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Blanket Buying Guide

Blanket-Buying-Guide

Last Updated on April 9, 2020 by Ben Locke

Looking for something to keep you warm when sleeping? You may be thinking that anything soft and warm will serve the purpose, but you will be surprised to find a wide variety of options available in the market. Blankets, comforters, and duvets are the three options available to provide you warmth and the cozy feeling during sleep. But do you know which one to choose and what is the difference between them? Most people use ‘blankets’ and ‘comforters’ interchangeably, but there is a difference between the two. Before we delve into the buying guide for each, let’s understand in brief what they are, which will differentiate one from the other and help you choose the right one.

What Is A Blanket?

A blanket is a single layer covering that keeps you warm during sleep. The most common type of material used to make the blanket is wool.  The reason is that it makes it warmer and thicker. The blanket is made using different materials like down,  cotton,  synthetic, fleece, knitted polyester, and cashmere. Not just these, they are also made using luxurious materials like silk. You may be thinking about how this single layer covering could make someone feel the warmth.  It keeps you warm because of the insulating properties of fibers that trap the heat of your body, making you feel warm. Blankets are used for the same purpose as comforters and duvets but vary in the filling, construction, and thickness.

What Is A Comforter?

The comforter is a thick covering, unlike a blanket. The filling used to make comforters are feathers, polyester, and down. These are sewed together on all the four sides to ensure the inner feeling is in place. They are not stitched in a patchwork-like quilt. You will find comforters available in a wide variety of prints, designs, and colors.

What Is A Duvet?

A duvet is a comforter in solid white color filled only with down. Some prefer the classy white, while others like to play around with various prints, styles, and colors of a duvet cover. It is nothing but a large pillowcase to the duvet. Apart from adding some colors to your room, the duvet cover is out on for easy care and maintenance. It can be removed and washed anytime.  You can find the cover is varied materials like silk, cotton, and synthetic. Now that you know the differences between the three, which one will you opt for? Let’s go through the buying guide for each, which will help you make an informed decision.

Blanket Buying Guide

With varied choices available in the market, it can be a tough task to choose one for your bedroom. The blanket buying guide below will help you narrow down choices and pick the most appropriate one as per your requirements. Important elements to consider are:

Fabric

One of the most important factors that determine the quality and effectiveness of a blanket is the fabric it is made of. The fabric is directly linked to the breathability, warmth, and feel. The best blanket is the one that ticks every checkbox in your requirements list. Following are the commonly used blanket materials:

Cashmere

This material is obtained from the cashmere goats, as the name states. The goats are raised in various parts of Asia, like India, Tibet, and Pakistan.  This fabric is softer when compared to the others, and this is why it is the most preferred. Another reason that makes people vouch for this material is that it provides extra insulation, which keeps them warm during the cold nights. It will not weigh down easily because the fibers are strong as well as light. Cashmere blankets are available at a higher price tag.

Wool

As you may know, wool is derived from sheep and popular for its antibacterial properties. It is highly breathable and offers significant warmth. This is why it is used in all seasons. It is soft but not as much as other materials. It is less costly when compared with cashmere.

Cotton

Fibers from the cotton plant are long-lasting and breathable. This is the main reason why it is used in a variety of bedding products. The cotton plant grows in regions like America, India, and Africa. Cotton is a smooth, soft,  and absorbs sweat. This fabric is highly breathable, and to boost its breathability; it may be quilted for a textured feel or given small holes.

Fleece

Fleece is extremely soft and lightweight material,  which is perfect for any season. It is thinner than most other fabrics but provides as much warmth and comfort as others. The unique features of this material are obtained by the acrylic fibers it is made out of. Another benefit of a fleece blanket is that it is machine washable and also so less expensive.

Berber Fleece

This may look like an upgraded version of fleece to you. It is made out of synthetic fibers, which is soft and has a curled texture. It is lightweight and provides sufficient warmth for its great insulation characteristic. Another benefit of the Berber fleece is that it is water repellent and thus can absorb sweat to keep you comfortable through the night.

Down

This fabric is made from the plumage of geese and ducks. It is extremely soft, lightweight, and provides strong insulation. It can be used to provide warmth during the cold day and also in other seasons with less fill. The down fabric is costlier compared to most other types.

Down Alternative

It is a good alternative to the genuine down fabric. The down-alternative fabric is made from synthetic fibers, and so it is cruelty-free and hypoallergenic. If you are looking for an affordable option that regulates body temperature, then this is a great choice. Do you suffer any kind of allergies? The down alternative is a favorable option to choose from. It has many similarities of the genuine down but has a few downsides like weighs heavier and is not well insulated, unlike its cousin.

