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7 Warmest Blanket Materials for Cold Weather

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Recently, winters in the northern hemisphere are becoming colder than ever before, which is why modern technology is trying to keep up by producing warmer blankets on the market. With so many options available, you may want to know which material makes the warmest blankets.

Here are 7 of the warmest blanket materials suitable for cold weather:

1. Wool

Numerous manufacturers and clothing brands recognize wool as the most effective insulating fiber, making it one of the most popular fabrics for cold-weather apparel and beddings. As a result, it’s relatively easy to find on the market.

A study showed that using wool in sleepwear makes it easier for the wearer to fall asleep in a cold environment. From this result, people readily believe that the same thing applies to wool blankets, and they’re pretty much right.

Wool is thick and relatively heavier than other types of fabric. It has a high heat retention capacity, making it an excellent material for blankets. That’s why people in areas with freezing winters have been using it for centuries.

Moreover, washing wool blankets doesn’t reduce the thickness of the material. On the contrary, it shrinks a bit every time you wash it and becomes a little thicker, effectively maintaining its insulating ability for a long time.

In addition to wool being a great insulator, it also has many other benefits that make it the best fabric material for blankets. Here are some of them:

  • It can keep you cool in summer.
  • It’s wrinkle-proof.
  • It has natural antimicrobial properties.
  • It’s odor-resistant.
  • It’s renewable and biodegradable, making it environmentally-friendly.
  • It’s breathable.

Blankets made of natural wool are effective enough to keep you warm in winter. However, the material may be thick, rough, and itchy to some people with sensitive skin. Fortunately, modern technologies have made modifications widely available to further boost wool’s thermal properties while reducing the material’s weight, bulkiness, and scratchy feel.

Wool blankets are excellent for indoor or outdoor sleeping in cold weather. If you want to go camping but are afraid of the biting cold, check out this wool fire retardant blanket (available on Amazon). It’s 80% wool and large enough to keep you snuggly covered.

2. Polyester Fleece

While wool is proven to be the warmest material for blankets, many cruelty-conscious consumers find it unappealing. That’s why blankets and quilts made of polyester fleece may be the best option for them. Luckily, these products are also pretty popular and easy to find.

Polyester fleece is a lightweight, synthetic material with excellent heat retention properties. It also has a fuzzy texture for added softness and comfort. However, some consumers may be worried that products made from polyester aren’t breathable, trapping more heat than necessary and causing discomfort while sleeping.

Recently, polyester has been widely used in sportswear or activewear because modern technology has helped make it more breathable. The same technology can be used for blankets, although not as effective. Therefore, polyester fleece blankets are suitable in cold weather but not in hot summer months.

Nonetheless, this material is highly recommended for consumers with specific requirements due to health concerns or personal beliefs and preferences. Here’s why:

  • It’s 100% synthetic—therefore, cruelty-free.
  • It’s hypoallergenic.
  • It’s smooth and itch-free.
  • It doesn’t shrink when washed.

However, some environmental advocates may not like the idea of using synthetic fabric as washing products made of polyester releases microfibers that can be harmful to nature. Thankfully, several solutions can help minimize the negative environmental impact. 

Some of these solutions can be as simple as using cool water and liquid detergent and installing an efficient filter into your washing machine to significantly reduce the number of microfibers that leave your home and go into natural bodies of water.

You wouldn’t have to worry so much about buying a new polyester fleece blanket by observing these measures. For your next purchase, you may want to check out this fleece reversible blanket. It’s made from 100% polyester and has excellent reviews for warmth and softness.

3. Cashmere

Another excellent—but rather costly—alternative to regular sheep wool is cashmere derived from various types of goats, mainly cashmere and pashmina. Despite being significantly more expensive, this material is finer, lighter, and softer than regular wool.

There are numerous discussions among consumers and manufacturers about which material is the warmest: sheep wool, polyester fleece, or cashmere. It all boils down to the technique and technology of the manufacturing process.

