Best Treadmills For Seniors Home Fitness

Best Treadmills For Seniors Home Fitness

 

 

 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that older adults complete at least 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity or 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week. Walking is one of the safest ways to fulfill this requirement because it’s a functional activity that is gentle on the muscles and joints.

Treadmills allow you to fulfill your daily activity goal year round, but how do you select the right treadmill for your needs? You can start by considering the size of the treadmill because you must make sure that it fits comfortably into your living space. The width of the walking belt is also important because you need room to hit your natural walking stride comfortably.

If you want to enjoy interval training and other walking exercises for seniors, the range of speed available on your treadmill is also important. While most seniors aren’t up for a treadmill run, it is reasonable to assume that you will want to pick up speed as you become more physically fit. Many seniors are surprised at how fast they can walk once they get accustomed to their treadmill.

Finally, look at the advanced features offered on some treadmills. You may want a built-in heart rate monitor to ensure that you’re working within your target heart rate zone, or you may prefer a console with pre-programmed workouts to ensure that you don’t get bored during your workout sessions. You may also look for a machine with a well-lit console to ensure that you can easily see the feedback delivered throughout your workout.

 

 

How to Choose the Right Treadmill For Your Needs

 

When used frequently, an electric treadmill is a wise investment that will help you fight against disease and illness while managing your mood and increasing your ability to continue daily activities without depending on your loved ones. While you may start shopping with your maximum budget in mind, it’s more important to find a machine that safely accommodates daily exercise and rehab for the elderly.

The treadmills recommended below are all suitable for older users because they have extra cushioning on the walking belts and safety features like the red key that locks the belt between workout sessions.

In addition to those basic features, you may want to consider the location of the speed controls and the start/stop button for added safety.

You should also think about the number of pre-programmed workouts that you will use and what type of programs will best fit your needs.

Some advanced treadmills now offer pre-programmed heart rate workouts that require you to walk with your hands covering the pulse sensors in order to create workouts based on your pulse. You may not need this type of advanced programming if you just want a basic treadmill to increase your daily activity level, but those interested in improving their cardiovascular endurance may consider investing in a treadmill with this capability.

Every senior will select a different treadmill based on their unique needs, so start by identifying what you want to accomplish with your machine. You can then match the available features to your needs and budget to select the best treadmill for your healthy lifestyle.

 

 

Treadmills I Recommend for a Senior

 

 

 

The ProGear HCXL 4000 Electric Treadmill

 

 

The ProGear HCXL 4000 Electric Treadmill is a good pick for heavier users or any senior searching for a wider belt to ensure comfort while exercising at higher speeds.

The ProGear HCXL 4000 is approved for users up to 400 pounds, and the extra-wide walking belt measures 20 inches. It’s also equipped with a 1.5 HP motor that is designed to operate quietly.

The maximum speed for this treadmill is 4 mph, and that is adequate for most seniors walking at moderate to fast speeds. For an added challenge, you can manually incline the walking belt.

The 18-inch safety handles contain speed controls, and a key lock system secures the belt until you’re ready to begin your workout.

 

 

 

 

The Exerpeutic TF1000 Walk to Fitness Electric Treadmill

 

 

Whether your goal is to get your heart rate up for weight loss or to just add more physical activity into your daily life, the Exerpeutic TF1000 delivers adequate speed and walking space to meet your needs.

With a maximum speed of 4 mph, pulse grips to monitor your heart rate and a 20-inch wide walking belt, this is a treadmill that you aren’t likely to outgrow as your fitness abilities increase over time.

 

 

This is also a wise choice if you’re concerned about safety during your walks. The extra-long safety handles extend along each side of the machine, and a bright red button on the console allows you to stop the belt at any moment. A safety key is also offered to secure the belt between workouts.

 

 

 

 

Weslo Cadence R 5.2 Treadmill

 

While this is one of the most affordable treadmills available to seniors today, the Weslo Cadence R 5.2 treadmill is far from lacking in advanced features. This includes a large console loaded with six workouts designed by personal trainers.

 

 

The walking belt is 16 inches wide and 50 inches long, and the belt is cushioned for added protection of your joints and muscles. That cushioning is important if you plan on speed walking or going for a light jog, and with a maximum speed of 10 mph, the machine is suitable for high-intensity workouts.

If you’re concerned about the amount of space a treadmill may consume in your home, note that this is a folding model. Some seniors may need help raising and lowering the walking platform, but you can fold it up against a wall or roll it between rooms as necessary.

 

 

 

 

Sole Fitness F80 Folding Treadmill

 

The Sole F80 is a mid to high range item. It comes with a powerful 3.5 CHP motor and a two-ply walking belt designed to reduce the impact on your muscles and joints for a safer walking experience.

The large console is equipped with an advanced sound system that allows you to connect an MP3 player for entertainment. You can walk at your own pace or select from eight pre-programmed workouts, two of which are based on your heart rate.

 

 

The belt on this treadmill is a generous 22 inches wide, but it is a larger treadmill that will consume more space in your home. The manufacturer warranty is also quite impressive with lifetime coverage for the frame.

 

 

 

LifeSpan TR1200i Folding Treadmill

 

 

The LifeSpan TR1200i Folding Treadmill is a mid-market electric treadmill. It’s suitable for users up to 300 pounds and features a 20-inch walking belt, well-lit color console and speed controls conveniently located on the handlebars.

 

 

If you’re concerned that you’ll get bored walking on a treadmill, you’ll appreciate the 17 pre-programmed workouts and your complimentary membership to the online LifeSpan Fitness Club.

 

You can walk or jog up to 11 mph, and there are 15 incline levels to ensure that your body is continuously challenged over time.

With a 2.5 CHP motor, this is a high-quality treadmill that will keep up with most seniors.

 

Thoughts, questions, tips?  Feel free to comment below.

 

 

 

 

 

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Electric Blanket Buying Guide

 

 

Electric Blanket Buying Guide

 

 

 

 

Features to Look For in Your New Electric Blanket

 

 

 

Heated bedding of all types should meet current Underwriters Laboratories electric bedding safety standards.

It’s also important to read and follow manufacturer guidelines. Special care should be taken — or use avoided altogether — when selecting heated bedding for infants, the elderly, and those that are otherwise less sensitive to heat.

Pet owners are advised to consider low-voltage heated bedding, or a mattress pad that’s under the rest of the bedding so that it can’t be chewed on by a four-footed companion.

 

 

 

Durable, Machine-Washable Electric Blanket Materials

 

Some electric blanket manufacturers specify hand-washing only; however, trying to wrangle a large, wet blanket can be difficult — and it can be hard to rinse it thoroughly as well.

Machine-washable blankets are much easier to clean. When you do wash it, it shouldn’t pill, shed or bleed color. Always be sure to detach the power cords before cleaning.

 

 

 

Easy-to-Use Electric Blanket Temperature Controls

 

Because you might want to adjust the temperature in the middle of the night, you want the controls to be intuitive and within reach.

Many electric blankets and other heated bedding use digital controls, but others use analog dials. User ratings don’t seem to be influenced by the style of the controller, but we see some comments that in some instances, the dial can be easy to jostle. A few electric bedding products offer wireless controls.

 

 

 

 

Range of Electric Blanket Heat Settings, Including Preheating

 

To get the most use out of your electric blanket, throw, or mattress pad, you’ll want to be able to choose settings appropriate for everything from a cool summer evening to a winter blizzard.

Many electric bedding models offer 10 settings, though some, including our top-rated heated throw blanket, offer fewer without receiving very much negative user feedback over that.

 

 

 

Electric Blanket Automatic Shut-Off

 

An automatic shut off allows you to fall asleep safely with the blanket still on.

 

 

 

Electric Blanket Dual Control Options

 

Many couples sleep “differently” with one partner preferring a hotter or colder environment. Dual controls, which are usually found on queen-sized and larger blankets, allow each person to adjust the heat on his or her side of the bed. Some heated bedding take things a bit further by allowing adjustment of individual zones (such as the feet) for either user.

