Mattress Protector vs. Topper - What's the Difference and When to Use Them?

lifting up a mattress topper off a bed

Nowadays, there is a wide variety of mattress products, and it can get a bit confusing when the time comes to choose one. Mattress toppers, mattress protectors, mattress pads... all of these are used to protect the mattress from spills, dust mites, stains, to make it more comfortable or more durable, and to improve your sleeping experience in general.

So, in order to help you make a more informed purchase decision when sprucing your mattress up, we’ll teach you all there is to know about mattress protectors and mattress toppers. Moreover, we’ll also tell you how a mattress pad fits into this whole picture!

What Is a Mattress Protector?

Simply said, a mattress protector is a thin layer of fabric that can go over your mattress with elastic strips, like a fitted sheet or with a full encasement. Its job is to protect your mattress from accidental spills and stains, bugs, dust mites, and other allergens. That's why people usually search for waterproof mattress protectors.

You should be able to easily wash the mattress protector because it will get dirty really quickly. A good quality mattress protector should be resistant to easy wear and tear and machine-washable. A good protector will also be able to regulate temperature and not make you sweat during the night.

In terms of the material, make sure to look for bamboo or organic cotton mattress protectors because they're the best at keeping your body cool when you sleep. That's right, they're the perfect material for hot sleepers, providing you with optimum comfort when you most need it.

What Is a Mattress Topper?

Mattress toppers are thicker than mattress protectors. They're usually made from memory foam or latex, and their primary job is to make your mattress feel more comfortable (firmer or softer, depending on what you need) and better suited for a good night's sleep.

Mattress toppers can be an affordable, alternative option for improving your mattress. There are different mattress topper types—they come in different varieties and materials they are made of. That's why you can often find memory foam mattress toppers, natural latex toppers, feather toppers, and also bamboo mattress toppers.

Not all mattress toppers can be machine-washed. Those that are machine-washable usually have it specified on their care labels. Usually, it's not advisable to wash a memory foam mattress topper because it may destroy its structure.

What Are Mattress Toppers Used For?

You can use mattress toppers if you have an older mattress and you need an extra layer for extra support for the body. Mattress toppers provide a thick layer of different materials, all with the sole intention of giving you a comfortable night's sleep.

Sometimes we don't know what firmness level is good for us until we try it out for a certain amount of time. If you can't return your mattress and want a different firmness level, then a mattress topper is a great way to improve your sleep in a matter of days without buying a new mattress.

Okay... And What About Mattress Pads?

Simply put, you can look at mattress pads as the love child of mattress protectors and mattress toppers.

Mattress pads are thicker than mattress protectors and can be made from bamboo, cotton, different natural materials, and synthetic materials; you can also find feather mattress pads and wool mattress pads, for example. They provide adequate protection from dust mites and accidental spills while at the same time providing extra cushioning for a more restful sleep.

Shortly put, most mattress pads can extend the life of your mattress, and if it's a particularly old and uncomfortable mattress, they can also make it more enjoyable to sleep on.

What Should You Use for Your Mattress - a Mattress Protector, a Mattress Topper, or a Mattress Pad?

If you feel like you need to make a firm mattress a bit softer or vice versa, you should get a mattress topper.

If you want protection against various allergens, such as the notorious dust mites, you should purchase a mattress protector.

Last but not least, if you want a little bit of both, and your mattress is still in good shape, then get a mattress pad.

Whatever you choose, it will definitely give a new life to your mattress!

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