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Electric blankets are a great way to keep warm and cozy in cold weather, whether you have one spread out on your bed or tucked around you on the sofa while you watch TV.
Modern electric blankets are safe, effective, and comfortable. They range from basic models with simple dials, to those with multiple settings and automatic shut-off features, to extra-large versions with two controllers for couples. As well as keeping you warm, electric blankets can act as giant heating pads to help soothe aches, pains, and even symptoms caused by medical conditions like fibromyalgia.
With so many options, choosing the best electric blanket can involve a headache-inducing array of considerations. To make the process easier for our readers, we’ve put together a list of our top picks as well as a guide to buying, using, and caring for an electric blanket. Whether you’re looking for the best value or a luxury model, we’ll help you find the best electric blanket for your needs.
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Innovative design, an extremely soft feel with very thin wiring, and some of the most even heating we’ve found in an electric blanket all come together to make the LL Bean Heated Blanket stand out. With two neutral shades and three sizes to choose from, we believe almost everyone would find something to like about this excellent electric blanket.
The blanket itself consists of three layers: an extra-soft top layer, an insulating layer for optimum heat retention, and a velvety bottom layer with channels intended to retain and direct heat. The design also features extra-thin and flexible wiring to reduce bulk. When combined with the thick plush fabric, this makes for an electric blanket that drapes and feels like an ordinary throw. Patented Italian technology also ensures that the blanket heats evenly, with minimal hot or cold spots to take away from the blanket’s soothing warmth.
Pre-heat options and five heat settings can be accessed by the light-up controller, which some may find is too bright in a dark room. The twin size has a single heat zone, while the full/queen and king sizes both offer dual heat zones with a controller for each side. The blanket also features an automatic shut-off for safety purposes.
The LL Bean Heated Blanket can be machine washed on cold, then tumble dried on low or hung to dry in the shade. It can be returned within one year if you are not fully satisfied, and the company will consider returns beyond one year based on manufacturing or material flaws.
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Reversible blankets are a great option for sleeping or curling up on the couch, and the Serta Perfect Sleeper Reversible Heated Throw combines soft polyester plush with sherpa fleece for a cozy feel. This oversize throw blanket conceals wiring behind thick fabric, which prevents uncomfortable bulkiness while maximizing its soft and fluffy feel.
As a smaller, throw-size blanket, this model has a single heat zone and controller. Five settings on the push-button controller allow users to find their ideal temperature, though it may not get as hot as some pricier models. For safety purposes, the blanket features a 4-hour automatic shutoff.
Sherpa fleece is coarser to the touch than the silkier plush side but it retains more warmth, so many owners choose to use the blanket with the plush side up. This throw is ideal for use on the couch thanks to its 8.5-foot cord, which allows for curling up wherever you’d like.
Both the plush side and the sherpa side are made of 100% polyester, and the blanket itself is machine washable on cold once the electrical components have been removed. It is dryer-safe on low, or it can be hung to dry. No warranty is available through the manufacturer, and return policies may vary depending on where you choose to purchase the blanket.
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Wearable blankets — plush, oversize throws with sleeves that are cut to fit comfortably over the body — are a great way to keep warm while still keeping your hands free. Sharper Image combines this style with three temperature settings to boost the coziness and keep you warm no matter what you’re doing.
The heating element is located over the chest and can be controlled by the wired controller for three settings of low, medium, and high. Though this design works well for most people, it makes the blanket less useful for those wanting to treat aches and pains throughout their body.
The blanket’s thick, 100% polyester fabric makes for a buttery soft feel that drapes over the body like an ordinary blanket. At 59 inches wide and 78 inches tall, it has a “one size fits most” style that will drape more on smaller frames but still be comfortable for larger ones. The extra-wide sleeves make the blanket feel luxurious. At three pounds, the blanket is lightweight and unlikely to impede easy movement.
The Sharper Image Heated Wearable Blanket is washable on low after disconnecting the controller and plug, though it should be hung to dry. Returns are not available on Sharper Image bedding products like this, but the company does offer a 1-year limited warranty on the blanket should it have manufacturing or material defects.
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Though excellent electric blankets are available at a wide range of price points, luxury heated blankets can be worth the added investment. Within the thick, carefully-sewn Touch of Class blanket are ultra-thin and flexible wires to deliver even heating over eight temperature settings, with a range of practical additional features. Customers can choose among five stylish colors and three sizes (full/double, queen, and king) to ensure the blanket fits their needs and their room perfectly.
