Aug 22, 2023

Review: I Tried (and Loved) the Sunbeam Electric Blanket

My first Sunbeam Electric Blanket was not my own, but belonged to my favorite kind of New Yorker: one from the rural Midwest. These folks grow up in punk houses next to massive grain silos, and suffer through even more grueling winters than the ones on the East Coast. They’re used to chasing barn kittens, grabbing electric fences, and when you've been through enough icy winters, you know how to stay warm above and beyond just cranking the radiator.

I FaceTimed one such friend last winter, looking to commiserate over the Brooklyn temps like the Californian transplant I am, and they just smiled. "Dude," they said, poking out from the folds of something fluffy. "You need one of these." In that moment, the heavens parted, and the Sunbeam 3 Heat Electric Blanket (With 3-Hour Auto Off Function) sent me into full ascension. I was bewitched by its sliding heat control, cozy material, and total reversal of a sad notion I had internalized as truth over the years: You have to feel a little cold at home, as some kind of Fun Tax for summer.

The Sunbeam slapped that nonsense right out of me—staying warm should be not just an elusive goal, but a given. I started looking forward to watching Netflix on their couch right by the frosty window, or stepping out for a nightly stroll in February, because I knew we could swaddle ourselves in a micro-climate of perfect temps back in their apartment. I could pass out on their couch and need nothing but a lumpy pillow and the unwavering embrace of the Sunbeam.

With the promise of a better life, I read some of the reviews on the blanket above. "Finally!! I found a warming blanket that doesn't have hard wires," wrote one reviewer on Amazon, while another said it was a "great heated blanket for the couch for those Netflix and chill nights! Or not chilling, just lying there wondering what the hell you're doing with your life but you're at least comfy and cozy while having an existential crisis. My dog and I fight over this blanket every night. Usually she wins." I, too, smashed that order button, and now I'm an electric blanket evangelist. Over a year has passed since then, and these are my notes for you, fellow Person Who Is Always Cold, on why an electric blanket is—once and for all—really worth it.

I knew electric blankets existed before joining the Sunbeam family, but I’d never used one. I always thought they were like Snuggies or the Magic Wand Vibrator: interesting, but in the same cultural category as 1980s floral print couches and Sarasota, Florida. They may have been "old-school cool" once upon a time, but these days they look like any other cozy sherpa or faux-fur throw from West Elm or CB2:

When trying to find the best electric blanket for your needs, keep in mind that they come as small as a heating pad and as large as a California King bed, with various ranges of settings.

There are even entire heated mattress pads, if you really want to ball out on some cold weather comfort. "I had my doubts about it heating up, but OMG," writes one reviewer named Randall. "It gave me much needed relief after 2 days of driving to Florida. Some may believe in pills, but I highly recommend a heated mattress pad if you are having pain in your back, you'll be surprised at how much relief you will get."

I think 10 settings is overkill even for vibrators, so I went with the exact same electric blanket as my Midwestern angel, with its three heat levels and automatic three-hour timer so you stay toasted, but not roasted, which was a big point of concern for me. As a true space cadet, I was worried about burning myself alive with an electric blanket, but again, it turns off automatically after a few hours, so you can rest assured that it won't burn anything.

It's been over a year since I hopped on the electric blanket train, and I am as obsessed with my Sunbeam as ever. I use it when I’m trying to fall asleep as a topper, or when I’m cuddling and watching movies on the couch all day. I fold it up like a Tootsie Roll and use it as a heating pad for my back and stomach when I have period pains, and it has retained its plushiness after a year of machine washing (you can easily remove the cover from the heating element) with zero issues. I am on an evangelical Sunbeam crusade, tap dancing across the M Train platform and singing its praises to anyone who will listen.

I’m one of those people who is always cold, but overheats easily. I also live in New York City, where my apartment's temperature is at the mercy of one of those temperamental radiators that sounds like an old-timey train. I own many weighted blankets and statement throws, and as much as I love them, they take a while to heat me up after a day of schlepping across the city, and instantly release their cocooned warmth the second I get up for more Takis. I don't know when ~the culture~ collectively filed away electric blankets into As Seen On TV lore, but these days they’re looking better than ever. They’re affordable, they turn off automatically so you don't have to worry about burning down your apartment, and they make your winter wind-down routine so much more relaxing. If you bring one new home goods item into your cold weather routine, make it this baby.

The Sunbeam Electric Blanket can be purchased on Amazon.

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The Sunbeam Electric Blanket can be purchased on Amazon.