Choosing an electric blanket
Winter warming electric blankets
An electric blanket can warm up winter nights and ensures that, whatever the weather, your bed is always invitingly toasty.
Electric blankets or sheets are fitted with a series of thin electrical wires that heat up your bed when they're plugged into your mains electricity supply - either before you retire to bed, or throughout the night while you're sleeping. Here's how to choose the best one for you.
Electric blanket shopping tips
It was back in 1964 that Which? first lobbied for the introduction of electric blanket standards to stop them catching fire. These days, all electric blankets are required to meet safety standards before going into shops.
We thoroughly test electric blankets to find out how quickly they heat up, how well they distribute heat and how much energy they use - read our electric blankets review to find Best Buy electric blankets.
Electric over- or under-blanket?
Electric blankets can typically be separated into two types: over-blankets, which usually sit on top of your duvet and bedding to maintain a constant temperature during the night, and under-blankets or mattress toppers that fit over your mattress to warm the inside of your bed.
The type of electric blanket you choose is down to personal choice, depending on where and how you're planning to use your electric blanket. Heated throws are also available for more flexible use - on top of your bedding, or when you're sat on the sofa.
Electric blanket sizing
Like sheets and bedding, electric blankets come sized to fit different types of beds, from single sheet electric blankets for smaller beds through to king-sized electric blankets.
Electric blankets are not suitable for use as baby bedding in a cot. According to the Electrical Safety Council, young children should not use electric blankets either, 'unless the controls have been pre-set by a parent, or you're satisfied that the child is able to use the appliance safely'.
Features and settings
Check what settings are available with your electric blanket - there's usually more on offer than a simple on/off switch.
- Timer programs for automatic switch off after a pre-set time - if you don't want the blanket on all night.
- Multiple heat settings so your electric blanket can be used on colder and warmer evenings.
- Temperature sensors that allow you to keep your bed at a consistent temperature all night.
- Electric blankets which are machine washable and can be dried in a tumble dryer.
- Electric blankets that are fitted, like a fitted sheet, to keep them in place.
- Some electric blankets can be used overnight
- Heated mattress covers that are fitted to keep them tidily in place.
- Easy-to-operate controls.
Suitable for use all night?
Some electric blankets are suitable for you to leave switched on overnight - so if you're looking for heat from your blanket all night, check which models or settings are appropriate for extended use, and always follow the instructions.
Other blankets are designed to quickly heat up a bed before you climb into it, and are switched off afterwards.
Electric blanket recycling
According to the Electrical Safety Council, you should think about replacing your electric blanket every 10 years. As an electrical appliance, an old or broken electric blanket should be recycled.
Electric blanket safety
As with any electrical appliance, be mindful of safety when choosing and using an electric blanket.
- Electric blankets should carry one of the safety certification marks
- Look for a UK safety standard mark on the product, indicating that the blanket meets the latest safety standards.
- Buy an electric blanket new, not second-hand.
- Don't use an electric blanket if it has scorch marks or discolouration, exposed wires or if the fabric has worn away.
- Let the blanket cool after use before folding.
- Don't use a hot water bottle with an electric blanket, and never use the blanket if either it - or yourself - is wet or damp.
Electric blankets should carry one of these safety certification marks
Content courtesy of www.which.co.uk