 

 

 

Things to Know Before You Choose an Electric Blanket

 

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 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 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.

 

 

 

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.

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.

 

 

Thoughts, questions, tips?  Feel free to comment below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

You may also be interested in:

Electric Blankets – Reviewing the Best

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Keep Your Older Adult Safe This Winter

 

Keep Your Older Adult Safe This Winter

 

 

 

Winter is a special time for celebration. It should also be a time for added caution if you or someone in your family is an older adult. It is the season for falls, slips on icy streets and other dangers that can be especially harmful for older adults.

 

 

“Something as simple as a fall can be devastating for older men and women,” says Dr. Evelyn Granieri, Chief of Geriatric Medicine and Aging at NewYork-Presbyterian/The Allen Hospital and Assistant Professor of Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center. “Before the cold weather arrives, it is important to prepare.”

 

Dr. Granieri addresses some of the most pressing concerns mature adults have about their health and safety during the winter:

 

 

 

 

The Flu

 

 

Influenza is a serious illness that can be fatal in older adults, who often have chronic medical conditions. The vaccine offers some, if not complete, protection against the flu and its consequences and can be administered as early as September. The flu season begins in mid-October and runs through March. 

 

 

 

 

To learn more about the vaccines you need, see the Adult Immunization Vaccine Finder  at vaccines.gov (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) to receive personalized vaccine recommendations based on your age, health status, location and other factors.You can also review the Adult Immunization Schedule  to see which vaccines you may need.

Don’t forget if you are traveling, you may need additional vaccines. See the travelers’ health page.

Talk to your healthcare professional about making sure you have all the vaccines you need to protect your health.

 

 

 

Hypothermia

 

 

Keep your thermostat set to at least 65 degrees to prevent hypothermia. Hypothermia kills about 600 Americans every year, half of whom are 65 or older, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Also, keeping the temperature at 65 or higher, even when you are not at home, will help prevent pipes from freezing. 

 

 

When you think about being cold, you probably think of shivering. That is one way the body stays warm when it gets cold. But, shivering alone does not mean you have hypothermia.  How do you know if someone has hypothermia? Look for the “umbles”—stumbles, mumbles, fumbles, and grumbles—these show that the cold is a problem.

 

Check for:

  • Confusion or sleepiness
  • Slowed, slurred speech, or shallow breathing
  • Weak pulse
  • Change in behavior or in the way a person looks
  • A lot of shivering or no shivering; stiffness in the arms or legs
  • Poor control over body movements or slow reactions

 

 

Remember that some illnesses may make it harder for your body to stay warm. These include problems with your body’s hormone system such as low thyroid hormone (hypothyroidism), health problems that keep blood from flowing normally (like diabetes), and some skin problems where your body loses more heat than normal.

 

Some health problems may make it hard for you to put on more clothes, use a blanket, or get out of the cold.

 

For example:

  • Severe arthritis, Parkinson’s disease, or other illnesses that make it tough to move around
  • Stroke or other illnesses that can leave you paralyzed and may make clear thinking more difficult
  • Memory loss
  • A fall or other injury

 

 

 

 

Icy Streets

 

 

When the winter air is crisp and the ground is covered with snow, there’s nothing like taking a walk to enjoy the beauty of the season — and walking is one of the best ways to keep fit.

On the other hand, winter can be a challenging time of year to get out and about. Freezing rain, icy surfaces and piles of hard-packed snow pose a hazard for the innocent pedestrian.

 

 

A few simple measures can make it safer to walk outdoors in the winter. Removing snow and ice, putting sand or salt on areas where people walk, and wearing the right footwear all make a big difference.

Just one bad fall on ice can have long-term consequences. These include: chronic pain in the affected area; a disabling injury that may mean loss of independence; or fear of another fall, which discourages a healthy, active lifestyle.

 

 

 

 

 

Here are some practical suggestions for safe winter mobility:

 

 

As winter approaches, outfit yourself for safe walking:

 

Choose a good pair of winter boots. For warmth and stability look for these features: well-insulated, waterproof, thick non-slip tread sole made of natural rubber, wide low heels, light-weight.

 

Ice grippers on footwear can help you walk on hard packed snow and ice. But be careful! Grippers become dangerously slippery and must be removed before walking on smooth surfaces such as stone, tile and ceramic.

 

 

 

Use a cane, or even a pair of walking poles to help with balance. Make sure they’re the right height for you. When your cane is held upside down, the end should be at wrist level.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If using a cane, attach a retractable ice pick to the end. Cane picks will be slippery on hard surfaces so be sure to flip it back as you get indoors.

 

If you need further support, use a walker. The cost might be defrayed by government programs; talk with your doctor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wear a hip protector (a lightweight belt or pant with shields to guard the hips). It can help protect the hips against fractures and give added confidence.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Help other road users see you by wearing bright colors or adding reflective material to clothing. 

 

These adhesive reflective strips are perfect for affixing to shoes or other clothing items to increase visibility.  They have high intensity reflectivity and a sticker backing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prevent heat loss by wearing a warm hat, scarf, and mittens or gloves.

 

Dressing in layers may also keep you warmer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once the snow and ice arrive, make sure your walking surfaces are safe:

 

Keep entranceways and sidewalks clear of ice and snow. Report hazards on sidewalks or pathways to your landlord or the City.

 

Contact your local home support agency or other community services for help with snow removal, transportation and grocery bus services.

 

 

Carry a small bag of grit, sand or non clumping cat litter in your jacket pocket or handbag, to sprinkle when you are confronted with icy sidewalks, steps, bus stops, etc.

 

Ask a passer-by to help you cross an icy surface.

 

 

 

Walking on Ice

 

 

Facing an icy surface can be a paralyzing experience. Not everyone has grippers and other safety aids. So, what should you do if it’s impossible to avoid an icy patch? Believe it or not, body movements can increase your stability on an icy surface.

Slow down and think about your next move. Keeping your body as loose as possible, spread your feet to more than a foot apart to provide a base of support. This will help stabilize you as you walk.

Keep your knees loose — let them bend a bit. This will keep your center of gravity lower to the ground, which further stabilizes the body.

Now you are ready to take a step. Make the step small, placing your whole foot down at once. Then shift your weight very slowly to this foot and bring your other foot to meet it the same way. Keep a wide base of support.

Some people prefer to drag their feet or shuffle them. If this feels better to you, then do so. Just remember to place your whole foot on the ice at once and keep your base of support approximately one foot wide.

Of course, it’s always better to avoid tricky situations by being prepared and planning a safe route for your walk.

 

 

House Fires

 

Make sure your smoke alarms are working. You should also have working carbon monoxide alarms.

 

 

 

 

 

Falling In The Home

 

Winter means fewer hours of daylight. Older people often need brighter lights in the home. You may also have difficulty adjusting to changes in light, and different levels of lighting may increase the risk of slips and falls. Make sure there are no great lighting contrasts from one room to another. Also, use night lights, especially in the bathroom, and don’t have loose extension cords lying around—tape them to the floor. Make sure rugs are not wrinkled or torn in a way that can trip you as you walk.

 

 

 

 

Strenuous Activities

 

Try to avoid strenuous activities like shoveling snow. You should ask your doctor if this level of activity is advisable. If you must shovel, warm up your body with a few stretching exercises before you begin and be sure to take frequent breaks throughout.

 

 

 

Dehydration

 

Drink at least four or five glasses of fluid every day. This should not change just because it is winter. You may not feel as thirsty as you do in the summer months, but as you get older, your body can dehydrate more quickly, putting you at greater risk for complications from a number of illnesses and also changing how your body responds to some medications.

 

 

U-Lactin Dry Skin Lotion - 16 oz.Winter Itch

 

This usually occurs because of dry skin. Wear more protective creams and lotions to prevent the dry and itchy skin commonly experienced in the colder months when humidity levels are lower. You should apply them after bathing and then daily. 

