How we test electric blankets
By Christina Woodger
Find out how a Best Buy electric blanket can help you keep warm and snug on chilly nights, and how to avoid the ones that won't. At Which?, our extensive, market-leading tests cut through the marketing spiel and pick out the blankets that are worth buying.
Our reviews answer the most crucial questions about electric blankets:
- How well does it heat up?
- How large is the area that heats up?
- How easy is it to use?
- How easy is it to wash and dry?
- Should I buy it?
Take a look at our electric blanket reviews to find out which keep you warm from head to toe.
How well does the electric blanket heat up?
We time how long it takes each electric blanket to heat up from 15 to 30ºC, so we can tell you if you'll be left shivering in the cold while you wait for your blanket to warm up.
You don't want your torso to be roasting while your hands and feet are icy cold. You also don't want to be cosy warm, while your partner is left shivering in a cold patch. So we record the dimensions of the heated area within each electric blanket, measuring how far the heating extends towards the edge. We also take thermal images of the blankets so that we can see the heat distribution.
For each electric blanket that we send to the lab for testing, we also note the temperature at the maximum and minimum settings and how much energy it uses. This means you can pick a blanket that gets to the temperature you need without adding more than necessary to your energy bills. See things you didn't know about electric blankets to find out more about energy use.
How easy is it to use?
We review the quality of the instructions and safety information. Plus, we see how easy the electric blanket is to put on the bed and how easy it is to use the controls. We look out for things such as an indicator light showing when the blanket is on and controls making an audible clicking noise when pressed.
After all, when the temperature drops you don't want to faff around in order to warm yourself up.
We check how comfortable the blanket is to lie on and whether the power cable gets in the way of where you'd be lying down. You can't do this in a shop, so without our tests you could buy an uncomfortable blanket that ends up getting left in a cupboard.
How easy is it to wash and dry?
We consider how simple it is to detach and reattach the power cable for washing and how easy it is the fit the blanket in the machine.
Each electric blanket is weighed without the power cord, both before and after washing. We use that to calculate the weight of the water retained by the electric blanket after washing - so you know which ones will feel much heavier when you take them out of the washing machine.
Each blanket is tumble dried according to the manufacturer's care instructions. Then we check carefully for any stretching, shrinkage, tears to the blanket material or - more seriously - broken heating wires. We also test whether the blanket works as well after washing as it did before.
We also carry out electrical safety checks on the plugs, fuses and cables, and check the safety information provided on labels and in the manual.
70%The score an electric blanket needs to earn to be a Which? Best Buy
Should I buy it?
All of these assessments go into making the final overall score for each electric blanket we review. The features that are most important to you carry more weight than the others.
- 60% heating performance
- 30% ease of use
- 10% washing
Only electric blankets with a total test score of 70% or over over earn our Best Buy electric blanket recommendation. Electric blankets scoring 45% or under are Don't Buys.