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Best Cooling Mattress Pads – Our Picks and Buyer’s Guide

Written by Keith Cushner

Quick Overview

Many sleepers do not get enough cushioning from their mattress alone. To remedy this problem, some turn to mattress pads. Both are used as individual layers of cushioning to complement the bed’s sleep surface. Pads tend to be thinner, provide minimal cushioning, and can act as a protective layer for your mattress.

In addition to beds, pads can be used in guest rooms, RVs, and other sleeping areas where the bedding surfaces may lack proper support.

This guide will explore important considerations for purchasing a cooling pad, including our picks for the best cooling pads made today. Our choices are based on verified customer and owner experiences, as well as intensive product research and analysis.

Best Cooling Mattress Pads

The Best Cooling Pads – Reviewed

Best OverallBrooklyn Bedding Luxury Cooling Mattress Protector

Best Overall – Brooklyn Bedding Luxury Cooling Mattress Protector

Highlights

  • Conducts heat away from the body
  • Hypoallergenic design
  • Smooth, silky feel
  • Machine-washable
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Best OverallBrooklyn Bedding Luxury Cooling Mattress Protector

The Brooklyn Bedding Luxury Cooling Mattress Protector combines a luxuriously smooth feel, mattress protection, and added cooling capability. Made from cotton terry, the mattress protector is designed to be silky smooth and breathable as well as waterproof. The protector is machine-washable and easy to care for.

The Brooklyn Bedding Luxury Cooling Mattress Protector works to provide a cooling sleep experience by taking excess heat and conducting it away from the body. Along with protecting against fluids, the hypoallergenic properties of the protector help to keep your mattress free of dust mites and bacteria.

Good for:

  • Hot sleepers
  • People looking for a no-hassle, cooling mattress protector
  • Every type of sleeper (side, back, stomach, combination)

Best ValueExceptionalSheets Bamboo Mattress Pad

Best Value – ExceptionalSheets Bamboo Mattress Pad

Highlights

  • Cover made of plush rayon from bamboo
  • Fill made of hypoallergenic down alternative
  • Fits mattresses up to 18” deep
  • Virtually silent
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Best ValueExceptionalSheets Bamboo Mattress Pad

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You’ll enjoy this bamboo mattress pad for both its value and cruelty-free materials. The top-quilted fabric is soft and cool to the touch, and will help with thermoregulation while sleeping.

Inside, the RevoLoft Cluster Fiber Filling is a down alternative and allows more air flow to counteract any mattresses that cause you to overheat. Baffle box stitching keeps the fill from shifting too far to one side or another.

The silent protection keeps a noisy mattress pad from waking you up, and matches well with all kinds of mattresses, whether you already have latex, memory foam, or innerspring. This product also includes a 30-day return period if it’s not the right fit for you.

Good for:

  • Hot sleepers
  • Sleepers of all kinds (stomach, back, side)
  • People who want the feel of goose down without feathers

Best LuxuryHelix Ultra-Cool Pad

Best Luxury – Helix Ultra-Cool Pad

Highlights

  • 100% polyester
  • Absorbs and disperses excess heat
  • Antimicrobial
  • 100-night sleep trial and 1-year limited warranty
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Best LuxuryHelix Ultra-Cool Pad

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The Helix Ultra-Cool Pad is our Best Luxury pick because of its quality combination of feel as well as function. The mattress pad and its skirt are smooth, soft, and cool to the touch. The fabric itself is 100% polyester that is specially designed to provide functional benefits in two main ways.

First, it’s treated using Helix’s Phase Change technology to help it regulate heat. Essentially, the pad takes in excess heat from any point and disperses it throughout the mattress. This keeps things comfortably cool while also warming those spots that get too cold.

Second, the pad is designed to be antimicrobial to protect against potential allergens. The entire thing is also machine-washable, making it easy to keep clean and free of irritants.

Available in all standard mattress sizes, the Ultra-Cool Pad is covered by a 100-night sleep trial and a 1-year limited warranty.

Good for:

  • Hot sleepers
  • Those looking to regulate the temperature of their bed
  • People who are sensitive to allergens and microbes

Buying Guide – How to Shop for Cooling Mattress Pads

Many different factors go into choosing a mattress pad. In the following guide, we’ll walk you through several different factors, including:

  • Differences between mattress pads and toppers: Although the two sound similar, they actually have some key differences, from lifespan to effectiveness and additional performance ratings.
  • How cooling pads work: Learn more about active and passive cooling, including the materials they use and how that changes their effect.
  • Pros and cons: We’ll go through item-by-item to compare criteria such as temperature regulation, durability, odor potential, and noise between active and passive cooling pads.

Taking all these elements into consideration will help you pick a mattress pad that fits your needs and helps you sleep better every night.

What’s the Difference Between a Mattress Pad & Topper?

A mattress pad, also known as a ‘mattress protector,’ is a relatively thin layer that tucks over the top surface of a mattress with elastic edges similar to those of a fitted sheet. The pad’s primary purpose is to protect the mattress.

The term ‘mattress topper’ refers to an individual layer of additional cushioning that can be placed on top of a mattress or other sleep surface in order to provide extra softness, comfort, and support.

