Is there anything better than snuggling up under the covers on a cold winter’s night? Once you get nice and comfy, it is great, but that initial feeling of climbing in between icy cold sheets is not great.
An electric blanket is a cost-effective way to ensure that your bed is warm when you climb into it and that it stays warm throughout the night as well.
But you do want to make sure that you get a quality brand – something that will last well and be safe over the long term. You want to choose the best electric blanket on the market. But where do you start? What qualities do you look for? What brands are the best?
In this post, we have compiled a comprehensive guide to choosing the right electric blanket for you. We have also reviewed some of the top-rated models for 2018 to make sure that you get to be snug and warm all winter.
Benefits of Having a Heated Blanket
When we think heated blanket, our minds go directly to winter. But that doesn’t mean you cannot use it at other times as well. Fall and Spring can still have some cold snaps so it can play a role.
I’ll bet you never even considered the potential health benefits of heated blankets, did you?
Here are some other ways that an electric blanket can be useful to your health:
- It could help to soothe tension and help you relax. (Think warm bath, only better.)
- Relieving aching muscles. Heat has long been used to help muscles relax and aid circulation. A heated blanket does the same
- As it increases circulation, it can help to reduce stiffness and improve flexibility. It can be useful for those with mobility issues.
Benefits in Winter
- You will be more comfortable while sleeping: no waking up with ice cold feet in the early morning and battling to get back to sleep. You sleep more deeply because you are warm.
- Warmth: If you put it on about fifteen minutes before you go to bed, your bed will be toasty warm when you climb in.
- You will save energy: An electric blanket helps you to keep your energy bills down because it is warming a small area exactly where you need it to. Heating the room means using a lot more energy because it is a much bigger space to heat.
Our Top 4 Heated Blanket Reviews
#1. Sunbeam Quilted Fleece
This is the luxurious way to gently wraps youself in warmth and comfort during cold nights. Use this to keep warm instead of your heaters.
Sunbeam also offers you a choice when it comes to color – choose any of the seven colors available. The quilting helps lend a more luxurious feel, and it is nice and soft.
It also comes in at a reasonable price point so is ideal if your budget is a little tight. On the plus side, there is a five-year warranty on these as well.
Thanks to the EasySet Pro Controller with 10 heat settings you can choose just the right warmth, and features a 10-hour auto shutoff function for peace of mind.
Concerns have been raised about the durability of the product with some saying that it works well for one season but not the next. This could, however, be as a result of negligence when packing it away.
- Can be washed and dried as you would your normal washing.
- Easy to use with 10 heat settings you can choose.
- Bamboo material making it safe and green.
- Reasonable price point ideal if you're on budget.
- There some few concerns about lifespan.
- Takes a while to get warm.
#2. Soft Heat Luxury
This is an interesting take on an electric blanket because you use it over you as you would a normal blanket. It is super-soft and snuggly, with the added advantage that it warms as well. It is like your favorite blankie as a child – always lovely and warm.
Another difference here is that you can wash the fleece. It is wired, obviously, but the wiring is unobtrusive and barely noticeable.
Do you have a partner that sleeps hot, while you are lying on your side of the bed freezing? This is the option to choose – each side can be heated individually, so you can keep one side on and one off if you like.
If you are looking for something that will keep you warm and that doesn’t use a ton of electricity in the process, look no further.
On the downside, though, a few customers have complained that it stops working pretty quickly. So, it does require more careful handling. On the plus side, there is a five-year warranty in place, so you do have some recourse if something goes wrong.
- Feels really soft and is perfect to snuggle into.
- Can be used over your body instead of underneath it.
- Dual heating means couples can tailor the heat to their preferences
- 5 Year warranty.
- Won’t get as hot as some of the others we looked at.
- Not a lot of heat settings.
#3. Sunbeam Microplush
This is something of a smart blanket. It monitors the temperature while you are sleeping and makes sure that it stays consistent. So, if the temperature drops, it will compensate by putting out a bit more heat.
This is great for allowing you to have a deep and peaceful night’s rest.
You have a choice of five colors and the material used is a high-grade polyester, improving the longevity of the product.
It will switch off automatically after ten hours, so there is no need to worry if you have forgotten to switch it off.
There have been concerns raised about the time it takes to heat up and that the heating can be patchy. On the plus side, though, taking proper care with the wires will help improve the useful lifespan.