In addition, the degree of warmth people claim to get from blankets made from various materials can be subjective. As a result, consumers generally choose a blanket based on their budget, health concerns, and personal views.

It’s also important to consider that cashmere is rather challenging to harvest as it can be done only once a year during the goats’ shedding season. Because of this, cashmere is treated as a luxury material and may be better off used in clothing than in beddings.

Either way, cashmere is still famous for its heat retention property despite its light and thin texture, making it a suitable blanket material for traveling by car or airplane. The fabric is also breathable so that you can use it all year round.

If you’re willing to spend extra cash for warmth and style, you may want to take a look at this cashmere throw blanket (available on Amazon.com). It’s made from 100% Cashmere and guarantees to keep you comfortably warm and chic even at home. 

4. Flannel

It can sometimes be confusing when some brands mix the names, such as flannel fleece, cotton fleece, cotton flannel, polyester flannel, and more, for the materials they use for their products. These combinations are basically a result of technology allowing manufacturers to maximize the benefits of each material by weaving or knitting them into one product.

Simply put, flannel is just another warm and lightweight material that you can use for blankets for cold weather. It’s different from other materials because of the loose weaving pattern and napping technique used to manufacture it, giving it a slightly fuzzy texture.

While there are many flannel blends available on the market, this section will talk about three types of flannel based on source: wool, polyester, and cotton. 

Wool Flannel

Although not as widely used for blankets as the other fabric types on the list, wool flannel is an excellent material because of its softness and warmth. In addition, it’s loosely woven, allowing breathability. Meanwhile, it may be lighter and less warm than regular wool blankets.

It may not be easy to find 100% wool flannel blankets on the market because wool-polyester blends are relatively cheaper and more durable. Pure wool flannel is sensitive to heat and shrinks at every wash, making wash and care routines pretty tedious.

Polyester Flannel

Many flannel blankets are made from synthetic fibers, mainly polyester. The material mimics wool or cotton flannel and packs some heat to keep you warm in cold weather. However, it may be less breathable, making it unsuitable for warm days.

Compared to wool and cotton flannels, polyester products are relatively cheaper because synthetic materials are easier to manufacture. They’re also resistant to shrinkage from washing. That’s why most flannel blankets you may find at the store are made from polyester. 

Polyester flannel blankets are slightly lighter and less warm than those made from polyester fleece, but they’re equally popular. Be sure to check the tags and labels if it goes against your personal views to use synthetic products. Otherwise, feel free to explore the wide variety of blanket designs available on the market.

One example of a good polyester flannel blanket is the Exclusivo Mezcla Flannel Fleece. It’s remarkably light and soft and effectively keeps you warm.

Cotton Flannel

Cotton flannel is a soft, lightweight, and breathable material that allows blankets to keep you warm or cool when necessary. It’s slightly warmer, a bit heavier, and thicker than regular cotton blankets due to its added volume from napping.

If you want to get yourself a blanket that you can use all year round, take a look at this flannel sheet set. The set includes a bed sheet, a blanket, and two pillowcases. You may also choose among various colors and patterns!

5. Cotton

Cotton is probably one of the lightest and easiest to find when it comes to fabric materials for blankets. It’s relatively less warm than wool, but a study showed that people sleep better in cotton than other fabric materials in a cold environment.

It has excellent thermal regulation properties that keep you warm in winter or cool in summer, providing a better sleep quality. In addition, it’s cruelty-free and eco-friendly, making it the perfect material for the environment and cruelty-conscious consumers.

Here are more advantages of using cotton blankets:

  • It’s hypoallergenic.
  • It’s safe to wash in cold or warm water, although cool-wash is best for the material’s longevity.
  • It doesn’t have to be thick and heavy to keep you warm.
  • It’s renewable and biodegradable.
  • It’s easy to dye, allowing various colors and designs.

Another excellent quality of cotton blankets is that you can use them indoors—in the bedroom or while lounging on the couch. They’re also light enough to bring outdoors when camping or on a picnic. Either way, the material can provide the warmth and comfort you need.

