If you’ve got this far into the year and resisted the temptation to turn on your central heating, congratulations. You certainly couldn’t be criticised for having done so. Summer felt like a washout and now that the nights are beginning to draw in we know it’s only a matter of time before we’re hunkering down for the winter.
Turning on the heating marks a point of no return. But with energy bill hikes on the horizon, and increases of at least £139 expected for some 15 million households from October, it may be time to find some alternative ways of keeping warm. What’s needed is something that can be taken off as quickly as it is put on and doesn’t cost the Earth to use.
Enter the electric blanket. The concept isn’t new, they’ve been around for almost a century, but the tech is – and so are the designs. They’re cosy, completely safe, most feature safety systems like auto shut-off, and they come in a range of styles and fabric types to suit most preferences. Energy efficiency is also built-in, with some costing as little as 1p a night to run.
So, hold off switching on the central heating a little longer and instead invest in a quality electric blanket to keep away the cold; they’ve got you covered.
How we tested
We found several electric blankets – including underblankets and throws, those made from fleece and velvet and those for different bed sizes – and tried them all on particularly chilly nights. As well as during sleep, we tried some while lounging on the sofa watching TV and even while working from home at a desk.
During testing, we checked how each heated up, how the warmth was distributed, how much comfort they provided, the control options and the safety features. We also noted the quality, how easy they were to use and how well they came up after a wash.
The best electric blankets in 2021 are:
Best overall – Dreamland Scandi king size heated sherpa underblanket: £94.99, Lakeland.co.uk
Best for couples – Silentnight dual control electric blanket: from £49, Silentnight.co.uk
Best heated throw – Dreamland deluxe velvet herringbone heated throw: £69.99, Dreamlanduk.co.uk
Best for super king beds – Homefront fully fitted super king electric blanket: £57.98, Homefrontproducts.co.uk
Best budget buy – Beurer TS15 ecologic double heated underblanket: £33.59, Lloydspharmacy.com
Best for temperature settings – Cosi Home luxury electric heated throw: £45.99, Cosihome.com
Best innovation – Dreamland anti-bacterial heated double underblanket: £49.99, Dreamlanduk.co.uk
Best fabric – Silentnight easi heat microfleece electric blanket: from £50, Silentnight.co.uk
Dreamland Scandi king size heated sherpa underblanket
With its woolly, sheepskin-style fabric, this underblanket looks like it would be cosy enough for most winter nights even with the power turned off. It’s seriously soft and flexible, making it easy to put on the bed with the elasticated corner straps, and is reversible with a slightly less woolly side on the underside.
It fitted our king-size mattress – which is far from new and a bit springy in places – perfectly and actually made it more comfortable by acting as a cushiony layer. But the best thing about this electric blanket is the smart heating. It features Dreamland’s intelliheat+ technology, which takes only five minutes to warm up and then adjusts the temperature as you sleep according to your body and the room’s temperature. We felt it heat up evenly and comfortably, and we loved the dual control that allows you to choose from six heats and three time settings on each side of the bed.
You can sleep easy knowing that the cost of running the blanket is about 1p over seven hours. Although we tried the Scandi electric blanket on a king-size bed, it’s also available in sizes for singles and doubles.
Buy now £94.99, Lakeland.co.uk
Silentnight dual control electric blanket
Best: For couples
Body heat isn’t really something you’d consider when thinking about compatibility, and if our experience is anything to go by, it can differ vastly. But Silentnight’s dual control electric blanket means this is not something about which any couple need worry.
Each side of the bed is controlled independently by the two separate remotes, which allow each person to select from three different heat settings. We were impressed with how quickly it heated up and found even warmth with no hotspots. It’s also machine washable on a 40C cycle and comes with a three-year guarantee.
Buy now £49.00, Silentnight.co.uk
Dreamland deluxe velvet herringbone heated throw
Best: Heated throw
As the nights draw in, most days close with evenings curled up on the sofa in front of the box with a hot cuppa and a blanket. However, sometimes a little extra comfort and warmth are needed, especially if you live in an old, chilly house like our tester. When regular throws don’t cut it, this gorgeous velvet number from Dreamland will be just what’s needed. It’s also been a lifesaver – well, cold legs saver – when we’ve been working from home on the cold, grey days.