Polyester

If you are looking for an inexpensive blanket, then go for the one made from polyester. It is made using various ways to give multiple properties and textures. Though it is affordable, it is not as breathable as cotton.

Alternative Mink

It is a super soft fur-like fabric made of synthetic fibers. It is made to provide you the warmth and coziness you would have imagined using an animal fur blanket but half price.

Types of Blankets

Blankets are not available in one basic type. They have a variety to choose, let’s have a look.

Throw

It is one type of a blanket that is not only used in bed but also around the house. Many throws serve as a decorative piece and are light in weight. The common size available is 70″ X 50″.

Weighted Blanket

As the name states, the blanket has an extra weight into the blanket of 5 to 20 pounds. This additional pressure helps some people feel more relaxed in bed, which is also known as grounding. Also, some consider this as therapy, which increases the production of hormones for mental health.

Quilt

This is another type of blanket that has the interior layer and the cover, which is stitched together. These are popular for the decorative pattern that forms on the exterior.

Electric Blanket

These come with an internal electric mechanism that gives you warmth when turned on. This is the most advanced technology now, and there are lots to cover in detail about the electric blanket, which we will after the blanket buying guide.

Weave

The performance of the blanket largely depends on its weaves. If the weaving to lose, then the blanket would not be able to retain enough heat but can be good as a decorative piece. A blanket with tighter weaves provide more heat retention but also less breathability. Thus, the intent behind buying the blanket will help you choose one with specific weave, tighter, or loser.

Size

Most blankets come with a standard size, but there are a few exceptions. Some brands that provide blankets as per mattress sizes, as mentioned below, which varies from brand to brand:

Color and Print

Your bedroom’s style and aesthetic can be uplifted with the blanket; thus, the color and print play a huge role. It can be in contrast or match the aesthetic of your room. Thus, while buying the blanket, keep the layout of your bedroom and bedding in mind.

Long-Lasting

The material and weaving of the blanket have a huge impact on its durability. Fabrics like wool and down last for a long time but are costlier, and also cleaning requires some effort. Also, how you use the blanket has a direct effect on longevity. The one that is nightly used can live more when compared to the blanket that is being moved around in your home. The more you wash the blanket, it can break down faster. This does not mean that you do not wash it even if it requires cleaning.

Organic Fabric

Out of the many materials, some can be made to meet the organic certification like wool and cotton. Thus, if you are looking for an organic blanket, then buy one having the Global Organic Textile Standard mark.

Easy Cleaning and Maintenance

Most blankets available have a simple and straightforward cleaning process of machine wash while some have particular requirements. Thus, if you want a blanket that has a simple wash care process, look into the instructions before buying.

Electric Blanket

It is a type of blanket and ideal for those who want to sleep in warmth all around the year. Other than providing consistent warmth, these are also beneficial in a lot of ways.

Benefits of Using An Electric Blanket

Let’s delve into the plus points of using the electric blanket for health.

Helps with Pain Relief

The heat has natural healing power, and thus, when applied to specific areas, it can help you get relief. If you suffer from Arthritis, sleeping on the electric blanket can help. Here is what happens: the heat receptors in the human body get activated by the blanket and block the pain signals that are passed to the brain. The heat also increases the oxygen circulation and provides to the required parts of the body, which makes you feel energized. Sleeping with the electric blanket will also help you get rid of the stiffness you may be feeling when waking up in the morning. People suffering from sciatica can also get pain relief by using an electric blanket.

Allergies

Are you prone to allergies because of the dust mites? If yes, then using the electric blanket regularly can kill up to 50% dust mites.

Thermoregulation

Humans experience thermoregulation. It is a process that makes the bodywork at an ideal temperature. After you wake up in the morning, the body temperature rises as high as 100.4 to energize. As the day passes by, the body starts cooling down, and the temperature falls up to 96.8, which helps you sleep. You may struggle to feel warmth at bedtime, which can affect your sleeping patterns, and this can be due to thermoregulatory dysfunction. An electric blanket can help you with sufficient warmth to help you sleep comfortably.

How Do They Work?

Wondering how these blankets work? Like the electric heating pad, these blankets get heated up by heating the insulated wire between the fabric layers. When the wire gets heated up, it heats the fabric, which provides warmth to you. They have temperature control on the exterior to regulate the temperature. This manages the current in the heating element.