Although the blanket is 100% polyester, it uses a variety of fabric styles to provide dimension and texture. One side has a soft and smooth micro flannel feel, while the reverse is made of velvet-like plush. In addition to looking and feeling great, these textured fabrics also help prevent the blanket from sliding on the bed. The top edge has satin trim for a polished look, while the remaining three sides use well-constructed mini-flange edging.
The blanket’s electrical components make it an exceptionally practical choice. Eight settings make it easy to find your ideal temperature, and the slender wiring radiates warmth evenly without adding bulk. Owners can program the blanket to turn on or off whenever they choose, and the 10-hour automatic shut-off gives peace of mind while allowing for a full night of sleep. A 16-foot cord means the blanket can be used almost anywhere, even on loft beds.
The Touch of Class Micro Flannel Electric Blanket is machine-washable and dryer-safe, with fabric that dries quickly and evenly. The company offers a 5-year limited warranty on manufacturing or material defects.
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While all of the models we’ve chosen for this list are comfortable, the Biddeford Comfort Knit Fleece Blanket stands out with a thick polyester fabric for supreme comfort.
This thick fabrication easily prevents users from noticing the electrical components, aside from feeling their soothing heat. The carefully stitched, grooved design holds the wires in place while adding texture and style to your room. Customers can choose between five relaxing colors when purchasing, as well as four sizes (twin, full, queen, and king).
Unlike most other blankets at this price point, Biddeford’s model offers ten different temperature settings which are accessed through a dial-style controller. Although it lacks features such as a programmable timer, its relatively quick heating time and a generous 10-hour automatic shut-off make it an ideal companion for cold winter nights. Couples will also appreciate the dual heat zones in the queen and king sizes, each with their own controller.
The Biddeford Comfort Knit Fleece Blanket is machine washable and can be tumble dried on low. The company offers a 5-year limited warranty on manufacturing and material defects.
Choosing a heated blanket can be more difficult than it appears at first glance. No matter your budget, it’s important to consider your needs, as well as factors like controls, voltage, and ease of care.
Heated blankets can last for many years, and carefully considering these factors ensures you’ll choose one that you’ll be happy to use each time the weather cools.
Purchasing an electric blanket is only superficially like choosing an ordinary blanket. While the usual considerations like materials and looks do apply, there are other crucial factors ranging from settings and features to safety concerns like voltage and wiring construction. There is no universal ideal of an electric blanket, and each customer should carefully consider what combination of features will work best for their needs.
Modern electric blankets are safer than older models but much more complex, so the wide range of models on offer today may be overwhelming if you haven’t purchased one in many years. Some considerations are deeply important, while others may or may not be of interest to you depending on your preferences. We’ll cover what to keep in mind and which factors are among the most important when purchasing a safe and comfortable electric blanket.
Electric blankets are available in a wide range of sizes, from sofa-friendly throw blankets to large queen or king size models. Smaller blankets are easier to move and store, while the larger sizes often have two heating zones and dials to adjust the heat separately for each side of the bed.
Most electric blankets have a similar heat range between their lowest and highest settings, but the number of settings in between can vary dramatically. Less expensive models tend to have fewer options, while luxury blankets may have a large number of settings or even the ability to program your own temperature options.
The majority of electric blankets feature wired controls with dials to choose among the different settings. Modern blankets tend to have safety features like automatic shut-off mechanisms, and some models offer timers for either turning on the blanket before you climb into bed or turning it off after a set period.
Electric blankets can be regular or low-voltage. The former uses the voltage coming from your outlet, while the latter uses a transformer to lower the voltage used by the electrical components inside the blanket. Low-voltage options are generally considered to be safer than regular voltage, though they do take longer to heat up.
The position and length of an electric blanket’s plug cord can make a massive difference in its usefulness and safety. While extension cords can make up for a shorter plug cord, the best option is to choose a blanket whose plug can easily reach an outlet near your bed. Similarly, the best-designed blankets generally have the cord located in an area which will not rest on or near your body during sleep.
Unlike ordinary blankets, electric blankets are generally made out of a small number of fire-resistant materials. Most electric blankets are now made of polyester, which can be exceptionally soft. Acrylic, once a popular choice, tends to be scratchier and much less comfortable. Cotton is rarely used due to its flammability.
