The Best Electric Blankets of 2019By Camryn Rabideau, February 18, 2019
No season is more grueling than winter. When the temperature plummets outside, your heating bill can really take a hit. If your sheets and comforters aren't keeping you warm enough, electric blankets are a great option.
One of the main appeals of electric blankets is that they’ll keep you toasty all night long, allowing you to lower the thermostat and save money on heating. However, a lot of electric blankets have high price tags and mediocre ratings, so we set out on a mission to find which models were actually worth buying. In the end, our testing revealed that the L.L. Bean Heated Blanket (available at L.L. Bean for $199.00) is miles ahead of the competition, featuring high-quality construction and a number of useful features.
Here are the best electric blankets we tested ranked, in order:
- L.L. Bean Heated Blanket
- Biddeford Microplush with Sherpa Electric Blanket
- Serta Silky Plush Heated Electric Blanket
- Perfect Fit SoftHeat Luxury Micro-Fleece Low-Voltage Electric Heated Blanket
- Sunbeam Quilted Fleece Heated Blanket
- Sunbeam Velvet Plush Heated Blanket
Updated February 18, 2019
L.L. Bean Heated Blanket
Where To Buy$199.00 L.L. Bean Buy
L.L. Bean Heated BlanketBest Overall
If you want a high-quality electric blanket to keep you warm all winter long, your best option is to invest in the L.L. Bean Heated Blanket. While more expensive than other products, this blanket blew the competition away in each of our tests.
This heated blanket is actually made by Berkshire Blanket and branded by L.L. Bean. It’s made from two delightfully soft layers of velvety polyester fabric with an insulating layer in between—this was the only blanket we tested that used multiple layers of fabric, and it was definitely the best constructed as well. The wires woven throughout the blanket are thin, and you can barely feel them when you’re cozied up underneath it. Overall, this blanket was by far the warmest and heaviest of the lot—even without turning it on!
The L.L. Bean Heated Blanket also has every feature you could ask for from an electric blanket. As is standard, the blanket has an automatic 9-hour shut off, and the full/queen and king sizes come with dual zones, so you and your partner can customize the heat on your side of the bed. There are only five heat settings on this blanket—most other options have 10—but we found them to be ideal, no matter whether you wanted the blanket slightly warm or really toasty.
The controllers are a little confusing on first glance, but they’re easy enough to understand if you take a few minutes to read the instructions. There’s a preheat option that will warm up the bed for 45 minutes before dropping the heat to setting 5, and you can also play around with the timer feature if you want the blanket to turn off after a few hours. Finally, the blanket features Berkshire’s patented Intellisense technology, which is supposed to prevent hot spots, and we did find this blanket heated quite evenly.
To make this blanket even better, it can be cleaned in the washing machine and dryer. Several other blankets have obnoxiously specific washing requirements that aren’t feasible in all machines, but this one just needs to be put on a gentle cycle. Overall, this heated blanket is well worth its price for superior comfort, performance, quality, and versatility.
Biddeford Blankets Microplush with Sherpa Electric Blanket
Where To Buy$89.99 Target Buy
Biddeford Blankets Microplush with Sherpa Electric BlanketBest Value
If you don’t plan on using your electric blanket as frequently, the Biddeford Microplush with Sherpa Electric Blanket is a bit friendlier on your wallet, and we think you’ll be pleased with its performance. The top of the blanket is a nice polyester fleece material, and the bottom is a cozy faux shearling. The wires in this product are pretty hefty, but the shearling is thick enough that you don’t notice them too much. Overall, the blanket is midweight, and it seems well-made, even if the edges aren’t finished as nicely as they could be.
In terms of features, this blanket has 10 heat settings and an automatic 10-hour shut off. We really liked the range of temperatures available—the lowest setting was subtle enough to use all night, and the highest setting was impressively warm. Queen and king sizes come with dual heating zones, and the controllers themselves are quite sturdy and stay put on your bedside table, unlike others we tested. There’s also a preheat option, which will warm up your bed on the maximum heat for 90 minutes before dropping down to your last-used setting.
One thing we didn’t like is that Biddeford markets this blanket as “machine-washable,” but that’s not completely accurate. Technically, yes, you can put the blanket in the washing machine, but the instructions are so specific that you’ll probably only be able to follow them with a more advanced top-load washer. You’re supposed to fill the washer with warm water, then dissolve the detergent in it. Only then do you add the blanket, letting it soak for a few minutes before spinning, rinsing, agitating ever so slightly, and rinsing again.
My front-load washer isn’t nearly advanced enough to handle these instructions, and if you’re in the same boat, you’ll have to hand-wash the blanket. It can go in the dryer, but only for five minutes, which doesn’t seem like enough time to dry it. However, if you don’t plan to use the blanket all winter, it probably won’t get too dirty and this complicated washing situation may not be a big deal.