Some toppers rest freely on the uppermost layer of the mattress (known as the comfort layer), while others are designed to fit beneath the top sheet. Pads and toppers come in sizes that correspond to standard mattress sizes. Toppers may also be used to create a ‘dual-firmness’ surface for couples using Queen- or King-size mattresses.

How do Cooling Pads Work?

A ‘cooling’ pad is designed to help sleepers maintain a moderate, well-regulated body temperature throughout the night. They can also reduce sweating. These pads can be beneficial for people who tend to sleep hot or warm, as well as those using mattresses that act as heat traps.

Generally speaking, two types of cooling pads are available. Below, we’ll go over the differences between active and passive cooling pads, including factors that will help you pick the right one for you.

Active Cooling Pads

Active cooling pads go beyond padding materials to heat you up or cool you down. These products are outfitted with attachable fans or water pumps that help sleepers remain cool and comfortable.

Many are customizable, allowing owners to maintain their ideal sleep temperature. They may also be used to warm up sleep surfaces during colder times of the year.

Passive Cooling Pads

Rather than using fans or other attachments, passive cooling pads are constructed with specialty materials (such as gel-infused foams) that absorb and transfer body heat. The term ‘passive cooling pad’ also refers to pads made with materials that are naturally cool, such as:

  • Natural latex, a material extracted and processed from the sap of rubber trees
  • Gel-infused memory foam, or viscoelastic polyfoam, a polyurethane-based material treated with chemicals to make it exceptionally soft and responsive to temperature, then infused with cooling gel beads or swirls.
  • Feathers from ducks or geese.
  • Wool from sheep or lambs.

Regardless of the cooling pad type, most models feature covers made of materials that help sleepers stay cool. These include cotton, rayon, and/or bamboo fabric.

Additionally, some models feature covers made from phase-changing material, or PCM. PCM absorbs body heat until the sleeper reaches a certain temperature and then stop retaining heat, allowing the sleep surface to maintain a steady, comfortable temperature throughout the night regardless of how hot the sleeper feels.

Please note: Some brands offer pads that need to be placed in a refrigerator or freezer prior to being used. Most of these pads keep sleepers cool for a reasonable length of time, but their coldness will wear off — and most need to be refrigerated or refrozen each night. These pads are fairly rare compared to active and passive cooling pads. As a result, we have exclusively evaluated active and passive cooling pads for the purposes of this article, and did include any refrigerated pad models in our analyses.

Pros and Cons

Both active and passive cooling pads carry unique benefits and drawbacks for owners. The table below looks at some of the similarities and differences between the two product types in terms of lifespan, effectiveness, and other performance metrics.

To learn more about healthy sleep temperatures and products that keep sleepers cool, please visit the following guides on Tuck.com.

FAQ

  • Is Active or Passive Cooling Better?

    Whether an active or passive cooling pad will work best depends on your specific needs. If serious cooling performance is most important, then an active cooling pad will work better than a passive cooling pad.

    If cooling performance is only a piece of the puzzle, consider going for a passive cooling pad. With a significantly lower price point and simpler constructions, passive cooling pads are more accessible. The wider variety of models available means it will be easier to find a cooling pad that suits your unique combination of needs as a sleeper.

  • What Kinds of Sheets Sleep Cool?

    Generally speaking, sheets made using natural fibers like cotton or linen are going to be more breathable and sleep cool. Sheets made using synthetic fibers like microfiber can be breathable, although it is less of a universal trait of the material.

    That being said, the material is only one aspect of a set of sheets. Similarly important is the weave of the sheets, also known as the way in which the fabric is woven. When it comes to fabric weaves, looser, open weaves like percale allow for more airflow, preventing heat from getting trapped within the sheets. Tighter weaves like sateen tend to retain heat, making them useful in colder climates but not ideal for sleeping cool.

  • What Types of Mattresses Sleep Cool?

    There will always be variation by model in terms of cooling capability even between two mattresses in the same general category. That being said, certain types of mattresses tend to be better for sleeping cool than others. Innerspring mattresses and airbed mattresses are some of the coolest mattress types. Hybrids without heavily-contouring foams and latex beds can also perform well in terms of temperature regulation.

    Foam mattresses are a mixed category. Some foams, such as memory foam, tend to conform closely to the body, limiting airflow and retaining heat. Other foams have open-cell structures for breathability, or they are infused with cooling gels or other elements. The type of mattress will matter for sleeping cool, but it is always important to analyze the materials from which a mattress is made.

  • Is a Cooling Topper or a Cooling Pad Better?

    Both a cooling topper and a cooling mattress pad will help to mitigate issues with sleeping hot overnight. If the heat issue is excessive, consider using both a pad and a topper, potentially swapping out bedding as well.

    Along with added cooling, a mattress topper can be used to transform the feel of a mattress to make it softer or firmer, for example. If your mattress is lacking in plushness or support, a topper can be used to add a bit of relief as a shorter-term solution than purchasing a new mattress.

    If you do not need to make any changes to the feel of your bed, then a topper may be unnecessary. A mattress pad may suffice to provide a bit of extra cooling capability to the bed.

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