how much electricity does a heating pad use

Comprehensive Guide: How Much Electricity Does a Heating Pad Use?

Ian Mutuli
Updated on
Ian Mutuli

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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Using heating pads instead of other heating devices, like space heaters, is a great way to conserve electricity consumption in your home. Heating pads are popular devices used for medical therapy to relieve pain, comfort sore muscles, and provide warmth to the body. Most other heating elements and devices require a lot of electricity, but how much electricity does a heating pad use?

Will your heating pads dramatically increase your electric bill? After all, they demand steady electricity flows and have multiple heating settings that need a steady flow. It is, therefore, easier and more energy-efficient to keep yourself warm instead of keeping your entire home warm. In this article, we take a detailed look at how much electricity a heating pad uses. Let’s dive in.

How Much Electricity Do Heating Pads Use?

Depending on their size and settings, the heating pad’s electrical usage ranges between 50 and 200 watts. Heating pads are energy efficient and do not consume a lot of electricity because they are compact and thin, meaning no large surface requires heating.  

heating pads have low electric bills

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You can also alter the temperature to suit your needs, which helps conserve energy. Unlike space heaters and HVAC systems, electric heating pads do not need to maintain an entire room’s temperature. They function like electric blankets that must be kept in contact with the body. Heating pads can be used with an extension cord with little wattage, making them less likely to trip the breaker. You can, therefore, comfortably use them with other household devices. 

Calculating The Cost To Run A Heating Pad

Reptile heat pad

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Most manufacturers can give you the cost of electricity for running their heat pad for an hour. You can use this information to calculate how much it will cost you to use the heating pad for a day, a week, a month, or even a year. Like space heaters, you will find the wattage of the heating pad to help you calculate the total cost of the electricity consumption of the product.

However, it’s natural not to trust what the manufacturer says because they might exaggerate their figures to present their heating pads as the most energy-efficient. If you want to calculate the cost of using a heating pad yourself, follow these steps:

1. Check The Wattage of The Heating Pad

You will need the wattage to calculate the cost of electricity for the heating pad. This can be found on the tag or the manual. Some manufacturers publish their products’ specs online for everyone to see. You cannot calculate the cost of electricity consumption of a heating pad without the wattage. Some pads use more energy than others, so running the heating pad might cost you more money, even when the rate in your area is low. 

Energy efficiency in heating pads

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However, heating pads are adjustable, and you can raise or lower their energy consumption according to your needs. Some make these adjustments automatically depending on the required temperature. Other heating pads will power off after a while. These adjustments have a significant impact on the electricity usage of your heating pad. 

2. Duration

Determine the duration that your heating pad will be running. Is it a day or an hour? You must first determine the watt-hours by multiplying the pad’s wattage by the number of hours it will run. So the duration is very vital in your calculations. On average, these devices run for 6-8 hours per day. Therefore, the cost of running a heating pad will depend on its usage duration. 

3. Kilowatt-Hour

kilowatt-hours are used to measure electricity usage. You should therefore convert the wattage into kilowatt-hours. You can use the available online tools to perform this task. However, if you use a typical calculator to calculate the kilowatt-hours, divide the watt-hours by 1,000.

4. Rate

Understand the utility rates of your company by finding out the cost of each kilowatt-hour. Multiply the kilowatt-hours by the rate to determine the heating pad’s cost of electricity consumption.

The Formula for Calculating Cost

Use this formula:

Cost = (Electricity Rate × Wattage × Hours Used ) ÷ 1,000

  1. Calculate the kilowatts. This is done by dividing the watts by 1000.
  2. Using the kilowatts, acquire the kilowatt hours. Multiply the kilowatts by the hours. For example, if you want to use the heating pad for 12 hours, multiply the kilowatts by 12 hours.
  3. Multiply the kilowatt hours by the rate to get the cost of usage.