The throw features the same intelliheat + technology as our best buy so that you can enjoy it day and night. It warms up evenly and quickly, and the simple-to-use controller allows for plenty of choices when it comes to time and temperature. It’s also beautifully soft, snuggly and stylish and comes in grey and navy to fit any interior colour scheme.
Buy now £69.99, Dreamlanduk.co.uk
Homefront fully fitted super king electric blanket
Best: For super king beds
When we began our search for the best electric blankets, we wondered if they were just for people with smaller beds. But then we came across this whopper from Homefront for people fortunate enough to own a super king.
This blanket has a deep elasticated skirt, like a fitted sheet, and is ultra-easy to put on the bed. It has a soft, fleecy feel and is a little thinner than some of the other products we tested, but you can’t feel the wires when lying on top of it.
Because it’s unlikely that anyone will be sleeping in a super king bed alone (who should be so lucky?), the blanket has two controllers with three heat settings that adjust the warmth of each side independently. It also features overheat protection. This one costs about 2p a night to run, which is brilliant considering its size, and it is machine washable on a wool or delicate 30C cycle.
Buy now £57.98, Homefrontproducts.co.uk
Beurer TS15 ecologic double heated under blanket
Best: Budget buy
The first thing we noticed about this Beurer electric blanket was its light weight, making it incredibly easy to put on the bed, take off and put in the washing machine. It’s made from meltingly soft fleece fabric and fits perfectly on a double bed with elasticated ties to prevent any slippage for a wonderfully comfortable – and toasty – night.
The simple controller has three heat settings to choose from and it lights up to show it is in use. We were delighted to find that this electric blanket is suitable for tumble drying on a low heat too, so no waiting around for it to dry, and it comes with a three-year guarantee, giving us confidence that it will keep you warm over years of use. This blanket may be the cheapest in our roundup, but it certainly doesn’t scrimp on quality and functions.
Buy now £33.59, Llyodspharmacy.com
Cosi Home luxury electric heated throw
Best: For temperature settings
Measuring a generous 160cm x 130cm, this is the perfect throw for wrapping yourself up in when the winter chill hits. It’s reversible and made from a dreamily soft fleece; the one we tested was navy and cream, but it also comes in grey, brown and cream.
Cosi Home’s blanket had the most settings of any we tested, with nine temperature settings that can be selected on the easy-to-use controller. It also features a nine-hour timer, auto shut-off and advanced overheat protection, so you can safely fall asleep under it. This electric blanket is safe for machine washing at up to 40C.
Buy now £45.99, Cosihome.com
Dreamland anti-bacterial heated double underblanket
The latest electric blanket in Dreamland’s range is this incredible anti-bacterial wonder. The design features silver, which is known for its antimicrobial properties, and it is 99 per cent effective against bacteria for ultimate hygiene.
The blanket is made from a soft microfleece fabric for maximum cosiness and is suitable for both machine washing and tumble drying. It has a digital control with four heat settings and features Dreamland’s newest safety system, which checks the temperature 25 times a second and automatically shuts off the electricity after nine hours regardless.
Buy now £49.99, Dreamlanduk.co.uk
Silentnight easi heat microfleece electric blanket
We could run our hands along this blanket all day. The fabric is extraordinarily soft, smooth, high quality and has a pinsonic pattern for extra style. Secure the blanket in place with the elasticated corner straps and you’re ready to choose one of the three heat settings before bedding down for the night. It costs from 1p a night to run and features automatic overheat protection for safety and peace of mind. The easi heat blanket is available for single, double and king-size beds.
Buy now £50.00, Silentnight.co.uk
The verdict: Electric blankets
Dreamland’s Scandi sherpa underblanket has everything you’d want from an electric blanket. It’s thick, high quality, ultra-soft, and heats up quickly and evenly. We love the intelliheat+ technology that is built-in, both for safety and wellbeing reasons. And the blanket is so comfortable that it feels brilliant on the bed even when it’s not turned on.
For something you can use anywhere in the home, we’d recommend both the Dreamland’s deluxe velvet herringbone heated throw as well as Cosi Home’s luxury electric heated throw. Both tick all the boxes on style, comfort, performance and safety.
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Check out our review of the best mattresses for 2021, including memory foam, pocket sprung and hybrid mattresses.