Heated Air Mattress – Top 3 of 28 Tested | January 2024

by air mattress

Hi and welcome to the Sleep Studies’ guide on heated air mattresses.

To choose the 3 recommendations, we’ve looked at every single product out there – with the emphasis on safety.

Who am I to speak?

My name is Bob and I’m an editor and head of air mattress content here SleepStudies, which is a large chunk of our site. If you’ll have me, I’ll be your industry insider for the day.

I know a lot about these things…my wife says too much…

I worked in the industry for almost two decades. Ever since, I’ve been testing airbeds and writing about them.

This is a daily thing for me…

Just last month, I traveled around China looking for answers on some of the newer models. Among them, the heated air mattresses.

So, I know how and where these are made and know which ones are safe.

Without much ado, let’s get to the results…

heated air mattress
initial tests of air mattress with heaters

Numbers of the guide – how we chose

Number of heated airbeds tested or reviewed in 2024

Total number of tested beds/pads with heaters

Number of picks we'll present

Heated air mattress – 3 top-rated

heated pad for air mattress sunbeam

Alki Thermal Topper

alki thermal heating for air mattress

Alki Thermal Topper

What you’ll see in this guide

We’ll look into three groups of products (and choose one recommendation in each):

  1. The “classic” heated air mattress – basically a pad with built-in heaters. This one can be used both in homes and for camping.
  2. The heated air mattress pad – this is your “old-school” heated pad that can be used on an air mattress. We’ll choose one that stands out as better and we’ll get into how to use it safely and without damaging your airbed.
  3. Body-heated pads – a way to heat up an air mattress with no outside source of energy. Not many people know about these, they’re not as fancy but they are a great conservative solution to the cold air mattress problem.

How we choose the heated air mattresses and pads

Within each category, we created a database and, within our budget, sent out a couple dozen heated air mattresses and pads out to our featured testers

These are the people that test products for us (duh…) and they know what to look for.

We started the work on this 6 months ago and you’re looking at the fruits of that research.

The bottom line is this – none of what you see on this page is random. But we’ll talk more about our testing methodology in a few minutes.

That is…if I can keep your attention that long.

First and foremost, this page is about choosing a heated air bed for you that does not break the bank and will be safe in the long run…both for you and your cold air mattress.

Mantuole Heated Air Mattress / Sleeping Pad

Main PROs & CONs:

details of air mattress with wire heating
  • Not dependant on a power outlet (works with all sorts of chargers and batteries in the 2 to 3.1A)
  • Well distributed heating zones (10 of them on the full/double size)
  • Top-tier Oxford fabric – waterproof and soft
  • Versatile – can be used at home, in a car or on camping site
  • Range of heat settings
  • A reported issue in some units is the battery life (shorter than described in some units, about 8% of the time as per my stats)
  • Not great for restless sleepers if used in a sleeping bag
  • You’ll likely need a stronger battery for colder sites

What’s better about it?

I know of heated air mattresses that cost 2-3 times as much without offering any “real” benefits over this Mantuole.

Knowing what to expect

To get good use out of a heated air mattress/pad like Mantuole, you have to know what to expect. It doesn’t come close to power to a heated pad that you plug into a wall and they probably never will.

It’s not made for that.

It runs on a power bank or a phone charger.

If you switch it on and hand-test it, it won’t feel crazy hot…again, it’s designed like that for safety reasons.

What it will do is yield just enough heat to create a mini-climate between a cold air mattress, a reflective pad and your body.

Bottom line

Here’s the crux – for a really cold camping trip, you might need to choose the highest setting and maybe even pair it with a reflective pad.

Also, the wiring of the heater does not run along the whole thing, so it warms up in areas – 8 times out of 10, that’s enough.

What not to expect

It drains more batteries than most people expect. So don’t expect this to keep you warm on its own using your phone mpower bank in Alaska.

In a seriously cold setting – keeping warm will be about creating a combo of this heated air mattress, a well insulated sleeping bag and a good generator.

This trio can save your tail if you know what you’re doing.

You can see an example of a good setup below – Mantuole paired with a generator like Ryobi One and the Coleman North bag

If you’re not using a sleeping in a bag, pair it with a good reflective topper like the Alki Twilight or the Horizon Hound.

If you feel that none of these setups can create enough warmth, you probably need to rethink your choice of air mattress and go with one that has no contact with the ground. If that sounds like you, you can see our guide on the air mattresses with frame and legs here.

Sunbeam heated air mattress pad – top picks for home use

Main PROs & CONs:

heat settings of the controller
  • Powerful heating
  • Independent heat controls for the two sides
  • Premium material – 140 thread count
  • Range of heat settings (12 of them)
  • Auto shut-off
  • Relies on power access (you’d need a generator to run this while camping)
  • Not waterproof (or water resistant)
  • Can be too warm for some air mattress
  • Max mattress height 18 inches

What’s better about it?

