Mattress Pad vs. Topper

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There are many brands and sizes of mattress that are available for purchase. Of course, you should also know that some mattresses are firmer than others. There is also the case where some mattresses are better and more durable than others.

If you have a mattress that does not suit you well, for whatever reason, you may be wondering if there is a way to fix this issue and add comfort without having to get a completely new mattress. You can simply buy a mattress topper or a mattress pad.

A lot of people confuse mattress pads with mattress toppers. In fact, there are some persons who use the terms interchangeably as if they are the same thing. This is not the case—although they are quite similar, a mattress pad is different from a mattress topper. If you do not know the difference between these 2 products or you want to have a better understanding of what makes them different, keep reading this article.

Mattress Pad vs. Mattress Topper


What is a Mattress Pad?

A mattress pad is a thin layer of quilting or padding. It is secured with elastic corner straps or a skirt of fabric, also lined with elastic, so it won’t shift throughout your night sleep.

A mattress pad will help you get more comfort during your night’s rest. Mattress pads are quite thin, but they add a slight layer of cushioning to an otherwise firm mattress.

In addition to that, most mattress pads, as a secondary benefit, offer a degree of protection from stains and spills, and general wear and tear.

Benefits of a Mattress Pad

  • Mattress pads are very easy to transport, and attach to a mattress.
  • A mattress pad is stable and it won't move around during night.
  • Mattress pads are a great way to protect a mattress from moisture and stains.
  • Mattress pads can help reduce the unwanted noise of a mattress protector.
  • Very affordable.

Drawbacks of a Mattress Pad

  • Mattress pads can be flimsy, dependent on type and brand.
  • Mattress pads do not offer extra support, as mattress toppers.
  • It might not be the difference you might want to achieve in your mattress, talking about comfort.

Materials of a Mattress Pad

Mattress pads can be made of cotton, wool, or synthetic fabrics. Below, we will show more information for each one.

Cotton Pads

A benefit is these mattress pads are water-resistant. Though, try to avoid cotton treated with pesticides and look for a natural or organic option.

Wool Pads

Due to the natural properties of wool, wool mattress pads are generally more water-resistant than cotton pads, it's what cribs and toddler need in their beds. If you want the feel of the softest pad in your bed, the wool one is the best for you. But a drawback is that most natural wool mattress pads require special laundering. Look at the care instructions before getting one.

Synthetic Pads

The benefit of this type is that these mattress pads are easy to find, and very affordable. However, they are usually chemically treated, so these mattress pads aren’t the healthiest option. That is because being chemically treated means that it contains chemical flame retardants, bleach, boric acid, or other harmful toxins.


What is a Mattress Topper?

A topper is more like a “mini mattress.” It can be stacked on top of a mattress to change the ways a mattress feels and make it more luxurious and comfortable to sleep on.

The topper’s extra layer relieves pressure points, provides structure and support to the back and neck, and other pressure points you need it. Through high-tech padding materials, a topper will form to the contours of your body, providing customized, evenly distributed support you want.

As a secondary benefit, many mattress toppers will feature special fabrics that wick away moisture and manage heat to make you feel comfortable and cool.  By adding inches of materials between you and your mattress, a topper will provide an extra layer of protection from stains and some spills.

Benefits of a Mattress Topper

  • Mattress toppers offer customizable comfort.
  • Mattress toppers can also extend the life of a mattress by protecting it from both staining and sagging.
  • As its thicker, it adds height to a mattress. So, this depends if you want more height to your bed.
  • Mattress toppers can offer additional support, beneficial to those with neck or back pain issues and need pressure relief.

Drawbacks of a Mattress Topper

  • Foam can make the bed warmer by insulating body heat.
  • Mattress toppers aren’t usually directly attached to the mattress so mattress toppers can move around and become detached more easily.
  • Mattress toppers can be expensive.

Types of Mattress Topper

Mattress toppers are made of the following materials:

  • Cotton
  • Down
  • Foam
  • Gel Memory Foam
  • Latex
  • Memory Foam
  • Polyester Cluster Puffs or Fiberfill
  • Some mattress brands make their own mattress toppers.

Function of a Mattress Pad vs. Topper

Both the mattress pad and the mattress topper are generally used to provide additional comfort and support for a regular mattress. However, the mattress topper is usually much thicker than the mattress pad with some mattress toppers being even thicker than 3”. In deciding whether to purchase a mattress topper or a mattress pad, you should determine the reasons for getting either product in the first place.

If you are trying to protect your mattress while enhancing its comfort level, a mattress pad may be the best choice. If your mattress is a bit too firm for your liking or you need a firmer surface to lie on, the mattress topper may be the best suited for you. 

You will also notice that mattress pads often have a skirt which makes it fit the mattress similar to a fitted sheet. However, the mattress topper is usually designed with straps to secure it onto the existing mattress. In some cases, the mattress toppers do not have any means of securing it to the mattress and it ends up seeming like a huge pillow placed on the mattress.

Although the mattress pad and topper are 2 different products and are often used separately, they may be combined and used together on a mattress. In these cases, the topper is placed on the mattress and then secured by the mattress pad which fits both the topper and the regular mattress.

Some persons may dislike this arrangement and instead want to get a mattress pad that is extremely thick so it can function in a similar manner. Regardless of either approach to the situation, the same results can be achieved.


Buying a Mattress Pad vs. Topper

Looking for a Mattress Pad

When you are purchasing a mattress pad, there are some key things that you should look for. These features can make the difference between a mediocre product and a very good one. They will also ensure that you get a good experience of the mattress pad. There are 3 things to which you should pay special attention:

  • Whether there are anchor straps or some means of securing the topper onto the mattress.
  • Whether or not it is resistant to stains and how easy it will be to clean. Is it machine washable or will it require professional cleaning?
  • The type of stitching that is present— should be able to keep the filling securely in place.

Looking for a Mattress Topper

If you are purchasing a mattress topper instead, you should still check to ensure that it has certain features. Some of the features that are important for you to consider include:

  • Whether there are anchor straps or some means of securing the topper onto the mattress.
  • Whether or not it is resistant to stains and how easy it will be to clean. Is it machine washable or will it require professional cleaning?
  • The type of stitching that is present— should be able to keep the filling securely in place.

The answer to these 3 simple questions may help you determine whether or not you purchase a mattress pad or topper that you thought would have been ideal for you because you loved its design. Check the labels and read the care instructions carefully before you make a purchase.


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