I’m considering purchasing an electric blanket as a way of keeping warm at home without putting the heating on but struggling to get a reasonably priced one from bigger retailers. I’ve seen cheap copycat ones online but have had problems in the past. What would you recommend?

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The cost of energy has increased significantly, and with most of us facing hikes in bills, many are looking at ways of keeping costs down and alternative ways to keep warm in our homes. Many agencies are encouraging people to ‘heat the person’ as opposed to the whole house.

This advice appears to work for many in reducing the amount spent on energy, however it is important that we are doing this safely and avoiding any potential risks. This includes potential issues with electric blankets.

Electric blankets can be a good way of warming up beds before we get into them, offering a shorter blast of heat at a lower cost to run than central heating or small portable heaters. With any electrical equipment, it is important to consider the products themselves, and whether they meet rigorous standards during manufacturing and safety testing post-production. Some products, particularly cheaper, counterfeit ones often do not.

Counterfeit / Fake Electrical Products

Counterfeit electronics can pose risks to health and safety, as well as present fire risks. Lower prices on these cheap, copycat, counterfeit electronic goods can come at a different cost, with the components used to produce them being of a sub-standard quality to the real thing.

In addition to the production methods, many counterfeit electronics are often not subjected to the rigour of safety testing. This not only poses safety risks, but often means that the items do not have the same life span that genuine products do.

Buying cheaper products can very often mean buying twice.

So, how can we ensure products are up to scratch?

When purchasing electrical goods, we should ensure that products meet the Low Voltage Directive, or LVD – which sets out the basic standards that electrical goods must meet before being placed on the market. By checking for manufacturing and standards marks, such as the CE mark, and UKCA marks, we can ensure that products have been assessed before being put up for sale.

There are giveaways when it comes to counterfeit goods, such as packaging differences, where boxes and products are different colours and shapes. With counterfeit goods there can be spelling errors on packaging and sales material, and no postal or contact information provided for the manufacturer. This can make things more difficult if something goes wrong and we need to contact them.

To ensure that the electronics we buy are safe and will last the test of time, purchasing from trusted retailers can help in ensuring that products have been tested and are not made with cheap, substandard components. Purchasing from trusted retailers also means that we can more easily seek returns or refunds should something go wrong.

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Advice Direct Scotland’s ‘Energy 23’ campaign runs from the 23rd to the 29th of January 2023, encouraging Scottish consumers to stay safe during the remaining winter months. We have joined forces with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) Scotland to offer guidance to households struggling with energy bills.

For more information on the campaign, visit