Searches for how much does it cost to run an electric blanket have soared since the government's energy bill freeze came into force, according to Google Trends.
Electric blankets have always been a popular choice for cold nights with shoppers having the choice of heated over-blankets, under-blankets, mattress protectors and heated throws.
These bedding products are made from a heavy, sturdy material with an internal integrated wiring system that provides warmth and heat through coil wires when plugged into an electrical socket.
An electric blanket will definitely keep you warm – but how much will it add to your energy bill? An important question when families have been increasingly worried about how much their energy bills will cost (opens in new tab) throughout 2022.
Now that the government’s Energy Price Guarantee (opens in new tab), has come into effect, the typical household will be spending £2,500 a year on energy, more than ever before.
Consumer savings expert and co-founder of Raisin UK, Kevin Mountford (opens in new tab) says: “If you are using your electric blanket (100W) for an average time of two hours every day during the week, over a week you would be using 1.4kWh. That equates to 39.2p a week, and over a year would cost you £20.38.
“Whilst this may seem a lot, it could actually still save you, especially if using the blanket means you can turn down your thermostat. Turning it down by just 1°C can actually save you £80 a year, making up for the heated blanket already."
How much does it cost to run an electric blanket?
A 150W electric blanket costs about 5.1p an hour to run. If you use it for eight hours every day from October to March, it will cost a total of £74.40.
But if you have a 300W electric blanket, you can expect to pay running costs of 10.2p per hour, and £148.80 a year (if used for eight hours a day from October to March.
The exact figure will depend on the type, specification and energy rating of your electric blanket, how often you use it and how much you pay for your energy. We're using the Energy Price Guarantee's electricity unit price of 34p per kWh for our calculations.
The following table shows how much it costs to run an electric blanket with different wattages for various amounts of time at current energy prices.
|Header Cell - Column 0||Cost per hour||Cost per day (8 hours)||Cost per month||Cost per year (if used between October and March)|
Most retailers include running costs on adverts for electric blankets. Some claim to cost as little as 1p a night – but these estimations often don’t use the latest energy prices. So, for a more accurate idea of how much using your specific electric blanket costs per day, you’ll need to do a few sums.
Les Roberts (opens in new tab) of energy comparison site Bionic says the first thing you need to do is find out how much energy your appliance uses per hour.
“Your electric blanket should have the wattage printed on it or in the instruction pamphlet. Electric blankets are usually about 100 to 150 watts. Divide the wattage by 1,000 to convert to kilowatt-hours. This is how much energy the appliance uses per hour,” he explains.
So, for a 100W electric blanket the calculation would be:
100 divided by 1000 = 0.1. This is how many kilowatt hours of electricity your blanket uses.
Multiply this answer by 34. This is the new maximum price you will pay for a unit of electricity under the new Energy Price Guarantee. Bionic (opens in new tab)'s Les Roberts says: “Once you have calculated the kilowatt-hours and know your energy rate you can work out how much your appliance costs to run in a certain time scale.”
With this example calculation, the answer is 3.4p. This means a 100W electric blanket costs 3.4p an hour to run.
You might also be interested in our other appliance running cost articles:
- How much does it cost to boil a kettle? (opens in new tab)
- How much does it cost to run a dishwasher? (opens in new tab)
- How much does it cost to run an air fryer? (opens in new tab)
- How much does it cost to run a microwave? (opens in new tab)
- How much does it cost to run a washing machine? (opens in new tab)
- How much does a tumble dryer cost to run? (opens in new tab)
- How much does a heated clothes dryer cost to run? (opens in new tab)
- How much does it cost to run a slow cooker? (opens in new tab)
- How much does a dehumidifier cost to run? (opens in new tab)
- How much electricity does a TV use? (opens in new tab)
- How much does it cost to run a bath? (opens in new tab)
Are electric blankets energy-efficient?
Electric blankets are definitely much more energy efficient than leaving your central heating on all night or using an electric heater. Use our guide to find out how much does it cost to run an indoor heater (opens in new tab) so you can compare costs. A relatively cheap way to keep warm (opens in new tab), an electric blanket could also make a good companion for some of the cheapest ways to heat a room (opens in new tab) to help you stay comfortable without spending hundreds of pounds unnecessarily.
