I’ve always been amazed how a bed can look so cozy and inviting in the winter, yet give you an unpleasantly shivery surprise when you sleepily climb into it.
A cold bed is no fun, so in those long winter nights it’s great to heat your bed and avoid the feeling that you can’t move for fear of rolling onto another icy spot.
There’s no better way to keep your bed warm throughout the night than with a heated mattress pad. It’s an energy efficient, cost effective and safe way to ensure personal warmth while you sleep.
In this review I’ll be looking at products from the three major players in the heated bedding industry. To help you make the best choice, I’ll compare them on these key factors:
- Location and intrusion of cords/connectors
- Heat Settings
Hopefully you’ll find one which meets your needs and your budget, and helps you sleep in comfort while the world outside is freezing over.
1) Sunbeam Vertical Quilted Heated Mattress Pad
Best overall for comfort and reliable heating
Sunbeam is an industry leader in designing heated bedding, and its vertical quilted heated mattress pad is the most comfortable and reliable I’ve tried.
There isn’t actually a lot of diversity in the heated mattress pad sector. Most manufacturers employ a standard template that includes 10 settings, dual controls, an auto-off feature, and a pre-heat feature.
Because of these similarities, picking the superior product comes down to going beneath the surface.
The Sunbeam has two things going for it that set it apart in the industry. It’s as comfortable to lie on as a plush mattress pad, and it has a reliably even heating spread from wires which you won’t feel when you’re in bed.
It has the full range of heating settings, including pre-heat and 10 different temperatures. And with dual controls on larger sizes, you and your partner can choose the exact temperature you need to sleep best.
Here are the key points to consider:
- There are dual controls for queen and king size beds.
- The controller is easy to use, with a digital display and a dimming feature.
- A pre-heat function warms the bed quickly – just 5 or 10 minutes before getting into bed.
- There’s an even heat spread throughout the bed.
- It provides 10 heat settings.
- There’s a 10 hour auto-off function – a useful safety feature that also saves electricity.
- The material is comfortable and thick, so you won’t feel the internal wiring.
- It’s machine washable and dryer friendly.
- You get a 5 year warranty.
The main downside is that the connector isn’t right on the end of the pad, but a little way up. So if you’re very tall, the connector at the feet may bother you.
But if your bed swallows you up, the quality and design are superb and you won’t be disappointed. This is a heated mattress pad that will keep both you and your partner reliably warm throughout those chilly winter nights.
2) Soft Heat Micro-Plush Low Voltage Heated Pad
Good safety features
The Soft Heat Micro-plush heated mattress pad is made of some of the softest material out there, meaning it not only keeps you warm, but also adds an extra layer of comfort to your bed.
Compliment that with its ultra-thin wires and it’s unlikely you’ll even notice the wiring is there.
Safety is something Soft Heat evidently like to focus on, and it shows here with a low-voltage converter and an auto-off function.
The main point it has in its favor compared to the Sunbeam is the cord placement. The connector is tucked out of the way at the head of the bed on the side, so you won’t feel it with your feet, and the cords can easily reach sockets behind or to the side of the bed.
Here are the key points to note:
- There are dual controls for Queen, King and California King sizes.
- It has a lovely micro-velour top and is made from quality material throughout.
- There’s a very fast pre-heat setting and 10 main heat settings.
- It turns off automatically after 10 hours or if sensors detect overheating.
- The controllers have an LED display and an auto-dimmer to reduce artificial light during sleep.
- The transformer reduces AC current to safer low-voltage DC current.
- The cords are conveniently located.
- The cords are flexible so you can use a fitted sheet.
- It’s machine washable and can be used in a dryer.
- It has a 5 year warranty
A potential downside is that on larger pads you need to plug in two transformers, which might require an extension cable. Furthermore, the transformers use energy even when switched off so it’s best to unplug them during the day.
The Soft Heat Micro-plush heated mattress pad comes very close to getting everything right, but does have flaws, notably using two transformers on mattresses queen size and larger.
The quality of the design is otherwise excellent. The connectors are in a great place and the design allows you and your partner to be happy with the freedom of temperature choice.
3) Serta Damask Stripe 233-thread count heated pad
Good connector placement
The Serta Damask heated mattress pad shares much in common with the previous models, but is weaker in other areas – notably price.
It doesn’t appear to have anything about it that would warrant a higher price than the Soft Heat or Sunbeam, yet still commands one.
Perhaps the best point is that like the Soft Heat the connector placement is well thought out. The connector sits near the corner at the head of the bed, which is practical both for reaching a plug socket and also not feeling it when you’re in bed.
Like the Soft Heat it has the noteworthy AC to DC current conversion feature, though again that involves dealing with transformers.
Generally, it feels comfortable to sleep on due to the ultra-thin wires and a soft exterior material. And the heating is reliable, with dual zones for your and your partner.
Here are the main points to consider:
- There are dual controllers for queen and king sizes.
- The controller is an easy to use turn-dial, with an unobtrusive electronic display.
- It has 10 heat settings and a pre-heat function.
- The material is pleasantly soft to sleep on.
- The internal wiring is thing enough not to feel when lying down.
- The transformer converts AC to DC for safer current.
- There’s an auto shut-off after 10 hours or if overheating is detected.
- The connectors are placed out of the way on the corners of the bed.
The main downsides are that the pad might slide around on the bed if you don’t use straps or have a perfect fit, the transformer can be a little noisy if you have sensitive hearing and it’s more expensive than the other heated pads in this review.
Overall, the Serta Damask is a good heated mattress pad with sensible cord placement, a good range of settings, and reassuring safety features.
As long as you don’t have an unusually thin mattress and don’t mind the transformers, then you’ll find it a good choice for two people who have different heat requirements for their separate sides. Just be prepared to pay more for it than the other heated mattress pads.
4) Sunbeam therapeutic heated mattress pad
Multiple heat zones
The Sunbeam therapeutic pad takes the concept of dual controls for two people sharing the bed to the next level.
Smaller sizes have 3 individual temperature zones, while the queen and king sizes have 6 in total. The idea being that you can choose to keep your feet toasty, your body warm and your upper body cool – or any other heating combination you choose.
If you have any particular aches and pains, you can therefore provide targeted relief, without necessarily heating your entire body. I think if you do have any medical needs, or specific problems such as painfully cold feet, it’s potentially a practical way to address those issues.
Here are the key points to take into account:
- The controller is wireless, easy to use with a digital display for each zone. It also has an auto-dimmer to avoid bright lights in the bedroom.
- Each zone can be set to 1 of 10 heat settings, along with a pre-heat option.
- The connectors sit at the bottom of the pad, conveniently out of the way of your feet.
- The pad itself is thick and comfortable, so you won’t feel the wires.
- There’s an auto-off after 10 hours safety function.
- It’s machine washable and dryer safe.
- You get a 3 year warranty.
The main downside involves the way the way the controls work. Firstly, even though it’s technically dual controls, there’s only one physical controller which you have to share with your partner. It’s great that it’s wireless, but annoying nonetheless if you have to pass it between you.
Secondly, there’s a control box which needs to be placed under the bed. So if you don’t actually have an ‘under the bed’, it’s impractical to set up.
Another potential problem is that the heating works perhaps a little too well. Even on lower settings, it feels quite hot. So it might not be the best choice if you only need a touch of warmth.
Overall, it feels like a great idea that wasn’t designed as well as it could have been. If you sleep alone, or have a behind the bed shelf, and have a space under the bed, then it could be a great choice – especially if you really need to target the heat to specific parts of your body. Otherwise, you might just find it slightly inconvenient to use.