The most notable use for electric heating pads is pain relief. Since heat dilates blood vessels, they increase blood flow to the warmed area. Thus, applying heat with a heating pad can be an effective, temporary pain relief that doesn’t involve medicine or drugs. They’re also great for warming yourself up while reading or relaxing on chilly days and providing extra warmth in bed on cold nights. Some pets, like cats and some dog breeds, love lying on them, too.
Buying Guide for Electric Heating Pads
Why buy an electric heating pad?
As mentioned, electric heating pads are great for soothing various aches and pains. They’re used for arthritis, menstrual cramps, chronic pain, reducing muscle and joint stiffness, and other similar ailments. An electric heating pad by itself generally isn’t a cure, but they’re often part of treatments and/or temporary relief for these sorts of complaints. And the great thing about heating pads is (depending on their size and shape) that most of them can be placed on pretty much any body part without hassle. The stomach, legs, neck, arms, and back all are fair game.
Even if you or someone in your household doesn’t have aches or pains that need addressing, an electric heating pad is still a useful item to have on hand. If your home is poorly insulated or there’s one room that never seems to heat up as well as the others, an electric heating pad can provide you with some extra warmth and comfort.
While there are other types of heating pads you can buy and use, electric heating pads have one distinct advantage. Since they’re electric, you won’t have to worry about them maintaining their heat; unless you manually switch them off, they won’t lose their heat and cool down over time. And most models will offer at least two different heat settings or even adjustable temperatures so that you can personalize how hot you want your electric heating pad to be.
What should you look for in an electric heating pad?
- Size: Heating pads are available in many different shapes and sizes. Squares or rectangles are the most common, but there are other options too. 12 by 15 inches is considered the standard size. Think about where and how you plan to use your heating pad. If you experience a lot of back or stomach pain or want to use it to warm your bed, a larger size is probably better. If you’re mainly going to use your heating pad for smaller areas like your knees or neck, you may want something on the smaller side. If you’re unsure, opt for a standard-sized heating pad.
- Heat Settings: Opting for an electric heating pad with multiple heat settings is generally superior to those with only one heat setting. This allows you to turn the temperature down if your heating pad is getting too hot, but you still want to leave it on for a bit longer. If you’re sharing it with your spouse or family members, different heat settings will be useful for different people’s needs. Some high-end models will even come equipped with a memory feature to instantly heat up the pad to your preferred temperature.
- Cord Length: Unless it’s battery-powered, electric heating pads will need to be plugged in to work, so consider the length of its cord. Think about where you plan to sit or lie down while using the heating pad and where the nearest outlet to that spot is located. You may even want to measure the distance to get a rough idea of how long of a cord you’ll need.
Are there risks associated with electric heating pads?
There is a risk of overheating or even burns associated with electric heating pads, so you’ll want to be careful when using them. If you plan to use your heating pad while napping or sleeping, be sure you buy one that has an automatic shutoff feature so that it doesn’t burn you, your couch, or your bed. Be sure to use and handle your electric heating pad with its protective cover, and don’t leave it directly on your skin for too long. If it ever starts to feel too hot, be sure to remove the heating pad or turn down the temperature immediately. And if you have diabetes or another condition that makes your skin more sensitive to heat, you’ll have to be especially careful with your heating pad.
Our Picks for the Best Electric Heating Pads
Might Bliss Large Electric Heating Pad for Back Pain
There's a lot to love about this electric heating pad, from its multiple features to its convenience to clean.
Pros: Whether you prefer or need dry or moist heat for your ailment or skin, this heating pad has you covered. Unlike most models, it comes with both settings. In addition, it also has three different temperatures and two possible size options. The automatic shutoff feature prevents the device from overheating. As a bonus, it’s machine washable.
Cons: While this heating pad is machine washable, it’s not safe to put in the dryer. And though there are two size options, they’re both on the bigger side (large and extra-large). Also keep in mind that the extra-large size will cost a little more than many other heating pads.
Bottom Line: Just about every feature you could want or need can be found in this electric heating pad. Not only does it offer basic but useful functions like multiple heat settings, but thanks to its moist heating option, you won’t have to worry about this model drying out your skin, which sets it apart from many similar heating pads. Those with dry or sensitive skin will especially appreciate this particular feature.
