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I’m using my 20 lb queen sized Baloo weighted blanket in the photo, trying my best to look like I’m sleeping!
The Baloo is an excellent weighted blanket that gets the balance just right between aesthetic appeal, breathability, and robust design. It has a versatile look and feel, so you can use it when relaxing on the sofa or all night long while sleeping.
It’s made by an eco-friendly company who have opted to use cotton instead of polyester or other synthetic materials. It’s relatively expensive compared to other brands of weighted blankets, so it won’t be right if you’re on a tight budget. Otherwise, the Baloo is one of my top choices if you’d like to see if a weighted blanket can help you relax.
- Stylish design
- Robust, with double-stitched pockets
- Lead-free glass microbead fill
- 100% cotton fill and exterior
- Oeko-Tex certified chemical-free materials
- Ca be machine washed and dried
- 30 day returns period
- Lifetime craftsmanship warranty
- Relatively expensive
- Only available in four sizes
- Only one duvet cover style (French linen)
- The optional cover adds even more cost
In July 2020, I published a comparison of several weighted blankets. The Baloo was my top choice, so I wanted to do it justice with a separate article. There’s always more information than I can squeeze into the lengthy comparison articles without landing on the boring side of epic!
So, let’s take a closer look at why I rated the Baloo so highly, along with one or two criticisms that are important to keep in mind if you’re thinking of trying a weighted blanket.
Who makes it?
In the last few years, there’s been an explosion of weighted blankets as they gain in popularity and more companies and industrious individuals get in on the action.
In my experience, while many weighted blankets look similar from a distance, the design and materials don’t always match the glossy photos. Simply put, they aren’t always so impressive when you actually have them in your hands. There are several that I’ve bought online that are clearly made with cheaper materials that feel rougher and have looser stitching that comes undone quicker, for example.
Moreover, there’s often little to no information about where the materials are sourced, or limited reference to the manufacturing process. Baloo is one of the exceptions, which is one of the reasons I feel more confident in rating it higher.
In the photo above, you can see the Oeko-Tex certified label that was on my Baloo weighted blanket.
Baloo Living is a relatively small company that matches its eco-friendly words with actions. The company is carbon-neutral, the materials used are all Oeko-Tex certified, they donate a portion of their profit to the pajama program, and they are a member of the NYC Fair Trade Coalition and Ethical Brand Directory.
If you shop with sustainability in mind then, Baloo is one to consider, especially when compared to some of the cheaper polyester-heavy weighted blankets sold online.
Design and fill
The first point to note is that the internal section, which is where all the weight is, has a white cotton casing. There’s a separate detachable cover you can buy that I’ll discuss later, but I’m referring here to the weighted blanket itself.
Some brands offer different colors for the actual weighted blanket as well as the covers. But the Baloo only comes in white, which looks elegant and modern. However, I can see how it might feel like it belongs more in the bedroom than on the sofa in more colorfully decorated homes.
The cover of the internal blanket is described as a ‘premium cotton’, though I couldn’t find any information about the exact thread count. It feels very soft, smooth, and comfortable, so I think you can easily use it on its own without a duvet cover if you want to.
Forgoing the additional cover and only buying the weighted insert also means you can save money. You just need to like white bedding, or be happy to put another cover on top, which works well as long as it doesn’t add too much extra weight.
As with most weighted blankets these days, the fill is glass microbeads rather than plastic. Baloo says they are hypoallergenic beads, which most weighted blanket manufacturers also say in my experience.
The beads are contained in small double-stitched pockets. Each pocket contains only a minimal amount of cotton batting. It’s the only weighted blanket I know of that uses 100% cotton for both the internal cover and fill, with zero polyester.
The use of cotton means it sleeps cooler than most other weighted blankets I’ve used, which tend to have a lot of polyester (see the section on cooling below).
The minimal amount of fiberfill does mean that the beads move around more in their individual pockets though. So be prepared to see them bunching up in the corners and edges of each section.
However, I personally prefer that to thicker covers and denser fill, as the beads often tend to get stuck in the corners. With the Baloo, they are free to move and hug your body in each new position you move into.