 

For winter, I like U-Lactin Dry Skin Lotion; its a non greasy, fragrance free lotion, made with 10% urea, a humectant, and 2% lactic acid, an alpha-hydroxy-acid.

 

 

 

Home Emergencies

 

 

For older persons living alone, it is a good idea to have a way to communicate quickly with other persons or medical personnel. If you have a cell phone, keep it handy.

 

Another option is a personal emergency response system—a device worn around the neck or on a bracelet that can summon help if needed. Always have a fully-stocked home emergency First Aid kit on hand, as well.

 

 

 

 

If you are a caregiver, please remember to check on your loved one frequently. Offer to shop for her or him and check on medications when the weather is very cold and snowy. And remind any person who interacts with her/him to get a flu shot.

 

 

 

 

You may also be interested in:

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About Me

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Organize Your Senior’s Home For Winter

Organize Your Senior’s Home For Winter

 

 

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George & Martha built their split-entry style home in the suburbs in 1964.  They raised 4 children in their home.  Their oldest daughter, Julie, was in her teens when they moved in.  Julie is in her 60s now and has her own home a few streets away.

George & Martha are in their 80s and want to stay in their home, but can no longer manage the upkeep and seasonal maintenance. With the impending change of seasons, Julie wants to help her parents get organized for the winter. 

 

Here are some things Julie (and you) can do to help elderly loved ones stay safe in their home during the colder months.

 

 

 

  • Schedule a furnace check: HVAC System Maintenance is important, especially for at-risk populations like seniors.  The last thing we want to happen is for the furnace to go out in the middle of the night when it’s below freezing outside!

 

  • Make sure all seasonal clothes and coats are accessible: If your loved one changes out their clothes with the seasons, you’ll want to be sure that all of their fall and winter items are unpacked and accessible. Make sure their coats, hats, gloves, etc. are easy to find and in good condition.

 

  • Stock the Pantry: An extra reserve of canned goods and other non-perishable or frozen foods is good to have on hand when inclement weather is in the forecast. This is also a good time to check existing items in the pantry and fridge for freshness If food is running low during an episode of bad weather, we don’t want our loved ones to get sick from eating expired food stores.

 

  • Stock the Medicine Cabinet: This time of year marks the beginning of Cold & Flu season. Make sure your loved ones have current basic medications in their cabinet in case they need them, but of course be sure to check all over-the-counter medications with their doctor/pharmacist to be certain they are safe to take.  If you help your loved one manage their medication, you may want to be aware of the weather forecast and portion out their medication in advance in case you are not able to travel to see them.

 

  • Check their emergency kit: Now is a good time to make sure they have plenty of blankets, flashlights, bottled water, batteries and other emergency items that are in good and working order in case of a power outage.

 

 

 

  • Arrange for leaf & snow removal: Falling leaves and icy sidewalks both create major slipping hazards for seniors. This can be a difficult conversation to have, especially with seniors like George & Martha who are striving to maintain their independence, but paying for leaf & snow removal will ensure that driveways and sidewalks are cleared. If your loved one can’t afford to pay for the service, you might investigate volunteer services in your area. Check with your local resource on aging (State Departments of Aging, Area Agencies on Aging, etc.) for more information.

 

  • Purchase sand or salt to have on hand: As snow melts and refreezes, it’s always a good idea to have these items at home to treat icy spots.  Try Safe Paw Non-Toxic Ice Melter

 

 

  • Prepare the car: If your loved one is still driving, make sure to have their car checked for winter and stock it with all the winter necessities (ice scraper, blankets, etc.).

 

  • Winterize the home: Gathering the family for a weekend or hiring a handyman to put in storm windows, clean the gutters, and check for roof leaks will help make sure your loved ones are safe and warm all season.

 

 

Consider the following checklist from Bob Vila (before the first frost) when preparing the home for winter:

 

Windows and Doors

 

  • Check all the weatherstripping around windows and doorframes for leaks to prevent heat loss. Replace weatherstripping, if necessary.
  • Replace all screen doors with storm doors.
  • Replace all window screens with storm windows.
  • Examine wooden window frames for signs of rot or decay. Repair or replace framing to maintain structural integrity.
  • Check for drafts around windows and doors. Caulk inside and out, where necessary, to keep heat from escaping.
  • Inspect windows for cracks, broken glass, or gaps. Repair or replace, if needed.

 

 

Lawn, Garden, and Deck

 

  • Trim overgrown branches back from the house and electrical wires to prevent iced-over or wind-swept branches from causing property damage or a power problem.
  • Aerate the lawn, reseed, and apply a winterizing fertilizer to promote deep-root growth come spring.
  • Ensure rain or snow drains away from the house to avoid foundation problems. The dirt grade — around the exterior of your home — should slope away from the house. Add extra dirt to low areas, as necessary.
  • Clean and dry patio furniture. Cover with a heavy tarp or store inside a shed or garage to protect it from the elements.
  • Clean soil from planters. Bring pots made of clay or other fragile materials indoors. Because terracotta pots can swell and crack, lay them on their sides in a wood carton.
  • Dig up flower bulbs, brush off soil, and label. Store bulbs in a bag or box with peat moss in a cool, dry place for spring replanting.
  • Remove any attached hoses and store them away for the winter to prevent cracks, preserve their shapes, and prolong their life. Wrap outside faucets with covers to prevent water damage.
  • Shut off exterior faucets. Drain water from outdoor pipes, valves, and sprinkler heads to protect against pipe bursts.
  • Inspect decks for splintering, decay, or insect damage and treat, if needed, to prevent further deterioration over the winter.
  • Clean leaves, dirt, and pine needles between the boards of wooden decks to thwart mold and mildew growth.
  • Inspect outdoor lighting around the property. Good illumination will help minimize the chance of accidents on icy walkways at night.
  • Check handrails on exterior stairs to make sure they’re well secured.

 

 

Tools and Machinery

 

  • Bring all seasonal tools inside and spray them with a coating of lightweight oil to prevent rust.
  • Weatherize your lawn mower by cleaning off mud, leaves, grass, and debris.
  • Move your snow blower and shovels to the front of the garage or shed for easy access.
  • Prepare the snow blower for the first snowfall by changing the oil and replacing the spark plug.
  • Sharpen ice chopper and inspect snow shovels to make sure they’re ready for another season of work.
  • Make sure you have an ample supply of ice melt or sand on hand for steps, walkways, and the driveway.

 

 

Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning

 

  • Inspect the firebox and flue system to ensure that they’re clean of any soot or creosote and that there aren’t any cracks or voids that could cause a fire hazard.
  • Check fireplace for drafts. If it’s cold despite the damper being closed, the damper itself may be warped, worn, or rusted. Consider installing a Chimney Balloon into the flue to air seal the area tightly.
  • Clean or replace the air filter in your furnace for maximum efficiency and improved indoor air quality.
  • Clean your whole house humidifier and replace the evaporator pad.
  • Bleed valves on any hot-water radiators to increase heating efficiency by releasing air that may be trapped inside.
  • Check that smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are in working order.
  • Remove air conditioners from windows or cover them with insulated liners, to prevent drafts.
  • If you have an older thermostat, replace it with a programmable unit to save on heating costs.
  • Install foam-insulating sheets behind outlets and switch plates on exterior walls to reduce outside airflow.
  • Make sure fans are switched to the reverse or clockwise position, which will blow warm air down to the floor for enhanced energy efficiency and comfort.
  • Flush a hot water heater tank to remove sediment, and check the pressure relief valve to make sure it’s in proper working order.
  • Examine exposed ducts in the attic, basement, and crawl spaces, and use a sealant to plug up any leaks.

