Do You Need A Mattress Pad or Mattress Protector?

Mattress Pad or Mattress Protector

What is a mattress pad? And what is a mattress protector? Are these 2 products the same or different? Maybe you should just choose whatever sounds cool. Well, stop right there. When it comes to bedding items, you shouldn’t be ignorant. The mattress you’ve worked so hard to search for deserves nothing less. What do you say?

A mattress pad and a mattress protector are 2 different things, to begin with. They serve 2 different purposes. They can work together. But most of the time, one of them is enough. In the following guide, you will get to know each accessory and its benefits. It will be clear to you which one you need more.

Once you nail the correct product, you can now start choosing the model that matches your existing mattress. We have top recommendations for you for both items. That said, we shouldn’t keep you waiting. Let’s get down to business.

What Is A Mattress Pad?

Designed to enhance or provide more comfort, a mattress pad is a separate layer placed atop a mattress. It’s added to your bed when the latter is worn out or when its firmness doesn’t suit you. You can make the surface softer or firmer through the mattress pad. Try this adjustment if you don’t want to return your mattress to the manufacturer. Or if it’s showing some signs of deterioration.

Also called mattress topper, this bedding item comes in several types. These are pillowtop mattress pads, memory foam mattress pads, and latex mattress pads. As you probably noticed, the materials used are no different from those found in mattresses. Latex types can be divided into Dunlop and Talalay latex. Quilt-like and made of cotton, down, or microfiber, the pillowtop variety offers the plush feel you often experience in hotels.

Memory foam mattress toppers sport the close conformity that the viscoelastic foam is known for. A special kind of mattress pad, though, is the electric mattress pad. It is a heavy fabric featuring heating filaments. This accessory, no matter the type, is not necessary if your mattress feels all right. Too plush? It might affect the support you’re getting from the bed itself.

Mattress Protector

What Is A Mattress Protector?

Meanwhile, a mattress protector refers to a bedding item that can sit above or encase the mattress. Its primary purpose is to protect the mattress from dust, dirt, and stains. Even if your mattress comes with a cover and you vacuum it regularly, you might want to keep it from pesky parasites and particles. A mattress protector can be very useful when the original cover cannot be removed and washed.

But this product does not only serve the bed. It also acts as a barrier between the sleeper and potential allergens. The usual causes of allergies are dust mites, bed bugs, and mold. A build-up of dead skin can also irritate some people. But more importantly, this pile becomes food for dust mites. The mattress protector creates a hindrance for the latter, which cannot penetrate layers of fabric.

So, a mattress protector can also keep humans safe and protected. It usually comes as a quilted fitted sheet. You can find waterproof ones if you need this type specifically. This accessory has relied on natural fabrics, such as cotton, over the years. But recent trends show there has been a shift toward synthetic ones such as memory foam and spacer fabrics.

Do You Need A Mattress Pad or A Mattress Protector?

Comfort or protection? That is the question. 

The best way to tell which one you need is to nail your purpose. Are you looking to adjust the comfort level of your new or old mattress? Are you in search of ways to keep your mattress and body from dust, dirt, insects, and other allergens? You will need a mattress pad or topper in the first scenario. Meanwhile, the second one requires a mattress protector.

Of course, there are no strict rules to follow in some situations. Your mattress pad may provide both comfort and protection. But protection is limited to the top part. You can make this work for you if you’re disciplined in keeping your sleeping space immaculate. It’s also more ideal if you live alone. This may not be the right choice if you have children or pets. 

Some mattress protectors can also be thick enough to let you adjust the firmness of the mattress surface. But it doesn’t always deliver in this department. You may have to buy both pad and protector if the occasion calls for it.

Best Mattress Pads or Toppers

For the most comfortable sleep, check out these options:

  • Editor’s Pick – Birch Plush Pillow Top
  • Best Budget Mattress Topper – Lucid 2-Inch 5-Zone Gel Memory Foam Topper
  • Best Luxury Mattress Topper – PlushBeds Natural Latex Topper
  • Best Cooling Mattress Topper – Molecule AirTEC Topper

Best Mattress Protectors

Protect yourself and your bed with these models:

  • Editor’s Pick – Nectar Mattress Protector
  • Best Affordable Luxury Mattress Protector – Casper Mattress Protector
  • Best Premium Mattress Protector – Tempurpedic Mattress Protector
  • Best Extra Soft & Hypoallergenic Mattress Protector – Silentnight Soft As Silk Mattress Protector


So, it’s been clear to you in our earlier discussion which bedding item you should shop for. You just have to ask yourself which to prioritize: comfort or protection? Comfort is the responsibility of a mattress pad or mattress topper. Protection is in the hands of a mattress protector.

You also came across the best models on the market for both sleep accessories. They have various features to offer. Plus, their prices range from low-cost to mid-end. Before you click the buy button, make sure that the product indeed matches your purpose and your mattress’ requirements (e.g. dimensions, compatibility, etc).

Lastly, make sure to share this article with someone who might benefit from the information. We’d love for our readers to expand their knowledge and understanding of the mattress world and all its wonderful elements. This is why is filled with educational articles and guides, covering as many topics as possible.