The Best Blankets for 2021 - Wool, Fleece & Cotton Blankets | Reviews by Wirecutter2021.07.17 17:09
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The Best Blankets
Updated February 9, 2021
We’ve removed our alert for the Riley Textured Cotton Coverlet . We’re also testing new blankets for this guide and looking into stock issues for the L.L.Bean Maine-Made Cotton Twill Blanket .Show more
We’ve removed our alert for the Riley Textured Cotton Coverlet . We’re also testing new blankets for this guide and looking into stock issues for the L.L.Bean Maine-Made Cotton Twill Blanket .
We’ve been tracking customer service issues with Riley for months after receiving several complaints from readers. The company told us in late 2020 that they’d hired more support and taken additional steps to address those concerns. We’re lifting the alert on the Riley coverlet because we’re starting to see customer service improvements, but we will continue to monitor the situation. We’ve also started testing new blankets for a bigger update to this guide, including Authenticity 50’s Heritage Blanket , Riley’s Four Layer Coverlet , and Coyuchi’s Full Circle Recycled Blanket . The L.L.Bean cotton twill blanket is currently out of stock; if it’s been discontinued we will also test replacement options for it and update this guide soon with all of our results.Show less
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After a long day, crawling into a bed that’s outfitted with fresh sheets and a comfortable blanket is one of life’s greatest pleasures. A good blanket is warm, but a great blanket is also breathable, soft, and stylish, and should last for years and years. We’ve spent 500-plus hours testing 44 blankets for every season, and we’ve found seven that should make you thrilled to go to bed.
We recommend blankets that work nicely on the bed as a top layer for summer or under a comforter for extra warmth in winter. They include a lightweight cotton coverlet , a chunky cotton waffle knit , a heavyweight cotton twill , an heirloom-quality washable wool , a hand-embroidered organic cotton quilt , a velvety, warm fleece , and a family-favorite plush-cotton hybrid. We looked for high-quality blankets made (when possible) with natural fibers. Though many of our recommendations are pricier than some blankets you could buy, we consider each of these picks—which you can use every night, likely for many years—to be investments in comfy sleep.
Get better sleep
The researchCollapse all Why you should trust me A family-friendly loft blanket: Garnet Hill Plush-Loft Blanket A fluffy fleece blanket: L.L.Bean Wicked Cozy Blanket An heirloom-quality quilt: Coyuchi Pebbled Handstitched Organic Quilt A washable wool blanket: Faribault Woolen Mill Co. Pure & Simple Wool Blanket A classic, weightier cotton blanket: L.L.Bean Maine-Made Cotton Twill Blanket A truly great textured cotton blanket: Boll & Branch Waffle Blanket A lightweight, breathable coverlet: Riley Textured Cotton Coverlet How we picked and tested Care and maintenance Notable competition The rest Sources
Why you should trust me
As the bed and bath writer for Wirecutter, I’ve spent hundreds of hours researching and testing home textiles, including sheets , bath towels , flannel sheets , and duvet covers . I’m also a quilter with years of experience and several published quilt patterns . Blankets—making them and sleeping under them—are one of my life’s passions. I’ve been training for this guide for a long time.
I talked to Fran Kozen , director of Undergraduate Studies and CIFFI associate director at the Cornell Institute of Fashion and Fiber Innovation , about the science of blanket weaves and a warm bed. Anki Spets, owner and designer of boutique bedding store Area in New York City, talked to me about materials. And Sara Hall, innkeeper for The Inn at Kitchen Kettle Village in Amish quilt country (where I’ve stayed a few times during quilting trips), told me how the staff chooses blankets for the inn; they buy several to try out in rooms, note guest feedback, and host a big sleepover to test the beds themselves. They are all Wirecutters at heart.
Additionally, I talked to our staff about the blankets they loved, the qualities they looked for, and the ways they layered their beds.
A family-friendly loft blanket: Garnet Hill Plush-Loft BlanketPhoto: Michael Hession
Garnet Hill Plush-Loft Blanket
The coziest blanket
This super-plush quilted blanket feels warmer and softer (at least on one side) than any other blanket we tested (it’s what we’d grab on a sick day). It’s more than durable enough to withstand kids and pets.
Buying Options$180 from Garnet Hill
Best for: fall and winter
How it feels: Thick and fluffy. Like a cool quilt on one side with super-soft faux fur on the other.
