Many factors contribute to how warm or cold you sleep, from whether you’re running air conditioning or fans to the type of comforters or bed sheets you’re using. But one of the most important things to consider if you sleep hot is what type of mattress you’re sleeping on. And because a number of beds claim to provide cooling benefits, it can be difficult to cut through the advertising to find one that actually helps you sleep comfortably.
With that in mind, we tested popular mattresses to see which ones will keep you coolest. Our winner, the GhostBed Luxe(available at Amazon), impressed us with the best scores we’ve seen on our lab’s heat-dispersal tests. It also slept cool at our tester’s home, in addition to feeling firm and supportive throughout the night and isolating motion (from, say, a restless partner) exceptionally well.
Here are the best cooling mattresses we tested ranked, in order:
Serta Perfect Sleeper Nestled Night Hybrid
Tuft & Needle Original
Puffy Lux Hybrid
Lucid 10 Inch Medium Gel Memory Foam
When it comes to its cooling properties, the GhostBed Luxe blew us away: It diffused heat in our lab tests faster than any mattress we’ve ever tested. The mattress also held up at home, where it kept our tester cool when she slept on it in early summer months in her AC-less bedroom.
The company advertises that the Luxe has seven layers of material within the 13-inch mattress to provide support and a cooler sleep, from a plush cover and an inch of gel memory foam to a layer of “airflow-enhanced” fabric and a “ghost ice” foam layer. And while that language is fancy marketing, our tester was impressed by just how cool the mattress kept her at night.
In addition, GhostBed Luxe excelled with its low motion transfer scores. If your partner is tossing and turning on one side of the mattress, you’re unlikely to feel it on your side with the GhostBed Luxe. It’s also a firm mattress, which bodes especially well for certain sleeping positions, like stomach or back.
Of course, no mattress is perfect. Our tester, Sara, found some frayed stitching on the GhostBed Luxe after just two months of use. While she didn’t use a mattress protector (more on this coming), this raises a concern about the long-term durability of the mattress. Likewise, GhostBed Luxe offered only average edge support, meaning it sinks down more than you might like if you tend to sit on the side of the bed to put on your shoes.
The Lull Mattress is all around a great pick, winning awards for both Best Memory Foam MattressandBest Firm Mattress in our tests. It can also add accolades for being the best value in the cooling category for its impressive heat diffusion scores that make it a close runner-up to GhostBed. It’s also much cheaper—retailing for about 50% less than GhostBed Luxe at full prices.
Our tester said she never woke up feeling “overbaked” while using Lull. Plus, she thought that it captured the ideal balance between a cushioned, foam surface and a firm, supportive feel. The mattress also has strong edge support, meaning you can perch on the side of the bed and it won’t collapse under.
The only downside is that Lull could be too firm for some people. Our tester appreciated the surface’s support, but for some sleepers—particularly those who sleep on their side—it may not be the best option to avoid pressure points. Bottom line: For many people, Lull will keep you cool while also keeping your wallet happy.
We subject every mattress we write about at Reviewed to both real-life sleeping and standardized tests in our Cambridge, Massachusetts lab. Our scientists developed tests for a range of criteria, from motion isolation to edge support to, yes, how well they disperse heat. The mattresses also go home with members of the Reviewed staff, who sleep on them for a month. The lab data and our subjective experiences combine to create a comprehensive and balanced testing protocol.
We culled this list based on heat diffusion data from our lab tests and feedback from our testers about how warm the mattresses slept.
Mattress testing—like mattress shopping—is no small undertaking. Several Reviewed writers, editors, and scientists contributed to this testing.
I’m Chris, Reviewed’s mattress writer, and I was charged with selecting the products that performed best in the cooling tests to pull together these recommendations. I love nerding out about mattresses. In fact, before I started at Reviewed, I tested 10 mattresses before I actually purchased one for my home. Others at Reviewed have tested mattresses over the years, but some recent testers include Sara Tabin and Lindsay Vickers.
At our lab, mattress tests are created and supervised by Reviewed’s chief scientist Dave Ellerby. “To test how well a mattress diffuses heat, we warm silicon heating pads to body temperature and place them on the mattress under a cozy blanket,” Ellerby says. “Temperature loggers placed under the heated pads measure how quickly they cool down.”
This helps replicate how our bodies might release heat throughout the night, and how that heat both makes contact with our mattress and spreads throughout the surrounding area. “The faster the pads lose heat, the better the mattress is at moving heat away from your body and keeping you cool,” he says.
When we combine these scientific results with the notes from our testers after sleeping on the mattress for 30 days, we gain a better understanding of what mattresses sleep cooler than others.
Finally, cooling attributes aren’t the only measure of a good bed, so we accounted for the scores on our litany of lab and home as well as how these mattresses fared as sleep surfaces.
What You Should Know About Buying a Cooling Mattress
It’s well known that temperature plays a role in sleep quality, and for most people, cooler is better. And if you know you sleep hot, it can be a rude awakening to find out that the mattress you just purchased contributes to the problem.
