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Updated Dec 27, 2022 12:30 PM
Did you know that a heated throw blanket is actually considered a household appliance? While that might sound a little strange, if your heated throw has a plug and runs on electricity—well, that’s an appliance. Heated blankets have improved dramatically over the years, and are safer and cozier than ever. The best heated throw blankets will provide safe, customizable heat and complete comfort with no discernable wires, and only a feeling of plush, decadent warmth.
Invented over 100 years ago, the prototype blankets were bulky and dangerous. In the 1920s, they were commonly used in tuberculosis sanatoriums, as these patients were prescribed fresh air. The heated blankets were used to keep patients’ bodies warm while their lungs breathed in the cold, fresh air. It wasn’t until the late 1940s and 1950s that these types of blankets were commonly used in homes.
Today, we are fortunate enough to have more options than ever. Heated blankets are available in various sizes: big enough to share or small enough to use on your favorite armchair. Heated blankets come in various colors and materials, can be weighted or lightweight, and come with a number of heat settings. The best heated throw blankets have timers that allow for pre-warming and automatic shut-off, which is a nice safety feature. Finally, some heated throw blankets use a traditional plug-in, while others harness the power of a battery pack, making them portable outside the home. Let’s get shopping!
Best heated throw blankets: Our picks
Best overall: Pure Enrichment PureRelief Plush Heated Throw
This soft, stylish, reasonably-priced heated blanket offers a grey microfiber faux fur material on one side, and an off-white sherpa on the other. The blanket’s heat can be adjusted to accommodate warm, low, medium, and high heat settings. It also features an automatic shut-off after two hours for optimal safety.
Best machine washable: Sunbeam Premium Electric Heated Throw Blanket
This soft velvet throw blanket offers three heat settings for adjustable comfort as well as a three-hour automatic shut-off timer. Machine washable and dryer safe, this is practical for everyday use.
Best for two: Westinghouse Electric Blanket, Twin Size
This heated blanket is the best heated throw blanket for couples because it’s large enough for two and features six heat settings so that the blanket can be customized according to personal comfort. Conveniently, this is machine washable and dryer safe when following the manufacturer’s directions. Extra safety features include an automatic shut-off after 4 hours.
Best cordless: The Cozee Battery Powered Heated Blanket
This battery-powered heated blanket is a great solution for added warmth without wires making it the best cordless heated throw blanket. The electric blanket includes cables to charge the battery at home or in the car, as well as two USB cords so you can even charge your phone. At a high setting, the cordless heated blanket can only stay warm for two hours, which may be an issue depending upon your intended use.
Best budget: Beautyrest Brushed Long Fur Electric Throw
A great choice for your couch or chair, this electric throw blanket can be adjusted to your comfort with three heat settings. The plush fabric is comfortable, available in various colors, and can be machine washed.
Things to consider when shopping for the best heated throw blanket
When shopping for a heated throw blanket, be sure to select an item that has the features you need. The best heated throw blankets offer washability, customizable heat, and a stylish look that will blend seamlessly with your space.
Want lots of temperature control?
When it comes to comfort, the “right” temperature is subjective. The best heated throw blankets will let you control the temperature setting. Versatile heat settings also let you keep your overall thermostat lower, which is better for saving money, better for the earth, and often better for your sinuses.
In order to prevent the blanket from heating too much, these blankets have a temperature control unit that helps manage the amount of current entering into the heating elements or insulated wire inside the blanket. Another popular feature is an automatic shut-off, which ensures the blanket will turn off even if you forget to do it yourself.
Do you need portability?
If you spend a lot of time in and out of your vehicle, you may want to consider a portable heated blanket designed for use in cars. The best heated car blankets will be soft (duh), and wired to distribute heat, utilizing the car’s 12-volt sockets or cigarette lighter. With the help of the car’s battery, they will deliver power and heat to your heated car blanket.
In case of a vehicle breakdown, these can be handy on a cold night while you’re waiting for the tow truck. Emergencies aside, a heated blanket can help during long drives by warming up your shoulders, which can hold a lot of tension. Similar to heated blankets for use at home it’s helpful (but not always necessary) to have an automatic shut-off feature, so temperatures won’t get too high in case it’s left plugged in. Another feature to consider is cord length; a longer cord will allow this blanket to be used in the back seat, too.
