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How do electric blankets work?

Want to be toasty warm without a heater? An electric blanket does just that - heat the person not the room. Electric blankets contain a series of thin electrical wires embedded inside the fabric. When the blanket is plugged in and switched on, these wires activate and heat the surrounding fabric and bed. 

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Which type of electric blanket is best for you?

There are a range of different types of electric blankets, each designed to keep you warm and cosy, without having to heat the room. Explore and pick the best blanket for you to hunker down with.

Dreamland Scandi Dual Control Underblanket in super king size.

Electric underblankets

  • Heats the surface of your bed.
  • Covers the mattress up to the pillow area.
  • Fixes to mattress with ties or elasticated straps.
  • Available in a variety of fabrics, including polyester and cosy fleece.
  • Needs covering with a bottom sheet for protection.
Dreamland Sherpa Tartan Reversible Overblanket.

Electric overblankets

  • Can be used like a normal blanket under your duvet.
  • Can be placed inside your duvet cover.
  • Helps you maintain a constant bed temperature during the night.
  • Come in sizes to match bed dimensions.
Dreamland Intelliheat Dual Control Mattress Protector.

Heated mattress covers and protectors

  • Covers the entire mattress, but there is no wiring underneath the pillow.
  • Fitted by an elasticated skirt.
  • Doesn't have to be switched on all the time, so can be used in the same way as a normal mattress protector.
A couple using a heated throw.

Heated throws

  • The most versatile electric blanket.
  • Use to keep warm when laying on the sofa, or add an extra cosiness to your bed.
  • Come in a variety of different patterns, materials and colours.
  • Adds to your home décor so there's no need to hide away in the summer.

Electric blanket features

Each type of electric blanket has some unique features to offer. Make sure you check the product details to find what suits you best. Here are some features to look out for:

Slumberdown luxury heated throw with hourly timer.

Timer programmes

You choose when your blanket turns on and off without having to be there, or be awake to do it.

Large Dreamland Snuggle Up Heated grey throw with heat settings.

Heat settings

Most blankets will have variable heat settings that will generally range from 18 to 56 degrees.

King size Snuggledown Intelligent Warmth Heated Underblanket with dual controls.

Dual controls

Each side of a double blanket can be heated separately so couples can choose their own preferences.

Dreamland Scandi Sherpa Single Control Underblanket with overheat protection.

Overheat protection

All blankets in the UK will have this. The blanket automatically shuts off when it senses any overheating to keep you safe.

King size Dreamland Intelliheat Dual Control Mattress Protector with temperature sensors.

Temperature sensors

The sensors detect your body and room temperatures to adjust the heat of the blanket accordingly.

Dreamland Scandi Sherpa Single Control Underblanket with extra foot warmth.

Extra foot warmth

Some blankets have slightly higher temperature at the bottom to keep your toes toasty warm.

Electric blanket reviews

Frequently asked questions

Folded up electric blanket on bed.

How much does an electric blanket cost to run?

Most blankets are energy efficient, costing very little to run. Simply prep your bed for a few minutes before you call it a day and you'll be set for the night. Using an electric blanket or a heated throw can also reduce your heating bills because you're not having to heat the whole house.

Woman sleeping on bed under red electric blanket.

What are the health benefits of electric blankets?

Close proximity to heat allows blood flow to increase around sore areas, which can alleviate pain associated with arthritis, backache and muscle soreness. Some allergy sufferers also benefit as the heat reduces moisture in your bed, lessening the likelihood of dust mites.

Silentnight Comfort Control Electric Underblanket.

Are electric blankets safe?

Yes, when used correctly. Here are some safety tips:

  • Carefully roll blankets up for storage to avoid damaging wiring.
  • Check your blanket regularly for wear and tear, such as fraying fabric, damp patches or loose connections.
  • Don't use while wet or damp and don't turn on your blanket to dry it.
  • Don't use an electric blanket and hot water bottle together.
A white washing machine in a laundry room.

Can you wash an electric blanket?

Yes, but it's important that you follow all manufacturers' instructions when washing or tumble drying your blanket, but generally you should wash and dry on gentle, cold settings.

If you don't have a dryer, you can air dry your blanket but make sure not to place clothes pegs on wired sections.

Keep things energy efficient with these energy saving ideas

Meaco Arete One 12L Dehumidifier & Air Purifier next to a bed.


While not using central heating saves electricity, it can also cause damp in homes. In that case, getting a dehumidifier is a good idea as it removes excess water from the air. It can also help reduce mould, pollutants, and mildew.

Clothes drying on a radiator.

Don't dry your clothes on radiators

When you cover a radiator with clothes, it has to work harder to reach the right temperature, wasting lots of valuable energy. Choose a heated clothes airer instead.

Argos Home 20m 3 Tier Jumbo Indoor Clothes Airer.

Clothes airers

The easiest way to dry clothes is with a clothes airer. Easy to set up and hassle-free, they come in different shapes and sizes to suit your needs. All without drying up your pocket!

More help and inspiration

Woman on sofa hugging heat pad.

Heat pads and pods

Described as the modern hot water bottle, these are useful if you only want heat concentrated to a specific area of your body. They come in basic, cushion style and wrap forms, with some being cordless so they can be used on the move.

Portable heater next to bed.

Electric blanket vs space heater

Electric blankets tend to be more energy efficient than space heaters but will only heat the bed not the whole room. If you want the entire room to be warm and toasty, but don't want to heat the whole house, then it's best to use a portable space heater instead.

Dad and daughter stood on hill with wind turbine in the background.

100% renewable electricity

Choosing Sainsbury's Energy means you can power your blanket with 100% renewable electricity+.

Sign up to a fixed tariff and you'll get:

  • Bonus Nectar points
  • Dedicated customer service
  • No exit fees

Ready to make the switch?