YOU can ensure you're properly warm and cosy in bed or snuggled up on the sofa this winter with a heated electric blanket.

With high energy prices and plummeting winter temperatures, a heated blanket is a great way to stay warm and toasty without blasting the central heating.

But what exactly is an electric blanket and what's the best electric blanket for you?We've rounded up 11 of the best electric blankets available to buy now.

What is an electric blanket?

Put simply, an electric blanket has electrical wires running through it that connect to a cable, which you then plug into a wall socket. These wires then heat up, warming the blanket and so warming your bed, or if it's an over blanket or throw, warming you.

How do electric blankets work?

There are two kinds of electric blankets to choose from: under blankets and over blankets.

Under blankets are designed to sit directly on the mattress, while over blankets are more like a throw that you lay on top of you.

Some electric blankets are designed for all night use, but most come with a timer you can set so it will automatically switch off after you've drifted off.

Look for blankets that are washable and have detachable controls. That way you can simply pop then into the washing machine on a cool wash to freshen them up.

If you share a bed with a hot sleeper than think about buying one with dual controls so everyone can sleep comfortably.

Are electric blankets safe?

Modern electric blankets are safe and have an inbuilt cut-out mechanism in case of overheating. They are so safe you can machine wash most of them after you’ve removed the power cable, which is detachable from the blanket.

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That said, you shouldn’t leave your electric blanket on all night unless the manufacturer specifies it’s okay to do so – either use it to preheat your bed and manually switch off before falling asleep, or choose one that has a timer so you can happily drift off knowing the blanket will switch itself off.

Please note: If you have a pacemaker, or are pregnant, please check with your doctor before using an electric blanket.

Best electric blankets at a glance

  • Best luxury throw: Lakeland Arctic Ice Faux Fur Throw
  • Best for easy cleaning: Slumberdown wonderfully Warm Luxury Electric Blanket
  • Best budget electric blanket: Silentnight Comfort Control Electric Blanket single
  • Best for dual control: Snuggledown Intelligent Warmth Heated Topper
  • Best for cold feet: Beurer Cosy Heated Foot Warmer
  • Best king size: Dreamland Antibacterial Heated Underblanket – King size
  • Best self-heating: Silentnight Self Heating Mattress Topper

1. Best luxury throw: Lakeland Arctic Ice Faux Fur Throw

  • Lakeland Arctic Ice Faux Fur Throw, £99.99 from Lakeland – buy here

A luxurious faux fur electric blanket to keep you cosy on the coldest night. Use it on the sofa or as an over blanket on your bed. It has nine heat settings and you can even pre-heat it before snuggling underneath and watching the snowflakes fall outside.

Set the timer in case you do doze off into dreams of Alaskan adventure. When bought from Lakeland it comes with a three-year guarantee.

Dimensions: 160cm x 120cm with a 3m power cable, Over or under: over, Sizes available: one size, Fabric: faux fur, Number of settings: nine, Auto shut-off: yes, Washable: yes

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2. Cozytek Luxurious Electric Heated Throw Over Blanket

  • Cozytek Luxurious Electric Throw Heated Throw Over Blanket, £64.99 from Amazon – buy here

This luxurious polyester/fleece electric blanket is super soft and great for curling up with on the sofa on a cold night.

The digital control is easy to use and you can control the temperature to nine different heating levels. Simply unclip the cable to wash at up to 40 degrees.

Dimensions: 160cm x 120cm, Over or under: over, Fabric: polyester, Number of settings: nine Auto shut-off: yes, Washable: yes

3. Best for easy cleaning: Slumberdown Wonderfully Warm Luxury Electric Blanket, double

  • Slumberdown Wonderfully Warm Multi Zone Single Electric Blanket, £75 at Amazon – buy here

This electric blanket features a removable quilted fleecy cover that you simply pop in the washing machine – easy!

It also features nine heat settings and a timer with auto shut-off, as well as a sensor that adjusts to the temperature of the room.

You can also choose where to direct the heat, so if you’re toes are cold you can direct the warmth there specifically. Very useful for those of us who always suffer from cold feet.

Over or under: over Sizes available: single, double, king and super king, Fabric: polyester, Number of settings: 9, Auto shut-off: yes, Washable: yes and tumble dryer safe

4. Sweet Dreams Electric mattress cover Super King Size

  • Sweet Dreams Electric mattress cover Super King Size, £105.99 at Robert Dyas – buy here

Add a touch of luxury to your bedtime routine with this super king size heated mattress cover to keep you extra toasty this winter.

With five buttons to control temperature and the timer settings, it's super simple to use – plus, there are dual controls so you and your partner can both adjust the temperature as needed.

It's made from a soft fleece material and fits snugly to your mattress with ultra-thin wires that you won't notice at all – for a calm and cosy night's sleep.

Dimensions: 203 x 182, Over or under: under Fabric: , Number of settings:Auto shut-off: , Washable: yes

5. Best budget electric blanket: Silentnight Comfort Control Electric Blanket single

  • Silentnight Comfort Control Electric Blanket single, from £45 from Argos– buy here

A budget friendly blanket that has a cosy fleece finish and features three settings you can adjust to find your favourite heat level.

It has an overheat protection shut off for peace of mind and is compatible with memory foam mattresses and toppers. Attaches securely to the mattress with elastic straps and is also washable – just unplug the cable from the blanket.

Over or under: under, Sizes available: single, double, king, Fabric: polyester, Number of settings: three, Auto shut-off: yes, Washable: yes

6. Best for dual control: Snuggledown Intelligent Warmth Heated Topper, double

  • Snuggledown Intelligent Warmth Heated Topper double, from £80 from Sleepseeker – buy here

Dual climate controls ensure you and your partner will both sleep easy without being too warm, or too cool. And if you’re the kind of person who always has cold feet in bed, there’s also a zone feature so can toast your toes without overheating the rest of your body.

When it’s not switched on, the padding on this electric blanket gives your mattress an extra comfort layer. The 100% cotton cover is removable for easy washing.

Over or under: under, Sizes available: single, double, king, superking, Fabric: polycotton with 100% cotton cover, Number of settings: nine, Auto shut-off: yes, Washable: yes

7. Best for cold feet: Beurer Cosy Heated Foot Warmer 

  • Beurer Cosy Heated Foot Warmer, now £52.99, from Wayfair – buy here

Whilst not officially a heated blanket, we had to include this incredibly snug foot warmer that will keep your cold toes toasty all winter.

The one-size-fits-all is easy to slip on and off and the super-soft microfibre fleece lining is incredibly comfortable.

There are three temperature settings, an illuminated display and a two-meter cord, so you're not restricted on where you can use this handy gadget.

Over or under: over, Sizes available: one size, Fabric: polyester, Number of settings: three, Auto shut-off: yes, Washable: yes

8. Beurer Komfort Fitted mattress cover

  • Beurer Komfort Fitted mattress cover, £65 from Freemans – buy here

This cosy double under blanket is made from a fleecy fabric and has a luxurious feel to it. It carries OEKO-TEX STANDARD 100 verification, which guarantees quality assurance both in its materials and manufacture.

The cover fits snuggly to the bed as it has a deep elasticated skirt all the way round and can be used all night. The six settings include a pre-heat function and you can programme the blanket to switch itself off after a pre-determined time.

Zonal heat means warmer conditions for frozen toes and two controllers allow for different temperatures at either side of the bed. Washable and, as an added bonus, tumble dryer safe!

Dimensions: 190cm x 135cm with a 1m electric cable, Over or under: under, Sizes available: double, Fabric: polyester, Number of settings: six, Auto shut-off: yes, Washable: yes

9. Best king size: Dreamland Antibacterial Heated Under blanket

  • Dreamland Antibacterial Heated Under blanket – King size, £65 from Argos – buy here

Antibacterial, a five minute heat up time, and four heat settings, this blanket from Argos is a great buy at £65.

Suitable to use all night, this Dreamland Heated Under blanket is made for king size beds.

If the reviews are anything to go by, you're in for a treat.

Over or under: under, Sizes available: king size, Fabric: polyester, Number of settings: four, Auto shut-off: yes, Washable: yes

10. Dreamland Alaskan Husky Faux Fur Throw

  • Dreamland Alaskan Husky Faux Fur Throw, £109.99 at John Lewis – buy here

This Dreamland Alaskan Husky faux fur throw might just be the most luxurious way to snuggle up this winter – and will add a Scandi vibe to your living room or bedroom decor too.

The throw has hidden heat controls, with six temperature settings and you can choose to auto-shut off after 1, 3 or 9 hours.

The reverse of the faux fur is an incredibly soft beige micromink fabric – wrap up in this on a chilly night and you'll be as cosy as can be.

Over or under: over Number of settings: six, Auto shut-off: yes, Washable: yes

11. Best self-heating: Silentnight Self Heating Mattress Topper

  • Silentnight Self Heating Mattress Topper, £34.99 (on offer) at Wayfair – buy here

If you're looking for a more natural option rather than an electric blanket, this Silentnight mattress topper has a heat reflecting foil layer that reflects body heat back to you – plus a thermal lining and deeply filled quilted top layer – to keep you extra warm in bed.

As well as the heat retaining properties, it's made from a super soft fabric with a down alternative filling – and it fits snugly to the bed – so it's ultra comfortable for a great night's rest.

