Banish the shivers with our pick of the best electric blankets and heated mattress toppers
Now that the weather is getting cold, you may be eyeing up getting one of the best electric blankets – especially if your home isn’t very well insulated or you’re one of those who insists on sleeping with the window open for fresh air, despite glacial temperatures outside. A run-of-the-mill duvet just won’t cut it and you’ll need a bit of extra heat to ensure your toes don’t fall off. On top of that, there’s just something miserable about crawling into an unwarmed bed on a cold winter night.
An electric blanket can warm your bed before you get in, or help you maintain a steady temperature right through to the moment the alarm goes off.
While electric blankets used to have a reputation for being thick and uncomfortable, modern versions are thinner and lighter – not to mention safer and a lot more efficient, so they’re fine for everyday use. All the same, you’ll want to choose carefully to make sure you get a reliable bedwarmer.
Best electric blanket: At a glance
|Best low-cost electric blanket
|Silentnight Comfort Control (From ~£30)
|Check price at Amazon
|Best basic dual-control blanket
|Silentnight Yours & Mine Dual Control (From ~£45)
|Check price at Amazon
|Best underblanket for a truly toasty bed
|Homefront Fully Fitted Fleece (From ~£75)
|Check price at Amazon
How to choose the best electric blanket for you
How much do I need to spend?
An electric blanket is a cheap way to stay warm at night. Obviously, larger blankets cost more, but you can buy a decent king-size blanket from a major brand for under £30; even the more feature-packed options come in under £100. Running costs are usually between 1p and 4p per night.
Are electric blankets safe to use?
The idea of waking up in the middle of the night on fire isn’t exactly going to (excuse the pun) warm you to the idea of buying an electric blanket, and so many people are put off buying one due to safety concerns. However, electric blankets are perfectly safe as long as you buy from a respected brand and retailer.
When looking to buy an electric blanket, it’s important to buy from a reputable retailer and check that it has the UK safety standard mark. That means you shouldn’t buy secondhand blankets as they may no longer meet safety standards. There are also some things you should avoid doing when using the blanket to make sure you stay as safe as possible.
- Don’t use the blanket whilst it’s still folded or creased
- Don’t use a hot water bottle at the same time
- Don’t get the blanket wet
- Don’t insert or use pins to hold the blanket in place on the bed
Can I use an electric blanket on my latex mattress?
Some brands claim it is safe to use an electric blanket or heating pad with a latex mattress. It’s true, in part. Technically, as long as the electric blanket is not in direct contact with the latex (if there’s a barrier of some sort between the two) then it should be fine. However, there is still, however small, a fire risk. So, for the avoidance of doubt, we would recommend steering clear if you use this type of mattress on your bed. Stick to the hot water bottle instead.
What kinds of electric blanket are there?
Blankets come in two basic types: heated mattress covers or pads that sit on top of the mattress but beneath the sheets, warming you and the duvet from below. Meanwhile, an overblanket slips inside your duvet cover to keep you cosy from above – some versions replace your duvet entirely.
Which you choose is largely a matter of personal preference, but manufacturers of memory foam mattresses often advise against heated pads because they restrict the mattress’s ability to mould to your body, and there’s a risk of the foam itself getting damaged in the long term.
What differences are there between blankets?
All electric blankets warm your bed, but they differ in how long they take to heat up and how much control you have over the temperature. Some take under five minutes to warm up, while others take substantially longer. That’s not necessarily a problem if your blanket has a timer and your bedtimes are regular, but it’s worth thinking about.
All blankets have a range of heat settings, but the number might vary from three to 12. More advanced blankets might even have different settings for different zones, so you can have additional heat for your feet or different heat levels for the two sides of a double bed.
What other things should I look out for?
Beyond that, think about materials – do you want a flat underblanket or something fleecy that holds the warmth? We’re now seeing electric blankets with a thick fleece or Sherpa lining, while there are electric mattress toppers that warm up your bed and add an extra layer of comfort at the same time. Thinner, lighter underblankets might be a better fit for you, but you need to know that they’re going to be comfortable, and that heating elements or cable connections aren’t going to poke through the blanket and annoy you when you’re trying to settle down to sleep.
Also, look out for the practicalities. How long are the cables? How does an underblanket attach to the mattress? Are the controls positioned where you can get to them? These are usually simple plastic modules attached by a cable to the side of the blanket, but some are removable to make the blanket easier to wash or clean. Being machine-washable is clearly a good thing, and some blankets can be tumble-dried.
Many double or king-sized electric blankets also come with dual controllers for the two or more heat zones, so you or your partner have control over the temperature on your or their side of the bed. The only downside? In most cases you’re going to need two electric sockets to accommodate the separate power cables.
Finally, it’s always worth double-checking the safety features. A BEAB Approved Mark is a must, showing that the blanket has had appropriate testing, and you should also look for features such as an overheating safety cut-out or an automatic shutdown, so that a forgetful moment never results in a disaster.
How we test electric blankets
We test electric blankets by fitting them as instructed, then timing how quickly they take to reach a comfortable temperature. We note the consistency of heat across the surface of the blanket and run further checks at 15-minute intervals to see how well the thermostat can maintain the same level of warmth. We test power consumption at the minimum and maximum power settings using a passthrough power meter, and we run through any extra modes or timer settings to see how well these work. Most importantly, we use the electric blanket over a period of three or more nights to assess how easy they are to use and how effective they are in practice.
The best electric blankets you can buy in 2024
1. Silentnight Comfort Control Electric Blanket: Best low-cost electric blanket
Price when reviewed: From £30 | Check price at Amazon If all you need is a basic mattress-cover blanket, it’s hard to go wrong with the Silentnight Comfort Control. It’s a flexible, barely noticeable slimline cover with a concealed heating element that warms up in around ten minutes. It has three heat settings and, while there’s no automatic shut-off, you can safely use it all night with overheat protection for peace of mind.
The blanket straps to the mattress securely with a corner tie and Silentnight claims it’s fine for use with memory foam mattresses. It’s also machine-washable at 40˚C. The Comfort Control isn’t the longest blanket, so it might not keep your tootsies warm, but otherwise it’s great. If you don’t want extras such as specially heated zones or dual controls, why pay more?
Key specs – Type: Polyester mattress cover blanket; Heat settings: 3; Controls: Single; Off timer: No; Dual settings: No; Safety: Overheat protection; Machine washable: Yes; Dimensions: 65 x 135cm (single), 120 x 135cm (double), 137 x 65cm (king)
2. Silentnight Yours & Mine Dual Control: Best basic dual-control electric blanket
Price when reviewed: From £43 | Check price at AmazonWith two heat zones and dual controls, the Yours & Mine is a step up from the Comfort Control, and well worth the extra outlay. It’s easy to use, with just three heat settings, and the wide, stretch straps make it just as easy to fit and keep the mattress pad secure on the bed. It’s also a little larger than most basic models, covering a slightly wider section of the bed. You can have one side turned up high and another turned low – or even off – and both of you can have a comfortable sleep, helped by the flexible, soft-feel pad that really minimises any lumps or bumps.
There’s no timer and it takes around ten to fifteen minutes to warm up, but once it does it stays nice and cosy, and with BEAB approval and overheat protection, it has all the safety basics covered, too. The fact that the settings slider has an off setting at each end is a great little touch. Other underblankets are faster to heat and pack in more features, but this one’s a brilliant and thoroughly affordable winter warmer.
Key specs – Type: Polyester mattress cover blanket; Heat settings: 3; Controls: Dual; Off timer: No; Dual settings: No; Safety: Overheat protection; Machine washable: Yes; Dimensions: 137 x 152cm (double), 150 x 160cm (king)
3. Homefront Fully Fitted Fleece: Best underblanket for a truly toasty bed
Price when reviewed: From £65 | Check price at AmazonHomefront’s premium underblanket has all the features you could hope for, with easy-to-use dual controls on the double and king-sized versions and separate settings for the body and the feet. The luxury fleece style is superb for comfort, and it comes with ten timer settings and an ultrafast warm-up that gets you cosy from head to toe in around five minutes.
