Pads, protectors, toppers, covers, encasements… the list goes on and on. Every mattress owner has faced this confusing stew of product labels, but not every shopper knows what each label really means.
Rest easy, because Casper’s sleep experts are here to help answer the frequently asked questions—“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? A mattress pad is meant to provide extra comfort to your bed while a mattress protector protects your mattress.
From plushy comfort to protective barriers, each product has its place in your bedroom. You’re about to learn where that is as we explain these two main categories of mattress accessories more in depth.
Give your mattress the protection it needs for long-lasting durability.
A mattress pad includes any thin layer that adds additional preservation, support, or comfort to your bed—in other words, a broad range of products.
Usually, mattress pads sit on top of the mattress and beneath any topper, protector, or sheets. Most have a quilted fabric lining that contains their “padding” material. Since everyone prefers a different feel or “plushness” to their sleep, mattress pads come in many shapes and sizes.
To that end, here are some different mattress pad materials and their benefits:
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:3
You might hear the terms mattress pad, topper, and cushion used interchangeably. While similar, there are slight distinctions.
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. At Casper, we’ve combined the best of both worlds. Our latex foam mattress topper provides plush support, breathability, and mattress protection—a winning trifecta.
From organic cotton to memory foam, you’ve got a lot of options in the mattress pad department. So where do you even begin?
To narrow down your choices, consider your top priorities as a sleeper and bed owner. Do you sweat at night? Are dust mites your sworn enemy? Is it difficult to find a comfortable position to sleep in? Ranking your sleep concerns will help you choose a pad material that fits your sleep needs.
Some top decision factors for mattress pad shoppers:
Bare-footed children. Overly-excited puppies. That weekday evening glass of Cabernet. Sometimes, certain “dangers” creep up on your bed… and those threats turn into unhappy accidents.
Mattress protectors or covers block those bed-ruining mishaps (and more). These barriers lie between your sheets and any mattress pad or topper. That way, stains stop at your fitted sheet, sparing your mattress a deep clean—or worse, an early replacement.
With different levels of coverage, mattress protectors come in a few fits:4
At Casper, we prefer a fitted mattress protector for its hybrid of coverage and flexibility. Whether California King or Twin size, our cover can accommodate mattress heights up to 16 inches high.
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:5
Curious 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.
Stains aren’t the only bed invaders out there. From blocking critters to dust, a mattress protector can improve both your bed’s cleanliness and your sleep health.
Depending on the material and coverage, mattress covers can block:
Overall, mattress protectors are there to guard both you and your entire mattress. No matter your sleep preferences or lifestyle, they’re a necessary mattress accessory for any bed.
Still debating the difference between mattress pad vs. mattress cover? Stop right there! There’s no need to compare apples to oranges.
Both mattress accessories have their place and purpose on your bed. Combined, they’re an unbeatable duo for optimizing your sleep, hygiene, and mattress shelf life. For a quick summary, let’s break down the main differences of each product:
However, both products overlap on certain sleep benefits:
To keep it simple—pads generally improve your sleep, while protectors improve your hygiene and mattress quality. Put them together, and you’ve got a winning team (and a great night’s rest).
Complete your bed’s five-star hotel room transformation with our expertly crafted mattresses, pillows, and more. We design our bedroom products to fit every mattress size and sleeper, from cooling gel mattresses to plush down pillows.
Now that you know the differences between a mattress pad and protector, go check out our collection today so you can rest easy tonight.