My Ultimate Guide to Electric Heated Blankets: "I'm cheap, always cold and I know way too much about this subject!
When I was in college, I used to sleep with an electric heated blanket. I even continue to use them many years later. Why use an electric blanket you ask? It's hard for most people to get warm once you get really cold and I am no exception. Going to sleep on a chilly bed is just very uncomfortable. I usually have to be warm enough to fall asleep and it takes up to an hour for me to warm up. Do you want to know the main reason to use an electric blanket? It is because using electric heated blankets can drastically save on your heating bills! I know most people don't believe it makes a significant difference in their bills, but after every month the savings really do add up. Sometimes the warmth of a simple heated throw can make a difference.
Here is a throw blanket with some of the better priced electric throw blankets. It has sold and reversible color options.
If you like facts then here is an interesting one. In March 2008, the Energy Information Administration even forecasted how much people would be able to save. They calculated that most people would be able to save $131 a year on their winter heating bills! This was based on turning down the thermostat 8 degrees, 24 hours a day, 25 weeks a year and usign twin or full heated bedding product for 8 hours a night.
For each degree that you lower the thermostat in your home, you can usually reduce your heating bills by 1% to 2%. Here are some ways to lower the temperature inside your home at night. It will allow you to remain warm at night and make sure that your mornings are just as comfortable. Its a good feeling when you can get out bed well rested, especially during a cold winter.
There Are Usually 3 Simple Ways to Lower Your Heating Bills
1) Use a programmable clock thermostat. You can program it so it doesn't start to lower the temperature until just after you are in bed, and then program it to raise the temperature just before you wake in the morning. The earlier you can set the thermostat lower, the more you will save in heating bills. However, with a typical thermostat you simply lower the temperature before you go to bed. The only thing you have to remember is that the entire house will be very cold when you awoke in the morning.
2) Using an electric blanket or mattress pad on your bed will keep you comfortably warm all night long. You can also use a combination of both. Just place an electric mattress pad underneath your sheets and an electric blanket on top. This allows you to keep your body at a comfortable temperature. With either blanket or mattress pad it depends on your preference. You can be warmer on top, on bottom or both.
My queen-size mattress pad uses only 220 watts, and it cycles on and off to maintain a steady temperature. The average electricity usage of an electric blanket is less than 100 watts. This is not much and is comparable to usage of a standard light bulb.
When you compare this to cutting your heating bills by up to 10%, the overall electricity savings are significant. Just think about it, the amount electricity you use to keep your lights on be used to keep you warm all night.
3) Increase the thermal mass in the bedroom by adding ceramic planters or other masonry items. It may sound strange, but when the air temperature starts to drop in the room, the thermal mass transfers its heat content to the room.
What Brand You Should Buy?
Sunbeam pretty much has the market covered for electric blankets, followed by Biddeford and a few others. To be honest, you probably shouldn't expect your blanket to last more then 3 years. Sunbeam blankets are the the most affordable and they will usually last about 2-3 years if you take good care of them. There are other expensive brands that are $100+, but nobody really wants to pay that amount for an electric blanket with no guarantee it will last a long time. Biddeford are good blankets also, but they are a bit hard to find. I only really find them at Target. Both brands are good, you can just find Sunbeam anywhere you go and are more available.
I would recommend storing the blanket flat so the wiring doesn't bend in storage. Laying it out flat somehwere in your home should extend the life. Sunbeam does have a warranty, but you have to pay for shipping to get the blanket fixed. In that case, you might as well buy a new blanket. The blankets are machine washable, but I would just handwash them to be safe. Most of the blankets I've used are from Sunbeam and they have a lot of different styles.
How to Choose An Electric Heated Blanket
When choosing an Electric Blanket, one probably thinks there aren't that many types and styles out there. However, after a few years of experience from using these blankets in my own household, I can tell you that I was pleasantly surprised by the many choices and styles out there. Some people have different preferences based on comfort, style, heating quality or durability. All types of electric blankets have their own benefits, shortcomings or even have a combination of all the above mentioned qualities. Some people might prefer the soft and familiar feel of fleece, the style of a herringbone or the sturdiness of a boxweave. Whatever you prefer, there is bound to be something out there that fits your needs. So here is a brief summary based on my own experiences with different types of electric heated blankets made by Sunbeam and Biddeford. I will give my own saracastic remarks on each type...
Fleece (Gives you that warm, soft and fuzzy feeling) - Soft and plush material that is used on most electric blankets. The material is preferred by most people because of its comfort and soft blends. Higher quality fleece blankets have less pilling problems. Any pilling can be solved with some hand washing. Fleece blankets tend to heat up a bit warmer than other materials.
Herringbone (Makes you look like you care about style) - Arrow or Triangular weaved pattern on electric blankets. The style is very luxurious and fashionable. The main benefits of these types of blankets are that there is no pilling. This type has the right combination of warmth, style and sturdiness. Some blankets have a combination of fleece on one side and herringbone on the other. Herringbone blankets look great as bed tops because of their stylish pattern.
Boxweave (Pretty and hides those crappy bedspreads you have) - Box weaved pattern on electric blankets. This is similar to Herringbone in quality and texture. The only difference is in style. The main benefit of these types of blankets are that there is no pilling. The material is very sturdy but also stylish enough to match with any bedroom. Some blankets have a combination of fleece on one side and boxweave on the other. Box Pattern blankets look great as bed tops because of their stylish pattern.
Microplush (So ridiculously soft it should be a crime) - This is more soft and plush than any other material used on electric blankets. This is considered the highest quality blanket because of the incredibly soft touch of the material. The comfort from the blanket surface alone is enough to buy one of these. There is no pilling and these tend to last longer then the other types of blankets. This is my favorite type of blanket and these do tend to last longer...
Microfiber (Durable and Built-Tough like a Ford Truck) - This material is both soft and plush and is the same type used on most mattress pads. There is absolutely no pilling or leftover material on these blankets. I would consider these more durable blankets when compared to the other materials because it can't snag. If you don't want to take a chance at any material being leftover on your clothes, this would be the blanket. I also prefer putting these under my sheets since there is no chance of lint.