10 Things to Consider When Buying a Weighted Blanket
It may seem like a weighted blanket is a weighted blanket, but not all weighted blankets are created equal. Prices can range from below $100 to nearly $300. So, what’s the difference between all these weighted blankets? How do you know you’re getting a good value? We broke down the 10 most important things to consider when buying a weighted blanket:
1. Removable Cover vs. No Cover
Weighted blankets with removable covers are more expensive and the main advantage is the ease of washing. They typically look better and feel better to the touch since they don’t have any exposed stitching. However, blankets without covers can also be appealing since they eliminate any issues of the blanket bunching within the cover and are more uniform and easier to move around. Weighted blankets without covers generally tend to be cooler as well, depending on the construction and fabric.
If you’re looking for a better look and feel or if you plan to wash the blanket often, then get a weighted blanket with a cover. If you want something just for the weight that is simpler and more affordable, then a blanket without a cover may be best. If you do opt for one without a cover and expect to clean it several times a year, you should get one that is machine washable, otherwise you’ll need to hand wash it, dry clean it, or spot clean it.
2. Amount of Weight
The main recommendation of most companies is about 10% of your body weight. We tried to find scientific studies that confirmed this recommendation, but could only find specialty studies that focused on autism. For many people, the 10% body weight recommendation seems to work well. We personally don’t agree with it since it disregards the blanket’s size. A king size weighted blanket at 10% body weight is going to feel pretty light compared to a twin size weighted blanket because the twin size will have a lot more weight packed into a smaller area, and most of that area will be on your body vs. on the bed.
We use a weight per square foot measurement since it takes into account the weight AND the size of the blanket. In our user testing, we found that most adults preferred approximately 0.55 pounds per square foot and most kids (<10 yrs) preferred around 0.45-0.50 pounds per square foot. However, the feeling of weight varies greatly by individual. We have some customers that are 250+ pounds that say our 18lb blanket is way too heavy, and at the same time our own children who are 5yrs old and 8yrs old and 40-50lbs use our 18lb blankets and love them.
Our recommendation is to use our weight per square foot or the 10% recommendation as a guideline, whichever you feel more comfortable with. Then, adjust up or down from there based on what you know about yourself. Our blankets tend to be slightly lighter than other brands (18lbs vs. 20lbs) and our #1 return reason is still that they are too heavy, so we recommend rounding down on weight if you are deciding between two different options.
3. Type of Weight
Nearly all weighted blankets have two weight options: glass beads or plastic (poly) pellets. The trend is clearly towards glass beads since poly pellets are typically much larger and louder. Poly pellets feel more like a bean bag or hacky sack. Glass beads may sound scary, but if the brand of weighted blanket uses high quality beads they are nearly impossible to break and most are 0.8 to 1.0mm so you can barely feel them. You can still hear glass beads shift, but they are much quieter than poly pellets. We strongly recommend weighted blankets with glass beads due to the overall feeling, sound reduction, and since they are more natural than oil-based plastics.
4. Size of Weighted Blanket
Weighted blankets vary a lot by size, and you’ll find that many brands don’t have standard blanket sizes. There are generally three main philosophies around size that brands use:
- Individual / Throw Size (typically around 48”x72”): These are not meant to fit on any particular bed size, they are to use individually. These tend to be less expensive since most of these companies just mass produce this one size. The downside is that if you’re using it on a bed it won’t cover the whole thing and you can’t make your bed with it and have it look nice.
- Top of Bed Size: These sizes are meant to cover just the top of the bed, so 60”x80” for a queen size bed. These are often marketed as the bed’s size like full or queen, but it’s important to realize that it only covers the top and doesn’t drape over like a normal blanket. The reason for this is to not waste any of the weight by having it drape over the bed.
- Normal Bed Sizes (least common): These are normal blanket sizes that are meant to drape over the bed. Most weighted blanket brands do not use these sizes since there’s a lot of excess blanket/weight that isn’t used.
One thing that we found in testing is that the individual sized blankets (48”x72”) are not wide enough to accommodate rolling over in bed. Nearly all standard blankets are at least 75% width to height. In our testing of blankets that did not have 75% width to height we found that the weighted blanket will roll with you which negates a lot of the feeling of the weight since it pulls off the bed.
