While there's a lot to love about the holiday season — aka the most wonderful time of the year — there's one thing we don't look forward to come the year's end: frigid weather. With multiple cold temperature records being broken across the country in 2018, making sure you're equipped with everything you need to stay nice and toasty is of the utmost importance. One of the easiest ways to stay cozy this winter? By plugging in one of the best electric blankets, of course! Keep reading to learn more about electric blankets and shop our top picks.
How do electric blankets work?
Also known as heated blankets, these bedspreads feature an integrated wiring system that connects to a power plug and generates electrically-generated heat throughout the entire blanket, keeping you warm from head to toe. While temperatures may vary from blanket to blanket, most range somewhere between 80 and 100 degrees.
Their exterior is made from a variety of fabrics (including fleece, flannel, and faux sherpa), essentially making for an upgraded version of your favorite throw.
Are electric blankets safe?
One of the most common reasons people may be hesitant to buy an electric blanket revolves around whether or not they're safe. The Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) reported in 2015 that heating pads and electric blankets were causing almost 500 fires each year. Today's heated blankets are far safer thanks in large part to the timed auto-off feature most models are equipped with, which shuts the blanket off after a specific period of time (typically within three hours but ranging anywhere between 45 minutes to 10 hours), ensuring that they're never mistakenly left on.
In addition, by following these four electric blanket safety tips, you'll be able to keep both warm and stay secure this winter.
Be mindful of bunching. Since these blankets have wires running through them, it's important to watch out for bunching. Scrunched up electric blankets can damage internal wires and lead to hot spots or, even worse, burning.
Don't use them if you have pets. While most electric blankets are made with low voltage electricity, they're not recommended for use with pets, as they can easily be chewed through, leading to injury.
Keep an eye on it. Like any blanket, heated blankets can wear out over time, so pay attention to things like exposed wires or brown spots — both indicators of burning). Should you notice any of these things, immediately stop using the blanket and replace it. It's also recommended that you don't use blankets that are 10 years or older, as they can pose a significant fire risk.
Store it safely. Just as you would any other electric device, be sure to unplug and store your blanket after each use to keep it in working order, being mindful to fold with care to prevent damaging the internal wiring.
How to Wash an Electric Blanket
When it comes to washing electric blankets, you should always read the instructions for your individual throw. Most modern versions featured insulated wiring that makes them safe for gentle machine washing. However, it's important to note that unless your heated blanket's instructions manual explicitly state that it can be washed or hand-washed, you shouldn't attempt to launder it in order to avoid injury or malfunctioning.
Best Electric Blankets
The best electric blanket will all depend on your preferences. If you're big on a "plushy" feel, opt for an electric blanket made with sherpa or fleece. Need one that's big enough for two? Look for a model with dual controls so you can each personalize your heat settings. Whatever kind of spread you're looking for, there's a blanket for you on this list.
Ready to find the perfect warming cover-up? Keep scrolling for FIRST's picks for the best electric blankets that'll keep you and your loved ones snug and warm all winter long.
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