Why it’s great: The Garnet Hill Plush-Loft Blanket is the favorite of testers and staffers who want the warmest, coziest, most durable blanket possible. It’s stitched like a quilt, but instead of having a layer of thin batting inside, it’s stuffed with fluffy fill (also called loft) like a comforter. The top of the Garnet Hill is made of quilted sateen, the thin middle layer consists of polyester fill, and the back is a super-soft polyester plush that feels more plump and luxe (like a great stuffed toy) than L.L.Bean’s velvety Wicked Cozy Blanket . The Plush-Loft was the most popular blanket overall with my daughter and my dog, who both adopted it as their own while helping with this guide. It looks finished and neat, like a quilt, but it’s also surprisingly breathable under a comforter (which is how we tested it). We like its full range of sizes, too. It’s one of four blankets we recommend that offer a twin size, and it’s the only pick that’s also available in a throw size, which we recommend because it’s perfect for naps on the couch. (L.L.Bean makes a throw size of the Wicked Cozy, but it’s made from a slightly different fabric than the blanket.) Garnet Hill offers unlimited returns and exchanges .Our testers loved the two textures of the Garnet Hill blanket. Photo: Michael Hession The blanket's neatly mitered corners give it a nice finish. Photo: Michael Hession We think this is the blanket to grab for extra comfort on a sick day. Photo: Michael Hession Our testers loved the two textures of the Garnet Hill blanket. Photo: Michael Hession
Of the five loft blankets we’ve tried, the Plush-Loft is the clear winner. It kept its shape perfectly in testing, and it didn’t pill or snag. After washing, it felt even plumper, and the stitching looked new. Owner reviews for this blanket are excellent, with just a couple of comments noting that it slides off the bed overnight. After two winters of using the Plush-Loft, we agree that, due to its heavy weight, it tends to slump toward the floor in the night. But it’s so comforting that we don’t mind tugging it up once in a while. I’ve washed it many, many times, and it doesn’t have any major pilling or wear, but the plush looks more well loved. It’s still plenty soft. Three of our staffers have purchased Plush-Loft blankets in various sizes and found them warm and cozy, especially on their kids’ beds (one uses them under comforters for Maine winters). The main complaint is that the darker colors pick up lint. One staffer also noted that the blankets are too bulky for smaller washing machines, so they may need a trip to the laundromat.
Flaws but not dealbreakers: This blanket is the smallest of our picks—a queen size is anywhere from 4 to 10 inches shorter than other queen-size blankets we tried. After slight shrinkage in the wash, the king version we tested barely covered the sides of a king-size bed, and it didn’t leave much slack to tuck in at the foot. Size up if you can. The sateen on this blanket is also a bit crinkly, making it noisier than the other blankets on our list. On top of that, it took the longest to dry of any of our blanket picks that could go in the dryer—about four hours on low.
Sizes: throw, twin, full, queen, king
Material: cotton and polyester fleece
Colors: six solid colors
A fluffy fleece blanket: L.L.Bean Wicked Cozy BlanketPhoto: Michael Hession
L.L.Bean Wicked Cozy Blanket
Soft, luxe fleece
This feels much more luxurious than the average fleece blanket, and it’s less likely to make you sweat. It warmed our cold feet more quickly than almost any other blanket we tried.
Buying Options$110 from L.L.Bean
Best for: fall and winter
How it feels: Velvety, with a texture that’s more like plush than like polar fleece.
Why it’s great: We researched 17 fleece blankets and tested four, and the L.L.Bean Wicked Cozy Blanket was the best overall. It felt much more luxurious and high-quality than the inexpensive fleece options we saw in big-box stores, and it was softer, more breathable, and less staticky than the other polyester fleece options we tested. (It was also a favorite for softness among our kids and pets.) This blanket would be a great option for someone who always runs cold; my feet warmed up faster under it than with almost all of the other blankets we tested. We also tested the light version and found it plenty warm but a little less bulky.The Wicked Cozy is one of our softest picks, thanks to its luxurious, fuzzy texture. Photo: Michael Hession The Wicked Cozy looked like new after five washes, and the stitching around the edges looked perfect. Photo: Michael Hession In the right light, this blanket looks slightly iridescent, adding a sheen to the bed. Photo: Michael Hession The Wicked Cozy is one of our softest picks, thanks to its luxurious, fuzzy texture. Photo: Michael Hession
In our wash test, the Wicked Cozy held up better than the cotton fleece we tried from Garnet Hill, which pilled and matted after a single wash. We read some owner criticism noting that the Wicked Cozy sheds a lot in the dryer, but we didn’t experience this problem. It took less time to dry than almost any other blanket we picked (about two hours on low). And it was the only fleece blanket we tested that didn’t shrink at all in our wash tests. It boasted some of the highest reviews of the fleece blankets we researched, and it’s been consistently available for the past three winters. One of our staffers has used her Wicked Cozy through a New England fall and winter, and it’s very warm and has held up well. L.L.Bean offers a one-year return policy .
Flaws but not dealbreakers: In our sleep tests this blanket made me overheat, but my husband thought it was very breathable. The light version didn’t make me overheat at all. The original was clingier than our other picks made from cotton and wool, so it also traveled the bed a little during the night. The care instructions say to “tumble dry with no heat,” but we didn’t have a no-heat setting, so we went with the lowest heat, and the blanket survived. Also, if you don’t throw in a dryer sheet, the static will zap you.
