Like it or not, the nights are drawing in and the evenings are getting chillier. No better time, then, than to invest in an electric blanket, enabling you to get into a toasty warm bed or snuggle up under a nice hot blanket on the sofa.
There are plenty of variations – underblankets, throws, overblankets and even duvets – but what they all have in common is a series of thin electrical wires that heat up when it’s plugged into the mains.
When buying one for the bedroom, make sure it fits well onto the bed. Think about how quickly you need it to heat up – if you’re prone to forgetting to switch it on until last minute, this can make a big difference. Also consider whether your partner feels the cold more or less than you – many come with dual controls. How many heat settings do you want? Do you want one that can remain on all night? Can the heated blanket be washed in the washing machine, and even go in the tumble drier? How easy are the controls to operate? Some are so whizzy that they even respond to your body’s own temperature. Make sure that you can’t feel the wires. And if you’re buying one to use on the sofa, think about the colour, size, texture and how thick it is – as well as how many temperature options there are.
A lot of people worry about safety issues, but there’s really no need, provided you buy one with the UK safety standard mark.
1. Sleepwell Intelliheat Luxury Cotton Mattress Cover: from £69, amazon
This fits over the mattress as easily as a fitted sheet, and has the added benefit of extending your mattress’ life. Because it’s made from pure cotton and is breathable, it’s great for allergy sufferers, as well as people who like to feel warm when they get into bed, but are then prone to getting too hot during the night. It heats up quickly and has dual controls, and responds to your body’s temperature.
2. Silentnight Fleecy Electric Blanket: from £19, amazon
This brand is better known for beds and mattresses, but it makes great electric blankets too, including this soft microfleece option which we found incredibly comfy. It washes like a dream, has a 15-minute heat-up time . There’s a non-fleece version available too.
3. Lakeland Velvety Electric Heated Throw: £70, Lakeland
Who says electric blankets have to be confined to the boudoir? With its on-trend colour scheme of grey and cream, this one can take pride of place on the sofa and it will keep you toasty while you curl up to read a book or watch the telly. It heats up quickly and can be automatically turned off from after one or nine hours. It’s a good size, too, but best for those who prefer a thinner covering.
4. Lakeland Luxury Fleece Electric Blanket: £67, Lakeland
No need to curse that you’ve forgotten to switch on your blanket while you’re doing your ablutions as this one only takes just five minutes to heat up. And with six heat settings and dual controls, there’s a whole world of variable heat to choose from. There are no annoying tapes as it simply fits over the mattress and has good longevity.
5. Dreamland Ready for Bed in 5 Minutes Underblanket: from £60, amazon
Here’s another dual-controlled underblanket that heats up by the time you’ve got your PJs on and cleaned your teeth. And it’s got a whopping nine heat settings, meaning that you can just take the edge off cold sheets right through to creating a piping hot bed. If you really feel the cold, you can leave it on low all night – there’s an auto shut off option up to 12 hours. It takes a while to set up though as it fits on with ties.
6. Dreamland Intelliheat Luxury Cotton Duvet: from £120, amazon
Kill two birds with one stone with this electrically heated microfiber duvet that responds to your body’s temperature. We suspected that the wires would be annoying, but you honestly can’t feel them and they’re spread nice and evenly too. Particularly good for anyone with a memory foam mattress, which you can’t use with heated underblankets, and it stays nice and cool in summer.
7. Relaxwell Deluxe Faux Fur Heated Throw: £120, John Lewis
If you’re prone to getting chilly while you’re relaxing on the sofa, this big, thick and soft faux fur blanket will be a godsend, potentially saving you a fortune on the heating bills. It comes in a range of colours that you can match to your décor and it gets warm within five minutes. A real luxury that can also go on your bed.
8. Lloytron Superior Underblanket: from £28, amazon
This is our top recommendation to students or anyone on a budget. It has three heat settings and we found it was ready for use within 15 minutes or so. The double ones have dual controls and you can’t feel the wires. On the downside, it’s slightly smaller than the bed, but we just left a gap where the pillows go and it didn’t move around during the night, like many electric blankets do.
9. Dreamland Intelliheat Harmony Overblanket: from £75, amazon
If lying on a hot blanket is about as tempting as going to sleep on hot coals, you might prefer this satin-trimmed blanket that you drape over your blanket or slot inside your duvet cover. It responds to your body’s temperature, so there’s no need to worry about getting too hot.
10. Relaxwell Heated Velvet Lap Blanket: £40, John Lewis
This is relatively cheap for a heated blanket that you can use as a throw, yet it does the job well, costing less than a penny to run. It’s available in several colours, is machine washable and we love the snuggle pouch to warm cold hands. Best for those who prefer a smaller covering as it’s not huge.
11. Morphy Richards Double Dual Washable Fleece Heated Mattress Cover: £63, amazon
We found this particularly stretchy on the side panels, which makes it a cinch to fit over your mattress, and the fleece lining is so thick and luxurious that you’ll probably want to lie down on it straight away. There are four heat settings, although you have to click it through all four positions to get back to zero, which can be a bit of a pain if you prefer to switch off your blanket while you’re dozing off.
Sleepwell Intelliheat Luxury Cotton Mattress Cover is the daddy of heated blankets for the bedroom, in our opinion. If it’s more of a throw you want, we rate the Relaxwell Deluxe Faux Fur Heated Throw as the best.
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