Best Electric Blanket Reviews – July 2017
This one was a dozy
First of all, we’d like to apologize to the people who “convinced us” to get into testing and reviewing electric blankets – we apologize because it took us 14 months to complete this guide.
Who reviewed and tested the electric blankets
When we rolled up our proverbial sleeves to come up with this guide the first order of business was maintaining our standards of tests and reviews.
Quick video intro from Andy –
Initial choices made by Material Technology Engineers
Our team of Material Technology Engineers tested, reviewed and put together the initial group of 15 electric blankets – candidates for the “title” of best electric blanket.
The next step was to find the people to actually use these over the last winter. For that, we had the help of 28 “regular people”, most of them active bloggers.
The only instructions we provided were what to keep evidence of, we made no other suggestions.
We instructed our testers to make notes about:
- How even each blanket distributes heat
- can they feel the wiring (a big red light of poorly made blanket)
- How long it takes for the blankets to reach certain temperatures (60 and 70 F to be precise)
- How easy (or not ) they are to maintain and clean
- Changes over time (shrinkage and pilling) – especialy after washing
Putting the right team of testers together
We didn’t feel the methodology we use for other products we review (like mattresses) is going to work for this one. We have only one Materials Technology Engineer in-house (our Editor-in-chief, Bob).
So, we needed outside help – we found it in 2 of Bob’s colleagues (Vasco Tobia from the Materials Science University of Turin, Italy and Marguerite Turner, a classmate of Bob’s from Penn State).
We’d like to use the opportunity to thanks them – this guide would not have seeen the light of day without their help.
So, without any more ado, we’re presenting what we found to be the TOP 3 best heated electric blankets.
Best heated electric blankets
& heated throws – Top 3
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Sunbeam Reversible Sherpa/Mink
Heated Throw review
A dear in the headlights moment at the office
We didn’t get much work done the day the Sunbeam Heated Mink Throw arrived.
It’s easy to get distracted around here, we have mattresses going in and out and then this throw arrives and it was one of those moments when you see something that’s going to be a big part of your life.
It’s luxury embodied
We don’t like to engage in this kind of “teleshoppy” talk since our whole operation is about objectivity – but we’ll just be people for a moment and say that we absolutely love this throw.
Info sheet of the blanket:
- Material- 100 % Royal Mink micro-fleece
- Size: 60 x 50
- Thickness: 0.2 inches
- Weight: 3.5 pounds.
- Color – honey & beige
- Voltage: low usage~18-24V
- 6 feet power cord
- 3 warming settings
- Machine washable
The best heated throw on the market
As we said, it was love at first site between the 2 people we send this out to and the throw. Just a quick look at the picture and you can kind of tell why.
Plush and lofty like no other
The care that went into its construction is evident from the extra soft feeling one gets when wrapped in it.
Its softness is of a premium level thanks to the Royal Mink and Sherpa material in its fabric composition.
Automatic heat adjustment
Unlike other throws that need manual temperature regulation, Sunbeam’s Reversible Sherpa/Mink Throw features what they call a Thermofine warming system.
The Thermofine can read heat levels and adjust them as needed. While the control unit is not one of those magnificent pieces, it has three options you can choose from; low, medium and high.
In case you doze off, which you will, the auto shut off feature turns it off in 3 hours.
Main PROs and CONs of the best heated throw – the Sunbeam Sherpa Mink
- Unsurpassed comfort levels
- High-end materials
- Less pilling than any other blanket we looked at
- The Thermofine warming system can sense temperature changes and adjust accordingly
- Its machine washable and safe to machine-dry
- Energy efficient – less power used
- Reported on-arrival issues
- Cord could be longer
2nd best electric blanket
Soft Heat Luxury Micro-Fleece review
- Size: Queen
- Weight: 8.5 pound
- Voltage: low usage 25 V
- Natural color
- 100% high-grade soft micro-fleece fibre
- Machine washable micro-fleece fabric
- Two-sided blanket with dual control units
- Shuts off automatically after 10 hours of use
- Ultra-thin wires, over-temperature protection
Soft fleese and dual control units
The Luxury Micro Fleeces has been designed from some of the softest plush materials on the market and delivers first class comfort.
