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