Here’s a sentence I never thought I’d type: a heated blanket has become my most-used and most beloved gadget. Or, at least, I never thought I’d be saying it before I reached a pensionable age.
Electric blankets haven’t been on my radar for years and even then, they were a cautionary tale, associated with lurid tales of cheap wiring and house fires.
But then the cost-of-living crisis kicked off, electricity prices rocketed, the temperature dropped, and things started to look a bit different. People in Facebook groups started sharing tips for staying warm cheaply. TikTok heating hacks abounded.
And electric blankets made a surprise return, suddenly flying off the shelves at John Lewis. Happily, in spite of the childhood horror stories, they are perfectly safe to use.
Let’s be clear: I don’t really love the fact that my most effusively recommended product of the moment is a blanket. It would be considerably nicer if people could afford to heat their homes and I was urging people to splurge on something a bit more fun and life-affirming.
But this is where we are. And if you want a product that will use the least electricity possible while making you warm and comfortable at home, this is the thing to buy.
Since I got the heated blanket a month ago, it has gone from weird novelty to essential household item. I work from home and it’s become an indispensable part of my morning routine: make coffee, settle heated throw over me, open laptop. Ready for work.
In the evening, if my partner and I retreat to the sofa to watch a movie, the throw comes with us. If I’m reading on the bed, I’m doing so under the throw. Even the cat has fallen in love with it and miaows impatiently until I arrange it to his liking so he can climb on next to me.
It cost around £55 and has more than paid for itself in electricity bill savings. I didn’t even switch on my heating until the last temperature drop. (When it fell below 0°C, I waved the white flag.)
If you know as little about these things as I did a couple of months ago, there are two types of electric blanket. The first is actually called an electric blanket, which seems strange because it’s not really a blanket at all. You don’t curl up under it. Instead, it’s a pad that you fix to your mattress or mattress topper with elastic over the corners or a strap underneath.
Then you put down your fitted sheet as usual, in preparation for a non-freezing night’s sleep. My colleague Lewis Painter swears by his. To find out why, you can read his review of the Cosi Home electric blanket.
The second type of electric blanket – the one I have – is a heated throw. You use it just like you would any other blanket. So, really, one is for daytime use and one for nights.
But here’s what makes either – or both – such an essential buy. They cost around 2.5-3p an hour in electricity to run. (If you want to find out what any of your plug-in appliances and gadgets cost to run, it’s easy: check out our article, which shows you how to do just that.)
When you compare 3p to approximately 54p an hour to run an average, 1,500 watt plug-in heater, or upwards of £1.36 an hour to run my very small 13kW boiler for central heating (unless you live in a tiny flat, your boiler will probably cost twice this amount), the difference is clear – and enormous.
Even if I used a heated blanket for ten hours a day, it would still only cost me £2.10 in electricity a week. Do I sometimes feel that my granny era has come early? Yes, but I’m toasty warm and paying pennies for it, so bring on the Horlicks.
This is not a solution that will work for every household. It’s a ‘heat the person, not the room’ fix. The air in your home will still be cold and it won’t do anything to fight damp. But if you’re doing your best to be economical with your electricity, I’d recommend you buy yourself a heated throw in the January sales.
The product I’m referring to in this article is the Glamhaus Heated throw. You can read my review to find out more or buy one direct from Glamhaus for £54.95. And, if you’re trying to keep your heating costs down this winter, you may want to have a look at our related articles:
Is it cheaper to use an electric heater or gas central heating?Does turning down your boiler really save money on your gas bill?