The Definitive Guide to Blanket Materials and Types

detailed image of a white woven blanket

There may be no item in your home that’s more versatile and comforting than a blanket. It’s used for everything from keeping warm to decorating. It’s also one of the best things you can bring along with you wherever you go, whether it’s a trip to the park or a weekend away in the mountains.

There are tons of different types you can choose from for blankets. And while having more options is a good thing, all of these choices can sometimes be overwhelming. From the different materials that blankets are made from to the size and even down to the pattern, you have to make sure that it’s right for what you want it for.

From warming up on those cold winter days to using them as decor in your home, we’ve got everything you need to know when purchasing a new blanket or throw. Once you’re done with this blanket buying guide, you’ll have the upper hand when shopping for your next blanket instead of getting lost in the options.

Types of Blankets

When you’re searching for the perfect blanket, it can be challenging to narrow down your options. There are many different blankets, each with its style and purpose. First, it is essential to understand the difference between a throw blanket and a standard blanket. 

Throw blankets are smaller than standard-sized blankets. They are typically used as decorative pieces on a couch or chair. These throws come in various knits and fabrics, but they’re generally thinner than a traditional blanket. Throws are similar to blankets, but they’re much smaller — usually about 50×60 inches. They’re also purely decorative, so they’re not particularly useful except for making your bed or sofa look more appealing.

A blanket is any bedding that’s designed to keep you warm. Blankets come in all shapes and sizes. Some are made from natural fibers like wool and cotton. Others are synthetic options such as fleece or microfiber. The five most common blankets are weighted blankets, bedspreads, electric blankets, comforters, and afghans.

Weighted blankets have gained popularity in recent years because they’ve been shown to relieve anxiety and other conditions. A weighted blanket is similar to any other type of blanket except that it’s filled with small pellets that create a heavier weight than traditional fabric-filled blankets do. They typically weigh between 5 and 25 pounds (2 kg and 11 kg), enough to provide gentle pressure on the body that simulates being held or hugged.

A bedspread is a type of bed covering that goes over the entire surface of the bed, including the mattress, box spring, and pillows. Bedspreads are usually thinner than comforters and blankets because they’re not meant to keep you warm. Instead, they’re used as a decorative element on your bed to add color or texture. It’s for the aesthetic. 

An electric blanket is a type of blanket with woven wires inside. The cables produce heat that radiates throughout the blanket when plugged in, warming your body while you sleep. Electric blankets can be made from fleece or wool and are often quilted or padded to help trap body heat and keep you nice and toasty.

A comforter is a type of blanket that’s filled with material like down feathers or synthetic fibers to provide warmth and insulation for your body as you sleep. Comforters come in various materials, weights, and sizes to suit different seasons and temperatures. Some comforters have an additional duvet cover on top that can be removed for washing as needed.

An afghan is a blanket used for decorative purposes rather than for keeping warm. An afghan can be crocheted or knitted by hand from thread or yarn or made with a machine such as a knitting loom. Afghans are usually quite colorful and are great for accenting couches or beds in living rooms and bedrooms.

With a high-level understanding of the types of blankets, now you can dive into the materials of these coverings. 

orange plaid fleece blanket

Natural Material Blankets

Natural fibers are the oldest form of material used for blankets. They are derived from plants and animals and offer a variety of benefits. These materials can be woven, knitted, matted, or bound together to create comfortable, warm, and breathable blankets.

Natural fibers have been around for thousands of years, but now they’re seeing a resurgence in popularity. Many people choose natural fibers over synthetic materials because they’re better for the environment. This is especially true when it comes to cotton blankets. Cotton is the most popular natural fiber used to make clothing and home goods. It’s also one of the most sustainable crops grown in the world today!

Cotton is also considered a “renewable resource,” meaning it doesn’t require fossil fuel-based fertilizers or pesticides like many other crops do. The plants can even be grown without irrigation systems because they only need about 1 inch (2.5cm) of water per week on average throughout their growing season (7 months).

Natural fibers are sustainable, better for the environment, and usually more comfortable than synthetic fibers. They’re also more durable, which means you could be using your blanket for a long time. Think about how many times you’ve washed your synthetic blanket and how it feels now. Not as good as when you first purchased it, right? That’s because synthetics tend to wear out quicker than natural materials.

