What’s more inviting than a warm bed on a cold night? As the long, chilly winter nights set in, many of us will be reaching for our hot water bottle or electric blanket to make the climb into bed a bit easier. So if you’ve maxed up the comfort levels with the best mattress, but you don’t fancy getting in a cold bed, an electric blanket offers head-to-toe warmth that’s hard to beat. And they’re not just for bed. Why not wrap yourself in a soft, fleecy heated blanket for a Netflix binge on the sofa?
Electric blankets have shaken off their granny image and are enjoying a renaissance. The latest high-tech models feature thinner wires and higher safety standards, making them a much comfier option than the electric blankets of old. With heating bills on the rise, an electric blanket is also a lot cheaper to run than having the heating on full blast. In fact, they’ll mean you can drop your thermostat by a few degrees, or even turn the heating off altogether.
As well as keeping you cosy (also check out our pick of the best duvets to help up the snuggle factor), electric blankets have other benefits too. The heat they provide will increase blood circulation and help your muscles to relax. This can alleviate any muscle tension, stiffness or pain from arthritis. A number of studies show the effectiveness heat can have in healing a variety of conditions.
Black Friday electric blanket deals
Soft & Thick Star Heated Throw in grey: was £69.99, now £49.99 at Lakeland
This bestseller won’t stick around for long, so snap it up now so you don’t miss out! The thick, fleecy blanket has a gorgeous star design to give it some style points. It features 3 heat settings with an LED display and auto shut-off after 3 hours. 126 x 180cm.
Dreamland Deluxe velvet herringbone heated throw: was £69.99, now £56 at Argos (save over £13)
This super-soft throw is perfect for winter snuggling. It has 6 temperature settings and heats up in 5 minutes so you’ll be toasty in no time. Also features a 1, 3 or 9 hour auto shut off timer and detachable digital control. It’s machine washable and tumble dryer safe.
Lakeland Sherpa Electric Heated Throw in Dark Peacock Blue: SAVE £20! was £79.99, now £59.99 at Lakeland
Offering style and comfort in one, this luxurious heated throw (120cm x 160cm) boasts a soft, fleecy sherpa lining. There’s a choice of 9 heat settings and 9 time settings, and it’s machine washable.
Beurer HK115 Luxury Contoured Heating Pad: was £54.99, now £40.69 at Amazon
This contoured heating pad has 6 temperature settings and a rapid heat up function. The micro-fleece cover is machine washable at 30°C. The pad measures W37 x L22.2cm, so is ideal for warming up one side of the bed!
Beurer Cosy Heated Snuggie Throw: Save 10%, was £49.99, now £44.99 at Holland & Barratt
Save 10% with the code HB10 on this fleecy heated throw in a gorgeous mushroom shade. It’s 180 x 130cm so super-generous for snuggling whether you’re having a Netflix binge on the sofa or you want your bed nice and warm before you climb in.
How do electric blankets work?
They contain thin electrical heating wires that have been placed into the fabric. The blanket is placed in between your mattress and bottom bed sheet. When you plug the blanket into your electricity supply they heat up, warming the blanket and your bed.
They feature an attached control unit (between the blanket and the electrical outlet) that you use to turn it on and off. This adjusts the amount of heat it produces and how long it stays on for.
Modern electric blankets have a shut-off mechanism, which prevent the blanket from overheating or catching fire. Do not use a blanket that pre-dates 2001 as it may not contain this shut-off mechanism, so it may run the risk of overheating.
Tip: Always check the cord is long enough to reach the nearest plug socket, or you may need to use an extension lead.
How much do electric blankets cost to run?
The price you pay for an electric blanket will depend on your usage. It can either be kept on all night on a low setting, or used for a short amount of time before you get into bed.
Energy Helpline tested a 60 watt and a 70 watt blanket for seven hours a night over six months, which is as much as you’re likely to use the blanket for. The annual cost for the 60 watt was £14.60 (8p a night) and £16.42 for the 70 watt – (9p a night). This is about the same cost as leaving the landing light on.
Best electric blankets 2020
1. Dreamland Cotton Heated Mattress protector – best electric blanket for a quick heat-up time
This economical electric blanket from Dreamland costs as little as 1p per night to run for seven hours. It fits like an elasticated fitted sheet, so it is really easy to throw on your bed. It hugs the mattress really well with a generous 38cm deep skirt. Made from 200-thread-count cotton, it is soft to the touch, breathable, and the deep quilted finish makes it feel all the more luxurious.
The pièce de résistance is the addition of dual controls so you and your partner can pick your own setting. If they’re ever away you only need to heat up your own side of the bed. It features a very handy ‘Ready For Bed’ five-minute pre-heat button. Turn this on before you clean your teeth, wash your face etc, and by the time you’re prepped for bed it will be ready for you.
In addition, it comes with a choice of five different heat settings which you can select for just 1 hour as you nod off. It can even stay on all night, for nine hours. After your chosen time, it automatically shuts off.
