The 2 Best Electric Blankets & Heated Mattress Pads of 2024 | Reviews by Wirecutter

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After several weeks of new testing, our new top pick will be Beautyrest's Cotton Blend Heated Mattress Pad. It's comfortable to sleep on, intuitive to use, and stays warm all night. Us Standard Lower Berth Mattress 78*80

The 2 Best Electric Blankets & Heated Mattress Pads of 2024 | Reviews by Wirecutter

Combine chilly temperatures with a drafty house, and you could end up with high utility bills. But using electric bedding to heat your bed costs just pennies a night.

The Sunbeam Quilted Heated Mattress Pad is easy to use, and it offers all-over heating with simple dial controls. If heated mattress pads are sold out (which they very often are), or you want the ease of a blanket, we recommend the Sunbeam Velvet Plush Heated Blanket.

This simple mattress pad offers straightforward all-over heating and is easy to use. But like most heated pads, you can somewhat feel the wires.

This blanket has better controls than others we tested, and it requires only a single outlet. Also, it has a safety locking plug to keep cords attached.

This simple mattress pad offers straightforward all-over heating and is easy to use. But like most heated pads, you can somewhat feel the wires.

The Sunbeam Quilted Heated Mattress Pad is easy to use, and it offers all-over heating with simple dial controls. Because this pad is made of polyester, it doesn’t wick away moisture (that is, sweat) as effectively as cotton, but we still found it comfortable. It's also usually available, which is a plus, since availability tends to be a problem with a lot of heated mattress pads.

This blanket has better controls than others we tested, and it requires only a single outlet. Also, it has a safety locking plug to keep cords attached.

If you’d rather get an electric blanket, we recommend the Sunbeam Velvet Plush Heated Blanket. It has the best digital controls of all the blankets we tested, and it comes with Sunbeam’s safety locking plug to keep cords firmly attached. Made of a plush, velour-like material, the Velvet Plush was the most comfortable Sunbeam electric blanket we tried (even though we could feel the wires, they didn’t make us uncomfortable while we were sleeping). Historically, Sunbeam heated bedding overall has fewer safety complaints among reviewers than other options. And even though blankets from some other companies may have been more comfortable, safety is more important to us.

Not everyone sleeps well with extra heat. In fact, sleep experts suggest that a colder ambient temperature (around 60 degrees Fahrenheit) is an ideal temperature for getting a good night’s rest. But there are many reasons why you may seek extra warmth at night. If so, our research and testing found that in most cases you’re better off using a heated mattress pad, rather than an electric blanket. Pads are better at masking the heating wires, and your body and the rest of your bedding insulate the warmth. Mattress pads are also easier to use safely because they lie flat and don’t bunch or fold (as electric blankets can), which could cause overheating. But blankets are better if you already have a specific mattress topper that you love or you don’t want to add extra padding to your mattress. If you use heated bedding only occasionally, it’s also easier to swap in an electric blanket than it is to change the mattress pad.

Many people use heated bedding during the winter months to save on heating costs (by heating the bed instead of heating the room or the entire home). As reported in The Washington Post (subscription required), the US Department of Energy says you can save up to 1% of your bill for every degree you turn your thermostat down for at least eight hours. Comparatively, our mattress pad and electric blanket picks consume very little energy: In 2017, we measured their electricity use with a Kill A Watt meter, and we discovered that our picks consumed just 3¢ to 5¢ worth of electricity per night. You’ll probably spend between $3.20 and $6 total to run your heated bedding every night for the 16 weeks from November through February. Results will vary based on your bedding’s settings, the insulation of your bedding, and your own body temperature, but overall it’s a good deal.

All heated bedding follows a similar design: A system of insulated wires is encased in a blanket or mattress pad, and a power cord with one or two controllers attaches to an external port on the bedding. The wires heat up, and a series of safety mechanisms and thermostats regulate the temperature. We found that most bedding companies have a single heating system that they use across models. That means all blankets and pads from a given manufacturer will reach similar temperatures—only the outer textile and the control style (dial versus digital, number of heat settings) differ across models.

