Author: Megan Birot
If you’re looking to keep it hot in the bedroom this winter, an electric blanket may just be the sleeping companion you didn’t know you needed. An electric blanket is perfect for warming up your bed so that you can comfortably drift off to sleep without fear of feeling frosty. It’s also much cheaper to run than an electric heater. What more could you want?
Check out some cheap electric blankets to buy and everything else you need to know below.
How do electric blankets work?
When plugged in and turned on, electric blankets disperse heat through built-in carbon wires in their fabric, which warms the blanket evenly. You manage the temperature via a control unit, usually found on the cord between the blanket and the electrical socket, to find your ideal heat level. Most electric blankets come in the four most common bed sizes: single, double, queen and king.
What are the different types of electric blankets?
Here are the three main types of electric blankets:
- Electric fitted blanket: This is also known as a bottom blanket. It stretches over your mattress like a regular fitted sheet to warm your bed from underneath.
- Electric non-fitted blanket: This is also referred to as a tie-down blanket. It doesn’t fit around the corners of your mattress but instead comes with ties to secure the blanket to your mattress.
- Heated throw blanket: This is the only one that is really a blanket. The others are more akin to a mattress topper or bottom sheet. Just like a regular blanket, these sit on top of your duvet to warm your bed. You can also use electric throw blankets while watching TV on the couch or anywhere around the house, really.
Cheap electric blankets to buy under $100
Now that we’ve covered the basics, here are some options for budget-friendly electric blankets to beat the winter chills. All prices listed are sourced from retailers and are correct at the time of writing. They should be used as a guide only.
- Living & Co Electric Blanket Tie Down – from $32
- Kmart Fitted Electric Blanket — from $32
- Goldair Select Tie Down Electric Blanket — from $49.98
- Living & Co Electric Throw — $49
- Ovela Washable Plush Electric Heated Throw Blanket — $78.99
- Goldair Tie Down Electric Blanket — from $89.99
- Bambury Standard Electric Blanket — from $95
Living & Co Electric Blanket Tie Down
Quite possibly the cheapest electric blanket on the market. The controller offers three heat settings and prices range from $32 for a single bed up to $40 for a king.
Kmart Fitted Electric Blanket
Kmart is known for its bargains, and this electric blanket is no different. For those on a budget who prefer fitted over tie-down, these blankets are a great option.
Prices start from just $32 for the single bed size, and go up to $65 for the king. They feature a controller on either side (except on the single size) so you and your partner can comfortably set your own temperatures. This blanket offers three heat settings, auto-off after 12 hours and overheat protection.
Goldair Select Tie Down Electric Blanket
Goldair has been a trusted name in New Zealand for over 40 years. A leading supplier of electrical appliances, Goldair products are widely available in stores across the country. Its range of electric blankets features everything from wi-fi enabled smart devices to antibacterial and thick fleecy throws.
This electric blanket is a straightforward budget-friendly choice, starting at just $49.98 for the single. It has three heat settings.
Living & Co Electric Throw
Electric throws are great for keeping cosy while watching a movie on the sofa. And this option from Living & Co is a steal at just $59. This micro fleece throw measures 120cm by 160cm, has nine different heat settings, overheat protection and a detachable controller.
Ovela Washable Plush Electric Heated Throw Blanket
Another excellent throw blanket option. For approx $74, this microfleece throw from Ovela features:
- Nine heat settings with fast heating function
- Intelligent temperature control up to 55°C
- Digital LED display with auto switch-off timer up to nine hours
- Detachable wires for a non-heated throw option
- Overheating and overcurrent protection
- Machine washable
Goldair Fitted Electric Blanket
Another simple yet excellent Goldair electric blanket. It features four heat settings and double controllers on all but the single bed size, and the controllers are detachable for machine washing. Prices start from $189.99 for the single and go up to $249.99 for a king.
Bambury Standard Electric Blanket
The Standard Electric Blanket by Bambury features dual controls so you can choose your own comfort setting on your own side of the bed and straps to fit most extra deep mattresses. Starting from around $110 for a single and $178 for a king, it features:
- Three heat settings
- Dual controllers
- Machine washable – removable cover for washing
- Bambury two-year guarantee
Is it okay to sleep with an electric blanket on?
No, it’s generally NOT recommended to leave your electric blanket on while you’re sleeping, even if it has an overnight mode. Electric blankets usually only need to run for 10 to 30 minutes to keep you warm long enough for you to comfortably drift off to sleep.
