Includes an 8-foot power cord, so you can position the heated travel blanket in the most convenient location in the car. With a 12-volt power adapter, it plugs easily into any vehicle power outlet. Polar fleece material feels great. Includes an LED light to alert you when it's drawing power.
Doesn't generate a ton of heat, which will disappoint some users.
Soft fleece material in a good-looking plaid print. 12-volt power cord is easy to plug in to vehicle power outlet. 8 feet long power cord is versatile and user-friendly. Price falls on the lower end of the spectrum.
Some reports of faulty models that got too hot or quit working altogether. Some longevity concerns.
Power cord plugs directly into vehicle power outlet but draws a minimum amperage so you won't drain your car's battery too fast. Average-size blanket at 43 x 59 inches. Long power cord at 7 feet, so the blanket reaches into the back seat. Plaid design looks great.
Blanket may not heat to a high enough temperature for some people.
Choice of colors and patterns. Heats up fast. You set the temperature. Three-position timer shuts blanket off after 30 minutes, 45 minutes, or 1 hour.
Cord is on the short side. Some complaints that the blanket does not get hot enough.
Includes a timer so you can set the blanket to automatically shut off after 30 or 45 minutes. Fleece fabric keeps you warm, even when blanket isn't plugged in. Fits into a standard 12-volt vehicle power outlet. Makes use of an 8-foot power cord.
Blanket may give off an odd odor when plugged in.
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If you spend time in your car in the winter, you know that road trips and long commutes can be chilly, drafty affairs, even with the heat cranked. A heated travel blanket can help alleviate some of the colder aspects of winter driving, and it does so at a fraction of the cost of heated seats. Heated travel blankets are also a great way to let passengers choose their own comfort level. They’re a lifesaver if you find yourself stranded on a remote winter road waiting for help to arrive.
Our buying guide will help you learn the features and information to take into account when shopping for a heated travel blanket. We examine factors such as construction materials and how these blankets are powered, in addition to features such as timers, temperature controls, and safety elements like auto shut-off. Check out our recommended products, where we highlight heated travel blankets that we feel rise above the rest in terms of price and quality.
Fleece is the standard construction material for heated travel blankets, although the type of fleece can vary considerably. Thick polar fleece and water-resistant polyester fleece are the two common types of fleece used, and both offer soft and comfortable surfaces that can help to keep you warm even when the blanket is not plugged in.
Whatever type of fleece you settle on, the material — and the electronic elements inside it — should be rugged enough to hold up to constant road travel.
Since they are designed largely for automotive travel, heated travel blankets are almost universally powered via a cord that plugs into your car or truck’s 12V (or cigarette lighter) socket. These used to be standard in nearly all vehicles and still largely are, but some car manufacturers no longer include them in select vehicle models. Be sure that your car has a standard 12V socket before purchasing one of these blankets.
Overall, heated travel blankets don’t draw a sizable amount of power from your battery, but some manufacturers specifically note that their blankets are low-amperage. While this shouldn’t be a huge issue when the car is running, if you plan to use a heated travel blanket with the vehicle off, be sure that it draws minimal amperage so you won’t be draining your battery every time you use it.
Heated travel blankets usually only become warm, not hot, so you shouldn’t have any issues with them becoming too hot. Some blankets have actually been criticized for not becoming warm enough, which kind of undercuts the whole point of paying up for a powered blanket. Make sure there aren’t any problems with your heated travel blanket under-heating.
The size of the heated travel blanket that you purchase is important: too small and the blanket can’t wrap around you and keep you warm, too large and it may feel like it’s taking over the interior of your car. The majority of heated travel blankets are just under 60 inches long, with a width that varies between 30 and 45 inches. Note the size carefully and test out a similarly-sized blanket from your house to verify that such a size will work for you.
A general rule of thumb is to go larger if the blanket is for adults and smaller if it’s for children or pets.
The length of the cord that runs from the heated travel blanket to the 12V socket can vary from blanket to blanket and is usually from five to eight feet in length. Purchase the blanket with the longest cord you can find — with a longer cord, the blanket can be used by anyone in the vehicle, regardless of where they’re sitting.
Unlike electric blankets for your bed, the ability to select your own temperature with a heated travel blanket is not standard. Some heated travel blankets have a variable settings option, however. This is usually in the form of a switch where you can opt for “high” or “low” temperatures. Rarer still are heated travel blankets with a variable knob you can use to set the temperature across a range of temperatures.
Another non-standard feature you may run across is an LED indicator light. This shows you at a glance when the blanket is running (light on) and when it is not (light off).
While you won’t find a great deal of safety features in heated travel blankets, one that some blankets incorporate is an auto shut-off feature. This automatically shuts the blanket down when it becomes too hot.
Some heated travel blankets offer a timer feature, which allows you to select when the blanket shuts off, so you don’t have to remember to do it yourself. These timers are usually limited to two or three intervals, ranging from a half-hour to an hour and a half.
Select a heated travel blanket you find attractive. Heated travel blankets are manufactured in a variety of solid colors and patterns, with plaid being quite common. If you want more options in terms of style, choose a blanket that offers a variety of colors and patterns to choose from.
Heated travel blankets start out at under $20 and can reach up to around $40.
Inexpensive: The majority of heated travel blankets are in the $25 to $30 range. At $20, you can find simple blankets with little in the way of controls — you plug them in, they work.
Expensive: At higher prices, blanket quality increases, both in terms of the fleece and the inner electronics. Here you can find larger blankets with longer cords and additional features such as temperature controls, auto shut-off features, and timers.
Q. What is polar fleece?
A. Heated travel blankets are usually constructed from fleece, a knit fabric that features one side that has been brushed out for a softer feel. Fleece is available in a variety of different types, and one popular type is polar fleece. Used largely in winter jackets and blankets, polar fleece is thicker than regular fleece, making it warmer for cold weather use.
Q. How should heated travel blankets be cleaned?
A. You would think with the wiring inside that you would not be able to machine wash a heated travel blanket, but this is not necessarily the case. Some manufacturers recommend that you wash your heated travel blanket by hand, while others claim that you can use a machine to wash their blankets if you take the proper care.
If a heated travel blanket can be machine washed, you should first remove any cords or controllers, then soak the blanket in cold, soapy water for 15 minutes to loosen any dirt. After soaking, run the blanket through your machine using cold water on the delicate or gentle cycle and let it spin at the end.
To dry the blanket, tumble dry it on low, or stretch it out over a clothesline or frame to air-dry it. The heated travel blanket should be completely dry before you plug it in and attempt to use it.