Although electric blankets have a bit of a bad rap, that's largely based on outdated blankets that had problems with overheating and short circuits. Today's electric blankets are low-voltage appliances that are safe to use and have seen few widespread problems over the years. On the downside, today's electric blankets don't get as warm as those you might remember from your grandmother's house.
The most relevant comparison test we found is from Good Housekeeping, which identified the best electric blankets by testing seven models for efficient (and sufficient) heating, ease of use and the ability to hold up to washing and drying. Of course, seven models is only the tip of the iceberg, so there's hardly a consensus on the best electric blankets. So for this short report, we looked for heated blankets that garner at least some user reviews, along with coverage by Good Housekeeping.
Sunbeam is the most visible brand among electric blankets; they are certainly the easiest to find in stores, and the most economical. But Sunbeam also makes products with a confusing array of product names, fabric types and colors, making it hard to comparison shop.
One Sunbeam blanket that we did see consistently reviewed is the
Sunbeam makes a big deal of energy savings, saying that you could save $131 per year in heating costs by using this Sunbeam electric blanket at night. ConsumerReports.org doesn't actually review heated blankets, but they do test Sunbeam's claim, finding that you could actually save more than Sunbeam claims if you turn your thermostat down 8 degrees during sleeping hours.
We didn't find as much review support for other blankets, and some get mixed reviews. For example, the Soft Heat Microfleece Warming Blanket (*Est. $100 to $190) took more than an hour to heat up and never reached 70 degrees. The Sealy Classic Electric Blanket (*Est. $80 to $190) didn't hold up well in the wash, with shrinking and pilling. Five of the 16 reviews at JCPenney.com say that the blanket stopped working after they washed it.
Biddeford and Perfect Fit are the two other brands we saw mentioned here and there. The Perfect Fit Plush Warming Blanket (*Est. $70 to $115) took 45 minutes to heat up to 70 degrees at Good Housekeeping, but it was judged best-looking. This brand is hard to find, however. Biddeford electric blankets aren't tested at Good Housekeeping, but they do get a handful of good user reviews. The Biddeford Delightful Nights Electric Warming Blanket (*Est. $90 to $200) gets mainly good reviews at Amazon.com, but there just aren't as many reviews for this blanket as for the Sunbeam Microplush Heated Blanket which costs less.
The best comparison review for electric blankets comes from Good Housekeeping, which tested seven blankets for even heating, heat-up time, design appeal and durability. In contrast, while found a list of picks at Bestcovery.com, there's no evidence of testing and several picks are discontinued. Likewise, we found a chart outlining heated-blanket manufacturers at SleepLikeTheDead.com which reference user reviews, but the writer doesn't link to them. In our attempt to identify the best electric blanket, we compared results from Good Housekeeping to user reviews at Sears.com, Viewpoints.com, Amazon.com and a few other sites that let owners review their heated blankets.