 

 

Gutters, Roof, and Drains

 

  • Check for missing, damaged or warped shingles and replace, as necessary before you get stuck with a leak.
  • Check for deteriorated flashing at the chimney, walls, and skylights and around vent pipes. Seal joints where water could penetrate, using roofing cement and a caulking gun.
  • Check the gutters and downspouts for proper fastening, and re-secure if loose or sagging. The weight of snow and ice can pull gutters off the house.
  • Clean gutters of any debris. Make sure downspouts extend away from the house by at least 5 feet to prevent flooding of the foundation and water damage from snowmelt.
  • Clean leaves and debris from courtyard and pool storm drains to prevent blockages.
  • Ensure all vents and openings are covered to prevent insects, birds, and rodents from getting inside to nest in a warm place.

 

 

By staying organized in advance of the changing weather, you’ll have peace of mind that your loved ones are safe in their home – even if you can’t get over to help due to road conditions.

 

 

 

 

Based on an article by Vickie Dellaquila, Western Pennsylvania’s first Certified Professional Organizer in Chronic Disorganization and owner of Organization Rules® Inc. Organization Rules provides compassionate organizing services for every stage of your life®.

She is the author of Don’t Toss My Memories in the Trash: A Step-by-Step Guide to Helping Seniors Downsize, Organize, and Move.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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About Me

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Please help others by sharing this post. Share on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInDigg thisPin on Pinterest

Space Heaters – Buyer’s Guide and Reviews

 

Space Heaters – Buyer’s Guide and Reviews

 

When the weather outside is frightful, a fire certainly would be delightful — but not everyone is lucky enough to have a fireplace. Instead, a space heater can offer a supplemental heat source in your home or office. It’s important to note that space heaters aren’t recommended as your only heat source, but they can be a great way to increase a room’s temperature a few degrees or provide warmth in a drafty space without overheating the entire home. Some owners say they also use portable heaters to lower utility bills, but this depends on many factors, like your fuel costs, insulation, how often your space heater is used and more.

 

 

 

 

Space heaters are useful for warming individual rooms or small areas. While they aren’t a good replacement for central heating, they can help raise the temperature a few degrees in a cold or drafty room, and can even lower your heating bill by a few dollars in some situations.

Chosen wisely and used properly, space heaters are also safe. In this, report I present the best performing space heaters as identified by expert reviews and user feedback, as well as what you need to be aware of to find the perfect space heater for your not-so-perfectly warm space.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note that this report covers electric space heaters intended for use inside the home.

You can also find space heaters fueled by kerosene, natural gas and other combustible fuels. However, those are generally not recommended for use inside the home unless some type of venting to the outside is provided, and many states have banned unvented kerosene heaters for indoor use.

 

 

 

 

Scroll down for full reviews on the 7 best space heaters

 


 

 

 

Things You Need to Know About Home Space Heaters

 

 

 

 

What Every Good Space Heater Has

 

  • The right heat for the job. In most cases, the best heater will be one that heats up fast and distributes the heat quickly, using a fan — meaning a convection heater with fan such as a ceramic space heater or a forced air heater. Oil-filled radiators take a different approach; they are slow to warm and most lack a fan, but they retain their heat long after they are turned off making them a good choice for sleeping areas (where normally having an operating space heater is not advisable, experts say). Infrared heaters are best for quick heat, and many include a fan so they can cover a large space. However I recommend you ignore some manufacturer claims and keep expectations reasonable.

 

  • Easy-to-use temperature settings. Nearly all owners agree they need some control over heat output; the best heaters give you the option to set either a specific temperature (i.e. in degrees Fahrenheit) or a relative temperature (i.e. high, medium, low), which helps save energy.

 

  • Safety features: Most experts agree that the best space heaters include adequate safety features. Tip-over sensors are advisable, and an overheat cut-off is essential. Other things to look for in a space heater is a case that stays cool to the touch, heat exhausts that don’t become excessively hot, and nice, tight grills that keep the curious fingers of little ones away from heated elements.

 

 

 

Will a Space Heater Work For You?

 

In reading user reviews, one of the most-often cited disappointments is that one space heater or another failed to heat a space adequately. However, that’s often the result of unrealistic expectations — or inflated marketing claims — rather than a failure of the appliance.

Space heaters are designed for spot heating or supplemental heating for a small to standard-sized room. Seamus Bellamy at TheSweethome.com points out that the largest electric space heater you can buy for use in the U.S. tops out at 1,500 watts, which is sufficient to heat up no more than a room of 150 square feet (10 by 15 feet) or less.

A fan can help spread that heat out in that space faster and more completely, but can’t help a space heater cover a larger area. Performance can also be affected by external factors such as inadequate insulation or drafty windows or doors. Most of the heaters covered in this report are rated at 1,500 watts, though some also have lower-power settings for smaller rooms.

 

 

Does Noise Matter to You?

 

Reports indicate that most modern space heater are very good or excellent when it comes to keeping noise-levels reasonable, and that includes models with the most powerful fans. Still, if you will be using the space heater in an area where quiet is important, look for models that have the best feedback regarding noise.

 

 

Do You Need Consistent Heat?

 

Many owners rely on a space heater to deliver consistent heat, oftentimes while sleeping at night. However, experts from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) strongly recommend that you never go to sleep with a space heater still operating.

For bedrooms, that makes oil-filled radiator space heaters a better choice; they are slower to warm up than other types of space heaters, but they retain heat much longer — hours after they are turned off. Models with timers that turn the heater on and off at preset intervals (such as in the morning or at bedtime) provide added convenience.

 

 

Do You Care What the Heater Looks Like?

 

If a space heater is used only occasionally or in private areas of the home (or office), appearance might not matter much. For some, though, an unattractive heater isn’t ideal. For aesthetes, design may be worth a higher price.


 

Types of Space Heaters

 

There are two basic types of electric space heaters: radiant and convection. Convection heaters — like convection ovens — move hot air around to create warmth. A fan blows air across internal heating elements and out into the room. This makes convection units especially effective for warming entire rooms or many people.

 

Ceramic space heaters are the most popular type of convection space heater. Electricity flowing through wires heats a ceramic element, which in turn heats the air. Almost all ceramic heaters include a fan to distribute the warmed air most effectively.

Some forced air heaters use a non-ceramic heating element to warm the air, and then use a larger, more powerful fan to spread that warmed air over a large area. Their fans can also pull double-duty to help cool rooms in the warmer months.

 

Convection also comes into play when liquid moves across a heating element. That’s why, while it might seem counter-intuitive, oil-filled radiator style space heaters are considered to be convection heaters, even though they lack a fan.

Oil filled radiators are slow to warm up, but they keep giving off heat long after they are turned off, making them a good choice for sleeping areas. Some radiator-style heaters use mica panels instead of heated oil to produce heat. These warm up faster than oil-filled designs, are lighter, and are flat enough to mount on a wall. However, they also cool down quickly, losing one of the key advantages of oil-filled radiators.

 

Radiant heaters, on the other hand, warm people or objects, not the air around them. The heat from these heaters doesn’t circulate well and can’t be used to warm a whole room, but for fast heat for a short time, they’re more efficient than convection heaters. Traditional radiant space heaters are a bit more “old-school” than convection heaters and seem to be falling out of vogue. However, infrared space heaters with quartz elements still have a place where the primary goal is heating a person or a smaller area, and some can do a lot more.

 

 

Finding the Best Space Heaters

 

To find the best space heaters, this report considered professional tests, expert reviews and user feedback. ConsumerReports.org has the most comprehensive coverage. Though not completely up-to-date, most of the space heaters covered there remain either current or available at retail.

TheSweethome.com’s coverage is a little more limited, but it looks at popular and well-reviewed space heaters, then tests to find a couple of top choices. I also rely heavily on user reviews, looking at feedback posted at Amazon.com, HomeDepot.com, Lowes.com, Walmart.com and elsewhere. These reviews provide an up-to-date snapshot of how space heaters perform, and touch on long-term factors, such as the reliability of a specific model, that are beyond the scope of most expert testing.

Using this feedback, I consider performance, safety and reliability to name the very best space heaters, along with some choices that could be worth considering for some buyers.

 

 

Important: Staying Safe With Space Heaters


Every winter, we hear of at least some space-heater related accidents, sometimes with tragic results. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), and based on statistics compiled from 2007 to 2011, one-third of home heating fires and four-fifths of home heating fire deaths involve space heaters. However, when selected wisely and used correctly, space heaters can be quite safe to use.