The topper is also machine washable and comes with a two-year guarantee too.

Over or under: under Washable: yes

Which is best – an under blanket or an over blanket?

This depends on where you want to use your electric blanket. An under blanket, as the name implies, goes under your bed sheet and on top of the mattress. It is designed for use on a bed and is pretty functional in its aesthetic – usually white and sized to fit your single, double, king size or super king size bed.

An electric over blanket or throw goes on top of your duvet as an extra heated layer, but the plus point with this type of blanket is you can also use it off the bed – on the sofa to snuggle under watching TV, even draped around your shoulders or across your knees while working at your computer or reading a book.

Over blankets are also usually much more interesting to look at – they come in different materials and have different textures, for example smooth on the outside and fleecy on the inside, and they are available in different colours to match your décor.

Are electric blankets more energy efficient than using a heater?

If you’re at home during the day working at a computer then using an electric blanket over your knees to keep you warm is more energy efficient than switching on the central heating.

In the evening, an electric blanket will warm your bed so you’re toasty as soon as you climb under the covers, which means you can turn down your heating thermostat and save money, or turn the heating off altogether.

How much electricity do electric blankets use?

Assuming a typical power rating of 100W and electricity costs of 34p per kilowatt hour (kWh) – under The Government’s new energy price guarantee scheme – it will cost 3.4p per hour to run an electric blanket.

For three hours use that’s just over 10p and for eight hours use just over 27p, which is a lot less than it costs to run your central heating. Three hours use each night equates to 71.4p per week and £3.06 per month.

Obviously if you constantly have your blanket on the highest setting it will consume more electricity.

When it comes to choosing the best electric blanket, go for one with a timer you can set to switch off when you fall asleep.

The timer is a great way to save energy – do you need your blanket on once you’re asleep? Many are not designed to be left on all night anyway.

Sleepseeker expert Hayley Thistleton, says preparation is key: “Rather than blasting your blanket  on a high heat before you get into bed, simply put it on a low heat further in advance, this way you won’t use so much power. And, if you need a little extra oomph, you can up it for a short period of time.”

What should I look for when buying an electric blanket?

The best electric blanket for you will depend on what you want it for. If you're after a throw to snuggle under on the sofa, then something that feels soft, such as faux fur or sherpa fleece, will be ideal. If it's to go on top of your mattress however, then look and feel don't matter so much as it's the functionality you're after.

Consider the size of your bed, your sleeping partner if you have one and your health needs before buying. An electric blanket with dual controls is ideal if you and your partner prefer different degrees of warmth, that way neither of you will be too hot or too cold. Heat zones are a good idea – especially if you suffer from cold feet – so you can have the bottom of the blanket warmer than the top.

Other considerations could include whether the blanket has a removable cover for washing, detachable controls and a timer.

How long do electric blankets last?

Electric blankets can last up to 10 years, but should be tested by an electrician after two years, according to the fire service. Check regularly for signs of wear and tear, and if the blanket is damaged then do not use it.

Can you wash an electric blanket?

Electric blankets are washable. Some have a removable cover that you wash separately from the blanket, others have removable controls and a detachable cable that you take off before washing.

How do you wash an electric blanket?

Remove all controls and the power cable before washing. Generally, machine wash your blanket at around 30°C (no more than 40°C) on a gently cycle.

Some electric blankets are suitable for tumble drying, but check the product's washing instructions first, as not all can be dried this way.

Make sure the blanket is completely dry before putting back on the bed. If you're storing the blanket in a cupboard, roll or loosely fold it to avoid damaging the internal wires.

What benefits do electric blankets have?

Electric blankets keep you warm and can reduce your heating bills in that you won't need to have the thermostat so high, or for so long, or you may decide to switch off your central heating altogether.

They can also provide health benefits: if you suffer from backache or joint pain, then heat often helps. Poor circulation can mean cold feet, so an electric blanket with separate heat zones can toast your toes, without overheating the rest of you.Stiffness after exercise is often helped by heat so your aching muscles will be soothed while you sleep.

Electric blankets also help your body maintain a constant temperature during the night, which means you're not as likely to wake up too hot or too cold, so ensuring a good night's sleep.

Can you use an electric blanket upside down

Electric under blankets have straps or a fitted skirt to ensure they don't move around on your mattress and it should be obvious which way round the blanket goes. The length of the electric cable will also determine how you fit the electric blanket to your bed.

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Over blankets (throws) however, often have different textures on each side, perhaps faux fur on one side and fleece on the other, so it's up to you which way up you use your blanket, depending on your mood!

Where can I buy an electric blanket?

Buy your electric blanket online, or in a high street store. There are many different types to choose from with a range of different features, so you're sure to find something to suit you.

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