20+ Different Types of Blankets (with Photos)

Jessica Stone
by Jessica Stone

The first blanket of recorded history was invented during the 14th century by an English weaver named Thomas Blanquette. In fact, his name is pronounced like “blanket.” Though, the blankets of that time were constructed out of natural materials that were easily accessible such as cotton or wool. With the growth of the textile industry, various synthetic fabrics are now used alongside natural fabrics. The simple blanket of centuries ago has given birth to numerous types of blankets – made out of a range of fabrics, and some for specific purposes.

Even in areas of the world that have a warmer climate, most people use some type of covering while sleeping. The main reason for this has to do with the fact that a human’s core body temperature typically drops while they’re asleep. When you reach REM sleep, your body no longer has the ability to regulate body temperature. Because of this, it’s important that you choose the right blanket.

Whether you’re furnishing a bedroom, a living, or even an office in your home, you can make the space feel exceptionally cozier by adding some blankets. All of the different styles that you have to choose from may make shopping an overwhelming venture. Some of the most common types of blankets include comforters, quilts, duvets, and throw blankets. Though, blankets can also be categorized by the material they are made out of, such as silk, wool, fleece, polyester, and more.

As you go through the different types of blankets, keep in mind that you will also need to plan for proper blanket storage.

Types of Blankets

We’ve gathered a list of 20 different types of blankets to help simplify your search for the perfect blanket for your living space.

1. Comforters

The comforter is, arguably, the most common type of blanket – especially among those in cold areas of the United States and Canada. This has to do with the fact that they provide sufficient warmth, more than many other types. Comforters consist of three layers: the top layer, the bottom layer, and the middle layer. Both the top and bottom layers are made out of a synthetic or natural fabric and then the middle layer is stuffed with an insulating material like wool, feathers, cotton, or down.

These three layers are stitched together to make up what we know as the comforter. How warm a comforter depends on how thick it is and also the insulating material that is used. As you might expect, the thicker the material, the warmer the comforter. In addition to keeping you warm, comforters can also add visual appeal to the bedding in your bedroom. They also don’t require any sort of cover, unlike duvets.

2. Duvets

Though duvets are somewhat similar to comforters, there are some distinct differences between the two. For example, duvets are designed to be used with a duvet cover. So, the duvet itself is technically just a duvet insert. The duvet cover is essentially a slipcover that snugly fits the duvet insert and can be easily removed as needed.

Duvets are similar to comforters in that they are both filled with an insulating material. However, a duvet must be used with a cover Duvet appear like a white comforter, usually with ties on the four corners that are used to secure the duvet cover. The major benefit of using a duvet is that they offer versatility. When you no longer like the look of your duvet cover or it gets dirty, it can be easily swapped out.

However, when the two pieces are fitted together improperly, the duvet insert can come loose from the cover and look lumpy.

3. Throw Blankets

Throw blankets often get confused for ordinary blankets, but they are actually a bit different. They tend to be much smaller than your average blanket and are seldom used as bedding, as they consist of one layer of fabric. This makes throw blankets more visually appealing than functional. As such, throws are primarily used as decoration and can be found draped over the back of a couch or strewn across the foot of a bed. Though they can provide some additional warmth, they are mostly meant to add accent colors to a space.

In most cases, throws are knit, constructed out of a tapestry-like material. However, they may also be made out of fleece and feature fringe on the ends instead of a traditional hem. Despite being too small to serve as a primary blanket for a bed, throws are one of the greatest ways to switch up the look of your living spaces.

4. Quilts

Quilts are a very famous form of blanket that have been providing warmth to people for hundreds of years. They are typically made out of three pieces of fiber – a top section that consists of multiple pieces of fabric sewed together in a specific design, a thin filling material of wool or cotton, and a back piece that is generally one large piece of woven fabric that lacks a design. The stitching that holds a quilt together also creates a design.

When compared to comforters or duvets, quilts are usually much lighter weight. This makes them an ideal choice for warmer climates or layering your bedding. They are also great for those who tend to get warm when sleeping. Another benefit of quilts is that they create a smooth, even look instead of the puffiness that comes with duvets and comforters. Though, the drawback to these blankets is that they tend to have very fragile layers and stitching, requiring the whole piece to be dry cleaned.

5. Weighted Blankets

The weighted blanket is a relatively new type of blanket, in the big scheme of things. They are heavier in size which is known to reduce anxiety and promote a calming, cuddling effect when used. These blankets are filled with either glass beads or plastic pellets, which increases the weight. Other blankets may use extra layers of fabric to ramp up the heaviness.

Believe it or not, weighted blankets are recommended by doctors for those who suffer from restless leg syndrome, anxiety, depression, autism, and more. They provide somewhat of an at-home deep pressure therapy that calms the sleeper and enhances the quality of their sleep.

6. Electric Blankets

Electric blankets, or heated blankets, operate based on electricity to keep you insulated and warm during those brutal winter nights. These blankets are made with internal heating coils that heat up when electricity runs through them. They are outfitted with a control unit that allows you to regulate the temperature of the blanket based on your needs. Think of electric blankets as being very large, blanket-sized, heating pads.