This report only covers portable electric space heaters, which, according to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), are the only type of unvented heater that’s safe for use inside the home. Combustion space heaters work by burning fuel, be it kerosene, gas, wood, etc., which results in having the byproducts of combustion, including carbon monoxide, enter your home if they are not effectively vented to the outside. According to the DOE, most states have banned the use of kerosene heaters in the home, and some states have banned the use of unvented natural gas heaters. Vented combustion heaters are safer, but since those are designed to be used in a permanent location next to an exterior wall (to allow for a vent to the outside), they are not exactly portable.

However, while there’s no carbon monoxide risk, electric space heaters still can be a safety hazard if used improperly. The best space heaters are designed to minimize those risks.

 

Things to look for include a tip-over sensor and switch that will turn the heater off if it is accidentally knocked over. Many heaters have tight grates to keep small fingers from reaching the heating element. Some have sensors that will turn the heater off if it detects an “object” (such as an infant or pet) sitting too close to it for too long. Many also have cabinets that stay cool to the touch. Only buy a space heater that carries UL (Underwriters Laboratory) or similar certification, indicating that it meets current safety standards.

 

Buying a safe space heater is only half the battle, using it safely is the other half. I found a number of solid, easy-to-follow recommendations from a number of authorities. Those include the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI), the NFPA, the DOE and others.

 

Finding the right place to put your space heater is the first step:

Space heaters should be located on a level, hard and nonflammable surface — a ceramic tile floor is ideal. Don’t put a space heater on a piece of furniture. Keep it well away from the normal paths of foot traffic in your home to prevent it from being accidentally knocked over. Keep combustible materials at least three feet away in all directions. Typical combustibles found in your home include draperies, rugs and bedding. Except in cases where a space heater is designed for bathroom or outdoor use, do not use it in damp areas.

Space heaters should only be used under the direct supervision of a responsible adult. Children and pets should be kept away. Turn off the space heater every time you leave the area. Don’t go to bed with the space heater on, and don’t use it if there’s a person sleeping in the room.

 

There are electrical considerations as well: Avoid the use of an extension cord if at all possible. If an extension cord is absolutely needed, use the shortest length that works and choose a cord designed for high current draw (14-gauge or heavier wire). That said, “Always check and follow any manufacturer’s instructions pertaining to the use of extension cords,” the DOE advises.

Check the condition of the space heater’s cord on a regular basis. Look for tell-tale signs of a hazardous cord, including fraying or burnt or otherwise damaged insulation. If the cord doesn’t check out 100 percent, do not use the space heater.

 

 

The 7 Best Space Heaters

 

 

Best Ceramic Space Heater

 

Lasko 754200 Ceramic Heater with Adjustable Thermostat

 

The diminutive Lasko 754200 delivers big-time performance, warming up a small room or office in no time flat. Value is appreciated by owners and experts, and helps the Lasko 754200 edge out other, pricier and more feature-rich ceramic space heaters in reviews. The lack of a tip-over sensor is a concern, but this space heater has other crucial safety features including an overheat cut-off and a case that stays cool to the touch.

Pros
  • Heats well
  • Small
  • Good value
Cons
  • Lacks a tip-over sensor
  • Some say it is loud

 

For a small, inexpensive space heater, the Lasko 754200 often exceeds the expectations of experts and users. It heats quickly and effectively, and its 1,500 watt rating puts it at the top in terms of heat output among all electric space heaters — though its small size makes it better for a bedroom or an office rather than a large family room. Some owners say it’s a bit loud, but experts and other owners say it’s no louder than any other space heater equipped with an effective fan — a plus for better heat distribution. The lack of a tip-over sensor is a major omission, but that’s offset by other effective safety features.

 

Performance

Packs heat for a petite unit. For a heater of this size and price, the Lasko 754200 ceramic space heater is very effective, according to reviewers. The heater puts out a good deal of heat, and its powerful fan circulates the warm air quickly. Testing at TheSweethome.com put it in first place among tested space heaters of all types in heating an 11- by 13-foot room in the least amount of time. We see some durability complaints, but these are in line with what we see with almost all space heaters of all types.

 

Ease of Use

Not advanced, but straightforward controls. Though the Lasko 754200 has an effective thermostat, it doesn’t offer the digital display, remote control, or timer of some pricier models — which may be a good or bad thing, depending on your perspective. Owners say they find the two knobs (one for temperature, one for fan) to be very intuitive and simple to use. The heater is also lightweight and easy to move. A long cord (six feet) makes placement without resorting to an extension cord easier.

 

Safety

No tip-over switch. A tip-over switch is often recommended for safer operation of space heaters, and the lack of one on the Lasko 754200 is a concern, but one that doesn’t bother experts and many owners it seems. There is an overheat sensor that will cut-off operation if the heater’s temperature exceeds a safe level. Reviews indicate that the case stays relatively cool during operation.

 

Noise

Noisy fan. We did see some complaints about fan noise, though not very many more than we see with other space heaters equipped with a reasonably powerful fan. TheSweethome.com tests the Lasko and says that its noise level is the equivalent of a refrigerator compressor running at a distance of six feet away. Seamus Bellamy adds that this is about in the middle of the pack among the space heaters the site has recently tested.

 

Best Oscillating Ceramic Space Heater

 

Lasko 6462 Full Circle Ceramic Heater with Remote

 

The Lasko 6462 is packed with features, including oscillation, which some experts hold is most effective in uniformly distributing heat. Controls are simple and intuitive, and a remote control lets you operate this space heater from your easy chair. The 6462 has a tower design, making tip-over a concern in light of the lack of a tip-over sensor, but other safety features, including overheat cut off, are present and accounted for.

Pros
  • Effective heat distribution
  • Oscillation to heat a space more uniformly
  • Lots of features
Cons
  • Not the best value
  • Thermostat might be inaccurate
  • No tip over sensor

 

The Lasko 6462 delivers ample features and ample performance, earning it respect from users and some expert reviewers. The oscillating unit covers a full 360 degrees, or can be set to swing over a smaller arc if it’s set against the wall or in a corner. This ceramic space heater is as feature packed as any, with digital controls and readouts and a remote control. Safety is good, but would be better if there were also a tip-over sensor.

 

Performance

A circle of heat. While a fan is important to spread out the heat in a room, oscillation distributes that heat out more evenly  — and the Lasko 6462 has both. This ceramic space heater is billed as being able to swing its heat over a full 360 degree circle, and the sweep can also be adjusted for maximum effectiveness when placed near a wall (180 degrees) or in a corner (90 degrees). The 1,500 watt maximum heat setting is the highest you can get with an electric space heater, though some other space heaters are judged to be a little more effective in heating a whole room or a nearby person in expert tests. Users seem plenty pleased, however. Reliability and durability are factors that typically pull down user ratings, but we spotted fewer complaints on that regard with the Lasko 6462 than with some competing space heaters.

 

Ease of Use

No sweat. The Lasko 6462 has digital controls on the unit and comes with a functional remote control. Some users say that the touch controls could be a bit better, but with the remote, you don’t ever need to actually touch them. Others welcome the fact that the remote is not a must to set up and use the heater — especially since many remotes sometimes go missing at the most inconvenient times. Testing reveals that the digital thermostat might not be accurate — and we saw a handful of user reviews that say the same thing — but most owners either don’t see the same problem, or consider it to be too inconsequential to comment on it.

 

Safety

No tip-over sensor. This is a tower heater, a type more prone to accidental tip-over than other types. That’s why we consider the lack of a tip-over sensor to be disappointing. However, the Lasko 6462 is otherwise well covered on the safety front. There’s an overheat cut-off that will turn the heater off if it becomes dangerously hot. In one professional test the surface is found to be cool to the touch when the heater is operating.

