Best Mattress Pads

9 Best Mattress Pads for 2022 – Reviews and Buying Guide

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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 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 2022.

We also explain what to look for when purchasing a mattress pad.


Benefits of Mattress Pads

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, get 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 2022

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.

  1.  Best Organic Mattress Pad: Saatva Organic Mattress Pad
  2. Best Fiberfill Mattress Pad: Utopia Bedding Quilted Fitted Mattress Pad
  3. Best Down Mattress Pad: Parachute Down Mattress Pad
  4.  Best for Cooling: LEISURE TOWN Mattress Pad
  5.  Best Pillow Top Mattress Pad: Oaskys Mattress Pad
  6.  Best for Pressure Relief: ELEMUSE Cooling Mattress Topper
  7. Best Hypoallergenic: Hanna Kay Hypoallergenic Quilted Stretch-to-Fit Mattress Pad
  8. Best Waterproof Mattress Pad: Safe and Sound Quilted Fitted Mattress Pad
  9. Best Wool Mattress Pad: Sleep & Beyond Organic Merino Wool Mattress Topper
  10. Best Bamboo Mattress Pad: ENITYA Bamboo Mattress Pad
Mattress padsAwardMaterialsSkirt SizeMachine Washable
Saatva
Saatva
Best Organic Mattress Organic cotton16”Yes
Utopia
Utopia Bedding Quilted Fitted Mattress Pad (Queen) - Mattress Cover Stretches up to 16 Inches Deep - Mattress Topper

Link goes to Amazon

Best Fiberfill Mattress Fiberfill and polyester cover16”Yes
Parachute
mattress pad
Best Down Mattress Down and feathers; cotton cover18”Yes
Leisure Town
LEISURE TOWN Twin Mattress Pad Cover Cooling Mattress Topper Cotton Top Pillow Top with Snow Down Alternative Fill (8-21 Inch Fitted Deep Pocket)

Link goes to Amazon

Best for CoolingDown alternative with cotton cover21” Yes
Oaskys
oaskys Twin Mattress Pad Cover Cotton Top with Stretches to 18” Deep Pocket Fits Up to 8”-21” Cooling White Bed Topper (Down Alternative, Twin Size)

Link goes to Amazon

Best Pillow TopDown alternative with cotton cover21” Yes
ELEMUSE
mattress pad

Link goes to Amazon

Best pressure reliefDown alternative & microfiber cover21” Yes
Hanna Kay
Hanna Kay Hypoallergenic Quilted Stretch-to-Fit Mattress Pad, 10 Year Warranty-Clyne Collection (Queen)

Link goes to Amazon

Best hypoallergenicMicrofiber filling and poly-cotton coverNot specified Yes
Safe and Sound
best mattress pad

Link goes to Amazon

Best waterproofDown alternative & microfiber/TPU cover21”Yes
Sleep & Beyond
best cooling mattress pad

Link goes to Amazon

Best woolOrganic merino wool & organic cotton coverNot specifiedNo
ENITYA
best heated mattress pad

Link goes to Amazon

Best bambooDown alternative & bamboo cover18”Yes

1. Best Organic Mattress Pad: Saatva Organic Mattress Pad

Saatva Organic Mattress Pad

The Saatva organic mattress pad is made with 100% organic cotton. This makes it great at breathability and moisture-wicking.

Pros

  • Organic.
  • Cool and breathable.
  • Helps with night sweats.
  • Fits thick mattresses (up to 16” tall).
  • Machine washable.

Cons

  • Expensive.

Our Review

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 Safe and Sound (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 Fiberfill Mattress Pad: Utopia Bedding Quilted Fitted Mattress Pad

Utopia Bedding Quilted Fitted Mattress Pad (Queen) - Mattress Cover Stretches up to 16 Inches Deep - Mattress Topper

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.

Pros

  • 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.

Cons

  • Not as breathable or moisture-wicking as cotton.

