Best Cooling Mattress Pads and Toppers

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Based on 10,908 customer experiences from 22 unique sources.

 

What Are Cooling Mattress Pads and Toppers?

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.

A ‘cooling’ pad or topper is designed to help sleepers maintain a moderate, well-regulated body temperature throughout the night. They can also reduce sweating. These pads and toppers 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 and toppers are available:

  • Active Cooling Pads and Toppers: 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 and Toppers: Rather than using fans or other attachments, passive cooling toppers are constructed with specialty materials (such as gel-infused foams) that absorb and transfer body heat. The term ‘passive cooling topper’ also refers to toppers 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 topper 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 toppers that need to be placed in a refrigerator or freezer prior to being used. Most of these toppers 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 toppers are fairly rare compared to active and passive cooling toppers. As a result, we have exclusively evaluated active and passive cooling pads and toppers for the purposes of this article, and did include any refrigerated pad or topper models in our analyses.

 

Pros and Cons of Active and Passive Cooling Pads/Toppers

Both active and passive cooling pads and toppers 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.

CriteriaActive Cooling Topper RatingPassive Cooling Topper RatingExplanation
Effective Temperature RegulationGood to Very GoodFair to GoodActive cooling pads and toppers are more effective at regulating sleep temperature than passive cooling models, according to owners.
Thickness and Firmness SelectionPoor to FairGood to Very GoodDue to limited availability of active cooling pads and toppers, customers may have a hard time finding models that accommodate their sleep preferences. The options for passive cooling models are much more extensive.
DurabilityFair to GoodFair to GoodMost cooling pads and toppers perform for at least two years. Active-cooling models are prone to breakdowns due to their technical components, while passive-cooling models may lose their temperature-regulating abilities over time.
NoisePoor to FairVery Good to ExcellentActive-cooling pads and toppers with electrical components can be quite noisy. Passive-cooling models are much quieter on the whole; memory foam, latex, and wool are virtually silent, whereas feathers may produce slight rustling sounds.
Odor PotentialGood to Very GoodFair to GoodActive-cooling pads and toppers may emit some odors when they are unpackaged, but these models are not associated with long-lasting smells. Memory foam, natural latex, and feathers all have relatively high odor potential, while smell complaints for wool are not as common.
Ease of MovingPoor to FairGood to Very GoodActive-cooling pads and toppers can be quite heavy and difficult to maneuver during the night due to extraneous parts. Passive-cooling pads and toppers tend to be much lighter, although latex and memory foam models tend to weigh much more than wool and feather models.
Ease of Cleaning and MaintainingPoor to FairPoor to FairCleaning cooling pads and toppers can be a hassle. Most models need to be spot cleaned or dry cleaned, and active-cooling pads and toppers with water pumps may develop mold if they are not regularly cleaned. The exception: passive-cooling wool models, which can often be machine washed.
Upkeep CostsPoor to FairFair to GoodActive-cooling pads and toppers can lead to repair expenses down the road, in addition to cleaning fees. Passive-cooling models almost never need the same level of repair, but dry-cleaning bills can add up.
AvailabilityPoor to FairGood to Very GoodA limited number of active-cooling pads and toppers are currently available, whereas passive-cooling models are fairly common.
Average Price (Queen)$700 or Higher$100 to $400Due to their high-tech design and electrical components, active-cooling pads and toppers tend to be much more expensive than their passive-cooling counterparts
Customer Satisfaction Rating87% (625 Customer Reviews)83% (10,283 Customer Reviews)Active-cooling pads and toppers have earned a higher customer satisfaction rating than passive-cooling models.
 

Best Cooling Pads and Toppers: Brands and Models

Next we’ll look at some of the top-rated cooling pads and toppers among today’s customers. The first table features details for five of the leading passive cooling models.

BrandExceptional SheetsMilliardSleepBetterSleep on LatexSlumber Cloud
ModelBamboo Mattress Pad with Fitted SkirtGel-Infused Memory Foam Mattress TopperIso-Cool Memory Foam Mattress TopperPure Green Natural Latex Mattress Topper Nacreous Mattress Pad
MaterialRevoLoft down alternativeGel-infused memory foam (2.5 PCF)Standard memory foamNatural latexOutlast liner fabric
CoverRayon from bamboo
Backing: 70% polyester, 30% nylon
Skirt: 76% polyester, 16% nylon, 8% spandex
(160 thread count)
Rayon from bamboo100% cotton Quilted with RichLoft polyester fill
(300 thread count)
No cover60% cotton, 40% viscose
(350 thread count)
Available SizesTwin
Twin XL
Full
Queen
King
Cal King
Twin
Full
Queen
King
Twin
Full
Queen
King
Cal King
Twin
Twin XL
Full
Full XL
Queen
King
Cal King
Twin
Twin XL
Full
Queen
King
Cal King
Thickness 6 1/2″
Pocket depth: 18″
2″3″
Pocket depth: 20″
1″
2″
3″
Pocket depth: 20″
Price (Queen)$114.99 (Amazon.com)$109.99$212.18$129.00 to $149.00 (1″)
$199.00 to $249.00 (2″)
$299.00 to $369.00 (3″)
$217.99
Weight (Queen)8.05 lbs11 lbs30 lbs24.8 lbsNot disclosed
Owner Satisfaction Rating85% (4,210 customer reviews)86% (1,138 customer reviews)80% (509 customer reviews)87% (385 customer reviews)80% (265 customer reviews)

Now, let’s look at two of the highest-rated active cooling toppers on the market, as well as a to-be-released topper model that has generated a fair amount of buzz among consumers and critics.

BrandChili TechnologySleep NumberKyro (Prototype Only)
ModelChiliPadDualTemp Individual LayerSleep Performance System
ConstructionWater container (‘Cube’) attaches to pad and circulates water through a network of tubes.Layer attaches to a cooling fan placed beneath the bed. The fan can be adjusted using a remote control.Topper attaches to a water-based cooling system that can be manually adjusted.
CustomizationDual-zone temperature control
Range: 55 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit (13 to 43 degrees Celsius)
Warm or cool the bed by as much as 35% of the original temperature.Cool the sleep surface down to 60 degrees Fahrenheit (15.5 degrees Celsius).
Available SizesTwin
Twin XL
Full
Queen
Split Queen
King
Cal King
Split Cal King
Split Queen
Split King
Split Cal King
Universal (fits all sizes)
Price (Queen)$999.00$749.99$299.00 (Indiegogo only)
Weight (Queen)27 lbsNot DisclosedNot Disclosed
Owner Satisfaction Rating88% (487 Customer Reviews)86% (76 Customer Reviews)Not available. This product is slated for wide release in May 2018.
 

Conclusion

For more information on this topic, please visit our Best Mattress Toppers guide, as well as our individual review pages for convoluted polyfoamfeatherfibermemory foamlatex, and wool mattress toppers.

 
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