Buying a weighted blanket isn’t as simple as picking a color and a weight then calling it a day. There are a ton of variations that make a world of difference on whether the blanket will be a good fit for you. With a weighted blanket you are investing in more than a blanket, you are investing in your well being. A real, premium weighted blanket provides a stress-reducing & soothing environment through deep touch stimulation. If you buy the wrong blanket you may be paying for nothing more than an overpriced blanket.
Weighted blankets aren’t cheap so make sure you get it right the first time around is very important!
We’ve reviewed nearly all the weighted blankets currently available and feel we have a pretty good idea of what you need to look for when picking out the perfect weighted blanket. Before we go into the specifics to look out for I want to cover why Deep Touch Stimulation is so important.
Deep Touch Stimulation – The Goal
When we review each weighted blanket, the first thing we do is get right under it to see how well it presses down to create the deep touch feeling. Without this feeling, nothing else about the blanket really matters. The thing that truly sets weighted blankets apart from normal blankets is their ability to activate deep touch stimulation. Deep touch stimulation helps your body naturally produce serotonin and melatonin while also decreasing cortisol levels. This is why weighted blankets can reduce stress, promote relaxation and improve sleep cycles.
This isn’t as simple as X amount of pounds = Y amount of stimulation. In fact, some blankets that are only 15lbs offer a much better response than other brands 25lb weighted blankets.
The reason for this has to do with:
- the type of weighted pellets being used
- build quality
- fabric used
As we discuss each of these factors we’ll let you know which we found to provide that best feeling of “hugging down on the body” during our testing.
So know that we’ve covered the main goal behind weighted blankets, here is our weighted blanket buyers guide.
Comfort & Durability
Let’s get this one off the bat first. What good is an uncomfortable blanket? Even worse, what good is a blanket that falls apart, spilling pellets everywhere?
There are a few things that will determine how comfortable and how durable each individual companies blanket is, the biggest of which is the specific materials used.
Weighted blankets of generally made up of 3 specific parts. The soft outer layer, the more durable inner layer, and the filling inside of the inner layer. The type of materials used in each of these parts is crucial. To make it easy we are going to break down what we believe to be the ideal materials in each of these layers.
This is where you want to make sure you not only have a durable material but a soft and easily machine washable material as well. There are a variety of outer materials used however the most common are 100% cotton, polyester, and “minky” fabric.
Cotton – Cotton is durable, machine washable, and reasonably soft (depending on the quality.) The main problem with cotton is that it is prone to shrinking and dyes tend to fade.
Polyester – Polyester, on the other hand, is machine washable very durable, doesn’t fade or shrink, however, it tends to not be as soft and doesn’t quite breathe as well.
Minky – Minky is an all-natural blended fabric that essentially takes the durability of polyester but uses a short pile that makes it similar in softness to cashmere. The fabric tends to resemble “mink,” hence the name, but it’s cruelty-free and far more durable.
After testing nearly 50 blankets of all varieties Minky seems to be the winner for the outer layer of weighted blankets.
Again these inner layers can vary in materials but cotton is generally the best option here and there really isn’t a better alternative. You don’t need the “super-softness” of Minky fabric as you’ll never be touching it since it’s covered by the outer layer. Due to this, a material that provides the best functionality is key.
Cotton does it all. It does a good job maintaining the “spread” of the inner filling, is strong enough to support the weight of the filling, and also provides quality temperature retention.
Since you never see the filling it’s easy to think of it as not being very important, which couldn’t be further from the truth. The filling is the MOST important part.
The main things you need to look for are a filling that evenly distributes weight, doesn’t overheat, doesn’t damage the inner layer, and is moisture resistance.
Generally, weighted blankets use one of the four following fillers:
- Poly Pellets
- Glass Pellets
Sand & Rice – These are cheap and easy fillers. A lot of small outfits fill their blankets with these as they are cheap and easy to source. The problem is both of these lead to uneven weight distribution. The worst thing is a blanket that has all the weight rush to one side or the other. The key is even distribution, especially if you sleep with your blanket! Waking up with all the weight being off to the side defeats the entire purpose.
These materials are also rough and rapidly break down the blanket materials.
They also cause heat and moisture retention which can lead them to be not only uncomfortable but also cause potential bacteria.
You get the picture.
Sand & rice = cheap but bad fillers.
Poly Pellets – Poly Pellets are the middle of the road option, cheaper than glass but avoid a lot of the issues from above. They do a decent job distributing heat, do not absorb much moisture, and offer reasonable weight distribution. Also, the rounded shape is good for maintaining the integrity of your inner layer. Overall a decent choice.
Glass Pellets – Glass pellets are the cream of the crop. They hit on all the same things as the poly pellets, however, do a better job yet cost more. Glass provides the smoothest weight distribution as the weight of each individual pellet is nearly identical and they don’t bunch up. They also don’t absorb any moisture or excess heat. Plus they are perfectly rounded and won’t damage the inner layers at all. If you can afford a blanket made with Glass pellets I highly recommend it.
Size & Weight
Choosing the best size and weight is a mix of personal needs and preference.
As a general rule of thumb, we recommend roughly 10-12% of your weight as the starting point. For example, a 125 lbs person would likely want to start around 12.5-15 lbs however anything from 10-20 lbs may be ideal. A fair amount of people recommend erring on the side of caution and going slightly heavier rather than lighter but again this is a preference. 10-12% isn’t a hardline and can vary substantially, in fact, a lot of manufacturers only product blankets in 5 lb increments as most users round up or down from this rule without any changes in effectiveness.
