Winter comes suddenly and swiftly, often without warning. One minute it's a mildly crisp day and the next, we're dealing with bone-chilling temperatures and windy gusts of snow. This is why purchasing a warm winter coat—complete with durable boots and fleece-lined leggings—is essential for battling the harshest cold-weather elements, but there are different kinds of winter coats to consider. Here's how to choose the best one:
How to shop for the best quality winter coat:
There are four main types of winter coats: puffers made with down material or down alternative, tailored wool blend coats, fur-lined parkas, and insulated performance jackets. Down jackets are insulated with feathers from duck or geese, but there are also down alternatives, which are made with synthetic materials. Down alternative jackets are less expensive than true down jackets but they also tend to be heavier. Down jackets are rated by their down fill power—the rating for how insulating the fill is. Generally speaking, the higher the fill power, the warmer the jacket. For example, a down jacket with a fill power of 550 to 750 is pretty warm and anything between 750 to 900 goes above and beyond.
On the other hand, wool coats are usually made with a blend of wool and polyester. Winter coats made with 100% wool are going to be the warmest. Then, there are parkas, a.k.a. an anorak jacket that's waterproof and hooded. Many parkas are also lined with faux fur to add to the insulation. If you work out outdoors or like going on hikes in the winter, insulated performance jackets are your go-tos. These jackets tend to have fleece and synthetic materials that will keep you warm and are designed with nylon, making them extra durable.
Got that? Great. Here are our favorites:
Canada Goose is known for its premium coats and jackets, but unlike many top-tier brands, after testing a sample, you aren't just paying for a label. The Canadian brand designed every inch of its new women's Trillium Parka for maximum comfort, warmth, and durability. The fill is made of 625 fill power white duck down with a removable, down-filled hood and recessed rib-knit cuffs to lock in heat. It extends to the mid-thigh, just like your favorite over-legging sweaters, is elasticized along the back waist, and features an interior drawcord for enhanced fit. Finally, Canada Goose gives this parka a Thermal Experience Index rating of 4—inspired by the Arctic but made for everyday wear, second only to jackets that are literally meant for Antarctica.
Yes, there exists a winter coat for less than $50! You won't get the craftsmanship of some other brands on this list, so you may need to replace this option within a year or two, but if you're on the mother of all budgets, this pick will keep you from freezing in 2020. The shell, lining, and fill are made of polyester, and if you spill anything on it, you can throw it right in the washing machine. More than 1,000 Amazon buyers give it five stars. "This coat is plenty warm (I live in the frozen north), but I am not sweating the second I walk into a store, like with some puffy coats," writes one customer. This same woman warns buyers not to mistake the slits for pockets. Sorry!
This beautiful plus-size winter coat is made for warmth and designed to accentuate curves (notice the inward pointing seam lines?). It's made with a synthetic, polyester fill if you're not a fan of down, and can be stuffed in your suitcase just as easily as it can be throwing in the laundry. Details include an adjustable hood and zip, hand-warming pockets.
Not too long ago, Millennial pink was the it-color for winter coats. We're happy to see the return of sophisticated camel—or as Everlane calls it, toffee. This gorgeous overcoat is also sustainable, made of 64% recycled wool and 38% recycled nylon (it is, however, dry clean only). The double-breasted front, notched collar, and flap pockets are details designed with cold temps in mind, and the oversize silhouette welcomes the bulkiest of sweaters.
At a fantastic price, Athleta's sporty Inlet Jacket is made for high-impact workouts in cold climates (meaning it can totally withstand early morning walks with the dog and school drop-off). The exterior is made of recycled nylon and spandex, while the interior boasts 800-fill FeatherDry down insulation. It's water-repellant, made to resist snags and tears, and features a high collar and removable hood.
Long, faux fur jackets are still a whole look in 2020. This year, UGG is going above the knee with its 48-inch-long Hattie winter coat. It's available in classic camel as well as this gorgeous eggplant purple, and either way you'll enjoy a front snap closure, notched lapels, and flap pockets. Note that some reviewers say it's not meant for petite ladies. (Your call, of course!)
