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Best Electric Blanket

By: Carl Laron on October 17, 2017

The best electric blankets let you enjoy a warm and worry-free night

The best 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 Soft Heat Luxury Micro-fleece Blanket (Est. $65 and up), though that recommendation does come with a caveat -- see below.

Made by 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.

The Soft 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. YourBestDigs.com notes that the blanket's preheat function can be effectively used to overcome that shortcoming, which "put it on par with the other blankets we tested." 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 owners.

Despite the 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.

One of the most-reviewed heated blankets on Amazon.com, this cozy microfleece has garnered feedback from nearly 2,800 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 carry. YourBestDigs.com also names it the best electric blanket overall based on its relative safety and warming abilities.

However, based on a review by TheSweethome.com, along with our own research, we will raise one caution flag. While this heated blanket did well in testing by TheSweethome.com, reviewer Courtney Schley is concerned about a small number of Amazon.com reviews (less than 1 percent covering the maker's blankets and mattress pads) that claimed that the connector ports where the controllers attach overheated, sometimes to the point of scorching and discoloring. Schley speaks to Perfect Fit CEO John Roth, who notes that the problems reported were "likely caused by a poor connection due to broken or pulled wiring, or a pinched or folded connector." Roth says that the increased resistance that would cause might lead to overheating and scorching, "but would never cause a fire."

While we are concerned about this as well, we note that similar damage to any brand of electric blanket can lead to similar issues -- or even worse ones. Of note, while the number of user reviews is lower, we did not see similar complaints at user review sites other than Amazon.com. In addition, we checked in with the Consumer Products Safety Commission's SaferProducts.gov site, where consumers can lodge complaints about products. While there are about a dozen incidents that name Perfect Fit products, that's in line with most other major makers of heated bedding, and notably better than some.

The bottom line? We are maintaining the low-voltage Soft Heat blanket in the top spot based on the balance of positive expert and user feedback. However, the reported issues do put a pretty big exclamation point on the importance of keeping your electric blanket in tip-top physical condition, and in following all usage and care instructions. See the Buying Guide for more information

That said, if the reported issues surrounding the Soft Heat electric blanket give you pause, the Sunbeam Velvet Plush Heated Blanket (Est. $70 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 bedding standards.

Heating 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.

Another feature it shares in common with the Soft Heat blanket is a pre-heat function that lets users get their beds warm and toasty prior to hitting the sack. Comfort House calls that "our absolute most favorite feature," and it's called out by TheSweethome.com's Schley in explaining why, in part, it's that site's top-rated electric blanket (though Schley thinks that heated mattress pads are a better choice overall for most users). She adds that a relative lack of safety-related complaints regarding Sunbeam heated bedding products in Amazon.com reviews is what ultimately gives it the edge. However, even that brand is not immune to the odd negative comment or two on that score, including some we found in our own research.

For those on a tighter budget, Sunbeam Electric Heated Fleece Blanket (Est. $55 and up) looks like a good alternative. We found the greatest accumulation of user reviews at Walmart.com, where this blanket garners a strong score (for an electric blanket) of 4.2 stars following more than 1,740 reviews. Feedback is a little lower at Amazon.com, and based on fewer reviews (though still nearly 250 of them), but the 4 star score there is still good for the price and the category.

This 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.

For sleepers who prefer the secure feeling of a thick blanket, the Sunbeam Quilted Fleece Heated Blanket (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 3.8 star rating (based on more than 3,300 reviews at Amazon.com) is pretty typical for this category.

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