Mattress Pad vs. Topper Mattress Comparison: Which Is Best? Update 04/2024

In addition to protecting the mattress, mattress pads and toppers provide additional comfort. Mattress protectors provide your mattress an extra layer of comfort. With a mattress topper, you may change the feel of your bed by adding more padding.

It’s important to note that both mattress pads and toppers can help extend the life of your mattress. Choose a mattress pad if you want to make your mattress more comfortable while also keeping it stain-free. Softening a firm mattress or boosting the hardness of a soft mattress can be achieved with the use of a mattress topper.

If you’re in the market for a new mattress, a mattress pad or topper can be a good option.

Mattress Pad vs. Topper Comparison Chart

A mattress pad or a mattress topper serves the same purpose as a mattress: to provide additional comfort. Mattress toppers, on the other hand, tend to be thicker and more customizable than mattress pads. Mattress pads and mattress toppers are compared in the table below.

Mattress Pad Mattress Topper
Thickness Up to 2 inches 2-4 inches thick
Feel Adds slight plushness Adds significant cushion
Support Provides light support Thicker layer offers more support
Cooling No cooling properties Some breathable foams can keep you cool
Protection Minimal spill and wear protection Thicker layer provides extra protection from spills and wear
Durability Typically lasts 3-5 years Typically lasts 3-5 years
Maintenance Typically machine washable Not machine washable
Average Cost $155-$289 $199-$359

Adding a mattress topper might have a more dramatic impact on the feel of your mattress than adding a mattress pad. Mattress pads and mattress toppers are covered in greater detail below.

What Is a Mattress Pad?

With the mattress pad, you can change the comfort and/or protection of your mattress by placing it on top of the mattress itself. Because they are only 1 to 2 inches thick, mattress pads have little impact on the hardness of a bed. Although they aren’t specifically designed to alleviate pain from aches and pains, they can make the bed feel softer.

Natural or synthetic materials can be used to make a mattress pad. According on its design and the materials it’s made from, the feel of a mattress pad might vary greatly.

Mattress Pad Benefits

In most cases, a mattress pad is utilized to raise or lower the firmness of a mattress. If you want a firmer mattress, you can use a mattress pad to soften it up, or vice versa.

Mattress pads are a common way for people to keep their mattresses stain- and spill-free. A mattress pad may also help protect a mattress from dust, mites, and other allergens, depending on the type. Mattress protectors are a distinct product developed exclusively for this purpose, but the waterproof material used to make them can make them rather noisy. In addition to being quieter, mattress pads might be more comfortable.

Types of Mattress Pads

Cotton, wool, feather, fiber, latex, and memory foam are just a few of the materials that go into mattress pads.

Cotton Mattress Pads

For its softness and long-lasting qualities, cotton mattress pads are a popular choice. These mattress pads are long-lasting and reasonably priced, albeit the price of organic cotton is a little higher. Cotton mattress pads, on the other hand, may not be able to adequately protect the mattress from spills and stains because cotton is highly absorbent. Cotton mattress pads, unless backed by special treatment or combined with another material, may not provide much protection.

Wool Mattress Pads

Wool mattress pads are airy and silky, wicking away sweat and perspiration from the body. Sheep’s wool is an expensive natural resource. Due to the fact that most wool mattress pads can’t be machine washed, maintaining them may be a challenge. Additionally, wool mattress pads are ineffective in preventing liquids from soaking in.

Feather Mattress Pads

Feathers from ducks and geese are used to make feather mattress pads. Feathers from the underside of the bird’s plumage may also be used. Feather mattress pads are soft, cuddly, and toasty, but they are pricey and inefficient at preventing stains from leaking through the mattress.

Fiber Mattress Pads

These mattress pads are filled with polyester, rayon, and down substitutes known as fiberfill. Despite their stain-resistant properties, synthetic fiber mattress pads can be noisy. Because they can’t be washed with a machine, their upkeep may be a challenge as well.

Latex Mattress Pads

Latex mattress pads can be made from either natural or synthetic latex, or a combination of both. A latex mattress pad’s thickness determines how it conforms to the shape of your body and provides bounce. Although they are pricey and time consuming to maintain, they do provide some level of protection from spills and wear. When used in conjunction with latex mattresses, mattress pads are at their best.

Memory Foam Mattress Pads

It’s unusual to see memory foam mattress pads on the market. Despite their plushness, they aren’t thick enough to provide pressure-relief. It is difficult to maintain them because they cannot be washed easily and are useless at blocking stains.

Benefits of Mattress Pads

  • Cushions your mattress for you.
  • Lightweight.
  • Some can be washed in the machine.
  • Some are designed to withstand wear and tear.

What Is a Mattress Topper?

Adding a mattress topper is a way to significantly alter the firmness level of a mattress. Many materials are used to make toppers, which can range from 1 to 4 inches thick. The purpose of a mattress topper is not to protect the mattress from liquids or other impurities, as is the case with a mattress pad.

For the most part, toppers are intended to fit one of the six commonly used mattress sizes. For those who prefer a more secure fit, certain mattress toppers are equipped with elastic straps.

Mattress Topper Benefits

The firmness of a mattress can be significantly altered by the addition of a mattress topper. A really firm mattress can benefit from a thick and fluffy model. Adding a mattress topper might help firm up a squishy mattress that has too much give in it.

However, even the best mattress topper isn’t capable of completely restoring an old mattress. It is also possible to use a mattress topper in order to raise the height of the mattress or to reduce the normal wear and tear. When a person doesn’t want to buy a new mattress but yet wants to modify the feel of their bed, a mattress topper is a great option.

