When winter nights get cold, there’s nothing quite like snuggling down under a Sunbeam electric blanket. Sometimes, it’s just not practical to crank up the furnace to stay warm. Heating up the whole house only to keep a few bedrooms or a few sleepers warm can be expensive. And it’s not very helpful for the environment either.
Besides, if you have a forced air furnace, you know how they create so much dry air in your home. You may wake up with a headache or sore sinuses and throat because your central heating system is working hard to beat the chill. A Sunbeam electric blanket will keep you toasty on the couch or in bed in freezing weather without turning up the furnace or drying out your skin.
So, let’s take a closer look at this long-trusted brand and what they offer. We’ll look at their range of products, their features, and consumer reviews. We’ll also see how other brands compare to Sunbeam’s broad selection of textiles and control systems.
The Sunbeam Company
Established in 1910 and manufacturing home goods under the Sunbeam name since 1946, the company has a hard-earned reputation for delivering quality goods at an affordable price. Their niche market focuses on all those little things that make life just that much easier. They acquired Oster in 1960 and since then have built their name for mixers, irons, toasters, and other small kitchen appliances.
Although the company has had its share of struggles over the last 100 years, Americans continue to depend on Sunbeam-Oster for these handy gadgets, which accounts for its survival today. Sunbeam electric blankets are one of the most recognizable brands and currently dominate the market. You’ll see why below.
Sunbeam Electric Blanket Textile Finishes
Sunbeam manufacturers its electric blankets with five different types of textiles: fleece, LofTec™, microplush, and RoyalMink™. The result is that they appeal to a wide range of buyers with different preferences.
These soft, 100% polyester blankets are 2mm thick plush and feature 160 GSM. GSM translates to “grams per square meter.” This number indicates how many fibers are in each meter and shows how dense and thick the fabric is. Sunbeam’s fleece blankets come in mushroom, Newport Blue, ivy green, seashell, and acorn
Sunbeam’s line of microplush blankets features 4mm’s of thickness, 180 GSM, and an ultra-soft feel. Made of 100% polyester, you can machine wash and dry them. Sunbeam’s line of microplush blankets come in mushroom, walnut, ivy green, Newport blue, garnet, sand, and heritage blue colors.
The LofTec™ line features a soft plush texture that’s premium soft and the thickest Sunbeam electric blanket on offer at 8mm thick. With a GSM of 200, these 100% polyester blankets are washable and dryable. LofTec™ blankets come in garnet, walnut, and mushroom.
At 4mm, these premium soft blankets from sunbeam offer 200 GSM in a lighter weight. Like the others models, Sunbeam manufactured them from polyester, and they're washer and dryer safe. The velvet plush blankets come in slate and garnet,
The Lightweight RoyalMink™ line offers a 200 GSM at a lighter-weight 2mm thickness. This 100% polyester blanket is washer and dryer safe. You’ll find the RoyalMink™ blankets in breeze blue, or the Sherpa / RoyalMink™ reversible throws with one side textured white and the other either olive, honey, or garnet.
Sunbeam Electric Blanket Controller Types
Sunbeam offers two types of controllers to determine the heat settings for their blankets. Their dial controller provides simple adjustments for both sides of the blanket on queen and king sizes. Their digital controllers offer more functions with LCD or LED indicators, preheat settings, and auto shut-off.
In this review, we’re going to focus on the most popular Sunbeam electric blanket model in queen size. Their channeled microplush electric blanket is a favorite with customers. Ultra-soft and only 4mm thick, it provides a nice balance between softness, weight, and price.
The microplush fabric is 180 GSM, which means it isn’t very dense or heavy. So for those who sleep better with a weightier blanket, it may seem insubstantial. And although the blanket heats up quickly and maintains heat, the thinness means the impression of the heating element wires are plainly visible in the blanket.
This model does have some nice features, however, including ThermoFine® technology, which automatically adjusts the heat level to keep the blanket from overheating in spots due to folds and wrinkle in the fabric.
The dial controllers (two for the queen size) allow each sleeper to access 10 heat settings. It features auto shutoff after 10 hours and a preheat cycle for warming up the bed. Sunbeam also offers a five-year warranty on this product.
Availability and pricing
You can find the channeled microplush Sunbeam electric blanket from a wide variety of retailers, including Target, JCPenney, Sears, Amazon, WalMart, and Bed, Bath and Beyond. The manufacturer’s recommended sales prices range from $59.99 to $109.99, depending on the size. These sizes match industry standards and include twin, full, queen, and king.
Comparing the Sunbeam Electric Blanket
Several manufacturers make electric blankets, and some of the better-known brands include Serta, Beautyrest, and Biddeford. We’ll do a quick comparison of their features and specifications, as well as feedback from their customers.
Like Sunbeam, Serta is a long-established and trusted brand name, mainly known for their line of mattresses. Their electric blanket line is also widely available at the same retailers as those listed for Sunbeam above.
