A Helpful Guide to Weighted Blanket Fillers

Thinking about getting yourself a weighted blanket? You won’t regret it! Weighted blankets offer a number of scientifically-proven benefits, from lower stress to pain relief. Best of all, these therapeutic blankets now come in an array of stylish designs and colors to fit your bedroom aesthetic. 

Of course, looks aren’t everything — the type of filling inside a weighted blanket is just as important as the outer layer. Weighted blanket fillers come in many different forms and can dramatically influence the cost, feel and ease of care of your blanket. With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at some of the common types of weighted blanket fillers and how to choose one that suits your needs.

a couple reading a book together in bed under a blue weighted blanket

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What Are the Best Weighted Blanket Fillers?

As you may already know, a weighted blanket is designed to apply even pressure across the body for a therapeutic effect. The total weight of a weighted blanket typically ranges somewhere between five and 30 pounds. Weighted blanket manufacturers usually rely on one of the following types of weighted blanket fillers to achieve the ideal weight.

1. Micro Glass Beads 

Let’s start off with the gold standard of weighted blanket fillers: micro glass beads. This filler closely resembles fine grains of sand and is known for being extremely quiet when it moves around in the blanket. Although micro glass beads are one of the more expensive fillers, they’re also one of the heaviest, which means you need less fill to achieve the desired weight.  

Another perk to micro glass beads? They’re an environmentally sound choice. Unlike synthetic fillers, micro glass beads are 100 percent natural and infinitely recyclable.

2. Plastic Poly Pellets 

The runner-up to micro glass beads is plastic poly pellets. These small, round beads were once the go-to filler for weighted blankets, but lately, they’ve fallen into second place due to growing environmental concerns. (Plastic doesn’t break down in the environment and poses a risk to wildlife when not recycled properly.) Nevertheless, plastic poly pellets have a lot going for them. They’re affordable, durable and readily available. They’re also less likely to attract mold and are easy to wash, making them a great choice for families in particular.

a weighted blanket hung over the arm of a chair

3. Steel Shot Beads

Smooth, round and durable, steel shot beads are another weighted blanket filler worth considering. Like micro glass beads, steel shot beads are naturally heavy, making them an ideal choice for larger-sized weighted blankets. They’re mold-resistant, washing machine-safe and never wear out. 

On the other hand, steel shot beads can be noisy. Keep this in mind if you’re buying a weighted blanket for someone with sound sensitivity (aka, hyperacusis).

4. Heavy Fabrics 

Who says your weighted blanket needs to contain pellets or beads at all? Many weighted blanket companies now offer “beadless” weighted blankets that rely on nothing more than layers of heavier-than-usual fabrics and a unique design to deliver soothing pressure. On top of allowing for more even distribution of weight, these filler-free options eliminate the possibility of bead leakage. (Bead leakages are rare in high-quality weighted blankets, but they can happen.)

Other Types of Weighted Blanket Fillers

If you buy a weighted blanket from a reputable company, chances are that it will contain one of the four types of fillers mentioned above. However, a growing number of people are now trying their hands at making their own weighted blanket. These homemade weighted blankets are more likely to contain less common types of weighted blanket fillers, including the following:

  • Sand
  • Beans
  • Grains
  • Rice

Dried foods are natural and generally inexpensive, but they come with their own unique sets of problems. For one thing, these materials are not easy to wash and are more likely to deteriorate and/or accumulate mold.

a smiling man sleeping under a grey weighted blanket

Which One Is Right for You?

So, which weighted blanket filler is the best? That largely comes down to personal preference. 

To ensure you choose the right filler for your weighted blanket, consider asking yourself the following questions.

  • What’s your budget? If money is no object, splurge for micro glass beads. Looking for an affordable option? Plastic poly pellets may be your best bet.
  • Do you have auditory/sensory sensitivities? If you're shopping for someone with auditory or sensory sensitivities, you'll want to choose a weighted blanket that is quiet and feels soft to the touch. Our best-selling Gravity weighted blanket is the perfect choice for those with sensory sensitivities! It features a premium micro-plush duvet cover and contains fine-grade glass beads that move around noiselessly. 
  • Ease of washing. When it comes time to wash your weighted blanket, you’ll want to double-check the care label and make sure the filling inside can stand up to your washing machine. Certain weighted blanket fillers — like those made from perishable food items — are not machine-washable.
  • Do you sleep hot or cold? Plastic poly pellets, while affordable, are notorious for trapping heat. If you’re a hot sleeper, stick to micro glass or steel shot beads. (Pro tip: Don’t forget to consider the outer layer of your weighted blanket. Check out our cooling weighted blanket, which is made from moisture-wicking fabrics for a sweat-free sleep!)

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Most people don’t pay much attention to the filling inside their weighted blanket, but it can have a surprisingly big impact on its comfort and cost. Do your research on the different types of fillers in advance. That way, you can choose a weighted blanket that best suits your needs.