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 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

 

 

Thanks for visiting and reading …

I hope this article provided you some helpful ideas.  I welcome your comments below.

-Laurie

 

 

You may also be interested in:

Electric Blankets – Reviewing the Best

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Electric Blanket Buying Guide

Top Pillows to Relieve Neck Pain

Top 10 Massage Chairs Reviews

About Me

Create Your Own Blog

 

 

 

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

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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