If you’re a light sleeper, you might need a heavier blanket. Weighted blankets are popular sleep-aids purported to have a calming effect, and reduce tossing and turning. If you’d like to try one, you’ve got options.
Weighted blankets offer a form of deep pressure touch—a type of therapy used to calm people with sensory issues or hyperactivity. What began as a niche therapeutic tool leaped into the broader markets of sleep aids and stress relief, accompanied by the, sometimes, overblown claims of what they can do.
Actual research is scant and inconclusive, but deep pressure touch has shown benefits. The reasons for using a weighted blanket are comparable to those for swaddling newborns to help them sleep or “thunder vests” for animals that are anxious during thunderstorms or fireworks.
The blankets get their heft from fillings that vary by manufacturer. Most commonly, they’re made of glass microbeads or plastic pellets held in place by stitched compartments.
What to Look for in a Weighted Blanket
The most important feature of a weighted blanket is, well, the weight. To decide which blanket suits you best, though, you also want to consider the secondary features. You can look at the following factors:
- Size: Weighted blankets aren’t measured like traditional bedding. They’re supposed to cover you, not the bed, so don’t expect them to hang over the sides. While it might be tempting to spring for a king-size, sharing one means the weight distributes over two people. Make sure you select the appropriate size and weight to get the full effect of a weighted blanket.
- Weight: Most brands suggest you choose a blanket weight that’s 10 percent of your body weight. Keep in mind the weight is equally distributed across the blanket. So, a 15-pound blanket that is 80 by 60 inches feels lighter than one that’s the same weight but is 42 by 70 inches. Again, you want the weight to be concentrated on you, not the rest of the bed or another person.
- Filling: This is what gives these blankets their weight, and manufacturers use different materials, like plastic pellets, micro-glass beads, or heavy fabric. Micro-glass beads are smaller and denser; they give the blanket a lower profile and more seamless texture than larger, plastic pellets. Both the YnM and Baloo blankets use micro-glass beads, while Mosaic uses BPA-free, hypoallergenic pellets.
- Textile Materials: Most brands offer several options for the outside material. The most common are Minky (a lightweight polyester fleece), cotton, and bamboo. The outer fabric is often what distinguishes the “cooling” blankets from the regular ones. Keep in mind that cotton or bamboo blankets—which are styled as more breathable than polyester—still have inner polyfill to keep beads in place. There isn’t a 100% cotton or bamboo interior layer, and neither glass nor plastic beads are breathable, so this is not the blanket you want if your AC is broken.
- Care: Care instructions differ based on the brand, size, and weight of the blanket. Some can be washed separately on delicate, and others are dry clean only. While it’s perfectly fine to use the blanket as is, if you spring for a duvet cover, you can just toss that into the wash. Or, you can always use the blanket on top of a regular sheet to separate it from your grimy body.
- Return Policy: There’s always the possibility you’ll hate everything about weighted blankets. Some babies become enraged when they’re swaddled (you might have been that baby). If you turn bright red and start furiously kicking and grunting, you might want to return your blanket. Our picks all have return policies. The exception is a custom-made blanket from Mosaic, but that probably shouldn’t be your first one, anyway.
One final, very important note before we get into the list of our favorites: weighted blankets should never be used on children younger than three years old due to the risk of suffocation. Never use a weighted blanket on a little one!
Best for Most People: Baloo
Baloo’s blanket upgrades its materials without breaking the bank. Instead of organic, the company boasts an “Oeko-Tex” certification, which it describes as an “indication of how the fabric is processed, including things like dyes and finishes.” To receive the certification, Baloo said, “the fabric has been tested and certified to be free from more than 100 substances known to be harmful to human health.”
The outer layer is 100-percent cotton, and it’s filled with glass microbeads. Baloo doesn’t offer as many sizes and weights as YnM or Mosaic, but those it does offer should suit the majority. The queen-sized option ($169) measures 60 by 80 inches and covers the top of a queen size mattress. It’s available in a 15- or 20-pound weight. The twin-size ($149) measures 42 by 72 inches and weighs 12 pounds.
Baloo says all its blankets are machine washable and you can put them in the dryer on low heat. You can return any of their blankets for any reason up to 30 days after delivery. For those looking for a deal, returned items in good and like-new condition are available at a discount as refurbished blankets. You can email email@example.com for details.
Best Blanket on a Budget: YnM
The weighted blanket for adults 2.0 features a 100-percent cotton outer layer and glass microbead filling. It comes in three sizes, each with different weight options. The smallest is 4 by 6 feet, with a 12-pound option that costs $59.90. The “cooling” version of this blanket (made of bamboo viscose) is $85.90, so you pay more for the bamboo than the cotton. The largest blanket is 80 by 87-inches with a 30-pound option that tops out at $199.
YnM offers free shipping and accepts returns up to 30 days after purchase. The company doesn’t recommend washing blankets that weigh over 12 pounds in front-loading washers.
Best Premium Blanket: Mosaic
Mosaic has been in the weighted blanket business since 2010, and it has a weighted blanket to match every need. You can choose from six sizes, eight weights, and five fabrics. Mosaic also offers custom orders through its website. You can request a specific weight, size, or even different fabrics for the front and back.
Standard options range from $125-$299, but for the higher price, you get a blanket that meets your exact specifications. All blankets are machine washable, although Mosaic recommends using commercial washers for blankets over 12 pounds, and laying them flat to dry. All blankets are handmade in Austin, Texas.
Best Blanket for Your Couch: Bearaby Napper
We chose Bearaby’s Napper as a good option for more casual use that also suits home decor. Rather than bead filling, this blanket is made of densely-woven cotton that looks like a chunky-knit throw. At $259, it’s good looks do come with a more expensive price tag than most of our picks. But for the money, it looks like it belongs on your couch, as opposed to a comforter dragged there for a Netflix binge. This knit blanket also manages to be quite hefty. A 40- by 72-inch option weighs 15 pounds, the 45- by 72-inch option weighs 20 pounds, and the third, largest option measures 48 by 72 inches and weighs 25 pounds.
The Napper has a 30-day return policy, is machine washable, and Bearaby recommends you lay it flat to dry.