We considered only UL- or ETL-certified models. Regardless of the model or manufacturer, customer reviews indicate that heated bedding has a high rate of defective units. Generally, the reports we saw weren’t safety complaints (though there were some in very small numbers); rather, they were reports of bedding that didn’t initially turn on or stopped heating after a short period of use. Most heated-bedding manufacturers offer three- to five-year warranties on their models; we eliminated any pads or blankets that had warranties under three years.

All of the electric blankets we found were made of polyester. This is likely because when polyester is laundered, it’s less prone than cotton or wool to stretch or shrink, which could warp the wires. We found mattress pads made of polyester, cotton and polyester, and 100% cotton. As we note in our guide to the best sheets, cotton does a good job of wicking sweat and moisture away from the body, so it makes the bedding feel more breathable. This effect is important for heated bedding, which may cause you to sweat slightly from the warmth (though you should never keep your bedding so hot that it makes you sweat profusely). Polyester tends not to absorb moisture as well as cotton.

We looked only at electric blankets intended for use on a bed. These blankets are designed to be used flat, not wrapped around your body or bunched up (because in that situation too much heat can build up and become unsafe). This is why you should not use any of these blankets while you’re lounging on the couch—for that purpose, many manufacturers sell smaller heated throws meant to go across your lap. In addition, we eliminated mattress pads that had no internal padding (“fill”) because this feature is necessary to mask the feel of the wires.

We scanned thousands of owner reviews for electric blankets and heated mattress pads, cataloging those related to safety concerns or fire hazards from operating the heated bedding we tested. Since we couldn’t dig up many comparative reviews of electric blankets or heated mattress pads, we made a list of every electric blanket and heated mattress pad we could find on the sites of Amazon, Macy’s, Target, and other retailers, ending up with 38 models. We then focused on the most popular models with the highest customer reviews on Amazon and other retailer sites. Since many people opt for heated bedding to save on energy costs, we eliminated models that were extremely expensive (over $150 for a queen-size blanket or pad).

In our first round of testing, we tested each item on a queen-size bed with two people for at least one night, and in some cases over multiple nights. We tried this bedding on both cotton percale and sateen sheets with a midweight comforter. The bedroom temperature remained in the mid-60s Fahrenheit during testing.

For each blanket and mattress pad, we assessed the following:

We didn’t measure the maximum temperature of each blanket or pad because it was likely to be affected by other factors, such as the ambient room temperature (which we couldn’t control), the bedding’s insulation, and inconsistent heating. Instead, we subjectively assessed whether each blanket and pad achieved a toasty, sheets-fresh-out-of-the-dryer feel at the highest setting. We laundered the winners according to their care instructions to confirm that they didn’t shed excessively, stretch, or shrink when washed.

To learn how heated bedding works, Wirecutter senior editor Courtney Schley spoke with a number of experts, including Dick Zimmerer, a retired engineer and product manager who has worked for several heated-bedding manufacturers. (Disclosure: Zimmerer originated a patent for a component used in Perfect Fit’s Soft Heat heated bedding, which we tested for this guide.) Courtney also spoke with representatives from Biddeford, ElectroWarmth, Perfect Fit, and Sunbeam to learn about the differences among the electric blankets and heated mattress pads currently available.

For information about heated-bedding safety and design, Courtney interviewed John Drengenberg, consumer safety director at UL (the independent safety and certification company that develops standards for and safety-tests numerous electrical appliances, including electric blankets and heated mattress pads). For more data on electric-bedding safety, Courtney emailed with representatives from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission and analyzed dozens of safety reports the agency had received about heated bedding over the previous five years. She also spoke with Judy Comoletti, then the division manager for public education at the National Fire Protection Association, about guidelines for using heated bedding safely, and she read several of the NFPA’s reports on the causes of house fires.

