Best Mattress Cooling Pads From Consumer Reports' Tests

Find out if pads from BedJet, Chili, Mattress Cooler, and Perfect Sleep Pad can keep your bed at the ideal temperature for you

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A Consumer Reports engineer tests mattress cooling pads in our labs.
CR's test program leader Bernie Deitrick tests the BedJet in an isolation chamber to control for exact temperatures.

If you think you've tried everything to get a good night's sleep, you might want to consider a mattress cooling pad. They typically go under your fitted sheet, and chill water before sending it through tubes in the pad to maintain the temperature you set. Some use a fan to blow air in your bed to cool you off, and some can also heat up your bed for those cold winter nights. Prices for the models we tested range from $155 to $1,500 for a dual-zone California king.

Why does it matter if you have a cool environment? Science says that many people sleep better that way. The National Sleep Foundation recommends keeping your room temperature at around 65° F.

But the ideal temperature for any given person varies. “We know you get the most deep sleep in a cool bedroom—not cold, but cool,” says Philip Richard Gehrman, PhD, CBSM, and an associate professor of clinical psychology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania. “The problem is what’s cool to one person is not cool to another person.”

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Finding the right sleep temperature is such a prevalent point of discussion that it has become a recurring theme on some popular podcasts. "Several of my close friends in Silicon Valley sheepishly admitted that, of all the advice I’ve ever given in my books and podcasts, the ChiliPad had the biggest impact on their quality of life," podcaster Tim Ferriss wrote in his book "Tools of Titans" (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016).

But that doesn't mean all cooling pads work the same. To see which mattress cooling pads are up to the task of keeping you comfy at night, we put five popular models to the test. In general, the pricier the pad, the more features it has, and—based on our tests—the more comfortable it is.

“Most of the models in our tests had sufficient padding and were quite comfortable to sleep on,” says Bernie Deitrick, a project leader at Consumer Reports who tested the pads.

One perk to using a mattress cooling pad: You don’t have to crank up the AC. “In addition to increasing comfort levels, a bed cooling device can also help reduce energy costs,” says Deitrick. “They can reduce air conditioning costs during hot summer weather because you don’t have to cool your entire room to be comfortable, plus bed coolers use less power than a typical AC unit.” Same goes for your heating costs during the winter.

How We Test Mattress Cooling Pads
To measure how well pads cool and heat, we designed and built a metal device to mimic the human body. We used a lightbulb in each of three parts—a torso and two legs—to maintain a body heat temperature of 98° F. Then we measured how much energy was needed to cool or heat our testing rig with each mattress pad. The better a pad is at either task, the less energy is required.

For each one, we noted whether it has a preheating and precooling function. And for comfort, we looked for built-in padding and assessed whether we could feel any water tubes or other mechanisms in the pad when we used them.

CR members with digital access can read on for ratings and reviews of five mattress coolers from four manufacturers: BedJet, Chili, Mattress Cooler, and Perfect Sleep Pad.

Best Mattress Cooling Pads From CR’s Tests

In all, we tested five popular pads. Read on to see which are the best at helping you keep your cool at night and have the features you want. For more on bedding, check our ratings and buying guides for mattresspillows, and sheets.

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