If you’re interested in cotton blankets, you may want to check out this breathable blanket. It’s light and warm, and reviewers claim it doesn’t shed or shrink even after machine wash.

6. Down

Down feathers from geese or ducks are excellent insulating materials to add extra warmth to your winter blankets. However, the nature by which they’re harvested often sparks a debate among cruelty-conscious consumers. 

While more studies are still necessary to thoroughly understand the thermal insulation property of down feathers, many manufacturers recognize the material’s superior ability compared to widely used natural fibers. 

They also understand that down feathers from geese are better insulators than those from ducks, making them an ideal addition to winter jackets and blankets. However, their limited supply makes them less popular than natural and synthetic fibers.

Some consumers are also hesitant to buy down blankets because they look bulky and seem difficult to wash—and they may be right. In addition, you may have noticed the characteristic square patterns on the blanket. They’re sewn to keep the down feathers—and the thermal effect—evenly spread.

Gentle machine-washing in cool water and mild detergent can help prevent damaging the stitches that keep the down feathers in place. If unsure or if the blanket is too big for your machine, it may be best to visit a nearby laundromat. Admittedly, it can be costly and troublesome.

Nevertheless, if you’re willing to exert extra effort for that extra warmth and comfort, you may check out this down blanket. It’s lightweight and warm and has an elegant satin trimming.

7. Acrylic

Acrylic is another widely used synthetic material for blankets. It’s not as warm as the other materials on this list, but this fabric can provide enough warmth for cold weather with the proper manufacturing process.

Just like polyester, acrylic tends to be unbreathable and releases plenty of plastic microfibers into the environment every time you wash it. Nonetheless, modern weaving techniques that mimic natural fabric patterns and proper washing methods and tools can effectively reduce these problems.

If you want an alternative to costly blankets made from natural fibers, those made from acrylic may be best for you. Here’s why:

  • It’s cheaper because it’s easier to manufacture.
  • It’s easier to wash and doesn’t shrink from frequent washing.
  • It’s durable.
  • It’s hypoallergenic.
  • It’s lighter than natural fibers.

Many people nowadays have become interested in knitting and crocheting as a hobby. If you plan to knit a blanket for a perfect winter gift, I recommend using acrylic yarn. Check out the skeins from this yarn. They come in various colors and are suitable for homemade quilts.

For a ready-made, soft, and warm blanket, check out this throw blanket. It’s 100% acrylic and has excellent reviews from customers for softness, style, and warmth.

What is the Warmest, Lightest Blanket?

A blanket stuffed with goose-down feathers is the warmest, lightest blanket. It may seem big and bulky, but it isn’t heavy. Down feathers also possess superior insulation properties to other materials.

Which is Warmer: Fleece or Wool Blanket?

Many consumers are becoming more interested in synthetic materials due to animal rights advocacies. On the other hand, many people question the use of synthetic materials due to their negative environmental impact.

Regardless of these issues, some consumers focus on the functionality of the products–most especially with their blankets. So between the natural wool and the synthetic fleece, which one is warmer?

A wool blanket is warmer than a fleece blanket. Wool’s natural and breathable texture also provides a more comfortable warmth than fleece. In addition, wool can maintain its natural insulation properties longer than fleece, which sheds microplastics with every wash.

What is the Thinnest, Warmest Material?

While wool is arguably the warmest blanket material, its tendency to shrink when washed makes it thicker and bulkier over time. That is why many consumers prefer other thinner materials that can be just as or a little less warm.

Polyester is the thinnest, warmest material for blankets. Older polyester blankets used to be a little less warm and comfortable than wool. However, new manufacturing techniques modified polyester blankets to offer more warmth than wool.

Is Polar Fleece Warmer Than Wool?

Polar fleece can be warmer than wool. While wool is naturally the warmest material for blankets, modern technology has improved synthetic materials so much that they can compare or far exceed the warmth offered by natural materials.

For more, don’t miss The 3 Best Types of Quilting Fabric for Looks and Durability.

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