How Does an Electric Blanket Work?

Last Updated on December 11, 2021

how does an electric blanket work

Image credit: Your Best Digs, Flickr

If you struggle to stay warm during the harsh winter months, you’ve probably considered acquiring an electric blanket.

It’s not a bad idea. This product takes a blanket, which is already warm and cuddly, and then amplifies those features with the power of technology.

What’s not to like?

But at the same time, there is an element of concern. After all, you drape this product, along with its heating element, over your body. Is an electric blanket safe? How does an electric blanket work?

These are valid questions that we will be exploring today. Read on to find out how electric blankets work.

First, What is an Electric Blanket?

An electric blanket is pretty much just like any other blanket, except that it includes an intricate system of wires and coils in the inner fabric. It also plugs into a wall outlet, which makes it a little bit different than your grandmother’s quilt.

Most electric blankets will feature several different settings (typically low, medium, and high) and will be made hyper-durable to protect against contact burns.

electric blanket

Image credit: Limetolime , Wikimedia

Great! So, how does an electric blanket work?

The electric blanket generally activates the moment that it’s plugged in, heating a series of internal, heat-resistant wires and coils that will consistently generate warmth the entire time that the unit is activated.

They also feature connections at their ends that channel electricity from the outlet to the blanket itself, thus supplying the heat.

It’s actually a relatively simple tool in the grand scheme of things. But of course, contemporary technology is also giving this product a facelift.

Modern electric blankets will often feature internal thermostats that can monitor the heat of your body for optimal levels of warmth dispersion.

Newer options might also include timers that shut the blanket off eventually. That way you can go to sleep nice and comfortable, but avoid the risk of overheating during the night.

Safety Concerns

As with any product that features a heating element, there are safety concerns with the electric blanket. The potential to overheat is one such concern. Staying warm is great, but eight hours of constant heat exposure can sometimes be too much.

As mentioned earlier, newer options are able to mitigate this risk to some extent by featuring timers.

However, concerns do remain.

Naturally, there is also always the potential for fire. Defects and errors can always happen, and in the case of the electric blanket, those errors can be extremely costly.

Incidents of electric blanket related fires are not common, but they have happened. If you notice that your blanket is somehow compromised, or malfunctioning, you will want to dispose of it immediately.

Read: How to safely wash an electric blanket


So, now you know how electric blankets work. Want one? They are a great way to stay nice and comfortable and, with the right knowledge, they are safe to use.

The good news? New features have made these blankets much safer than they used to be.  So, what are you waiting for? Get yourself a nice electric blanket so you can stay cozy this winter.