Sizes: twin, full/queen, king
Material: polyester fleece
Colors: six solid colors
An heirloom-quality quilt: Coyuchi Pebbled Handstitched Organic QuiltPhoto: Sarah Kobos
Coyuchi Pebbled Handstitched Organic Quilt
A stunning investment quilt
This versatile quilt is embroidered by hand in a centuries-old tradition, which gives it extra style and personality. It’s warm and soft, and it’s made with organic cotton.
Buying Options$300 from Coyuchi
Best for: fall, winter, spring
How it feels: Soft and slightly brushed, with a rippled texture that stands out more after washing. It’s bulkier—though not necessarily heavier—than a regular cotton blanket.
Why it’s great: I’ve been a quilter for 15 years, and the Coyuchi Pebbled Handstitched Organic Quilt is the most impressive mass-produced quilt I’ve ever seen. It has charming details inspired by a rich quilt tradition, from a company that’s conscientious about ethical practices. It’s also the most versatile blanket we recommend. A quilt is an investment piece—something to elevate your bedroom and appreciate for its details—so quilts tend to be more expensive than other blankets, bedspreads, and coverlets. The Coyuchi is no exception—it’s the priciest pick on our list. It’s also a bargain compared with most handmade quilts, which can cost many hundreds of dollars more.
The Coyuchi is a whole cloth quilt, which means it’s made using single swaths of one fabric. Many American quilts you’ve seen are probably patchwork quilts, with small pieces of fabric in a variety of colors and patterns sewn together to create a new design. Quilts like the whole cloth Coychi are often made with subtle solid colors (the Coyuchi comes in white, gray, dark blue, and light blue), which helps to showcase elaborate surface stitching. Both types of quilts have a layer of material sandwiched in the middle (called batting, it can be made of cotton, wool, or polyester) that adds warmth and texture.
The stitching on the Coyuchi is the real star. It’s hand-embroidered in India and inspired by Bangladeshi and Indian kantha quilts , which have thick embroidery all over the surface (Americans have been inspired by kanthas for hundreds of years ). Its design uses contrasting thread that pops against the quilt’s fabric—which is slightly brushed—resulting in a lovely, perfectly imperfect pattern that’s almost meditative to trace with your fingers. After a run through the washer and dryer, the fabric bunches and puckers in a beautiful way that adds another layer of character to its appearance, while maintaining its softness. This quilt is GOTS-certified (Global Organic Textile Standard), though it’s not one of Coyuchi’s Fair Trade Certified products .The hand-embroidered Coyuchi quilt feels substantial but isn’t heavy to sleep under. Photo: Sarah Kobos This quilt is the most versatile blanket we recommend—it’d be beautiful as a bed topper over a sheet or another blanket. For freezing nights, it could also be layered under a comforter for extra warmth. Photo: Sarah Kobos The hand-embroidered Coyuchi quilt feels substantial but isn’t heavy to sleep under. Photo: Sarah Kobos
The Coyuchi quilt is the most functional year-round blanket on our list, especially if you don’t live in an extreme climate. You can drape it over your sheets on cool summer nights and pair it with a comforter for extra warmth in winter. Or, skip the comforter completely and add another blanket underneath. The edges of the quilt—called the binding—are well constructed and did not twist or distort in the wash, giving it a polished finish that’s made to show off on your bed. The Coyuchi comes in only two sizes, and the sides are likely too short to tuck in, but I preferred the look of it simply draped on the bed, to show off every detail. Coyuchi offers a 60-day return policy .
Flaws but not dealbreakers: The thick embroidery thread on the surface is an invitation for toenails and pet claws to snag. During wear testing, though, the stitching caught but didn’t tear or break, and pulling the quilt taut settled the threads back into place. Your pets might have a field day with this quilt, but that’s true of many bed toppers, and we will long-term test the Coyuchi to see how it holds up to everyday abuse.
Sizes: full/queen, king
Colors: four solid colors
A washable wool blanket: Faribault Woolen Mill Co. Pure & Simple Wool BlanketPhoto: Kyle Fitzgerald
Faribault Woolen Mill Co. Pure & Simple Wool Blanket
Gorgeous, washable wool
This classic, textured, all-wool blanket is light, but it’s also warm, durable, and, unlike many wool blankets we tested, easy to wash at home.
Buying Options$225 from Faribault Woolen Mill Co.
Best for: fall and winter
How it feels: Pleasantly coarse and scratchy, but not so rough that it irritates the skin. It’s the kind of rustic heirloom blanket every country cabin should have.
