Winter road trips, while thrilling, can leave you with less-than-ideal travel conditions. If you're someone who gets cold easily, a heated travel blanket is a must-have on your next adventure.
These blankets allow you to control how warm you feel without affecting the other passengers. They come in several different materials, and their heat settings, cord lengths, and other features vary.
In our buying guide, we will break down all of the heated travel blanket features you need to consider before buying your own. To make things even easier we've also included some of our favorite product recommendations, including the simple and effective RoadPro 12-Volt Polar Fleece Heated Travel Blanket.
Heated travel blankets are commonly made of fleece, though the type of fleece varies. For something both soft and durable, look for polar fleece or water-resistant polyester fleece blankets.
You might assume that bigger is always better in terms of the size of travel blanket you choose. But this is not necessarily the case. A blanket that is too small won't be able to fully wrap around you, but one that's too big can quickly feel cumbersome inside your vehicle. The average blanket size is around 60 inches long and between 30 and 50 inches wide.
Designed primarily for in-car use, the vast majority of heated travel blankets are powered with a cord that plugs into your vehicles 12V socket (aka the cigarette lighter.) These days, not every car or truck has this socket, so before buying a blanket make sure your vehicle is capable of providing power.
Heated travel blankets don't draw too much power from your car's battery. Even still, some blankets are advertised as being low-amperage. While the battery should be resilient while your vehicle is in motion, it may be smart to opt for a low-amp blanket if you plan to plug-in while you're parked. This way you won't be in jeopardy of draining the car battery.
Heated travel blankets are designed to get warm, they should never feel too hot. At the same time, you don't want a blanket that isn't warm enough for your preferences. Before buying your own blanket, make sure there are no issues with over- or underheating.
When it comes to traveling with your blanket, cord length is more important than you may think. In a car, a short cord can limit your blanket use to the front seat only. However, a longer cord allows you to sit comfortably anywhere inside the vehicle. Most heated blankets come with a cord that's roughly 5 to 8 feet long.
You will be hard-pressed to find a heated travel blanket with highly custom heat settings. If your blanket comes with any temperature adjustments at all it will likely be "high" or "low" heat.
While not entirely common, some blankets will feature an LED indicator light to visibly alert you when the blanket is on and running.
Some heated travel blankets offer a timer feature. This will allow you to pre-determine how long your blanket will stay on so that you don't need to remember to turn it off yourself. Usually, these timers work in 30-minute intervals for up to 1.5 hours.
Alternatively, you could seek out a blanket with an auto-off feature. This will ensure the blanket turns itself off whenever it gets too hot.
You can expect to pay somewhere between $20 and $40 for a heated travel blanket. Lower-priced blankets in the $20 to $30 range will certainly get the job done, but as you reach higher prices you can expect larger blankets with plenty of additional features to keep you as cozy as possible.
A. This varies from blanket to blanket. While some require delicate hand washing, others are safe for machine wash. Be sure to read and carefully follow the manufacturer's washing instructions to avoid any damage.
A. Polar fleece is one of many variations of this soft, fuzzy material. Commonly used in winter jackets, polar fleece is thicker and therefore a little warmer than regular fleece.
What we like: Long 8-foot cord allows you to position your blanket nearly anywhere. The 12V power adaptor works easily with any vehicle outlet. LED lights indicate when the blanket is using power. Soft fleece material.
What we like: Soft material with an aesthetically pleasing plaid pattern. 12V power adapter works well in any vehicle. The 8-foot power cord is convenient and easy to use. Sits at a desirable price point.
What we like: Polar fleece material feels luxurious against your skin. Long power cord plugs in easily to any vehicle. Uses minimal amperage.
Amber Van Wort is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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