Can I plug my heated blanket into an extension cord?
Staying warm during cold winter nights with a heated blanket offers comfort and relief. However, ensuring safety while using this electrical device is crucial. One common question is whether it's safe to plug a heated blanket into an extension cord. Here, we delve into the risks, considerations, and best practices to ensure a safe and cozy experience.

Understanding the Risks of Using Extension Cords

Voltage Drop

Extension cords, especially long ones or those with a lower wire gauge, can cause a voltage drop. This occurs because electricity must travel a longer distance, encountering resistance that leads to decreased voltage reaching your device. A heated blanket receiving insufficient voltage may underperform or incur damage over time.


Overheating is a significant risk when using extension cords with high-wattage appliances like heated blankets. Extension cords are rated to handle specific wattages based on their length and wire gauge. Exceeding these limits can put excessive strain on the cord, causing it to overheat, posing a fire hazard, and potentially tripping circuit breakers.

Wear and Tear

Extension cords can increase wear and tear on both the cord itself and the power cord of the heated blanket. Frequent bending and twisting can weaken connections, leading to unsafe conditions. To mitigate these risks, it is advisable to avoid using extension cords with high-wattage appliances whenever possible. Instead, rearrange furniture or add outlets near where you plan to use the blanket.

The Impact of Wattage on Extension Cord Safety

Matching Wattage

Using an extension cord with a higher wattage rating than your heated blanket can handle is crucial to prevent overheating and fire hazards. Conversely, a cord with too low a wattage rating may result in insufficient power, causing the blanket to underperform or not work at all.

Choosing the Right Extension Cord

Select a heavy-duty extension cord designed for high-wattage appliances. These cords have thicker wires capable of handling higher loads without overheating.

Considerations for Heated Blankets

Manufacturer’s Guidelines

Always check the manufacturer's instructions for specific guidelines regarding the use of extension cords with your heated blanket. Some blankets may be designed to connect safely to an extension cord, while others may advise against it.

Wattage and Quality of Cords

Consider the wattage of your heated blanket and ensure that both the blanket and extension cord can handle the load. Use a high-quality, heavy-duty extension cord and keep it as short as possible to reduce voltage drop and maintain performance.

Electrical Connections

Using an extension cord introduces an additional point of failure in electrical connections. Ensure all plugs are securely inserted and regularly inspect for signs of wear or damage.

Alternatives to Using an Extension Cord with a Heated Blanket

Rearranging Furniture

One simple solution is rearranging furniture to place your bed or couch closer to an electrical outlet, eliminating the need for an extension cord.

Longer Power Cable

Consider investing in a longer power cable if your heated blanket's cord is detachable. This allows you to reach the nearest outlet without the risks associated with extension cords.

Installing Additional Outlets

While it may involve some upfront costs, installing additional outlets ensures that all your electrical devices, including heated blankets, are safely powered without relying on extension cords.

Tips for Safe Use of a Heated Blanket

Read Instructions

Carefully read the manufacturer's instructions to understand any specific safety precautions or guidelines for use.

Inspect Regularly

Regularly inspect your heated blanket for signs of wear or damage, such as frayed wires or exposed heating elements.

Avoid Folding or Bunching

Spread the blanket flat to ensure even heat distribution and prevent hot spots, which can lead to overheating.

Avoid Sleeping with It On

Many heated blankets have built-in safety features, but it's still recommended not to sleep with them turned on overnight.

Unplug When Not in Use

Unplug the blanket when not in use to prevent accidental activation and reduce energy consumption.

Fire-Safety Precautions

Never place heavy items on a plugged-in heated blanket or cover it with other bedding materials while in use.


Plugging a heated blanket into an extension cord can pose safety risks, including voltage drops, overheating, and increased wear and tear. Whenever possible, plug the blanket directly into a wall outlet. If using an extension cord is unavoidable, choose a heavy-duty one with an appropriate wattage rating and regularly inspect it for damage. Consider alternatives such as rearranging furniture, using a longer power cable, or installing additional outlets to ensure safe and effective use of your heated blanket. By following these safety tips, you can enjoy the cozy warmth of your heated blanket without compromising safety. Stay warm safely!


What hazards do electric space heaters pose?

