Which budget heated travel blanket is best?
Heated travel blankets are a great way to stay warm on a long winter road trip. If your car doesn’t feature heated seats, travel blankets can provide comfort on your commute to and from work. People experience cold and heat differently. What’s too hot for some people might not be hot enough for others. Travel blankets allow everyone to adjust accordingly.
The perfect budget heated travel blanket provides powerful heat for a fair price. The top pick, the Car Cozy 12V Heated Travel Blanket, comes with a 7-foot cord to reach the person in your car who needs it the most, regardless of where they’re sitting. Here are the factors to consider when shopping for budget heated travel blankets.
What to know before you buy a budget heated travel blanket
Budget heated travel blankets plug into your car’s 12-volt cigarette lighter. If you’ve never used your car’s cigarette lighter, or you haven’t used it in years, check to make sure it’s working before you buy your blanket. It won’t work without one.
Some newer cars don’t have a cigarette lighter and only offer USB power. You can power most high-end blankets via USB, but nearly all budget models still require the cigarette lighter. While you can buy a power adapter, it’s probably a better use of your funds just to purchase the more expensive blanket if your car only has USB power.
Fabric and design
Most heated travel blankets are fleece, but the quality of that fleece can vary considerably. Look for a model with thick or polar fleece. This should provide a good amount of warmth even if not plugged in. Also, keep an eye out for fleece with weather-resistant materials, especially if you know you’ll be traveling in sleet or snow.
Budget heated travel blankets come in a variety of colors and patterns. Choose the one you like best, but keep in mind that a light-colored model will require more frequent cleaning. Be sure to store your blanket in a bag with a zipper so that you do not attract dust and hair.
Size and cord length
Some blankets are meant to cover your entire body, while others are meant to cover just your arms or just your legs. A blanket for a large adult will be far too big for a small child, and vice versa. Choose the size of your blanket by the person who will use it the most often.
Also, pay attention to cord length. Models vary from five to eight feet. If you’ve got a big truck, and the person in the backseat gets chilly, you’ll want that extra foot or two.
What to look for in a quality budget heated travel blanket
All budget heated travel blankets work while the engine is running, but you may experience mixed results running them off just the battery. Most blankets shouldn’t take much battery power, but it’s better to be safe than sorry when traveling in cold weather. Look for a model that specifically notes its low or minimal amperage.
Some budget models will also feature an automatic shutoff to avoid draining the battery while you sit idle.
The ability to select your heat level is not standard on travel blankets, especially budget models. This often surprises buyers and is the number one negative criticism when looking at customer reviews.
Heated travel blankets work with the heat that’s already in your car. As such, they’re usually warm instead of hot, like the electric blanket or heating pad you may have at home. If you require a super hot blanket, you may need to bump up to a high-end model.
While most budget heated travel blankets will come with basic or no added features, some models offer at least a few of the luxuries found on their more expensive counterparts. Look for models that provide heat settings for comfort or an automatic shutoff for safety.
You can find models with LED lights that tell you when the blanket is drawing power so you can be sure to preserve your battery. You’ll also see models with timers that regulate your blanket’s heat in half-hour intervals.
How much you can expect to spend on a budget heated travel blanket
Budget heated travel blankets range from $20-$40. The closer you get to $40, the more likely it will be that your blanket is made of high-quality fleece or comes with premium features.
Budget heated travel blanket FAQ
Can you use multiple blankets at once?
A. While there are 12-volt cigarette lighter multi-outlet power splitters on the market, they aren’t recommended for use with multiple heated blankets. Splitting power with a second blanket could lead to diminishing results.
What’s the best way to clean a heated travel blanket?
A. Follow the recommended instructions from the manufacturer for your model. Some heated travel blankets must be washed by hand. Other models have a way to remove the electronic heating components so you can machine wash and dry the fleece exterior. Either way, be sure your blanket is completely dry before using it again.
What’s the best budget heated travel blanket to buy?
Top budget heated travel blanket
What you need to know: This option has high-end features on a budget price.
What you’ll love: It’s big enough for two people to use at the same time, has an automatic timed shutoff feature and includes a 7-foot cord that reaches anyone in your vehicle.
What you should consider: The blanket gets warm but not hot, which was a deal breaker for some users.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
Top budget heated travel blanket for the money
What you need to know: This is a soft blanket that gives a homey feeling to your car.
What you’ll love: It comes in five different colors, has an 8-foot cord for maximum reach and the material is a nice quality fleece.
What you should consider: Some users reported their blankets got way too hot or stopped working over time.
Worth checking out
What you need to know: This option is a bit pricier than the other two picks, but it’s worth it for the polar fleece.
What you’ll love: It’s an oversized blanket with an 8-foot cord, uses thick polar fleece that provides extra heat and comfort and includes an LED light indicating when the blanket is drawing power.
What you should consider: This is another model that falls into the “warm but not super hot” category.
Where to buy: Sold by Amazon
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Frank Paiva writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
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