Why it’s great: Of the six wool and wool-blend blankets we’ve tested, the Faribault Woolen Mill Co. Pure & Simple Wool Blanket stands out for its gorgeous feel, machine washability, and warmth. It looks like an old-fashioned army blanket, but it’s much smoother than the prickly sweaters and blankets that give wool a bad reputation. I have sensitive skin, yet it hasn’t caused me any irritation. Faribault Woolen Mill is an iconic Midwestern brand that’s been making wool fabrics for 150 years , and the company has been manufacturing the Pure & Simple blanket since the 1950s. I especially liked the heather gray color I tested, which showcases the high-quality fibers nicely.The Faribault has all the classic details of an old-fashioned wool blanket but isn’t itchy or stiff. Photo: Kyle Fitzgerald After the blanket was machine-washed and -dried, its fibers actually looked plumper and nicer. Photo: Kyle Fitzgerald The Faribault is thin and feels light to sleep under, but it’s as warm as many heavier, more cumbersome blankets we tested. Photo: Kyle Fitzgerald The Faribault has all the classic details of an old-fashioned wool blanket but isn’t itchy or stiff. Photo: Kyle Fitzgerald
This thin blanket feels almost as light as our summer-weight picks, but it packs enough warmth to compete with some of the heaviest blankets on this list. It’s much warmer than the wool blends we tested from Coyuchi and The Company Store , and it’s one of the warmest all-wool blankets we’ve tried, with color choices and edge stitching that look more modern than those of some of its competitors. The blanket is generously sized, with plenty of width to tuck into the sides of the bed. In testing it shrank less than other wool blankets and actually looked better after a wash than it did out of the package—the fibers plumped up nicely. My dog was unable to puncture, snag, or otherwise damage the Pure & Simple, and after two winters of use it looks just as fresh as it did in testing. It’s also been warm enough, when used with a comforter, for most winter nights in the Pacific Northwest. Faribault offers a 30-day return policy for any reason, and beyond 30 days it will repair or replace blankets with defects.
Flaws but not dealbreakers: This is not the softest wool blanket we’ve tested, so if you want something that’s fuzzier, consider a wool-blend blanket, like those in our Competition section . But the Pure & Simple is incredibly durable and looks better than any other wool blanket we’ve tested, and it’s one of the warmest and lightest we’ve found. Also, many wool blankets smell strongly of wet animal when they come out of the washing machine, and this one is no exception. But the smell disappeared once the blanket was completely dry, which took only about an hour on low heat. It also produced a lot of lint in the dryer, even after several washes.
Sizes: twin, queen, king
Colors: three solid colors
A classic, weightier cotton blanket: L.L.Bean Maine-Made Cotton Twill BlanketPhoto: Michael Hession
L.L.Bean Maine-Made Cotton Twill Blanket
A no-fuss cotton blanket
This tightly woven twill blanket feels soft against the skin and adds a clean, classic look to any bed. It has been indestructible in long-term testing.
Buying Options$130 from L.L.Bean
Best for: year-round, in colder climates
How it feels: Thin yet weighty, with a slightly fuzzy back and a smoother, tightly woven front.
Why it’s great: If you want a truly classic cotton blanket, the kind that’s thin enough to layer under a comforter but holds in tons of warmth, you cannot go wrong with the L.L.Bean Maine-Made Cotton Twill Blanket . I’ve long-term tested it for three winters now, and it’s my favorite for layering. After countless washes, this blanket still looks new, and it is just so warm and soft on a winter night with a fluffy comforter. The simple, no-fuss twill design looks like it belongs in a beach house with a lighthouse view out the window. We’ve read reviews from New Englanders who say it’s a great blanket for summer; unless you live in a chilly summer climate, however, we think this blanket is better for the fall, winter, and spring.Of the cotton blankets we tried, the Maine-Made was one of the thinnest and warmest. Photo: Michael Hession The diagonal ridges add a visually interesting texture to the blanket. Photo: Michael Hession The diagonal twill pattern on the front gives it subtle texture, and the back of the blanket has a flatter surface that showcases how soft and smooth the cotton is. Photo: Michael Hession Of the cotton blankets we tried, the Maine-Made was one of the thinnest and warmest. Photo: Michael Hession
Compared with the four other dense-cotton blankets we’ve tested, the Maine-Made had the best drape, felt the softest, snagged the least, and pilled less than any other after a wash. In our wear tests it held up to our child and pet testers jumping and playing on the bed, with no visible damage after that abuse. It also shrank the least of the heavy cotton blankets we tried. It’s a hard-wearing blanket that will last for years. L.L.Bean offers a one-year return policy .
Flaws but not dealbreakers: We wish the sides were a little longer for tucking in—if you have a tall mattress, you might want to size up if you can. The Maine-Made also looked more wrinkled on our bed than the airier cotton and wool blankets we tested, so it’s more important to grab this one from the dryer as soon as it finishes.
Sizes: twin, full/queen, king
Material: cotton, cotton/polyester (heather gray only)
Colors: six solid colors
A truly great textured cotton blanket: Boll & Branch Waffle BlanketPhoto: Michael Hession
Boll & Branch Waffle Blanket
Our favorite waffle weave
This organic cotton blanket feels more luxurious and springy than other waffle-weave blankets we tried. The open weave keeps it breathable while adding beautiful texture.
Buying Options$180 from Boll & Branch
Best for: year-round, in moderate climates
How it feels: Like a classic waffle weave but extra-fluffy.
