool is naturally stain-resistant, anti-static, flame-retardant and wrinkle-resistant: So there is no need to add chemical agents.
  11. Wool is sustainable: Wool is rapidly renewable, biodegradable, recyclable and able to be produced organically.

 

Sheep's wool

Wool from adult sheep is the ideal fabric for throws, bedding and winter knits not worn next to the skin as it can be itchy. It’s less expensive than many other wools.

It’s very durable, maintains its shape when stretched, is colourfast when dyed and unlike most synthetic fibres it doesn’t melt when exposed to flame.

It’s great at trapping air and providing superior insulation. And as it's highly breathable it helps your body regulate temperature so wool can be useful for all sorts of clothing and bedding products all year round. 

Sheep's wool can be prone to shrinking and pilling though so you need to look after it carefully.  

 

Lambswool

Lambswool comes from the first shearing of a lamb when it’s six or seven months old. As it’s rarer, it is also more expensive than normal sheep’s wool.

It’s softer, smoother and more resilient than sheep's wool so it's less itchy which makes it ideal for knitwear. 

The staples are shorter, 50mm or less, which means it requires a lot less processing than sheep’s wool. The end result is wool that is stronger, smoother and more elastic. It has superior spinning properties, so it also doesn’t wrinkle as easily. It's softness and elasticity also makes it popular with knitters. 

 

Merino wool

Merino wool comes from Merino sheep, mostly from the mountainous regions of Australia and New Zealand. It’s the finest and softest sheep wool with a superior shine, and definitely the most luxurious! It’s unsurprisingly a very popular material for luxury bedding and clothing brands. 

It has thinner staples than other wool, around 17-25 microns, so it is softer, more flexible and less itchy. It also has excellent drape as the staples are also longer than other wools, around 115mm.

It’s breathable and moisture-wicking properties makes merino wool a really popular choice as a base layer for exercising and hiking. As well as its excellent warmth-to-weight ratio and soft feel against the skin.

Merino does need greater processing than other wools to remove the layer of fatty grease lanolin, which means only about half of the fleece can be used. The lanolin by-product can be used in cosmetics however, reducing the amount of waste. It’s nearly pure white colour means that it dyes really well.

See our super soft and beautifully warm Merino Lambswool throws

Hungarian Goose Down Duvet

 

Hungarian Goose Down Duvet

Our Hungarian goose down duvet is naturally breathable with cloud-like comfort. Hand-made in Hungary, filled with the finest, ethically sourced goose down. Free delivery & returns; 60 night trial.

From £145.00 Shop now

 

Shetland wool

Shetland wool comes from sheep raised in the Shetland Islands which are just off Scotland’s northern coast. The wool comes from the sheep’s soft undercoat with an average diameter of 23 microns and staple length of 90mm.

The well crimped fleece is fine, warm, lightweight and lustrous. As it’s only available in small quantities, Shetland wool is mainly used by high end brands to produce 'Fair isle' knitwear, fine tweeds and gossamer lace.

Although only available in natural colours, there are 11 recognised colours and 30 markings. This colour variety means that a range of naturally coloured yarn can be produced, negating the need for dye and allowing the wool to retain its soft feel.

 

Alpaca

Alpaca wool comes from the South American Alpaca, an animal similar to the Llama. There are two types of Alpaca, the Huacaya and the much rarer Suri. The wool from the Huacaya Alpaca is fast-growing, thick and crimped and popularly used for knitted products like throws and the Suri Alpaca wool is silkier but takes longer to grow and is used in woven clothing like suits. An Alpaca can produce around 3.5 kg of wool per year.

Similar to the ‘wool’ from goats and rabbits, Alpaca wool is easier and less time-consuming to prepare than sheep’s wool. It doesn't contain lanolin, like sheep’s wool. Although rare, lanolin can cause allergic reactions.

The fibres are very soft and fine, ranging from 15 to 40 microns, but fibres over 30 microns are too itchy to be used for clothing. The wool produced is soft, silky and lightweight but also very strong, pill-resistant and durable. It’s also warmer and less itchy than sheep’s wool.

Alpaca wool comes in over 20 different natural colours, more than any other type of wool. It can also be dyed and blended with other wools like Merino.

Alpacas are very eco-friendly to farm. They have a higher yield than sheep and goats and are less impactful on their environment. Their soft padded feet are gentle on top soil, they graze by eating the top of the grass rather than pulling up the roots and they consume lower amounts of food and water.