Dual control units are well lit up to make them easy to trace in dark pitch nights. Your side’s controls unit will enable you to enjoy as much or as little warmth as you want without interfering with what your partner likes.
It’s not as thick as most electric blankets, which makes it a good fit for people loooking for a lighter, less cumbersome heated blanket.
Regarding the technological design, Soft heat spots a pre-heat feature that warms up the beddings before you snug into it.
Even though this blanket is connected to the sockets of 120V, there is a tiny supply box that converts 120v into 25v-similar to the current that runs light bulbs.
This reliable converter makes it the safest electric blanket on the market.
Generally, it’s not recommended using electric blankets with pets and kids, the Soft Heat is safe enough and we’ve read only positive experiences of people using it with their kids and pets to snug in front of the TV in those long winter afternoons.
Traditional warming blankets heat up unevenly, leaving some spots cold while others warm.
Their wiring system is usually 5 inches apart.
Soft Heat, on the other hand, consists of ultra-thin insulated wires that are 3-inches apart – this makes all the difference in terms of even heat distribution.
Simply put – in terms of comfort, you can hardly tell a high-end blanket from the Soft Heat.
In case it gets too hot, this blanket has an over-heating protection mechanism to avoid accidental burns. To guarantee efficiency, this product is secured with a limited 5 year warranty.
Simply put – in terms of comfort, you can hardly tell a high-end blanket from the Soft Heat.
Main PROs and CONs of the Soft Heat electric blanket
- Its machine washable and dries without shrinking, pilling or stretching.
- The fabric has a soft feel
- Its energy efficient
- The lighted controls are easy to spot and use
- Dual controls allow for individual adjustment
- Automatically shuts off after 10 hours
- Takes about 25 minutes to lose heat
- Doesn’t heat up quickly at the beginning
3rd top-rated electric blanket – Sunbeam Luxurious Velvet Plush King review
- Material: Premium soft Velvet Plush
- Size: King
- Weight: 10.6 pounds.
- Voltage: 18-24V
- Specific features: Heated King Size blanket
- 20 Personalized heat Settings
- Preheat feature
- Adjustable auto-off times
- 10-hour automatic shut-off
- Dual controller – Premium soft Velvet Plush, slightly fuzzy, limited warranty of 5 years.
- The blanket weighs 10.6 pounds.
Energy-efficient and 20 heat settings
If you want a blanket that provides comfort without sacrificing on other elements like energy consumption, this might be the electric blanket for you.
With 20 heat options, what comfort level can’t you achieve? On top of that, this expansive blanket spreads on both sides of the bed with two control units; one for you and the other for your partner. This means each of you can adjust the temperature of your side separately.
This Sunbeam electric blanket comes with a standard pre-heating feature that works as advertised.
After 10 hours of use, this blanket automatically shuts off. The control panel is intuitive and easy to work – it also allows you to set your own shut-off timer.
We did the math and these are te exact numbers – if you use Sunbeam Luxurious Velvet for about 4 months, you’ll have saved about $130 on heating bills.
PROs and CONs of the Sunbeam Luxurious Velvet
- Luxurious made to provide rich comfort
- The numerous heat settings make it possible to get the right temperature
- The auto off feature prevents overheating and lowers energy bills as well
- Backed up by a limited 5 year warranty
- The dual switch helps to keep each member comfortable.
- Its slightly on the high end
- The control unit is not illuminated
Conclusions and updates
Like with any other item we test, the review of the best electric blanket and throws are updates on bi-monthly basis to keep the information relevant.
If you have a question that we haven’t addressed in the guide above, shoot them our way, either in the comments below or through our contact form here.