If you do opt for the all-night setting, it cleverly detects and responds to any temperature changes whilst you sleep. Available in all sizes from single through to super king with dual controls available from the double size up. This electric blanket can be washed at 40 °C and tumble dried on a low setting.
Ideal Home’s rating: 5 out of 5 stars
2. Slumberdown Perfectly Warm – best electric blanket for multi-zone heating areas
Crave cosy toes or full body warmth? New to the market from Slumberdown is this cleverly designed blanket that can target four different sections of the bed; the dual controls give you and your partner the option to monitor your own side and the extra foot warmth is a lovely feature that will appeal to hot water bottle fans who have a preference for toasty toes.
To fit, lay the blanket flat on your mattress and secure with the re-enforced elastic straps –they wrap underneath the mattress so once in place, won’t budge. It isn’t as long as the mattress so make sure you pull it down the bed so the area underneath your pillows isn’t covered.
There are 9 warmth settings for your body and feet and you can also set a timer ranging from 1 – 12 hours. Heat-up time could be a little quicker (so plan ahead) but after 15 minutes it’s ready to go. I found the temperature just right but some might prefer it a little hotter.
The indulgent, quilted fleece on top is the piece de résistance and adds extra thickness and a lovely squidgy layer to your mattress (a bit like a heated topper!) – this is a really comfy addition which can be easily removed and machine washed separately. Both layers can be washed on a 40 degree wool cycle.
Ideal Home’s rating: 5 out of 5 stars
3. Livivo Deluxe electric underblanket with dual LED controller – best for value for money
Fitting securely to your mattress with the elastic skirt, this electric blanket really is great value for money. It has ultra-thin, non-obtrusive wires and dual controls from the double size up, allowing you to heat both sides of the bed independently.
It takes virtually no time to heat up and comes with five pre-set temperatures (ignore the description online, which says three). There are also pre-set times of 1, 2, 4 or 8 hours, with a build-in overheat protection system.
The digital LED controllers are really easy to use and come with an on/off switch, a temperature, timer and cancel button. They are easily detachable too so you can machine wash the blanket safely at 40 degrees.
Overall, the performance and flexibility are great. And as you nod off and enjoy your warm bed, you can feel safe in the knowledge that this is a thrifty yet reliable buy.
Ideal Home’s rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
4. Lakeland Alaskan Husky Faux Fur heated throw – best electric blanket for curling up on the sofa
If you prefer your heat source to be over you, this fabulous faux fur heated blanket is incredibly soft and may actually help save money on your heating bill. Costing as little as 1p a night to run, you could turn down your thermostat and stay snug on the sofa with this wrapped around you – perfect if you’ve had a long day and you want to create a hygge haven – light some candles and escape with a box set but be warned, you might find it hard to get up! You can also take it to bed with you though as it works well laid over your duvet.
With 6 heat settings and a Ready-to-relax pre-heat button you can be super snug within as little as 5 minutes; the heat feels really evenly distributed and it responds to temperature changes during use. For peace of mind (if you do nod off) there is an auto shut-off feature which can be set between 1-9 hours. My only bug bear is the cable isn’t very long so you may need to use an extension lead.
A stand-out feature is the Memory Function, after using your throw for more than 5 minutes, the Intelliheat control will remember your last temperature setting for when you use it the next time.
The throw can be machine washed at 40 degrees on a wool programme but only use a gentle spin cycle.
Ideal Home’s rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
5. Dreamland Intelliheat Harmony Super-Soft Heated Overblanket – best electric blanket for a memory-foam mattress
Another heated over blanket but this time, in a neutral colour that will suit most decors and spot the satin trim, which adds a touch of luxe.
Available in a single, double or king, hunker down with this blanket that will be up to temperature after only 5 minutes using the Ready For Bed fast preheat button. You then have the option of 5 different temperature settings which you can leave on for just 1 hour or 9.
If you’re worried you will get too hot, don’t panic, this blanket is smart and cleverly responds to any temperature changes whilst you sleep which also helps to minimise your energy consumption. It’s actually designed to go under any additional duvet or bedcovers, this is to avoid any heat loss. You can also place it inside your duvet cover, with the duvet on top to keep the heat in.
If you want to stay toasty at night but you have a memory foam mattress, then a heated overblanket is the way to go. This is because memory foam is a heat-sensitive material which reacts to the warmth of your body and moulds to your shape. The warmth from an electric blanket that is in direct contact with a mattress will cause the memory foam to soften too much and effect your support so it is best to keep any added heat over you.
This blanket can be machine washed and tumble dried at 40 degrees on a wool programme.
Ideal Home’s rating: 4 out of 5 stars
6. Morphy Richards Fleece washable heated underblanket – best for keeping feet warm
Costing from as little as 2p per night to run, this cosy fleece electric blanket comes with 4 different heat levels with extra heat at the foot of the bed for keeping your toes toasty warm. The fleece feels really snuggly and soft to the touch, a bit like lying on a sheepskin rug.