How We Tested
I’m Camryn Rabideau, a freelance contributor for Reviewed. I’ve been doing product testing for a few years now, and a lot of my focus has been on household linens, including bed sheets, comforters, and towels. It seemed like a natural progression to test electric blankets, especially considering we’re in the middle of a chilly New England winter.
In addition to my previous experience testing bedding, I majored in fashion in college, which required me to take numerous courses on fabrics, textile science, and manufacturing. Thanks to this education, I have a good eye for fabric quality and construction techniques, which helped me to assess the overall quality of these blankets.
As you might expect, testing electric blankets required a lot of sleeping. We focused solely on blankets that are designed to be used overnight, so I slept with each one. To keep things fair, I made sure to set my thermostat to a brisk 60 degrees each night, and I made up the bed in the same way. In addition to using each blanket overnight, I also napped under them and used them on the couch during my nightly Netflix session.
For the blankets that had special features, such as a timer or preheat setting, I played around with the various settings, evaluating whether they were useful or just for show. Finally, I compared the warmth produced on the lowest and highest settings for each blanket, noting whether I ever had safety concerns.
What You Should Know About Electric Blankets
In general, there are three types of electric blankets: standard blankets that you sleep under overnight, heated mattress pads that you sleep on top of, and throw blankets that you can use around the house. Our testing focused on standard blankets, so the details provided in the following sections are specific to this type of product.
With that in mind, here’s what you need to know about electric blankets to make an informed purchase.
How do electric blankets work?
Electric blankets aren’t as thick or puffy as a winter comforter—if you’re looking for new bedding, our guide to the Best Comforters can help you there. Instead, they’re typically more akin to a lightweight summer blanket or throw blanket. Most are made from polyester fleece or velvet, making them super soft to the touch.
What distinguishes these blankets from a regular throw is the wiring that runs throughout the material. Unlike a heating pad, electric blankets don’t have a “cover”—the wires are integrated directly into the fabric, and they can’t be removed. At the end of the blanket is one or two connectors, depending on how many zones the blanket has, where you plug the cords in. When you set the blanket up, these connectors are typically positioned at the foot of the bed, and you then run the cords under the bed, positioning the controller(s) on your bedside table and putting the plug into a nearby outlet.
What features do heated blankets have?
There are several common features you’ll see on electric blankets. First, almost all electric blankets have 10 heat settings and automatic shut-off after around eight to 10 hours. The blanket will automatically turn off after this period of time, so you won’t accidentally leave it on all day.
Another common feature is dual-zone controls. Queen- and king-sized blankets electric blankets typically come with two controllers that allow partners to customize the heat on their side of the bed. This was once a “luxury” feature, but we’ve found it’s pretty standard today across all brands.
There are also some special features reserved for more expensive electric blankets. For instance, some models have a “preheat” option, which typically heats up the blanket on a warmer setting for 30 minutes or more before lowering the temperature. Essentially, it’s a way to heat up your bed before you get in—the preheat settings we tested specifically note not to use them when you’re in bed.
Another special feature is a timer, which means the blanket will turn off after a set number of hours. Similar to the preheat option, this will ensure you don’t get too hot overnight, and it will save electricity, too.
How to safely use an electric blanket
One of the first things you’ll notice when you buy an electric blanket is there are a lot of safety precautions. They’re listed in big bold letters in the instructions, but the blankets themselves also sport a big patch with important safety guidelines—and it can’t be removed.
In general, all heated blankets have a few key guidelines for safe use:
- Don’t use the bedding for children, disabled individuals, or with sedatives.
- Don’t fold, bunch, or tuck the blanket.
- Don’t use pins on the blanket.
- Don’t pinch, trap, tuck, or cross the electrical cords.
- Don’t use electric blankets on pull-out or fold-up beds.
- Don’t let your pets scratch or claw the bedding.
- Don’t use the blanket if it’s wet.
- Don’t use a heated blanket in combination with other heated products, such as a heating pad or mattress pad.
- If you notice any signs of damage or misoperation, stop using it immediately.
Because it’s an electric device that you’re using while asleep, it’s important to follow these guidelines carefully to ensure your safety.
Common issues with electric blankets
Despite the fact that they’ve been around for many years, electric blankets are still plagued with issues. There are several common problems you might experience if you purchase an electric blanket, and they range from moderately inconvenient to dangerous.
On the mild end of the spectrum, many electric blankets don’t last as long as you might expect, especially considering their high price. If you read reviews on popular electric blankets, you’ll see many users complain their blankets stop working after a few months—sometimes just one “zone” dies out, and other times the whole thing goes kaput. Another frequently cited issue is hot spots, where one zone or area of an electric blanket doesn’t get quite as warm as the other.
However, electric blankets can be dangerous if used incorrectly. Some users report their blankets have started smoking or melting at the connection where the cord meets the blanket. There’s also a risk of burning yourself if you leave the blanket on too high overnight. To prevent these serious problems, it’s essential to carefully read and follow the manufacturer’s safety precautions. You’ll also want to stop using your blanket if there are any signs of fraying or loose wires or other damage.
