13 best electric blankets to keep you warm at night this winter

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WITH nights getting increasingly darker and colder, electric blankets are a popular way to stay warm at night and the best ones may also save you money on your heating bill.

Unlike electric throws, which are designed to be laid on top of the bed or snuggled up with on the sofa, electric blankets lay flat on your bed underneath your sheet. They contain lots of thin wires inside the fabric; the blanket is then connected to the mains electricity to gently heat up the entire bed.

Electric blankets usually come in every bed size, from single up to super king. They range from basic designs with just a few temperature settings to luxe items of bedding with features such as timers, extra foot warmth and separate controls for each side of the bed (ideal if you feel the cold but your partner’s a warm sleeper – or vice versa).

To find out which ones are worth investing in, we’ve snuggled up in bed with some of the high street’s top picks, from sleep specialist brands like Silentnight and Dreams to high street stores such as Dunelm and John Lewis.

The designs we tested ranged in price from £22-£120, so there really is something for every budget. Shop smart and a good electric blanket can last for ages, ensuring a cosy night’s sleep for years to come – and potentially cheaper heating bills, too.

Here are the electric blankets that most impressed us…

Pros: Dual control, separate body and feet zones, timer function, auto shut-off, really comfy

With elastic straps, this fits well over the bed, lying flat over it all except the head area (worth noting if you want a blanket that covers every inch of the mattress).

The 5cm-fabric is fleecy, soft and warm (but not too soft or too warm), and the cables and connectors are well positioned and unobtrusive.

The remote controls feel high quality, and function-wise, there are a ton of functions: dual control, separate zones for the body and feet, nine heat settings and four timer settings.

If we had one complaint, it’s that it does take a while to warm up, and any setting lower than number five can’t really be felt, but this was one of our favourite electric blankets that we, set to become a staple on our beds this winter.

Pros: Very thick and padded, dual control, separate body and feet zones, timer function, can be tumble dried

If you’re after all the functions of a great electric blanket with added padding, this is an excellent option as, at about an inch thick, it’s basically a super comfy, super warm mattress topper.

It fits easily over the bed with elastic straps on the four corners. One minor niggle, however, was that we found that the ‘lip’ around the edge of the blanket stopped our sheet from fitting quite so smoothly.

The cable connection was unobtrusive, and the cotton fabric kept it feeling breathably warm instead of sweaty.

There’s dual control for each side of the bed on sizes double and up, and you can set different temperatures for your body and feet areas, with the heat settings from 1-9. We didn’t notice an auto shut-off function but you can set it on a timer, between 1-9 hours.

This Snuggledown one heated up really quickly compared to some (we could feel it after just 10 minutes), although full power wasn’t quite as hot as others we tried.

Cons: Doesn’t cover the whole mattress, no dual control, no timer or auto shut-off, can feel cable connector while sleeping

Rating: 3/5

A good fabric for the price, and made from a sort of dense, felt-like fleece, making it a little warmer than cotton or regular polyester blankets, and it fastens to the mattress with two large elastic straps at the top and bottom.

Once on, it doesn’t quite reach the sides of the mattress, which although this means that it lays completely flat, there are cold spots at the edges.

We also found that the cable connector fell in an awkward position on the blanket, sitting either under our pillow or under our feet, and we could feel it when lying down.

There are only three temperature settings, but level two was comfortable on milder nights, while level three was nice and toasty, and it heated up well in half an hour. We would have liked timer and auto shut-off functions, although it does come with ‘overheat protection’.

It’s also potentially the most cost-effective of the lot, with Silentnight claiming this costs just 1p in electricity to heat up your bed.

Material: Polyester Number of temperature settings: 3 Guarantee: 3 years

Pros: Good price, dual control, covers the entire mattress, overheat protection and auto shut-off

For a budget option, this isn’t bad at all. With a curtain trim it’s easy to fit, has dual control, and on the hottest setting it heats the bed up to a toasty temperature in about 30 minutes. Sure, it doesn’t have as many different heat settings as some, but three is plenty.

