Header Image
Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
Bottom Line
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

30 Models Considered
16 Hours Researched
2 Experts Interviewed
74 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best heated travel blankets

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.

Get emails you’ll love.
Learn about the products you’re wondering if you should buy and get advice on using your latest purchases.
Content Image
Heated travel blankets are similar to electric blankets that you buy for your bed, but they are generally less powerful and also less expensive.

Key considerations

Construction material

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.

Power source

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.

Battery use

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.


Cord length

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.

Temperature settings

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.

Indicator light

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).

"Electric blankets should never be dry cleaned, soaked in bleach, or ironed."

Auto shut-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 blanket prices

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.


  • When shopping for a heated travel blanket, try to avoid purchasing one with too much white in it, as you may have a harder time keeping it looking clean on the road.
  • If you hang your electric blanket to dry over a clothesline, don’t use clothespins to secure it, as this can damage the internal wiring of the blanket.
  • So long as your car’s 12V cigarette lighter works when the car is off, so will your heated travel blanket. 12V adapters on some vehicles are not wired directly to the battery, so they cannot power a blanket when the car is off.
  • While it can take a car up to 10 minutes or more to produce enough heat to warm the vehicle’s interior, the majority of heated travel blankets are warm within a minute or two.
  • For ease of storage, seek out a heated travel blanket that ships with a zippered carry bag.
  • If you need more than one heated travel blanket, search for one that ships in packs containing multiple blankets. This is a great way to save a few dollars instead.
  • If you find yourself a 12V socket short when trying to run your heated travel blanket and other car accessories, consider picking up a 12V splitter.
Content Image
In addition to using them in a car, heated travel blankets are also great for camping trips, RVs, boating, and anywhere that you have access to a 12V power source.


Q. What is polar fleece?
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?
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.

Other Products We Considered
The BestReviews editorial team researches hundreds of products based on consumer reviews, brand quality, and value. We then choose a shorter list for in-depth research and testing before finalizing our top picks. These are the products we considered that ultimately didn't make our top 5.
See more
Our Top Picks