Electric Throw Blanket

Michelle Radcliff
man using electric throw blanket

Keep cozy and warm anywhere in your home with an electric throw blanket. These smaller versions of the electric blanket are more portable and safer to use than earlier versions of electrically heated blankets.

Electric Blanket History

The electric blanket was invented in 1912, by American physician Sydney I. Russell. The blanket was designed to be an under-blanket for heating the bed from underneath the covers. By the early 1920s, electric blankets were being used in sanitariums to keep Tuberculosis patients comfortable since their beds were often moved outdoors so they could get fresh air. The blankets helped to keep them warm and comfortable on chilly days. Early electric blankets were referred to as "warming pads" or "heated quilts".

The first automatic electric blankets were invented in 1936. A separate thermostat control turned the blankets on and off to adjust to fluctuations in the room temperature. The blanket would also turn off if the thermostat detected a hot spot. Thermostat-controlled blankets were eventually replaced in the mid 1980s by rheostats.

How Electric Throw Blankets Work

Inside an electric blanket or throw are heated coils, which are actually insulated wires sewn into the inner fabric. A rheostat is a built-in monitor that detects the heat generated by the blanket and the heat of the user's body. This device ensures even heating without creating any hot spots. Electric throws have an adjustable temperature control that lets you choose between three or more heat settings. Many are also equipped with a three-hour auto shut-off.

Size Difference Between Throws and Blankets

Throw blankets are smaller in size because they are made for one person. The standard size for a throw is 50 inches by 60 inches, compared to an electric twin size blanket, which measures 62 inches by 84 inches. Just like with larger electric blankets, you can use your electric throw to warm up your bed by placing it underneath your bedspread or comforter before you retire for the night.

The nice thing about electric throws is that they are small enough to use anywhere in your home that you want to cuddle up and keep warm, such as a sofa, a recliner or even a bean bag chair. With designer styles, such as zebra stripes and leopard prints, a heated throw can also add a decorative accent to any type of furniture.

Health Benefits

Many people use electric blankets for health reasons since electric blankets can be used for direct heat therapy, similar to a heating pad. When you apply heat to your muscles, it increases the blood flow in your body and relaxes the muscles, which in turn significantly eases pain and increases range of motion. This can benefit those with back pain, arthritis and fibromyalgia.

The heat generated by electric blankets can also help allergy sufferers. Running heaters in your home, whether it's central heat or space heaters, dries the air. Hot, dry air can be an irritant to your respiratory system and aggravate allergies due to dust mites and pet dander. Using a heated throw allows you to keep your heaters turned down and breath in cooler air.

Older electric blankets are dangerous to use, especially by people with disabilities who have impaired feeling in any of their extremities. These blankets can easily cause burns by creating hotspots that the person can't feel. Since the introduction of rheostat technology, newer models are safer for the elderly and disabled to use. However, you must still be careful when using these blankets on people with impaired feeling and movement, since their skin may be extra fragile or sensitive. Make sure to do skin checks often to avoid any injury.

Styles

These cozy electric warming throws come in many attractive styles and colors. The most popular material for this kind of blanket is fleece. There is now even an electric throw with sleeves, similar to a Snuggie. You can also find these blankets with satin borders.

The sky is pretty much the limit when it comes to colors for electric blankets. No longer are they only available in blue or white. You can choose a solid-colored blanket or a print, such as a plaid or leopard print. Some of the popular brands of electric throws include:

  • Sunbeam
  • Sealy
  • Perfect Fit
  • Warmspun
  • MicroFleece
  • Beauty Rest
  • Biddeford

Where to Buy

These heated throw blankets are sold just about everywhere you can find bedding or blankets. Using electric blankets helps save on heating bills since you can turn the furnace thermostat down and still stay warm underneath the throw. The following online retailers have a good selection of electric throws:

There's no reason to be cold in your home once you buy a cozy, electric throw blanket.

Electric Throw Blanket