According to research by savings platform Raisin, keeping your radiators on all night would cost you £10.80 a night. In comparison, even a 300W electric blanket costs less than £1 to use all night. If you have a family, running four 300W electric blankets still costs less than half the cost of leaving your central heating on all night.
Analysis by Octopus Energy’s data team showed that customers who used electric blankets reduced their energy bills by 19% last year compared to a control group.
You could cut your costs even more by taking a hot water bottle to bed instead - we've done the sums to see which is cheaper in our electric blanket versus hot water bottle (opens in new tab) guide.
What features should you look for when buying an electric blanket?
Electric blankets massively vary in price. A 40W single ‘Cosy And Warm Electric Blanket’ from Dunelm (opens in new tab) costs just £22, while Dreamland’s ‘Snowed In Organic Cotton Warming Mattress Protector Super King Dual’ (opens in new tab) costs £139.99.
Nigel Best (opens in new tab), director of electrical training provider Electrician Courses 4U, says: “Before purchasing your blanket, check it has the UK safety standard mark (the kitemark) to ensure it meets current regulations. Electric blankets cause more than 5,000 house fires every year so this simple check is well worth your time.”
If you can’t afford the initial outlay and you’re an Octopus Energy customer, keep an eye out for its electric blanket scheme (opens in new tab) this winter. The energy supplier handed out 7,000 free electric blankets to vulnerable customers last winter and says it will run a similar scheme this year.
Robert Slade (opens in new tab), managing director at health and wellbeing company Beurer UK, says: “Most electric blankets will tend to heat the bed to more or less the same temperature, so shoppers should really be looking out for those extra features that will enhance comfort and provide peace of mind.
“For maximum comfort and warmth fabrics should be soft and cosy, and any wires should be ultra-thin. For an extra touch of luxury, look out for teddy or fleece options.”
Size and material
Electric blankets come in single, double, queen, king, etc sizes. The cheapest ones are polyester while fleece or faux-fur blankets and throws will be more expensive.
The type of electric blanket
Do you want heat under or over you? Electric under-blankets and mattress protectors sit on top of the mattress and are usually fixed to it. Electric over-blankets can be used as well as, or instead of, a duvet. Throws are more versatile and can be used on the sofa too.
Most electric blankets have variable heat settings and a timer. Some have dual controls for couples, and many offer different heating zones such as sides of the bed or feet.
As well as impacting how much your electric blanket costs to run, its wattage will affect how quickly the blanket heats up and how hot it will get. A higher wattage electric blanket may be more expensive, but it might get hotter than lower wattage alternatives and then you won't need to use it for as long.
Today's best electric blanket deals
How to cut the cost of running an electric blanket
- Don’t leave it on all night A blanket with a timer means you can program it to switch off after a set period rather than keeping it on all night. If you don't have a blanket with a timer, consider using your blanket with a smart plug (opens in new tab) to schedule when you turn it off
- Use a low heat setting Electric blankets generally come with three or more heat settings – the lower the setting, the cheaper it will be.
Can you leave an electric blanket running overnight?
According to the fire service (opens in new tab), you should only leave a blanket switched on all night if it has thermostatic controls for safe all-night use. Otherwise you should switch it off and disconnect it before you get into bed.
You should also make sure that you are only using the blanket according to instructions and store it correctly when it's not in use. Nigel Best, from electrical training provider Electrician Courses 4U (opens in new tab), says: “As with any appliance there are dangers associated with electric blankets which must not be overlooked."
The fire service highlights potential danger signs to look out for, including:
- Frayed fabric
- Scorch marks
- Exposed elements
- Creasing or folding
- Damp patches
- Worn flex
- Loose connections.
If you spot any of these signs on your existing blanket, you should have it checked by a qualified electrician or buy a replacement.
You might also be interested in our article on how many hours a day should heating be on in the UK (opens in new tab).