Our Review

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

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.

Pros

  • Luxury upgrade for your mattress.
  • It doesn’t get hot.
  • Breathable and soft cotton cover.
  • Machine washable and tumble dryer safe.

Cons

  • Expensive.

Our Review

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 75% down and 25% 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 for Cooling: LEISURE TOWN Mattress Pad

LEISURE TOWN Twin Mattress Pad Cover Cooling Mattress Topper Cotton Top Pillow Top with Snow Down Alternative Fill (8-21 Inch Fitted Deep Pocket)

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.

Pros

  • Sleeps fairly cool.
  • Ideal for extra-tall mattresses up to 21” thick.
  • Moisture-wicking cotton cover.
  • Machine washable.

Cons

  • Not ideal for those looking for a plush mattress pad.
  • Not as cool as a natural down or wool topper.

Our Review

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 Pillow Top Mattress Pad: Oaskys Mattress Pad

oaskys Twin Mattress Pad Cover Cotton Top with Stretches to 18” Deep Pocket Fits Up to 8”-21” Cooling White Bed Topper (Down Alternative, Twin Size)

If you want the 5-star luxury hotel feel of a pillow top mattress without spending thousands on a new mattress, we recommend the Oaskys down alternative mattress pad

Plush fiberfill quilted into puffy baffles turns your regular mattress into a luxury pillow top mattress. 

Pros

  • Great for overly firm mattresses – adds a plush layer on top.
  • Breathable and cool cotton cover.
  • Low price.
  • Hypoallergenic.

Cons

  • Not waterproof.
  • It requires regular fluffing.

Our Review

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 for Pressure Relief: ELEMUSE Cooling Mattress Topper

mattress pad

If your current mattress leaves you with sore shoulders, hips, or back, we recommend the ELEMUSE cooling mattress topper

It is one of the best mattress pads for relieving body pains and aches caused by sleeping on a too-firm mattress.

Pros 

  • Excellent pressure relief. 
  • Reduces aches on hips, shoulders, and back. 
  • Deep pocket fits mattresses up to 21” thick. 
  • Sleeps fairly cool.
  • Machine washable. 

Cons 

  • Costs more than most down alternative mattress pads.

Our Review

The ELEMUSE mattress pad is thick enough to count as both a mattress pad and a topper. 

The extra thick and plush construction makes it a great choice if you want more pressure relief. It is especially suitable for extra-firm mattresses and side sleepers. 

The thick-down alternative filling hugs your body almost the same way memory foam does. But unlike a memory foam topper, the ELEMUSE mattress pad doesn't get hot and stuffy. 

Most hot sleepers who’ve bought the ELEMUSE mattress pad say it sleeps cool. 

The brushed microfiber cover adds to the luxury feel of the mattress pad. The filling and the cover are quilted together in box patterns. These keep the filling from shifting and allow the topper to retain its loft. 

The ELEMUSE mattress pad comes with an extra-deep elastic pocket that fits mattresses up to 21 inches thick. It’ll fit the thickest hybrid and pillow-top mattresses. 

It can also fit over a mattress and a mattress topper. 

As for cleaning, the ELEMUSE down alternative mattress pad is machine washable, though you’ll need a commercial size washer. 

The ELEMUSE mattress topper costs more than other down alternative mattress pads. But we think it’s worth it if you want memory foam-like pressure relief, while also sleeping cool. 

The ELEMUSE Down Alternative Mattress Topper is Good For: 

  • Sleepers looking for an extra-plush mattress pad that provides plenty of pressure relief. 
  • Side sleepers who find their mattress too firm. 
  • Anyone who likes the feel of memory foam, but doesn't want to get a memory foam topper. The ELEMUSE mattress pad is extra-soft but sleeps cool and maintains mattress support. 

7. Best Hypoallergenic: Hanna Kay Hypoallergenic Quilted Stretch-to-Fit Mattress Pad

Hanna Kay Hypoallergenic Quilted Stretch-to-Fit Mattress Pad, 10 Year Warranty-Clyne Collection (Queen)

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.

Pros

  • Hypoallergenic filling and cover.
  • Breathable cotton and polyester cover.
  • Well-made and durable.
  • Easy to take care of – no special washing instructions.

Cons

  • Not ideal for sleepers looking for a plush mattress pad.
  • Not comfortable for hot sleepers.

Our Review

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.

8. Best Waterproof Mattress Pad: Safe and Sound Quilted Fitted Mattress Pad

best mattress pad

If you want a mattress pad that doubles up as a mattress protector, get the Safe and Sound fitted mattress pad. 

It offers the soft padding of a mattress pad and the waterproof protection of a mattress protector. 

Pros 

  • 2-in-1 mattress pad and protector. 
  • Good value for money. 
  • Waterproof.
  • Down alternative filling provides some pressure relief. 

Cons 

  • Not suitable for those looking for an extra-plush mattress pad. 

Our Review

The Safe and Sound mattress pad and protector are very different from the traditionally crinkly and noisy mattress protectors. 

For one, it is silent. You can move and turn on the bed as much as you want with barely any noise. 

It’s also padded with a bit of down alternative padding, making it a good choice for adding some softness to a firm mattress. 

The padding isn’t much, so we don't recommend the Safe and Sound mattress pad if you are looking for something thick and plush. 

The TPU backing under the microfiber cover is 100% waterproof. It’ll protect the filling as well as your mattress from any kind of liquid. 

The Safe and Sound mattress pad is easy to set up on your mattress. It comes with an elastic pocket that can fit mattresses up to 21 inches thick. 

The Safe and Sound mattress pad is machine washable. Follow the provided cleaning instructions to ensure the mattress pad retains its waterproof protection. 

The Safe and Sound Mattress Pad is Good For: 

  • Anyone shopping for a waterproof mattress pad. 
  • Sleepers looking to add a bit of softness to a firm mattress. 

9. Best Wool Mattress Pad: Sleep & Beyond Organic Merino Wool Mattress Topper

best cooling mattress pad

If you don't mind the higher price tag, wool is one of the best materials for a mattress pad. 

The Sleep & Beyond organic wool mattress topper offers all-season temperature regulation, excellent moisture-wicking, and years of comfort. 

Pros 

  • Great for hot sleepers and night sweats. 
  • All-season temperature regulation. 
  • Adds pressure relief to a firm mattress. 
  • Organic materials. 

Cons 

  • Not machine washable. 
  • Pricey. 

Our Review

Down alternative mattress pads sleep fairly cool. But if you get extra-hot at night or you experience hot flashes or night sweats, the Sleep & Beyond organic wool mattress pad is a better choice.  

Wool has this magic quality of keeping you comfortable in any kind of weather. It keeps you cool when it’s hot and insulates you during winter. 

Because of the structure of wool, the Sleep & Beyond mattress pad also wicks away sweat from your skin, which further helps with cooling. 

The Sleep & Beyond mattress pad is made with 100% organic merino wool encased in an organic cotton cover. If you are looking for an eco-friendly, all-organic mattress pad, this is a great choice. 

The Sleep & Beyond wool mattress pad is thicker than most mattress pads (about 1.5” thick) so it provides a substantial amount of padding. 

It softens a too-firm mattress and provides plenty of pressure relief for side sleepers. 

Instead of an elastic pocket like most mattress pads, the Sleep & Beyond topper has a couple of elastic straps that go under the mattress. 

Other than the price tag, the other downside of the Sleep & Beyond wool topper is the cleaning. You cannot machine wash it. 

The manufacturer recommends getting a washable cover for it. You can still use it as it is (place it under a sheet) and spot-clean any stains and dirt with mild detergent. 

The Sleep & Beyond Organic Merino Wool Mattress Topper is Good For: 

  • Sleepers shopping for an organic wool mattress pad/topper. 
  • Hot sleepers and anyone who experiences hot flashes or night sweats. 
  • Shoppers with a big budget. 

10. Best Bamboo Mattress Pad: ENITYA Bamboo Mattress Pad

best heated mattress pad

If a wool mattress pad is beyond your budget, bamboo mattress pads also sleep cool for a much lower price. 

The ENITYA bamboo mattress pad contains a plush-down alternative encased in a breathable bamboo cover. 

Pros 

  • Sleeps cooler than other down alternative mattress pads. 
  • The bamboo cover is hypoallergenic.
  • Adds some cushion to a firm mattress. 
  • Deep elastic skirt for thick mattresses. 

Cons

  • Not as cool as a wool mattress pad.

Our Review 

Bamboo is comparable to, and in some cases better than, cotton when it comes to cooling and breathability. 

This makes the ENITYA bamboo mattress pad a good choice for hot sleepers. It’s not as cool as a wool mattress pad, but it sleeps cooler than most down alternative pads. 

The bamboo cover consists of 40% bamboo rayon fiber and 60% polyester. This makes it cool and durable. 

Another advantage of the bamboo fiber is that it’s hypoallergenic, so people with allergies and various sensitivities should have no problem sleeping on the ENITYA bamboo mattress pad. 

Inside the bamboo, the cover is plush-down alternative filling. It provides just the right amount of cushioning to make a firm mattress more comfortable without reducing support. 

The ENITYA bamboo mattress pad comes with a deep pocket that fits mattresses up to 18” thick. The entire pad is machine washable. 

The ENITYA Bamboo Mattress Pad  is Good For:

  • Hot sleepers shopping for a soft mattress pad that doesn't get hot. 
  • Anyone shopping for a mattress pad that adds a moderate amount of softness to the mattress.
  • Back and stomach sleepers looking to add cushioning to their mattress without sacrificing support.  

Mattress Pad Buying Guide

What Is A Mattress Pad and What Does It Do?

A mattress pad consists of a thin layer of natural or synthetic fiber inside a cover. You place a mattress pad on top of a mattress to make it more comfortable. 

A mattress pad is typically used to make a firm mattress softer and provide more pressure relief. You can also use a mattress pad to make your bed cooler, improve sweat absorption (for those with night sweats), or protect the mattress (using a 2-in-1 mattress pad and protector). 

Mattress Pads vs. Mattress Toppers

Sometimes, you’ll find the terms mattress pad and mattress topper being used interchangeably. 

But strictly speaking, a mattress pad is thinner (typically an inch or less thick) and consists of a cover with filling inside. It’s like a plush comforter that you sleep on. 

The filling is usually microfiber, but can also be bamboo rayon, cotton, wool, or down. 

In contrast, a mattress topper is thicker (generally between 1 and 4 inches) and is made from either foam or latex with or without a cover. 

Here’s a quick summary of the differences and similarities between mattress toppers and pads.

Mattress Pads Mattress Toppers
Usually less than 1” thick Usually between 1-4” thick
Materials: down, down alternative, wool, plant-based fiber Materials: Foam or latex
Good for slightly softening a firm mattress Softens or firms up any mattress
Best for adding pressure relief  Can add support or pressure relief depending on the material, thickness, and firmness level of the topper
Usually low priced Thick toppers can be pricey 
Can be used for cooling Can be used for cooling
Most are machine washable Only the cover is washable
Some are also mattress protectors Mattress toppers only provide comfort

Types of Mattress Pads

Here are the most common types of mattress pads. 

  • Down alternative or microfiber mattress pads – these are the most affordable mattress pads and also the easiest to clean and maintain. On the downside, they do sleep a bit warm and they don't last as long as other types of mattress pads. They typically consist of down alternative filling and a microfiber cover. 
  • Organic cotton microfiber mattress pads – these are mattress pads with down alternative filling and a cotton/organic cotton cover. Because of the cotton fabric, these mattress pads sleep cooler. 
  • Bamboo microfiber mattress pads – these have a down alternative filling and a bamboo cover. Like cotton, bamboo fiber is great for cooling. 
  • Down mattress pads – down mattress pads are filled with a mixture of down and features, usually with an organic cotton cover. They are pricey and require special care. On the upside, they are great for hot sleepers and they last a long time with good care. 
  • Wool mattress pads – another great option if you want a natural fiber mattress pad. Wool mattress pads have an organic wool filling usually with an organic cotton cover. They offer excellent all-season temperature regulation and moisture wicking. But they are expensive and require delicate care. 

How To Choose The Best Mattress Pads

Pillow top mattress pad

Compare Materials

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.

Liquid Protection

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.

Comfort Adjustment

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.

Pocket/Skirt Depth

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).


Limitations of Using Mattress Pads

Before you go shopping for a new mattress pad, here are some limitations of mattress pads you should keep in mind. 

  • A mattress pad will not help if your mattress is very old and worn out. If anything, a mattress pad can make the mattress even more uncomfortable by reducing support. Depending on the state of your mattress, it might be better to just get a new mattress. 
  • Mattress pads are not designed to add support to a mattress. Mattress pads are only for making a firm mattress softer. If your problem is that your mattress is too soft and unsupportive, what you need is a firm mattress topper. 
  • Mattress pads are not ideal for those looking for deep pressure relief. Because it’s thin, you’ll not sink into a mattress pad. For side sleepers and heavier sleepers who need a deeper body hug, we recommend a 2” or thicker memory foam or latex mattress topper. 
  • If you have an extra-firm mattress, a thin mattress pad may not soften it as much as you want. Mattress pads only add a bit of softness to a mattress. If you need more drastic comfort adjustment, get a mattress topper. 

Cleaning and Maintaining a Mattress Pad

How you clean and maintain a mattress pad depends on the materials used. Always check the cleaning instructions written on the care label or user guide. 

  • Microfiber/down alternative mattress pads – most of these can be machine washed and tumble dried without an issue. Check the care label for specific cycle and temperature recommendations. However, down alternative mattress pads with a special cover like bamboo or organic cotton may need special care. 
  • Down mattress pads – Some manufacturers of down mattress pads do not permit machine washing. You can only spot clean. Some down mattress pads can be washed but on a gentle cycle and using special down-specific detergent. 
  • Wool mattress pads – Most wool mattress pads are not machine washable. The best way to keep them clean is to air them out occasionally and spot clean any stains. 

If you get a mattress pad that’s not machine washable, we recommend getting an additional washable cover for it. It’ll protect the mattress pad from dirt and stains. 


FAQs

What is the difference between a mattress pad and a mattress topper?

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.

How does a mattress pad change the firmness of my mattress?

A mattress pad will make your mattress a little bit softer. It can reduce soreness and pain caused by sleeping on a too-firm mattress.

What’s the best mattress pad thickness?

Get a thin mattress pad if you want to add just a bit of softness to your mattress. A thinner mattress pad is also the best choice if you are on a budget. 

Get a thicker mattress pad if you want to add a plush feel to your mattress. A thicker mattress pad also provides better pressure relief for side sleepers and those who weigh more than average. 

Do you put sheets over a mattress pad?

Place the mattress pad directly on the mattress and tuck the elastic pocket under the mattress. Then place sheets over the mattress pad. 

Can you use a mattress pad and mattress topper at the same time?

It’s perfectly alright to combine a mattress topper and a mattress pad as long as you get the support and pressure relief you need. 

For instance, you can use a mattress pad to soften a mattress topper that feels a bit too firm. 

Make sure the mattress pad has a pocket deep enough to cover both the mattress topper and the mattress. 


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