5. Weighted Blanket Fabric
Fabrics can make a huge difference in the quality, feel, and experience of a weighted blanket. The majority of the cost of weighted blankets is in the fabric. Fabrics also play a major role in how hot a blanket is. Here are some of the main options:
- Cotton: Natural, durable, and breathable, but not very soft to the touch unless you are getting 300+ thread count. If a weighted blanket just says 100% cotton (no thread count) it is typically the cheapest cotton. Cotton is a good choice if you’re looking for natural, on the cooler side, and affordable.
- Polyester: Polyester is generally the cheapest fabric. It’s very durable, but also warm. It feels okay to the touch, not terrible, but not great.
- Brushed Polyester: This represent a lot of the plush options available for weighted blankets such as fleece, micro-fiber, minky, flannel, etc. Most of the “fuzzy” options you’ll find are a form of brushed polyester. So, similar to Polyester they are strong but also warm. There are also varying degrees of quality to brushed polyester. For instance, for the popular minky fabric used by many blankets, there are varying degrees of quality which can make a blanket feel much better or worse.
- Bamboo: Many weighted blankets marketed as cooling use bamboo since it’s silky, soft, moisture-wicking, and cool. There are two types of bamboo: viscose and lyocell. Viscose bamboo uses a harsh chemical solvent while lyocell uses an organic solvent in an environmentally friendly closed-loop process where no harsh chemicals are discarded. Bamboo feels amazing and is really cool, but tends to be the most expensive option, especially if it has higher quality thread counts.
6. Weighted Blanket Layers
Many weighted blankets, particularly on Amazon, are marketed as 5-layer, 7-layer, or 9-layer blankets. This is mainly found on Amazon since many sellers are from China and Chinese companies discuss the blankets based on layers. To be honest, it’s more of a marketing gimmick than anything, but the concept of layers is important to understand because multiple layers can add a lot of excessive heat to blankets, particularly if the layers are polyester. If you are concerned with a blanket having too much heat, it’s important to understand how many layers are involved and what type of fabrics they are. For instance, here are two 7-layer blankets that will have much different heat profiles:
The blanket that uses multiple layers of the cheap polyester is going to be significantly warmer than a blanket using cotton and bamboo even though they are both “7-layers”.
7. Weighted Blanket Pocket Construction
Pocket construction is important because one of the largest complaints with weighted blankets is the beads bunching within the pockets. Some companies are marketing smaller pockets as the solution, but the single most important factor in preventing beads from bunching in the pockets and feeling like golf balls is the filling type and amount. Most weighted blankets use a polyester fiber filling since it doesn’t pad down like cotton will, but how each company actually constructs the pocket with the beads and filling is different, and many companies simply get it wrong. This is what leads to the beads coming together like golf balls. Unfortunately, there is no way of determining this based on pocket size or the brand’s info. We strongly recommend reading reviews and staying away from any weighted blankets where users complain of the beads bunching.
8. Cover Ties
Another major complaint of weighted blankets with covers is that the weighted blanket bunches within the cover. Most weighted blankets use traditional cover ties employed by duvets. However, the amount of ties and placement varies a lot by brand. Some brands use a lot of ties, but don’t include them on the zipper seam, which can lead to a bad experience. We found that 8 ties on smaller blankets, 10 ties on medium blankets, and 12 ties on large blankets tends to work well, assuming ties are included on the zipper seam. Some weighted blankets may not publish this info, so make sure to ask the question or read customer reviews and stay away from any weighted blankets with reviews saying that the blanket bunches within the cover.
9. Product Care
A lot of weighted blankets are not machine washable and you have to hand wash, dry clean, or spot clean them. Even if you have a cover, you may get liquid on the blanket that requires you to clean it. Make sure to look at the care instructions for the weighted blanket before buying so you know what you’re getting into.
10. Return Policy
Even if you buy the perfect weighted blanket it may just be too hot for you or you may not agree with the weight. Make sure to look at the return policy beforehand to see if you can return it after using it and how long you have. Most weighted blanket companies will charge you for return shipping if the return reason is not due to a defect or shipping mistake. If you are particularly concerned about return shipping we recommend buying the blanket through Amazon if it’s offered there since that can provide some additional return protection (although you may still get charged for return shipping). Keep in mind that you can almost always get weighted blankets cheaper through the brand’s website, especially if you subscribe to their email list.
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We did our best to put together an informative, unbiased list of all the things to consider when buying a weighted blanket. You'll notice we didn't promote or sell any of our products since we want this to be informative and helpful. If you made it this far, it means you probably got something out of this list. If you can please share it with others we'd really appreciate helping to educate buyers of weighted blankets so they can make the most informed decision possible.