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It’s not easy to fall asleep when sweat is rolling off you in the fabric sauna your bedroom has morphed into.
It’s often overlooked, but keeping your bedroom at a cooler temperature is a key ingredient for good sleep. I’m a hot sleeper myself, and have tested many cooling products over the last decade, with varying degrees of success.
The good news is that whether you’re kept awake by warm weather, hot flashes, or just tend to sleep hot, there are effective ways to lower your temperature in bed.
In this review, I’ll be discussing the two main approaches to keeping the bed cooler: high-tech bed cooling systems that work all night long, and cooling mattress pads that are designed to be breathable or to help wick body heat away.
You’ll find an overview first to give you an idea of what’s coming up and how they compare. After that, I’ll cover each one in more depth.
Overview of the cooling mattress pads and systems
My top choice if you like the feel of a cool breeze or if you’d like targeted cooling for specific areas of the body. It works with a forced-air system that pumps air either inside a boxed cloud sheet or directly under your covers if you prefer. It has excellent fan speed and temperature controls, with a good range of 66° – 104° Fahrenheit (18.9° – 40° Celsius). It’s fully programmable, with multiple timers if you don’t want the same temperature all night.
The most effective cooling mattress pad and my number one choice if you want a cool surface to sleep on rather than the air of a fan. It works with cool water that flows through thin tubes that are tucked inside a comfortable mattress pad. You can choose the exact temperature you want to lie on, and it has an excellent temperature range of 55° – 115° Fahrenheit (12.8° – 46.1° Celsius). It’s programmable, so you can choose to have different temperatures during the night and set an auto-off timer.
Slumber Cloud Performance Mattress Pad
A mattress pad that’s designed to absorb your body heat and wick away moisture. Using the temperature regulating ‘Outlast’ material that was originally designed for NASA, it’s a good option if you just want a fabric mattress pad that feels cooler rather than one you need to plug in. Just be aware that it has its limitations – if you stay in one position all night, your body heat will eventually win the battle. It’s still a good choice though as the material will feel cool for longer than most standard mattress pads.
Molecule Triple Zone Pro
The most breathable memory foam mattress topper. It’s air engineered to have an open-cell structure, which creates more space for air to flow than is found in standard memory foam toppers. It provides a soft surface to sleep on, so this is a good option if you like the soft feel and cushioning of memory foam, but don’t want to overheat at night. Like the Slumber Cloud, there’s no active cooling though, so it will start to feel warm if you lie in one position all night.
The best low-cost breathable mattress pad. It’s manufactured to feel more breathable than other mattress pads containing artificial fill. It contains down alternative fill and comes with a soft cotton cover. It does feel cooler to lie on than many budget mattress pads and is very comfortable. Once again though, the lack of active cooling means it won’t feel cool all night. For the low price, it’s a reasonable choice though as long as you don’t have serious heat to contend with.
In the table below, you can compare the styles and prices at the time of writing, on May 4, 2022. Please note that the prices fluctuate throughout the year, so I wanted to give you an idea of the general price range for these products on an example day.
|BedJet 3 |
In the next table, you can see which ones have the key features I look out for when comparing cooling bed products.
In the final table, you can see how I personally rate them out of 10 in some key areas.
For cooling effectiveness, I judge it based on how long I feel cool for after initially getting into bed. Clearly, those with active cooling will score higher.
For cleaning and maintenance, the toppers and pad are quick to install and don’t require much maintenance beyond a wash or spot clean. The BedJet 3 and Ooler require more effort to install as they come with separate parts, but it doesn’t take long to set them up. Both need some periodic maintenance, which is simple enough.
The comfort is based on how they alter the existing mattress in terms of the surface you sleep on. The durability is based on how long I’ve had them without any issues like breaking or flattening under my weight over time.
The cooling systems and mattress pads in detail
1. BedJet 3 Climate Comfort
A fan-based bed cooling system with cool air, dual zones and superb controls
The Bedjet 3 is my top pick of the bed cooling systems. It has a sleek design and provides effective, fast, and targeted cooling all night long. I’ve had mine for several years now, and it’s still going strong and keeping me cool in the summer months.
