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This is the Easiest Way to Cut High Winter Heating Bills

Until several years ago, I didn’t know something existed called a heated mattress pad. It makes sense I suppose since I’d lived in Southern California for most of my life, where it is mostly warm all year round.

Relocating to Colorado where the seasons are more pronounced, I had a lot to learn about heating a house without going broke. That first winter our heating bills shot to the moon because we were heating the entire house to a comfortable temperature day and night. Trust me—high heating bills can be shocking.

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Lower the temp

We saw a semi-dramatic reduction in the heating bill when we decided to lower the thermostat to 60 F. at night, then using this Bionaire micathermic space heater in our bedroom. That worked relatively well, but that wasn’t altogether successful. Let’s just say that my husband and I have different internal thermostats. He would be cold while I’d be turning the space heater down a notch or ten.

Trapped under a layer of heat

That’s when I set out to find a way we could both enjoy a warm and cozy sleeping environment without paying a fortune to achieve it. We tried going the electric blanket route. That sounded like a great idea until we used it for a few nights. While the cords and wires are advertised to be flexible, we could still feel them and they felt stiff and bulky. But worse—even at the lowest setting, it felt to me that I was trapped under a layer of heat and it didn’t feel good.

A better way

A friend suggested that a heated mattress pad might be the solution, an idea that sent me into research mode. I was skeptical. My first concern was how to keep something like that clean? And what if there’s an electrical short and it was to catch on fire? I’ll bet you’re thinking the same things. Well, we can both relax. Let me tell you what we discovered.

Awesome solution

Quality heated mattress pads use patented Safe and Warm non-hazardous low voltage technology. This technology saves energy because it is low voltage and produces awesome sleep in a cooler room.

For our test, I ordered heated mattress pads by Serta, Sealy, and Sunbeam that use Safe and Warm technology. (What a great piece of technology.) The best way I can describe a quality heated mattress pad is that it produces very subtle warmth. The difference between the warmth coming from underneath and heat on top is huge. It’s absolutely remarkable. Fantastic!

As for how one of these mattress pads looks and works, think of a very nice fitted sheet. It has deep pockets to accommodate mattresses of all thicknesses, with elastic all the way around.

A bedroom with a large bed in a room


I place the heated mattress pad on top of our regular mattress pad and then the fitted sheet on top of it. The controls attach at the top (the head-end), making them handy but out of the way.

Dual controls

Quality heated mattress pads come with dual controls on the Queen, King, and California king sizes. This one feature solves the problem my husband and I have with different internal thermostats.

Warmed sheets

A good quality heated mattress pad warms the sheets, and that’s what makes it feel so cozy to crawl into bed when it’s cold outside. The wires are so thin, we cannot feel them at all. And the most amazing thing—it goes right in the washer and dryer (following the printed instructions on the mattress pad, which is easy).

Our heated mattress pad has made all the difference in great winter sleep but also significantly reducing the cost to heat the house. We set our programmable house thermostat to 55 F for the night, then to 68 F in the early morning hours so we wake to a warm house. Our heated mattress pad paid for itself in the first month we used it.

I highly recommend a heated mattress pad for my readers who experience high heating bills during the winter months. On top of seeing a big reduction in those bills, you’re going to enjoy the kind of warm and cozy sleep you may have only dreamed of!

Best Inexpensive

Our pick for the Best Inexpensive heated mattress pad that meets all of this criteria and currently available in all sizes is SoftHeat Heated Electric Mattress Pad Solid with Safe & Warm Low Voltage Technology, available in Twin, Full with single controls; Queen, King, and California King with dual controls.

Mattress pad

Based on all of our testing, laundering, and enjoyment over the past four years—and tracking availability which can be limited at times—we have determined that the best heated mattress pads have the Safe and Warm technology. Several brands use this, including SoftHeat, Serta*, Sealy and Sunbeam. I would encourage you to consider any and all of those brands but only mattress pads that have the Safe and Warm Technology, controls that attach at the head-end; full-mattress coverage like a fitted sheet (rather than a flat construction that only lays on top of the mattress), machine-washable, and come with a decent warranty. Expect Twin and Full sizes to come with single controls, but insist that Queen, King, and Calif. King to have dual controls.

Important Info

  • Make sure you are looking at our Best Inexpensive SoftHeat Heated Mattress Pad in the “Solid” option, which has dual controls for Q, K and CK. “Dobby Stripe” option is lower quality and has only single controls for all sizes.
  • Be diligent to keep the instructions and warranty information that comes with the mattress pad. Read them. Follow the instructions.
  • The SoftHeat mattress pads have an auto shut-off feature. Don’t mistake it turning itself off for a defective product. It’ easy to turn it on a few hours before bedtime than flip it off and back on to ensure it will stay on until morning. Or what I do … turn it on a few hours before bedtime, then turn it off when I get in. Ahhhh … ! I’m sound asleep before I can even count to 10. Warm and cozy all night long.

*Excellent but currently available in Calif. King size.

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First published: 11-24-17; Updated: 2-14-20

Next Up:

11 Money Savers That Will Pay for Themselves Over and Again

Quick and Easy Tips to Slash Your Home Heating Costs


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9 replies
  1. Br954 says:

    If you can afford the one time expense, get a heavy thick 100% wool blanket like a Hudson Bay Mackinaw Blanket. I’ve used them in winter for years and it’s like having a heated bed! They last forever and become a family treasure. Skip the plug.

  2. Madalyn says:

    Have used these for years. Never need blankets (in Northern California). Use a top sheet and duvet quilt on the full-size bed and a top sheet and quilted bedspread on the Calif. King. Facilitates making the bed easy and fast in the morning.

  3. Deborah says:

    The twin Dobby stripe is currently $50 and the solid is $100. Would you recommend the Dobby stripe for the twin or still go with the solid? What is the difference between the two?

  4. Deborah Davidson says:

    The twin Dobby stripe is currently $50 and the solid is $100. Would you recommend the Dobby stripe for the twin or still go with the solid? What is the difference between the two?

  5. Mary says:

    We have used heated mattress pads for many many years. Dear husbands side is on and my side is off! We are on our third one. The newer ones wash and dry well and still keep on working. Living in Indiana you learn how to conserve energy and still keep warm.

  6. Julie M says:

    I am very sensitive to heat in the bed so cannot use this. I wish I could! A great alternative is the Sleep Number Winter Soft sheet set. I bought a set a couple of years ago and they are still as nice as the day I bought them. I keep my thermostat at 55 and don’t even need a blanket. These sheets are very very soft and warm. They may seem expensive, but considering the savings in heating cost, I’ve made back the investment every month it’s cold out! And they don’t need to be plugged in:)


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