Making the list for a second time, Canada Goose's Hybridge Fleece Jacket is new this season and has already achieved a 100% customer recommendation based on rave reviews. Its high-pile wool fleece is partially made with recycled materials and a jersey backing for extra comfort. It also features 675 fill power white goose down panels just where you need them on super cold days. "The bomber style gives it the cool edge and the puff front adds a more detailed look," writes one happy customer.
At just over $50, this is Amazon's bestselling ski jacket. Perfect if you're a newbie to the slopes—or simply want a sportier look this winter. It's waterproof, windproof, and features adjustable cuffs and glove holes for heat retention. More than 2,700 Amazon buyers give it a perfect five stars. "I've been struggling to find a coat that fits me but doesn't swallow me up (I'm a plus size lady)," writes Joy. "This coat is it! You'd expect it to cost a lot more. It's very warm but not bulky. I can even comfortably wear it while driving my car."
We love this trendy puffer jacket—for the look and the price. If you can never keep white (or in this case, cream) things clean, consider the black or "rose" colorways instead. It measures 22 inches in length, has pockets to boot, and is machine washable.
Filled with a down alternative insulation, this water-resistant winter coat also has two zip pockets to keep your hands warm. The adjustable hood is removable, so you can choose to take it off during warmer days. Available in eight different sizes, Columbia recommends measuring yourself to ensure the right fit around the neck, sleeves, and chest. "I absolutely love this jacket. The fit is just right. I can wear a sweater underneath and not feel too snug. It is warm and the soft cuffs keep the cold air out," an Amazon reviewer says.
Every winter wardrobe needs a vest, and this pick from The North Face is it! The 700-fill is super luxurious, and the baffle-quilt design is classic and chic. There are pockets on the front and interior, and the double-layer taffeta at the shoulders offers extra cushioning for heavy backpacks or totes.
Whether you're doing an outdoor workout in the park or running errands around town, this water-resistant down jacket will protect you from rain, snow, and windburn. Designed with a front zip closure and side seam zip pockets, you and your personal belongings are sealed with heat. It's lined with 800-fill power European goose down, which is ethically sourced, and has a 10% feather fill that makes it lightweight and breathable. "Super happy with my jacket!," a Nordstrom customer says. "It keeps me warm without feeling bulky or heavy. I like the style of the jacket. It is comfortable and the fit is true to size. Very happy with my purchase."
More than 7,000 Amazon customers love this jacket for its super-warm 90% duck down fill. It has a hood with a faux lamb lining and is equipped with six large pockets that are big enough to stuff your hands and essentials into. Choose from six stylish shades and 10 sizes. "Out of probably 20 winter coats, this is now my absolute favorite! I can't even begin to tell you how much I love this coat. The quality is outstanding. I have had every expensive brand-name winter coat, but I have never ever had one that has kept me this warm!," an enthusiastic customer raves.
For an affordable price tag, this warm winter coat is made with 65% wool, 30% polyester, and 5% other fibers. We love its double-breasted design and tie belt that cinches perfectly around your waist. Nordstrom customers recommend ordering a size up so you won't feel constricted wearing bulkier pieces of clothing. "I received compliments the first night I stepped out in [this]! For the northeast it's perfect, so you can wear cute dresses and still feel weather appropriate," a Nordstrom customer says.
If you're looking for a stylish down jacket that won't completely break the bank, consider this bright-colored parka. "It gives the Canada Goose vibe at a fraction of the cost," a Nordstrom customer says. Lined with down material and a feather fill, this parka feels incredibly warm and compresses so it's not too bulky. The adjustable hood also has faux fur around the inner collar for added insulation and a touch of chic. You can't beat the front zipper pockets either. "This coat is simply perfect. I'm 5'3 and it goes a little bit past my knees, which I like for the freezing midwest winters. The hood is nice and big. Love that the fur is removable and it's not a bad thickness," another customer says.
You'll face rain, snow, and heavy winds fearlessly with this hooded winter coat. This fleece-lined coat is made with a 650 fill power and 100% polyester, making it incredibly warm yet breathable. Plus, it has two front pockets and one interior one to hold valuables. One Amazon reviewer says, "I love this coat! I bought this for my trip to Alaska. I bought a size bigger so I could wear extra layers if needed. It never happened. This coat kept me warm with a medium base layer and thin fleece vest."