Some blankets also use carbon fiber materials that are light in weight and hardly visible than the normal wires. The carbon fiber is the heating element and often found in expensive blankets.

Electric Blanket Buying Guide

Now that you know the benefits and how it works, let’s dig deeper. There are some important considerations to keep in mind while buying the electric blanket.

Types of Electric Blankets

There are different types available like

Under Blanket

As the name states, it stays between your body and the mattress. This is one type that most people prefer. These are usually fastened with the use of elastics of cords. For this, the size has to be the same as the mattress.

Safety Tip: Cover the blanket with a sheet to protect yourself from excessive heat.

Over Blanket

Cuddle with your blanket. You can provide heat to the area you want with the over-blanket. The best part is, no wires will disturb your sleep, and you can have a comfortable, sound sleep.

Size of Electric Blankets

Electric blankets are usually available in mattress sizes to fit correctly. They are commonly available in:

  • King
  • Queen
  • Double
  • Twin

Often, queen and king-sized blankets come with dual heat settings and are adjustable for both sides for the bed. Look for the size that is closest to your mattress size to avoid the risk of damaging the cords and elastics.

Safety

One of the most important factors to consider while looking for the electric blanket is safety. Look for a blanket that has ‘ETL‘ or ‘UL‘ mark on it. These certifications ensure that the blanket adheres to all safety features. A diabetic person has reduced sensitivity on their feet and thus advised to be cautious while using the electric blanket. Also, a pregnant woman or a person suffering from mental disorders are not recommended to use the electric blanket unless otherwise stated by the doctor.

Ease of Use

There are many features that come with an electric blanket. Buy the one that fits your lifestyle the most and matches your needs:

  • Choose a low voltage electric blanket if your pet sleeps in bed with you.
  • If you are going to use it as an over a blanket, a lightweight option would be recommended.
  • If you do not have 20 20 vision, buy one that has large control units.
  • If you sleep with your partner, look for the one that has dual controls, so you both get control on each side of the blanket. Also, there is no need to buy another one, which saves money.

Reduces Electric Bill

Using the electric blanket, you may have to run the heater less often, and this would reduce the electricity bills. Many people do not even use the heater at night because they have a personal heating device. Also, most electric blankets are made with plush micro-fleece or a similar fabric that provides heat without turning it on. The wires inside the blanket are thin and flexible, which makes the blanket soft and prevents burn damage, giving you maximum comfort.

Composition of Electric Blankets

Most electric blankets are made of polyester. This fabric is comfortable and fire-resistant. This fabric also makes the insulated wires inside the blanket invisible.

Cleaning

Cleaning the electric blanket is not as simple as the regular ones. You may need to remove the controls, and the fabric is usually machine washable and dried at low heat. Please read the instruction manual carefully before doing anything.

Overheat Protection

It is never a big issue if you fall asleep and forget to switch it off. Many come with auto-off feature. The heating shuts off when it reaches the maximum temperature.

Temperature Sensor

The time you get into bed, the temperature sensors activate and start heating the blanket. Costlier blankets track the changes and make adjustments accordingly to make you have a comfortable sleep.

Dual Control

People have different needs. For instance, you and your partner would require different warmth for a comfortable sleep. Look for an electric blanket that:

  • Has dual controls to set different heating levels, and
  • Can heat two halves with different temperatures

Temperature Range

The electric blanket that you pick should suit your needs as well as the climate you live in. Question yourself, how much maximum heat will be enough because of the range options matter. Most products give you three heat settings, while the costlier ones give up to 10. It ranges from 80°F to 108°F. Look for an electric blanket that has varied heat settings. Not every day, you would want the same temperature, so opt for models that have at least three heat settings.

Price and Warranty

Electric blankets come with a varied price range from $35 to $250, depending on the features it offers. Also, most blankets offer a warranty to protect your purchase. If it burns during the warranty period, you can get a refund or a new product. We hope the electric blanket buying guide helps you to get ready for a comfortable sleep in winter.

Comforter 

It is another option that you can choose to provide you warmth for a comfortable sleep at night. We have taken the assumptions out of choosing the right comforter. Check out the guide below to learn everything you need to pick one:

Fill Type

You have two options to choose from, down – to enjoy maximum comfort and down alternative – to eliminate allergens.