Serta’s sable plush electric blanket offers many of the same features as the Sunbeam brand. Like the model above, it comes with one controller for each side on queen and king size models. It also has a pre-heat setting and 10 temperature settings, with an automatic shutoff after 10 hours. Serta offers a five-year warranty on their machine washable electric blanket.
At this time, the Serta models only come in ivory and gray, however. And Serta prices their electric blankets significantly higher than the Sunbeam electric blanket. MSRP on the queen-size Serta silky plush heated blanket is $82.82.
While customers laud the blanket’s softness, the thinness of the fabric seems to be an issue. The controllers don't have lights, so difficulty making adjustments in the middle of the night seems to be a common problem. Other complaints include that although it is machine washable, it requires air drying.
Like Serta, Beautyrest is a brand known for its mattresses. However, they manufacture and distribute electric blankets to a wide range of brick and mortar and online retailers, including the sellers listed above. You can also find them at Macy’s, Kohls, and Wayfair.
Their Microlight/Berber heated blanket in queen and king size feature two controllers, 20 heat settings, and a 10-hour shutoff. It's washer safe but may require air-drying. You can pick from six vivid colors to match your decor, including gray, chocolate, vanilla, garnet, sapphire, and indigo.
The manufacturer hasn’t included their blanket line on their somewhat recalcitrant company website, but a quick survey of retailers finds the price for their plush heated blanket landing anywhere between $61.16 for queen size to $420 for king size. Naturally, brick and mortar retailers will mark products up higher than online stores.
Machine washable and 100 percent polyester, the Beautyrest heated blanket gets kudos from buyers for softness and luxurious feel. One reviewer even called it “decadent.” However, a few complaints include the short controller cords that were hard to set up in easy reach.
Biddeford Blankets boasts the latest technology in their line of headed blankets for safety and consistency of heat. Their plush heated blankets come in twin, full, queen, and king size. You can also purchase them in several colors, including brick red, denim blue, sage green, chocolate brown, taupe, and gray. Made of 100 percent polyester, it's both washer and dryer safe.
Biddeford offers their queen size plush heated blanket for an MSRP of $97, which is very competitive. Unfortunately, Biddeford doesn’t show their heated blankets in stock, and retailer prices seem to be much higher than those on Biddeford's website.
The digital controller offers 10 heat settings, a large, easy-to-see LED display, and a 10-hour automatic cutoff. The price is excellent, but the controller is actually pretty gaudy and conspicuous looking.
But, on the plus side, it's easy to find in the middle of the night. Customer complaints focused on its lack of durability, saying that the controls disconnected from the blanket easily or stopped working after a few months. That said, Biddeford offers a five-year warranty but requires a return authorization, which can prove inconvenient.
Sunbeam Electric Blanket Pros and Cons
Now that you know more about Sunbeam's competition on both the high and low ends of the price range, let's take a look at how their channeled microplush heated blanket stacks up with a quick run rundown of the pros and cons.
Electric Blanket Safety Tips
Whichever brand of electric blanket you purchase, make sure you follow the important safety guidelines included with your instructions. This helps to prevent fires as well as avoiding exacerbating any health problems. Some people should not use an electric heating blanket, so keep the following in mind:
Who should not use an electric blanket?
Because of the potential for broken wires or overheating, babies and small children should not use an electric blanket unattended. Also, do not use on adults whose physical or mental health prevents them from feeling heat or removing the blanket if necessary. Likewise, if they cannot understand or use the controls, they should not use a heated blanket unsupervised.
Pregnant women may want to use an electric blanket to pre-heat a winter bed. However, because of the potential danger of overheating the unborn baby, turning the blanket off before getting into bed seems wisest.
People with diabetes are often less sensitive to heat, particularly in the legs and arms. This could result in burns should any wiring fault occur. As in pregnancy, using your Sunbeam electric blanket to pre-warm the bed before retiring is the safest course.
Stay Warm and Save Money This Winter
Electric blankets are absolute bliss in the cold of deep winter, and most buyers can attest that they’re worth the investment. They can also save you cash by reducing the cost of heating your home. An electric blanket is better than a space heater too, according to the Department of Energy.
Last, but certainly not least, by turning down your thermostat and using an electric blanket, you’ll avoid drying out the air, which is rough on both the residents and the furnishings in your home.
We hope this overview has given you the information you need to decide whether or not a Sunbeam electric blanket will be a good fit for you. The brand has a good reputation for quite serviceable products. They may not be as plush as the Beautyrest brand, for example, but you’ll also find they cost half to a third of the price, depending on where you shop.
Likewise, they may be more expensive than the Biddeford models, but they also enjoy a better reputation for a longer lifespan. The Sunbeam electric blanket offers value and a range of textiles finishes and colors for any bedroom.