Mattress Pad Or Mattress Protector – Which Is Better?

A mattress protector is an item of removable bedding that sits on top of, or encases, a mattress to protect it. As implied in its name, a mattress protector’s main job is to protect the mattress.

It can be identified by its lack of padding and most resembles a thin sheet-like layer that is installed directly on top of your mattress, under the sheets.

Unlike the mattress protector a mattress pad is identified by its light padding and quilted top.

It can be found on top of the mattress, under the sheets. It is not like the protector because it has a light padding.

Mattress pad Or mattress protector comparison

Understanding the two is helpful because you will know what to get according to your need.

The article will help you decide which one to get to suit your preferences because they both serve different purposes.

First off, it’s important to note the differences between mattress pads and mattress protectors.

A mattress pad is a relatively thick piece of quilted material that sits on top of your mattress, but below your sheets.

A mattress pad can help to protect your mattress to some degree from general wear and tear, and help reduce allergens.

But in general you’d purchase a mattress pad to add comfort to your mattress.

The primary reason we would suggest buying a mattress pad is because you’re unhappy with your current mattress and a mattress pad can be a nice short-term solution to add comfort to an older or uncomfortable mattress.

If you’re buying a brand-new mattress, whether it’s foam, innerspring, or otherwise, there is really no need to purchase a mattress pad.

A mattress protector also sits directly on the surface of your mattress, but below your sheets.

It’s similar to a fitted sheet in the way it covers the mattress.

They are generally made from cotton, polyester, or other materials, and are designed to help repel liquid and prevent other sources of damage (dirt, dust, allergens, etc.).

The most common use for a mattress protector is simply as a liquid resistant protector.

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Do I need a mattress protector or a mattress pad?

If you have an older mattress that you’re not terribly happy with we would recommend a mattress pad.

Mattress pads are an inexpensive way to add a little life to older or otherwise uncomfortable mattresses.

If it’s a new mattress, there is no need to purchase a mattress pad (assuming you are happy with the mattress).

About mattress protectors

Mattress protectors are designed to protect your mattress against a wide range of problems, including:

Wear and tear – Given the amount of time we spend in our beds, it’s only natural that they’ll suffer from wear and tear as time goes on.

Despite your best efforts, your mattress will get dirty and faded or even ripped and torn.

A mattress cover offers an extra layer of defense to guard against these issues so your mattress is in good condition for longer.

Spills and stains – Mattress protectors can protect your mattress from liquid spills.

When your mattress becomes damp, mold and mildew can develop, causing an unhygienic sleeping environment.

That’s why we advise waterproof mattress covers if you have an increased risk of fluids in a bed.

By this we mean;

  • Excessive sweating
  • You like to eat and drink in bed
  • You have small children
  • You have family members who suffer from incontinence
  • You like to share your bed with your pets, etc.

Allergens Mattresses can be home to thousands of dust mites, which is one of the most common causes of allergies.

You might want to consider using a box spring cover as well for total protection.

Mattress protectors also repel other common allergens, such as pet dander, mold and mildew, making it easier for you to sleep at night.

Bed bugs – As the name suggests, bed bugs love congregating in your bed!

They thrive on human and animal blood, so your mattress and pillows are an ideal place for them to live so that they have easy access to their food source.

A bed bug-proof mattress cover will repel these nasty creatures by covering the mattress on all sides, creating a barrier that is too thick for the bed bugs to get through.

The different types of mattress protectors

5-sided mattress protectors – act like a fitted sheet, covering the top and all four sides of the mattress, with an elastic edge to keep it in place.

These types of mattress protectors frequently come with a waterproof top surface, making them ideal if you need to protect your mattress from fluids, e.g. drinks, incontinence, etc.

These types of mattress cover also help guard against wear and tear, although they do not offer total protection against bed bugs.


6-sided mattress – encasements cover the whole mattress, a little like putting the mattress into a big bag the same way you do a sleeping bag.

These types of mattress protectors are fantastic if you need to protect your mattress against bed bugs.

For total peace of mind, choose a mattress that features a micro-tooth zipper to minimize the chances of bed bugs getting in and out of your mattress.

Learn more about mattress pads

As for mattress pads you, you need to consider the material they are made of and their pad depth.

Mattress pads serve a multi-purpose role to promote extra comfort, provide protection and maintain tidy sheets.

Mattress pad depth

A great mattress pad is only good if it actually fits the bed.

The actual pad thickness ranges from one-quarter inch to five inches thick, depending on your sleep requirements.

Below are measurements to find compatible mattresses and pads.

Standard: A standard mattress ranges between seven to nine inches deep. An ideal mattress pad to fit this depth ranges from seven to 14.5 inches.

Deep: A deep mattress ranges between 10 to 15 inches deep. An ideal mattress pad to fit this depth ranges up to 15 inches.

Extra deep: An extra deep mattress ranges between 15 to 22 inches deep. An ideal mattress pad to fit this depth ranges from 16 to 22 inches.


Cotton: Cotton mattress pads are generally thinner, quilted and machine-wash friendly.

These pads are best used to block stains and daily wear from the mattress and not the most optimal for extra support.

Typically, these pads work best with pillow tops mattresses that are already comfortable before the pad.

Wool: Wool may cost more, but is perfect to provide extra-warmth and maximum protection.

Perfect for any bed, wool absorbs moisture, keeping you dry throughout your dreams.

Wool adds softness, comfort and ideal for those who suffer from dust, chemical or mold allergies since wool is resistant toward these allergenic.

Latex: Latex is nontoxic, relaxing and long lasting.

The natural latex is derived from rubber trees, thus is naturally hypoallergenic and can last up to 20 years.

Memory foam: Memory foam is lightweight, yet thick, which molds to the body naturally.

It does absorb heat, and maybe too hot for some to handle, and is best to sleep in rooms that are around 65 degrees Fahrenheit.

Down feathers: Down featherbed pads are lightweight, fluffy and soft. The down regulates body heat, which is ideal for those who have night sweats.

These pads keep you cool in the summer and warm in the winter. Aim for a 200 thread count or higher since the quality will be good, durable yet soft.