Natural fibers are the best kind of blanket material. They come from natural sources and are biodegradable. They’re not produced with chemicals, they’re not dyed, and they’re not bleached. They’re honest, pure, and clean – just as they were intended to be! There’s a reason these fibers have been used throughout history for clothing, bedding, and warmth. It’s because they work!

close up image of a blue cotton blanket

Cotton Blankets

Cotton is an excellent choice for those looking for a soft, breathable blanket. Cotton blankets are lightweight, and some people find them more comfortable during warmer months. They’re also hypoallergenic and easy to care for. Cotton blankets are available in various weights and fabrics. Those with sensitive skin may consider a cotton blanket as they tend to be less irritating than wool or synthetic fibers. Cotton blankets also come in organic options, and some eco-friendly versions are made from recycled materials. Knit, woven cotton chenille, and quilted cotton blankets are all available in the marketplace. 

Cotton blankets come in different sizes, making it easier for you to find one that fits your bed perfectly. In addition, cotton is a very absorbent material which means that if you drink tea or coffee on your bed while reading a book, you can quickly soak up any spills without having to worry about staining your blanket permanently.

Cotton is a natural fiber that’s soft, durable, breathable, and machine washable. Cotton blankets are breathable and keep you cool even during the summer months. This is one of the reasons why they’ve become so popular as camping gear. Cotton is a great fabric to sleep on during the summer, but they’re also ideal for the winter. They may not be as warm as woolen or fleece blankets, but they provide enough warmth during cooler nights and aren’t too heavy either. Overall, cotton blankets can be used in all seasons, making them versatile.

The good thing is that cotton blankets are available in various styles and colors, making it easier for you to match them with your home décor. Furthermore, cotton blankets can be blended with other fibers such as polyester or acrylic for added warmth or texture. In addition, you can find a wide range of cotton blankets at various price points. Cotton is the one material for all!

Cotton Blankets We Love

close up shot of white wool blanket

Wool Blankets

Wool is a natural fiber that’s most often made into yarn or fabric in clothing and other textiles. Wool’s distinguishing factors are related to its crimp, clusters, and waterproof coating, wool grease, making it water-resistant. 

Wool fibers are highly absorbent but slow to dry and have excellent insulating properties. They’re smooth and not irritating to the skin. Wool’s scaling and crimp make it easier to spin the fleece by helping the individual fibers attach so they stay together. Because of these factors, yarn is usually dyed after turning.

Fiber diameter is the single most crucial wool characteristic determining quality and price. Merino wool is the finest (around 24 microns), followed by Rambouillet (25 microns). Thread from sheep produced for meat is typically coarser (36 microns) and has fibers 1–4 inches (2.5–10 cm) in length. 

Wool is highly breathable, so it keeps you warm in the winter and cools in the summer. That breathability also means it’s very comfortable to sleep under and doesn’t make you feel overheated or sweaty. It’s also naturally resistant to fire, making it a safe choice for people who smoke in bed or like to sleep up close and personal with a campfire. And it’s even machine washable, unlike many other natural fibers such as silk. However, it can be expensive because sheep have to be sheared annually to harvest their wool.

When it comes to wool, there are some natural misconceptions. It can be itchy, and it might not be the first thing you think of when you’re looking for a warm blanket. But the softness and lightweight warmth of a Merino wool blanket is unrivaled. 

Wool Blankets We Love

close up image of orange acrylic blanket

Synthetic Material Blankets

Synthetic fibers are made from chemicals. That’s why they’re called “man-made.” Their benefit is that they’re cheaper to produce and easier to care for than natural fibers. Still, the downside is that these chemicals have a detrimental effect on your body and the environment.

These chemicals don’t easily break down, so the micro-fibers get washed into the rivers, lakes, and oceans when you wash them in your washing machines. In addition to polluting the waterways, when synthetic textiles come in contact with your skin, they can cause us to sweat more because they don’t absorb moisture as natural fibers do. This makes us feel warmer and can aggravate skin allergies and rashes in some people.

Synthetic materials, such as plastic and acrylic, are popular fabrics for blankets, but they’re made from artificial fibers that don’t breathe. This means that your body heat will be trapped in the blanket, causing you to sweat. Synthetic materials also create static electricity, which can be a nuisance when sleeping or relaxing.