I know of heated air mattresses that cost 2-3 times as much without offering any “real” benefits over this Mantuole.

Knowing what to expect

To get good use out of a heated air mattress/pad like Mantuole, you have to know what to expect. It doesn’t come close to power to a heated pad that you plug into a wall and they probably never will.

It’s not made for that.

It runs on a power bank or a phone charger.

If you switch it on and hand-test it, it won’t feel crazy hot…again, it’s designed like that for safety reasons.

What it will do is yield just enough heat to create a mini-climate between a cold air mattress, a reflective pad and your body.

Bottom line

Here’s the crux – for a really cold camping trip, you might need to choose the highest setting and maybe even pair it with a reflective pad.

Also, the wiring of the heater does not run along the whole thing, so it warms up in areas – 8 times out of 10, that’s enough.

heated airbed pad

Alki Twilight Thermal Air mattress Topper – top non-powered pick

Main PROs & CONs:

alki thermal heating for air mattress
  • No need for power
  • Keeps you cozy without the possibility of overheating
  • Costs less than classic heated air mattress
  • On its own, not warm enough for camping in the cold

When is a topper better heated air mattress?

If you’re not camping in Alaska, a topper that traps your body heat and creates a warming cycle to solve the cold air mattress problem might be the way to go.

There are many of these but none beat the Alki’s balance between warmth efficiency and price.

How it works

There’s a metallic layer that reflects (almost) every iota of heat that dissipates from your body and warms the air between your blanket and the air mattress.

In other words, it’s basically an insulator that protects you from the cold air currents swirling around in your airbed (more on that in a minute).

It’s more comfortable and plush than it sounds

Metallic layer does not sound inviting…at all.

In reality, it’s just a thin layer that you’ll never feel.

It just feels like there’s an unidentified heat source.

What changed in this update?

We’ve tested 3 more heated air mattresses with heaters but we still don’t have the data to include them as potential picks.

We’re also collecting some more FAQs and talking to some industry experts on topics like using heating pads on and air mattress – those answers are still in preparation because there is no clear consensus. So, it will be more like a poll with answers than a straight-up answer.

Bottom line

Unlike the Sunbeam and similar toppers, Alki is actually designed to solve the problem of a cold air mattress.

It might do that on its own or, in colder climates, paired with some of the powered heat sources we talked about above….at least to give it that initial “kick.”

thermal topper for airbed

Choosing a heated air mattress

(the complete buyer’s guide)

In the section below we’ll go over some reference information on choosing.

I’m writing it for two groups of people:

  1. Those who like to understand the logic, stats and first-hand experiences behind the top picks.
  2. Those who do not like any of our recommendations and want to keep on searching.

Methodology – how we rated the air mattress with heaters and extra insulation

Below is a short overview of what we did to get to the top picks.

I’m including it for one reason alone.

To get this point across – there’s an actual process behind the heated-airbed picks – it’s a combination of first-hand use, testing, and statistics.

In other words – it’s based on thrust, authority in the air mattress field and experiences with the products.

Long story short, here’s what we did:

  1. We created a database with all heated air mattresses that might deserve your attention.There were 45 products on that list. Few of them were actually heated inflatables in the true sense of the word – the airbed or pads with heaters that are built-in.That’s because there aren’t many of those….at least not good ones. Here are the specific numbers: 5 air mattresses with heaters, 21 toppers (17 powered and 4 thermal insulating).
  2. We talked to 3 industry experts outside of our core team.The initial consultation was about creating the categories of data to collect – from the power and battery hours to the R-value when it exists.This step was about creating a unique database to serve as a foundation for rating and comparing the products within and, when possible, across categories.
  3. We went out and gathered the data for the database.It’s 14 data points for 26 products, which is a total of 364 bits of data.This includes everything from the basics like size to the more intricate, experience based bits like on-arrival issues.
  4. We went back to the experts for a second consult to define the rating criteria.The goal of this step was to define how important a quality factor is. For example, the ability to actually heat the airbed or keep it warm is crucial.The size, air retention, durability, longevity are all important but not primary factors and they’re not universally applicable.
testing of the heated air mattress

Heat sealing of vinyl and what it means for heated air mattresses

The main problem with making a good heated air mattress is obvious – the influence of high temperatures.

In other words, what the heating and the wiring that is supposed to keep you warm means for the structural integrity of the airbed.

That’s where the process of sealing comes into the equation.

Standard seals that you might see in an average airbeds have a low melting point, and aren’t a great choice for heated airbeds.