Most electric blankets are made out of easily washable materials, and the majority can be machine washed after removing their plug and controller. Still, not all electric blankets are washable. Even spot cleaning can be a concern, as excessive moisture can damage the wiring. Before purchasing a blanket, be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully to determine whether the blanket can be easily cleaned.
Electric blankets are available at a wide range of price points. Lower-priced models are still likely to be cozy and safe, as long as they have an automatic shut-off feature. However, higher-priced models are more likely to have features like multiple settings and timers that may make a blanket more useful and comfortable.
While electric blankets can be a great — and green — way to keep warm in cold weather, safety concerns and other potential downsides mean that they’re not right for everyone.
Heated blankets can seem like an extravagance, but for some people they can make sleep a far easier and more comfortable experience. This is especially true for people who struggle to stay warm at night, or those who live in frigid climates, since electric blankets are able to keep sleepers at the ideal temperature regardless of the weather outside. Couples with opposing temperature preferences can also benefit immensely, since larger models often come with dual heating zones that allow each person to choose their own temperature.
If you find that heat helps soothe your pain, chronic or otherwise, then an electric blanket might be an excellent choice for reasons outside of winter comfort. They function in much the same way as an electric heating pad, but their ability to deliver soothing warmth to the entire body can be much more effective for people with widespread pain.
Of course, electric blankets aren’t the right choice for everyone. Young children should not use heated blankets, nor should adults without the ability to move or turn off the blanket as necessary. People with limited sensation in any area of their body should also consult their doctor before purchasing an electric blanket, as this condition may prevent them from sensing burns or other injuries.
How do electric blankets work?
Electric blankets use electricity taken in through a household outlet to heat wires that are coiled within the blanket itself, which then heat the blanket’s fabric for an even, comfortable warmth. These wires are protected by a heat-resistant plastic coating, and in some modern blankets may be made of the thin carbon fiber used in high-end heated car seats. Depending on the model, the wires may carry the same voltage brought in through the outlet, or the voltage may be lowered by a transformer in the control mechanism.
How do I use an electric blanket?
Electric blankets can be used in three ways: while awake, to heat up your bed before climbing in and while you are falling asleep, and throughout the night. While most modern electric blankets are safe to use in all three ways, some are not intended to be used throughout the night and may automatically shut off for safety reasons. Electric blankets should lay flat over the body, with no creasing or folding, and owners should not lay on top of their blanket. This is particularly true on foam mattresses, which trap heat and can become damaged.
Are electric blankets safe?
Modern electric blankets are far safer than older models once were. Even lower-priced options tend to have a wide range of safety features, including automatic shut-off capabilities based on time or heat levels and low-voltage options. However, old or damaged blankets can still pose a fire risk. Always purchase new electric blankets rather than secondhand. Inspect the blanket before use to ensure it is working correctly, and do not hesitate to replace your blanket as necessary.
Can you wash a heated blanket?
Most electric blankets are safe to wash, as their internal wiring must be waterproof in order to cope with sweat and moisture produced during sleep. The cleaning process is usually easy, with owners removing the plug and control device before washing. However, it’s critical to read all instructions carefully before washing, and particularly before putting the electrical components back together. Some electric blankets are not washable, so be sure to read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully before making your purchase or cleaning the blanket.
How much electricity does an electric blanket use?
The average electric blanket comes in at approximately 40 to 60 watts when used on a medium setting, though some larger varieties with dual heating zones are rated at 100 to 200 watts. Using the 100-watt variety as a baseline, powering a heating blanket for eight hours uses only 0.8 kilowatt-hours of energy. The average cost of energy per kilowatt-hour in the USA is currently $0.13, meaning that a 100-watt electric blanket costs approximately $0.10 to run per night. While an electric blanket will not replace central heating, it may result in a significant savings in heating costs over the winter.
How long do heated blankets last?
Electric blankets can have widely varying lifespans depending on the model, as well as how often they are used and for how long each night. A high-quality blanket used to warm up the bed for several months a year may last for over a decade, while the same blanket used for eight hours a night may need replacing in less than half that time. Most people can expect their blanket to last at least five years, but it’s deeply important to inspect your blanket regularly and to replace it whenever it shows signs of damage. Electric blankets can be expensive, but health and safety is of utmost importance.
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