Heated mattress pads have become the preferred method of staying warm throughout cold winter nights. They offer you not only the advantage of climbing into a pre-warmed bed but also keep you in blissful cozy comfort all night long.
Some people have found that the ah-h-h-h factor of these pads help them fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. Others have found that their motivation to get out of bed in the morning has waned a bit, putting their jobs and livelihoods in jeopardy because of chronic tardiness, but so what? Being cradled in warm, soothing comfort at night is worth just about any price.
Just kidding on the last part. But the truth is, heated mattress pads have improved so much in selection, quality and technology, that just about anyone who lives in a climate zone where the temperature drops below 50 degrees at night can derive some benefit from these pads. Of course, as we drift gracefully into older years, having a warm bed becomes even more desirable due to limbs that stiffen up and ache just a bit more than before when exposed to cooler temperatures.
The heated pad is similar in concept to the heated blanket, but a lot more practical, comfortable and energy conserving. The reason for this is the fact that warming the bottom surface of the bed, rather than the top, allows you to feel warmer with less heat generated. Your own body, plus all the sheets and blankets on top, prevent the warmth from escaping upward. That means less electricity is needed to feel great.
Also, as we all know, when you get into bed, the bottom is what feels coldest, as it comes into direct contact with your body. While we humans can generate a toasty 98.6 degrees, and that works well to keep our inner functions humming along, that temperature is hardly adequate to heat up an icy bed without help.
Heated mattress pads also save energy by allowing you to set your home thermostat at a lower temperature. If you do in fact lower the thermostat by 10 to 15 percent, you might save that much on your winter energy bills. So if your current setting is at 68 degrees, you can change it to 60-62 degrees and still feel comfortable. Some have managed to turn off their heat entirely.
Characteristics, Features and Otions
What you can expect with a good heated mattress pad?
- Fast heating. Most of the newer pads will heat up in a minute or two, so if you forget to preheat the bed before getting in, you won’t wait long for comfort.
- Enough padding that the wires inside cannot be felt when you lie on it. Cheaper pads will be thinner, which means you may feel the wires. You can add another pad on top if you wish, but the effectiveness will be lessened.
- Dual control option on queen and king sized. It is nice to be able to control your side of the bed, as so often bed partners have completely different perceptions of temperature. Rather than the cold one piling on blankets that the hot one has to push aside, each gets their own control to set as they please.
- Snug fitting yet with enough elasticity to fit the thicker mattresses that are so common these days. Or perhaps to fit over the layered toppers and pads you have already on the mattress.
- Durable, waterproof fabric covering. While many heated mattress pads are washable, you don’t want to wash anything with thin electrical wires very often. A waterproof pad insures that you will be able to clean it by spot washing it with an absorbent cloth and little water using mild detergent or baking soda.
- 10-hour automatic shut off. It’s easy to forget to turn off the heat in your mattress pad, but with an automatic shut off option, you don’t have to worry about it.
- Enough settings so you get a full range of heat options. This is especially important if you have bed partners and dual controls. Some pads have 10 or more settings.
- UL listed for safety. Being blissfully warm is nice, but it’s even nicer to know your pad is safe, since you are, after all, sleeping on electrical wires.
Note: if you have concerns about electromagnetic radiation or any other worries connected to regular 120-volt household wiring, you can choose a low-voltage mattress pad that comes with a converter box that lowers the voltage near the plug, before the wires traverse through the pad. The reviews indicate that these pads work just as well. Some manufacturers also use shields that eliminate most of the EMR, so you can shop for these features. Expect to pay more, but worth it for peace of mind.
Costs and Price Range
Heated pads have quite a range, from $30 to $200, but most seem to linger in the $60-80 range, making a good pad affordable to many.
Where to Buy
Amazon seems a good source, and there is quite a selection and a wide price range. They carry the pricier low-voltage heated mattress pads at a pretty decent discount, as well as regular ones, and there are plenty of reviews to help you make a decision. Popular brands include Sunbeam, Westpoint Stevens, Biddeford, Soft Heat, Serta, Beautyrest, and more.
Costco offers a plush velour heated mattress pad for $89 with low-voltage wiring and all the features listed above.