Why it’s great: Of the four chunkier-knit blankets we tried, our testers couldn’t get enough of the Boll & Branch Waffle Blanket ’s springy feel, sumptuous appearance, and overall warmth. It isn’t the softest waffle blanket we tried, but the open weave feels wonderful to run your hands and feet over, and we think it would also add great texture when used as a top layer. It had more loft than any other cotton blanket we tested, which made it feel light on the skin. Our testers spent a good amount of time just wrapped up in it while sitting on the couch. We think it’s a great year-round option if you don’t get extremely hot or extremely cold at night.The Boll & Branch Waffle Blanket feels more lofty than other cotton blankets, with a pleasant spring to the fabric. Photo: Michael Hession The honeycomb texture allows air to move freely through the fabric. Photo: Michael Hession We did snag this blanket, and it will likely get more. But that's a general flaw of many waffle-weave blankets. Photo: Michael Hession We also preferred the edges to those of the other chunky blankets we tested. Piped with Boll & Branch’s Signature Soft sheet material, they feel smooth and have a crisp appearance (although they do ripple just a bit after you wash them). Photo: Michael Hession The Boll & Branch Waffle Blanket feels more lofty than other cotton blankets, with a pleasant spring to the fabric. Photo: Michael Hession
In a 68 °F room, this blanket kept us comfortable, but not extra-toasty, when layered on top of sheets. Under a comforter it added significant warmth on a cold night. It’s generously sized—the king blanket we tested was easy to tuck in. It’s also Fair Trade Certified and GOTS-certified (Global Organic Textile Standard), and Boll & Branch offers a 30-day return policy .
Flaws but not dealbreakers: This blanket will snag, but that just comes with the territory for this kind of open, airy weave. The raised, loose yarns are more vulnerable to pet claws, rings with edges, and long toenails.
Sizes: full/queen, king/California king
Material: organic cotton
Colors: four solid colors
A lightweight, breathable coverlet: Riley Textured Cotton CoverletPhoto: Sarah Kobos
Riley Textured Cotton Coverlet
A cool and breezy coverlet
The ribbed texture of this cotton blanket looks unfussy on the bed. Its thicker cotton top is backed with a layer of gauze, a combination that makes it durable but still airy to sleep under.
Buying Options$180 from Riley Home
Best for: summer
How it feels: Sturdy and cool for hot weather, with a slight crinkle.
Why it’s great: The Riley Textured Cotton Coverlet offers a fantastic mix of laid-back style, durability, and breathability. It looks sharp but casual on top of the bed. The ribbed texture may resemble stiff corduroy, but this blanket feels more like seersucker—relaxed and airy. After a wash, it crinkles up just a bit and looks even fluffier. The Riley has two layers: The back is made from cotton gauze (that is, a lightweight, loosely woven fabric), and the front is made from thicker, dense cotton that adds structure, so it sits straight and smooth on the bed. This also makes the Riley much more durable than summer blankets we’ve tried made only of gauze and lighter than several coverlets we’ve tested . We think the Riley will last for years, and we’ll long-term test it to see how it wears. It’s the coolest blanket on our list—we think it works on its own for summer temperatures, and it can be layered under a quilt or comforter during the rest of the year.The airy Riley coverlet is made with a soft, light cotton gauze topped with a more durable woven cotton. It’s a perfect summer bed topper. Photo: Sarah Kobos
The Riley coverlet comes in four neutral colors and full/queen and king sizes, providing more options than our former lightweight pick, the Hay Crinkle Bedspread (which came in only one size). The Riley is airy to sleep under, but it feels more substantial than the stretchy gauze blankets we’ve tested, so it’s also easier to smooth out on the bed. The Riley doesn’t come in a twin size, so if you need that size, or if you want a soft, cool blanket with even more crinkly texture, the Garnet Hill Isa Stonewashed Organic-Cotton Blanket was the next-best option we found. It’s softer than the Riley, but it feels heavier to sleep under, and the gauze fabric is less sturdy. Riley offers a 100-day return policy , and this coverlet is OEKO-TEX–certified to be free of harmful substances.Photo: Sarah Kobos
Flaws but not dealbreakers: The top of the Riley coverlet isn’t as soft as other cotton blankets on our list, but its gauze back is pleasant on the skin. It is much softer than several top-of-the-bed blankets we tested in 2020, including the IKEA Vareld Bedspread and the Parachute Matelasse Coverlet . Also—and this is a complaint we have for most blankets—we wish the Riley came in livelier colors.
Sizes: full/queen, king
Colors: four solid colors
How we picked and testedTwo of our testers, along with a blanket ghost in the back. Photo: Michael Hession
For our original 2018 guide, I spoke to three experts and spent hours researching blankets online and in stores, looking at the offerings from companies we’ve often evaluated for bedding, plus a few new ones. I went to six big-box and department stores to see and touch every blanket they stocked, and I assembled a list of 104 blankets. I read owner reviews, checked availability, considered the brands’ reputation for quality and customer service, and narrowed the field down to 21 blankets, which we brought in for testing. These included options made from cotton, wool, acrylic, and polyester, in several weights and types of weave. In 2018, 2019, and 2020, I researched an additional 76 blankets in a variety of fabrics and styles. I tested (and, in some cases, retested) 23.
