The Best Electric Blankets And When To Use Them
Check out our round up of the electric blankets available online. Plus, learn safety and care tips for heated blankets.
Aug 25th, 2022 •
When temperatures drop and you need something to stay warm, an electric blanket will do the trick.
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How Electric Blankets Work
Electric blankets have a wire insert between their inner and outer layers. This internal wiring heats up when the blanket plugged in. While regular blankets keep you warm by retaining body heat, electric blankets use electricity to generate warmth.
Almost all electric blankets are made of polyester. This is because polyester is fireproof. Polyester materials include fleece, microfiber, and sherpa.
All electric blankets on the market today have heat-resistant features for overheat protection. Many have extra features like auto shut-off or multiple heat settings.
You may wonder if electric blankets will increase your electricity bill. The answer is no. You may even save on winter electricity costs when using an electric blanket, as you won’t need to turn up your heat while sleeping.
An electric blanket may be used for the following reasons.
- To provide extra heat if your bedroom is cold in the winter, and save on heating costs. Note that an electric blanket should not be used in place of a heater and cannot heat an entire room.
- To relieve pain from stomach aches, cramps, arthritis, fibromyalgia, and muscle soreness.
- It’s a good option for couples sharing a bed if one runs hot while the other runs cold. With an electric blanket, each person can choose their ideal temperature.
There are three types of electric blankets on the market:
- Under blankets, also called heating pads. Heating pads are placed between your fitted sheet and your mattress to warm you from below.
- Electric throw blankets. These are lightweight and meant to be used on the couch. See our picks for the best non-electric throw blankets HERE.
- Electric duvets, to be used in place of a quilt, comforter, or duvet.
How to Choose an Electric Blanket
When purchasing an electric blanket, you will want to consider voltage, display adjustability, mode of display, the user’s abilities, the purpose of use, and warranty. It is recommended that you ensure your electric blanket bears the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) mark, which indicated that the blanket has passed standard US safety tests. Electric blankets cost as little as $40, while luxury options can top $200.
The Best Electric Blankets
Here are our top picks for the best electric blankets available on the market.
Best Value Heated Blanket
The Biddeford MicroPlush Sherpa Electric Heated Blanket is available in twin through king size. While the full-size blanket has a single control, the queen size features dual controls. Each person sleeping under the blanket can select their perfect temperature. It’s super soft, with a micro plush top and sherpa fiber underneath. This blanket gains points from us for its 10 heat levels. Its control box lights up in the dark, so you do not need to turn on the lights to adjust the heat. It also features an automatic shut off after 10 hours and a five-year manufacturer warranty.
Best Luxury Heated Blanket
We love this Serta Brand Soft Luxe Plush Electric Blanket for a few reasons. One is that the controllers are extra-long, meaning they won’t get knocked off your nightstand when you move around or snuggle under the blanket. It has 10 heat settings and is available in sizes Twin through King. It has a pre-warming function as well as overheat protection, allowing you to turn it on before you get into bed to ensure your bed is warm and ready. What is really special about this blanket is that the ultra-thin wires hidden by deep pile, making them virtually unnoticeable when you sleep and allow this blanket to be used as a normal bed blanket even without the electricity turned on. The queen and king size feature dual-controls, making this a great option for couples. This blanket is thick and intended to be used as a duvet. Available at Overstock.com.
Best Throw-Sized Electric Blanket
Some sleepers don’t want a heavy blanket covering them all night, which means a lightweight electric throw blanket is a great option for generating additional heat without feeling trapped under a heavy bedcover. An electric throw is also the best size for couch use. The small size means electric throw blankets usually have fewer features than electric duvets, but the PureRelief Plush Heated Throw doesn’t make this sacrifice. While most electric throw blankets only have three heat settings, this one boasts four. It also has a 2-hour automatic shut off. This is the only blanket on our list that comes with a storage bag, and it comes with a five-year warranty. Available on Amazon.
Best Portable Heated Blanket
This travel heated blanket by Sojoy has a 12v USB plug. Unlike other electric blankets for travel, which usually must be plugged into your car’s cigarette lighter, this blanket can be used virtually anywhere – in the car, on the airplane, in an office. It can be powered off your laptop while traveling, or plugged into a portable phone charger when camping. Travel electric blankets are great for keeping in your car in the winter when your car takes a while to heat up. They’re also good for tailgating or watching sports outdoors when it gets chilly. This version has a 68-inch long cord so backseat passengers can enjoy the warmth.
Best Budget-Friendly Heated Blanket
In all our research, Sunbeam heated blankets emerged time and time again on the “best of” lists. One hundred percent micro plush with six color options, the Sunbeam blanket actually has sensing technology and can adjust the temperature by spot to provide consistent warmth across the entire blanket. The Sunbeam blanket also has 10 heat settings and a button controller, pre-warming, and 10-hour automatic shut off. It also has an extra-long plug so it won’t come unplugged if you toss and turn.
The initial cost of the purchase. Electric blankets are more expensive than regular bedding. However, using an electric blanket in the winter may ultimately save a significant sum off your winter electric bill.
Safety concerns. There are some safety concerns associated with the use of an electric blanket. Diabetics or other people with decreased heat sensitivity or an inability to respond to pain should never use an electric blanket. For this reason, electric blankets are unsafe for small children or other people with limited mobility.
There has been some concern that the electromagnetic heat from electric blankets may lead to cancer. A study by the World Health Organization indicates that cancer risk from electric blanket use is very minimal due to the low levels of exposure. However, the WHO maintains that pregnant women should never use electric blankets.
The electric blanket you purchase will come with its own care instructions. Most have removable plastic plugs and controllers, which can be disconnected when you wish to wash the blanket. The blanket itself is usually machine washable and can be dried in your home drier.
Never dry-clean an electric blanket. Chemicals used in the dry cleaning process may damage the heating insulation and increase risk of fire.
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