Electric blankets are safe, soft and
good night's sleep on a cold winter's night can be a challenge, but heated
bedding can be a big help. Electric blankets, electric throws and heated mattress
pads offer a lot of appeal for people who would love to crawl between preheated
sheets on a chilly night. Those suffering from cold feet in the middle of the
night might find them a godsend. Additionally, some claim that an extra warm
bed helps alleviate body aches.
electric throw blankets and electric mattress pads make a warm bed a reality
with just a flick of a switch. Many have preheating functions, which allow you
to set a desired temperature while getting ready for bed. Heat controls
typically feature up to 10 temperature settings so you can get the level of
comfort that's right for you. Additionally, many queen-sized and larger models may
have two controls, one for each side of the blanket. That means one sleeper can
stay as cozy and warm as they prefer without giving the other a case of the
night sweats or a cold shoulder.
blankets haven't always enjoyed the best reputation. Older models tended to be
thick and scratchy, and sometimes posed a fire hazard with extended use. Modern
heated blankets are much improved. They warm you with thin, supple wires
sandwiched between layers of ultra-soft fleece, plush, or knitted material.
from the past, safety ratings are now paramount, and electric blankets and
mattress pads come with automatic shut-off timers and amply rated power
adapters to keep the bedding -- and you -- from overheating. Some, like the (Est. $65 and up), use low-voltage electricity, which
experts consider safest of all -- and are an especially good choice for those
with pets. Additionally, most modern electric bedding can be machine-washed and
even machine-dried, as long as the manufacturer's recommendations are observed.
Types of Electric Blankets
These traditional blankets offer convenience and versatility. They can easily be put on or pulled off a bed, even in the middle of the night if you get too warm and the blanket has yet to cool down. However, since they lay above you on the bed, they lose a little bit of efficiency as heat that's radiated upwards is lost.
Electric Mattress Pads
These heated pads, which sit between you and your mattress, are a popular alternative to an electric blanket. That makes spur-of-the-moment use more difficult (unless you want to strip down the bed to pull it on or off), but improves energy efficiency -- you, not the ceiling, are the beneficiary of heat that's radiated upwards. The Electric Blanket Institute also holds that heated mattress pads are "inherently safer." Electric blankets can get bunched up, allowing heat to buildup -- and that was a major source of electric blanket fires with older models that lack modern safeguards. Since a heated pad is held tight to the mattress, there's much less chance of that happening.
Heated Throw Blankets
Similar to standard electric blankets, but in a smaller size that's ideal for wrapping around yourself, say while curled up on your couch on a chilly night. However, heated throw blankets won't generate as much heat as a full-sized electric blanket.
There are a
multitude of electric bedding brands offered in the U.S., but, according to the
Electric Blanket Institute reveals that the vast majority of products are currently
made by one of three manufacturers -- Biddeford Mills, Sunbeam or Perfect Fit
Industries. The Institute adds that, while materials and controllers will vary,
all heated bedding made by that manufacturer, regardless of branding, will perform
addition, ComfortHouse.com owner Jeffrey Gornstein notes that a new brand,
Micro Flannel (sold by some retailers under the Thermee brand), made by Shavel
Home Products, has entered the scene this year. Gornstein expects this model of
electric blanket to be popular thanks to its design, warmth, and a timer with a
wider range of shut off times than what's often found on the controllers that
come with other blankets. User feedback, while largely positive, is too limited
at this time for the brand to crack our list of Best Reviewed products, but
it's something to keep an eye on, and perhaps consider.
Finding The Best Electric Blankets
"Heated Electric Blanket Reviews"
"Electric Blanket Reviews"
Electric blankets, heated throws, and heated mattress pads receive
little attention from professional reviewers, Good Housekeeping being a notable
exception. Its testing is several years old now, but most of the electric
blankets and heated mattress pads rated there are either still sold, or are
offered in nearly identical models. The Electric Blanket Institute does not
rate electric blankets or mattress pads, but offers helpful buying guidance and
discusses the differences between models offered by the major manufacturers.