I’ve spent hundreds of hours researching, washing, sleeping under, and wear testing blankets, and in my experience these criteria are what the best blankets have in common:
Comfort: A blanket should be soft and delightful to crawl under. Whether you need one that’s snug when it’s cold or breezy when it’s hot, a blanket should never make you sweat or overheat. Everyone’s ideal sleep temperature is different, but in our sleep tests, natural fibers like cotton and wool have given us the best combination of warmth and breathability. I’ve tried blankets made with acrylic and polyester fleece, and they can be especially soft, warm, and lightweight, but if you tend to sleep hot, they’re not the best choice.
Durability: The blankets we recommend should withstand years of regular wear and tear, and many, many washes—within reason. Blankets with a loose, open weave, like waffle weave or gauze, snag more easily than blankets with a tighter, more opaque weave. If you live with kids who love to scramble up on the bed or cats who love to knead things, you might want to avoid the most delicate blankets. Also, Anki Spets, owner/designer at Area, in New York City, and Sara Hall, innkeeper for The Inn at Kitchen Kettle Village, both told me that holes created by long toenails were the most common damage they saw in blankets. So consider wearing socks or keeping those nails short.
Availability: We’ve fallen in love with several blankets, some more affordably priced than our current picks, only to see them discontinued. Blanket designs come and go, but our picks are the blankets that have been consistently available over the years, or the ones companies have assured us will remain steadily in stock. Once we’ve made a pick, we constantly keep an eye on its availability.
Easy maintenance: If you’re prone to spilling things, if you have allergies, or if you have kids or pets, your bed blanket could spend a decent amount of time in the laundry. We prefer low-maintenance fibers: washable wools, sturdy fleece that holds up to lots of laundering, and cotton, which can be washed in hot water to eliminate germs.
A neat, clean look on the bed: If a blanket clings to your sheets or feels impossible to straighten, your bed won’t look crisp. I also look for generous sizing—the blanket should be long enough to tuck in, so the edges don’t peek out.
A good return policy and solid customer support: Bedding is an individualized preference—you may get a new blanket only to discover that its style or texture is not for you. Our picks are all from brands with strong return policies and customer support.
A fair price: The blankets in this guide are expensive—all cost $100 or more for a queen size—but we rigorously test each one to ensure it’s durable enough to make it worth the price. We consider a comfortable everyday blanket to be a worthy investment for great sleep. That said, we’re always on the lookout for lower-priced options, but we just haven’t found any that meet our standards yet (and the former budget blankets we loved have unfortunately been discontinued).
If you live with kids who love to scramble up on the bed or cats who love to knead things, avoid blankets with a loose weave.Our writer, hard at work. Photo: Michael Hession
In our original testing, in 2018, I spent about four weeks testing 21 blankets, measuring and examining each one out of the package, washing and drying them, and measuring them again to calculate shrinkage. I examined the seams and construction and spread blankets on my king-size bed to check length and drape, eliminating some as I went. My husband and I slept under 18 blankets for a night each with a comforter; then I eliminated several more and laundered the rest an additional four times. I also put them through wear testing with my then-6-year-old and my dog roughhousing, jumping on the bed, playing puppy tug-of-war, and rubbing the fabrics together. After all that, I brought a final 12 blankets to our New York City office to let a panel of six staffers test them, and then I determined our picks. Four of those original picks are still in this guide today: the L.L.Bean Maine-Made Cotton Twill , Boll & Branch Waffle Blanket , L.L.Bean Wicked Cozy Blanket , and Garnet Hill Plush-Loft Blanket .
For updates to this guide in 2018, 2019, and 2020, I measured, washed and dried, and re-measured 20 additional blankets and three new versions of previously tested blankets. I again evaluated the construction of each, checked them all for warmth, and either slept a full night or took a nap under each. I also wear tested them, again with the help of my dog and my child, and also by running the edge of a pair of pinking shears roughly over the surface to see whether that caused any damage.
Care and maintenance
It’s crucial to follow the care instructions on a blanket if you want it to last. Most of the blankets we tested had instructions to tumble-dry with low heat, but a couple needed to be air-dried or tumble-dried with no heat (which was a challenge). For cotton and wool especially, following the care instructions will minimize shrinkage. For all materials, intense heat could damage the fibers over time.
Knit blankets snag pretty easily, so even if you use one under a comforter, be aware of sharp jewelry, buttons, rough skin, and long nails. Even if you don’t think your skin will touch the blanket, an accidental brushing could pull a thread on a loose weave. Also use care when moving blankets in and out of the washer and dryer, where they can snag on door latches and edges.