For me then, the Baloo oozes quality where the design is concerned. It looks and feels better than any of the others of this style that I’ve tried. The only one I’d say that matches it in terms of elegance is the Bearaby Napper, which is a different style altogether.
It’s worth talking about the stitching a bit more, as it’s important that a heavy weighted blanket is robust and durable. You really don’t want the microbeads to spill from one pocket into the neighboring one, which affects the overall feel and weight distribution.
As you can see in the photo above, the Baloo has a double stitch design to the pockets. The main pockets are roughly 5×5 inches, with 1×5 inch sides, and 1 inch corners. It means there’s a double layer of protection should any stitching come undone.
The only other brand I’ve seen recently with this high level of stitching is the Weighted Evolution. For example, the YnM, Quility, Luxome, and Layla all just have single stitching between the pockets.
The stitching on the sides and the loops is also very neatly finished. No loose cotton and no mistakes. Perhaps that helps explain why my Baloo weighted blanket is still in good condition several years after I bought it.
Weight and size options
The Baloo blanket comes in three main bed sizes – throw, full/queen, and king. Note that if you visit the UK version of their website, it will be described as throw, double/king, and super king because of the different bed size terminology in the US and the UK.
They don’t have multiple weight options for every bed size, as some companies offer. Whether that’s a good thing or not will depend on whether you value the simplicity of choice or being able to specify the exact weight you feel you want. Personally, I would have liked to see a few more size options included.
The throw is only available in 12 lbs weight, and the king in 25 lbs. The full/queen has two weight options – 15 lbs and 20 lbs.
Personally, I use the 20 lbs queen and find the weight distribution is good for my body size as it’s around 12% of my own weight. Interestingly, my partner weighs a lot less than me and also finds the weight to be comfortable.
There is some debate about choosing the right weight. Some companies say you should select 10% to 12% of your body weight. Others say that doesn’t make sense because the blanket dimensions and your body shape will also play a role in how the weight is distributed.
I’ve tried many different weights and sizes of different blankets, and come to one perhaps oversimplified conclusion: as long as it’s not really heavy (30-35 lbs) or really light (10 lbs or less) it usually feels fine. I often can’t even tell whether it’s 15 lbs or 20 lbs once I’m under it.
Baloo also now make weighted comforters, which are even larger in width and length and will drape over the sides of the bed.
Personally, I’m not a fan of that style as I think the weight gets spread out over too large a surface area, which diminishes the effect. So I’d recommend sticking with a weighted blanket unless you really want a lighter weighted blanket that looks more like normal bedding.
Baloo weighted blanket sizes
|Throw||5.4kg (12lb)||42×72 inches / 107×183 cm|
|Full/Queen||6.8kg (15lb)||60×80 inches / 152×203 cm|
|Full/Queen||9kg (20lb)||60×80 inches / 152×203 cm|
|King||11.3kg (25lb)||80×87 inches / 203×221 cm|
The Baloo only has one cover choice – French flax linen. I personally like the rustic feel of it, but my partner isn’t such a fan and prefers cotton or Minky. It’s fastened with wooden buttons rather than a zip, which is uncommon for weighted blankets, but does look stylish.
It’s a shame they don’t have other cover choices, and it’s also quite expensive for what it is. This is probably my main criticism of the Baloo, as I think the cover adds too much to the overall price (see below). Having said that, this is a pretty enough weighted blanket that you could use it without the cover, as I’m doing in the photos.
In the photo above, you can see how the cover attaches to the insert. It’s very similar to a duvet cover, which also sometimes has loops and ties to hold it together.
The Baloo blanket has six loops and six corresponding ties on the cover. It’s very easy to attach and remove the cover as the loops are big enough to easily thread the ties.
I think eight ties would be better for larger sizes though, so I recommend tying them all well to avoid damaging them when moving the blanket around as it can put a lot of strain on individual ties.
How breathable is the Baloo?
The idea of a weighted blanket being ‘cooling’ is one I have strong opinions about. I just don’t think you can put a blanket on top of you – especially one that weighs 15 lbs – and expect it to cool you.
Yet marketing departments still insist on adding the word ‘cooling’ to their bedding when there’s no evidence, or even common sense, to back it up.