On the downside it’s not very thick, so Princess and the Pea types may be able to feel the wires through the sheet, and it fits quite loosely on the bed so does become a little ruched underneath bedding. There also isn’t a timer function.

This one is similar in shape and size to Slumberdown’s Wonderfully Warm blanket but with lower spec (which is reflected in the lower price) – three heat settings, single control and made from a thinner quilted polyester material.

We didn’t test the energy efficiency of these blankets but Slumberdown says this one also costs just 1p a night to run, so it’s potentially a great energy-efficient way to stay warmer while you sleep.

The quilted polyester fabric felt luxe and it fitted well on the bed, but our main problem with this one is that it just didn’t reach the cosy temperatures of some of the others, even when left to heat up for an hour.

Material: Polyester Number of temperature settings: 3 Guarantee: 2 years

Pros: Extremely warm and soft, quick heat-up time, dual control, fits well on the bed, easy to pack away, can be tumble dried, ‘intelliheat+’ technology adapts to your temperature

If it’s high temperatures you’re after, it doesn’t get much toastier than this teddy fleece one from Dreamland – even level 3 out of 6 was warmer than most others we tested. Some might find it a little too sweaty, but it can also be reversed, and the polyester side used in warmer months.

We loved its super-speedy five-minute warm-up time (by the time you’ve cleaned your teeth, it’ll be ready to go), well-positioned cord connection and good cable length, and three timers: one, three and nine hours. It also fitted perfectly flat on the bed, with elastic straps to loop around the mattress.

We also found that, unlike some, this blanket was really easy to fold up and pack away again in the zip-up bag when not needed.

Material: Sherpa fleece Number of temperature settings: 6 Guarantee: 3 years

Pros: Extremely warm, quick heat-up time, dual control, fits well on the bed, easy to pack away, can be tumble dried, ‘intelliheat+’ technology adapts temperature

This is very similar to the Dreamland Hunker Down electric blanket above (dual control, same number of settings, quick heat-up time, great amount of warmth) but – made out of cotton instead of fleece – this one feels a little more breathable.

It also has a skirt fastening instead of strap, enabling it to be fitted snugly all the way around, with perfectly placed holes for the cables to slot through.

For the comfortable, perfect heat and a well-thought-out design, this one gets five stars from us. The only downside is the high price.

Cons: No dual control, doesn’t come in super king size, can feel cable connector, can’t be tumble dried

Rating: 4/5

For the lowest-priced electric blanket we tested, this isn’t bad at all. Sure, it’s basic (thin material, three heat settings, no timer), but we found it plenty warm enough, and, contrary to what a few reviews online said, heated up in just 10 minutes.

On the downside you can feel the cable connector, it’s not available in super king size, and it doesn’t retain its warmth for very long, but it was far better than we expected for this price.

A fairly standard design, with corner straps, three heat settings and made from a quilted polyester material (great if you find that the fleecy fabrics make you feel too clammy).

It fits well over the bed, covering all except the pillow area, although the outer rim is noticeable under thin sheets.

It did eventually reach a nice warm temperature on its highest setting, but not very quickly (we recommend switching it on an hour before getting into bed), and we found that it lost its heat quickly after it was switched off

It’s not bad, but if you’re after a budget option, we found better at similar (or better) prices, such as Dunelm’s Cosy & Warm blanket.

Material: Embossed polyester Number of temperature settings: 3 Guarantee: 1 year

Pros: Really thick, really warm, dual control, timer, tactile controller, tumble dryer safe, overheat protection

Cons: Expensive, not available in super king size, separate foot zone not especially detectable

Rating: 4/5

One of the thickest we tested, this felt almost like lying on top of a dense fur rug. It has a skirt fastening, fits neatly over the entire mattress, and warms up fairly quickly.

It feels incredibly cosy when you slip between the slips, although we couldn’t really detect the ‘extra foot warmth’ listed.

