Electric Blanket Vs Heated Mattress Pad – Which One To Choose?

Certified Senior Advisor®
Senior Home Safety Specialist®
20 years of medical equipment experience
Compassionately helping seniors and their caregivers solve challenges of aging

Electric blanket vs heated mattress pad - which is best to use? Compare options, features, safety and electricity use.

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Electric Blanket Vs Heated Mattress Pad

In many parts of the world – including the United States, winter has arrived and with it, those cool evenings and even colder nights. Now there is much to be said for the sheer joy of settling under a heavy blanket and simply enjoying the company of a significant other and a good book – or taking in that rerun of a beloved TV series or even just staring at the flickering flames of a wood fire as the night progresses and darkness takes a firm hold on the world outside.

Unfortunately, there comes a time when bed beckons – and the prospect of icy sheets is not one that fills most people with joy, especially as we get older and the chills of winter become that much more uncomfortable.

Which Are Better: Electric Blankets or Heated Mattress Pads?

This is why many people today turn to electric blankets or mattress heating pads to ensure that when they are finally faced with the prospect of putting their heads onto a pillow the very idea is not filled with an icy dread.

The question that many people ask when they are in the market for a warming addition to their beds is which one of these is best?

In actual fact, the answer is (like most things) complicated – and all depends on your personal preferences and what you want to get out of the experience. It revolves around the type of heat that will be supplied and the functionality of both the heated mattress cover and the electric blanket.

Firstly let’s take a look at how these accessories operate – and what advantages they provide to those who will be slipping under the covers.

Heated Mattress Pads: Advantages and Disadvantages

A heated mattress pad (with its inbuilt electric coils) is placed on the bed in the same way as a fitted sheet. It will warm those parts of the body that are in contact with it – from the bottom up.

Joint Pain Relief

They are tremendously popular with those who suffer from joint pain – and can provide much-needed relief from conditions such as arthritis. They can also help with general aches and pains that can be so much a part of the seasonal experience of those who are exposed to the lower temperatures of winter.

This is besides the obvious benefit of warming the blanket prior to the person slipping under the covers.

Only Supplies Direct Heat

However, there is a downside to using a heated mattress cover. This is the fact that it only supplies direct heat to those parts of the body that are in direct contact with it. For instance, if you sleep on your side the side that is not in contact with the mattress cover will not enjoy the benefits of the heat being supplied.

Can Only Be Used In A Bed

There are some other downsides, they can only be used in a bed and can become uncomfortable warm if attention is not paid to the settings.

Lot of Settings for Your Preferred Temperature

But on the positive side, a modern heated mattress cover will have a number of settings that will allow you to choose the level of heat that you are most comfortable with – and there is usually an auto shut-off feature that will switch off the cover once you are soundly asleep.

These types of accessories are perfect for pre-heating a bed as well.

You can see my recommended heated mattress pads for seniors and the elderly in this guide.

Electric Blankets: Advantages and Disadvantages

A heated blanket also has electric elements that warm it up, however, that heat is more evenly distributed across the body.

Indirect Heat is Not As Good For Pain Relief

It’s not as effective as providing relief from chronic pain – but it does provide an all-over warmth that can aid in both falling asleep and staying comfortable throughout the night.

Can Be Used Other Places Than Bed

There’s also that versatility, why look forward to getting into a warm bed when your entire evening can be spent enjoying the luxurious warmth of a heated blanket. They can be used when sitting on the couch, curled up in a recliner, as well as providing warmth when you finally make the decision to take to your bed.

They Consume Less Power

They can also consume less power than a heated mattress pad – which can generate significant cost savings. On the downside, heated blankets tend to be thinner than mattress pads – so the wiring can be exposed to more wear and tear – and this is especially true given that it is subject to constant realignment – both these factors can mean that the wiring is more prone to failure.

Related: Best Electric Blankets for the Elderly

Which is Better: Electric Blanket vs Heated Mattress Pad

It’s very much a case of personal preference – and just what you want from the experience.

However, those who are contemplating the purchase of either of these bedtime accessories should make sure of a few things.

  • Both should be washable. Some can be washed at home – while others will need to be dry-cleaned – make sure that your choice fits in with your lifestyle (and budget – dry-cleaning can be expensive).
  • If you will be sleeping with a significant other make sure that your mattress pad has settings for multiple zones.
  • There are also models that feature ‘Smart’ technology that adjusts the temperature of either the blanket or mattress pad during the course of the night – a great feature for those who do not want to make manual adjustments in the dark.

Choosing either one of these accessories can make an appreciable difference to your quality of life – just make sure that you are getting the accessory that is right for you. Do that and your cold winter night will be transformed for the better.

Certified Senior Advisor (CSA)®
Senior Home Safety Specialist (SHSS)®
Assistive Technology Professional

Scott Grant has spent more than 20 years serving seniors and the elderly in the home medical equipment industry. He has worked as a manufacturer's rep for the top medical equipment companies and a custom wheelchair specialist at a durable medical equipment (DME) provider in WV. He is father to 4 beautiful daughters and has three terrific grandkids. When not promoting better living for older adults, he enjoys outdoor activities including hiking and kayaking and early morning runs.

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