Best down jacket 2023 to keep you warm in the coldest of weathers

The best down jacket will keep you toasty and well-insulated even in the harshest weather conditions

Best down jacket: Pictured here, a smiling model wearing The North Face Thermoball 50/50 Jacket under a bridge
(Image credit: The North Face)

The best down jackets are some of the most versatile pieces of outdoor wear you can use to protect yourself from the cold weather. Lightweight they might be, down jackets from brands such as The North Face, Adidas Terrex, Patagonia, Columbia, and more provide plenty of insulation and warmth when the temperatures drop.

Here, we review and rank all the best down jackets you can buy right now for hiking, mountaineering, and urban adventures. We also look at the best waterproof, lightweight and cold-weather down jackets, just for good measure. If you think down jackets are the best winter coats, you're in the right place. We'll explain how to buy the best own jackets and other frequently asked questions at the bottom of this guide (you can use the jump links to navigate around).

Best down jackets to buy right now

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How to buy the best down jacket for you

We live in an age when down jackets sometimes involve more technology than the best running watches, making it harder and harder to decide which one to get. The most important feature to consider is insulation, which can be determined by looking at the fill power of the jacket. As a rule of thumb, the higher the number, the warmer the jacket, although this also depends on the quality of the down and other factors (see below.)

What you want to do in the jacket is also important. Many puffer jackets are designed for 'urban exploration', meaning they are more fashion items than performance garments. Probably one of the biggest names in the industry, The North Face, offers anything from fashion puffers to skiing down jackets – make sure you check what the manufacturer recommends as best use.

Price is admittedly a key factor. Many of the best down jackets cost more than a windbreaker. However, it's not impossible to find quality cheap down jackets if you know where to look—for example, Mountain Warehouse (opens in new tab) and Kathmandu (opens in new tab) (both retailer links) both stock inexpensive downs. A cheaper down jacket combined with an insulating base layer will cost less than premium puffers. They might not look as stylish, but from a warmth point of view, this mix of clothes is more than adequate.

How we test the best down jackets

We're lucky enough to live in a country with almost four seasons, and it can get very cold during the winter, giving us plenty of opportunity to test the best down jackets. In fact, when this guide was created, temperatures often plummeted below zero degrees celsius, allowing us to try the insulating properties of every puffer jacket listed in this guide.

Where applicable, we also tried the jackets for the purpose they were created (e.g. mountaineering, hiking, etc.) to ensure they live up to the manufacturer's claims. We paid meticulous attention to the sustainability rating of each jacket – we think it's essential for the best down jackets to be as sustainable as possible. 

FAQ

Which brand makes the best down jacket?

There are many excellent down jacket manufacturers, but we think The North Face makes the best down jackets right now. Their jackets cater for a wide variety of uses, from stylish urban puffers to specific mountaineering coats for technical climbs. Our current no1 choice for the best down jacket is The North Face Thermoball 50/50 Jacket, as although it’s super warm and stylish, it’s also comparatively lightweight and inexpensive.

Is a down jacket the warmest?

Down jackets are considered the warmest outdoor garments compared to other types of jackets, such as windbreakers, parkas and raincoats. Air gets trapped in between the down fibres of the coat, helping you retain heat even in the coldest of conditions, hence why mountaineers often use down jackets. 

Is 800-fill down warmer than 600?

As a general rule of thumb, the higher the fill number, the warmer the down jacket. This, of course, isn’t always the case; how warm the down jacket is dependent on the quality of the down and other technologies involved in the coat. For example, Columbia’s Omni-Heat Infinity lining reflects heat back to the body and doesn’t only rely on the down filling to keep you warm. 

Matt Kollat
Fitness Editor

Matt is T3's Fitness Editor and covers everything from smart fitness tech to running and workout shoes, home gym equipment, exercise how-tos, nutrition, cycling, and more. His byline appears in several publications, including Techradar (opens in new tab) and Fit&Well (opens in new tab), and he collaborated with other content creators in the past, such as Garage Gym Reviews (opens in new tab). When he isn't working out, he loves roaming the countryside and trying out new podcasting and content creation equipment, including microphones, cameras and more.