Both electric blankets and heated mattress pads pre-warm the bed and keep it at a more comfortable temperature during cold winter nights. According to the Electric Blanket Institute, Americans purchase about 4.5 million electric blanket pads and mattress pads each year.
Electric blankets come in two basic styles that are placed either directly on top of the bed or directly on top of you -- like a traditional blanket. Smaller throw-style electric blankets warm someone sitting in a chair or on the couch, instead of a bed. Heated mattress pads only work when placed directly on the bed, under your fitted sheet. Check your manufacturer's instructions for proper placement before placing the blanket on your bed.
All electric warmers feature an automatic shutoff timer, for safety and energy-conservation reasons. Throw-style electric blankets normally have a three-hour time limit. Larger electric blankets and heated mattress pads used on the bed normally timeout after 10 to 20 hours.
Store all electric blankets and heated mattress pads as flat as possible. Roll or gently fold the product, but do not place anything heavy on top, as this may damage the internal wires and make the product malfunction. Never let the cords get wet, pinched or crimped. Most manufacturers suggest hand-washing and air-drying the product.