Mattress Pad vs. Mattress Topper-What’s the Difference?

Sleep can intrinsically be affected by the environment. Fragmented sleeping habits at night are the worst for one’s health. It can cause various psychological and physiological disorders, which include insomnia, indigestion, body aches, dry eyes, etc.

Then how to get a good night's sleep? A nice and cozy bed can take care of all the tiredness at the end of the day. Hence, the mattress is an extreme necessity to get a night of proper sleep. A mattress pad or topper is frequently used with both new and old mattresses.

Not only do these bed accessories help in ensuring a proper night’s sleep but also help prolong the life of your bed and protect it from any unnecessary wear & tear that can arise from everyday use.

The thought is that you can easily and affordably protect your money, improve its feel, and increase its durability.

While the phrases "mattress pad" and "mattress topper" are sometimes interchanged, they are two distinct items with distinct benefits and drawbacks. It is vital to understand the differences to select the right mattress accessories for your needs. So, let’s move ahead and know about mattress pad vs. mattress topper.

Mattress Pad vs. Mattress Topper-What’s the Difference

Mattress toppers are thicker, while mattress pads are thinner. Pads are typically less expensive than toppers.  Mattress pads are lighter than mattress toppers, which is understandable given that they are thicker and often contain denser materials.

Even though both can include foam, mattress pads with wool, feathers, or cotton are more common. These materials are used for softening the pad while providing it with qualities that will change the mattress's feel, but a topper will not.

Mattress pad vs mattress topper has far more differences than commonalities.  Some of these you already know as you read the statements above, but here is the complete list to know the difference between a mattress pad and a topper:


Mattress Pad

Mattress Topper


A mattress pad is usually one inch thick or less.

A mattress topper is a layer of material that is thicker than one inch.

Protection from Wear

Pads cannot provide much safety against wear as they are thin and mainly works as a layer to protect again spillage.

Toppers extend the life and longevity of a new mattress or rejuvenate an old one as it protects from wear and tear.

Protection from Spills

A mattress pad is often used to improve the comfort of a bed while also protecting it from spills and impurities.

Mattress toppers are thick so any kind of liquid can ruin their interiors.


Mattress pads are less difficult to clean than mattress toppers. Many mattress pads can be machine washed.

But many toppers cannot be washed as they are comparatively thicker. Machine-washable covers that can be removed. However, the internal components should be spot-treated in most cases, specific designs should only be dry-cleaned.


A mattress pad is a quilted, padded piece of fabric that you can put on top of your mattress to improve comfort, protect it from wear and tear, and decrease allergies.

A mattress topper is mainly used to significantly alter the feel of a mattress while also providing additional pressure relief.

Mattress Pad

What Is a Mattress Pad?

The mattress is part of the bedding accessories fraternity. It is designed to be treated as a bed or a framework for a bed. Now, to add an extra stratum of comfort to this, a mattress pad is a great addition. The mattress pad is framed to be placed on top of any bed. It can be made of wool, cotton, feathers, or synthetic fiber.

Mattress Pad vs. Mattress Topper-What’s the Difference-What Is a Mattress Pad

In a few places, mattress pads are often mistaken for mattress toppers. Both may look the same, but the mattress pad is slimmer than the mattress topper. The thickness range of mattress pads may differ according to sleep requirements. The efficiency level of a mattress pad depends on the materials used.

Types of Mattress Pads

There are different ranges of mattress pads—some are designed to keep the sleepers cool; some are modified to protect the mattress from daily scratches and tears. Let’s dive deeper into the types of mattress pads —

Wool: Wool is sourced from sheep. It absorbs moisture and keeps the human body cool. In scorching heat, if anyone struggles to sleep because of being sweaty, a wool mattress is indeed a blessing. Wool lets air move freely and it makes the mattress pad breathable.

Mattress Pad vs. Mattress Topper-What’s the Difference-Wool Mattress Pad

Cotton:As we all know, cotton itself is very soft in texture and its durability is in the long run. The cotton mattress pad can be machine-washed easily, and the brownie point is, that even after several washes, it will still be soft to use.

Feather: Are you looking for a soft, warm bed to lie on? If this is your requirement, then a feather mattress pad will be ideal for you. Feather mattress pads are generally sourced from the feathers of goose or ducks. It also lets the air roam freely and gives the feeling of fluffiness. But it may also get clumped and create an uneven surface, which may create difficulty in sleeping.

Fibers: There are a few people who are sensitive to feather mattress pads because of the odd surface. They can easily go for fiber mattress pads. It is soft and light, like a feather, and it is easily machine washable. This kind of mattress pad adds extra fluff for a better comfort level.