Stay smart in your choices – The Sleep Studies Team
Reference info and a buyer’s guide
An electric blanket is just like a regular blanket only that this one is fitted with insulated wires to generate heat in blanket and keep the one warm during a cold night. Modern electric blankets consist of rheostats which evenly spreads the generated heat.
There two ways you can use a good and safe heated blanket; you can either heat up the bed for a while before wrapping yourself up or just leave the switch on through the night or an cozy afternoon lounge with your favorite TV show on.
George C. Crowley (1920-2000) was an engineer and inventor who held over 80 patents, including the thermostatically controlled electric blanket.
Ever since their invention, these blankets have proved to be priceless in countries where temperature falls much below 0 degrees in winter and heaters fail to heat house.
After the initial safety concerns were resolved, the electric blanket came out swinging and quickly entered the mainstream of bedding.
Modern electric blankets are made up of nonflammable carbon fiber that safer and durable.
- When looking for the best electric blanket, go for king or queen sized ones as they cover the whole bed and have separate controls on both sides.
- Before buying any heated throw or blanket, make sure it’s tested and certified. Most products come with a standardization label; make sure it’s there. If you’re shopping online read the reviews of the electric blanket you have your eye and look for people mentioning the standardization label.
- Go for blankets with washable fabric.
- The light ones consume less energy – bear that in mind if the energy bill is an issue and you plan to use it every day.
- It’s important to check the energy rating of a blanket to ensure that it doesn’t become a burden on your power bill.
- Look for the auto shut off feature – it’s an important safety plus.
To avoid damaging the wiring, wrap the blanket instead of folding it – even better, if you have the space, wrap it around any cylindrical object on hand – like the carton part of a used paper towels.
Electric blankets consist of insulated resistive wires that conduct heat when switched on. These wires pass throughout the blanket in a serpent-like pattern. For dual pads, the wires pass through both halves, each with its own control panel.
Some modern ones use carbon fiber wires as the heating mechanism.
The wires are neither bulky nor conspicuous; which was a common issue with older models.
Carbon fiber wires can be seen in contemporary expensive cars as heating units in seats and armrests. The best electric blankets come with a rheostat to regulate both body and blankets temperature.
Concerning voltage, most electric blanket run on low voltage; about 12-24 volts.
To avoid overheating, most of the better ones have an auto shutoff mechanism bringing them to a halt. Some are actually set to go off after, say, every 50 minutes of being shut off.
Types and sizes of electric blankets and throws
Classic electric blankets
These are traditional blankets that offer both comfort and convenience. You can easily pull them off the bed even in the middle of the night when it gets too warm. Since you are wrapped under them, some heat is radiated upwards. This could be considered a shortcoming in terms of energy efficiency.
On the other hand, they get you and your bed warmed up quickly.
Electric mattress pads
These pads usually serve as an alternative to heated electric blankets. They normally cover the mattress, heating just you and the mattress; not the surrounding air as a classic heated blanket or throw would.
Electric mattress pads are considered safer than electric blankets because they don’t bunch up- a condition that leads to heat buildup.
The main issue is getting them off in case you get too hot.
Heated throw blankets
Heated throw blanket also known as electric throw blanket is a smaller version of electric blanket designed for use when you want to wrap yourself up on a chilly day. However, they don’t generate as much heat compared to full-blown electric blankets.
That makes them a no-go for extreme conditions but just right for your average American home.
In general, there are four types of safe and warm electric blanket:
- Duvets and throws.
Underblankets lie between you and the mattress, overblankets and duvets go over your body while throws wrap you up while relaxing on the couch or in car seats.
Electric blankets come in single, twin, double, king or queen size.
The bigger ones (king and queen) come with separate control units to allow two people to regulate the temperature level of their side.
Who makes the best electric blankets?
There are many companies out there that make safe and warm electric blanket.
However, the three main ones which dominate the industry are: SoftHeat, Sunbeam, and Bidderford.