 

Noise

Powerful, yet quiet. Users report that the fan on the Lasko 6462 is pretty powerful. That’s why it’s notable to see relatively few complaints when it comes to fan noise. One expert test rates the 6462 excellent when it comes to keeping noise highly in check.

 

 

 

Best Decorative Ceramic Space Heater

Crane Mini Fireplace Heater, White

 

 

No one will confuse the Crane Mini Fireplace Heater with a real fireplace, not even if they squint real hard, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t impart a nice aesthetic anyway. Users appreciate the warm glow that the mini ceramic fireplace gives off. Some like that you can use the fireplace effect without also bringing up the heat. Aesthetics aside, it’s an impressive performer heating-wise according to tests and user reviews.

 

 

 

 

Best Oil-Filled Radiator Space Heater

 

 

DeLonghi EW7507EB Oil Filled Radiator Heater Black 1500W

 

If you want heat that lasts, even hours after the space heater is turned off, the DeLonghi EW7507EB oil-filled radiator is your best bet. It’s a great choice for a bedroom, where experts recommend against having an operating space heater while you sleep. The dual-event 24-hour timer will let you warm things up well before bedtime and again before  your alarm goes off in the morning. The design keeps the sides cool, and a remote control adds convenience.

Pros
  • Efficient
  • Quiet
  • Programmable timer
  • Long lasting heat
Cons
  • Slow to heat
  • No battery back up

 

The DeLonghi EW7507EB oil-filled radiator heats a room by electrically warming an internal supply of oil. The results closely mimic those of a traditional hot water radiator. That means that the DeLonghi doesn’t give off much heat at first, but given time, it can warm a large room with ease, according to experts and owners. Also, like a traditional radiator, the heat lasts a good long while after the electricity is turned-off, making it ideal for use in a bedroom, where experts suggest going to sleep with an operating space heater isn’t such a hot idea.

 

Performance

Slow starts, but exceptional staying power. Experts recommend oil-filled, radiator-style heaters for well-insulated rooms where the heater will be on for long periods. Like similar models, the DeLonghi EW7507EB oil-filled radiator takes quite a while to initially heat up, but it then provides steady, warm heat, even long after the power is turned off — and enough of it to earn at least one expert recommendation as a good space heater for larger spaces. Still, if you want spot heating or fast heating, a ceramic space heater like the Lasko 754200 is a better, more economical choice.

 

 

Ease of Use

Digital controls a plus … and a minus. The DeLonghi EW7507EB features an all-digital control system. Most reviewers find it easy to use, but some bypass the extra features and programming capabilities and just use the manual controls.

For others, the dual event 24-hour timer lets you raise and lower temperatures in up to two cycles of up to eight hours each over a day. That means, for example, you can set the radiator to turn on and get the room toasty before you awake, then turn off later in the morning, only to repeat the cycle before you turn in for the night.

There’s also a remote control for added convenience, but what’s not convenient is that the heater’s LCD display is judged hard to read by some. The timer also lacks  a battery backup — unplug the heater or lose power and you’ll need to reprogram the timer. Like all oil-filled radiators, the DeLonghi EW7507EB takes a while to warm up a room — one reason that the timer is such a nice plus. There are three output levels (700, 800 and 1,500 watts) so you can scale the heat output to the size of the room.

 

 

Safety

Stays cool to the touch. Touching a standard radiator when it’s hot is not a pleasant experience. However, the DeLonghi EW7507EB oil-filled space heater features a design that directs heat upwards, out of reach of children and pets, keeping its sides cool to the touch. There’s no tip-over sensor — but toppling this weighty radiator is something that’s unlikely to happen by accident. There is an overheat cut-off for added safety, and the remote control means you never have to touch the radiator at all to set or adjust it.

Oil-filled radiators sometimes draw complaints over operating odors, but the majority of user reviews that comment on the EW7507EB’s odor either marvel that it’s not an issue, or say that smells that can be detected when new are banished forever after a few hours of use.

 

 

Noise

A silent operator. Unlike other types of space heaters, oil-filled radiators lack a fan so they are among the quietest whole-room space heaters you can buy. Professional testers and owners agree, the DeLonghi EW7507EB is very quiet. We did see a few comments that noted a clicking sound when the heater cycled on or off, but most did not find it objectionable.

 

 

Best Forced Air Space Heater

 

Vornado AVH2 Whole Room Vortex Heater, Automatic Climate Control

The Vornado AVH2 is a forced-air space heater that can warm large or small rooms, and it does a good job at spot warming — when you want to warm an individual person rather than a larger space. It lacks much in the way of extras, but it’s judged to be easy to use. It’s also relatively safe around kids and pets with a cool case and exhaust outlet during operation. It can double as a cool-air fan in warmer months.

 

 

 

 

 

Best Designer Space Heater

 

 

Dyson AM09 Fan Heater, Iron/Blue

 

 

 

If style is more important than price, no space heater makes more of a statement than the Dyson AM09.

Reviews reveal that it’s also among the most effective space heaters for the cold months, and an outstanding fan for the cool ones. The bladeless design and cool case are pluses if young ones are around. But look elsewhere if value is a concern as you can find space heaters that are nearly as good for hundreds less.

 

 

 

Best Infrared Space Heater

 

 

Honeywell HZ-980 MyEnergySmart Infared Whole Room Heater

 

Most space heaters work by heating up the air, but infrared space heaters like the Honeywell HZ-980 work by heating up people and objects in the room. Many infrared heaters are cheap, lower power affairs, but the HZ-980 is quite different.

With a rated power of 1,500 watts, and aided by a powerful fan, this Honeywell infrared heater is judged by reviewers to do a great job of heating up a person, and a very good job in heating up a standard room.

 

Pros
  • Efficient
  • Great spot heating
  • Good safety features
Cons
  • Large
  • Plain aesthetics
  • Pricey

 

Plain and unassuming in its black plastic case, the Honeywell HZ-980 quietly racks up some of the better reviews among larger infrared space heaters. It’s feature packed, including digital controls and readouts, an energy usage indicator, a limited but useful timer, and a remote control.

 

Performance

Have reasonable expectations. Some competing infrared space heaters are victims of their own marketing, promising better energy efficiency and heating performance than they can reasonably deliver under most circumstances.

The Honeywell HZ-980 (made under license by Kaz), largely avoids most of that. Instead, testing reveals it to be a competent space heater that does a great job in spot heating, and a very good one in heating up even a reasonably large room. The manufacturer claims that the HZ-980 saves 35 percent in energy costs compared to a standard 1,500-watt heater, but that has not been independently verified. However, there is a built-in energy use meter for owners to monitor consumption for themselves.

 

Ease of Use

Digital simplicity. The clean, digital controls on the Honeywell HZ-980 are judged to be very good when it comes to ease of use, and we saw no notable user complaints in that regard. There’s a top-mounted control panel with digital readouts as well as a remote control. There’s also a built-in 8-hour timer, but it is adjustable only in one-hour increments — adequate but certainly not very flexible.

 

Safety

Strong safety features. The Honeywell HZ-980 is equipped with most of the safety features experts recommend. Those include a four-way tip-over sensor and overheat protection. The case stays relatively cool to the touch, but one expert testing organization comments that the area right around the heat exhaust can get a little toasty. Mommy blogger Cindi Riley notes the same thing, but adds that things don’t get hot enough to cause serious worry of a child being burned.

 

Noise

In the ear of the beholder. One independent testing organization rates the Honeywell HZ-980‘s noise levels to be excellent. Most of the limited user reviews we spotted agree, or are silent themselves on the issue.

 

 

 

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Electric Blankets – Reviewing the Best

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About Me

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Electric Blankets – Comfort and Energy Savings

 

 

Electric Blankets – What You Need to Know

 

 

 

 

Electric heated blankets can help you keep warm and cozy on those especially cold winter nights, without raising your heating bill.

Electric blankets come in several forms: blankets, throws and even mattress pads. The best models are safe, comfortable and easy to use, and provide sufficient, even heat.