It’s made so that it can be quickly installed with any bed size and mattress, and comes with easy-to-understand instructions. You can choose to have cool air blowing gently over your body, or inside a boxed top sheet. So it will cool both you and your bedding, helping wick away the heat which gets trapped under your covers.
If you sleep with a partner, you can either share the cool air or keep it to just one side. There’s also the option of a dual-zone version for independent temperature control. With the double setup, you’ll get two remote controls so you and your partner can control the temperature on your side. There’s also an app if you’d rather control it with your smartphone.
The remote control has a color screen, and you can use it to adjust a wide range of settings, such as the temperature, fan speed, and auto-off timers. You can also program it to change temperatures automatically during the night. One of my favorite things about the BedJet 3 is just how much flexibility it gives you to adjust the temperature, air speed, and direction of the airflow.
You can also use the BedJet as a heating system in colder weather. I’ve found it to be more effective and energy efficient than heated bedding, and it also heats your bed much quicker. And if you have dual zones, you could even have cooling on one side of the bed and heating on the other – if you and your partner have very different temperature preferences.
One downside to consider is that you need to keep the base unit somewhere. I could tuck it under my bed as you only need a clearance of six inches. If you don’t have that, you’ll need to keep it next to the bed instead.
In the photos below, you can see two ways I’ve set up the BedJet in my bedroom. In the first photo, I’ve placed the base unit next to the bed, and I’m demonstrating how the air flows from the tube into the cloud sheet so you have cool air over your whole body.
In the next photo, I’ve put the BedJet under the bed, which is more convenient if you have six inches of clearance for it. There’s no cloud sheet in that photo, so the air is targeted towards your feet.
Another potential issue is that the fan makes a little noise, which is fine if you like fan sounds. It’s quite a soft hum on low to medium speed settings and pleasant to have in the background.
But if you need complete silence to sleep, the noise on the highest speed setting might be too much. Personally, I rarely use it on the highest speed settings anyway, as it’s effective on gentler settings.
Overall, if you’d like an active cooling system that will reliably keep you cool and comfortable throughout the entire night, the BedJet 3 is an excellent choice. And if you’ve had success with normal fans in the past, the BedJet 3 is a serious upgrade that gives you far more control over the airflow, speed, and temperature than a standard household fan.
Warranty / trial period: It comes with a 60 day trial period. They have an extended two year manufacturer’s warranty and will fix or replace any parts if needed.
Price: At the time of writing, the BedJet 3 costs just under $400 on the company’s website – BedJet.com. If you want two units with the cloud sheet, it will cost between $900 and $1000, depending on bed size. If you sleep alone, or share your bed but one of you is fine with the ambient room temperature, you can save money and just get one unit.
- Active cooling all night.
- Wide temperature range.
- Dual zones if needed.
- Cools or heats.
- Good controls.
- Works with any mattress.
- Makes a fan sound.
- Need space under or next to the bed for the base unit.
- Expensive if you want dual zones.
Read my full BedJet 3 review here.
2. Chilisleep Ooler Sleep System
Mattress pad with a water cooling system that keeps the bed cool all night long
The Ooler is a highly effective water-based bed cooling system made by the company Chilisleep. It’s one of very few mattress pads that are capable of providing effective cooling throughout the entire night.
Essentially, it consists of a mattress pad, a base unit (or two if you want dual zones), and an app to control the temperature of the water flowing through it, along with other settings such as timers.
The main setup steps are to place the mattress pad on your existing mattress and pour water into the base unit. It will then cool the water using semiconductor technology, and pump it through small tubes inside the mattress pad.
The mat feels very comfortable to lie on and is padded enough so that you don’t feel the tubes that are buried inside. The tubes themselves are very robustly made and will last the test of time.
The network of tubes across the length and breadth of the pad means that the cooling is evenly spread across your entire bed and body, which provides some much-needed relief in hot weather.
The most important point to consider is that it can keep you cool all night long. That’s an advantage compared to standard mattress pads and toppers that you don’t plug in, which tend to work for a couple of hours before your body heat overwhelms them.
The temperature range means you can use it for cooling or heating, with a range of 55° – 115° Fahrenheit (12.8° – 46.1° Celsius). With the option of dual zones with separate remote controls for larger bed sizes, you and a partner can have the exact temperature you need on your side of the bed.
