FABRIC CONTENT will be a large part of your decision making when choosing a blanket. They are available in both natural and synthetic fibers, and which type you choose is based completely on your preference.
NATURAL FIBERS: These provide breathability and durability, and most people find them more comfortable.
- COTTON blankets are soft to the touch, are very breathable, and can withstand repeated washes, making it a long lasting blanket.
- WOOL blankets are a superb insulator, providing maximum warmth, and are extremely durable. They absorb and evaporate moisture quickly, offering dry warmth as well as insulating body heat. In addition to being naturally flame retardant, they also naturally repel dirt, so less cleaning is needed.
- DOWN blankets use a 100% natural fill. Also known as nature's best insulator, down is not comprised of feathers, rather the fluffy insulation under the feathers that keeps ducks and geese warm and protected from outdoor elements. Down filaments form three-dimensional 'clusters' that trap air, making it an extremely effective insulator. Because it is breathable, it helps keep you warm in the winter and cool in the summer.
SYNTHETIC FIBERS: These man made materials offer a good value in addition to warmth, however they lack the breathability found in natural fibers.
- ACRYLIC, a fiber which is typically less expensive than a natural fiber blanket, is also hypo-allergenic, soft to the touch, and provides good warmth.
- FLEECE is a popular blanket material made from acrylic fibers.
- VELLUX is made by bonding nylon fibers to foam. This creates a very soft, thick blanket which insulates well. This type of blanket is also what is often referred to as a "Hotel" blanket.
WEAVE or CONSTRUCTION: When choosing a blanket, you will also need to consider the type of weave or construction of the blanket.
- THERMAL is a loosely woven blanket, which allows air to circulate. This will provide less warmth, since body heat escapes, and will more typically be used by someone considered a "warmer sleeper", or during the warmer weather. Thermal is generally made of acrylic or cotton fibers.
- A CONVENTIONAL blanket is tightly woven, making it best used for warmth and insulation. This weave traps air beneath the blanket against the body, and is generally made of synthetic or wool fibers.
SPECIALTY BLANKETS: There are also blankets available that have special uses.
- ELECTRIC BLANKETS, also known as "automatic blankets", are made of synthetic fibers with heating elements running throughout the blanket. Many include features such as adjustable thermostats, which allow users to adjust the warmth to their personal preference.
- THROW BLANKETS are available in a wide variety of colors, textures and fibers, including chenille, fleece and down. They are typically 50" x 60", making them functional (especially for those "curl up on the couch" moments), as well as excellent as a decorative accent. "Throw" them across a sofa, chair, or at the foot of a bed for an added touch.
- DOWN ALTERNATIVE BLANKETS are also available, providing levels of comfort and warmth that are comparable to down. Some down alternatives are hypoallergenic, making them perfect for allergy sensitive sleepers.
SIZING: All blankets are not created equal; in fact, sizing can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. Just rest assured that if you buy a Queen size blanket it will fit on your Queen size bed. Here are the dimensions; most should fall close to these sizes:
TWIN 66 x 90 inches
FULL/QUEEN 90 x 90 inches
KING 108 x 90 inches
THROW 50 x 60 inches