Mattress Pad vs. Mattress Topper-What’s the Difference-Fibers Mattress Pad

Benefits of Mattress Pads

There are a bunch of reasons why we should choose a mattress pad. Some of them are listed below:

Cushiony feel: Mattress pads are designed to give the impression of extra fluffiness for increased comfort. So, while choosing the best; you should start noticing the best to match your comfort level. The polyester fiber will make the pad more comfortable.

Durability: One should check if the mattress pad is ready for the long run. Otherwise, it will be a waste of money and time.

Elasticity: Unlike a mattress topper, a mattress pad has elastic edging, which helps to keep the pad in place. It also helps to let the person lie comfortably.

Protection: A mattress will always breed dust, bed bugs, pet dander, and many more allergens. A good mattress pad will always protect both the mattress and the user.

Mattress Pad vs. Mattress Topper-What’s the Difference- Mattress Pads Protection Benefit

Low-maintenance: People who are looking to add a little comfort without changing the form drastically can easily go for a mattress pad

Waterproof barrier: Sometimes, mattress pads do have a waterproof barrier to protect the mattress from any kind of liquid.

Mattress Topper

What Is a Mattress Topper?

Mattress toppers are puffed large cushions that are laid over the main mattress to provide extra comfort while sleeping. They not only provide users with comfort but also protect the mattress. They are also called bed toppers and come in a variety of thicknesses, which vary from 3 inches to 4 inches.

Various materials are used to make mattress toppers, such as feathers, foam, latex, or wool. Based on various manufacturing techniques, there are various types of mattress toppers available. High-rebound mattress toppers help in regulating body temperature. In addition to the innerspring mattresses, there are several other types of mattresses that have been introduced. Broadly, they can be differentiated as Low Rebound (LR) and High Rebound (HR). Low-rebound mattresses are made of pressure-absorbing/memory foam, whereas high-rebound mattresses are made of polyethylene fibers, which give the mattress a lot of firmness. Recent research shows that HR mattresses have much better results on the fragmented sleep cycle and other physiological disorders.

Types of Mattress Toppers

Some are designed to contain movement and/or keep sleepers cool, while some are designed to enhance pressure alleviation. Depending on what you want to change, your sleeping experience might assist you in selecting the appropriate type.

Memory Foam: A mattress pad may provide cushioning, but a memory-foam add-on can offer better strain alleviation. Because memory foam supports the body and relieves stress, it's a perfect pick for side-sleepers or people who like softer mattresses.

Mattress Pad vs. Mattress Topper-What’s the Difference-Memory Foam Mattress Topper

Many couples choose memory foam toppers to alleviate sleep problems since they are good at isolating motion.

Latex: Sleepers who want to increase the firmness of their mattress should choose these latex-made mattress toppers. Latex provides adequate pressure relief while maintaining enough bounce to allow for movement. It is normally denser and breathable, making it a better choice for people who sleep hot.

Mattress Pad vs. Mattress Topper-What’s the Difference-Latex Mattress Topper

Wool: Wool mattress toppers are particularly sought after for their tenderness and breathability, although they are less prevalent than other sorts. Wool toppers are ideal for both cold and warm seasons due to their ability to regulate temperature.

Feather: Feather mattress toppers are often soft and fluffy, but their support can vary greatly. To achieve a mix of plushness and loft, multiple layers are added. Feather toppers control temperature efficiently; they are suitable for all seasons.

Benefits of Mattress Toppers

The Lifespan of the mattress: Mattress toppers increase the life span of the mattress. It protects the mattress from getting worn out, as the mattress topper takes the pressure off the mattress.

Provision of comfort: If the mattress is not comfortable or cozy enough, then the mattress topper’s job is to provide more comfort and coziness to the user. Some mattress toppers help in giving a soothing sensation to back pains and body aches.

Cleanliness of the mattress: In general, mattresses are heavy, so directly sleeping on the mattress can make the mattress dirty quickly. The mattress toppers are lighter in weight and easier to clean compared to the mattress.

Low-maintenance: The mattress topper protects the mattress, so buying and maintaining a mattress topper is easier. Because they are less expensive than mattresses, it helps in saving money by not buying or substituting one big mattress with another.

Look of the mattress: A mattress topper can give the user a new look and feel to the mattress. Some may like to have a softer, cozier experience with an extra layer to sink in. Again, some can provide a more firm layer over the mattress based on the needs of the user.


The decision between a mattress topper and a mattress pad will most likely come down to personal tastes and demands. A topper can change the firmness of a bed, whereas a mattress pad can only change the feel somewhat.

Although some mattress pads feature a waterproof barrier to prevent spillage and soaking, most toppers aren't intended to safeguard a mattress from such mishaps.

Mattress toppers and pads have a similar lifespan. The cost of toppers varies greatly depending on the materials used and the brand, although they are normally more expensive. Mattress pads are frequently machined washable, but toppers, due to their larger shape, will be more difficult to wash. They're a low-maintenance option for sleepers who want to add some comfort to their bedding without altering the feel of it.

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