In the photo below, you can see the original Chili Cube Sleep System. Note the cube shape rather than the rounded design of the newer Ooler. The company still sells this one, and it costs less. The main differences, other than the shape, are that the Ooler has programmable temperatures during the night and a slightly wider temperature range. Otherwise, the Chili Cube is also a good choice.
The main downside with the Ooler is that you need space for the base unit under or next to your bed. You’ll need six inches of clearance under the bed frame, but if you don’t have that, you can place it next to the bed instead.
Another potential issue is that it emits a gentle humming sound, which might disturb those who need absolute silence to sleep.
Overall, the Ooler is a very effective cooling system for your bed, and one to consider if you need a way to keep the rising heat at bay throughout the whole night.
If you want active cooling all night long, but don’t like the idea of the BedJet’s cool air around your body, the Ooler might suit you better as the cooling is contained inside the mattress pad and creates a comfortable surface to lie on.
Warranty / trial period: There’s a 30 day money-back trial period and a two year limited warranty. The company will fix and/or replace any parts if deemed defects of the device.
Price: The price depends on two factors: whether you need one or two units, and your bed size. For example, a single unit for a queen costs around $600 on the Chilisleep website, while two units for a king will cost around $1350.
I recommend only getting two units if you share your bed and both of you would like control over the temperature. Otherwise, you can save a considerable amount of money by just having the cooling pad on one side.
- Active cooling all night.
- Cool surface to lie on.
- Excellent temperature range.
- Good controls.
- Single or dual zones.
- Cools and warms.
- Minimal maintenance.
- Makes a low hum sound.
- Need space under or next to the bed for the base unit.
- Expensive if you want dual zones.
3. Slumber Cloud Performance Mattress Pad
A mattress pad that helps dissipate body heat.
The Performance cooling mattress pad by Slumber Cloud is designed to keep you comfortable during the night by absorbing the body heat that builds up between you and the bed.
It works thanks to some clever technology that was originally designed for NASA. The pad uses a special fabric called Outlast, which is made from thousands of tiny beads called ‘Thermocules’. The beads absorb your body heat, changing from a solid to gel as they do.
Outlast, the company that creates the cooling material, describes the effect like an ice cube in a drink. The ice melts as it absorbs the heat of the drink, keeping it cool for longer. Similarly, the thermocules turn to gel as they take in your heat, helping you stay cool for longer.
The Performance is the latest of four cooling mattress pads made by Slumber Cloud. The main improvement in this one is that the outlast material is now paired with Tencel Lyocell for better moisture wicking in addition to the heat absorption.
I found it works really well compared to other cooling pads I’ve tried. And it’s significantly better than a normal mattress, topper, or pad. It helped me feel more comfortable during some unbearably warm summer nights.
In the photo below, you can see the SlumberCloud mattress pad set up on my bed. On top is the comforter, which I’ve made good use of during the last three summers as it’s very lightweight and breathable.
The main downside is that it’s not an active cooling system and it can’t change the actual room temperature. What it will do, however, is stop you from feeling like you’re lying on top of a radiator.
Another point to keep in mind is that it’s not as thick as many toppers as it’s only a pad, so it won’t provide a significant amount of extra softness. Perhaps that’s a good thing though if you’re already happy with the level of support your bed currently provides.
For me, it’s the best cooling solution in the form of bedding that you don’t need to plug in to work. The BedJet 3 will keep a larger surface area of your body cool with its air stream and the Ooler will actually cool your sleeping surface. But the Slumber Cloud mattress pad is a good option if you don’t want to spend big on expensive tech and just want a cooler fabric to lie on.
Warranty / trial period: Slumber Cloud offer a 60 day trial period, so you can test it out and send it back if you don’t like it. They have a 180 day manufacturer’s defects warranty too, which allows plenty of time to discover any defects.
Price: It comes in seven sizes, and the price varies accordingly. On the Slumber Cloud website, it’s currently $169 for the smallest size – the twin, $ 209 for the queen, and $259 for the largest size – the split king.
- Outlast material helps wick body heat.
- Cooler fabric than standard bedding.
- Well constructed and robust.
- Reasonable price.
- No active cooling.
- Doesn’t add much padding.
Read my full Slumber Cloud cooling mad review here.
