Puffer coats are a trendy and time-tested way to ward off winter's chill. They're filled with down (the voluminous feathers of a goose or duck) or synthetic materials that trap body heat and insulate the core. When looking for the right coat, evaluate both lifestyle and specific needs. These puffer coats vary in warmth, weight, packability, water resistance, durability, and style (such as a hood or multiple pockets) but all are highly rated and cost $100 or less.
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This packable women's puffer jacket from Tek Gear ($50 on sale at Kohl's) earns a solid 4.4 stars from more than 120 reviewers on the retailer's website. Available in 17 colors, it boasts an angular striped design, removable hood, and microfleece-lined pockets and collar. Reviews mention that it runs small and advise sizing up when purchasing.
For $22 at Walmart, this Climate Concepts fleece-lined bubble jacket is a steal. It earns an average of 4.3 stars out of 5 from several dozen reviewers and garners nods of approval from customers in Vermont and Minnesota. Keep warm with all-over fleece lining, banded cuffs, and a removable hood. Reviewers recommend ordering a size up to layer a sweater underneath.
Big puffy jackets certainly keep wearers warm, but they aren't always the most fashion-forward. This Orolay women's thickened down jacket ($80 on Amazon) presents a stylish silhouette. Filled with 90 percent duck down, it comes with a large fleece hood and plenty of pockets. It's one of the top-selling coats on Amazon and earns an average of 4.3 stars from nearly 3,300 reviewers.
Straight from a top brand, this L.L. Bean down jacket ($89) keeps girls warm and dry outside in the snow. The 650-fill down retains volume even when damp and the interior fleece lining provides cozy insulation. It's available in French blue (on sale for $70), emerald green, or red violet. A reflective triangle on the back adds safety in dark conditions.
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Mild winter weather in the 30s and 40s calls for a light puffer jacket. This Hawke & Co. packable down jacket II for men (starting at $45 on Amazon) comes in 16 colors and features zippered pockets and a standing collar. Reviewers rave about its lightness and say it's definitely worth the affordable price.
Shoppers looking for a plus-size, water-resistant puffer coat will like Columbia's hybrid-quilted jacket ($100 on sale at JC Penney). Bearing the label of a high-quality brand, the jacket comes in light turquoise, plum, and black and is a smart alternative to down -- especially in wet conditions.
Extreme winter conditions call for an extra-long coat that insulates all the way to the knees. This three-quarter-length puffer from Laundry By Design ($80 at Burlington Coat Factory) is packed with thick polyfill material and recommended for extreme conditions. The rouched waistline and faux fur hood add a feminine touch.
Little girls will enjoy this cozy reversible puffer jacket from Cat & Jack (starting at $27 at Target). Available in toddler sizes, it can switch between the silver metallic shell and the white fleece covering. The front zipper and sleeve cuffs ensure warmth, and the hood can be zipped off. Cat & Jack offers a one-year warranty.
Walmart's Faded Glory hooded puffer coat for plus-size women ($20) is fully lined with fleece, and the hood features an adjustable draw cord. More than 360 reviews rate it an average of 4 stars. Many wearers say it's well made, doesn't add bulk, and is definitely worth the low price. Some advise purchasing a size or two larger for easy layering.
With a stylish faux-fur hood, cinched belt, and adorable pocket bows, any girl will be the envy of her class. Nearly 150 reviewers grade this Richie House girls' winter jacket ($48 on Amazon) an average of 4.6 stars. Water resistance, a removable hood, and dual zipper/button closure along the front provide plenty of warmth. Pick from seven fun colors.
The Lands' End men's puffer jacket (starting at $79) is a shorter coat that offers both warmth and style from a trusted brand. There is style and function in the dual-entry pockets, zippered front, elasticized cuffs, and water-resistant material. The jacket is also available in tall sizes for $10 more.
Uniqlo is well-known for light down jackets that pack easily into a carrying pouch. The trendy retailer's ultra light down hooded coat for women ($100) holds a feminine shape that's slightly pulled in at the waist. Stretchy material helps with bulky layers, and a long hemline warms the legs. There are five neutral colors to choose from.
For women who prefer to feel unencumbered while walking, hiking, or running, Uniqlo's ultra light down jacket ($70) boasts feather-light stuffing. Available in nine colors, the jacket repels water while the fitted collar insulates the neck. Wear it as a coat or as a second layer on the coldest days.
For a hooded puffer coat that withstands wind, water, and cold temperatures, consider the fleece-lined NordicTrack men's hooded puffer coat (starting at $40 on sale at Kmart at the time of writing; regularly $80). The hood can be adjusted by drawstring and snaps closed with a storm flap. A hidden drawstring in the hemline keeps the cold out and the body warm.
The Xersion packable puffer jacket ($40 on sale at JC Penney) is available in six colors and petite sizes. It's stuffed with polyester fiberfill, has a removable hood, and garners an average of 4.8 stars from more than 100 reviewers. Many highlight the lightness, warmth, and fitted cut.
Available in six colors, the Columbia Elm Ridge hybrid puffer jacket for men ($100 on sale at Kohl's) traps body heat with water-resistant material, faux down feathers, and heavyweight insulation. There are two zippered side pockets, an exterior zipper breast pocket, and a stand-up collar.