If you’re familiar with weighted blankets, you’ll already know they contain extra filling to make them heavier than a regular blanket.
This additional weight provides extra sensory input on the body of the user; something many children or adults find leads to improved sleep.
But what are the fillings in weighted blankets made of and how do you know which one is best?
Below, we’ll look at the 3 most common types of fillings, including pros and cons of each.
1 – Plastic Poly Pellet Fillings
Description: Plastic poly pellets are historically the most traditional filling used in weighted blankets. A bit like tiny pebbles, they’re usually made of polypropylene. When used as a weighted filling, poly pellets are sometimes surrounded with a cotton or polyester fill or stuffing.
When buying (or making) a weighted blanket, opt for the best quality poly pellets you can, such as 100% virgin polypropylene. Also check the pellets are washable/suitable for dryers, as not all poly pellets have a high temperature rating.
- Most traditional filling for weighted blankets
- Long lasting and usually washable (check product details to be sure).
- They’re made of plastic. Although polypropylene is a type 5 plastic, generally considered safe and non toxic, if you’d prefer to avoid it, consider glass beads instead.
- Plastic poly pellets can sometimes give off an odour (this can usually be rectified by a good airing)
- Extremely sensitive people may find the stimulation of poly pellets a little intense, either in terms of the slightly lumpy feel or faint rustling of the pellets when the blanket moves. Keep in mind though; this is generally not an issue for most people.
- Pellets can sometimes fall to sides of blanket, making weight distribution uneven. Check reviews and product details to ensure pellets are evenly distributed – usually inside pockets stitched into the blanket.
Where To Get Them
This is a well-rated weighted blanket, which at the time of writing, uses poly pellets as a filling.
If you’re going down the homemade route, you can get loose poly pellets for a DIY blanket here.
2 – Micro Glass Bead Fillings
Description: Micro glass beads are increasingly being used as a filling in weighted blankets. A bit like grains of sand or sugar, they’re much smaller than the pebble like poly pellets, which means they sit more densely inside the blanket. Due to this higher density, a weighted blanket filled with beads will also be thinner than a blanket filled with poly pellets.
Like poly pellet fillings, glass bead fillings are sometimes supplemented with a cotton or polyester fill.
- Avoids using plastic
- Avoids the odour that plastic poly pellets sometimes initially give off
- May lay more smoothly/softly on the body, than blankets filled with poly pellets
- Long lasting and generally washable (always check individual product details to be sure).
- Occasional reports of bead leakage, so check product reviews/warranty details if you plan to buy a weighted blanket filled with glass beads
- Beads can sometimes shift to sides of blanket, making distribution uneven – however, a good weighted blanket should contain pockets stitched into the blanket to avoid this.
- Harder to source than plastic poly pellets if you plan to make your own weighted blanket.
Where To Get Them
If you plan to make a DIY blanket filled with glass beads, find the best places to buy glass beads here.
3 – Grains, Dried Beans or Aquarium Stone Fillings
Description: To keep costs down, some people who make their own homemade weighted blankets, choose to use dried beans, grains such as rice, barley or corn, or even aquarium stones, as the weighted filling.
Commercially made weighted blankets traditionally use poly pellets or glass beads.
- Bulk bought grains or dried beans will likely to work out cheaper than plastic poly pellets or glass beads.
- Dried beans, grains or aquarium stones are organic materials, which are porous. This makes them unsuitable for washing, as they won’t dry well and will likely retain moisture. This may lead to mould or mildew.
- Consider as well that, whilst a grain, such as rice, has an indefinite shelf life when kept in an airtight container, when exposed to air, it can ‘go off’. Brown rice that has gone rancid will give off an odour and grains may also attract insects, such as rice weevils.
Where To Get Them
You can get dried beans and grains from most supermarkets or health food stores. Buying them in bulk usually works out cheaper. You should be able to get aquarium stones from any good pet or aquatics store.
Weighted Blanket Fillings: Final Thoughts
Plastic poly pellets and micro glass beads are the most common weighted blanket fillings.
Whether you, or your child, opts for a blanket filled with poly pellets or glass beans really comes down to personal choice, but either will work effectively as a weighted filling.
When looking to buy to buy or make a weighted blanket, I recommend avoiding weighted fillings which are porous or organic in nature – such as grains or dried beans, for example.
These fillings can’t be cleaned well, will start to decompose over time and may even attract insects. This will shorten the life of the blanket dramatically.CLICK HERE TO VIEW RECOMMENDED WEIGHTED BLANKETS FOR KIDS