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Hot Water Bottles vs. Electric Blankets: Which Is Best? (2023)

Updated: Jan 21, 2023

Hot water bottles and electric blankets are both popular choices for providing warmth and comfort during cold weather. Both have their own unique pros and cons, and it's important to consider which one is right for you before making a purchase.

The main differences between hot water bottles and electric blankets are that hot water bottles are cheaper, less costly to operate, more energy efficient, portable and versatile. On the other hand, electric blankets heat up much faster than hot water bottles and have a larger surface, which can be more practical to heat your bed or share it with a person.

hot water bottle vs electric blanket icons

13 key differences between hot water bottles and electric blankets

Below, we weigh out the pros and cons of hot water bottles versus electric blankets.

#1: Cost

One of the main pros of hot water bottles is that they are generally less expensive than electric blankets. Their price ranges between $8 and $70 depending on the quality of the cover, whereas electric blankets can cost anywhere from $20 to $200 or more depending on the features and quality.

#2: Energy Efficiency

Another pro of hot water bottles is that they are more energy-efficient than electric blankets. Hot water bottles only use energy when they are filled with hot water, whereas electric blankets use energy constantly while they are plugged in and turned on.

#3: Safety

Electric blankets are generally safer than hot water bottles as they do not need to be filled with hot water and cannot burst (although rare for hot water bottles). On the other hand, they pose (unlikely) fire hazards in case of malfunction, being plugged into a power socket. This is what you can do to easily prevent your hot water bottle from bursting.

In terms of risks of burns, both hot water bottles and electric blankets are to be used for short periods of time and not in direct contact with the skin. Electric blankets have a smaller chance of burning your skin since their temperature can be regulated. Aim for surfaces below 42 degrees Celsius (108 degrees Fahrenheit) to stay on the safe side. Read our article on the ideal hot water bottle temperature.

#4: Portability

Hot water bottles are also more portable than electric blankets. They can easily be taken with you on the go, whereas electric blankets require a power source and are not as easily transportable.

#5: Heating Time

An electric blanket heats up much faster than a hot water bottle, which is a pro if you want the heat source to be ready in a short amount of time.

hot water bottles pros and cons

#6: Temperature Control

Electric blankets typically come with temperature control features, which means you can set the blanket to your desired temperature. On the other hand, hot water bottles are filled with hot water and don't have temperature control.

#7: Comfort

Electric blankets offer a different type of comfort than hot water bottles, as they provide a consistent and even heat distribution over the entire blanket. Hot water bottles, on the other hand, only provide heat in the areas where they make contact with the body.

However, hot water bottles can be "hugged" and held close to the body like a companion, which may be the experience some users are seeking!

#8: Size

Electric blankets come in a variety of sizes, from twin to king, making them a great option for larger beds or for people who like to have extra room to move around under the blanket. They can thus easily be shared in bed or on the couch while watching your favourite film for instance.

While hot water bottles come in a variety of sizes too, they are smaller than an electric blanket and cannot heat an entire bed or be shared. Unless you use a long hot water bottle!

#9: Durability

Hot water bottles are typically more durable than electric blankets, as they don't have any electrical components that can wear out over time. Read how long a hot water bottle can last.

Electric blankets, on the other hand, do, which can lead to decreased heating efficiency or even safety hazards.

#10: Care and Maintenance

Hot water bottles are relatively easy to care for, as they can - and should only be cleaned with water.

Electric blankets, on the other hand, require more care and maintenance, as they need to be cleaned regularly to prevent the build-up of dust and dirt, and they can't be washed in water.

electric blankets pros and cons

#11: Versatility

Hot water bottles can be used for a variety of purposes, such as relieving menstrual cramps, soothing sore muscles and providing warmth. Electric blankets, on the other hand, are mainly used for providing warmth.

#12: Noise

Electric blankets tend to make a low humming noise when in use, which can be annoying for some people, especially light sleepers. Hot water bottles are silent when in use.

#13: Allergies

Electric blankets can cause allergies and skin irritation in some people, as they can trap dust and other allergens. Hot water bottles don't have this problem if you wash the cover on a regular basis.

Final thoughts

Overall, hot water bottles seem to provide more advantages than electric blankets, being cheaper, less costly to operate, more energy efficient, portable and versatile.

However, electric blankets offer advantages that may be of interest to people who value efficiency, as they heat faster and offer an even heat distribution.

The debate of electric blankets versus hot water bottles may thus boil down to the use: electric blankets are much more effective to heat your bed and be shared with someone whereas hot water bottles provide both warmth and emotional support, as a warm little companion on a rough day.


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