How often will you use your electric blanket? If you live in a cold climate or often are cold in the evenings, you may want to outfit your bed with a reliable heated mattress pad. On the other hand, if you will only use the product a few weeks or months per year, a blanket may be more practical.
Measure your bed and electrical outlet. Electric blankets and mattress pads are sold in normal bed sizes, such as twin, full, queen and king, but it's best to be sure. Most electric blankets have power cords that attach at the foot of the bed, with controls that stretch up to the head of the bed. If the cords aren't long enough to reach a power outlet, you may need to rearrange your furniture. Most manufactures recommend that, for safety, extension cords not be used.
Do you have pets that sleep in bed with you? Heated bedding can pose a hazard to pets -- and their owners -- if a claw or tooth exposes one of the heating elements. If you do sleep with a pet, experts suggest a low-voltage bedding option to minimize the risk of electric shock. In addition, a heated mattress pad might be a better choice as it is less likely to become a chew toy than a blanket that sits atop the bed.
Heated bedding won't last a lifetime. Judging from user reviews, all types and brands of heated bedding suffer from so-so durability -- with the controls and heated wiring both being trouble spots. While it's never a bad idea to buy a model with a good warranty and then keep all packaging, receipts and other documentation of your purchase, user feedback indicates that warranty limitations and the hassle of returning the bedding to the maker lead most to just toss a blanket or mattress pad that has failed and buy a new one. If durability is a top concern, electric mattress pads seem to enjoy a somewhat better track record according to experts and in user reviews, but typical life spans run two years or so, rather than the five years that makers often claim.
What's in a name? Most heated bedding sold in the U.S. is made by one of three companies. Perfect Fit industries makes bedding under its own name as well as the Soft Heat, Select Comfort and Chattam & Wells brands. Sunbeam also manufactures the Slumber Rest, Therapedic and Imperial lines. Biddeford Mills makes Cannon, Sealy and Delightful Nights electric bedding. A fourth maker, Shavel Home Products, is new on the scene with an electric blanket that's sold under the Thermee and Micro Flannel brands. While color choices, and materials and features (including the style of controller) may vary between brands and models, all heated bedding made by the same manufacturer will use the same core technology and should perform similarly -- with one exception; while Perfect Fit is best known for its low voltage heated bedding, it produces traditional electric blankets as well.