Key Factors Influencing Heating Pad Electricity Usage

Heating pad electricity usage

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A few factors can impact energy savings and the amount of electricity used. They include

1. Size and Shape

Heating pads have different shapes and sizes, determining their energy consumption. A small mattress pad might use 60-100 watts, while the medium and large versions might use 120-200 watts. Therefore a smaller heating pad saves you more energy than a larger one. 

2. Power Source

Not all heating pads use electricity. Some use batteries. Generally, heating pads that use electricity consume more energy than batteries. 

3. Settings

Heating pads come in different settings that determine their energy and power consumption amount. Some pads have multiple heat level settings allowing you to adjust the temperature according to your needs. However, higher heat settings consume more energy than the lower settings.

How To Save Money While Running A Heating Pad

Heating pads are a great secondary heating method to stay warm for your body. You can reduce the electric bill of a heating pad by observing the following tips:

1. Use the Heating Pad For 30 Minutes At Night

You don’t have to run your heating pad all night or keep heating it to maintain your desired temperature. Running a heating pad for 30 minutes at night is enough to trap all the warm air you need. Running it all night will lead to energy wastage and, eventually, higher costs. 

2. Use the lowest setting

The lowest settings of a heating pad consume the least energy. The easiest and quickest way to conserve electricity with a heating pad is to turn it down in one or two places. Most heating pads have low, medium, and high power settings. These settings determine how quickly the pads get warm, affecting Electricity usage.

3. Buy Heating Pads With Timers

Belly Warming Pads with Heating Element

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Although most people know they should not use heating pads all night, they usually fall asleep before switching off these devices. This leads to a whole night of heating, adversely affecting the electricity usage cost. Get yourself a heating pad that has a power outlet timer so that you can program it to turn off at a particular time. This means a timer will deactivate after the set hours, even when you fall asleep. 

4. Use Heating Pads With Sensors

Go for heating pads that adjust the heat to suit your needs. This lowers energy consumption on warmer days. Sensors help adjust the heat generated by the heating pad in response to your body heat and the ambient temperature. This means you will not have to use the highest and energy-sensitive settings when you don’t need them. 

The sensors are more effective than timers because while a timer will shut the heating pad off once the preset time lapses, they cannot switch it back on if your body needs the heat again. 

5. Timing 

Do not wait until you enter your bed to activate your heating pad. The cold conditions will force you to run the heating pad at higher settings and for longer. It is better to run the heating pad at low heat in advance to save energy. This way, you can switch it off once you enter your bed. 

6. Insulation

A heating pad will conserve energy if your windows and doors are closed. Ensure you can point out and eliminate any sources of cold air. Also, consider wearing warm clothing to prevent the heat from escaping once your body is warm enough. 

Frequently Asked Questions about how much electricity a heating pad uses

1. How much does it cost to run a heated pad?

Heating pads are great devices to use during winter to provide instant heat. They are also used to relieve pain from aching muscles and joints. They only cost around $40 and around $1 per hour to run.  They are cheap, practical, and quick to use, and you can place them on your back, front, or legs while you work or relax.

2. Can you leave a heating pad plugged in all night?

Leaving your heating pad unattended or in use while sleeping is not advisable. Before going to sleep, turn the device off and unplug it. Also, unplug other devices like your electric blanket, space heater, air purifier, and other high-wattage devices. Don’t use a heating pad with an extension cord or power strip to reduce the risk of overheating and starting a fire.

You can run a heating pad at night

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3. How long should you leave an electric heating pad on?

You will need enough time to allow the heat to penetrate deep into the muscles. The longer the heating, the more relaxed the muscles feel. However, the exact time for heat application depends on the magnitude of the injury, how cold the weather is, and your heating needs. If you need to relieve minor muscle tension, you can use short durations of about 15 to 20 minutes. Longer durations can take up to 30 minutes and are recommended for severe pain or extremely cold weather. 

4. Are heating pads energy efficient?

Heating pads are great energy-efficient alternatives to many other devices that similarly provide localized heat. Their electricity consumption depends on size and settings. They heat to about 40 degrees Celcius and are not meant to be used for long periods. 

Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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