Types of Mattress Toppers

Although mattress toppers provide more protection from wear and tear, their material may not be effective in blocking spills and stains.

Memory Foam Mattress Topper

These mattress toppers are popular because they conform to the body and alleviate pressure points. A memory foam mattress topper may assist alleviate your morning aches and pains. It is possible to have them in gel memory foam as well.

Latex Mattress Topper

Mattresses with latex tops are responsive and supportive. Dust mites, bedbugs, mold, and mildew aren’t a problem because natural latex is hypoallergenic.

Wool Mattress Topper

Wool mattress toppers are soft and supportive, as well as quite effective at regulating heat. The moisture-wicking properties of wool keep you both warm and cool in the winter and hot and dry in the summer, respectively.

Featherbed Mattress Topper

Featherbed mattress toppers give you a pillowtop mattress’s fluffy, cloud-like texture. When used for an extended period of time, featherbed mattress toppers will become matted if not shaken and fluffed regularly.

Benefits of Mattress Toppers

  • Thick enough to affect the mattress’s feel.
  • Extends the life of your mattress by doing this.
  • Back pain and other ailments may be relieved by some.

Mattress Pads vs. Mattress Toppers

Choosing between mattress toppers and pads boils down to whether you want to protect your mattress or make a big change to the feel of your mattress.

With a mattress pad, you can keep your mattress clean and dry by adding a layer of comfort to your bed. Softening or strengthening the bed’s surface can be achieved by using a mattress pad, however this does not modify its firmness level. Protecting your mattress from moisture and grime is another benefit of using mattress pads.

In the case of sleepers who want to significantly alter the feel of their bed, optpers are the best option. Mattress toppers are more suited to making a mattress firmer or softer because they are thicker than mattress pads. With breathable materials, toppers can also aid in a cooler night’s sleep.

Adding a mattress topper can extend the life of your mattress by decreasing the likelihood of early deterioration and imprints. Toppers can also help alleviate aches and pains by reducing the pressure on specific areas of the body.

To sum things up, mattress pads can be used to fine-tune the comfort and support of a bed, while mattress toppers can make a significant difference.

Category Mattress Pads Mattress Toppers
Use A mattress pad is designed to increase a bed’s comfort and protect a mattress from accidents and contaminants. A mattress topper is used to noticeably change a mattress’ feel and provide extra pressure relief. Toppers can also revitalize an old mattress or lengthen the life of a new one.
Feel A mattress pad can make a bed feel slightly more plush, but it won’t alter a mattress’ firmness level. A topper creates a more marked change in the way a bed feels. Depending on the type, a topper can make a mattress softer or firmer.
Durability Durability largely depends on materials and craftsmanship, but most mattress toppers last between 3 and 5 years. The average mattress topper should perform optimally for 3 to 5 years.
Cost Mattress pads can range from $20 to a few hundred dollars. Cost depends on type and quality. Toppers are generally more expensive than mattress pads. The average queen size topper costs between $150 and $400.
Cleaning & Care Care guidelines vary based on model, but most mattress pads can be machine washed and dried. While not as low maintenance as mattress pads, most toppers have removable covers that are machine-washable. The interior components must generally be spot treated, though, and some designs should only be dry cleaned.

Which Should You Choose?

A mattress pad or a mattress topper will largely depend on your own preferences and needs. A mattress topper can change the firmness level of a bed, whereas a mattress pad can only minimally alter the feel of the mattress..

Most mattress toppers are not designed to protect a mattress from liquids and spills, although mattress pads may feature a waterproof layer.

Mattress pads and mattress toppers have the same lifespan. According to materials and brand, toppers tend to be more expensive than bottoms. With their thicker shape, mattress toppers might be more difficult to clean than mattress pads.

In addition to adding a layer of comfort, mattress pads protect your mattress from stains and odors. You can add some more comfort to your bed without making it feel like a completely new one with these low-maintenance inserts.

Mattress toppers can make a significant difference in the comfort of a mattress. ‘ Depending on the type and materials used, a mattress can be made softer or firmer by a mattress topper. The use of a mattress topper can extend the life of an older mattress or protect a newer mattress from early deterioration.


How is a mattress pad different from a mattress protector?

More protection is offered by mattress protectors than by mattress pads or toppers. For waterproofing, vinyl and plastic may be used in mattress coverings, which include fibers such as rayon and polyester.

How do I decide what I need?

A mattress topper is needed if your bed is excessively soft or firm and you wish to change its feel. Additionally, the extra padding on top of your mattress helps keep it in better condition for longer by shielding it from abrasions.

A mattress pad placed on top of your existing mattress will provide an additional layer of comfort. You can protect your mattress from stains and spills by using waterproof mattress coverings.

Can You Use a Mattress Pad and Topper Together?

Choosing between a mattress pad and a mattress topper is a matter of personal preference, as both serve the same function of making your mattress more comfortable.

Can I Buy a Memory Foam Mattress Topper Instead of a Memory Foam Mattress?

With a memory foam mattress topper, you may obtain the benefits of memory foam at a lower cost. Memory foam mattress toppers, on the other hand, do not provide the same level of comfort as a true memory foam mattress.

Casper’s Zoned SupportTM foam includes three zones of support to adjust your spine for all-night comfort in high-quality memory foam mattresses.

If you’re on a budget but still want the luxury of sleeping on a memory foam mattress, this is the mattress for you. Make sure to check out the Casper Element mattress for the best night’s sleep at the best pricing.

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