Mattress Protector VS. Mattress Pad: Which One Is Right For Me?

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Is your current mattress starting to feel uncomfortable? Did you just spend a good amount of money on a new mattress and you’re nervous about accidentally voiding the warranty? No matter what your situation, there are many reasons you may want to consider adding a protector or pad to your mattress.

To help you decide whether a protector or a pad is best for you, we ‘ve put together a handy guide to help you differentiate between the two.

Mattress Protectors

Mattress protectors do exactly what they say they do – they protect your mattress. You will see protectors that offer a range of benefits, but almost all of them work to prevent stains from fluids and liquids, as well as allergens, from getting into your mattress.

Check out Mattress Clarity’s best-reviewed mattress protectors, here.

Sleep Defense System Mattress Protector Review

How a protector benefits you:

Waterproofing: Many mattress warranties will be voided if you stain your mattress. Encasing your mattress in a waterproof protector will help keep it free from water damage and potential stains.

You probably think that you are a neat and tidy person who won’t spill anything in bed. Let this be a gentle reminder that spills and accidents happen. Using a mattress protector could potentially save you some serious cash.

Preventing Allergens: Protectors provide a barrier that prevents dust mites and other allergens (molds, dead skin cells, etc.) from collecting in your mattress. This will increase the longevity of the mattress and make it a healthier place to sleep.

Protect Against Bed Bugs: Protectors also provide a barrier against the dreaded Bed Bug. Bed Bugs are tiny insects that feed on human blood (and other warm-blooded animals). Needless to say, you don’t want them setting up shop anywhere near you – let alone your mattress.

Sleep Defense System Mattress Protector Review

Check out the Sleep Defense System mattress protector for bed bug protection.

Temperature Control: Some mattress protectors come with specialized fabric and materials that help breathability and temperature regulation while you sleep.

Providing Additional Comfort: Protectors come in a wide variety. Some offer added quilting or fabric that adds a soft layer in between your mattress and your bedding.

Mattress protectors come in a range of prices, some for less than $10 and others that cost hundreds (depending on size and functionality).

Mattress Pads

Mattress pads keep your mattress top comfortable. They “pad” the mattress (you get it). The pad typically covers the top surface of your mattress and lays in between a mattress (or mattress protector) and bedding.

Typically, new mattresses are super comfortable and will not require an additional mattress pad.

However, some mattress pads have waterproof and hypoallergenic properties along with extra padding, which may make them worth the added purchase.

Here are some additional reasons you may consider a mattress pad:

  • You need additional support and/or comfort or customization for medical reasons
  • Your mattress is too firm – you can add a mattress pad or topper to adjust the firmness
  • Your current mattress is older and no longer comfortable but you are not ready to replace it
  • You want to waterproof/protect your bed but you don’t want a mattress protector
  • Your mattress protector makes noise and you want to muffle it with a comfortable mattress pad

Mattress pads tend to be a little more expensive than mattress protectors but both can be found in a range of prices that fit most budgets.

Do I Need Both?

No, you probably don’t need both a mattress protector and a mattress pad. There are some amazing mattress protectors and mattress pads on the market that do double duty and are able to offer both padded comfort and protection.

Deciding which is best for you should start with your priorities. Do you need to protect your mattress from frequent accidents or do you suffer from serious allergens? Consider a mattress protector.

SafeRest Premium Mattress Protector Review
SafeRest protector

If you are simply looking for another layer of comfort for your mattress surface, consider a mattress pad.



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Katie Golde

Katie manages the day to day operations of the Mattress Clarity news site and reviews sleep products in addition to writing and editing sleep news.She hails from Austin, where she lives with her growing family. She is a Certified Sleep Science Coach and has a master’s degree in Journalism from Northwestern University and has a background in health and science content. Her work can be found in print and online publications like Discover Magazine, USA Today and The Huffington Post.