This one also avoids a lot of the usual underblanket pitfalls: it’s big enough to cover most of the bed; the deep, elasticated skirt stops it riding up during the night; there’s no cold central zone between the two regions, and any wires are nicely unobtrusive. There’s a super-king size available and you can even wash it at 30˚C. The Homefront is a blanket with a mid-range price tag but one that works and feels like a high-end option.
Key specs – Type: Fleece polyester mattress cover blanket; Heat settings: 9; Controls: Single/dual; Off timer: Yes; Dual settings: On double and king; Safety: Advanced overheat protection; Dimensions: 107 x 203cm (single), 137 x 193cm (double), 152 x 203cm (king) 182 x 203cm (super-king)
4. Monogram Komfort: Best heated non-fleece mattress cover
Price when reviewed: £100 | Check price at AmazonNot everyone likes the feel of fleece – this German-made electric mattress cover gives you the same softness and comfort without the fluff. It’s a fully-fitted cover with its own elasticated skirt, with dual settings and controls optional on the double version, and standard on the king and super-king versions. It heats up within eight minutes on its preheat setting, then dishes out consistent head-to-toe warmth at one of five heat settings overnight. It even has a little extra warmth to keep your toes from getting chilly.
It’s washable and tumble-dryer-friendly, with detachable controllers for easy cleaning. Throw in overheat protection and an auto shut-off timer – which can be set to kick in after one, three, six or 12 hours – and you have one of the best electric blankets around.
Key specs – Type: Soft polyester heated mattress cover; Heat settings: 5; Controls: Single/dual; Off timer: Yes; Dual settings: Yes; Safety: Auto heat shut-off; Dimensions: 90 x 190cm (single), 137 x 190cm (double), 150 x 200cm (king), 180 x 200cm (super-king)
5. Snuggledown Intelligent Warmth Supreme Comfort: Best electric mattress topper for sheer comfort
Price when reviewed: From £85 | Check price at John LewisIf your mattress is slightly on the firm side, a mattress topper is a perfect way to soften it up. Snuggledown’s quilted topper comes with a cold-weather bonus in the shape of integrated heating. Its climate zone controls give you different warmth settings for different areas, while the dual controllers on the double, king and super-sized versions mean both you and your partner can make your own adjustments.
What’s more, the generous padding and 180-thread cotton count cover give you a luxury feel even when the heating’s off. Put it all together and you’ve got a terrific topper for the cold months, but one you might want to keep in place the whole all year round.
Key specs – Type: Polycotton mattress cover blanket; Heat settings: 9; Controls: Single/dual; Off timer: Yes; Dual settings: On double, king; Safety: Overheat protection; Dimensions: 90 x 190cm (single), 135 x 190cm (double), 150 x 200cm (king)
6. Dreamland Luxury Heated Throw: Best heated throw
Price when reviewed: £60 | Check price at John Lewis
We’ve spoken exclusively about electric mattress toppers and covers up to this point, but there’s another type of heated blanket that’s becoming increasingly popular. Heated throws aren’t designed solely with beds in mind, which arguably makes them a bit more versatile.
This is the sort of thing you can curl up on the sofa with on a cold winter’s evening, or drape over your favourite chair for an extra bit of warmth when it’s needed most. And while it doesn’t have straps to hold it in place, there’s no reason it can’t be used to heat the bed up, or along with your duvet as an extra line of defence against the chill.
This one from Dreamland is luxuriously soft, washing machine and tumble dryer safe, and cleverly responds to temperature changes as you sleep or binge watch Netflix in order to deliver exactly the right amount of supplemental warmth.
Key specs – Type: Heated throw; Heat settings: 6; Controls: Single; Off timer: Yes; Dual settings: No; Dimensions: 120 x 160cm