This simple mattress pad offers straightforward all-over heating and is easy to use. But like most heated pads, you can somewhat feel the wires.

Although the Sunbeam Quilted Heated Mattress Pad lacks fancy features, it does offer reliable comfort and intuitive heating controls—if you find it (stock is notoriously inconsistent with most heated mattress pads). It’s a good option if you think you’ll use a heated pad only during the coldest weeks of winter, you prefer simple all-over heating, and you don’t mind possibly feeling the wires within.

In our tests this pad was comfortable overall but had more detectable wires; side-sleepers especially noticed them. They weren’t so uncomfortable that they ruined sleep, though. Using thicker flannel sheets helped mask the feel of the wires a bit better.

The Quilted Heated Mattress Pad heated as quickly, reaching its maximum temperature within 20 minutes. It requires only a single outlet, and it features a locking mechanism on the connection port for added security. It also carries a three-year warranty. The queen- and king-size pads come with dual-sided dial-based controls with 10 temperature settings.

We found that this pad’s vertical quilting seams, gave the padding an opportunity to shift around. This pad also doesn’t have as much cushioning, so it won’t make your bed feel much softer. And as we mentioned, you will feel the wires somewhat under your sheets.

Also, this pad doesn’t have a preheat function, so if you want to warm your bed quickly, you need to set the pad to high before getting in, and then turn down the temperature later.

This blanket has better controls than others we tested, and it requires only a single outlet. Also, it has a safety locking plug to keep cords attached.

All of the electric blankets we tried had problems, ranging from unpleasant-feeling fabric to particularly noticeable wires. In our test group, the Sunbeam Velvet Plush Heated Blanket was the best, since its overall combination of softness, performance, controls, and safety features helped it edge out the competition.

Made of 100% polyester, the Velvet Plush has a notably soft, brushed texture that feels like a thick velour. Of the Sunbeam blankets we tested, its velvety-soft surface felt the most pleasant and did the best job of masking the wires inside. The Velvet Plush is a mid-weight blanket, and it didn’t feel heavy or stiff on top of our testers.

In our tests, the Velvet Plush got hot and toasty within 20 minutes, similar to the other blankets we tried. The version we received for testing had a manually adjustable dial with 10 heat settings (and no preheat option). The type of controller may vary depending on where you order the blanket.

Like all Sunbeam heated bedding items, this blanket requires a single outlet even for the dual-controller versions. Blankets we tested from other manufacturers required two separate outlets. It also has the safety latched plug for the port at the base of the blanket, another feature exclusive to Sunbeam bedding.

We could feel the wires in this blanket—but we could feel the wires in all the top blanket contenders, and the Velvet Plush’s wires were relatively less noticeable than those of some other models. Once we had the blanket on the bed, sandwiched between a comforter and a top sheet, the wires were less bothersome but still noticeable. Even so, we slept comfortably. Since the blanket lies on top of you instead of under you, the wires don’t have the potential to create pressure points or to dig into your body.

The blanket’s soft, velvety texture was somewhat slippery, and it tended to slide around, especially when we paired it with sateen sheets. We didn’t have this issue when we used flannel or percale sheets, which gripped the blanket better. But we have seen some owner reviews on Amazon noting that this blanket seems particularly slippery.

We think the wires in this blanket might shift more over time than those in other blankets (like the Biddeford blankets we tried). The channels sewn into the Sunbeam design are wider, which can allow the wires to shift from side to side, possibly producing hot and cold spots.

Besides that, the Velvet Plush has the same flaws as all Sunbeam blankets and all electric blankets in general; we saw a sizable number of owner complaints citing units that didn’t work at all, stopped working shortly, or didn’t heat uniformly. One Wirecutter staffer who uses this Sunbeam blanket reported that on a few occasions it shocked him, even though it was unplugged at the time. We suspect this was caused by static. Although all the bedding we considered and tested is UL- or ETL-certified and thoroughly tested for safety, we did see some complaints on Amazon about owners getting sparks or shocks.

