Electric blanket until the 1950s was called ‘a warming pad’ or ‘heated quilt’. In the US it is a blanket having integrated electrical heating, and it is placed above the top bed sheet. In other English-speaking countries the term ‘electric blanket’ refers to electric mattress pad placed under the bed sheet. Electric blanket is used to pre-heat the bed before sleep or keep it warm during use. The heating element or an insulated wire is inserted into the fabric. The temperature can be regulated with the control unit.
Electric heating blanket was invented in 1900s. It was big and bulky, and it did not resemble the ones we use today. Since 1920s electric blankets have been widely used in tuberculosis sanitariums. The patients were prescribed to spend a lot of time outdoors, including sleeping. That is why they needed something to keep them warm while sleeping outside.
The first automatic blanket dates back to 1936. It turned on and off automatically. It was equipped with a thermostat which turned off in case of hot spot appearance and was wired into the blanket. In 1984 a thermostat-free electric blanket was introduced.
Modern electric blankets can respond to body as well as air temperature. If you want, your feet may receive more heat than your arms if you are covered with the blanket.
Electric Blanket Safety
Electric blankets used to be hazards as they could cause burns and even fire. Today’s blankets have a shutoff mechanism that prevents the users from overheating.
Most electric blankets work on a voltage of 12 to 24 volts. 16-to-24-volt electric blankets plug into ordinary electrical outlets. There are 12-volt blankets that can be used in cars. In most cases they turn off every 45 minutes.
If the blanket is not equipped with shutoff mechanism, it is considered to be dangerous as well as old or damaged one. Besides, people who cannot feel pain and react to it are not recommended to use electric blankets. It is vital that the user could fully understand and control the operation, so do not allow infants, small children, paralyzed and elderly people to use electric blankets if not supervised.
During pregnancy it is essential to prevent the fetus from overheating. That is why if a pregnant woman wants to use an electric blanket, she must turn it off before sleep.
Diabetics can only pre-warm the bedding as well. They often lose the feeling in arms and legs, and as a result they will not feel the burn if it happens.
According to some scientists’ view, the electromagnetic fields produced by electric blankets can be harmful for people’s health. There were concerns that these fields could cause cancer. However, there was no consecutive evidence of this point. Besides, the electric blankets produced by Sunbeam after 1992 have weaker electric fields.
If you have doubts about safety of these appliances, the best electric blanket for you is the SoftHeat Low Voltage heated blanket that converts the outlet into 16-18 volt DC. You can also try ChillPad that does not have electricity in the pad. It has silicone tubes filled with water that is heated and then circulates inside them.
Dual Control Electric Blanket
Dual control electric blanket is designed for those who share a bed with another person. Each of you can set the proper heat level so that you both will have a good and warm sleep. Besides, it saves family budget as such electric blanket consumes less electricity than any other electric gadget, and it is safer to the environment.
According to electric blanket reviews, the most popular and high quality dual control electric blankets are produced by Sunbeam (queen size), Soft Heat (king size), Biddeford and Cannon. You can also try Sunbeam heated mattress pad if you like heat from the bed.
Battery Powered Electric Blanket
When you go camping it is essential for you to feel warm when you sleep if you do not want to catch a cold. Even if you are going to stay outside not for long, it is better for you to have an electric blanket just in case. You can find a lot of portable battery powered electric blankets for versatility and expanded uses. The top producers of travel blankets are:
- Trillium Worldwide;
- Chill Buster, etc.
Most battery powered electric blankets have a safety timer with automatic shut-off as well as temperature control so that you could be safe during your trip.