Wondering how to stay warm through a long, cold winter night? Then it’s time to find the best electric blanket.
Electric blankets have been keeping us warm since the first ones hit the market in the early 1900s. Back then, those heated blankets were heavy, bulky, and yes, dangerous. But today, we have a much better understanding of how to safely harness electricity. Modern electric blankets look and feel almost like normal blankets, and keep you warm without safety risks.
Stop struggling with leaking hot water bottles and wearing layers of clothing to bed. An electric blanket will change your sleep for the better.
Why You Should Have an Electric Blanket
To some, buying the best electric blanket might sound like a needless luxury. However, they actually come with more benefits than you might expect.
If you live somewhere that gets cold at night, your heat bill may skyrocket during winter. Heating a house through the night is expensive. Electric blankets let you turn the thermostat down at night and still stay warm. Your bills will go down, and you’ll also help the environment by cutting down on energy use.
Electric blankets also help you sleep more comfortably. Studies show that the temperature around you can significantly affect your sleep. In fact, it’s one of the most important factors for getting a good night’s rest. When you expose yourself to temperature extremes during sleep, you don’t sleep as deeply, reducing the REM and slow-wave sleep your body needs.
Combatting temperature extremes by piling on blankets or clothes can be uncomfortable. But an electric blanket solves the problem by giving uniform warmth without extra layers.
How Electric Blankets Work
Modern technology has made electric blankets better than ever.
Today’s electric blankets are sturdy, heavy throws that have integrated internal wiring systems, giving heat throughout the blanket with coil wires. Most electric blankets need to be plugged in to work. They typically have different heat settings so you can choose the one that will keep you most comfortable. Large electric blankets made for queen or king-sized beds sometimes have separate temperature settings for each side. A remote attached to the blanket controls the settings.
Blends of acrylic and polyester are the most popular electric blanket materials. These materials keep fire hazards low, while having a tight enough weave to keep heat in.
When you plug in your electric blanket, the series of connected coil wires inside starts to heat up. A heat-resistant plastic coating protects the wires so they can’t burn the blanket or your skin. Most electric blankets use just 120 volts of electricity or less to produce steady heat.
Can You Use an Electric Blanket While You Sleep?
The best electric blankets are suitable for overnight use — but always check the manufacturer’s guidelines to be sure. The wires will stay at the desired temperature while you sleep. However, you should avoid using an electric blanket if you sleep with your pets. Their teeth and claws can damage the wires, making them unsafe.
At the end of your electric blanket, you’ll find a connector that transfers the electricity from the outlet to the coil wires in the blanket. You’ll want to keep this connector on the foot of the bed so you don’t accidentally disconnect it while you sleep.
The best electric blanket types also have built-in temperature gauges or thermostats that check your body heat against the heat of the blanket, adjusting the temperature so you’ll stay comfortable all night. These blanket models have built-in shut-off mechanisms to reduce the chances of overheating or fire. If the blanket overheats or reaches a certain temperature, it will turn off automatically.
You can also pre-set some blankets to turn on and off automatically. High-end models often use carbon fiber wires instead of coil wires, since they distribute heat more evenly.
Can You Use an Electric Blanket While You Sleep?
You might have heard scary stories of electric blankets catching beds on fire, or worse. In the early days of electric blankets, this was a real danger. However, today’s technology has made electric blankets very safe.
As long as you use your electric blanket properly, you have nothing to worry about. Make sure you always buy these blankets new, since secondhand ones might have hidden risks that you don’t know about.
Check the manufacturer’s instructions and follow them carefully before you start using the blanket. Replace yours at least every 10 years, or whenever it starts to wear out. Signs of dangerous wear and tear include:
Check that your blanket comes with overheating protection and safety certifications. If you buy from trusted manufacturers and follow these guidelines, there's nothing to worry about.
Caring for an Electric Blanket
You can’t treat an electric blanket like the rest of your bedding. There are a few special care instructions that you’ll need to follow.
When storing your electric blanket, make sure to roll it up rather than folding it. Of course, you can also leave it on your bed while you’re not using it. But when the warm season arrives and you want to store it, rolling it helps keep the wires from getting damaged. If you leave it on your bed, make sure to keep it flat, without folds or creases. Some blankets even have corner straps to keep them in place through the night. Inspect the blanket for damage regularly, looking for the kinds of wear and tear listed above.
How to Wash an Electric Blanket
Washing your electric blanket can be a bit tedious, but it’s not very hard. Although most are machine washable, you’ll get more use out of yours if you follow these instructions.
Start by unplugging it and disconnecting the connector cord. This prevents damage, so double check and disconnect all cords before putting it in water.
Fill your bathtub with lukewarm water — you’ll need more or less depending on the blanket’s size. Use mild laundry detergent, and swish your hands through the water until suds start to appear. Then, add the blanket and leave it there for 15 minutes.
Next, squeeze the blanket in the water for a minute or two, then remove it from the soapy water and give it a rinse. Don’t wring it, just gently squeeze it to let the water out.
It’s also possible to machine-wash electric blankets if you follow the right steps. It’s still a good idea to give the blanket a soak with mild detergent before putting it in the washing machine. Then, wash it on a delicate cycle for just a couple of minutes. Use cold water to rinse it.
