Pads, protectors, toppers, covers, encasements, the names go on. But not every shopper understands what each label means.
“What is a mattress protector?” and “What is a mattress pad?” And more importantly, what is the difference between a mattress pad vs mattress protector?
In a nutshell, a mattress pad is meant to provide extra comfort to your bed while a mattress protector protects your mattress.
One is for adding extra plush, another is for protective barriers. We will explain in the following.
What is a mattress pad?
Usually, mattress pads can be placed under a mattress protector or sheets and above a mattress. As mattress pads come in different materials and types, it's better to see their qualities and see your preference.
A mattress pad can help to protect your mattress from general wear and tear, reduce allergens and add comfort, but the most important reason to buy a mattress pad is that you are not happy with the current mattress and wish to add comfort or extra cushion.
For a new mattress, there is no need to add an extra pad.
Other than a mattress pad, a mattress topper would also help a mile when it comes to an old mattress or too firm mattress. Since buying a mattress is expensive, some people might consider a temporary solution of a mattress topper. We recommend Newentor Mattress Topper here that with dual hardness levels, it can be used according to one’s hardness preference.
A mattress pad is an extra layer of additional preservation or support on your current mattress, and it can be in the form of a broad range of materials.
Cotton - Natural and washable, hypoallergenic, and breathable. Cotton mattress pads work well for people who prefer a softer feel or sensitivity during sleep. This type of material is less protective for the mattress.
Wool – A less common and much more expensive option. As a natural material, wool pads are thinner and soft in texture. With antimicrobial properties, they help regulate body temperature.
Down – As the luxurious under-feathers of duck or geese, down makes for the coziest mattress pad. While expensive and stain-absorbent, they keep sleepers warm all the time.
Polyester or rayon – These synthetic fiber pads are incredibly durable, resisting stains, bodyweight pressure, and allergens. Pay attention to washability, because some are dry-cleaned only.
Memory foam – As we have written for a long, memory foam is best at pressure releasing and cradling effect, providing comfort and reducing pain, which is ideal for physical support.
Latex – Firm and antimicrobial, latex mattress pads add extra support and structure. However, the rubber smell and heat retention may bother certain sleepers.
What does a mattress pad do?
A better question might be what does a mattress pad not do? Mattress pads are the jack-of-all-trades for beds. Depending on material and model, they can offer benefits like:
- Increased mattress life
- Anti-allergen and antibacterial protection
- Extra support and comfort
- Temperature regulation
- Breathability or airflow
A pad is thinner, usually providing less physical support and more overall mattress protection. A topper or cushion is thicker, adding extra comfort and bed height. Newentor has combined the best of both worlds. Our memory foam mattress topper provides plush support, breathability, and mattress protection—a winning trifecta.
How to choose a mattress pad
From organic cotton to memory foam, you’ve got a lot of options in the mattress pad department. So how do choose?
To narrow your choices, first think about your sleeping habits and priorities, do you sweat at night, are you extra afraid of dust mites? Are you a restless sleeper? Based on your problems, it is much easier to find relevant answers.
Physical support – Achy joints and sore muscles need a little extra cushion or structure. Usually, foam and synthetic mattress pads reduce strain on the body more than thinner, natural materials.
Allergens or bacteria – Itching and sneezing through the night? Look for pads with a hypoallergenic or antimicrobial label. Their nonporous structure will block mites, allergens, and bacteria from disturbing your sleep.
Temperature and breathability – Breathable natural materials, like cotton and wool, innately regulate body temperature. For synthetic options, make sure “airflow” or “cooling” are mentioned.
Price – A down mattress pad feels like a luxury—and so will its dry cleaning bill. Make sure to factor in buying price and cleaning expenses for your mattress pad. Typically, synthetic materials cost less overall than natural materials.
What is a mattress protector?
Think of a mattress protector, also called a mattress cover, like a durable fitted sheet, lying between your actual bedsheets and your mattress surface (or pad). And yes, there is a difference between a mattress pad vs mattress protector.
The mattress protector is used to protect the mattress from unwelcome friends, such as orange juice, spills, wines, pets’ creations, etc. Anything that might destroy your brand new mattress, is stopped at the first line of barrier, the mattress protector.
Not all protectors are created equal, with different levels of coverage, mattress protectors come in a few fits:
Encasement – These zippered protectors fully enclose your mattress, protecting against any elements from top to bottom.
Fitted – As the name suggests, this model covers mattresses like a fitted sheet. While there’s slight exposure on the bottom, a fitted mattress cover still guards against most stains and human contact.
Anchor – With elastic bands for security, anchor protectors only cover the top layer of mattresses. Typically, they are not effective barriers.
Additionally, mattress covers also span a range of materials. From organic natural fibers to synthetic blends, here’s a look at some favored base materials:
Polyurethane – This porous, synthetic material is breathable, waterproof, and bug-proof. Combined with a natural fiber, it makes for an effective barrier.
Polyester – A go-to waterproofing material, polyester is in the majority of mattress protectors. However, quality may vary—make sure the cover’s touch and noise level match your sleep needs. Our Breathable Mattress Protector is made with a blend of polyester, Tencel, and spandex for the perfect blend of protection, comfort, and durability.
Cotton – Full cotton protectors don’t block out stains, but they can be comfortable and are usually pretty affordable.
Vinyl – While it is more of a rubbery material, some mattress protectors use vinyl to help protect against bed bugs, dust mites, and other unwanted critters.
Spandex – You’ll find spandex in fitted or stretchable mattress protectors, which allows them to mold to your precise bed height and shape.
Curious about how to wash a mattress protector without compromising the structure of the material? Check the label! Whether you have a polyester or cotton protector, each material requires unique care.
What is a mattress protector for?
Physically, it’s easy to understand how a protector “shields” your entire mattress. But besides stain protection, what is the purpose of a mattress cover?
From water resistance to anti-allergenic properties, mattress protection cuts down cleaning costs and supports quality sleep. Depending on the material, they can ward off several threats to your sleep cycle and mattress integrity. These include but are not limited to:
- Liquids and stains
- Bed bugs
- Dust mites
- Other allergens
A fitted protector can serve many purposes beyond just keeping your bed clean and free of moisture. Since they are of so many usages, we highly recommend any new mattress to be equipped with a mattress protector.
Not only does it correlate with the refund and return policy of most mattress companies, while making the mattress fully refundable during the trial period, but it can also extensively prolong your mattress lifespan in the long run.
Most mattress protectors are quite thin, but if they are made well, thickness won’t affect their job. Mattress protectors in general do little to affect your mattress comfort and feel.
The best of both worlds
There is no need to compare oranges to apples, while you should eat both of them to get the best of all worlds. When you combine a mattress pad with a protector, you have extra comfort on the bed while also being protected from dirt, dust, stains, or accidents. In summary, you have sleep, hygiene, and mattress life all covered.
Unless you have a brand new or a mattress just over a few years still feeling great, otherwise, a mattress pad or topper is recommended! While a mattress protector is a must since it barely has any negative effect but adds many benefits.
Pads improve your sleep, while protectors improve your hygiene and mattress quality. Put them together, and you’ve got great nights and great dreams waiting ahead!