Mattress Pad Vs. Mattress Topper: What’s the Difference?
If you’re looking for new ways to accessorize your bed, you might come across mattress pads and toppers. Mattress pads and toppers are designed to customize the comfort of your bed. So, if your mattress is too firm, you can soften it up with a plush topper or pad.
It may be challenging to differentiate between mattress toppers and pads since the two are often used interchangeably. In this article, we’ll break down the differences between these two items.
What is a Mattress Pad?
Mattress pads provide an extra layer of comfort and protection for the surface of your mattress. Adding this soft, plush layer of padding is known to improve a person’s overall sleep quality.
Mattress pads are much thinner than mattress toppers and are also easier to maintain. You can place a mattress pad into a washing machine without worrying about damage.
Attaching a mattress pad to your bed is pretty simple as well. Mattress pads come attached to a fitted sheet or feature straps in the corners to keep it from shifting when you change positions.
Benefits of a Mattress Pad
There are several benefits of using a mattress pad, one being that they can enhance the plushness of your mattress and are fairly inexpensive. You can find a quality mattress pad for about $40.
Another great thing about mattress pads is they are not overly thick, making them easy to transport, move, and attach to your mattress. Additionally, mattress pads can help reduce the unwanted noise of a mattress protector.
Drawbacks of a Mattress Pad
Depending on the quality of materials, some mattress pads can be flimsy. You’ll want to be mindful of the material your mattress pad contains while you are shopping. Beware of cheap, low-quality mattress pads as these are more prone to wear and tear.
Although mattress pads offer some change to your bed, they do not provide extra support. If you are looking for a significant change to your bed, a topper may be a better choice.
What Is A Mattress Topper?
Mattress toppers are seen as the upgraded version of pads. Toppers are thicker than mattress pads and significantly change the feel of your bed.
Most mattress toppers come with straps to help you securely attach them to your bed. Mattress toppers can prolong a mattress’s life by reducing pressure on your bed’s surface. The extra layer of cushioning will also help firm up or soften your mattress as needed.
Benefits of a Mattress Topper
Mattress toppers offer customizable comfort without having to invest in a new mattress. By changing the feel of your bed, you enhance its comfort. This can offer additional support for sensitive areas such as your neck and back, making for more restorative rest.
Drawbacks of a Mattress Topper
Mattress toppers are a lot heavier than mattress pads, so they can be pretty difficult to move. Additionally, toppers do not offer your bed much protection, and they are not resistant to spills. It may be a good idea to pair them with a mattress pad to help better protect your mattress toppers.
Types Of Mattress Toppers and Mattress Pads
Mattress pads and toppers are made with a variety of materials, including cotton, feathers, or memory foam. Here, we outline some of the most popular materials.
Memory foam mattress pads are not popular because they are difficult to clean. Memory foam cannot be placed in a washing machine and is ineffective in blocking stains. Additionally, memory foam pads are not thick enough to provide effective pressure point relief.
On the other hand, foam mattress toppers cushion your bed and are great at conforming to your curves. Memory foam toppers can be a little hot for some sleepers, but there are some alternatives available. Purchasing a topper with gel memory foam can be helpful for sleepers who want a cooler sleeping surface.
Synthetic Fiber Materials
Mattress pads may contain synthetic fillings like polyester, rayon, and down alternatives. Some synthetic fibers are stain-resistance, but maintaining them may be difficult because they are not machine washable.
Feather mattress pads contain feathers or down from ducks and geese. Feather mattress pads and toppers will keep your bed feeling warm and cozy, but they are pretty expensive. This material is a great addition to a mattress topper and mimics the plush feel of pillow-top mattresses.
It is essential to look at the quality or materials if you purchase a feather pad since the filling can sometimes poke through the top layer of fabric. Also, if you suffer from allergies, a feather topper is not the best choice as it could aggravate your symptoms. It’s usually better to turn to hypoallergenic options.
Cotton is a popular material for mattress pads because it’s machine-washable and long-lasting. You can even buy an organic cotton mattress pad to increase the softness of your bed.
Cotton mattress pads may not offer protection from spills and stains because cotton is absorbent. This can also cause moisture to seep through your cotton pad, which could produce mold.
Wool is another choice for a mattress pad and is known for its durability and moisture-wicking qualities. It is also resistant to mold, dust, and other allergens. Maintaining the cleanliness of a wool mattress pad may be a bit difficult because they must be hand washed.
Placing a wool mattress pad into a washing machine can damage your item, so it’s best to gently hand wash your item. It’s worth noting that wool mattress pads are also unable to prevent spills from soaking through.
Latex pads contain synthetic or natural latex or a blend of both. Depending on its thickness, latex mattress pads contour to your body.
Mattress toppers made with latex are popular because they are resistant to dust mites and mold. They are also a great option for allergy sufferers since latex is naturally hypoallergenic.
Mattress toppers made with latex materials tend to be more expensive. Some latex toppers can cost upwards of $300, so you might want to look at a more affordable option if your budget is limited.
Latex toppers can also be a bit difficult to maintain since they are a heavier material. However, they do provide some protection against spills and stains.
Which Should You Choose?
If you want to feel a significant change in support of your mattress, we recommend purchasing a mattress topper. A mattress topper is thicker than a mattress pad and can soften or firm up your bed. However, it may be a good idea to pair a mattress topper with a pad or mattress protector as it can shield it against dirt and dust.
Mattress pads are more of a budget-friendly option for sleepers, but they offer minimal change to your mattress. The upside of purchasing a mattress pad is that it’s much lighter than a topper. Their lightweight will make it easier for you to attach, clean, and move when needed.
Purchasing a mattress topper or pad is an inexpensive way to enhance the comfort of your mattress. If you are looking to change your mattress’s overall support and feel, we recommend choosing a mattress topper. Mattress toppers are a lot thicker than mattress pads, so you’ll feel a significant change to your bed. Not to mention, it may keep it from sagging over time.
We recommend using a mattress pad for minimal comfort as it will offer plush comfort and may protect it from spills and everyday wear and tear.
Frequently Asked Questions
Ideally, you’ll want to wash your mattress pad every two to four weeks to prevent dirt from building up. This will also allow you to get rid of dust or pet dander to avoid allergic reactions.
You’ll want to wash your mattress pad with a mild detergent and in a gentle setting, to prevent damage. Also, use lukewarm water when washing your mattress pad as avoiding incredibly hot water may damage materials.
You should choose a mattress pad to protect your bed from liquid, allergens, dust mites, and bed bugs. Waterproof mattress pads are a great way to guard against moisture and stains and extend the life of your mattress. However, a mattress protector can provide an equally effective barrier.
A firm mattress topper is usually better for sleepers with back pain. This is because sleeping on a firm mattress promotes a healthy spinal position. However, if you already have a firm mattress and still experiencing back pain, a soft mattress topper with a bit more cushioning can help.
A mattress topper should be at least 2 to 3 inches thick to improve support. However, it’s worth noting that while a 2-inch pad may improve support, it won’t necessarily change the feel of your mattress. In this case, you may want to choose a thicker mattress topper to feel a difference.
It’s best to replace a mattress pad every two to three years. You should replace your mattress pad when you notice holes or tattered areas. This can compromise the quality of your item and make your sleeping environment extremely uncomfortable.