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
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.
- Safe, low-voltage heating
- Thin interior wires
- Easy-to-use controls
- 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.
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.
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.
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):
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)
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.
- Heats quickly
- Heating wires are unobtrusive
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
- Convenient size and soft material
- Heats quickly
- Three-hour automatic shut-off
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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