These types of blankets typically function on either a 12- or 24-volt power supply. They can be classified into two main types: under blankets and over blankets.

  • Under Blankets: These are categorized as either heated mattress pads or electric fitted sheets. As their name suggests, they are placed over your mattress and under your body as you sleep, keeping you warm from beneath.
  • Over Blankets: Over blankets, on the other, hand, go over your body while you sleep. However, since these types of blankets contain heating coils, it is highly advisable that you place another blanket between your body and the over blanket to keep yourself safe against a possible electrical hazard.

Related Guide: Can You Wash A Heated Mattress Pad?

7. Wearable Blankets

There are a number of wearable blankets on the market, such as the Sleep Sack or Snuggie to name a few. They are blanket with sleeves, and often a hood, that is worn like a large sleepsuit. Wearable blankets are essentially very large hoodies, made out of a blanket material.

These blankets are designed with toddlers in mind, as it is unsafe for them to use a large blanket when they sleep. Wearable blankets, on the other hand, carry a reduced risk of the child suffocating in their sleep. However, wearable blankets aren’t just meant for babies, kids and adults can enjoy their comfort and convenience.

8. Chenille Blankets

Meaning “caterpillar” in French, chenille blankets are a soft, dense texture that is typically raised to create a design. In most cases, they are made out of cotton, though rayon and acrylic are other commonly used materials in their construction. Chenille blankets were wildly popular during the 1940s and 1950s, giving rooms a very vintage, retro vibe.

They are formed by tightly winding yard around a core, which results in the edges protruding at a right angle. Aside from being highly decorative, chenille blankets are also incredibly warm and soft – one of the softest options on this list. Though, they are very delicate and require dry cleaning. Also, if they aren’t properly cared for, the fibers can rub off of the blanket and leave them looking unsightly.

9. Waffle Weave

Waffle weaves consist of a single layer of fabric, with a similar texture to that of waffles – hence the name. The small pockets of fabric that are present in the design help to trap air, creating a lightweight but also warm blanket. This makes waffle weave style blankets ideal for adding an extra layer of warmth underneath a comforter, duvet, or quilt.

In most cases, waffle-weave blankets are made out of cotton which, combined with the waffle weave pattern, makes them cozy but very breathable. They work great during the summer months or underneath other blankets to maximize warmth in the wintertime. In fact, although they offer quite a bit of warmth, they are most effective when paired with a heavier type of blanket.

10. Afghan Blankets

While there is some debate whether there is even a difference between a blanket and an afghan, the distinctions are a little unclear. Afghans are typically made out of wool and are either crocheted or knitted. In fact, the afghan is the most famous type of crochet blanket, serving as a wonderful alternative to throw blankets for decorative purposes.

Although wool is the most common material used to make afghans, it may also be made out of cotton, linen, and a number of other natural materials. There are a number of different types of afghan blankets, including:

  • Mile-a-minute blankets are made using single strips that are fused together.
  • Motif afghans use blocks of fabric, or more commonly known as “granny squares.”

Depending on the particular manner in which they are made, afghans can be challenging to clean. It’s recommended to have them dry cleaned or hand wash them and leave them out to air dry.

11. Emergency Blankets

Emergency blankets are also commonly referred to as mylar or space blankets. These types of blankets are exceptionally lightweight, with a reflective outer layer. They are designed to reduce heat loss in the human body and are commonly used by campers and survivalists. You’ll also typically find emergency blankets in first aid or prepper kits. Additionally, if you’ve ever run a marathon, they give these blankets out at the end to help regulate body heat.

The most basic form of the emergency blanket is a single thin, metallic sheet that folds up very small. Not only do these blankets reflect the heat from an individual’s body, they reflect nearly all radiant heat. As such, they can be used to shelter from heat or their reflective exterior can serve as a makeshift rescue signal. The drawbacks to emergency blankets are that they tear easily and can be challenging to open in an emergency situation. Also, they can deteriorate over time so they shouldn’t be left sitting in a first aid kit for too long.

Types of Blanket Materials

In addition to the way a blanket is made or the particular style, blankets can also be categorized based on their material. More specifically, blanket materials can be broken down into two main types: natural materials and synthetic materials.

Natural Materials

12. Wool Blankets

Of all the natural blanket materials, wool delivers the most warmth. Because of this, wool blankets are preferred among experienced hunters, camping enthusiasts, and survivalists. As an added bonus, wool is naturally fire-resistant. The material is biodegradable, which makes wool blankets sustainable and eco-friendly. Wool is also naturally antibacterial, meaning you won’t have to wash it as often.

Similar to how waffle weave blankets trap air in the small pockets of the design, wool has air pockets built into the actual fiber. This feature helps to keep cold air out and warm air in, meaning wool blankets are both excellent insulators and offer optimal breathability.

13. Cotton Blankets

Cotton blankets are ideal for those who struggle with allergies since it’s a naturally hypoallergenic material. Though, you won’t enjoy the same level of warmth with cotton blankets that you get with wool blankets. Therefore, cotton blankets aren’t recommended if you’re looking for something that’s going to keep you warm during cold winter nights.

