Electric throw blankets are similar to standard electric blankets, but smaller -- sized just right for curling up on the couch, perching at a desk or reclining in an armchair, users say. Measuring 60 inches by 50 inches, the Sunbeam Microplush Heated Throw (Est. $40 and up) is available in a variety of solids and prints to blend easily with most décors. Unlike full-sized electric blankets and heated mattress pads, which have 10 heat settings, this heated throw only has three, though reviews say that's plenty. For safety and efficiency, the heated throw automatically turns off after three hours (in case you fall asleep on the couch), but will start up again with just a touch of the controls.
The most frequent user gripe we saw regarding the Sunbeam Microplush Heated Throw regards the placement of the power cord. Rather than sprouting from a convenient corner of the blanket, the cord attaches to the blanket at the middle of the foot hem. This proves inconvenient, some say; even though a few feet of cord are between the connection with the blanket and the controls, you still may have to set the controls near your feet or on the floor rather than have them near at hand.
User feedback on this Sunbeam heated throw is good (no experts have weighed in on any heated throw blankets, unfortunately), and it earns a 4.3 score following more than 1,250 reviews at Amazon.com. However, we also see some of the same trouble spots that plague other heated bedding. For example, there are some reports of controls that have malfunctioned to the point of requiring repair or replacement. Like most heated bedding, the Sunbeam Microplush Heated Throw comes with a five-year limited warranty, though many users don't bother to exercise it -- opting instead to replace their heated throw blanket when trouble arises.
Sunbeam makes other electric throw blankets that differ mainly in the outer materials. Options include fleece and even faux mink/Sherpa in various solids and patterns.
We saw better feedback for Sunbeam heated throw blankets than those from other makers, but there are some alternate choices. Biddeford Mills offers electric throw blankets in a variety of colors and styles, including solids and prints in microplush, fleece and faux mink/Sherpa materials. Some use modern, digital controls with 10 heating steps, others more basic analog controls that use a dial to change settings. We didn't spot a clear pattern that indicated more or less satisfaction with one type over another, though we did see some user comments saying that the dial on the latter is easily jostled if you move about. Satisfaction varies widely based on style, but those Biddeford Mills throws with lots of feedback seem to score a few points lower than competing products. For example, the Biddeford Blankets Heated Throw (Est. $35 and up) in various solids and prints garners a 3.8 score following over 260 reviews.
Throws from Perfect Fit Industries rate a bit better with users. The company brings its low-voltage technology to heated throws in the form of the Soft Heat Ultra Micro-Plush Low-Voltage Electric Heated Triple Rib Throw (Est. $75 and up). It's available in five solid colors (no prints or patterns) and the controller has the same 10 temperature settings as the company's full-sized heated blankets.
User satisfaction is good, but it is also more limited than for Sunbeam's heated throws, and some complaints are noted. As is typical, durability leads the list. Also, some are disappointed at the amount of heat generated (and Soft Heat's safer low-voltage technology does produce around 20 percent less heat than competing heated bedding products). As was the case with the Soft Heat Warming Mattress Pad (Est. $70 and up), a handful of users make note of a whine from the AC to DC converter.