Sunbeam electric blankets
Sunbeam has established itself as a company that helps homes enjoy every moment. They offer a wide array of products aimed at making life easier and better. Besides electric blankets, the company is also known for making kitchen appliances, garment care products, weight management gadgets, gardening tools and health products. Most of these goods can be bought online.
Sunbeam offers durable and safe products at prices that many people can afford. While perfection is always hard to find, the Sunbeam products are known for their reliability and safety above anything else.
Sunbeam Contact Information
Sunbeam Products, Inc.
Boca Raton, Florida 33431
Bidderford electric blankets
As they put it, Bidderford’s business is keeping people warm.
They main product lines are household items such as electric blankets (both digital and analog), weave blankets, mattress pads, and throws of every type. You can find both lower-end and luxury Bidderford electric blankets.
Biddeford Contact Information
300-302 Terrace Drive
Mundelein, IL 60060
Heating pads and blankets – that’s what Softheat specializes in.
When we say “heating pads” here, we don’t just mean the kind you use on a mattress, they also make a range of body heating pads, like Mind & Body Neck and Shoulder Wrap.
Softheat Contact Information
Perfect Fit Industries
8501 Tower Point Drive
Charlotte, NC 28227
Electric blanket safety tips
Let’s have a look at some of the most frequently asked questions regarding the safety of electric blankets and electric throw blankets.
Who shouldn’t use warming blankets?
It rarely happends with the high-quality products, but on the lower end of the spectrum things go in the unexpected direction with an electric blanket.
It’s electronic after all; the controls can falter, it could bunch up and overheat, and the wires can come out or break.
It’s best to keep electric blankets away from:
- People insensitive to heat or temperature changes
- People who can’t operate the blanket if anything goes wrong, like the disabled or elderly people with significant loss of brain or body functions
Can pregnant women use them?
There’s no consensus on the issue of using an electric blanket when pregnant so we’ll take the safe road here and wiggle our way out of this one with the old “consult your doctor approach.”
Can they be used with an artificial pacemaker?
Some articles from Mayo Clinic, The American Heart Association and other well-known doctors and health institutions state that electric blankets do not damage pacemakers or hamper their functions.
Through our research, we also didn’t come across any complaints by pacemaker users about these blankets.
Why can’t those with diabetes use eletric blankets?
When you look on electric blankets covers or manuals, you can notice the warnings that those with diabetes should not use them.
Patients with diabetes are insensitive to heat and, at times, they can’t feel their legs or arms and risk being burnt. However, if you use these blankets just to warm up the beddings and then switch them off, it’s safe.
Throw away the old ones if you still keep them around
Old, worn-out electric blankets with exposed wires sticking out belong in the dumpster, no two ways about it.
They are a safety risk.
To summarize the safety tips:
- Before using the blanket for the first time, go through the user manual first and learn how it’s used
- Turn off the power supply when blanket is not in use
- Clean the blanket according to the instructions. Some of them are not meant to come in contact with water.
- Every now and then, check the condition of the wires to ensure they are sealed. Any exposed wire needs to be repaired or replaced.
- If you’re sleeping with your pet, stay safe and don’t use it. This increases chances of the wires being scratched.
- Never put papers or books on the blanket while switched on – it’s a fire hazard
Cleaning and care
Electric throw blankets have come a long way since their humble beginning. While the olden models were problematic to wash, the latest models come in a fabric that is machine washable. Make sure you read the manufacturers instruction on how to clean your blanket.
Questions to ask yourself before choosing a heated blanket/throw:
What’s the best heated blanket for you?
If you’re in the market for a new electric blanket you may want to spend a minute of your time looking at these important points before placing your order.
Which size blanket to go with?
Measure your bed, really. Get a tape measure and physically get the dimensions, all manufacturers have slightly different opinions of what a blankets size actually is (and it may differ from the actual size of your bed).
Your first thought should be what you need the blanket to offer but does the person next to you want the same? Let’s say your cold but your partner isn’t if you put the blanket on that may cause a problem! So look for electric throw blankets that come with dual controls, timers & heat settings these are the most important features a blanket can offer.