- You can wash and dry it as you would your normal laundry.
- King- and Queen-sized options have dual controllers.
- Extremely soft and rated as one of the top options Sunbeam offers.
- The controller is bulky and bound to be a nuisance.
- Takes a while to warm up.
- Wires are more prominent than most.
#4. Biddeford MicroPlush
If you are looking for luxury, look no further. That’s what this Sunbeam does.
Comes with ten different heat settings and a range of colors to choose from, there is no way that you are not going to find something to like about this blanket.
It feels plush and luxurious, much as a normal blanket would.
The blanket has an excellent built-in safety feature – it will cut off after ten hours. This means no more worrying about whether or not you switched it off before you left for work in the morning. The blanket can be run for ten hours at a time perfectly safely, giving you lots of time to spend in bed.
The designers have chosen to keep the wires thinner for additional safety – there is less chance of them being bent or broken.
On the downside, there have been reports of the controls just giving up the ghost. The upside, though, is that there is a five-year warranty in place.
- Has multiple additional uses.
- Can be used effectively on your bed as well as on the floor.
- Completely dust mite-resistant.
- Made in the United States with certified foam.
- Much firmer than other bamboo pillows.
Heated Blanket Buying Guide
As with most things in life, you get what you pay for here. It is important to consider all the options carefully because there could be serious consequences if something does go wrong. Put your safety ahead of saving money here.
You also want a blanket that will fit your needs and be practical and useful.
You are dealing with an electrical current here, so more care needs to be taken. Signs to look out for are markings that say, “ETL” or “UL.” These are industry standards for safety so don’t consider anything that does not have one or the other.
Also, for safety’s sake, you must check whether the current in your country will be a match for the needs of the blanket. In some countries, the basic current provided to homes is different than in others.
If you choose a model from overseas, make sure that it will be able to handle the current in your country and that you will be able to plug it in.
There are a number of different sizes to choose from, but they should all fit a standard bed. It is best to check the dimensions before ordering to make sure that yours does fit properly.
It is better to get one as closely matched to your size as you can because this reduces the risk of damage to the cords or elastics. If you cannot find an exact match, look for one that is a little smaller than your bed, rather than a little larger.
With options like the Soft Heat Luxury, it is not as much of a big deal, because it is possible to drape it over you. Most options, however, should be laid flat against the bed to reduce the risk of damage.
Don’t pay for features that you are never going to use. Consider what your needs are and choose accordingly.
Let’s have a look at some other things to consider.
Ease of Use
Choose your option carefully to match your lifestyle. Think about the following:
- Do your pets sleep on the bed with you? Then choose a lower heat setting or one with a lower voltage. You don’t want your pets to overheat, and you don’t want any accidents they have to short out your heated blanket.
- How different are your needs from your partner’s? If you both have very different temperature preferences, a dual-control option will make better sense.
- Does it need to lay flat, or can it be draped over you? In the case of the latter, make sure that it is not too heavy to be comfortable.
- How easily can you read the controller or adjust the buttons?
Materials Used & Feel
This is something that you will be using on a nightly basis. Consider the following:
- How much lint will it produce?
- Is it really soft enough to act as covering?
- How do you clean it?
- Does it look good?
- Will it last well?
- How obtrusive is the wiring?
Another area that you want to check out carefully is the temperature range. What is the maximum temperature? If you live in a place that can get very cold in winter, like Ontario, you would need the maximum temperature to be higher.
If you live in a warmer area, like Hawaii, you wouldn’t.
The next thing to consider is how many temperature settings there are. Ten settings might sound like a lot, but will allow you to use it for longer in the season. By being able to set lower temperatures when it is slightly warmer, or higher ones when it is colder, you will always have the optimal level of comfort.
The most expensive options are not always going to be worth the money. The cheapest options might not have the safety features that you want. But, when considering how much you are going to spend, also consider the amount of electricity that the model will save you over the next few years.
You are looking at pricing from around $35 to around $200, so it could be a bit of an outlay for you. But if you tote up the savings you will make in electricity over time; you will have a better idea of the true value.
How to Use it Safely
When it comes to electrical appliances, especially those that will be placed close to your skin, you don’t want to take any chances. To be on the safe side, always read the manufacturer’s recommendations before the install.