To make them more resistant to high temperatures in the long run, a manufacturer would need to use a nonstandard heat sealing machine that operates at higher temperatures – 1200 degrees Fahrenheit and higher.

The other part of the equation – the vinyl itself

Not all materials used in the modern airbed industry are created equal.

That’s especially true if you’ll be using it to make an air mattress with heaters.

To put it simply, the vinyl has a recipe that makes it worse or better suited for temperature resistance.

For example, UV stabilizers that are typically added to air mattress materials for outdoor use (camping, seaside, lilos) heighten the temperatures at which the seams part.

What this means for you

It means that choosing a heated air mattress with some of these additions in the material itself will mean more reliability and higher longevity.

Counterintuitively, some of these materials are actually cheaper than your standard airbed.

Glue used for the air mattress with heaters

Heat sealed bonds have a higher melting points than glue.

Therein lies the problem with creating a one-piece heated air mattress for home use.

You can’t use heat sealing for the connections between the fabric/vinyl and the body of the pump.

As a result, incorporating heaters into the top surface of an air mattress can results in separation and air leaks around the pump.

The area is already notorious for leak incidence percentage and, just as importantly, being pretty much impossible to fix.

Why I’m stressing this

I want to offer an explanation of sorts for the fact that none of our top three picks is a classic design.

So if you found this page while looking for classic airbed home for home use you are in for a disappointment.

They do exist but they’re not good

It’s not so much the fact that I don’t know of any classic airbed with heaters, it’s more about the fact that none of them are good enough to be a thesleepstudies recommendation.

All our tests showed significant incidences of heat related mishaps, either air leaks or all out seam separation.

The better alternative

Pick number two is a topper that does a great job at heating an air mattress.

Moreover…

This kind of heating is localized to the top surface, more so than with airbeds which feature built-in heaters.

That translates to a lesser temperature rise in the air that fills the airbed.

In the long run, this kind of setup (airbeds plus pad) will be more reliable and better value for your money.

Dwell times when sealing a heated air mattress

To put it simply, dwell time describes how long the connection between the two surfaces is maintained.

This is an important one.

It can be the difference between the heated air mattress that gives in after a weekend of camping and one that lasts a lifetime.

In fully automatic machines, the dwell time is controlled through computer and defined in advance.

Based on personal experience and many roundtrips around these factories over the years I can share this – most still rely on human operators.

This means the person using the machine besides how long the sealing will last.

What it means

Without this analysis, it doesn’t mean much because you can’t really know the well times and material types.

None of the brands list them.

It’s certainly understandable but for our purposes today, it’s useful to know.

Out of the 28 airbeds I analyzed for this guide, only seven offered that bit of information when I reached out.

Since it’s a crucial point, it’s only those seven that made it to the final cut (no pun intended).

The final part of the sealing equation – the pressure

The long-term bond between two parts of the heated air mattress (seam) is a result of three factors – temperature, dwell/time and pressure.

I left pressure for last because there are no significant differences in this aspect.

The other reason is the fact that it’s not as important as temperature and dwell time. In most factories, it’s in the 0.35-0.5 Nm2 range.

Power characteristics of a heated air mattress – supply and battery life

If you’re looking for a camping air mattress with heaters the battery life and the power characteristics will be crucial.

To be specific, you’ll want at least 7 to 10 hours of power independency. This allows for a warm cozy night without waking up to a cold air mattress.

We gathered the testing data into one database that shows the battery behavior in different heat modes.

The graphs below show the average battery life in the low medium and high setting. It’s based on your average portable battery pack.

In the case of the Mantuole, the graph shows the times when their battery/power bank is used.

When using a heated air mattress, pay special attention to the power specs – the voltage and amperage. There’s a good chance that it will only work in those ranges.

For the Mantuole – it’s 5V2A.

Finally, the mlost efficient way to heat up an airbed might not be heatters but a blanket like the Zefabak, which is our top outdoor pick in our guide on top warmest blankets for cold weather here.

Resume and takeaways

I feel that a cold air mattress is a bit less of a problem now that this guide exists.

I wasn’t sure what to expect when we set out to create it but we found a few clear winners.

If you’re still unsure about which of these is right for you, click the button below to skip to the top table.

Author

  • Bob Ozment

    Bob has been testing and writing about all things sleep (and especially blankets, air mattresses and folding beds), for 8+ years now. before that, he worked as a Quality Assurance Manager with one of the bigger names in the sleep industry. He holds a masters degree Statistics, Actuarial & Data Sciences from the central Michigan University at Mount Pleasant. He's one of the people who designs our producing testing and statistical models. He’s a stomach sleeper, but nobody’s perfect.