This is only a question you can answer but I would suggest you think long term, you may be able to save a few pence by purchasing the blanket really cheap at that discount store but what happens if it goes wrong will they help you sort it out? Spending that little bit more is worth it if you get the follow-up service, you may think you won’t need it but what if you do?
We’d say, “Yes.”
It’s very important. The automatic shutoff will disconnect the heating element when it too hot or after several minutes as programmed. Such blankets may come at a dear price but they are worth it.
Thicker blankets use much power but they don’t overheat easily. The thinner ones are cheaper, use low voltage but have a higher burn risk. So basically, the thicker the blanket, the better the service rendered.
Most of the time, the top heated blankets will feature:
- Control marking – if possible, choose one that allows you to change settings mid-use. Therefore, look for a blanket with an LCD screen or raised marking for easy adjusting in the dark.
- Warm foot zone – if you are the kind of a person whose feet get extremely cold at night, choose an electric throw blanket with a warmer foot section.
- Waterproofing – a waterproof lining will prevent moisture from seeping into the electronic parts.
- Removable control – if you don’t want a blanket that is hand washed, then look for one with removable controls. It will be possible to use the machine washer to clean it.
- Warranty– if you are new to the world of electric throw blankets, you may want to buy something with a longer warranty period. This will help you to return it for servicing if it gets faulty within the warranty.
Is the blanket as good as they say it is?
Forget the sales pitch, find out what the blanket has to offer and then read electric blanket reviews from real people who have already bought the blanket and took the time out of their day to share.
Benefits of a well-chosen heated electric blanket
When winter approaches, everyone brings up those heavy attires that can help them heat up faster at night. The problem is that, this heavy clothing is uncomfortable to sleep in.
But with the best of the heated electric blankets on, we can still dress in our lighter clothes and keep warm.
The variety of sizes that blankets come in, from Full to King, allows them to be used by putting on top of bed sheets below the comforter. Some can be placed below the mattress as well. It all depends on the amount of heat you need.
You can wrap yourself into an electric blanket when watching TV, traveling, relaxing on your deck or for countless other occasions.
You can put a heated mattress pad right below the sheet, on top of the mattress and warm up the bed before sleeping, or keep it cozy enough just to relax on it.
Health conditions it might help with
The heat generated by these blankets not only helps our general body feel relieved and relaxed, but has some healing effect as well. Here are some of the therapeutic benefits of the best electric blanket:
Raynaud’s Phenomenon relief
Raynaud’s phenomenon is a condition where blood vessels narrow due to cold, this condition occurs mostly in toes and fingers. Electric blankets can warm you and your mattress thus minimizing this phenomenon.
Post-Polio Syndrome Aid
Many PPS (post-polio syndrome) patients are cold intolerant and this can make their nights uncomfortable. But with an electric throw blanket, these individuals can enjoy a peaceful night.
Allergies and dust mites
Mites cherish humidity. Mattresses contain moisture. We also do sweat on them thus increasing wetness level. This creates the perfect breeding ground for mites which in turn trigger conditions such as allergy and asthma. By using safe and warm electric blanket, dust mites can be minimized by 50%. This is achieved through moisture reduction.
Muscle soreness and pain alleviation
Heat has always been used to minimize muscle pain and aches. When you wrap yourself in a warmer blanket, the heat makes your blood vessels to vasodilate increasing blood flow thus reducing aches and relaxing muscles.
Fibromyalgia and arthritis benefits
Fibromyalgia and arthritis are characterized by stiff and painful skin and muscles. Kate and James Fries’ “The Arthritis Helpbook” which is actually recommended by arthritis foundation states that heat is one of the most effective methods of treating arthritis.
This is because, heated blood vessels allow rapid flow of blood to the skin surface releasing tension and relaxing muscles. Therefore, it might be helpful for fibromyalgia.