Why Campers Should Use Heated RV Mattress Pads
The warm summer nights are over and the temperatures start to drop as soon as the sun goes down.
The bed in your RV feels like an ice cube when you first hop into it, and you wake up constantly from the cold.
Running the RV furnace is one way to keep your RV warm at night, but it not only uses a lot of propane and electricity, but it’s also very loud, especially when you’re trying to sleep.
Related Product: Keep heat from escaping through the vents in your RV by using Camco RV Vent Insulators (click to view on Amazon)
If you are staying in an RV park or campground with electrical hookups, running an electric space heater can help with cold nights, but that’s not going to be an option for boondockers.
Electric space heaters also need to work extra hard to keep poorly insulated campers warm, which can be a big cost if you are paying for electricity.
The most efficient way to stay warm at night in an RV is to get heat right to your bed, and the best way to do that is with a heated RV mattress pad or an electric heated blanket.
In this article, I’ll review the most popular heated RV mattress pad options for campers.
I’ll also talk about energy usage and ways you can power one when camping without hookups.
Heated RV Mattress Pads vs Heated Blankets
Heated blankets are similar to heated RV mattress pads in energy usage and heat output.
But there are a few reasons why I recommend heated mattress pads over electric blankets.
Heat rises, and for that reason, it makes more sense to have the source of heat underneath you instead of on top of you.
Electric blankets lose a lot of heat to the outside air.
Even if you have blankets on top of the heated blanket, the heat transfers upwards, which is away from you.
A heated RV mattress pad will be underneath you. The heat it generates will be transferred directly to both you and your blankets.
It also heats the cold mattress better which is another reason RV beds are often so hard to warm up with just body temperature.
Our RV mattress sits on top of a large outer storage compartment.
There’s a lot of cold air underneath it, which means you can never really warm it up on cold nights, no matter how many blankets are piled on top.
Since there is less heat lost when using a heated RV mattress pad, it will take less electricity to keep you warm at night.
Electric mattress pads often have the option for two heat zones.
Preferred sleeping temperatures vary from person to person, you might not like being as toasty and warm as your partner.
There are a few heated blankets out there that have two heat zones, but it’s not as common as having multiple heat zones in an electric mattress pad.
It’s also easier to keep the heat zones separate with mattress pads. Blankets move around, and you may wake up with the wrong heat zone on top of you.
One great thing about heated mattress pads and blankets is they help reduce the number of blankets you will need to stay warm.
But with heated blankets, you will pretty much always need to have another blanket on top.
If you are using an electric mattress pad you should only need to have one winter blanket to stay warm.
Best Heated RV Mattress Pads Reviewed
Short Queen Option
Last update on 2023-09-23 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API
There are a lot of companies out there that make electric blankets and mattress pads, but only one has a size option for camper queen (short queen) mattresses.
Electrowarmth has been around since 1939. Many RVs and semi-trucks use their products.
They used to make a 12 volt heated mattress pad, but it’s not available anymore. 12 volt heated blankets and mattress pads aren’t known for working very well anyways.
If you want a heated product that works, it is going to need to be 110 volt AC powered.
Electrowarmth makes heated mattress pads for every size of mattress you could possibly imagine. They also have single zone options in every size as well.
If your RV has a short queen don’t get a queen size electric mattress pad because you don’t want the heat coils to fold over the edge of the bed.
For RVs with camper queens, this is the only choice. Luckily it’s a good one that many RVers choose over the rest anyways.
Both zones have 10 heat settings, which is perfect for boondockers with limited electricity because the low settings don’t use a lot of power.
There’s an emergency auto shut off in case of overheating, a quick heat feature, and an automatic timer that shuts off the heat after 10 hours.
It fits mattresses that are up to 13 inches thick and it’s washing machine and dryer safe. There’s also a 1 year warranty.
There’s padding around the heat coils so you won’t feel underneath you.
One thing to note about the dual zone version is each side uses its own electrical cable. That means you will need to have an outlet on each side of the bed or at the foot of the bed.
Mose RVs have outlets on either side of the bed, but it’s something to think about if you are going to be powering the heated mattress pad with one power station.
It’s still possible since most power stations have multiple outlets, and the power cables can be placed at the foot of the bed, so both power cables can reach one power station safely.
Each zone also gets a controller, so you don’t have to rely on another person to adjust the temperature of your side.
Both zones together will use up to 1.1 amps in total.
That means they can each use up to 63 watts of power per hour. That’s 126 watts in total if both zones are on the highest setting.
Most people should only need the lower settings to sleep comfortably at night. If both zones are set to 1/3 power you will be using around 40 watts in total.
A 500 watt power station will last at least 12 hours on that setting.
For RVs that require camper queens, or any other kind of RV mattress, an Electrowarmth Dual Zone Heated Mattress Pad is an excellent choice to keep you warm in your RV even when it’s almost freezing outside.
- 10 Heat Zones
- Camper Queen Size Option
- Dual Zones
- Single Zone Optional
- Two Controllers
- Low Power Usage
- Has Two Plugs (Requires Two Outlets)
Today, many RVs use regular sized mattresses.
Camper or short queen mattresses aren’t as common since, in general, campers are much bigger than they used to be.
If your RV has a regular mattress in it, you can get a regular sized heated mattress pad.
Sunbeam is a brand most heated blanket users will recognize.
They make some fantastic heated products, and Sunbeam heated mattress pads are a great choice for RV use.
The electric mattress pad linked to above is queen sized, but there are twin, full, and kind size options available with the same features.
There are two controls for each heat zone, but only one power plug.
The one power plug helps simplify things if you are using a portable power station or inverter.
There are 10 heat settings and a timer button that starts an auto-shut off feature that will turn off the heated mattress pad after 10 hours.
Each zone uses up to 180 watts, that’s 360 watts in total if both zones are turned to the highest setting.
Much like the Electrowarmth reviewed above, you shouldn’t need to have the heated mattress pad on high all night.
You most likely will want it to be on the lowest setting once the mattress has heated up.
Even though there’s no camper queen option, the Sunbeam Dual Zone Heated Mattress Pad is a fantastic way to heat a regular sized mattress in an RV.
- 10 Heat Zones
- Dual Zones
- Single Zone Optional
- Two Controllers
- Low Power Usage
- One Power Plug
- 10 Hour Timer
- No Overheat Safety Feature
- No Camper Queen Option
Ways to Power Heated RV Mattress Pads When Boondocking
If you are connected to electrical hookups, powering a heated RV mattress pad is going to be easy. Just plug it into the wall outlet and you’re good to go.
But if you’re out in the wilderness getting 110 volt AC power is going to be a little more difficult.
Here are a few suggestions for ways you can still use an electric RV mattress pad even with you aren’t plugged into power.
Portable Power Station
If you’re looking for a simple way to power your electronics while camping, portable power stations are the answer.
A portable power station also called a solar generator, is a battery, inverter, and solar charge controller built into a portable unit.
They come in all different sizes and some have better parts on them than others.
For things like electric blankets and heated RV mattress pads, you want to make sure you get one with a pure sine wave inverter.
They’re very easy to use and they can be charged with solar panels or a regular outlet.
We use a large 1500 watt portable power station to plug in our entire RV, but you can get a smaller one to run small electronics like a TV, coffee maker, or heated RV mattress pad.
Both have pure sine wave inverters and multiple outlets.
The Jackery 500 could power both zones of the Electrowarm heated RV mattress pad on full power for almost 4 hours.
The Ecoflow River Pro has a little bit more battery capacity. It could run the Electrowarm for almost 6 hours on the highest heat settings.
You’ll never have both zones on high for that long. On the low setting, the portable power stations will last 3 times longer.
You can always get a larger portable power station if you need more power.
You can go even bigger than 1000 watts if you want a portable power station that can run your entire RV.
Inverter for RV Battery
If you aren’t afraid of doing a little installation you could also power a heated RV mattress pad with a pure sine wave inverter that’s connected to the RV battery.
If you only plan on powering small electronics, including the heated mattress pad, an inverter that’s around 500 watts should output plenty of power.
But if you want to power multiple electronics at the same time, I recommend getting an inverter that’s at least 1000 watts (click to view on Amazon).
Renogy is a popular brand in the portable solar energy world.
They make a lot of fantastic solar panels, solar charge controllers, inverters, and more for camping and home use.
For small electronics, the Renogy 700 watt inverter (click to view on Amazon) is a great choice.
It uses a pure sine wave inverter, comes with power cables to connect it to the RV battery, and has a wired remote control you can use to turn it on or off.
One thing about this option is it can be harder to see the charge levels of your RV battery. If the RV battery dies none of the 12 volt appliances in your camper will work.
That includes the water pump, fridge, and lights.
You should also have better than average RV batteries with high capacity, like AGM or Lithium.
If you aren’t familiar with 12 volt batteries and their capacity, I recommend going with a portable power station instead.
Frequently Asked Questions About Electric RV Mattress Pads
Should I Get a Heated Mattress or Heated Mattress Pad?
Some RVs come with heated mattresses. Unlike heated mattress pads, heated mattresses have heat coils built into the mattress.
In theory, this is a pretty good idea for RVers. RVs always have extra cold mattresses, especially when the bed is over an outside storage compartment.
But many RVers don’t like the feel of heated RV mattresses. They are often very uncomfortable, and you can’t swap out the mattress without losing the heating capabilities.
That’s where a heated mattress pad becomes the better option.
You can use it on the mattress that you find comfortable, and you can easily transfer it to the bed in your home, or another RV.
The heating capabilities are the same, so why not get the option that is easy to move, more cost effective, and allows you to use a more comfortable mattress?
Can a Heated RV Mattress Pad Be Placed Under a Mattress Topper?
You should not place a foam pad or mattress topper on top of an electric mattress pad.
The extra insulation can cause them to overheat.
It’s also going to be harder for the heat to transfer to your body.
You can put a light mattress cover on top of the heated mattress pad if you can feel the coils and want a little more padding.
Look in the manual to find information about the limitations of your specific brand and type of heated mattress pad.
Have any more questions about using a heated RV mattress pad to stay warm without using the RV furnace? Leave a comment below.