Average Customer Review:
The Electric Blanket Institute notes that, while heated blankets can slip off or be tossed or kicked aside during the night, electric mattress pads are fitted, and hence securely held flat on your bed. That improves durability and prevents potentially hazardous folding or bunching of the heating elements. Finally, heated mattress pads are more efficient since heat radiated upwards is enjoyed by the sleepers instead of being wasted.
While there are exceptions, heated mattress pads tend to score higher in user reviews than other heated bedding. That leads experts such as Jeffrey Gornstein of ComfortHouse.com to say, "I would also recommend considering an electric mattress pad before making your decision." TheSweethome.com concurs: "After 40 hours of research, including interviews with engineers and safety experts, we think most people will be happier with a heated mattress pad than an electric blanket," says Courtney Schley.
While heated blankets need to be soft and pliable to really score well on the comfort scale, heated mattress pads focus on being fluffy enough to hide the interior coils from sensitive sleepers. Like electric blankets, many electric mattress pads on the market today have 10 heat settings and offer couples dual controls for queen-sized or larger beds. This allows each sleeper to adjust the temperatures on each side of the bed separately.
Our top recommended electric mattress pad, the Sunbeam Quilted Heated Mattress Pad (Est. $50 and up), has received over 1,800 user reviews at Amazon.com and a 4.2 star rating. Feedback at other sites across the Internet is also ample, and typically just as positive, and often more so. Users largely praise its quick heating time, simple-to-use controls and quality workmanship.
Experts have weighed in as well. Testers from Good Housekeeping award this model a 4-star rating after thorough testing. One negative: the top fabric doesn't have the nicest feel, the testers at Good Housekeeping say. The solution? "Soft sheets on top are a must." More recently, TheSweethome.com makes this mattress pad its budget pick. Schley likes the cushier -- and pricier -- Sunbeam Premium Quilted Heated Mattress Pad (Est. $140 in queen size) a bit better, but says that while the padding is notably thinner (5 ounces versus 9 ounces in the Premium version), it "offers the same heating performance as the more expensive Premium Quilted." In addition, they add that padding is still more ample than other heated mattress pads in its price range. Unlike other reviewers, TheSweethome.com claims that they can feel the wires if they run their hand over the top, but add that using thicker sheets helps mask that.
There are other mattress pads worth considering. The Soft Heat Micro-Plush Electric Heated Mattress Pad (Est. $70 and up) uses the low-voltage technology offered by other Perfect Fit Industries heated bedding products, such as our Best Reviewed Electric Blanket, the Soft Heat Luxury Micro-fleece Blanket (Est. $65 and up). Experts consider low-voltage to be the safest type of electric bedding, though improvements in technology make all types of heated mattress pads very safe overall. Energy efficiency is excellent as well. The kicker might be that the thinner, low voltage wiring makes the mattress pad a touch more comfortable to sleep on.
In an older review, Good Housekeeping says that its consumer testers loved the feel of the top fabric, though, more recently, TheSweethome.com calls the topper comfy though not cushy. However, Schley declines to give the mattress pad a recommendations based on complaints from a small number of Amazon.com users of controller connectors that overheat. See more about that in our discussion of the Soft Heat blanket in the section on the best electric blankets. The other downside is that the Warming Mattress Pad takes a little longer to heat up than other types. We did see some complaints of a low whine at times from the DC power supply. It's no issue for most, but a notable number cite it as bothersome. Overall, it earns a 4 star rating at Amazon.com based on over 2,750 reviews.
The Sunbeam Therapeutic Heated Mattress Pad (Est. $105 and up) also earns some recognition. It does fairly well in user reviews -- a 4 star score at Amazon.com based on over 850 reviews -- and it is the mattress pad that Gornstein at ComfortHouse.com is saying is his current personal choice. "I like it for the cordless control convenience (it's the only such heated topper on the market with a cordless control) and for the 3 heating zones (also an only on the market)," he says.
The Therapeutic Heated Mattress pad is a bit pricier than the Sunbeam Quilted Mattress Pad or the Soft Heat Warming Mattress Pad, but it also has a few more features. While all three of these electric mattress toppers offer couples the ability to independently control the heat on each side of a queen size or larger mattress, as alluded to above, the Sunbeam Therapeutic Heated Mattress Pad has three heat zones on each side of the bed, which can each be adjusted independently. For example, the person on the left side of the bed can have warming at his or her feet only, while the sleeper on the right can aim heat on the back and head zones and cooler temperatures at foot level. The twin/full size mattress pad has three heat zones as well but, like all choices in these sizes, you can't adjust those independently for each side of the bed.
The Sunbeam Therapeutic Mattress Pad also comes with a wireless remote control that eliminates the clutter of wires on the bedside table, as Gornstein notes, but there is one negative: there is only one control that serves both sides of the bed. Users joke that the trickiest part of using this heated pad is determining who will keep the remote control. Some suggest fastening the remote to the bed's headboard.
Heated mattress pads fare better than electric blankets when it comes to durability, though they are far from long lasting. All of the mattress pads covered here have five-year warranties from their manufacturers, and that's the norm. However, there are lots of limitations and many users advise that the true life span of a heated mattress pad is closer to two years, regardless of the brand.