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Some days you just feel like you need a big hug. That’s one of the benefits touted by the makers of weighted blankets, who also claim that they can calm you down if you’re anxious—or help you sleep if you have insomnia. But scientists have noted that evidence-based research on their ability to help you sleep better is sparse.
Still, weighted blankets have their fans, as evidenced by sales that have been soaring since well before the pandemic, according to SleepFoundation.org, an organization that tracks sleep issues and research.
As the name implies, a weighted blanket is a quilted blanket resembling a comforter but with quilted squares filled with glass or plastic beads.
“The beads are very, very small, and sewn into small pockets in the blanket so they can't shift around,” says Bernie Deitrick, the test engineer who conducted Consumer Reports’ recent tests of five weighted blankets. The design ensures that the weight is evenly distributed, even as you shift or roll over.
“I have patients who like weighted blankets and others that don’t,” says Rafael Pelayo, MD, a sleep specialist and clinical professor in psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University in California and author of “How to Sleep.” “Those that like them, really like them. I suspect that the weight of the blanket is associated with comfort and helps the person feel better.”
Because comfort is a subjective matter, we focused our testing on weight. Manufacturers say you should choose a weighted blanket that’s around 10 percent of your body weight. So if you weigh 150 pounds, you should choose a 15-pound weighted blanket. That’s the weight we tested. The makers of the five blankets we tested sell options ranging from 15 to 35 pounds.
In the lab, Deitrick weighed each blanket and recorded how close each came to the claimed weight of 15 pounds. Some were under, and some were over—you’ll see the differences below.
While all five blankets are similar in weight, they vary in size, with the smallest measuring 70 inches by 40 inches (nearly the size of a twin mattress) and the largest 80 inches by 60 inches (the same dimensions as a queen-size mattress). Keep in mind that they’re smaller than a regular comforter. If you’re using a weighted blanket to sleep, look for one that’s close to the dimensions of your mattress, so it’s not hanging off the edge of the bed. Plus, spreading the same weight over a larger area changes the pressure you feel: The smallest blanket weighs about 10 ounces per square foot and the largest about 7 ounces. The polyfill comforter we used for comparison weighs 2.5 ounces per square foot.
We also wondered whether the weighted blankets would “sleep hot.” Deitrick enlisted the “tin man,” a series of temperature-controlled metal boxes that he developed to measure heat retention in our recent tests of mattress cooling pads. Deitrick measured the insulation level of each blanket and compared the level to that of a down comforter.
“Models that come with duvet covers were slightly warmer than the down comforter; those without were slightly cooler,” Deitrick says. “But all the blankets were fairly close to the warmth that you would get by adding one fluffy down comforter to your bed.”
Finally, we tested how easy the blankets are to wash and whether a typical washing machine can handle such a heavy load. All the blankets came through with flying colors and with no damage. But our front-loading washing machine had a harder time than the top-loader—the load in the front-loader became unbalanced during the spin cycle. Note that all the blankets have loops in each corner to attach a duvet cover (which is easy enough to wash on its own), but only two models come with a cover.
If you’re thinking about that warm hug and considering using a weighted blanket, Deitrick says that you can experiment with sleeping under a heavier blanket by piling on several comforters—three to four would be the approximate weight—to see whether you find the extra weight comfortable. Of course, you will sleep hot that night, so crack a window or turn down the heat while you’re giving it a try.
At least one maker, YnM, cautions that weighted blankets take some getting used to, so give yourself two days to a week before you decide whether you want to keep it. Worth noting: All the manufacturers below allow you to return the blankets within 30 days, though some require that you pay return shipping.
Here are the details of the five blankets we evaluated, listed in alphabetical order.
Baloo Weighted Blanket
Price: $170 to $219
Actual weight: 15.04 pounds
Pounds per square foot: 0.47
Size: 80x58 inches
Cover included: No
CR’s take: The Baloo weighted blanket has a cotton cover and does not come with a duvet cover. The beads are glass. Baloo says the blanket is machine-washable and dryer-safe. It’s sold in white.
Actual weight: 14.84 pounds
Pounds per square foot: 0.64
Size: 70x48 inches
Cover included: Yes
CR’s take: The Gravity blanket comes with a micro-plush duvet cover. The beads are glass. Gravity says the cover is machine-washable in cold water and can be tumble-dried on low. The inner weighted blanket is hand-wash only and air dry (though we did run it through one wash cycle because it seems unwieldy to hand-wash something so large and heavy). This blanket is sold in three colors.
Buy at: Gravity
Harkla Weighted Blanket
Price: $89 to $110
Actual weight: 15.21 pounds
Pounds per square foot: 0.55
Size: 70x57 inches
Cover included: Yes
CR’s take: The Harkla weighted blanket comes with a fleece duvet cover. The beads are glass. Harkla says both the cover and the inner blanket can be machine-washed in cold water on the gentle cycle and put in the dryer on low heat. It comes in three colors.
Luna Weighted Blanket
Actual weight: 14.44 pounds
Pounds per square foot: 0.60
Size: 72x48 inches
Cover included: No
CR’s take: The cover of the Luna blanket is cotton, and it does not come with a duvet cover. Luna says you can wash it in cold water on the gentle setting and hang it to dry or tumble dry on low heat. It is sold in 24 colors.
YnM Weighted Blanket
Actual weight: 14.95 pounds
Pounds per square foot: 0.45
Size: 80x60 inches
Cover included: No
CR’s take: The YnM blanket has a cotton cover and does not come with a duvet cover, though YnM sells covers separately. The beads are glass. YnM says you can wash and dry it by machine on the gentle cycles but recommends washing the duvet cover rather than the inner blanket because “frequent washing may damage the heavy weighted blanket.” It comes in 26 colors.