The controllers look a little clunky but they have plenty of functions – six heat settings, three timers and tactile markings for using in the dark.

Material: Fleecy polyester Number of temperature settings: 6 Guarantee: 3 years

Pros: Wireless, uses infra-red technology so no heat is lost, looks great, useful if working from home

Not technically an electric blanket, but we couldn’t resist including this luxurious heated pad, designed to be draped over a chair, which has seriously improved our working-from-home experience during this cold weather (once we could pry it out from underneath our feline tester, that is…).

The pad heats up gradually in two sections, on the seat and in the middle of the back of the chair – and we never knew having a toasty bum could be such a joy.

The pad doesn’t feel particularly warm to the touch, but don’t worry, you haven’t bought a dud one. This is because Stoov’s warmth comes from infrared energy, transmitting heat through direct contact, gently raising the body’s temperature and stopping energy from being lost to the air in the room. Unplugged, the warmth lasts between 1.5-3 hours, depending on the setting.

Prices between £120-£140 depending on the size and fabric, it’s a luxury buy – or one to add to your Christmas list. We think it looks pretty chic, too.

Fitting easily to the bed with four corner straps and with a speedy heat-up time, you’ll turn your bed from cold to cosy in minutes.

You can really feel the softness of the fleece underneath your sheet and it gets up to an impressively toasty temperature on its highest setting.

The controls (one for each side on sizes double and up) look smart and high-tech with an LED display and a beep when the settings are changed – sure, a little annoying if your partner’s already asleep, but a good safety feature.

Material: Sherpa fleece Number of temperature settings: 6 Guarantee: 2 years

Pros: Dual control, tactile control buttons, stays warm for a while, overheat protection and safe for all-night use

Cons: Doesn’t fit completely flat to the bed, could heat up slightly quicker

Rating: 4/5

This has a felt-type fabric on the bottom with a thick, soft-as-clouds fleecy material on the top, so you don’t feel the wires at all.

Some electric blankets don’t cover the space under the pillows, or stop a few inches short of the edge of the bed, but not this one – in fact, it’s so big that it even hangs over the sides of the mattress a little. This means that there are no cold spots – but it also can bunch up a bit underneath the sheet, which is what knocked a start off the score for us.

It’s simple but effective, heating up in about 30 minutes and staying warm until we’d dropped off to sleep, and we liked the raised marking on the controls (useful for when fumbling in the dark to switch it off).

Material: Teddy fleece Number of temperature settings: 3 Guarantee: 1 year

Electric blankets are widely available to buy in plenty of high street stores and online, from homeware retailers and department stores, and even pharmacies such as Boots.

Of course, big online retailers such as Amazon also have a huge range available.

If you’re thinking of buying one before the weather gets really cold, or buying one as a Christmas present, it’s worth keeping an eye out for any Black Friday deals (on and around Friday 24 November).

Electric blankets may help you save money on your gas bill by heating just your bed instead of the whole bedroom.

How much money one costs to run depends on a number of factors, including what setting you have it on for, what its wattage is and what the current rate for electricity is.

Some blankets give a rough guide on the packaging (this Silentnight one, for example, claims to cost as little as 1p to heat your entire bed), while Martin Lewis’s Money Saving Expert website gives an average cost of 2p an hour, or 98p a week.

Today’s electric blankets pose a very minimal safety risk, with many including features like timers, auto-shut-off and intelligent sensors that stop them from overheating.

The London Fire Brigade’s website has some important tips for using electric blankets safely, including unplugging it before you go to sleep (unless it has a thermostat control), never using a hot water bottle at the same time, and never storing it rolled up.

Electric blankets should also be replaced if the fabric is worn or frayed, wires are poking through or the electrical cord is damaged, say the London Fire Brigade.

Most modern electric blankets – and each one we tested here – can be machine-washed and some can even be tumble-dried.

Before washing, the connector cables should be disconnected. Depending on its design, the blanket can then be put in the washing machine as it is, or else a top layer can be unzipped from the part with the wires on.

Always read the care instructions first.

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