I personally weigh roughly 170 lbs but my ideal favorite weight tends to be around 20 lbs as I really like the added pressure. You may be the opposite.
Children, on the other hand, may not feel comfortable with the extra weight. In these cases, you should really consult a healthcare professional for assistance in determining the ideal weight.
Weighted blankets come in a variety of sizes. Most blankets are not standard queen size comforter dimensions. In fact, most are substantially smaller. This is something you need to make sure you review when deciding on a blanket.
To give you a rough idea of blanket sizes here are the sizes of standard mattresses
|Twin||38"W x 75"L
|Full||54"W x 75"L
|Queen||60"W x 80"L
|King||76"W x 80"L
Widths for weighted blankets tend to range from 36″ to 42″ (however some custom blankets reach over 70″ in width)
Lengths for weighted blankets tend to range from 42″ to 78″ (albeit rare, we’ve seen blankets over 80″ in length as well)
I personally prefer larger blankets so I shoot for a minimum of 40″ in width and 72″ in length. Blankets from 40-42″ x 72″-78″ hit that perfect spot of being comfortable while hanging out on the couch while also being perfect for laying down in bed. For reference, I’m right around 6 foot tall and my significant other is 5 4″. We both prefer weighted blankets in around this size.
It doesn’t matter if your blanket uses only the best materials in the world if it’s not well put together. A poorly made blanket is prone to cause a variety of annoyances and break down quickly due to the weight of the inner filling. So below are a few things we recommend taking into account:
Obviously, this is probably one of, if not the best source regarding product quality. People who have hands-on experience with the product will be able to give you the best insight into the products quality. That said you need to make sure the reviews are unbiased and real. Using sites like ours can help in this, however, we are only one single opinion. We like to think we do a good job reviewing products but sometimes multiple sources can provide even better insights.
Additionally, a lot of reviews on websites like Amazon.com are fake or paid for by the actual manufacturers. To determine what’s real and what’s fake sometimes takes a bit of intuition. Read the reviews and try to be skeptical. If the reviews appear over the top positive that can be a hint. Also if there are a handful of extremely positive reviews however also some negative reviews that seem to have a lot of similarities between them that the positive reviews “overlooked” that is also a sign. For example, if some of the positive reviews mention the great product quality, however, most of the negative reviews mention that it feels cheap or poorly put together that may be a red flag.
Machine vs Man Made
For a lot of things, machines do a great job. For blankets, the opposite appears to be true. Machine stitching and automated filling would, in theory, lead to a uniform and consistent product. However, the opposite appears to be true. Blankets made via automation tend to have substantially more quality control issues and overlooked design errors.
After reviewing a large sample of blankets, we’ve come to the conclusion that handmade blankets tend to have higher quality control and superior stitching. That said this can also vary based on the “talent” of the individual people making the blankets. So don’t take the fact that it’s “handmade” to mean it’s high quality, rather look over existing reviews regarding the product quality. This is more so a rule of thumb or jumping off point rather than a set in stone factor.
Avoid Private Labels
Weighted Blanket companies tend to fall into 2 distinct business categories: Legitimate Brands & Private Labels
What is Private Label?
Private label companies don’t actually manufacture a unique product. Rather they take a “stock” or “standard” product from a manufacturer and essentially slap their brand name on it. They then sell the product as their own to the consumer.
Why Avoid Private Labels?
The main reason to avoid private label companies is that they don’t control the product quality as it comes from a third party, they are unable to offer real support as they just “resell” another companies product, and they don’t have the same vested interest in product quality as traditional companies.
Also to be competitive on pricing Private Label companies need to take advantage of cheap, lower quality products. Since they need to be able to mark up the cost and sell it to consumers they generally have to purchase cheaper products to compete with larger companies.
How To Identify a Private Label Company vs a Real Company
Sometimes it’s hard to differentiate which category a company falls in as Private Labels create a “brand” that can appear like a real company. Also looking at the blankets themselves doesn’t usually help as a lot of private label companies sell blankets that look nearly identical to those offered by larger brands like Gravity, SleepForce, and Mosaic. Most of the factories that sell to private labelers take the best products in the market and make cheap “knock-offs” that look similar which private label companies then sell to consumers.
A few tips for identifying private label brands:
- If the brand doesn’t have a company website
- The product images tend to include low quality and basic, stock images
- Reviews on sites like Amazon.com seem “fake” or over the top positive without much substance
- The company name is odd or doesn’t “seem” like a brand
- The product descriptions aren’t unique or detailed
Pricing & Budget
While this is generally one of the most important areas it can vary substantially based on a multitude of factors.
You need to compare products based on the factors above as products vary greatly. For example, a fair amount of the blankets sold on Amazon.com may seem cheap however they don’t include the outer blanket layer which you need to purchase separately. Also, things like the materials used throughout the blanket can dramatically change the price point.
Also, blankets can vary dramatically in size and weight. A small 36″ x 42″ blanket is going to cost substantially less than a premium 48″ x 72″ large weighted blanket. In the same vein, a 15 lbs blanket is going to be cheaper than a 25 lbs blanket. These factors all need to be taken into account when comparing blankets.
So when comparing prices the biggest thing to keep in mind is the specific “quality” of the blanket and what’s included with it. So be sure to review the details of the product or product listing to see whether it is a complete blanket (with all three layers) and the types of materials used.