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Stoov Big Hug review: Electric blanket mobile

Scandinavian outdoors vs Australian winter

stoov big hug product image
Stoov Big Hug
Our Rating
4.5 out of 5 stars
5 out of 5 stars
3.8 out of 5 stars

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Anula Wiwatowska
Jun 14, 2024
Icon Time To Read3 min read
Quick verdict: Stoov Big Hug

Despite being designed for outdoor use in Scandinavia, the Stoov Big Hug has an even bigger challenge down under - creating winter warmth in an old Australian house. At its simplest, the Stoov Big Hug is a battery powered electric blanket for your chair. At its most complicated, it is cold to touch but uses infrared radiation to create warmth beneath your skin. It is an elegant heating alternative and while it won’t solve all your winter woes, it fares surprisingly well against our tent-like architecture.

pro Great heating performance
pro Solid battery life
pro Heating tech is novel
con Polyester fabric only
con A bit slippery on the chair
con Pricey
Stoov Big Hug tag

Stoov Big Hug: Performance and battery life

Heat and warmth are subjective, and you’ll probably see mixed opinions about Big Hug’s heating abilities, but for someone who likes it hot this device delivered. Although the penetrating warmth isn’t enough to soothe your whole body, it routinely made my icey cold office more comfortable.

I use the word penetrating deliberately here. Rather than using radiant heat like most electric blankets, Stoov uses infrared technology. Infrared radiation is a kind of thermal radiation that is able to penetrate a few milimetres deep into the body before releasing heat. This means the blanket itself doesn’t get warm, but while you are in contact with the Stoov you do. Not only does this prevent skin discomfort, but it also means energy isn’t wasted warming up the air.

According to Stoov, the Big Hug should reach temperatures between 28°C on the lowest setting, and 42°C on the highest. For comparison, my cheap electric blanket amps up to around 30°C surface temperature on the highest setting. I have no idea how deeply into my skin that warmth penetrates, but that is around my comfort zone. I get the same warming sensation from the Big Hug on the highest setting while the surface temperature stays at 16 degrees. If you too prefer to broil in the glorious river Styx, then the Big Hug might just get you there.

While it is transporting you to a warmer realm, you can repay the favour. Since the Stoov is battery operated it is also entirely portable. The battery life will also last you longer than it says on the tin. Stoov claims that the original battery should last you around three hours at level one, or 1.5 hours at level three. I have been using it on and off, at level one for weeks without needing to recharge. If you want more longevity at higher levels then you can opt for a larger 4,500mAh battery for an additional $40, which doubles the battery life. Alternatively, you can use the Big Hug wired.

Stoov Big Hug: Design

While many things about the Big Hug have clearly been thought through, the design could do with some tweaking.

First up, it took me an embarrassingly long time to realise exactly how to change heat settings. I kept looking for another button by the power switch but didn’t notice the hidden power button on the Stoov tag. My brain must have been cryogenically frozen, but it also isn’t the clearest system. Although I appreciate the minimalist look, there is nothing wrong with obvious buttons.

The pad itself also had an annoying tendency to slide off my chair. Either it would slide slowly down towards my feet, or the weight of the battery pack over the top of the chair would pull it in the opposite direction. Something simple like straps or velcro would be a welcome addition, even as an optional extra.

It would also be great to see more natural fibres in the fabric. There are two finish choices, either the Woolly or the Original. While the Woolly looks and feels like sheepskin, both finishes are in fact polyester. Stoov cites recyclability when speaking about its fabric choices, but when you’re paying such a high premium I would prefer to have the choice of something that isn’t plastic. Organic cotton is available in other Stoov products, so it seems like a missed opportunity not to offer it for the Big Hug as well.

Stoov Big Hug full chair

How much does Stoov Big Hug cost?

For now Stoov products are only available directly from the manufacturer in Australia. The original Big Hug retails for $204 -$224 depending on the fabric finish. 

Fabric finish

Prices are accurate as of the publish date. We may earn money if you purchase something through one of these links.

Is the Stoov Big Hug worth buying?

While it can take some chill out of your bones, the Big Hug won’t replace your heater, and it isn’t necessarily a practical purchase. Yet after experiencing it, Stoov products are now top of my list for bougie presents. They’re luxurious, the tech is novel, and it is something you probably wouldn’t think to buy for yourself. The perfect gift. Although, if you are looking for some extra comfort there is no reason that gift can’t be for yourself.

Anula Wiwatowska
Written by
Anula is the Content and Social Media Editor within the extended universe. Working in the tech space since 2020, she covers phone and internet plans, gadgets, smart devices, and the intersection of technology and culture. Anula was a finalist for Best Feature Writer at the 2022 Consensus Awards, and an eight time finalist across categories at the IT Journalism Awards. Her work contributed to WhistleOut's Best Consumer Coverage win in 2023.

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