What To Look For When Purchasing
Electric Blankets or Heated Mattress Pads
Read what the experts think BEFORE you buy. The Electric Blanket Institute’s Buyer’s Guide helps you determine what might be IMPORTANT TO YOU, presents reviews and ratings of products by type and brand and finally lets you know which retail stores are carrying the brand of product you decide is right for you.
You can buy a new electric blanket or mattress pad for $40 – but should you? You want a product that’s appropriate for you! The Electric Blanket Institute’s Consumer Guide offers dozens of tips on how to select your new heated bedding but these five are the key ones:
1) ELECTRIC BEDDING SAFETY
The #1 topic we get asked about is SAFETY. One should never purchase an electric blanket or electric mattress pad that does not show the UL or the ETL Mark on it. UL has developed the only comprehensive set of electric bedding safety regulations for the United States. Some manufacturers get their products certified by ETL to the same UL standard, #964. UL stands for Underwriters Laboratories and their safety standards are the most accepted and recognized ones in the United States. All the models of the major brands of warming bedding meet the UL964 standard. If you see the UL or the ETL mark on a blanket or mattress pad, you can be sure it has passed those tests. (Note: Occasionally we get asked about the 4 character alpha-numeric under the word "LISTED". That is a control number for UL's use. That 4 character number is NOT the UL standard number or the product's model number.)
If you would like more information on Heated Bedding Safety you can learn much more including which people should NOT use heated bedding at our Consumer Guide Safety article. Additionally, we receive daily requests for our opinion of which product is the absolute safest available. Read about our testing and our results: the Safest Electric Blanket Award Winner OR the Safest Electric Mattress Pad Award Winner.
2) ELECTRIC BLANKET QUALITY AND DURABILITY
You should count on a good warming blanket or mattress pad lasting at least 5 years with reasonable care. The control should function properly and the fabric should hold up well through repeated washings and dryings. You probably don’t want a fabric that pills or sheds all over your clothes and other bedding. Additionally the fabric and internal heating wires should feel comfortable and flexible to you. Many people have learned more about quality from our Buyers Guide Reviews and our brand new Side-by-Side Comparisons and Ratings for Blankets or Mattress Pads.
3) HEATED BLANKET OR MATTRESS PAD?
Although the choice of electric mattress pad (mattress cover) or electric blanket is mostly a matter of user preference, heated mattress pads do have a few inherent advantages over electric blankets that you should consider. The major ones are:
- The heat generated by an electric mattress pad is contained around your body by your mattress on the bottom side and by your sheet/blanket on the top side whereas approximately ½ of the heat that is generated by an electric blanket (with nothing on top of it) will radiate upward towards the bedroom ceiling. Although either will save you considerably on heating costs, the mattress pad will be the more efficient. See our Energy Savings sections for details.
- Electric mattress pads are inherently safer from overheating since the pad is held down flat to the mattress (i.e. fitted) and generally cannot be wadded up as a blanket may become. (When a blanket is balled up, there is no place for the heat in the middle of the ball to escape, the cause of many electric blanket problems.)
- If you use a heated mattress pad, you are then free to use whatever form of blanket, comforter, duvet, spread, etc. you prefer on the top of your bed.
- If you have any problem with spills or “accidents” from users (including pets), you can purchase one of the new STAIN RESISTANT and WATERPROOF heated mattress pads. Although some are low voltage, no heated blankets are waterproof.
4) ELECTRIC BLANKET FEATURES AND EASE OF USE/CARE
Many people have told us they regret not considering several features before purchasing:
- How easily will the intended user be able to understand and operate the controller? For a couple of examples:
- A person with poor grasping ability should look for a large easy-to-turn and easy-to-grasp knob or an easy-to-push digital control button.
- Likewise, a person with poor eyesight will want to purchase a control with large bright numbers on the setting dial. Think about the intended user’s abilities and limitations before you purchase and reading our article on ease of use will give you some ideas.
- Will the weight of the blanket be OK? Some users will not want a heavy blanket pushing down on their body all night and should therefore look for either a lightweight heated blanket or choose a heated mattress pad to keep warm.
- For individualized comfort if two people are sleeping in the same bed, dual heat level controls will probably be important (one person said “saved our relationship”).
- Does the intended user want to sleep with a pet? Is the user or the pet incontinent or prone to spilling liquids? A low voltage blanket or stain proof low voltage mattress pad will provide extra protection for those folks and their pet.
- Will the heated mattress pad’s skirt fit their particular mattress height? Not all have “deep pockets”.
5) HEATED BEDDING INITIAL COST - HOW MUCH SHOULD YOU EXPECT TO PAY?
Retail prices mostly depend upon product size, features, fabric used, comfort and quality. There are products to fit any budget.
|PRODUCT||BASIC MODEL||DELUXE MODEL|
|HEATED BLANKET||$40 to $120||$70 to $200+|
|HEATED MATTRESS PAD||$35 to $90||$60 to $200+|
Very Important Reminder: No matter which product you select, you will save the purchase price of your new heated bedding many times over in reduced energy costs, since you will naturally lower your furnace thermostat at night. For details and real life examples of heating cost savings through the use of electric bedding, see our Energy Savings article in the Consumer Guide.
CONCLUSION and KEY TAKEAWAY:
Consider all five of these factors in your decision, not simply initial price. You will be using and enjoying your new bedding hundreds of nights over the next several years so do get whichever one that is RIGHT FOR YOU.