GauzePhoto: Sarah Kobos
A quality gauze blanket feels pleasant and a little springy, with a crinkly texture and lots of breathability, so it’s perfect for hot weather. Our favorite all-gauze blanket is the Garnet Hill Isa Stonewashed Organic-Cotton Blanket , which is also available in more sizes (four) than our pick from Riley . The Isa is a substantial, well-made blanket that should hold up to a good amount of wear and tear, though it’s not as sturdy as the Riley—we don’t think any gauze-only blanket would be. If the Riley’s lines are too sharp for your taste, you may like the Isa’s subtler rippled texture. Like the Riley, it comes in four colors—three neutrals and a blue—and, as with the Riley, we would love to see it in a few punchier options. Both blankets cost about the same, but in my experience Garnet Hill also offers better, more frequent coupons and sales—so if you’re patient, you might find a deal.
QuiltsPhoto: Sarah Kobos
Brooklinen’s Lightweight Quilt is a close second to our pick from Coyuchi . The Brooklinen is plumper and a little bit warmer, plus we love the modern, hotel-style look of its black, white, and navy color schemes. The cotton fabric on the Brooklinen quilt is thinner than that of the Coyuchi, though, so it wasn’t as durable in our wear testing. We tested the Black Lorimer pattern, which wrinkled so severely after a wash that it affected the lovely, crisp design. The Brooklinen also has a thicker, more pillowy middle layer of cotton batting, so it felt more like a comforter than a classic quilt. It’s ideal as a top layer, but if you want to invest in something that feels more traditional, the Coyuchi is the better choice.Photo: Sarah Kobos
The Garnet Hill Dream Quilt is the softest quilt I tested, and the clear favorite with our kids and pets. It looks less like a quilt than the Coyuchi and Brooklinen options, though, because the thread used for the surface stitching matches the color of the fabric. So you don’t get the same punch of contrast that makes the other quilts stand out. This stitching feels more utilitarian than the Coyuchi and Brooklinen quilts’ decorative, highly visible stitching, which makes those feel more artisanal. The Dream Quilt comes in far more colors than any quilt we tested, and it’s available in four sizes instead of two. It’s also significantly less expensive—about half the price of the other quilts we tried.
The Hay Crinkle Bedspread is lovely and breathable, and it was a former pick in this guide. But it’s available in only one size (it roughly fits a queen-size bed), and the colors are more limited than for other gauze blankets we’ve tested.
We’ve tested The Company Store’s Gossamer Cotton Blanket twice, and in our 2020 testing it shredded and tore in our wear tests, plus it looked awkward on the bed—too thin and stretchy.
Snowe’s Softexture Coverlet was light and comfortable to sleep under when we tested it in 2019, but we found some construction issues out of the package, like a snag on the back. After washing it five times, we found more snags and the start of some fraying at the seams, plus it shrank significantly.
We’ve also tested and recommended Target’s Threshold Gauze Bed Blanket and Pottery Barn’s Gauze Matelasse Blanket, but both have been discontinued. The Threshold Gauze was a particularly budget-friendly favorite with our staff, and it does sometimes come back in stock. However, because the quality is also unreliable—the last time the blanket reappeared in stores, the construction had changed for the worse—we can’t continue to recommend it.
The Parachute Matelasse Coverlet is durable enough to use as a top layer in milder climates, but the fabric is rougher than that of the Riley Textured Cotton Coverlet . It’s also warmer, so it’s less comfortable for hot summer weather but could work for chilly temps. We also preferred the look of the Riley, which was a touch more modern—the texture on this bed topper stands out sharply.
The IKEA Vareld Bedspread is the least expensive blanket we tried in 2020. It comes in only one size, though (roughly queen size), and it was the least-soft blanket we tested this year.
We initially chose to test Coyuchi’s Cascade Organic Matelasse Blanket in 2019 because we thought it would be a good lightweight summer option, but it weighed too much to be comfortable on hot summer nights yet didn’t keep us very warm on cool ones. We retested it in 2020 as a coverlet, and although it looks lovely as a bed topper, it wasn’t as nice as the Riley or the Parachute coverlets.
The Restoration Hardware Chunky Waffle Weave Cotton Blanket was the runner-up to the Boll & Branch Waffle Blanket , but it didn’t feel as lofty, and the finish and details weren’t as luxe.
Frontgate’s Resort Egyptian Cotton Thermal Blanket felt very similar to the Restoration Hardware blanket but rougher, and we found a few more snags than with the other chunky knits we tested.
Target’s Threshold Sweater Knit Blanket is made with acrylic yarn, and although it was very soft and we loved the colors of the yarn, it was too stretchy. After one wash it was bigger than it was out of the package, and we had difficulty taming it on a bed. The dog also easily chewed holes through it. We did find it comfortable to sleep under, though.