The combination of electricity and bedding naturally makes some people nervous. But engineering and fire-safety experts told us that today’s heated bedding is very safe when certified by an independent testing lab (UL or ETL), kept in good working condition, and used correctly.

Heated bedding is low on the list of common causes of household fires, said John Drengenberg, the consumer safety director at UL. According to a 2019 home electrical fires report from the National Fire Protection Association (which compiles data from fire departments around the US), mattresses or bedding caused 3% of all home electrical fires from 2012 through 2016, about 270 fires per year.

“The most important thing is that the blanket or pad is listed by an independent testing laboratory, such as UL,” said Judy Comoletti, the NFPA’s division manager for public education at the time of our interview. UL has developed safety standards for heated bedding, and both UL and ETL test products to ensure they meet them. Drengenberg told us that UL-certified heated bedding goes through a battery of tests to verify that the inner heating wires don’t sustain damage during normal wear and tear (a special machine simulates “elbows and knees”), that the electrical components remain sealed from water during washing, that the outer material doesn’t burn too quickly in case of fire, and that the bedding doesn’t get too hot. Drengenberg said that advances in the construction of heating wires and thermostats (which now require fewer connections, and thus have fewer failure points) have also led to safer products.

You do still need to take some precautions when using heated bedding. Our experts gave us some general guidelines that you can follow to prevent damage to the textile casing, wires, cords, and ports in your bedding:

Electric blankets and heated mattress pads can tolerate machine-washing and -drying, but they require special handling. These aren’t “throw in the weekly wash” items. Don’t launder your heated bedding more than you absolutely have to.

Regardless of the model, disconnect all the controllers and cords from the port before laundering. You should wash and dry only one item at a time. Never dry-clean, iron, or use bleach on heated bedding.

Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for washing and drying. In general, instructions will tell you to wash the bedding on a short cold cycle, to machine-dry for only five to 10 minutes on low, and to hang-dry to finish. Long or too-hot drying cycles could damage the wiring; in particular, manufacturers don’t recommend using commercial dryers, which are often hotter than residential dryers.

When storing heated bedding, disconnect and carefully wrap the controller cords. You should roll or gently fold the bedding to avoid pressing, bending, or warping the wires. For this reason, you shouldn’t store heated bedding in compression bags, vacuum-seal it, or keep it underneath heavy items.

If you want a well-cushioned mattress pad: Sunbeam Premium Quilted Heated Mattress Pad was our previous top pick, which we eliminated due to ongoing, prolonged stock issues (especially in queen and king sizes). If you can find it, this quilted heated mattress pad with a cotton top and poly fill was the cushiest we initially tested, with virtually undetectable heating wires. Its ergonomic, intuitive digital controls offered plenty of all-over heat-setting options (20) and a preheat option, with the bonus that its king and queen pads came with two controllers (so each side could set and adjust a different temperature).

If you want a water-resistant mattress pad: The Sunbeam Water-Resistant Heated Mattress Pad is similar to the Sunbeam Premium Quilted Heated Mattress Pad, but with water resistance meant to protect your mattress from spills or other accidents. It also has less fill and you can feel the wires more.

If you care more about comfort in a blanket than controls: The Biddeford Microplush Sherpa Electric Blanket, our previous runner-up pick, was eliminated in 2022 because of ongoing stock issues. If you can find it, we found the Biddeford more comfortable than our Sunbeam top pick because it slipped around less on the bed and the wires were less noticeable. The microplush material—a smooth polyester fleece on one side and a fuzzy fleece on the reverse—wasn’t as smooth as the Sunbeam’s velvety texture. But its two thick layers did a better job of hiding the internal wires than Sunbeam’s fleece. Compared with the controls on the Sunbeam blanket, though, Biddeford’s controls were more awkward to use. And although both blankets have two sets of heat controllers, we didn’t like that we had to plug in each side of the Biddeford separately (and thus use more outlets).

