Electric blankets

Updated: 03 May 2012
Electric-blankets-hero

Introduction

We put 5 blankets through 13 separate safety tests and checks.

Although they’re much safer than they once were, electric blankets still require some caution – we’re completely vulnerable when asleep.

As well as checking for safety we measured the blankets’ heat-up time, assessed their controls, looked at how well they fitted the bed, and rated them for ease of cleaning and drying (based on the manufacturer’s instructions).

Models we tested

This report contains test results and recommendations for the following Queen/King electric blankets:

Note that we were unable to buy this season's blankets from all brands when we bought our test samples in January.

Checklist

How long they last:

Replace your electric blankets every 5 to 6 years. Your life’s worth much more than the cost of a blanket.

Every season before you use the blanket:

  • Replace a blanket with kinks in it.
  • Replace a blanket that’s had anything spilt on it.
  • Check the controls and the cord for damage or exposed wires.
  • Test for hot spots by running your hand over the entire surface of the warmed-up blanket. If there are hot spots, replace the blanket.

Every time you use the blanket:

  • We think you should turn off the electric blanket when you get into bed. If you really need overnight heat from the blanket, use only the "all-night" heat-setting controller positions.
  • Don't place heavy objects or piles of clothing on the bed while the electric blanket is turned on.
  • Make sure the controls aren’t twisted or caught between the mattress and base.
  • Make sure the electric blanket is tightly secured and laid flat on the bed.

At the end of the season:

  • Store your electric blanket rolled up, not folded.

 

Who shouldn’t use an electric blanket

Electric blankets can be used to warm up a bed, but otherwise aren’t recommended for:

  • pregnant women – the mother and unborn baby may overheat and also because amniotic fluid from ruptured membranes ("broken waters") would soak the blanket
  • babies – because an overheated baby is at greater risk of sudden infant death syndrome
  • young children – because there’s a risk of the child wetting the bed.

 

Useful features

  • Dual controls allow you to control the temperature on your side of the bed independently.
  • Fabric fleecy blankets (wool or synthetic) are more luxurious.
  • Extra heat foot zone good for people with cold feet.
  • Waterproof electric blankets are suitable for children. They contain a waterproof membrane that stops moisture reaching the wires.
  • Timers allow you to set the blanket to warm up your bed at the same time every night. The more basic (and cheaper) models have "off" timers only.
  • Removable controls mean you can safely machine wash your electric blanket.