You can dry electric blankets in your dryer, as long as you use the lowest setting. However, avoid drying them for more than 10 minutes. After that, take your blanket out and let it hang to dry the rest of the way. Don’t use clothespins when you hang it, since they can damage the wires.
The Best Electric Blanket of 2018
Ready to buy the best electric blanket to keep you warm in the winter? We’ve put together a list of the top choices for this year.
How We Reviewed
The blankets on this list all have the necessary safety ratings, and high ratings from customers, as well. They use top-of-the-line materials so they’ll work well and last a long time. And they're designed with the latest technology to be effective and easy to use. We've organized the best options for you, breaking down the best options by category, in a way that will hopefully make it easy to find exactly what you are looking for.
Best Plush Electric Throw Blanket
The Sunbeam Microplush Heated Blanket wins our pick for the best plush option.
For many people, there’s nothing cozier than a plush, fluffy blanket. This one comes in five different colors, and sizes ranging from twin to king. The queen and king blankets have controls for each side of the bed.
The pre-heat settings let you warm up the bed before you get in it, and you can choose between 10 heat levels. After 10 hours, this blanket automatically shuts off for safety.
However, some people find that the controller gets too hot, and that the slide switch is easy to turn on or off accidentally.
Best Electric Throw Blanket
Sometimes, you just want a heated throw for your couch or your favorite reading chair. The Sunbeam Reversible Sherpa/Mink Heated Throw is a luxurious, cuddly option.
Heated throws give you all the comfort of a full-size blanket in just the right size. The faux-sherpa lining of this throw makes it fluffy and ultra-soft. You can change between three heat settings, and the three-hour shut-off function gives you the perfect amount of time for a movie session. Its six-foot cord makes it easy to move around as needed, and the blanket is also suitable for machine washing.
Some reviewers have noted that the faux sherpa quickly pills and becomes less soft after machine washing, though, so you may find that it’s best to handwash this throw after all.
The Best Electric Blanket On A Budget
On the other hand, you might be looking for a budget option instead. Fortunately, you can still get a high-quality blanket without spending a fortune: Try the Sunbeam Microplush Heated Throw. It is a “throw,” not a blanket. However, you’ll find that it’s still big enough for many beds.
Even though this costs more than an ordinary blanket, it will still help you save on your home heating costs. It has three settings plus a three-hour automatic shut-off feature. It also senses your body heat and makes adjustments to keep the temperature consistent.
The polyester microplush fabric holds up well to washing machines and dryers, and consumers have noted that this blanket heats up fast. However, the controls and connector are on the middle edge of the blanket, so it can be awkward to plug in.
The Best King Size Electric Blanket
If you’re shopping for a king-sized electric blanket, you may have a hard time finding one (or at least, one that’s affordable). Give the Biddeford MicroPlush Sherpa Electric Heated Blanket a try.
You can also get this blanket in twin, full, and queen sizes, so it’ll fit any size bed. Many reviewers love the customizable controls, as the two controllers can have different heat settings. This blanket also comes in nine color choices.
Like many of our other top picks, it has 10 heat settings and a 10-hour auto shut-off. Not only is it machine washable, but it also has a five-year warranty.
Best Electric Blanket That's Environmentally Friendly
If you’re looking for a blanket that will save the environment (even more than an ordinary electric blanket), you’ll want the Soft Heat Micro-Fleece Low-Voltage Electric Blanket.
The soft micro-fleece fabric holds up well to washing and drying, with no pilling or stretching. It comes in five colors, multiple sizes, and also has a five-year warranty and auto shut-off. But most importantly, it saves energy by running on under 25 volts. This makes the high price tag well worth it.
Some reviewers have criticized this blanket for being slow to heat up, and have said that the connector tends to wear out quickly. However, this is a small price to pay for the incredibly low voltage.
Best Electric Blanket With Hidden Wiring
It’s normal to feel the wires through an electric blanket — but it doesn’t have to that way. The best electric blanket with minimal wiring is the Serta Luxe Plush Low-Voltage Electric Heated Micro-Fleece Blanket.
The major pro is the concealed wire, and the fact that this blanket also uses low voltage. The wires in this blanket are super-thin, so you can hardly feel them at all. It also has a 10-hour auto shut-off feature, a pre-warming feature, and even a backlit display so you can easily change the settings in the dark.
One major drawback of the thin wires and low voltage is that this blanket doesn’t get as warm as other models, though. If you’re looking for something with serious heating power, you’ll want to try one of the other blankets on this list.
Best Electric Blanket Overall
Our top overall pick is the Sunbeam Quilted Fleece Heated Blanket.
The luxurious quilted fabric is machine washable and safe for the dryer. The 10 heat settings and 10-hour auto shut-off are ideal for overnight use. Best of all is the built-in sensor that adjusts to keep consistent warmth while the blanket is on.
This blanket also has dual controls for two people to use. The cons are that it’s not as soft as some blankets made with other materials, and that you can feel the wires through the fabric. However, this is often the case for electric blankets, and many people find that they don't mind the wires.
Each of these electric blankets is great for specific needs, such as a larger size or low voltage. But if you’re looking for the best electric blanket for all-around use, the Sunbeam Quilted Fleece Heated Blanket is our top pick. It’s not too expensive, but uses the best technology for customizable comfort.
Lots of people think electric blankets aren’t for them until they try one for themselves. Will this be your first electric blanket, or are they a staple in your home already? Leave a comment and let us know!