Owners fill in the rest of the picture. While not every electric
blanket, electric throw or electric heating pad gets tons of feedback, some
draw hundreds and sometimes thousands of reviews across sites such as
Amazon.com, Walmart.com, ComfortHouse.com and elsewhere. When analyzing reviews
to find the best choices, we look for feedback regarding performance, ease of
use, comfort and the overall ownership experience. Not every electric blanket,
electric heated throw blanket, or heated mattress pad excels on every point, but
the very best ones will outperform the competitors in most regards.
The best electric blankets let you
enjoy a warm and worry-free night
electric blanket warms your bed, holds in the heat, feels soft to the touch,
washes well and fits in with your bedroom décor. There are many good heated
blankets on the market today, but we find the best to be the
(Est. $65 and up). One of the most-reviewed heated blankets on
Amazon.com, this cozy microfleece has garnered feedback from nearly 2,400 owners
there. At ComfortHouse.com, site owner Jeffrey Gornstein notes that the Soft
Heat blanket receives the highest ratings and the most reviews of any blanket they
Perfect Fit Industries, the Soft Heat electric blanket converts the AC used by
most electric blankets to safer low-voltage DC. Perfect Fit is the only maker
of low-voltage electric blankets in the U.S., and its products are the only
electric blankets sold here that meet Underwriters Laboratories standards for
"non-hazardous low voltage," the Electric Blanket Institute reports. However,
all the heated bedding in this report meets the latest Underwriters
Laboratories standards for electric bedding safety and should be perfectly safe
to use as long as manufacturer instructions are followed.
Heat Luxury Micro-fleece does take a bit more time to warm up than other
electric blankets, but users say the added safety and "soft warmth"
from the blanket are worth it. Additionally, it chews through less electricity
over the course of a night's use than most other models. Speaking of chewing,
if a cat or dog often shares your bed, the low-voltage of the Soft Heat
electric blanket will minimize the shock hazard in the event of claw or chewing
damage -- though your pet could still damage the blanket itself. That's why
experts recommend heated mattress pads as the best choice for pet
light weight of the Soft Heat blanket, its polyester fabric manages to keep in
the heat all night -- or at least until the 10-hour auto shut-off kicks in. Note
that auto shut-off is a standard safety feature that is included in all of our
recommended electric blankets.
The (Est. $65 and up) is another strong choice for those looking for
the perfect blanket to warm their beds this winter. This is a standard,
AC-powered, non-low-voltage electric blanket, though with modern safety
features and, as noted above, it meets the latest Underwriters Laboratories electric
technology aside, this Sunbeam electric blanket has very similar specifications
to the Soft Heat Luxury Micro-fleece: It comes in the same sizes, has the same
number of heat settings (10), the same 10 hour shut-off time and the same
warranty duration (five years). However, the Sunbeam Velvet Plush heats faster
and, according to some users, feels warmer than the Soft Heat Micro-fleece. Some
versions of the blanket sold at different retailers may have controllers with
different features -- for example, while most versions have a standard auto-off
feature that will turn off the blanket after 10 hours, the version sold at
ComfortHouse.com lets the user change when the blanket will turn off -- but
core performance will be the same. Both the Soft Heat and Sunbeam blankets win
praise from users for their soft fabric.
on a tighter budget, (Est. $30 and up) looks like a
good alternative. Primarily available at Walmart.com, this blanket garners good
reviews there -- 4.3 stars following more than 1,675 reviews. You can also find
it elsewhere on occasion; for example through Marketplace sellers at
Amazon.com, where it earns a 4.1-star score based on more than 145 reviews.
Sunbeam electric blanket looks to be fairly feature-rich for a budget model. It
has a preheating function, a six foot cord, and dual controllers for queen and
larger sizes, The one corner that does look to be cut compared to other Sunbeam
electric blankets is that there are only five heating levels, but that doesn't
surface as a concern in user reviews. Durability also looks good -- though like
nearly all electric blankets we looked at, complaints about blankets that
arrived dead or missing a control, or that failed prematurely are not unheard
of. More common are complaints that the quilted fleece blanket was thinner than
the owner would have liked or that the material was not soft enough. Still the
majority of users seem pleased.
who prefer the secure feeling of a thick blanket, the (Est. $45 and up)
could be an option. We've seen comments that even with the electricity off --
or out altogether -- it's warm enough to keep you cozy anyway. As with
virtually every electric blanket, reliability is a concern, but its 3.9 star
rating (based on more than 2,000 reviews at Amazon.com) is near the norm for