We asked our expert colleagues on sister site Ideal Home to give us their top picks of the best electric blankets on the market. Here’s what they recommend to keep warm at night:
Nothing is more comforting than a warm bed on a cold night. The long, bitter winters we suffer here in the UK mean that many of us can’t get a good night’s sleep without a hot water bottle or an electric blanket. While hot water bottles offer targeted heat, an electric blanket keeps you warm from head to toe. We’ve rounded up the top 7 to help you find the best electric blanket for you.
Electric blankets are having a moment. Today’s models aren’t like the old, energy-sapping ones. Now, electric blankets are specifically designed with ultra-thin, flexible wires that meet higher safety standards. They’re also far cheaper to use than turning up your central heating. You might even be able to switch it off altogether.
Not only do electric blankets keep you cosy – insulating your body temperature increases circulation and relaxes your muscles, helping to ease muscle tension and pain from arthritis. Several studies have shown how effective prolonged heating is in curing a variety of ailments. Plus, if you share a bed with your partner, many models now come with dual controls that allow you to create your own temperature settings on each side of the bed.
Related: Best mattress
How do electric blankets work?
Electric blankets have thin, electrical heating wires sewn into the fabric. The blanket goes between your mattress and your bed sheet, and heat up your entire bed when they’re plugged in.
They also have an attached control unit that can be used to adjust the temperature and the time period they stay running.
Modern electric blankets now include an automatic shut-off mechanism, to prevent fires and overheating. Any blanket made before 2001 won’t have this feature, so be wary of older models.
How much do electric blankets cost to run?
The cost of running an electric blanket naturally depends on how much you use it. You could keep warm all night on a low heat, or use it for a short blast of preheating before getting into bed.
Energy Helpline conducted a study that concluded it would cost £14.60 per year (8p per night) to use a 60 watt blanket for 7 hours a night, and £16.42 per year (9p per night) to use a 70 watt blanket. This works out as roughly the same as leaving your bedside lamp on – not a huge expenditure.
1. Dreamland Cotton Heated Mattress Protector: best electric blanket for speedy heat-up
Its dual controls mean that each side of the bed can set its own temperature, and the useful ‘Ready For Bed’ function preheats your bed in five minutes – plenty of time to brush your teeth and get into your pyjamas.
It comes with five different heat settings, and the option to switch off after one hour once you’ve drifted off, or nine hours, keeping you warm for the entire night. After the selected amount of time, the automatic shut-off function will kick in, preventing overheating.
If you do decide to heat your bed all night, this blanket has inbuilt technology that senses and responds to any temperature changes. It is available in multiple sizes, from single to super king, and the dual controls are available from sizes double and up. It’s safe to wash at 40°C, and tumble dry on a low setting.
Trusted Reviews’ rating: 5 out of 5 stars
2. Silentnight Comfort Control Electric Blanket: best electric blanket on a budget
However, it is perfect if you only use an electric blanket occasionally, and don’t want to invest in a state-of-the-art model. There are three different heat settings and an automatic shut-off function, which means it will safely shut down if it overheats or if the wires are faulty.
It is made out of polyester, which is not as soft as cotton, and the wires could do with a little more padding. However, it is compatible with memory foam mattresses, which is an important advantage. Another bonus is that Silentnight have created an app that controls all of their products, blanket included. This means that you can pre-warm your bed in advance, no matter where you are.
Trusted Reviews’ rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars
3. Slumberdown Electric Blanket: best electric blanket for targeted heating
It has nine different heat settings along with multi-zone heating, meaning each quarter of the bed can be controlled separately. Plus, the added bonus of a foot-warming function means you won’t need your slippers, even on the coldest nights.
The Slumberdown electric blanket is high quality and reasonably affordable, and everything from the flexibility of the multi-zone heating to the neat plastic container used for storage is carefully thought-out and useful.
Trusted Reviews’ rating: 4 out of 5 stars
4. Lakeland Luxury Fleece Fitted Electric Blanket: best electric blanket for comfort
You can choose to keep it on from one to nine hours, and after the selected time it will automatically switch off. The dual controls are particularly useful, as they allow you to heat each side of the bed separately. The fleece lining is made from polyester, and is safe for machine washing and tumble drying.