Down

Down elements are made of fluffy, soft, and light filaments that expand twist to form pockets. These trap air, thus making them the best insulator. This is what makes down it warm. These are types of down commonly used in comforters:

    • Goose
    • Duck
    • Synthetic

Down Alternative

Scientists say that the uncleaned dust on down is what causes allergies and not down, though nothing is proved. Choose down alternative to be on a safer side. Commonly used alternatives are:

    • Cotton
    • Wool
    • Polyester

Fill Power of Comforters

Fill power is the volume one ounce of down takes. The insulating capacity of the comforter depends on the fill power. Down from larger and mature birds has a greater loft. This means less is required to provide you warmth. There are a few options available as follows:

    • Below 400 – soft and light warmth
    • 400 to 599 – all-season warmth
    • 600 to 799 – warmer and lightweight
    • Above 800 – winter warmth

Consider your requirements and choose the fill power accordingly.

Warmth

The warmth level of a comforter depends on the fill and fill power. Following are the different warmth levels to choose from:

Super Lightweight

This is ideal for summer and those who prefer a minimum. Perfect for room temperature 74°F.

Lightweight

Ideal for warmer climates and temperature between 69°F and 74°F.

Medium Weight

Most commonly used comforter to provide enough warmth for temperatures between 65°F and 69°F.

Extra Warm Weight

It provides cozy warmth during early spring. Ideal for temperature between 62°F and 65°F.

Ultra-Warm Weight

The warmest of all. Ideal for those who want complete warmth during the colder days, when the temperature falls under 62°F.

Thread Count

Thread count is equally important for comforter as for other bedding options. Higher the thread count, the tighter weave of the material. In down comforter, it determines how well it contains the fill. The perfect comforter is the one having a balance between weave and thread count.

Construction

There are many construction types possible, and thus when looking for a comforter, do not skip this factor. Below are the stitching styles and their benefits.

    • Baffle Box – stripes of the material are sewn between the top and bottom layer of the comforter, creating compartments for fill. This helps down to expand to its maximum.
    • Gusset – Walls are constructed around the edge of the comforter. This connects the top and bottom layers. Gusseted comforters are commonly found in box stitch.
    • Diamond Quilted – The top and bottom layers are sewn together in a diamond design to make sure the fill doesn’t shift.
    • Ring Stitch – Just like the diamond-quilted, the top and bottom layers are sewn in small circles.  This allows the fill inside to move in a pattern.
    • Karo Step – In this style, cross stitches are sewn to restrict the movement of fill, which creates open compartments. These comforters are baffled or sewn-through.
    • Sewn-Through – It can be in two styles, box stitch, and channel stitch. In the former style, the top and bottom layers are sewn in a box pattern to restrict shifting. In the channel stitch, both the layers are stitched in horizontal or vertical rows, allowing movement.

Cleaning and Care

When you unbox the new comforter, don’t be surprised because it may appear flat. Vigorously fluff the comforter in the dryer, keeping it on low to restore the loft.

Washing tips

  • Machine wash your comforter in a large, front load washer. You can even hand wash it.
  • Ensure to use warm water and mild detergent.
  • Tumble dry on no heat. Use tennis balls to punch while it dries.
  • Never bleach or iron.
  • Comforter with a thread count above 400 should be dry cleaned only.

Duvet Buying Guide

Many people use the term ‘duvet’ and ‘comforter’ interchangeably, but this warmth giving options are different, but they are different, as explained in the earlier section of this article. Learn the following crucial factors to keep in mind to buy the right duvet.

Types of Duvet Fill

One of the most important things to know before buying a duvet is the fill. There are two types available:

Down

This is the perfect filling when you want lightweight warmth and super breathability. As you may know by now, down is made from duck and geese plumage. Look for markings like ‘pure down,’ ‘All down,’ or ‘100% down’. If the duvet has only ‘down’ specified, then know that it has 30% down and 70% feathers. Feathers do not provide the required insulation, and thus, opting for such duvets is not worth it.

Down Alternative

Just like the comforters, if an allergy is a concern, the down alternative is the right option. It is made from synthetic materials like polyester and is hypoallergenic. Also, these are less expensive when compared to the genuine down but are heavier and not as breathable as the down.

Fill Power

As you may know, fill power is a measurement of the fills fluffiness, meaning how much space is occupied by one ounce. The better down quality, the higher the fill, and more insulation. The fill power guide for the duvet is the same as comforters.

Fill weight

As you might have guessed, it is the weight of down inside the duvet. Duvet with a high fill power will have low filling weight. The warmth a duvet provides depends on the balance between the fill weight and fill power.

