Everything You Need to Know About Electric Blankets
Electric blankets come in all shapes and sizes. Gone are the days when electric blankets were lumpy, beige things that all looked the same – there’s now a massive variety to choose from! There’s a huge difference between a basic underblanket and a more luxurious fleecy throw, so you might be wondering which is best for you. We’ll break down all the different choices below so you can pick your perfect electric blanket!
Underblanket or Overblanket?
You can (very) broadly divide blankets into two groups. There are underblankets, which fit to your mattress beneath your duvet, and overblankets which you drape over the top of your duvet. Some overblankets can also be used beneath your duvet but on top of your body.
So, which one is right for you? The answer to this relies entirely on your own personal preference. If you only want to use your electric blanket in bed, then you’ll probably be better off with an underblanket. They fit over your mattress and act as a cosy bottom sheet for your bed. For most people, this is their preferred choice. If you want to use your blanket on the sofa as well as your bed, though, you’ll need a heated throw or an overblanket.
Benefits of an Electric Underblanket
You probably already know that heat rises. As this type of electric blanket is made for lying on top of, this makes them feel extra cosy! The heat from the blanket gets trapped under your duvet, which gives you a second benefit: they can run really efficiently. To get a bit technical for a moment, your duvet acts as a kind of insulation, which makes it easier for your blanket to reach and maintain its target temperature. This means underblankets can usually be run for just a couple of pence a night – much cheaper than central heating!
Benefits of a Heated Overblanket
The main benefit of a heated overblanket or throw is that you can use them anywhere. You can use them in bed, snuggle down on the sofa for a winter movie night, or take them away to a hotel for a holiday or work trip. If you get an oversized throw, you can wrap yourself in it and get really cosy – there’s nothing quite like being swaddled in a soft and cosy blanket!
If you decide you want a fitted electric blanket, you’ll obviously need to get the correct size for your bed. This is usually fairly straightforward! We stock blankets in single, double, king, and super king size which will fit most mattresses.
If you’re looking for a heated throw, however, you should go as big as you can afford! This will allow you to fit two or even three people under your blanket on the sofa. If you don’t like sharing, you can completely wrap yourself in the blanket without leaving your toes poking out of the bottom. The bigger your blanket is, the more freedom you’ll have to use it however you want.
You’ll also need to consider how you want your electric blanket to fit to your mattress. There are two main options to choose from; fully fitted or elastic straps. Of the two, fully fitted blankets offer the best fit. They work just like a fitted sheet as you fit them to your bed using an elastic skirt. If you wriggle around a lot in your sleep, you should definitely plump for one of these as they won’t ride up as much in the night.
If you’re not bothered about paying a bit extra for a snug-fitting blanket, you can pick up a model with elastic straps. These stretch around the corners of your mattress, and are good if you don’t move around too much through the night.
What kind of fabric is best? That’s completely down to you! However, there are a few things that you should consider. Firstly, if you’re buying a fitted electric blanket, a thick fabric lining means you won’t be able to feel any of the heating elements inside the blanket. Most modern blankets use ultra-thin wires anyway, but if your blanket fabric is thin or poor-quality, you might still feel a few uncomfortable bumps in your bed. Bear this in mind if you’re a light sleeper who can’t drift off if your bed is full of creases and wires! Thicker, cosier fabric also means the blanket retains heat better, so it’ll run more efficiently.
We’ve talked about comfort, now it’s time to talk about cosiness! Most heated blankets give you a few different heat settings to choose from, but more heat settings give you more flexibility. If you’re really particular about how warm you are, you’ll want a model that has eight or nine heat settings. If you’re not fussy about your temperature, you might not need that many.
Some high-end blankets have different heat settings for the top and bottom of the blanket. This is a godsend if you suffer from cold feet in bed, or if you’ve got aching feet after a hard day at work.
Heating Up Evenly
The heating elements inside your blanket should spread heat evenly across the blanket’s whole surface area. This means that wherever you lie on your blanket, you’ll get the same comfy, cosy warmth – no wriggling around to avoid ice cold or scorching hot patches.
If you don’t want to be left out in the cold, heat-up time is a really important feature. For most blankets, the average heat-up time is between 10-15 minutes. Some models can heat up faster, though – many Dreamland blankets are fitted with a rapid heat setting which heats up your bed in as little as 5 minutes. If you can’t stand waiting for your bed to warm up, you should definitely look out for this!
Dual or Single Controllers
If you share your bed with someone else, you might not always agree on how warm to have your electric blanket. If that’s the case, you definitely want a blanket with two controllers! Each one controls a different half of the blanket, so you can make your side of the bed warmer or cooler without affecting your partner.
It’s worth remembering that each controller uses its own power supply, so you’ll need a plug socket on each side of the bed. This is actually quite handy, though – if you’re in bed on your own, you can just unplug one side and cut your energy costs in half!
A relatively new development in terms of electric blankets, timers allow you to program your blanket to shut off during the night. This will help reduce your energy bills over the course of the year. Most blankets come with hourly countdown timers, so you can choose to switch your blanket off after you fall asleep, just before you wake up, or at any time in between.
Put simply, you shouldn’t buy an electric blanket that doesn’t have this feature. This keeps you protected in the (very, very) rare event of a fault developing in your blanket. Overheat protection will shut your blanket down if it starts to get too hot, so you don’t need to lose sleep over it.