4. Molecule Triple Zone Pro Mattress Topper
A breathable mattress topper that also provides comfort and pressure relief.
Molecule designs both mattresses and mattress toppers in a way that makes them more breathable than traditional memory foam mattresses. They say their cooling toppers are air engineered using processes they created themselves to ‘maximize airflow and facilitate cooling’.
When you look at the materials of the Triple Zone Pro mattress topper, you might think it’s unlikely to feel particularly cool: there are two layers of memory foam and a polyester cover.
However, I’ve found that the heat builds up much more slowly than standard memory foam, especially lower-quality memory foam toppers.
They say their open cell memory foam has five times more airflow than standard memory foam, but with the buoyancy of latex. And when you take a closer look at the inner material, I found it does appear to have considerably more space for airflow, yet it remains strong enough to hold even my relatively heavy body.
What I really like about this one is that it feels like a plush, comfortable and supportive mattress topper when you lie on it. It’s the kind of topper I’d be happy to have just for the level of comfort it provides and the relief from pressure points across the whole body.
The main downside is that no matter how diligently the material is engineered, it won’t cool you as effectively as an active bed cooling approach like the BedJet 3 or Ooler. On the other hand, it’s considerably cheaper and serves a dual purpose.
So my feeling is that this could be a good choice if your main desire is for a comfortable and supportive memory foam mattress topper that doesn’t sleep too hot for once. But it might not be right for you if maximizing the cooling is your only need because you already have a comfortable enough bed.
Warranty / trial period: Molecule has a 30 day return window so you can try it out, and a five year limited warranty for materials and craftsmanship defects.
Price: The price will depend on your bed size, with six sizes to choose from. For example, the twin costs around $200, while the cal king is around $300 on the Molecule website.
- Breathable foam.
- Excellent cushioning.
- Reasonable price.
- No active cooling.
- Not everyone likes the cushioning of memory foam.
5. Leisure Town Cooling Mattress Pad
A low-cost, breathable mattress pad.
Finally, we come to a budget option that won’t break the bank and should feel more breathable than some of the denser mattress toppers and pads out there.
The Leisure Town cooling mattress pad tackles the issue of overheating in bed with a breathable structure and soft cotton cover, and it does a reasonable job on the whole. There’s no tech to plug in, and there’s no memory foam to be worried about.
To keep it feeling cooler, the manufacturer says it’s made using ‘new HNN cooling technology’. What that actually means is a bit of a mystery though, and I still haven’t found a formal definition that isn’t simply repeating the product description.
The manufacturer states that the HNN technology increases airflow in the mattress pad, which makes it more breathable and reduces heat build-up. And in my experience, the pad does feel cooler under the body than many dense memory foam and thick polyester toppers I’ve tried.
Perhaps it’s helped by the fact that the cover is a 300 thread count cotton, which is also a good fabric choice to place under you in warmer weather. The fill itself is described as ‘state of the art snow down alternative’. It’s basically fiberfill, but still breathable while being comfortable to sleep on.
It’s worth bearing in mind that although it does have some fill to add comfortable padding, it’s more of a pad than a topper; the thickness just isn’t as substantial as more heavyweight toppers. However, the lack of extra padding does contribute to it being conveniently machine washable.
Overall, this is a reasonable option for warmer summer nights that aren’t too hot. Just be aware that it has limitations: it might add some extra breathability and comfort to your bed, but it won’t provide active cooling.
Warranty / trial period: As it’s sold on Amazon, you’ll get the standard protection as the manufacturer does state they offer a satisfaction service. It’s a bit of a vague statement, but I believe they’ll offer your money back if you’re not happy rather than risk a negative review by refusing to.
Price: Compared to the high price of specialist bed cooling products, it might suit those on a budget as all eight sizes from twin to cal king cost under $100 on Amazon, which is at the lower end of the price spectrum for mattress toppers and pads.
- Breathable fiber-fill.
- Cotton cover.
- Feels soft to lie on.
- No active cooling.
- Relatively thin padding.
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There are many ways to keep your bedroom, bed, and body cool at night and the surface you sleep on is just one piece of the puzzle. I recommend taking a look at my tips for keeping cool in bed. There are lots of ideas that don’t cost anything, and tips that previous readers have shared too.