Alpaca wool is a luxurious fabric used in high-end bedding and clothing. It’s softer and stronger than cashmere, lighter than sheep’s wool and has high insulation with a soft feel and drape. 

 

Cashmere

Cashmere comes from a specific type of goat, the Kashmir, found in India, Tibet, Turkistan, Iran, Iraq and China. The finest fibres come from the undercoat of the goat, around 18 microns, similar to superfine Merino wool. This is the downy wool growing beneath the goat's coarser exterior hair. The fibres have to be combed from the goat rather than sheared. Each goat only produces around 150g of cashmere a year, enough for a quarter/half a jumper or perhaps one scarf!

The fibres are very soft and lofty with a natural crimp that produces a lightweight and breathable fabric that adapts to the humidity in the air in all climates.

Cashmere is a very fine, delicate, light and soft fabric. It’s much less itchy than sheep’s wool and provides excellent insulation. So it is ideal for clothing worn next to the skin and in the spring and autumn months; keeping you warm without overheating.

The more time consuming production and small amounts produced are the reasons that cashmere is much more expensive than traditional wool. It’s popularity has also raised ethical issues. The goats have very little fat so if the fibres are removed too early in winter, they can freeze. Increase in demand has also increased the pressure to lower the cost, decreasing the price of the raw material. This results in herders needing more goats to make the same amount of money, overpopulating the grasslands with devastating ecological results, and increasing the herders workloads.

 

Mohair

Mohair comes from the Angora goat. They are farmed in a similar way to sheep but on a smaller scale which means mohair is more expensive. They have a larger undercoat than the Kashmir goat and the topcoat guard hairs are often mixed with the hairs from the undercoat so each goat produces a lot more material, around 3 kilograms of mohair a year.

The first three shearings produce the finest mohair. The fibres are around 20-40 microns in diameter, similar to wool, but the stapes are longer, around 10-15cms, which means they are stronger and smoother. It has less scales than sheep’s wool which produces a material that doesn’t tangle, wrinkle or shrink as much and doesn’t matt or pill. It also picks up less dirt.

The distinctive frizzy look of mohair comes from the mix of guard hairs and undercoat hairs. It is silky, soft and shiny in texture. As well as durable, strong, lightweight, breathable and a great insulator. It accepts dye well, has a good drape and maintains its shape well which makes it a popular fabric for blankets and high quality clothing.

See our luxury Mohair throws.

 

Angora

Angora comes from the Angora rabbit. Four main breeds have been domesticated for angora production: English, French, Giant, and Satin. The angora fibres are from the rabbit’s undercoat and either plucked or sheared. Their hair grows quickly but one rabbit only produces about 400g a year.

The fibres are really fine, about 10-5 microns in diameter, and wonderfully soft. They are hollow which makes them fluffy and lightweight. While still providing superior insulation to traditional wool, two-and-a-half times warmer, the highest heat retention of a natural fibre. They also have the best moisture-wicking properties of any natural fibre and are naturally resistant to odours. Angora clothing can be worn outside in the cold and then immediately inside without causing the wearer to overheat.

However, Angora fibres are not as resilient as sheep's wool so they are often mixed with stronger elastic materials which means that the quality of angora really depends on how much guard hair or other materials are mixed with the angora undercoat.

Angora requires a costly and time-consuming production process. The rabbits need to be combed regularly to prevent their hair from matting and there are only a small number of producers. This means angora wool products can be quite expensive.

Angora farming also raises ethical concerns. Rabbits can be kept in separate cages and in near darkness to protect their undercoat. 

 

Camel

Fine-quality camel wool comes from the Bactrian camel in China and Mongolia. Wool is produced from the undercoat hair that the camels moult, rather than from shearing or clipping.

The fibres are very soft and fine, producing a lustrous and lightweight wool. Camel wool has superior insulation to sheep’s wool but is less resilient and wears more easily.

As it has a lovely golden brown natural colour, it is often used without any dye but it can also be dyed with stronger colours like a darker brown, red or blue.

As it is quite rare, it is expensive, so manufacturers often blend it with sheep’s wool to make it more economically viable. Camel hair is used to make high-end clothing like coats and suits, as well as wooly jumpers, scarves and gloves.

Want to find out about Goose down and how it compares to wool. Read our Hungarian Goose Down Guide.

Hungarian Goose Down Duvet

Hungarian Goose Down Duvet

Our Hungarian goose down duvet is naturally breathable with cloud-like comfort. Hand-made in Hungary, filled with the finest, ethically sourced goose down. Free delivery & returns; 60 night trial.

