Stay warm without looking like a walking marshmallow.
A good winter coat should keep you toasty and dry without making you look like a marshmallow. The Good Housekeeping Institute Textiles Lab researched tons of down, wool, and active coats to find the ones with top-quality performance and design. Our picks offer a range of styles, price points, size offerings and activity levels, so you can buy one that lasts. Here's what you should consider before you get shopping:
Down (which comes from ducks or geese) is the best insulator for winter coats because the clusters trap heat. For less expensive picks, look for down and feather blends or down-alternative (which is made of synthetic fibers, so it's not as lofty or warm).
When shopping, you'll want to check the fill power of the down: The higher the number, the more space the down takes up and the warmer it will be. We recommend shopping for winter jackets that have a fill power of 550 or higher. Many brands also now use responsibly-sourced down to ensure the birds are not force-fed or live-plucked. If you want a guarantee, look for certifications, such as the Responsible Down Standard.
For a sleek and stylish look, consider a wool jacket. 100% wool will be warmest, but one with at least 60% wool will also keep you cozy. Look for nylon in the blends — they're strong and will help with the coats last for years — but avoid coats with fabric that has over three fibers blended together. The more fibers in the blend, the more prone the fabric is to pilling.
If you're looking for extra warmth, pay attention to the design: double-breasted and longer styles that button up all the way to the neck are ideal. One more thing to note: You'll have to dry clean these styles, as most wool coats are not machine washable.
If you're hiking, sledding, or skiing this winter, you'll need an active coat for your outdoor adventures. Construction is crucial — these coats are subjected to extreme weather and wear and tear. Nylon is often the most durable, but you can find good quality jackets made of polyester as well.
Look for styles that are lightweight, breathable, and not too long if you plan to be moving around a lot, and consider coats that have added insulation if you think you'll need one that's super warm. The coat should also have flat, sealed seams to keep water out and design details that block cold air, such as drawstrings to cinch or a flap over the zipper.
Below are the best, most stylish, and warmest winter coats you can buy: