Shopping for the best mattress pads?
You’ve come to the right place.
Mattress pads can improve your sleep in a variety of ways.
A mattress pad is a simple and an affordable way to upgrade the feel of your mattress. If your mattress is too firm, a mattress pad will make it more comfortable.
Adding the right mattress pad can also help with back pain, hip pain and joint aches.
Some mattress pads also help you sleep cooler.
Finally, most mattress pads protect your mattress from stains, dirt, and allergens. Using a waterproof mattress pad will also keep moisture and mold out of your bed.
While the terms ‘mattress pad' and ‘mattress topper' are used interchangeably, mattress pads are generally thinner than a topper and are usually purchased to make a firm mattress softer.
A mattress topper, on the other hand, can be as thick as 4” and can be used to make a mattress firmer or softer, and warmer or cooler.
If you are interested in a mattress topper instead, take a look at our recently-updated mattress topper buying guide.
What’s In This Buying Guide?
In this buying guide, we review the 9 best mattress pads for 2021.
We also explain what to look for when purchasing a mattress pad.
Benefits of Mattress Pads
- Firmness adjustment – If your mattress is too firm, a mattress pad is cheaper than buying a new mattress. Most mattress pads are ideal for softening an overly firm mattress. Note that mattress pads only provide slight firmness adjustment. If you want to make your bed much firmer or softer than it is, gets a mattress topper instead.
- Reducing back pain – A too-firm mattress can cause or worsen back pain. Adding a mattress pad will improve pressure relief and spinal alignment. If your problem is that the mattress is too soft, we recommend a mattress topper instead. Read our reviews of the best mattress toppers for back pain.
- Mattress protection – You can use a mattress pad as a mattress to protector to keep stains and dirt from the mattress. A waterproof mattress pad is the best choice if you want to keep your mattress in good condition.
- Allergen protection – Allergens like dust mites can easily settle on a foam mattress. Putting a mattress pad on top can reduce the level of allergens on your bed. Look for a topper made with allergen-resistant materials like natural wool.
- Improved cooling – If your mattress makes you sleep hot, the right mattress pad can help you sleep cooler. Wool mattress pads are especially good at temperature regulation. It’ll keep you cool when it’s hot and stay warm when it’s cold. If you are specifically looking for a cooling pad, read our comprehensive reviews of the 11 best cooling pads.
The 9 best mattress pads for 2021
In a hurry? Listed below are our top picks, following by a feature comparison table. Below the table, we provide full reviews of each mattress pad.
- Editor’s Choice: Saatva Organic Mattress Pad
- Best Value: Utopia Bedding Quilted Fitted Mattress Pad
- Best Down Mattress Pad: Parachute Down Mattress Pad
- Best Cooling: LEISURE TOWN Mattress Pad
- Best Down Alternative: Oaskys Mattress Pad
- Best Comfort: INGALIK Cooling Mattress Pad
- Best for Back Pain Relief: Red Nomad Memory Foam Mattress Pad
- Best Hypoallergenic: Hanna Kay Hypoallergenic Quilted Stretch-to-Fit Mattress Pad
- Best Waterproof: SafeRest Hypoallergenic Waterproof Mattress Protector
|Mattress pads||Award||Materials||Skirt Size||Machine Washable|
|Saatva ||Editor’s choice||Organic cotton||16”||Yes|
|Utopia||Best value||Fiberfill and polyester cover||16”||Yes|
|Parachute||Best down||Down and feathers; cotton cover||18”||Yes|
|Leisure Town||Best cooling||Down alternative with cotton cover||21”||Yes|
|Oaskys||Best down alternative||Down alternative with cotton cover||21”||Yes|
|Ingalik||Best comfort||Down alternative with cotton cover||21”||Yes|
|Red Nomad||Best for back pain relief||3” Ventilated memory foam||No cover/skirt||No|
|Hanna Kay||Best hypoallergenic||Microfiber filling and poly-cotton cover||Not specified||Yes|
|SafeRest||Best waterproof||Waterproof membrane and cotton terry||Not specified||Yes|
1. Editor’s Choice: Saatva Organic Mattress Pad
The Saatva organic mattress pad is made with 100% organic cotton. This makes it great at breathability and moisture-wicking.
- Cool and breathable.
- Helps with night sweats.
- Fits thick mattresses (up to 16” tall).
- Machine washable.
The Saatva Organic mattress pad is the best choice for most people. It protects your mattress from dirt and stains while adding a slightly softer feel to your bed.
It’s also a great pick if you want to make your mattress more breathable. Organic cotton has excellent breathability, which helps if you sleep hot. Cotton also does a great job wicking sweat. If you have night sweats, adding the Saatva pad to your mattress will help you stay dry.
Note that the Saatva pad is not waterproof, so do not rely on it as a mattress protector. If you need moisture protection, either get a waterproof mattress pad like SafeRest (reviewed further below) or use a waterproof mattress protector underneath the Saatva organic cotton pad.
The Saatva mattress pad is not just good for cooling and mattress protection; it has a nice plush feel that slightly softens your mattress. If you find your mattress a tad too firm, the Saatva pad can help. It will prevent you from waking up with a sore hip or shoulders.
To ensure a secure fit, the Saatva organic cotton pad comes with a 16” deep elastic pocket. This allows it to fit extra-thick mattresses, including those with a pillow top.
The Saatva pad is machine washable with cold water on a gentle setting. Do not use bleach. You can tumble dry it on low.
The only downside of the Saatva mattress pad is the price. If you are looking for a budget mattress pad, this is not it.
The Saatva Organic Mattress Pad is Good For:
- Shoppers who prefer eco-friendly products.
- Hot sleepers and those with night sweats.
- Sleepers looking to add just a little softness to their mattress.
- Owners of thick mattresses up to 16” tall.
2. Best Value: Utopia Bedding Quilted Fitted Mattress Pad
Looking for good quality and comfortable mattress pad at a bargain price? We recommend the Utopia Bedding fitted mattress pad.
Plush fiberfill softens a too-firm mattress while keeping out dirt, stains, and allergens.
The polyester cover doesn’t have the soft feel of organic cotton, but it’s no big deal once you cover it with a sheet.
- Good value for money.
- Ideal for shoppers on a budget.
- Softens a firm mattress.
- It doesn’t get too hot.
- Deep elastic pocket – fits most mattresses.
- Not as breathable or moisture-wicking as cotton.
The low price might make you suspicious about the quality of the Utopia mattress pad. Don’t worry; it’s more comfortable than you expect.
It is surprisingly thick, but not too much that you sink into your bed. Just enough to relieve pressure on your back, hips, and shoulders.
The pad has a diamond stitching pattern to keep the fiberfill from shifting and bunching.
The cover is polyester. It doesn’t feel as soft or breathable as cotton, but once you cover it with a sheet, it feels pretty good.
Because the pad is thin, it doesn’t cause any heating issues. Hot sleepers shouldn’t worry about getting all stuffy and sweaty at night.
The elastic skirt on the Utopia mattress pad covers mattresses up to 16” thick.
The Utopia mattress pad is not waterproof. It won’t prevent moisture entry. But it is great for keeping out dirt and allergens. The fiberfill and polyester cover themselves are hypoallergenic.
The manufacturer recommends machine washing it in cold water with no bleach. Tumble dry on low.
The Utopia Bedding Mattress Pad is Good For:
- Budget shoppers.
- Sleepers looking for a plush topper to soften their firm mattress.
- Anyone with a 16” thick mattress.
3. Best Down Mattress Pad: Parachute Down Mattress Pad
The Parachute down mattress pad is our most luxurious pick. The natural down filling provides a plush sleeping surface while keeping you cool. A soft sateen cotton cover completes the luxurious feel of the Parachute mattress pad.
- Luxury upgrade for your mattress.
- It doesn’t get hot.
- Breathable and soft cotton cover.
- Machine washable and tumble dryer safe.
The Parachute down mattress pad gives your mattress a luxury upgrade. It provides a soft and plush sleeping surface that improves pressure relief and adds a comfy layer of cushioning to your mattress.
The Parachute pad contains 85% down and 15% feathers. A soft sateen cotton cover with double stitching keeps the filling from shifting or leaking out.
The Parachute down pad is a good choice if you want to make your mattress slightly softer without making it overly plush. The pad has a 550 fill power, which is a medium fill. This means it’s not too puffy to the point where you sink into it.
The Parachute pad is also great for cooling down a hot mattress. Unlike down alternative fibers, natural down is excellent at temperature regulation. It allows heat to flow away from the mattress and wicks away sweat.
Combined with the breathable cotton cover, the down filling helps hot sleepers enjoy cooler sleep.
Fitting the pad onto your mattress is easy. It’s available in all standard sizes, so you can choose the perfect fit for your mattress.
The elastic skirt stretches to cover mattresses as thick as 18”.
Similar to other down bedding, you have to be more cautious with maintenance. Parachute recommends machine washing with cold water on a delicate cycle. You can use mild laundry detergent.
Tumble dry on low and use wool dryer balls. You can purchase the dryer balls on Parachute’s official website.
The balls reduce drying time so you don’t leave the pad in the dryer too long, which could damage it. They also soften the mattress pad.
Our only complaint with the Parachute down mattress pad is the price. It starts at $189 for a twin size. If you are looking for a budget mattress pad, this is not it.
The Parachute Mattress Pad is Good for:
- Sleepers who love the soft and plush feeling of down.
- Anyone who sleeps hot or experiences night sweats.
- People with extra-thick mattresses up to 18” high.
- Folks with a bigger budget.
4. Best Cooling: LEISURE TOWN Mattress Pad
If you want a cool mattress pad but think the Parachute down pad is too pricey, the Leisure Town mattress pad is a great alternative.
It uses something the manufacturer calls HNN cooling technology to increase airflow and keep you cool.
- Sleeps fairly cool.
- Ideal for extra-tall mattresses up to 21” thick.
- Moisture-wicking cotton cover.
- Machine washable.
- Not ideal for those looking for a plush mattress pad.
- Not as cool as a natural down or wool topper.
The Leisure Town mattress pad contains microfiber filling. While it does add a bit of softness to your mattress, it’s not much.
If you are looking for a mattress pad with more loft, we don’t recommend Leisure Town. Most customers describe it as more of a mattress cover.
But it’s perfect for those who only need to slightly soften their firm mattress.
The cover is made with 300 thread count cotton. It’s soft, breathable, and does a great job wicking away sweat and moisture.
The cover contains what the manufacturer calls HNN cooling technology. They don’t explain what it is or how it works, but they say it improves airflow and enhances cooling.
Customers say the mattress pad does sleep cool, though a few hot sleepers say it can get a bit stuffy on warmer nights.
The Leisure Town mattress pad sleeps cooler than most microfiber pads but do not expect it to feel as cool as natural wool or down mattress pad.
Also, note that the Leisure Town mattress pad is not as thick as the images on the Amazon show. It’s, at most, 1.5” thick. And that’s before you sleep on it.
It’s perfect if you want to just slightly soften your mattress and make it cooler. But if you want something plusher that will hug your hips, back, and shoulders, we don’t recommend the Leisure Town. Check out the Oaskys mattress pad instead (reviewed next).
One thing we love about the Leisure Town mattress pad is the extra-deep skirt. It can fit mattresses as tall as 21”.
The Leisure Town Mattress Pad is Good For:
- Hot sleepers looking for an affordable cooling mattress pad.
- Folks with extra-thick mattresses up to 21”.
- Sleepers who want to make their mattresses only slightly softer.
5. Best Down Alternative: Oaskys Mattress Pad
Down mattress toppers are super comfortable but tend to be on the pricey side. If you want the same plush feel at a lower price tag, we recommend a down alternative mattress pad. The best one we found is the Oaskys mattress pad.
It’s soft and plush and comes with a breathable cotton cover.
- Great for overly firm mattresses – adds a plush layer on top.
- Breathable and cool cotton cover.
- Low price.
- Not waterproof.
- It requires regular fluffing.
If you want a mattress pad that adds a significant amount of plushness to your mattress, we recommend Oaskys down alternative mattress pad.
It’s much fluffier than the Leisure Town pad and feels more luxurious. It’s great for mattresses that feel overly firm.
But it’s not too soft that it reduces support. Some memory foam mattress owners say it improved back support.
The cover is made with 100% cotton. It feels soft and has excellent breathability. It keeps the mattress pad fairly cool and wicks away sweat from your skin.
The cover has square baffles that boost support and keep the filling from shifting.
It’s easy to take care of the Oaskys mattress pad. It is machine washable (cold, gentle cycle), and you can tumble dry on low.
It arrives vacuum packed and requires some time to fluff it up to full size. A quick way to fluff it is by using a dryer. Set the heat to low and toss the pad in together with wool or tennis balls.
You’ll need to fluff it regularly to keep it comfortable.
Note that the Oaskys mattress pad is not waterproof. It’ll prevent small amounts of moisture from reaching the mattress, but it does not offer full moisture protection.
The Oaskys Mattress Pad is Good For:
- Sleepers looking for a plush yet supportive mattress pad.
- Anyone looking for an affordable down alternative topper.
- Folks with uncomfortably firm mattresses.
6. Best Comfort: INGALIK Mattress Pad
The INGALIK mattress pad is another good choice if you want a soft and fluffy mattress pad. It contains down alternative filling and a breathable cotton cover. It’s pretty affordable too.
- Low price.
- Breathable cotton cover – keeps the pad cool.
- Plush and soft.
- Machine washable.
- May feel warm for hot sleepers.
- Not waterproof.
The INGALIK mattress pad is the most comfortable one you are going to find for the price. It adds a nice plush feel to your mattress without making it overly soft.
It’s great for folks who feel their mattresses are a tad too firm or worn out but don’t want a mushy topper or pad.
The INGALIK mattress pad contains standard down alternative feelings. The cover is 100% cotton. It feels super soft against the skin. You can sleep directly on it without covering it with a sheet.
The cotton fabric is breathable and has a cool-to-the-touch feel. The INGALIK pad is no wool or down topper, but it sleeps cool enough for most people. For extra-hot sleepers, though, we recommend a natural wool or down topper.
3D quilting on the cover keeps the filling from shifting around and boosts overall support. So even though the pad is soft, it doesn’t turn your bed into a swamp.
Similar to the Oaskys and Leisure Town mattress pads, the INGALIK pad comes with an extra-deep pocket that can fit mattresses as tall as 21”.
The INGALIK mattress pad will prevent small amounts of liquids from reaching the mattress. But it is not waterproof. If you are concerned about fluids damaging the mattress, use a waterproof mattress protector underneath the INGALIK pad.
The INGALIK Mattress Pad is Good For:
- Anyone looking for an affordable but comfortable mattress pad.
- People with extra-tall mattresses.
- Anyone with an uncomfortably firm mattress.
7. Best for Back Pain Relief: Red Nomad Memory Foam Mattress Pad
Memory foam is our standard recommendation for folks suffering from back pain, whether you are buying a mattress, a mattress pad, or a mattress topper.
The Red Nomad memory foam mattress pad provides a balanced medium feel that provides premium support and pressure-point relief.
- It helps with back pain as well as hip and shoulder pain.
- Improves pressure relief and spinal alignment on an uncomfortable mattress.
- Open-cell foam improves ventilation.
- Reduces motion transfer.
- Too soft for some sleepers.
- Not ideal for hot sleepers.
- No cover and skirt to secure it to the mattress – tends to move on the bed.
The Red Nomad mattress pad is more of a topper. It’s 3” thick, far thicker than standard mattress pads, and uses foam instead of the usual microfiber or down filling.
The added thickness makes it an excellent choice for alleviating back pain.
To get the best out of the Red Nomad pad, only use it with a too-firm mattress. The pad is already soft. If you place it on a soft mattress, it’ll greatly reduce support and worsen your pain.
On the right mattress, the Red Nomad topper cushions your back from excessive pressure and ensures your spine stays properly aligned.
The Red Nomad topper is also great for folks with hip or shoulder pain, especially those who sleep on their side. The topper hugs and cushions your pressure points.
For cooling, the Red Nomad topper has a ventilated design that increases airflow. This reduces the heat retention that memory foam is known for. But it’s not a miracle worker. If you sleep hot, the Red Nomad topper may still feel a bit too warm.
It doesn’t help that the topper doesn’t come with a breathable cover. We recommend placing a cool and breathable sheet on it to keep it from getting too hot.
The Red Nomad pad doesn’t come with a skirt or elastic bands to secure it to the mattress. So it sometimes moves, especially as you get out of bed. You can use a fitted sheet with deep pockets to keep the pad planted on your mattress.
Overall, Red Nomad is an excellent choice for alleviating back pain caused by sleeping on an overly firm mattress.
The Red Nomad Mattress Pad is Good For:
- Sleepers who prefer the deeper body hug of memory foam.
- People with back pain caused or worsened by a too-firm mattress.
- Side sleepers with hip or shoulder pain.
8. Best Hypoallergenic: Hanna Kay Hypoallergenic Quilted Stretch-to-Fit Mattress Pad
If you have allergies or suffer from asthma, definitely get a microfiber mattress pad. It’s not that natural down pads are allergic, but allergens settle more easily in them.
The Hanna Kay hypoallergenic mattress pad not only provides allergen protection but also adds a soft touch to your mattress.
- Hypoallergenic filling and cover.
- Breathable cotton and polyester cover.
- Well-made and durable.
- Easy to take care of – no special washing instructions.
- Not ideal for sleepers looking for a plush mattress pad.
- Not comfortable for hot sleepers.
The Hanna Kay mattress pad creates an allergen barrier between you and the mattress. It prevents allergens like dust mites and pet dander from settling on the mattress.
While it’s not waterproof, it can also keep reasonable amounts of moisture from reaching the mattress and causing mold growth.
The pad itself, including the filling and cover, is hypoallergenic, meaning it is unlikely to cause any allergic reactions.
Some allergens can still collect on it, but you can easily get rid of them by washing it in warm water. The Hanna Kay pad has no special washing instructions. You can machine wash it in warm water and tumble dry it on low or medium, and it’ll be alright.
The reason it withstands machine washing and tumbles drying much better than other mattress pads is because of the poly-cotton cover.
A pad with a 100% cotton cover is great. It’s soft and super breathable. On the downside, it requires delicate care and can easily tear or shrink.
Blending polyester with cotton gives the Hanna Kay mattress pad the breathability of cotton and the durability of polyester.
As for the filling, it’s not as much as in other mattress pads. If you are looking for a lofty and fluffy mattress pad, this is not it.
The Hanna Kay mattress pad is perfect for those who need to make their mattress only slightly softer.
The mattress pad sleeps cool for most people, thanks to the poly-cotton cover. But we don’t recommend it for hot sleepers as it can feel a bit too warm.
The Hanna Kay Mattress Pad is Good For:
- Anyone looking for a comfortable and durable mattress pad.
- Sleepers who are allergic to things like dust mites, dust, and pet dander or have asthma.
9. Best Waterproof: SafeRest Hypoallergenic Waterproof Mattress Protector
Most mattress pads are not waterproof, thus provide limited protection against moisture damage. If you want to keep liquids completely out of the mattress, get an actual waterproof mattress protector.
We recommend the SafeRest hypoallergenic waterproof mattress protector.
- Comfortable terry cloth top.
- Machine washable and tumble dryer-safe.
- Takes long to dry.
- Makes the mattress slightly warmer.
If you are concerned about how waterproof the SafeRest mattress protector is, go through some of the customer reviews on Amazon.
One customer says his wife delivered on the mattress protector. Another says his son got sick on a mattress covered by the SafeRest mattress protector.
In these and many other cases, the mattress stayed perfectly dry.
The SafeRest mattress protector uses a vinyl and PVC free membrane backing to keep liquids as well as allergens and dirt from passing through.
On top of the membrane is a soft cotton terry cloth.
The SafeRest mattress protector comes with elastic bands to secure it under the mattress.
SafeRest doesn’t crinkle like other protectors. It also doesn’t get overly hot thanks to the breathable terry fabric. However, some hot sleepers may experience a slightly warmer mattress.
You can wash SafeRest together with other clothes or bedding using normal detergent (no bleach). You can also tumble dry it on low heat.
Many customers say the mattress protector takes quite some time to dry, perhaps because of the moisture-absorbing terry cloth and the waterproof moisture barrier.
To dry it faster, try hand-wringing it before you put it in the dryer. This will remove most of the water trapped in the terry cloth top.
The SafeRest Mattress Protector is Good For:
- Anyone looking for a comfortable, quiet, and truly waterproof mattress protector.
Buying Guide: How To Choose The Best Mattress Pads
Fiberfill mattress pads are the most common and typically the most affordable. The microfiber filling is soft and does a great job of improving pressure-point relief. But fiberfill mattress pads can get too warm; this is not great for hot sleepers.
Natural down mattress pads are very soft and plush and have excellent temperature regulation. On the downside, they are expensive and require delicate care.
Natural wool mattress pads are also great for hot sleepers as well as cold sleepers. Wool keeps you warm when it’s cold and cools you when it’s hot. Wool is also great at absorbing moisture, making a wool mattress pad ideal if you have night sweats.
You’ll also come across cotton mattress pads. These are thinner and are most ideal for making the mattress cooler and more breathable. They also help with night sweats.
If you need a mattress pad with extra support and pressure relief, upgrade to a memory foam mattress topper.
As for the cover, cotton is the best choice. It’s soft, breathable, and keeps your skin sweat-free. But you’ll need to be careful how you wash and dry the mattress pad to avoid damaging the cotton fabric.
If you need a more durable mattress pad, get one with polyester or polyester and cotton cover.
Most mattress pads typically offer limited liquid protection. They’ll help if you spill a small amount of water or tea on the mattress but are useless for larger amounts of fluids.
If you need complete liquid protection, get either a waterproof mattress pad or a waterproof mattress protector.
Are you getting a mattress pad purely to protect your mattress from allergens and dirt, or do you also want to make your mattress more comfortable?
If it is the former, we recommend a thin mattress pad without a lot of filling. This will ensure it doesn’t change how your mattress feels.
On the other hand, if you want to soften your mattress, look for a fluffier mattress pad. The loft and fluffiness of mattress pads vary depending on the amount of filling.
If you want to make your mattress only slightly softer, look for a less fluffy pad. If you want to adjust mattress firmness significantly, look for a thicker mattress pad or get a 1”-3” mattress topper.
The ideal pocket depth of a mattress pad depends on how thick your mattress is. We recommend a minimum 16” depth. Even if your mattress is thinner than, you might buy a thicker mattress in the future or add a mattress topper on your current mattress.
If you have an extra-tall mattress, look for mattress pads with deeper pockets that can cover mattresses up to 18” or 21” thick.
Care and Maintenance
Unless you want to get a foam or latex mattress topper, almost all mattress pads are machine washable. This makes it easy to keep the pad clean and allergen-free.
Make sure you check the care instructions. Some materials like natural down and wool require delicate care.
Also, check if you can tumble dry the mattress pad (most mattress pads are tumble dryer-safe).
What is the difference between a mattress pad and a mattress topper?
These terms are sometimes used interchangeably. But traditionally, a mattress pad is thinner and filled with microfiber, wool, cotton, or down.
A mattress pad protects the mattress from allergens, dirt, and moisture. It can soften a mattress but not by much.
A mattress topper is thicker (sometimes up to 6” thick) and is primarily used to adjust the firmness of the mattress.
How is a mattress pad attached to the mattress?
Most mattress pads come with an elastic skirt that you stretch under the mattress. This keeps the mattress pad from moving about.
Some mattress pads have elastic straps instead of a skirt.
Will a mattress pad make my bed hotter?
It depends on the material used to make the mattress pad. Microfiber (down alternative) mattress pads trap more heat and can be uncomfortable for hot sleepers.
If you want an alternative down pad, look for one with a cotton cover. Cotton is very breathable and helps dissipate heat out of the pad.
For the best cooling mattress pad, get a natural down or wool pad.
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