Construction

A duvet with extra stitching would make the downshift and create lumps inside the duvet. The duvets have unique stitching to prevent this and keep the down contained. There are four types of construction, like:

  • Baffled
  • Channel
  • Gusset
  • Quilt Stitching

To know in detail about each style, check out the comforter construction.

Size

Duvets are available in various sizes. Ensure to measure your bed first and then buy a duvet for the right fit.

Tog Rating

It is nothing but the effectiveness of a materials thermal insulation. The tog rating depends on multiple factors like who is using the duvet, the season, etc.

Tog Rating for Children – Kids generally have more heat in the body and thus do not require excess heat. This is why look for a low tog rating when you are buying the duvet for your children. An ideal tog rating would be 3 and 4.5 for children, and as they grow older, it can be between 7.5 and 9. For children under ten years, the tog rating should not be more than 10.5. Do not use a duvet for children under one year because it can suffocate or overheat them.

Tog Rating for Summer – Choose a lighter duvet for summer months; otherwise, it will make you sweat during sleep.  A duvet with a tog rating between 1 and 7 is doable. An ideal rating is 4.5. Also, choosing the rating depends from person to person. If you usually get hot while sleeping, no matter what the temperature is, go with a low tog rating and vice versa.

Tog Rating for Winter – You will require a duvet to retain more heat in the winter months, a duvet that has a tog rating of above 10.5. The ideal rating would be 13 .5, but that generally depends on how cold the temperature is.

All Season – Yes, there is an all-season duvet also available. This is two duvets in one. You can join or separate them, depending on the season. One duvet will have a high rating like 9, and the other will be low like a 4.5. In the summer months, you can choose a lighter one, while during chilly months, you can fasten them together.

Usually, fastening is with the help of buttons, which makes it simple to join and remove. This provides you flexibility depending on the season and also have an extra one most of the time.

Thread Count

The outer part of the duvet is what holds the filling and is generally made of 100% cotton. If you are planning to buy a down duvet, then look for the thread count. Higher thread count means tighter the material is woven; thus, it will be harder for the feathers to escape. Look for a thread count of above 200.

Duvet Cover

It is not simple to clean the duvet like other options, choose a duvet cover to protect it. Also, cleaning the cover is simpler. They are available in many fabrics and styles to choose from. Also, it is affordable and can be attached easily with buttons, ties, or zippers.


Blankets, Electric Blankets, Comforters, and Duvets FAQs

Which Fabric Is the Best for Blankets?

There is no specific fabric as the best for blankets. It all depends on your requirements and budget. Every material has a plus point of its own like

Cashmere – It is obtained from cashmere goats and provides extra insulation to keep you warm during the chilly days. Cashmere blankets are expensive.

Wool – Wool has antibacterial properties and provides significant warmth. It is less costly than cashmere.

Cotton – It is the most affordable fabric and provides enough warmth.

Fleece – It is very soft and provides much warmth and comfort.

Down – If you are looking for a luxe and long-lasting material, down is ideal for providing warmth during the winter as well as in other seasons with less fill.

Polyester – It is a less expensive option providing the required warmth but not as breathable as cotton.

Why Do Fuzzy Blankets Feel Warmer?

Blankets feel warm because they keep your body heat intact and do not let it escape in the air. The heat loss is what makes you feel cold. Fuzzy blankets are made of fleece and have lots of air in them to not allow your body heat to escape. Once the air is heated up, you feel the warmth.

What Is the Best Material for Baby Blankets?

 Wool is an ideal fabric for a baby blanket because it can absorb moisture allowing your baby to be warm. Cotton is the most usable blanket choice for babies because it is breathable, easily cleaned, and lightweight.

What Is the Best Filling in The Duvet?

Duvets are made using natural fillings like down, which is breathable and also lasts longer. Many duvets are observed to last for more than 20 years. Down is the most popular filling as it traps the warm air and keeps the cold air out.

Is the Electric Blanket Safe?

Yes, they are safe. Always look for the one that has the safety mark ‘ETL‘ or ‘UL.’ Some people like pregnant women, diabetics, people suffering from mental disorders,s, and dementia, are not advised to use the electric blankets.

Are Down Comforters Bad for Allergies?

Many people have a myth that down comforter can cause allergies. This is what has led to an increase in the sale of down alternative. It is the dust mites that cause the allergies and not the fabric. Thus, keeping your down comforter clean and dust-free will not cause any allergic reactions.

Investing in a good blanket can help you stay warm in your bed and have a good night’s sleep. We hope to have covered everything required to help you make an informed decision.


 

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