From £145.00 Shop now

 

Author: Emily AttwoodPublished: 21 March 2024Last modified: 10 June 2024





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Bedding size guide

Duvet sizes

These are standard UK bedding measurements so if you know your mattress size, you can easily work out which duvet size you need. (Width x length.)

UK sizes Duvet size Mattress size
Single 135 x 200cm (53 x 79") 90 x 190cm (36 x 75")
Double 200 x 200cm (79 x 79") 135 x 190cm (53 x 75")
King 225 x 220cm (89 x 87") 150 x 200cm (60 x 78")
Super king 260 x 220cm (102 x 87") 180 x 200cm (72 x 78")

US/CANADA BEDDING SIZES: Approximate matches to UK sizes are US King/UK Super king, US Queen/UK King,  US Full/UK Double and US Twin/UK Single.

EUROPEAN BEDDING SIZES: Each size - Single, Double, King and Grand king - is a little larger than the UK equivalent.

Measure your mattress to see which size bedding you need: our UK v European v US mattress comparison guide.

Hungarian Goose Down Duvet

Hungarian Goose Down Duvet

Our Hungarian goose down duvet is naturally breathable with cloud-like comfort. Hand-made in Hungary, filled with the finest, ethically sourced goose down. Free delivery & returns; 60 night trial.

From £145.00 Shop now

Duvet tog ratings

Young children can overheat so if they are old enough to use a full size bed, we recommend using a single size 4.5 tog duvet.

 Tog rating Season / heat Feel
2.5 tog High summer / hot sleepers Light thermal insulation
4.5 tog Summer Lower thermal insulation
9 tog Spring & Autumn Cosy medium heat
All season 13.5 tog 4.5 tog + 9 tog Very warm
All season 11.5 tog 2.5 tog + 9 tog Warm
All season 7 tog 2.5 tog + 4.5 tog Lower warmth

 

Duvet fill weights

Our goose down duvets have high 700 fill power. Fill weight is measured in GSM (grams per square metre). For example view our 9 tog king size goose down duvet for more duvet details.

Fill weight (not total duvet weight)
Single All seasons - 788gsm
9 tog - 486gsm 
4.5 tog - 302gsm 
2.5 tog - 220gsm
Double All seasons - 1168gsm
9 tog - 720gsm
4.5 tog - 448gsm
2.5 tog - 320gsm
King All seasons - 1478gsm
9 tog - 911gsm
4.5 tog - 567gsm
2.5 tog - 400gsm
Super king All seasons - 1671gsm
9 tog - 1030gsm
4.5 tog - 641gsm
2.5 tog - 480gsm

 

Hungarian Goose Down Pillows

Hungarian Goose Down Pillows

Our luxury Hungarian goose down and feather pillow is wonderfully comfortable and supportive, as well as breathable and anti-allergy. Free next day delivery & returns.

From £95.00 Shop now

 

Pillow sizes

Our pillows come in two sizes and two firmness options. (Width x length.)

Standard  50 x 75cm
King 50 x 90cm

 

Bed linen sizes

Our fitted sheets are deep fit, up to 40cm / 15.7" mattress depth. And our duvet covers fasten with large, easy to use buttons. (Width x length.)

Duvet cover Fitted sheet Flat sheet Pillowcase (pair)
Single 140 x 200cm 90 x 190cm 180 x 275cm
Double 200 x 200cm 135 x 190cm 230 x 275cm 50 x 75cm (Standard)
King 230 x 220cm 150 x 200cm 275 x 275cm 50 x 90cm (King)
Super king 260 x 220cm 180 x 200cm 305 x 275cm

 

White Egyptian Cotton Bedding

Egyptian Cotton Bedding

Egyptian cotton bedding that’s luxuriously light, breathable and durable; with a smooth, silky-soft feel and soothing drape. Like sleeping in a boutique hotel every night! Free Delivery & returns.

From £40.00 Shop now

 

Topper & mattress protector sizes

Our mattress protectors are deep fit, up to 40cm mattress depth. Choose the same size topper or protector as your mattress size. (Width x length.)

Topper / protector size Mattress size
Single 90 x 190cm 90 x 190cm
Double 135 x 190cm 135 x 190cm
King 150 x 200cm 150 x 200cm
Super king 180 x 200cm 180 x 200cm 

 

Hungarian Feather and Down Toppers

Hungarian Feather and Down Toppers

Enhance your sleep with our luxurious goose feather and down mattress toppers. Free next day delivery & returns.

From £195.00 Shop now

 

£10 off your first order over £200!

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