 

 

Here I’ve sorted through user reviews and expert opinions to create a buyer’s guide to the best electric blankets, mattress pads and throws on the market today. 

 

For my full, detailed reviews, see Electric Blankets – Reviewing the Best

 

 

Electric Blankets are Safe, Soft and Subtly Warm

 

Getting a good night’s sleep on a cold winter’s night can be a challenge, but heated bedding can be a big help.

Electric blankets, electric throws and heated mattress pads offer a lot of appeal for people who would love to crawl between preheated sheets on a chilly night. Those suffering from cold feet in the middle of the night might find them a godsend. Additionally, some claim that an extra warm bed helps alleviate body aches.

Electric blankets, electric throw blankets and electric mattress pads make a warm bed a reality with just a flick of a switch. Many have preheating functions, which allow you to set a desired temperature while getting ready for bed.

Heat controls typically feature up to 10 temperature settings so you can get the level of comfort that’s right for you. Additionally, many queen-sized and larger models may have two controls, one for each side of the blanket. That means one sleeper can stay as cozy and warm as they prefer without giving the other a case of the night sweats or a cold shoulder.

Electric blankets haven’t always enjoyed the best reputation. Older models tended to be thick and scratchy, and sometimes posed a fire hazard with extended use. Modern heated blankets are much improved. They warm you with thin, supple wires sandwiched between layers of ultra-soft fleece, plush, or knitted material.

 

Learning from the past, safety ratings are now paramount, and electric blankets and mattress pads come with automatic shut-off timers and amply rated power adapters to keep the bedding — and you — from overheating.

 

Others, like the Soft Heat Luxury Micro-fleece Blanket pictured below (Est. $75 and up), use low-voltage electricity, which experts consider safest of all — and are an especially good choice for those with pets.

 

Additionally, most modern electric bedding can be machine-washed and even machine-dried, as long as the manufacturer’s recommendations are observed.

 

 

Heated Bedding Can Take Several Different Forms

 

Electric blankets offer convenience and versatility. They can easily be put on or pulled off a bed, even in the middle of the night if you get too warm and the blanket has yet to cool down. However, since they lay above you on the bed, they lose a little bit of efficiency as heat that’s radiated upwards is lost.

Heated throw blankets are similar, but smaller. They won’t generate as much heat as a full-sized electric blanket, but are great for wrapping around yourself, say while curled up on your couch on a chilly night.

Electric mattress pads sit between you and your mattress. That makes spur-of-the-moment use more difficult (unless you want to strip down the bed to pull it on or off), but improves energy efficiency — you, not the ceiling, are the beneficiary of heat that’s radiated upwards.

The Electric Blanket Institute also holds that heated mattress pads are “inherently safer.” Electric blankets can get bunched up, allowing heat to buildup — and that was a major source of electric blanket fires with older models that lack modern safeguards. Since a heated pad is held tight to the mattress, there’s much less chance of that happening.

While there are a multitude of electric bedding brands offered in the U.S., the Electric Blanket Institute reveals that the vast majority of products are currently made by one of three manufacturers — Biddeford Mills, Sunbeam or Perfect Fit Industries. The Institute adds that, while materials and controllers will vary, all heated bedding made by that manufacturer, regardless of branding, will perform similarly.

 

 

Finding the Best Electric Blankets, Throws and Mattress Pads

 

Electric blankets, heated throws, and heated mattress pads receive little attention from professional reviewers, Good Housekeeping being a notable exception. Its testing is several years old, but most of the electric blankets and heated mattress pads rated there are either still sold, or are offered in nearly identical models. The Electric Blanket Institute does not rate electric blankets or mattress pads, but offers helpful buying guidance and discusses the differences between models offered by the major manufacturers.

Owners fill in the rest of the picture. While not every electric blanket, electric throw or electric heating pad gets tons of feedback, others draw hundreds and sometimes thousands of reviews across sites such as Amazon.com, Walmart.com, ComfortHouse.com and elsewhere.

When analyzing reviews to find the best choices, I look for feedback regarding performance, ease of use, comfort and the overall ownership experience. Not every electric blanket, electric heated throw blanket, or heated mattress pad excels on every point, but the very best ones will outperform the competitors in most regards.

 

 

For my full, detailed reviews, see Electric Blankets – Reviewing the Best

 

 

The Best Electric Blankets Let You Enjoy a Warm 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 I find the best to be the Soft Heat Luxury Micro-fleece Blanket

 

 
One of the most-reviewed heated blankets on Amazon.com, this cozy microfleece has garnered a lot of feedback 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 it carries.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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.

 

 

 

The Sunbeam Microplush Heated Blanket (Est. $65 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.

Sunbeam Microplush Heated Blanket, Twin, Lagoon, BSM9BTS-R596-16A00

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 Microplush heats faster and, according to some users, feels hotter to the touch while heating 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 electric blankets have an 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.

 

 

 

For those on a tighter budget, Sunbeam Electric Heated Fleece Blanket (Est. $50 and up) looks like a good alternative.  You can find it a Amazon.com, where it earns a  4.2-star score based on more than 850 reviews.

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.

 

 

 

For sleepers who prefer the secure feeling of a thick blanket, the Sunbeam Quilted Fleece Heated Blanket (Est. $63 and up) could be an option.

I’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 3.9 star rating is good for this category.

 

 

For more details and options, see my full reviews of electric blankets: Electric Blankets – Reviewing the Best

 

 

Thoughts, questions, tips?  Feel free to comment below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

You may also be interested in:

Electric Blankets – Reviewing the Best

Adjustable Beds – Benefits and Reviews

Electric Blanket Buying Guide

Top Pillows to Relieve Neck Pain

Top 10 Massage Chairs Reviews

About Me

Create Your Own Blog

 

 

 

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Electric Blankets – Reviewing the Best

 

Electric Blankets – Reviewing the Best

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve sorted through user reviews and expert opinions to name the best electric blankets, mattress pads and throws on the market today. 

 

For a primer on what to look for and how to use electric blankets, read my previous post, Electric Blankets for Comfort and Energy Savings.

 

 

 

Best Overall Electric Blanket

 

 

Soft Heat Luxury Micro-Fleece Low-Voltage Electric Heated Twin Size Blanket, Beige

The Soft Heat Luxury Micro-fleece‘s low-voltage heating system provides safe, soothing warmth wrapped in a soft, cozy polyester blanket. Adjusting temperature is simple and dual controls for the queen and king sizes keep couples comfortable all winter long. The thin, unobtrusive interior wires disperse heat evenly and go unnoticed by users.

Pros
  • Safe, low-voltage heating
  • Thin interior wires
  • Easy-to-use controls
Cons
  • Bulky power adaptor
  • Slow to heat up
  • Controls aren’t durable

The Soft Heat Luxury Micro-fleece Blanket provides low-voltage warming in a soft, well-made electric blanket you’ll want to keep on your bed year-round. The low voltage technology is deemed safer than what’s used in other blankets — though those are safe as well. The downside is slower warming.

 

Performance

Low-voltage heat warms safely but not quickly. The Soft Heat Luxury Micro-fleece Blanket uses “non-hazardous low voltage,” which is considered to be the least likely to shock the user if the blanket becomes wet or insulation is damaged. It’s also less likely to harm pets if they chew on the blanket (though pet owners might be better served still with an electric mattress pad such as the Best Reviewed Sunbeam Quilted Heated Mattress Pad, which sits completely under the rest of your bedding).

However, the same low-voltage technology that makes the blanket exceptionally safe also makes it slow to warm up — something Good Housekeeping testers note in their comparative review; the Soft Heat took over an hour to reach 70 degrees and more than 25 minutes to cool down. Users find this blanket provides warmth to the bed without feeling “hot” to the touch.

 

Ease of Use

Intuitive backlit heat controls. The straightforward controls of the Soft Heat Luxury Micro-fleece Blanket allow users to preheat their beds or fine-tune temperatures with a simple twist of a dial. The control’s backlit display is easily visible at night, users say, and the brightness of the display dims automatically after adjustment. Queen- and king-sized blankets sport dual controls, so couples can set their side of the blanket for their individual heat preferences. For convenience and added safety, the auto-off feature shuts off the blanket after 10 hours.