It is boring, I realize, but essential. Here are some general safety instructions:
- Items put on top of the blanket while it is on will trap heat. This could lead to higher temperatures and a potential fire hazard. While you can use some models for ten hours at a stretch, it is better to switch them off when you are about to go to sleep.
- Do watch out for damage by doing regular checks. If the fabric has started fraying, or the cords are damaged, or if anything is charred, get rid of it.
- Take care when storing it. It is better not to have anything on top of it when it has been put away.
- Also important is to follow the proper cleaning instructions.
Types of Electric Blankets
There are a few different types to choose from – the tech has come a long way from just being a simple heating pad.
This is the most common type and what you are probably more aware of. These are placed flat against the mattress and fastened to the bed. These will not cover the whole bed – they leave a space for the pillows.
It is best to use these under a sheet, preferably one made of natural fibers to ensure better longevity.
2. Over blanket
This is a newer type and one that you can use over you as you would a standard blanket.
3.Heated mattress protector covers
These are also used under the body, but they look more like a fitted sheet. They have a skirt that fits on the mattress and is held in place by elastic, just like a fitted sheet.
You may still need to use a sheet over the top, but they are not going to shift during the night.
4.Heated mattress topper
Again, this goes flush up against the bed. The difference between this and a standard model is that it will have quite a bit more padding.
5. Heated throw
These are designed to go over the bed. They look good and provide a great deal of warmth as well. Use these if you want more of a design feature.
This is a pretty simple concept – plug it in during the winter, and it will warm up. When the weather is warmer, disconnect it and use it as a normal duvet. This is a good option when you are short on storage space in your home.
Great Features in Electric Blankets
Thirty years ago, electric blankets had a pretty bad wrap. They were not the safest thing to use and didn’t really come with many options. You basically had two settings and had to make do with them. Times sure have changed since then.
Here is an overview of some of the newer features.
These make things safer for you. You can set the timer to automatically switch off the heat after your chosen time period has elapsed. This is great for when you want to stay warm until you doze off.
Not all heated blankets are created equal. Check for the maximum and minimum temperature settings to make sure you can be as comfortable as possible. As mentioned above, the more temperature settings there are, the more useful your electric blanket becomes.
This is nice to have when you have a partner because then each person can set their side to the heat that they prefer.
Good models do have a cut-out switch for safety reasons. This could be around the ten-hour mark like the models that we saw above.
The moment you get into bed your body heat will adjust the bed temperature. High-end models track these changes and make adjustments, so the temperatures stay at levels you’re comfortable with.
Warm Your Tootsies
If you battle with cold feet at night, look out for models that have variable heating options. Some will provide extra heat for your feet.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Where do I get them?
Most of the time, it is simple enough to order them online – from the supplier themselves, or from Amazon.
2. Is a particular model safe to use?
We have spoken about the industry standards and how you can tell if your choice meets them. In addition, it is not a bad idea to look at some of the online reviews as well.
That said, generally speaking, these are safe as long as you look after them properly. Check:
- What the care instructions are
- Whether or not the fabric and wiring is good quality
- How to tell if the item is worn or damaged
- If there are safety features
We have been through some of the safety features and how you can ensure that the product remains safe to use for a long time to come.
3. Can they be washed?
This one might sound like a crazy question after all, electricity and water don’t really go together. Many of the newer models, however, can be safely washed. As a quick check, see if the wires can be removed. If they can, it might be washable. Do check the manufacturer’s guidelines first though.
Generally speaking, the guidelines are usually just common sense. Here is what you might find:
- Only submerge them completely if you can remove the cords completely.
- Wash them on their own using a gentle cycle. Do the same when putting them in the dryer.
- If you want to hang them out to dry, make sure that the wire channels in the body are not pegged in place or damaged.
- Don’t bleach them.
- Do not use harsh detergents or a lot of detergents and do not take bleach anywhere near them,
- No ironing, ever.
- Check it to make sure it wasn’t damaged in the wash before using it.
- Make sure it is completely dry before you try to use it.
A heated blanket can make cold nights a lot more bearable and improve your quality of sleep. The safety and utility of these products have changed a lot since their early days, so you can now buy them with confidence.
Any of the models we reviewed will make a good addition to your home. We chose them because they had useful features and good warranties. Think about the features that will be most useful to you when making your own choice.
If you are looking to heat up your bed in a hurry, a great electric blanket, when looked after well could be the best investment you would make.