Electric space heaters can pose hazards if not used properly. Each year, space heaters are responsible for thousands of fires, deaths, and injuries. Hazards include fire risk, electrical shock hazard, overheating, and carbon monoxide poisoning (for non-electric heaters). It is important to follow safety guidelines, maintain proper clearance from flammable materials, and ensure proper ventilation for non-electric heaters to minimize these risks.
  1. Fire Hazard: Improper use or placement of electric space heaters can lead to fires. It is crucial to maintain a safe distance from flammable materials and ensure proper clearance around the heater to prevent the risk of ignition.
  2. Electrical Shock Hazard: Electric space heaters, like any electrical device, carry the risk of electrical shock if not handled or used correctly. It is essential to inspect the heater's cord for any damages and ensure proper grounding to minimize the risk of electrical shock.
  3. Overheating: Leaving an electric space heater unattended or using it for an extended period can cause overheating. This can lead to damage to the heater itself or surrounding objects and increase the risk of fire. It is important to use the heater responsibly and follow the manufacturer's guidelines regarding usage time and supervision.
  4. Carbon Monoxide (CO) Poisoning (Non-Electric Heaters): Non-electric space heaters, such as those fueled by propane gas, natural gas, kerosene, or wood, can produce carbon monoxide if not properly vented or if there is incomplete combustion. Carbon monoxide is a colorless and odorless gas that can be harmful or fatal if inhaled. It is crucial to ensure proper ventilation and follow safety guidelines when using non-electric heaters.

How do space heaters and blankets provide warmth?

Space heaters and blankets provide warmth using different mechanisms. Electric space heaters convert electrical energy into heat energy through heating elements, while electric blankets have embedded heating wires or elements that generate heat when electricity flows through them. Space heaters radiate heat into the surrounding area, while blankets trap the heat close to the body, creating a cozy and warm environment.
  1. Space Heaters: Electric space heaters utilize heating elements, such as coils or ceramic plates, to generate heat. When electricity passes through these elements, they heat up and radiate warmth into the surrounding area. This radiant heat warms up the air and objects in the room, creating a comfortable environment.
  2. Blankets: Electric blankets feature embedded heating wires or elements that produce heat when electricity flows through them. The heat generated is evenly distributed throughout the blanket, ensuring consistent warmth. As the person wraps themselves in the blanket, it traps the heat close to the body, providing a cozy and comforting experience.

What are safety tips for using electric heaters/blankets?

Using electric heaters and blankets safely is important to prevent accidents and ensure user safety. Follow these safety tips: read the instructions, check for safety recalls, avoid overheating, inspect for damage, place heaters on stable surfaces, and unplug when not in use. By following these guidelines, you can enjoy the warmth provided by electric heaters and blankets while minimizing potential risks.
  1. Read the Instructions: Always take the time to read and understand the manufacturer's instructions for your electric heater or blanket. These instructions provide valuable information on proper usage, maintenance, and safety precautions.
  2. Check for Safety Recalls: Before using an electric heater or blanket, check if there are any safety recalls or warnings issued by the manufacturer. Staying updated on potential safety issues helps ensure that the product is safe for use.
  3. Avoid Overheating: It's important to use the temperature controls provided and avoid setting the heater or blanket to excessively high levels. Overheating can pose a fire hazard and increase the risk of burns. Always use the product within the recommended temperature range.
  4. Inspect for Damage: Regularly inspect your electric heater or blanket for any signs of damage, such as frayed cords, exposed wires, or scorch marks. If you notice any damage, discontinue use and have the product repaired or replaced by a qualified professional.
  5. Proper Placement: When using an electric heater, ensure that it is placed on a stable and level surface, away from flammable materials. Maintain a safe distance from curtains, furniture, and other objects to prevent the risk of fire.
  6. Unplug When Not in Use: When you have finished using an electric heater or blanket, remember to unplug it from the power source. This simple step helps prevent any potential electrical hazards and conserves energy.

What considerations are there for heater/blanket safety?

When using heaters or blankets, consider these safety tips: visually examine for damage, check for safety recalls, follow proper usage guidelines, consider sleep considerations, upgrade to auto-shutoff devices, and use only one at a time. These considerations ensure safe usage and minimize potential risks.
  1. Visual Examination: Before using a heater or blanket, carefully inspect it for any signs of damage, such as fraying, worn areas, or exposed wires. If you notice any issues, it is crucial to discontinue use and have the product repaired or replaced to prevent any potential hazards.
  2. Safety Recalls: Stay updated on any safety recalls or warnings issued by the manufacturer. This helps ensure that you are using a product that meets the necessary safety standards and reduces the risk of accidents.
  3. Proper Usage: Always follow the manufacturer's instructions for proper usage of the heater or blanket. These instructions provide valuable information on temperature settings, usage time, and any specific precautions to be taken.
  4. Sleep Considerations: If you plan to use an electric blanket while sleeping, consider the type of bed you have. Different mattresses, such as memory foam or waterbeds, may retain heat differently. Adjust the temperature settings accordingly to ensure both comfort and safety.
  5. Auto-Shutoff Feature: Consider upgrading to an electric blanket or heater that has an auto-shutoff feature. This feature automatically turns off the device after a certain period of time, reducing the risk of overheating and conserving energy.
  6. Single Usage: It is recommended to use only one electric blanket or heater at a time. Using multiple devices simultaneously can increase the risk of overheating and electrical hazards.