We used to recommend The Vermont Country Store’s Constant Comfort Blanket , until it was discontinued. It has since been reissued, but the L.L.Bean Maine-Made Twill Blanket we recommend has been such a cozy, hard-wearing blanket that we didn’t see the need to revisit another cotton blanket.
Cuddledown’s German Cotton Flannel Blanket almost went the distance in our testing rounds. It was warm to sleep under, and it felt soft. But after the fifth round of washing and drying, it had pilled too much.
The Company Store’s Cotton Weave Blanket comes in great colors, and it was definitely warm, but it felt rougher and less comfortable than the other cotton blankets we tested.
The Wamsutta Micro Cotton Dream Zone Blanket from Bed Bath & Beyond was cool and crisp, and we really liked it out of the package. The edges distorted after one wash, though.
Target’s Threshold Solid Cotton Blanket was really nice for the price, but it felt heavier and rougher than others we tested, and it snagged a lot.
The Macy’s Hotel Collection Premier MicroCotton Blanket performed about as well as the Wamsutta blanket, but after we began testing, we learned it was discontinued.
In testing we’ve always preferred the feel and warmth of all-wool blankets to wool blends, but apart from our pick from Faribault , every 100% wool blanket we’ve tested—Faribault’s Royal Carefree Washable Blanket, L.L.Bean’s Washable Wool Blanket, and Cuddledown’s Edina (a former pick)—has been discontinued.
The Coyuchi Sequoia Washable Organic Cotton & Wool Blanket is beautiful but expensive. It shrank the most of any wool blanket we tested (about 6.9%), so it wasn’t big enough to cover the sides of a king-size bed after washing. It’s a 70/30 blend of cotton and wool, which meant it was heavier than other wool blankets we tested, but it didn’t have the wool fuzz that sometimes sheds from blankets and tickles the nose. It’s definitely a warm blanket, and the four color options are pretty, but it also costs about 60% more than the Faribault Pure & Simple, which we think is a much better 100% wool choice.
The Brooklinen Linen Quilt uses one of the softer linen fabrics we’ve tried in any bedding, but it also felt thin and a little flimsy. We’re not sure how it will hold up over time, but if you’re looking for a linen top layer and want something cooler than a comforter with a linen duvet cover, this is what we would recommend.
The Parachute Essential Quilt is linen on the front and softer cotton on the back, and it looks similar to the Brooklinen Linen Quilt. The Parachute Essential is much scratchier, though, and less comfortable to sleep under.
Parachute’s Cloud Cotton Quilt is absolutely beautiful, with gauze fabric on the outside and pillowy filling inside. It definitely felt like a strong comforter alternative until we washed it—the gauze fabric is so thin it tore like paper.
The Parachute Linen Loft Quilt was enormous, with tons of puffy stuffing inside a scratchy fabric. It’s as warm as a comforter, but we thought it was awkward and heavy to actually use. It was also impossible to wash in a machine at home—our review sample tore in the washing machine—and it would be a true slog to get this to a laundromat.
The Vermont Country Store’s Classic Vellux Blanket felt cheap and unpleasant against the skin. Fold it and squeeze it, and it feels more like memory foam than fabric. It was warm to sleep under, but our testers universally disliked it and wouldn’t try it beyond a simple touch test.
The Garnet Hill Cotton Fleece Blanket and Throw was the roughest fleece out of the packaging, feeling more like a polar-fleece vest than a soft blanket. After one wash it was pilling, and it matted enough that we passed on further testing.
The Company Store LaCrosse RDS Certified Down Blanket and the Garnet Hill Essential Down Blanket are almost identical to each other, and both come in about a dozen colors. They’re thinner than comforters but almost as warm, and because they’re washable, you don’t need to add a duvet cover. However, these blankets both felt stiffer and more crinkly than our pick from Garnet Hill . They may be a good choice if you want something warm but less lofty than a comforter, or if you don’t like the fuzzy backing of the Plush-Loft Blanket. The Company Store and Garnet Hill also make down alternative versions.
The Vermont Country Store’s Superior Down Blanket was nice out of the package, but after the first wash the satin edges rippled and distorted. This model also felt like it needed a cover, something several testers noted; it didn’t feel like a finished blanket on its own.
We also tested Pottery Barn’s Wool Filled Quilted Blanket, which is now discontinued. It smelled strongly of wet animal and took half a day to dry.
Sara Hall, innkeeper for The Inn at Kitchen Kettle Village , phone interview , February 9, 2018
Anki Spets, owner/designer of Area , phone interview , February 13, 2018
Fran Kozen, director of Undergraduate Studies and CIFFI Associate Director at the Cornell Institute of Fashion and Fiber Innovation , phone interview , February 16, 2018
About your guide
Jackie Reeve is a senior staff writer covering bedding, organization, and home goods at Wirecutter since 2015. Previously she was a school librarian, and she’s been a quilter for about 15 years. Her quilt patterns and her other written work have appeared in various publications. She moderates Wirecutter’s staff book club and makes her bed every morning.
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