Baloo doesn’t quite fall into that trap, fortunately, carefully choosing these words for their website:
We use premium cotton chosen for its softness, breathability, and durability. The blanket doesn’t trap heat, so it’s cool enough to use year-round in all climates.
Now, I do agree that it’s breathable compared to many other weighted blankets. The only one I’ve tried that beats it on that front is the Bearaby Napper, which literally has holes in it to let heat escape (see my review of the Bearaby here).
Is it cool enough to use in all climates? I think that depends. I don’t find it overheats most of the time. But in New York when it’s still 90 degrees at night and I don’t turn the air conditioning on, the last thing I want on top of me is a blanket, no matter how breathable it is.
So to put it bluntly, this is one of the top two I’ve used at night in terms of breathability, but don’t expect miracles if your bedroom is a sauna at night.
How good is it for relaxing on the sofa?
When I review weighted blankets, I tend not to wade too deeply into the debate about how well they actually work. You can easily get lost examining the research that’s been done, and trying to unpick what’s objective, what’s not exactly relevant, and what was sponsored by companies that make them.
So here’s my personal experience and viewpoint: I like using the Baloo when I’m chilling on the sofa reading, watching a movie, or just whiling away the hours on my phone. I do think there’s something relaxing about having that weight on top of you. When I’m feeling particularly stressed, there’s something calming about it.
Whether it’s psychological because I know it’s supposed to be calming, or whether it’s having a real effect on my happy or stress hormones is something I just can’t say though.
How good is the Baloo weighted blanket for sleep?
Okay, here’s the thing. I love using a weighted blanket in the bedroom in the cooler months of the year. I put it on top of my duvet, and it creates a cozy little cocoon to snuggle under.
In the summer, I tend to opt for less bedding than more. When it’s really hot, I sleep with just a cotton sheet over me. Yes, I’ve used the Baloo for naps in the summer months with the air conditioning going. But to use all night long in very hot weather, you either need to love the heat or have good air con to feel comfortable under any weighted blanket – no matter how breathable it is.
In terms of aesthetic appeal, the Baloo definitely looks like it belongs in the bedroom. In some ways, it has a more serious, minimalist bedding look to it than brands that come in funky colors and patterns. So for me, the Baloo is arguably better suited to the bedroom than the living room.
Conveniently, you can machine wash and dry the Baloo. I’ve washed mine several times over the last three years and it comes out fine.
Some brands need to be spot cleaned or dry cleaned. And although they say you can machine wash just the cover, I personally think it’s much more convenient if you can machine wash both the weighted blanket and the duvet cover.
Baloo has a 30 day returns window, which is fairly common for weighted blankets. However, they also offer a lifetime craftsmanship warranty. I don’t know of any other company that offers that kind of warranty for a weighted blanket; many don’t have any warranty at all beyond the 30 day returns window.
The Baloo is one of the more expensive weighted blankets I’ve seen, even without the cover. Here are the current prices at the time of writing (April 19, 2023):
- Throw 12 lbs: $179
- Full/Queen 15 lbs: $199
- Full/Queen 20 lbs: $199
- King 25 lbs: $249
Optional cover prices
As you can see from the prices below, if you choose to add the duvet cover, the complete package of insert + duvet cover is not cheap.
- Throw 12 lbs: $99
- Full/Queen 15 lbs: $149
- Full/Queen 20 lbs: $149
- King 25 lbs: $189
The Baloo weighted blanket looks great, feels soft, hugs your body nicely due to the even weight distribution, and has a robust design.
Because I’m able to compare it to many different weighted blankets, I can tell that more thought has gone into the craftsmanship than most others. Perhaps that’s why they feel confident in offering a lifetime warranty.
A key feature I look out for is breathability. Although I wouldn’t say the Baloo feels ‘cool’ in the summer, it’s more breathable than most because they use good quality, lightweight cotton rather than polyester.
My main criticism is the price. This is a luxury weighted blanket and one of the most expensive out there. If you’re on a tight budget, you can find others for less than half the price. If you really want it, but it’s a bit of a stretch, consider getting the insert and not the additional cover.
If you want a high-quality weighted blanket that will look great aesthetically and last the test of time, the Baloo is one I can recommend trying though.