Home & Living

Electric Blanket: What It's Worth (PHOTOS)

In What It's Worth, we investigate why an everyday household item is worth buying...and what to look for when shopping for that very item. This week, we're focusing on the electric blanket, to beat the winter cold.

So far, January has been a month of cleaning out our homes, staying warm, and trying to get a good night's sleep as much as possible. We call it our resting and nesting month. And with the fickle weather, which has given us a few chilling nights, we intend to do more of this in the days to come. But we'll be sure to prepare for it with an electric blanket.

There are many skeptics when it comes to electric blankets, but they're actually worth checking out. Most of the newer models are not only safe and reliable, but they don't overheat or get too too hot or have that weird electric smell. And another plus about an electric blanket? They practically feel just like real plush blankets, except they'll never go cold on you.

Aside from the obvious benefits of the blanket itself, using an electric blanket can also help you save on running your furnace or the radiator all night. According to our calculations, an electric blanket run for eight hours a night for 30 days sums up to only about an extra $1.98 on your electric bill.

And important note of caution: remember to never top an electric blanket with a comforter or other blankets and make sure the area around the plug is not cluttered.

All that said, if you're in the market for one this winter, here's what to keep in mind when looking for an electric blanket.

Check the wires. Safety first. It's important to make sure they're well insulated.

Consider digital. While button controls are passable, blankets with digital dials are easier to manage. They're a little pricier but there's a good range of value, and the digital dial is easy to read.

Time the heating process. Check to see how long it takes the electric blanket to heat up. From our experience, one that takes approximately 20-25 minutes means that heat travels at a good pace throughout. If it takes up to 45 minutes, you might want to reconsider.

Even heat distribution. The worse part of an electric blanket is when heat is unevenly distributed. Make sure the wires inside the blanket are relatively thin and travel evenly throughout the blanket.

Think about fabric. Even if an electric blanket has all of the above advantages, treat it like a blanket and keep the fabric in mind when you're shopping for one. Nothing's worse than a warm scratchy, uncomfortable blanket. We like the ones that are made of extra-soft microfiber.

Thinking about buying an electric blanket? Flip through the slideshow below for some that we're eyeing at the moment: