Electric Blanket vs. Space Heater: Which To Choose?

Last updated on:

electric blanket vs space heater

Both electric blankets and space heaters are great options to keep you extra cozy in the cold months of the winter. Not to mention, they are a more inexpensive way to stay warm rather than cranking up the thermostat.

Most of us try to avoid that chill throughout the winter. In fact, for some people it is their number one goal: avoid the cold at all costs. The dilemma in the situation comes in when your budget only allows for one or the other. Do you choose the space heater or the electric blanket?

Figuring out which option is best deserves some consideration. There are aspects between these two options that you may not have realized. Not to worry though, we have taken the guesswork out of it for you. Keeping on reading and we will discuss the pros and cons of each heating system. We will go over how they work, their effectiveness, the dangers, and cost, plus much more.

How They Work

You’re probably familiar with an electric blanket. The blanket is embedded with a series of wires that get warmed by an electrical current. The wires are set into place so they do not move around, and you typically have a remote to control the heat setting.

A space heater is a little more complicated. It uses electricity to heat the unit and push the warm air into the room. The actual process of this can vary, though, depending on the type of space heater you use.

For example, if you are using a ceramic heater, the electricity heats the ceramic piece inside the unit and a fan blows the warm air throughout the room. On the other hand, an infrared heater uses heat waves to carry warmth to one specific point in the space. Both options do come with either a remote or a dial on the unit to control the level of heat.

If you would like to know more about ceramic and infrared space heaters, check out this article for more info!

Read more about how electric blankets work

Different Options For Electric Blankets

electric blanket

Image credit: Katrina_S, Pixabay

Electric blankets have another purpose besides keeping us warm—aesthetics. There are many different options when it comes to electric blankets. They can be any color and material. You can choose the size of the blanket as well as the feel of the fabric. Some people prefer to have a colorful throw blanket, while others use a plain blanket that is used between the sheets and comforter of the bed.

Regardless of your tastes, you will be able to find an option that works for you. The only constants are the heating mechanism inside the blanket along with the plug. All electric blankets will come with a plug, but to add to their versatility, they don’t always need to be plugged in to be used.

Electric Blanket Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Different styles and materials
  • A warm blanket to cuddle with
  • Easy to use
  • Cost-efficient
  • Shuts off automatically
Cons
  • Difficult to maintain
  • Not good for moving around

You may also like: Space heaters vs furnace, what’s the difference?


Different Options For Space Heaters

space heater

Image credit: stanvpetersen, Pixabay

Space heaters have come along way since the old bulky days of old. Some models can be sleek and modern looking. That being said, it is rare if they are kept around as decoration when not in use.

Where they do have electric blankets beat, however, is versatility. There are several different types of space heaters. The most common (as mentioned above) are infrared and ceramic heaters. You do have the option of gas, propane, and kerosene as well though.

What the space heaters function is will determine why type of heater you have. Ceramic and infrared heaters are the most common options for adding some extra warmth to space, so for this article, we will focus on these two models.

Space heaters do come in different colors and styles, but more importantly, they come with different features. They can have wall controls, remotes, and digital displays that help keep the room at a temperature of your choosing.

Related article: Our picks of the top low-wattage space heaters

Space Heater Pros and Cons

Pros
  • Cost-effective
  • Heats up the entire room
  • Different types to choose from
  • Easy maintenance
Cons
  • Needs more attention to dangers
  • Can still be cold
  • Other rooms are still cold

Going on a road trip? See: The best Space Heaters for RVs 


Maintenance

In the maintenance field, the space heater has electric blankets beat. There is generally little to no maintenance when it comes to space heaters, besides keeping them clean. Keeping them dust-free is typically the most you will have to do.

Electric blankets take more maintenance since they will have to be washed. Most modern electric blankets do have more robust wire housing so they can be cleaned more easily. However, that does not mean they can be thrown in the washing machine.

As the blankets are being used next to our bodies, and potentially used to sleep at night, they should be washed at least once a month (depending on use). Handwashing is generally recommended, but they can be put into the gentle cycle for a few minutes as well. The most important part of washing the blanket, though is that it has to be aired dry either on a flat surface or on a clothesline. This can be tough in the wintertime when space is limited.

Want more information on washing an electric blanket? Click here!

Effectiveness

Here is where we get into the nitty-gritty of the subject. Electric blankets are good for snuggling up on a couch or sleeping in bed at night. They create a cozy and soft environment that will help you stay warm during the coolest parts of the year.

On the contrary, electric blankets can be too hot for some people even in the low setting. This is especially when sleeping with the blanket in bed at night. Also, if you plan to be moving around a lot, a blanket might not be the best way to go. You may be better off with a space heater.

A space heater can heat an entire room. Again, depending on the type of space heater you have, you can heat an entire room or use an option that will target one point; like standing still to do the dishes.

The downside to this is space heaters are sometimes not enough. This is especially true if the room is drafty and you are not moving around. A space heater is better suited for smaller rooms, where they can bolster the temperature of your regular heating system.

Other Features Of Both Options

There are a few other things you want to consider when deciding between a space heater and an electric blanket. Safety is an important aspect, for example. Electric blankets are very safe. They come with auto shuts off and are no longer able to burn you as older models could. As long as you are not jumping into the shower with it plugged in, you should be good to go.

A space heater can be more dangerous but are still safer than they once were. You have to be careful of things like curtains and blankets hanging over them. Some space heaters can also become quite hot, so they should be out of the reach of children and put in a safe location.

Cost is usually another requirement. The upfront coat of both space heaters and blankets can vary widely depending on many factors. That being said, space heaters can range anywhere from $20 to $300 depending on the model and the strength you want it to have.

Conversely, though blankets price can vary depending on size and material, their average range is about $20 to $100. If you like a bigger and more intricate design, you are going to pay more than a simple electric blanket.

Both options are most cost-efficient that turning your regular heating system up, however. Space heaters can be a little more costly to run depending on their size, though.


Conclusion

We hope that you have gained some knowledge of the difference between these two different options. Both an electric blanket and a space heater can reduce your monthly heating costs, and help keep you warm and cozy all winter long.

When choosing the right option for you, the best thing to do is to determine what the blanket will be used for. If you want something to keep you warmer at night, an electric heater is a way to go. If you wish to have more warmth in a home office, a space heater is your best bet!


Written By Shannon MacDevine

Featured image credit: Sabrap59, Pixabay