Pure Enrichment PureRelief Electric Heating Pad
Comfort and convenience are combined in this heating pad, thanks to its soft fabric and multiple heat settings.
Pros: There’s a lot to love about this electric heating pad. Perhaps most notable is its machine washable micro plush fabric, which makes it incredibly soft and luxurious. It has more heat settings than most, six in total, so it’s easy to customize to your needs. The controller is detachable, so you can control it from a greater distance if need be, and the extra-long (9-foot) cord makes it easier to sit where you want while keeping the heating pad plugged in. And it comes with a storage bag included for convenient storage.
Cons: This electric heating pad is a bit more expensive than most. While the larger-than-standard size is great for covering larger body parts like your shoulders or back, it is the only size option available.
Bottom Line: This heating pad is incredibly convenient on many levels. With its soft, micro plush feel and multitude of heat levels, you’ll enjoy pulling out this heating pad and wearing it whenever you’re feeling any aches or pains.
Sunbeam Heating Pad for Pain Relief
If you're looking for temporary, arthritis-friendly pain relief on a budget, this is the heating pad for you.
Pros: This electric heating pad is more affordable than most. Even the extra-large version has a lower price tag than many comparable models. The controller features extra-large buttons that are easy to maneuver, even for those with arthritis, diabetes, or otherwise limited hand dexterity. The insertable sponge ensures that you can use this heating pad with moist or dry heat as needed. And it’s not only machine washable but dryer safe as well.
Cons: You’ll have to be careful when using this heating pad, as it doesn’t have an auto-shutoff feature. The cover isn’t particularly soft to the touch.
Bottom Line: If you’re on a tight budget or looking to save money, this heating pad and its price will be just right for you. It’s also a great option for someone who has arthritis or otherwise has poor mobility in their hands; the larger buttons on this electric heating pad’s remote were designed specifically with these scenarios in mind. Just remember that you get what you pay for, which means this heating pad won’t be as durable or comfortable as other, higher-priced models.
haoxuandianzi Electric Heat Pad
This electric heating pad not only heats up quicker than most but offers a more precise level of control and customization.
Pros: Some electric heating pads take a long time to get hot enough to function properly, but not this one. It heats up nice and fast, so you can start using it sooner. While many electric heating pads are equipped with auto-shutoff for safety, this one allows you to set a timer for the auto-shutoff. You can set it to switch off after as little as 30 minutes or as long as 120 minutes, so you don’t need to worry about your safety if you fall asleep while using this pad. It also has six different possible heat settings and is machine washable for easy cleaning.
Cons: While this heating pad is machine washable, which is quite convenient, keep in mind that it shouldn’t be dried off in the dryer once it’s been washed. It should be a decent size for most common pain relief needs, but there aren’t any bigger or smaller options available for purchase.
Bottom Line: This is the perfect electric heating pad for those who want greater control or precision from their new device. While many similar models offer an automatic shutoff feature, this is one of the rare electric heating pads that allow you to adjust how long it functions before shutting off. Couple this with the extra heat settings, and you’ve got one highly customizable heating pad.
Sunbeam Heating Pad for Pain Relief
With this heating pad, you can sit pretty much anywhere you want and still be able to reach an outlet.
Pros: Most notable about this electric heating pad is its power cord. At 9 feet, it’s longer than most and should give you plenty of reach to find a useable outlet to keep your heating pad plugged in and running. Attached to the extra-long cord is an easy-to-read LED controller with a single button operation; it’s a simple matter to switch between whichever of the four heat settings you need or want. This heating pad has an auto-shutoff feature and is machine washable, but unlike some other models, it’s dryer-safe as well.
Cons: It’s a pretty big plug, so it may not fit properly in all outlets, especially in a tight area or on a power strip. Some users also reported that they noticed the LED controller getting warm after a time, which may pose a risk if you use this heating pad for an extended period of time.
Bottom Line: Finding a power outlet near the place you want to sit or lie down isn’t always an easy task, but this electric heating pad saves you the trouble. Since the cord is an impressive 9 feet long, you shouldn’t have any issues reaching a power outlet.
Even if you don’t have ailments or aches and pains at the moment, it’s still worth your while to invest in an electric heating pad. You never know when you or a loved one will need some pain relief or a little bit of extra warmth in your home.