How key is washability to you?
The best heated throw blankets can be machine washed, but you should always check the manufacturer’s directions carefully. When it comes to heated blankets that have wiring, electrical components, or batteries, washability isn’t always possible.
Typically the first step before throwing your blanket in the wash will be to detach the cord and remove it completely from the blanket. You also want to inspect the blanket for any wear and tear or visible damage. If there are tough stains, you can use some mild detergent and presoak the blanket for 10 to 15 minutes in cool water. Afterward, you can expect to wash the blanket on your machine’s delicate settings with a gentle detergent. Harsh detergents should be avoided because they can damage the fabric, wiring, and components inside your blanket. Some blankets can even go into the dryer—but be aware the dryer has to be large enough, and the heat setting must be low. Err on the side of caution and take your blanket out after a maximum of about 15 minutes and finish the rest of the drying on a clothes rack. Do not plug the blanket in until it is completely dry.
Do you need to accommodate two sleepers—and two different temps?
If you share a bed, you have surely been in battle for bed sheets or blankets at some point. We all prefer different warmth levels, so sharing blankets, especially heated blankets, can pose challenges. The best heated throw blanket offers specialized heating in two zones, also known as dual temperature zones. The design is similar to single-zone heated blankets, except the heating elements are divided, usually equally between two sides of the blanket. Instead of one temperature controller, there are two.
Dual-zone heated throw blankets are typically on the larger side, as they are designed to share with two people. You should expect to find all the same features with a dual-zone as you would want with a single zone. The best dual-zone heated blankets will be large enough to share, plush, machine washable, and feature customizable heat and automatic shut-off settings.
Prefer a cordless option?
Whether you’re an outdoor sports enthusiast, a camper, or just someone that just wants to head out into the cold and enjoy the winter landscape, you may want to consider a cordless heated blanket. The best cordless heated blankets will be soft and warm and allow for both pre-heating or turn-on-and-use-heat. The battery will need to be fully charged, and when attached to your blanket will warm up the heating elements in the blanket evenly.
Want the best heated throw blanket for a tight budget?
Heated blankets are available in all different price ranges, and it’s possible to find a good one for under $50. When you start going down in price, though, you’ll find fewer features like dual heating zones. Sometimes a smaller price tag means a smaller, thinner blanket. However, a throw-size blanket for use on a chair or couch is not designed to be that large anyway, so it’s easier to find budget blankets in that size range. Blanket for one, please!
Q: How safe are heated throw blankets?
The best heated blankets are very safe when following the proper directions for use and care. Older, damaged electric blankets can pose hazards and should not be used. In general, heated blankets should be gently rolled or hung up for storage, and should be placed on top of you—not you on top of it. Even if your blanket has an auto shut-off feature, you should still try to turn it off yourself whenever it’s not in use.
Q: Are heated blankets worth it?
Heated blankets do not cost a lot to run, but they do require some attention and care when using and storing. Ask yourself how much comfort this type of blanket will provide you. For example, if you have a particularly drafty room in your home, plugging in and snuggling under an electric blanket to read a book or watch a movie can be an amazing treat that might be worth it to you.
Q: Do heated blankets use a lot of electricity?
When used properly, a heated blanket will not double your electric bill—or even increase it by much at all. The best heated blankets will allow for adjustable heating levels which helps to save heat while also allowing you to control the comfort it gives you. When compared to turning up the heat in a room, the use of a heated blanket is actually cost-effective.
A final word on shopping for the best heated throw blankets
The best heated throw blankets will keep you warm and cozy all winter. They will offer customizable heat controls, automatic shut-off safety features, plush stylish fabrics, and even heat distribution throughout the blanket. It’s important to take full stock of exactly how and where you think you’ll use a heated blanket the most, as this will help you determine size and style. If you’re looking to use it in a small, drafty room for one, you’ll be considering different things than if you’re part of an avid outdoorsy couple looking to sleep under it on frigid nights. Once you know your own cozy expectations, finding the right blanket is easy.