Sunbeam Quilted Heated Mattress Pad (MSU3KQS): This pad was okay, but the polyester top felt unpleasant to the touch, and its 5 ounces of fill felt too thin to be comfortable. Since this topper was so similar to the Sunbeam Quilted Heated Mattress Pad (MSU3GQS) but worse in a few critical ways, we cut it from the running early on.

Biddeford Quilted Heated Mattress Pad (sold by The Company Store) and Biddeford Sherpa Heated Mattress Pad: We eliminated both of these because their plug sockets were located underneath the pads, making them difficult to reach. The sockets also protruded conspicuously, and having the cords underneath everything made tucking in sheets difficult.

Perfect Fit Soft Heat Micro-Plush Heated Mattress Pad: This Perfect Fit pad has a lot of great features. The company’s Soft Heat line uses fine wires that are nearly undetectable and run on low-voltage DC, rather than AC, power (which, as UL’s John Drengenberg said, prevents shocks but doesn’t eliminate the risk of fire). But each low-voltage DC controller has a 4½-by-2-by-1½-inch box that converts the power supply from AC to DC—on queen-size pads and up, this means two boxes and two separate outlets.

The real concern for us was a series of Amazon reviews claiming that the connector ports—where the controllers attach to the bedding—overheated, scorched, browned, or melted. Although we did not experience these problems, in at least one case a reviewer reports that they got minor burns from coming into contact with the overheated port. We found many other reviews citing these kinds of problems. John Roth, Perfect Fit’s CEO, told us that the browning, melting, and overheating were likely caused by a poor connection due to broken or pulled wiring or a pinched or folded connector. He said this damage could create increased resistance and overheating, leading to scorching, but would never cause a fire.

Biddeford Comfort Knit Heated Blanket: We eliminated this blanket, another previous runner-up, because its material was made from scratchy polyester that we didn’t want near our faces at night. It also had two plug sockets, like all Biddeford blankets, which isn’t as convenient as Sunbeam’s one-socket design.

Biddeford Solid Microplush Electric Blanket: This model showed up with manufacturing defects—the illumination was broken on one of the control boxes, and the blanket didn’t get hot enough in our 20-minute test. It also heated inconsistently, with warmer patches in certain spots and cooler patches in others.

Perfect Fit Soft Heat Micro-Fleece Electric Blanket: We liked this blanket overall because its fine wires were undetectable, and the soft, fuzzy outer material made it the most comfortable blanket in our tests. The slightly textured topper was comfy though not cushy. But we eliminated it for the same reasons that we did the Soft Heat Micro-Plush Heated Mattress Pad, cited above—namely irritation with the numerous cords and overall safety concerns about this company’s products causing burns.

Sunbeam LoftTec Heated Blanket: This is Sunbeam’s thickest electric blanket. The heavy material felt unpleasant, and the shaggy texture reminded us of Muppet fur.

This article was edited by Daniela Gorny and Christine Ryan.

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Ann Matturro Gault, Electric Blankets Are Cozy, But Are They Safe?, SafeBee from UL, January 27, 2015

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Courtney Schley, a senior editor covering sleep and appliances, has been at Wirecutter since 2014. She has held several roles at Wirecutter, including research editor, as well as supervising editor of baby and kid coverage.

Katie Okamoto is a writer and the editor of sustainability coverage at Wirecutter. She has been covering food and design products and their intersections with environment and health issues for more than a decade. Katie has also worked in design and sustainability, and she holds a bachelor’s in environmental studies, a master’s in architecture, and a professional certificate in life cycle assessment.

The 2 Best Electric Blankets & Heated Mattress Pads of 2024 | Reviews by Wirecutter

Electric Bed Sheets For Winter Wirecutter is the product recommendation service from The New York Times. Our journalists combine independent research with (occasionally) over-the-top testing so you can make quick and confident buying decisions. Whether it’s finding great products or discovering helpful advice, we’ll help you get it right (the first time).