Synthetic fibers are often blended with natural fibers, such as cotton or wool, to create a stronger and lighter fabric. While this is beneficial in some cases, those with sensitive skin should avoid synthetic blended blankets to prevent skin irritation.

Honestly, the best blankets for sensitive skin are made from natural materials that allow the skin to breathe. Cotton and silk are ideal blankets because they regulate temperature without trapping body heat. Choosing the right blanket can mean the difference between a good night’s sleep or an afternoon nap and waking up sweaty and irritated by your bedding.

purple and red folded fleece blankets

Fleece Blankets

Fleece is a very soft and fluffy material, perfect for making clothing and blankets. This fabric can be used for more than just warm clothing, though, as it’s also great for making all sorts of different projects, including pillows, scarves, and rugs. Fleece comes in many different types, including polar fleece, made popular by Patagonia. Fleece has become such a popular fabric to use in all sorts of things because it’s so easy to care for and comfortable against the skin.

Fleece blankets are one of the most popular types of fabric used in the home. They’re very durable and can last a long time if taken care of properly. Fleece is a super soft material that’s lightweight and perfect for any season. Even though fleece tends to be thinner than most fabrics, it’s still very warm and comfortable. This fabric is made out of acrylic fibers, which give the material its defining characteristics.

Many people like fleece because it’s machine washable and affordable. Because of these characteristics, you’ll find these blankets in homes worldwide. In addition to being affordable, fleece blankets also come in several colors and patterns so that you can match them up with any room’s decor.

Fleece is a soft and lightweight fabric. It can be as warm and soft as wool or as light and breathable as cotton, depending on the fleece type. It’s also very versatile, with many different uses from garments to blankets to upholstery. Fleece fabric comes in many different weights and designs and can be used for various purposes.

Fleece consists of synthetic fibers that are made out of plastic. These fibers are usually acrylic or polyester (sometimes both). The fibers have small loops that give the material elasticity, making it soft and easy to sew. Fleece is usually brushed on both sides to make it even softer.

Fleece Blankets We Love

detailed image of a cashmere blanket

Other Unique Materials for Blankets and Throws

Many different materials can be used for blankets and throws. Some can be pretty inexpensive, like cotton, while others are luxuriously soft and costly. In addition, new materials can be used to create unique blankets and throws that are soft, durable, and offer extra warmth, such as Cashmere or alpaca.

Cashmere is made from the wool of Cashmere and other goats. The fibers are extremely strong and soft. Cashmere blankets are relatively lightweight, but they’re incredibly warm and comfortable to wrap up in during the winter months. Cashmere is soft and is considered a luxury fiber. Cashmere blankets tend to be quite expensive due to their luxurious feel and high demand since Cashmere is a limited resource due to its long harvesting process and short growing season. The blankets come in a wide range of colors, patterns, and styles. The softness of Cashmere comes at a higher cost than other materials.

Alpaca fibers come from the same family as llamas. Still, alpacas produce warmer and softer fibers than wool, even though alpaca fibers have a similar outer appearance to thread. Alpaca fibers are also hypoallergenic, making them ideal for people with sensitive skin or allergies to other fabrics like wool. Alpaca is used to create warm and eco-friendly blankets similar to wool. The blankets tend to be more expensive due to the scarcity of alpaca fiber. However, they’re very soft and ideal for allergy sufferers.

The last blanket material that’s essential to mention is the special weave. Some blankets are made with a special weave that traps the wearer’s body heat inside the blanket for added warmth during the winter months. These blankets are often woven from cotton or polyester yarns. For example, thermal weaves are designed to retain heat inside the blanket. Other special weaves allow air to circulate through the blanket, so you don’t overheat while sleeping. Jacquard weaves have intricate patterns that may depict a serene scene or a beautiful design. 


Whether you’re a cold sleeper, a camper, or want to be prepared for an emergency, having a good blanket can mean the difference between being warm and cozy and being miserable. But what makes a good blanket? What are the characteristics that differentiate a cheap blanket from a quality blanket? This guide reviewed the main features and benefits of blankets so you can make an informed decision when choosing the best blanket for you!

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