If you do want to use a heated throw for an extended period of time, it’s common for electric fitted blankets and throws to have an overheat protection function and auto-off function to ensure the blanket turns off after a few hours, or if it gets too hot. Some models also provide timer controls, allowing you to set the electric blanket to run for a specific length of time.
Are electric blankets safe to use?
All electric blankets sold in New Zealand must comply with strict safety standards, so they’re perfectly safe to use as long as you follow all care and safety instructions to the letter. While new electric blankets typically pose no safety risks; misused, worn or damaged models can cause burns and start electrical fires in some cases, so always check your appliance before turning it on.
As a general rule, you should regularly check your electric blanket yourself and replace it every five years (or have it checked by the manufacturer). If at any time you notice any signs of frayed fabric, bent wiring, scorch marks, exposed elements, damaged cords or loose cables do not use the blanket.
Lastly, be aware that it’s not recommended to use electric blankets with young children, due to the control required to manage heat settings.
Do electric blankets use a lot of electricity?
Compared to other heating appliances, electric blankets don’t consume as much energy and typically use about 200W per hour (depending on the heat setting). This amounts to roughly 6.5c of electricity, based on the average NZ price. Alternatively, most electric heaters use more than 1kW per hour (1kW = approx 32.5c of electricity).
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How to clean an electric blanket
Electric blankets and heated throws can usually either be hand washed or chucked in the washing machine, depending on the model. Just make sure to read the instruction manual to find out the best way to clean your blanket to avoid shrinking the item or causing a potential fire hazard.
According to Sunbeam, here’s how to wash your electric blanket in a washing machine. However, this is only a guide. Make sure to check the manual for instructions for your particular model.
How to clean an electric blanket using a washing machine
- Remove the controller(s) and any cables
- Presoak the blanket for 15 minutes with mild soap and cold water
- Use the delicate or gentle wash cycle for two minutes, before rinsing the blanket in cold water
- Run the spin dry function on the washing machine for two minutes. If using a dryer, choose the low temperature setting
- Gently reshape the blanket
- Without using pegs, place the blanket over a clothesline or shower rod to fully dry
The appliance brand also gave a few tips on cleaning your electric blanket or heated throw:
- Wash the electric blanket or heated throw before you use it for the first time
- Disconnect the power cord before detaching the controller from the heated blanket or throw
- Avoid going to the laundromat and using commercial dryers because these can get too hot and damage the wiring
- Avoid using sprays, bleach, or chemical cleaners
- Don’t iron the blanket or throw
- Never wash the controller or any cables
- Don’t dry clean the electric blanket or throw
- Make sure the electric blanket or heated throw is completely dry before using it
- Don’t store the blanket with mothballs
Four features to look for in an electric blanket
If you’re considering buying an electric blanket, here are some important features to look out for:
- Size: Size matters, that’s why you need to pick the right blanket size for your bed. Most electric blankets are available in a range of sizes to suit any bed size, including single, double, queen and king size options. Some even feature king single or super king sizes, too. Some models also have an extra warm foot zone to keep you from getting cold feet.
- Heat settings: Most electric blankets come with adjustable heat settings to give you different (at least three) temperature options to choose from. But if you and your partner prefer separate heat settings, then you’ll want to find a model with dual control to allow you to adjust the heat on both sides of your blanket. You’ll have to manually adjust heat settings on most low-range models, but some high-end appliances allow you to pre-program these settings: to warm up your blanket automatically during a set period before bedtime then automatically shut off after a certain time.
- Cleaning: If you’re not a fan of hand washing (let’s be honest, who is?) you’ll want to ensure your electric blanket is machine washable and that it comes with detachable controls to make for an easier clean.
- Warranty: Make sure your electric blanket comes with a two-year warranty, at the very least, and keep your receipt in case you notice any faults with your appliance when you get home. Some brands offer up warranties for up to five years on certain models.
About the editor of this page
This report was edited by Canstar’s Editor, Bruce Pitchers. Bruce has three decades’ experience as a journalist and has worked for major media companies in the UK and Australasia, including ACP, Bauer Media Group, Fairfax, Pacific Magazines, News Corp and TVNZ. Prior to Canstar, he worked as a freelancer, including for The Australian Financial Review, the NZ Financial Markets Authority, and for real estate companies on both sides of the Tasman.