The question of whether or not you should buy a heated mattress pad or a heated blanket is a common one for people considering heated bedding. If you have looked into heated bedding, then you’ve probably considered the pros and cons of both of these products.

Both heated mattress pads and heated blankets offer heat, the difference being from which direction the heat comes from, with pads heating you from the bottom, and blankets from the tops. So which is more effective? Which provides more comfort? And which is more versatile? Let’s try and answer these questions for you.

Wondering which heated product is better for you? Well, a heated mattress pad heat’s you from the bottom, similar to the way a heated car seat would heat you. Heated mattress pads are designed to heat the surface of the mattress area, so they will heat the side of your body that is pressed against it. 

So if you want to use a heated mattress pad as a form of heat therapy then a heated mattress pad can be great and stable to lay on. For people with arthritis or chronic pain issues they can find comfortable ways to sleep using a heated mattress pad, and there are many options to choose from, each with their own unique features.

If you only want a warmer bed then a heated blanket might be a better choice. Heated mattress pads will warm the parts of your body laying on it. If you want to feel the heat only on the left side of your body, then you can lay on your side and the heat will be directed there, and your right side will not feel any of the heat. If you want more all-around heat then, the residual heat of a blanket may be more appropriate for you, as it will trap the heat inside, and warm you and your bed entirely.


Both heated blankets and heated mattress pads off their own unique benefits, let’s have compare how they work, and each of their benefits and disadvantages.

Heated mattress pads

A heated mattress pad is just a plain old mattress pad…but better. It has the added ability to heat it. It has heating elements (or coils) inside that heat up via electricity from a power cord which is plugged into a power outlet in your bedroom. You install a heated mattress pad like you would any mattress pad, it should have skirting to hold it tightly in place, similar to how fitted sheets fit (you’ll have a fitted sheet overtop of your mattress pad). 

Most heated mattress pads will have a multitude of heat settings to choose from (usually at least 10). For added safety, most will have auto shut-off capabilities and customizable timers to make sure that it is not left on for too long. This is great to protect against you or your mattress pad overheating.

The heat from a mattress pad is directed up, and felt in parts in contact with the mattress pad. You can preheat most mattress pads before getting into bed (how nice!). 

Now let’s see the advantages and disadvantages of heated mattress pads:


  • Heat directed at your body
  • Effective relief of arthritis + other pains (joint/muscle)
  • Provides additional soft surface 
  • Are thicker and therefore more durable than most heated blankets
  • Can get waterproof versions


  • If you have incontinence may need a water-resistant heated mattress pad
  • Directed heat can become too warm if desired setting is too high
  • For use on beds only

Heated Blankets

Heated blankets are similar to heated mattress pads in how they heat, they have heating elements (coils), which arm up the blanket. Heated blankets generally have less contact with your body compared to a mattress pad. Heat rises (away from you with a blanket), so you receive more indirect heat, which will warm the bed rather than your body. 

Heated blankets are likely better if you get cold at night, rather than for chronic health issues. Heated blankets have similar auto shut-off, and multiple heatings settings similar to heated mattress pads. 

Both products offer dual controls in their larger sizes, so partners can separately control their desired temperatures.


  • Can trigger the body into falling asleep more easily
  • Reduce anxiety and stress via heat
  • Are more versatile and mobile than heated mattress pads
  • Save money on utility bills


  • Provides indirect heat, which is not as good for muscle and joint pain

Things to look for

There are certain features you will want to look for, whether you are buying a heated blanket or heated mattress pad. These include:

    • Multiple heating zones: For added customization and comfort, getting a mattress pad or blanket with different heating zones will be great to target heat to a certain area. And if you sleep with a partner it can make life easier if you can both control your own ideal temperatures.
    • Washability: You need to wash bedding, some blankets and pads can be machine washed, which is great. Others will need to be dry cleaned or spot washed. So purchase accordingly (hint: machine washable is best for convenience).
    • Temperature settings: Check out how many heat settings the mattress pad or blanket has, as the more levels of customizable temperature, the more controlled comfort you’ll have. Look for products with at least 10 temperature settings for bedding. 
    • Smart technology: Many heated products are being produced with smart technology (e.g., ThermoFine® technology). This technology can sense temperature increases/decreases, and adjust the temperature accordingly. This means you won’t have to wake up and turn the blanket or pad down, it will turn itself down.
    • Pocket depth: If you are purchasing a heated blanket, you likely won’t need to consider pocket depth. Heated mattress pads require you to consider this, if your mattress is extra deep, then look for a mattress pad with extra deep pockets.

Final Decision

Purchasing a heated mattress pad or heated blanket will come down to what you are looking for from your heated bedding. If you are looking for more concentrated heat, then a heated mattress pad is likely the best choice, if you want more indirect heat and a warmer bed in general, then a heated blanket may be your top choice.


Q. Can you use both heated blankets and heated mattress pads on the same bad?

A. Yes, however, it is not recommended to have both on at the same time as this could cause overheating. 

Q. What is the lifespan of a heated mattress pad or heated blanket?

A. Most heated products come with a decent warranty (1-5 years). The thin heating wires within the products generally will be the issue people run into, it appears 2 years can be a realistic timeline before they will need to be replaced. So look for a product with at least a 2-year warranty.