 

Comfort

Unobtrusive wiring. While users appreciate the low-voltage safety of the Soft Heat Luxury Micro-fleece, they also love its soft fabric. Made of brushed polyester fleece, the blanket’s top and bottom layers protect the internal heating wires without feeling too heavy or bulky, users say. The wires themselves are thin and flexible and spaced far enough enough that sleepers do not feel them, even when the blanket is sandwiched between a top sheet and a comforter.

 

Ownership

Washes well but control connections are finicky. Users who machine-wash the Soft Heat Luxury Micro-fleece according to the manufacturer’s instructions say it looks as good as new afterward, without any pilling, pulling or other common issues. However, many owners note the connections linking the bedside controls to the actual blanket are temperamental, despite coming with clips to secure the cord to the blanket. Users also complain the large power adapter takes up too much room under the bed. The product is backed by a five-year warranty, and several users report the customer service department was friendly, though perhaps not always helpful.

 

 

Also Consider (Traditional Style):

Sunbeam Microplush Heated Blanket, Twin, Lagoon, BSM9BTS-R596-16A00

The Sunbeam Microplush Heated Blanket is a favorite with many thanks to its velvety plush fabric, toasty warmth and attractive price point (starts at $75).

It lacks the low-voltage technology of the Soft Heat blanket, and the interior wires are felt more readily, but it heats up faster and is warmer to the touch. It is also safe when the manufacturers’ instructions are followed, and meets UL standards for heated bedding.

 

 

 

Also Consider (Budget-Friendly)

Sunbeam Heated Fleece Electric Blanket, Twin Size, 10 Hour Shut Off with a 6 Foot Cord, Off White

Reviews indicate that the Sunbeam Electric Heated Fleece Blanket is a good quality heated blanket considering its price. Features are good, including dual controls in larger sizes and automatic shut off after 10 hours.

There are only five heating levels, but most users don’t seem to mind — or even notice — the reduced versatility compared to pricier blankets. It meets UL safety standards.

 

 

 

Best Electric Mattress Pad

 

 

 

 

The Sunbeam Quilted Heated Mattress Pad is made of machine-washable polyester. It meets UL safety standards for heated bedding and has a lot of great features, including a preheat function, 10 heating levels, automatic shut off and independent heating with dual controllers for each side of the bed (in queen sizes and above). Durability isn’t bulletproof, but it scores better in that regard than most heated bedding.

Pros
  • Heats quickly
  • Heating wires are unobtrusive
  • Machine-washable
Cons
  • Cords attach at an awkward location
  • Some complain about the feel of the top fabric
  • Not the best customer support

 

The Sunbeam Quilted Heated Mattress Pad provides heat from underneath by clinging to your mattress like a fitted sheet. That improves efficiency as heat radiated upwards is absorbed by you instead of diffused into the air in the room. Durability is good — though not perfect — and is helped by the fact that all heated mattress pads are less likely to be tossed or kicked about than other heated bedding.

 

Performance

Warm bed is ready when you are. The Sunbeam Quilted Heated Mattress Pad‘s preheating function is a hit with users who  say the mattress pad heats their bed to the right temperature in the time it takes them to brush their teeth and switch into pajamas.

The pad warms evenly, reviewers say, and keeps the right temperature up to the 10-hour safety shut-off. If sleepers feel too hot or cool during the night, there are 10 different heat levels so you can adjust the temperature up or down. Dual controls on the king- and queen-sized mattress pads allow couples to independently adjust the temperature on their side of the bed.

 

Ease of Use

Awkward cords. The Sunbeam Quilted Heated Mattress Pad is ready to use right out of the box. The only difficulty users report is positioning the device’s cords. For safety reasons, the cords cannot be tucked under the frame of the bed or kept within the bed coverings.

Some owners say it’s easier for them to reverse the pad and have the cords attach at the head of the bed — which is also how some also address the issue of being able to feel the cord connection with their feet. Pads with dual controls require two nearby power outlets.

This Sunbeam Quilted Heated Mattress Pad is machine-washable and can be dried in a home dryer as per manufacturer’s instructions, users say.

 

Comfort

Hides wires well. This Sunbeam Quilted mattress pad feels much like non-electrical mattress toppers, despite the embedded heating wires. Most owners say they could not feel the wires through the pad and their sheet.

The reviewers at Good Housekeeping write that they found the covering fabric “cheap” and recommended topping it with high-quality sheets. Users, on the other hand, don’t typically raise similar objections.

 

Ownership

Customer service could be better. The Sunbeam Quilted Heated Mattress Pad earns hundreds of positive reviews from users. However, customers who mentioned the after-sales service from Sunbeam in their reviews had little positive to say.

One issue that crops up is that getting Sunbeam to honor the mattress pad’s five year warranty requires shipping a defective item at the owner’s expense back to the company. However, according to our assessment of hundreds of owner reviews, this seems to be a persistent problem across the board for heated bedding.

 

 

 

Best Heated Throw Blanket

Soft, cozy and just the right size for the couch, the Sunbeam Microplush Heated Throw offers a comfortable way to keep warm in and out of bed.

Available in a wide variety of colors and patterns to match your living room decor, it folds up neatly when not in your lap.

Pros
  • Convenient size and soft material
  • Heats quickly
  • Three-hour automatic shut-off
Cons
  • Cord is awkwardly placed
  • Durability issues
  • Just three heat levels

 

Owners love snuggling under the plushy Sunbeam Microplush Heated Throw while watching TV, reading a book or working on a computer, reviews say. The 3 hour automatic shut-off is both a great convenience and a safety feature.

The three temperature settings are fewer than with other heated bedding products, including other heated throws, but users voice few complaints about it.

 

Performance

Heats quickly with three settings. Users say the Sunbeam Microplush Heated Throw warms up quickly and is thick and insulated well enough to maintain its warmth even after the 3 hour safety switch turns the heating elements off. Once the temperature is set, it heats quickly, and then shuts off for safety after three hours.

The Microplush Heated Throw blanket has three heat settings and a digital control. The control is connected to the power cord, which detaches to allow for easy washing.

 

Ease of Use

Simple intuitive controls. Using the Sunbeam Microplush Heated Throw is as easy as plugging in the blanket and setting the temperature to high, medium or low. However, many users find the cord placement at the foot of the blanket awkward.

Depending on your furniture’s location in relation to electrical outlets, this may put the control out of easy reach. Additionally, some users report that the controls are very sensitive and that even jostling it a little can turn it on.

 

Comfort

Microplush fabric is soft enough for all-day use. The Sunbeam Microplush Heated Throw wins top marks from reviewers looking for something to put over their laps while watching TV or working at a desk.

It’s not a heavy throw, users say, and neatly folds up over the arm of the couch when not in use. Many of those who share feedback on Amazon.com or Walmart.com note they purchased this blanket for friends and family who are recovering from surgery or illness.

 

Ownership

Easy to own, for as long as it lasts. Though the majority of reviewers are pleased with their Sunbeam Microplush Heated Throws, even claiming to use them daily, there are a significant number of owners who have encountered durability issues — even within the manufacturer’s five-year warranty. Many reviewers complain that the blanket either stopped warming, warmed inconsistently, or shut off before the 3 hour timer.

On the positive side, users find that the Sunbeam Microplush keeps its shape and feel after machine-washing. The throw comes in a wide variety of colors and patterns.

 

You may also be interested in:

Electric Blankets – Comfort and Energy Savings

Electric Blanket Buying Guide

Adjustable Beds – Benefits and Reviews

Top Pillows to Relieve Neck Pain

Top 10 Massage Chairs Reviews

A Guide to Hospital Beds For Home Use

About Me

Create Your Own Blog

 

 

Please help others by sharing this post. Share on Google+Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInDigg thisPin on Pinterest