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Climbing into a warm bed on a cold night is one of life’s small pleasures. But how much does it cost to run an electric blanket to make it as cosy and inviting as possible? And how much will that impact your energy bills?
Smart meters can help save you money, but if you use an electric blanket every night through the cooler months, worrying about how much it might spend could keep you awake. So is it better to reach for the electric blanket controls or the thermostat dial?
We’ve worked out how much you can expect to spend each night, and over the winter months. As well as smart ways to reduce your energy bills.
How much does it cost to run an electric blanket?
According to the Energy Saving Trust (opens in new tab), the national average price (as of November 2021) per pence/kWh of electricity is 20.33p. We have rounded it to 20p for illustration purposes.
Electric blankets contain small electrical wires inside the fabric. When the blanket is turned on, these wires heat the fabric.
There are three types of electric blanket:
Electric underblankets, which cover the mattress up to the pillow area
Heated mattress covers, which reach across the entire mattress but don’t have wiring under the pillow area
Electric overblankets, which can be added inside your duvet cover or used like a normal blanket underneath a duvet
Every electric blanket will show how much energy it uses at full power with its wattage. This means you can work out how much it will cost to use per kilowatt hour of electricity. 100W = 0.1kW, so a 100W electric blanket at the 20p per kWh rate above would cost 2p to run at full power for an hour.
Are some electric blankets cheaper to run than others?
Electric overblankets, underblankets and mattress protectors tend to be similar wattages. However, it’s the option of different settings that can make them more or less expensive to run.
‘All our underblankets, mattress protectors and throws are extremely cost effective to run, costing from as little as 1p per night (7 hours) on the minimum heat setting,’ says Dreamland spokesperson Jacqueline Townson. ‘These calculations are based on Imetec laboratory tests, for an Intelliheat+ single size blanket.’
Electric blankets that have a wide range of heat settings will be cheaper to run as you can set them to the ideal temperature. This usually ranges between 18 to 56 degrees.
What energy saving features should I look for when buying an electric blanket?
If you're looking for how to save energy at home, these electric blanket features could be a good place to start:
1. Temperature sensors
These detect the temperature of the room and your body and adjust the heat of the blanket to suit. This means it won’t use extra energy by heating up more than you need.
‘Look for an electric blanket with an auto shut-off timer so you won’t be wasting energy if you fall asleep or forget to turn it off,’ explains Jacqueline Townson, spokesperson at Dreamland.
3. Dual controls
Rather than just one control, some electric blankets have two. This means you can adjust each side of a double blanket separately to save energy. They’re perfect for when one half of a couple prefers a cooler setting or one is away and there’s no need to heat the whole bed.
4. Variable heat settings
Look for an electric blanket with different heat settings so it’s more economical to have on for longer periods of time at low heat.
How can I cut the cost of running an electric blanket?
- Choose low and slow Set the timer for your electric blanket to come on in advance. This means you can choose a lower heat that uses less energy, instead of opting for a blast of full power 10 minutes before you slide under the sheets.
- Test and adjust Only turn up your electric blanket from a low setting when you’re not warm enough. Not only is this a good way not to waste excess heat, it’s easier to make a bed warmer than it is to cool it down.
- Turn down your thermostat Most electric blankets cost very little to run so they’re a good choice for cold nights instead of cranking up the central heating. ‘If you’re looking to reduce costs, use your electric blanket to warm your bed and turn down your thermostat as your bedroom will not need as much heat,’ says Silentnight spokesperson Sally Bonser. The Energy Saving Trust estimates that turning down your main thermostat by just 1 degree could save around 10% on your energy bill.
- Store it safely The small wires inside an electric blanket can become damaged if you fold it up when it’s not in use, meaning it won’t work as efficiently. Rather than fold, roll the blanket up for storage. There are plenty of bedroom storage ideas to help you find a space to stow the blanket when not in use.
Rachel Ogden is a freelance journalist with more than 20 years’ experience of writing, editing and sub-editing. Since 2007, she's worked exclusively in interiors, writing about everything from extending your home to kitchen worktops, flooring, storage and more. She specialises in product reviews, having reviews hundreds of small and large appliances and homeware.
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