This one doesn’t offer maximum coverage like the mattress protector versions, so to fit you need to attach the tie cords at all four corners of the bed. The wires are ultra-thin, so you certainly won’t notice these through the fluffy fleece.
It does take a little while to heat up (approx. 15-20 minutes) so you just need to plan ahead a bit. But once the heat starts flowing, you can keep it on all night if you wish. Just be warned – you may find it harder to get out of your toasty bed the next day.
For peace of mind, it comes with a built-in protection system which means it will automatically switch off when it gets to a temperature that is considered higher than comfortable. This blanket is machine washable at 40 degrees and tumble dryer safe.
Ideal Home’s rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
7. Silentnight comfort control electric blanket – best for a low budget
The Silentnight electric blanket is not designed to fit to the edges of the mattress. Instead, it comes with ties that neatly wrap around the four corners instead, keeping it securely in place. It is a bit of a fiddle to set up and if you’re looking for full bed coverage, then this might not be your first choice.
That said, it is a good option if you just want to use an electric blanket occasionally and don’t feel the need to splash out on a top-of-the-range model. You have three heat settings to choose from, and there is an auto shut-off function, which means the built-in thermal fuse will shut down if it detects a hot spot or a fault in the wiring.
Made from polyester, it is not very soft to the touch and it could do with a bit more padding as the wires do stick out a little. However, this blanket is memory-foam compatible.
An added perk is you can also control your Silentnight electric blanket (and other home electronics) with the Silentnight App and Wi-Fi plug. Wherever you are you can use your smartphone to switch the blanket on or off, and even set the timer so it’s warmed up and ready for when you get in. Genius!
Ideal Home’s rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars
8. Slumberdown electric blanket – best for focused heat
This electric blanket comes with a removable, deep-filled velvety comfort layer, so before you even switch it on it feels super snuggly and warm. With wide elastic corner straps at both ends, it is easy to fit and requires minimal lifting of the mattress. The controls have long leads, too, which makes it easy to connect.
It comes with dual controls and nine different heat settings with an extra foot warmth function. This means you can adjust the heat for your feet separately – a nice option if you wear bed socks or you like to rest your feet on a cosy hotty.
It also features multi-zone heating areas which means you can activate a different heat setting on each quarter of the bed. Handy! Everything about this electric blanket feels good quality and it offers plenty of flexibility with the added option to heat different areas of the bed. It comes with a neat zipped container for storing when not in use.
Ideal Home’s rating: 4 out of 5 stars
How safe are electric blankets?
Although they are far less hazardous than ones used 20 years ago you still need to use them properly. Never use an electric blanket if you’re sharing your bed with a small child or pet. The Fire Service lists the following safety instructions:
- Always follow the instructions
- Never use an electric underblanket as an electric overblanket, and vice versa
- Keep all blankets flat
- Tie electric underblankets to the bed or mattress – this stops them slipping and creasing, which could damage them
- Only leave a blanket switched on all night if it has thermostatic controls for safe all-night use. Otherwise switch it off and disconnect it before you get into bed
- Don’t get blankets wet, and if your blanket does get wet, don’t use it. Never switch it on to dry it.
If your blanket is showing any evidence of the following electric blanket danger signs, you should have it checked, or treat yourself to a brand new one in the Black Friday sales:
- Fraying fabric
- Scorch marks
- Exposed elements
- Creasing or folding
- Damp patches
- Tie tapes damaged or missing
- Worn flex
- Loose connections
How do I clean an electric blanket?
It’s nice to have a blanket that is as clean and fresh as it is warm. Always check the manufacturers instructions first, but most can be washed in the machine at 40 degrees using a mild detergent. Just make sure you detach the controls first!
Some can even be tumble dried, but never use your electric blanket until it is completely dry or you could damage the wiring. Never iron your electric blanket.
What else should I know before buying an electric blanket?
What are the fabric options?
They are typically made from polyester, fleece or cotton and really it comes down to personal preference. Polyester is more affordable and durable but less breathable than cotton. Choose fleece for an all-round cosy experience.
What if I suffer from allergies?
Don’t worry, you can still enjoy cosy nights under an electric blanket as there are plenty of anti-allergy electric blankets out there. Made from specially-made hypoallergenic fabrics combined with the blanket’s heat, they create a hostile environment for any dust mites.
Can you feel the wires in an electric blanket?
We really don’t think you will! The new models aren’t like your granny’s old electric blanket – the wires used these days are very thin and flexible.
Can you use an electric blanket with a memory foam mattress?
It’s not ideal as memory foam reacts to your own body heat. The blanket will act as a barrier between your body and the mattress, which will prevent the mattress from moulding to your body properly. While it’s not a safety issue, it may make it too hot for comfortable sleep.
How hot do electric blankets get?
The average minimum temperature is around 25°C (the lowest is 18°C). The average maximum is 48°C (the highest is 56°C). All the blankets in our buying guide feature a choice of temperature settings so that you can find the perfect one for you, whether you like it tropical, or you just want a gentle warming hug.
How should I store my electric blanket when not in use?
Always roll your electric blanket as folding could damage the wires.
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