Other Electric Blankets We Tested
Serta Silky Plush Heated Electric Blanket
Serta Silky Plush Heated Electric Blanket
The Serta Silky Plush Heated Electric Blanket is made by Perfect Fit, and while it certainly wasn’t the worst blanket in the bunch, its price is comparable to that of our Best Overall pick. If we had to choose between the two, we’d much rather sleep with the L.L. Bean Heated Blanket.
This electric blanket is soft and cozy, and it’s made from 100 percent polyester. The queen size blanket comes with dual controllers, while the twin and full have just one heating zone. There are 10 heat settings, which we found give you a good range of temperature. Unfortunately, the wires in this blanket are pretty prominent since the single layer of fabric is fairly thin. You can feel them as soon as you lay down—it’s not necessarily a dealbreaker, but personally, I’d prefer not to feel them if I don’t have to.
In terms of features, the Serta Heated Electric Blanket includes a standard 10-hour shut off, as well as a programmable timer. Its controller felt a little cheap, especially considering the price of this blanket, but it was easy to use and stayed in place on the bedside table. Additionally, this blanket can be washed normally in your washer and dryer, so that’s always a plus.
Perfect Fit Soft Heat Micro Fleece Warming Blanket
Perfect Fit Soft Heat Micro Fleece Warming Blanket
The Perfect Fit SoftHeat Low-Voltage Electric Heated Blanket is an interesting concept, which is why we wanted to test it. The whole idea behind this blanket is it uses low-voltage wires, which the brand claims are safer for pets, can be used around moisture, and in theory, don’t create an electromagnetic field. It sounds like a good idea, but this blanket has a few issues that kept it from ranking higher in our testing.
The Perfect Fit SoftHeat is made from polyester micro-fleece, and while it’s only one fairly thin layer, the wires are so fine that you can’t feel them at all—definitely a plus! However, because this blanket converts your normal 120 volt AC home current into a low-voltage DC current, there’s a small “supply box” that needs to be connected to each controller. This increases the number of wires you’re dealing with, and we found the setup to be a bit complicated as a result. Further, the controllers themselves felt really cheap. There’s essentially just an on/off button and a dial that you twist to select one of 10 heat settings, and the plastic is so thin that the backlight makes the whole controller glow. They work fine, but compared to some of the other controllers, these ones seem low-quality.
SoftHeat is a good name for this product, as it provides a much more subtle warmth than standard heated blankets. On its lowest setting, the blanket doesn’t really feel warm—it just eliminates the cold, if that makes sense. However, I made the mistake of reading this product’s reviews before using it, and users cite a wide range of issues, including some instances of the connector and/or supply box smoking, melting, or even catching on fire. With these warnings in my head, it was an uneasy night of sleep. The blanket seemed to work fine when I used it, but if you do buy this blanket, you’ll want to be especially diligent about checking the cords, connectors, and supply boxes for signs of malfunction.
Sunbeam Quilted Fleece Heated Blanket
Sunbeam Quilted Fleece Heated Blanket
The Sunbeam Quilted Fleece Heated Blanket was the least welcoming of the bunch, as its fleece fabric wasn’t particularly soft or cozy. It’s made from polyester like the rest of the products, but it’s not pleasing to the touch and I didn’t want it against my bare skin. Additionally, the wires inside this blanket were very stiff—you can feel them immediately when you lie under it, and when I tried to fold the blanket up, the wires made it difficult.
One thing that’s different about this blanket is there’s only one connector, even though it has two separate heating zones. For this reason, you have to set the cords up in a specific way to ensure the controllers end up on the right sides of the bed—I didn’t realize this until I had already spent 10 minutes threading the cords under the bed. It was a bit frustrating, but also my fault for not reading the directions more carefully. Another problem was that the cord connecting the two controllers was a little too short to reach under my bed, so if one controller got jostled or pulled, the other one fell off the side table.
This electric blanket has 10 heat settings and a 10-hour shut off, but that’s about it in terms of features. It seemed to get warmer than other blankets, even on low settings, and when I used it overnight on setting 2, I woke up after a few hours uncomfortably warm. As such, I would be concerned using this blanket on a high setting overnight.
Sunbeam Velvet Plush Heated Blanket
Sunbeam Velvet Plush Heated Blanket
The Sunbeam Velvet Plush Heated Blanket is essentially the same product as the Sunbeam Quilted Fleece Heated Blanket, except its fabric is softer. It has all the same issues—confusing setup, too-short controller cord, and extra-warm low setting—and I found the wires to be even more prominent in its velvety polyester fabric since it was thinner than the quilted fleece. Plus, it’s quite a bit more expensive than the other Sunbeam model, even though they’re pretty much the same thing.