Instead, opt for a cotton blanket in warmer weather, as it will be exceptionally breathable. Most cotton blankets carry the benefit of being relatively easy to clean. However, cotton is flammable and, for that reason, cotton blankets shouldn’t be used while camping or hunting. Some specific types of cotton blankets include:

  • Flannel: Flannel is a type of cotton, commonly used for a variety of clothing pieces and blankets. Oftentimes, it features a combination of wool, cotton, and a range of synthetic materials. Flannel is knitted, easy to clean, and less susceptible to wrinkly.
  • Egyptian Cotton: High-quality weighted blankets are typically made out of Egyptian cotton. The material is breathable, very long-lasting, and moisture absorbent. Although Egyptian cotton blankets can be rather pricey, they will shrink less than the traditional cotton variety.

Keep in mind that all types of cotton will shrink when they are dried using high, or even medium heat. Therefore, if you want to avoid the possibility of shrinkage and excessive wrinkling, opt for a blanket that has a lower cotton percentage.

14. Silk Blankets

Of all the natural materials, silk is likely the softest and most luxurious option for making blankets. Silk blankets are very breathable, making them an excellent choice for warmer climates or homes with air conditioning since they provide a lightweight level of warmth. They also keep moisture away from your body and are highly recommended for those who are prone to sweating throughout the night. Though, these blankets can be equally effective during colder months, without burying you in the weight of a heavy blanket.

15. Down

The term down refers to soft, quill-free feathers that come from birds such as geese or ducks. They are commonly used as filling for blankets, comforters, and duvets. Down feathers have a natural ability to keep heat close to your body, while still being lightweight. This fact makes down an effective, comfortable filling for a variety of blankets.

Although down comforters are the most common variety, down blankets are essentially a thinner type of comforter. They are recommended for those who feel that down comforters are too warm. Keep in mind that some individuals are allergic to feathers. Fortunately, there are a number of alternatives to down, made from synthetic materials that are just as effective.

Synthetic Materials

16. Fleece Blankets

Fleece blankets are some of the easiest kinds to find. They are generally made out of some form of polyester or a blend of synthetic fabrics. Constructed from a single layer, fleece blankets are lightweight, while still providing a lot of warmth. Like cotton, they are hypoallergenic. With that said, if you want to enjoy the warming ability of a wool blanket but have allergies, consider a fleece blanket.

When compared to other types, fleece blankets tend to be slightly less expensive. Depending on the manufacturing process, fleece will not melt in high heat or when placed near a flame. As a result, fleece blankets can be used for camping or other outdoor adventures that involve being around fire.

17. Polyester Blankets

It’s very common to find many other types of blankets with some polyester in their makeup. In fact, one of the major advantages to a blanket that is mostly made out of polyester is the fact that it can be washed and dried multiple times, without losing its color or shape. Polyester and cotton blends are a popular choice for blankets since they will offer the chief benefits of both materials – durability and softness.

Though, polyester does come with some drawbacks. For starters, it can stick to your skin when it’s wet and it will not be nearly as breathable as cotton is.

18. Acrylic Blankets

Acrylic is made using a synthetic polymer, formed by either petroleum or other fossil fuels. In most cases, the material is lightweight but still offers plenty of warmth. Acrylic blankets are moth-resistant and can be stored for a long stretch of time. The material has a wool-like texture and feel and while it offers little in terms of breathability, this makes acrylic blankets great at retaining heat.

One of the major disadvantages to acrylic is that it is horrible to the environment and might even contribute to some forms of cancer. Though, for years, satin-trimmed acrylic blankets have been wildly popular. Additionally, mink blankets are actually made out of acrylic, instead of by using the mink of animals.

19. Vellux Blankets

Vellux blankets are sometimes referred to as “hospitality blankets,” as they are the type of blanket you often find in hotels. They are typically made out of polyurethane foam but, in some cases, they are formed out of 100 percent polyester. These types of blankets are extremely durable and warm. They typically consist of two layers of foam, resting between a fabric that is made out of strong nylon fibers.

These types of blankets can be washed many times without showing signs of wear and tear or piling. A vellux blanket will last you many years and, like cotton, is hypoallergenic.

20. Microfiber Blankets

Microfiber blankets feature a combination of many different fibers. Oftentimes, this includes nylon, rayon, and polyester. These blankets are finely woven and, as a result, are generally wrinkle-free and won’t easily trap dirt in between the fibers. This makes microfiber blankets great for those who suffer from allergies.

They are also long-lasting and stain-resistant. However, microfiber blankets will melt when exposed to high temperatures, so keep them away from your bonfires.

Jessica Stone
Jessica Stone

Jessica considers herself a home improvement and design enthusiast. She grew up surrounded by constant home improvement projects and owes most of what she knows to helping her dad renovate her childhood home. Being a Los Angeles resident, Jessica spends a lot of her time looking for her next DIY project and sharing her love for home design.

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