Trusted Reviews’ rating: 5 out of 5 stars
5. Beurer Anti-Allergy Electric Underblanket: best electric blanket for allergies
This blanket has six heat settings, which includes an anti-allergy heat boost and a preheat setting that takes eight minutes to get going. You can choose to keep the heat on for either one, three, six or twelve hours, after which it will automatically turn off.
The cotton fabric is soft and breathable and has been fitted with an elasticated skirt that fits easily over your mattress. It is super comfortable, with no wires poking out, and also has the option for dual controls from sizes double to super king.
Trusted Reviews’ rating: 5 out of 5 stars
6. Morphy Richards Fleece Washable Heated Underblanket: best electric blanket for foot-warming
However, it does require tying around your mattress, which can be a little fiddly. Rather than the elasticated skirts of some of the other contenders, it has cords that wrap around the four corners of your bed to secure it in place. One bonus, however, is the extra-thin wires, which are undetectable through the thick fleece.
That said, this blanket does require a little planning ahead, as it takes approximately fifteen to twenty minutes to heat up. Once it reaches full-heat, however, it can be kept on all night – making it much more difficult to get out of bed in the morning.
It has an automatic shut-off system which is activated when the temperature gets too high, and it is safe to tumble dry and machine wash at 40°C.
Trusted Reviews’ rating: 3.5 out of 5
7. Livivo Deluxe Electric Underblanket with Dual LED Controller: best electric blanket for value
It’s straightforward to use, with digital LED controllers that set the temperature, timer. It also has a ‘cancel’ button for quick use. The blanket is machine-washable at 40°C – just remember to remove the controllers first.
All in all, the performance of the Livivo Deluxe is fantastic considering its low price point, and you’ll rest easy knowing you made a saving on this reliable blanket.
Trusted Reviews’ rating: 4.5 out of 5
Are electric blankets safe?
Electric blankets are much safer than the models produced 20 years ago, however, you do still have to use them sensibly. Don’t use an electric blanket with a pet or a small child. The Fire Service has the following guidelines for using electric blankets safely:
- Always read and abide by the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Look out for the UK Safety Standard mark – only use blankets that clearly display this.
- Never use electric overblankets and underblankets interchangeably – they have been specifically designed for their purpose.
- Make sure you always store your electric blanket flat – crinkling can cause heat spots.
- Only keep your electric blanket switched on all night if it has a thermostatic shut-off mechanism.
- Do not get your electric blanket wet. Once it is wet, you cannot use it anymore, and definitely do not switch it on to dry it.
- Always turn off the power at the socket when not in use.
How to clean an electric blanket
Of course you will want to keep your blanket clean and fresh. Always read the manufacturer’s instructions, although most electric blankets are safe to wash in the machine using mild detergent at 40°C. Just check you have removed the cables and controls first!
Some electric blankets are safe to tumble dry. Never switch it on if it is damp, or it could cause issues with the wiring. Never iron any electric blanket.
What else do I need to know about electric blankets?
How often does it need to be replaced?
At least once every 10 years, although more regularly if it seems to be in bad condition. Never buy a second-hand blanket.
What are my options for fabric?
In general, the best electric blanket tends to be from either polyester, fleece or cotton. Polyester is the most affordable option, and the longest lasting, but cotton is more breathable. And fleece is definitely the best when it comes to cosiness.
What if I have allergies?
There are multiple non-allergenic options. The best electric blanket for allergy-sufferers will be made from hypoallergenic fabric, which together with high temperatures, kill off any allergy-causing dust mites.
Can you feel the wires through the fabric?
You certainly shouldn’t. The best electric blanket uses wire that is ultra-thin and flexible.
Is it safe to use an electric blanket with a memory foam mattress?
It is not recommended, as memory foam is designed to react to your body temperature. The blanket will prevent this, and stop the foam from functioning properly. However, there are some blankets that have been specifically designed for memory foam mattresses, so keep your eyes peeled.
How hot can electric blankets get?
On average, electric blankets go to a minimum of 25°C, and a maximum of 48°C. However, we have found some that go as low as 18°C, and as high as 56°C.
How do I store my electric blanket?
Always make sure that you roll it up, as folding or creasing can damage the blanket’s wiring.