A mattress’s ability to diffuse heat often comes down to the material it’s made of. Traditional innerspring mattresses typically sleep coolest, because there’s plenty of breathing room around the coils to allow heat to dissipate. But the foam that’s so popular in mattresses in a box—in part because it compresses well for shipping—is a dense material that fundamentally doesn’t allow for much air circulation. Combine that with its primary property of conforming to your body, and even more of your body heat may be trapped against your skin. To combat this, foam mattress manufacturers often add some sort of a gel or cooling layer to help prevent overheating. Those layers consist of gel beads or pods, which absorb heat and draw it away from the sleeper. Otherwise, hybrid mattresses, which combine foam and innerspring layers, may take a best-of-both-worlds approach for both cradling support and cooling.
Of course, it’s not always the case that any one material or combination of materials is going to create a cooler sleep—hence why testing a mattress’ cooling capabilities is so important to us at Reviewed.
In addition, if you use a mattress topper or mattress protector—the latter being our recommendation to preserve your mattress’ longevity and reduce the dust and mites that can contribute to allergies—you may be hindering any cooling properties of the mattress itself.
Other Cooling Mattresses We Tested
The Original Purple Mattress
Of the many all-foam mattresses we’ve tested, the Purple mattress was one of the coolest. Its “hyper elastic polymer” material—the purple-colored layer that the brand is famous for—is designed with spaces that allow for airflow and heat diffusion, which our lab tests confirmed. Pricing is at the higher end, but Purple may be a great option if you’re looking for an upgrade or if you’re looking for a highly supportive mattress.
Like some other mattresses on this list, our tester thought that the Purple may be a bit too firm for some people. Mattresses are, by nature, products that need a few hands to move, but Purple posed a particular challenge. Its polymer material is so floppy that, in order to get the mattress into her bedroom, she had to actually fold it in half.
The Bear Hybrid mattress, with its layers of foam over a coil base, did a good job diffusing heat in home and lab tests. Our tester, who often sleeps hot, felt cool at night with the Bear. She also enjoyed the sinking-in sensation of its comfortable, plush top layer.
That said, the Bear didn’t do well at isolating motion at home or in our lab, so it might not be the best choice for a sensitive sleeper whose partner or pets get up or roll around at night. Likewise, the material may not be durable: After sitting in our lab for about six months, we discovered a rip in the Bear mattress—damage that doesn’t normally happen, even if we’re moving things around for photo shoots, storage, or testing.
The foam construction of Nectar mattress absorbed heat but also quickly dissipated it. When our tester sat in one spot for 10 minutes, she felt the mattress heat up under her. When she got up, the spot quickly cooled back down. Nectar also did well enough in lab tests to earn a spot on this list.
However, its lack of edge support and firmness may be deal breakers for some sleepers. Our tester felt that Nectar was often too soft for real comfort—she tossed and turned in multiple positions, but because the material is so squishy and compressive under any amount of weight, she often felt under supported. If you don’t mind or prefer a soft surface, the Nectar’s value price tag may make all of that worth it.
Serta Perfect Sleeper "Nestled Night" Mattress-in-a-Box
Although not the coolest mattress we’ve tested, Serta’s Perfect Sleeper didn’t overheat our tester, who said the surface felt not-too-firm but also not-too-soft. She also felt like it kept its form but also responded to different sleeping positions and movement..
Serta’s Perfect Sleeper is also one of the more affordable mattresses we’ve tested, though for the savings you may be sacrificing some quality: Our tester found that the fabric ticking felt thin, cheap, and scratchy, and some of the stitching appeared untidy.
The Tuft & Needle Original mattress won honors as our Best Affordable Mattress, and as far as cooling, it retained average heat throughout the night and in our lab tests. It may not actively cool you down, but it likely won’t leave you feeling as overbaked as some mattresses out there.
That being said, our tester adored the overall sleep experience offered by the Tuft & Needle. She found it to offer a very firm surface that supported her throughout the night. Our tester liked it so much that she was sad to see it leave her home after sleeping on it for her testing month.
The Lucid mattress yielded mixed results on our cooling tests. It did a great job diffusing heat in our lab tests, but our tester didn’t think it held up at home, saying that she routinely woke up feeling that she was too hot. Given that its heat diffusion may differ depending on who’s sleeping on the mattress, we didn’t think Lucid should rank higher on the list.
Apart from its questionable cooling capability, Lucid earns points for its affordable price—but loses some for being extra-extra firm (despite being labeled as “medium” by the manufacturer) and poor at isolating motion.
The soft-sleeping Puffy Lux Hybrid mattress may be too thick and squishy to diffuse enough heat for a comfortable sleep. While the company claims the Puffy Lux Hybrid is a cooling mattress and advertises that its 1.5-inch section of “Cooling Cloud” foam “is designed to keep you at an optimal temperature for amazing sleep comfort,” our tester’s experience suggested that this wasn’t enough to diffuse heat—she noted feeling hot after sleeping on Puffy. This mattresses also scored average in our heat-diffusion lab tests.
Our tester also found that the mattress had a particularly bad odor for several days after unboxing it—while it’s common for mattresses in a box to stink after being removed from their plastic packaging, the smell usually dissipates before it’s too noticeable. In this case, Puffy’s Lux Hybrid remained quite stinky. Overall, we weren’t impressed with Puffy.
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