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Buying a mattress is a major investment but extremely worthwhile when you consider all of the health benefits that come with comfortable sleep. One way to ensure you get the most value from that investment is by purchasing one of the top rated mattress pads.
A mattress pad is a thinner layer of material placed on top of the mattress and under your sheets. Depending on what material and thickness you select, it can protect your mattress from dust, allergens, stains or other contaminants and slightly shift the feel of your bed. They are significantly thinner than toppers, which can often change the feel of your bed more significantly, but they are usually thicker than mattress protectors.
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6 Top Rated Mattress Pad Reviews
Utopia Bedding – Exceptional Value
Utopia Bedding’s siliconized fiberfill polyester mattress pad stands out from the pack for the amount of durable quality it can deliver for your dollar. The quilted surface provides a touch of plushness to your bed while remaining breathable enough to not overheat, giving you just a bit of extra comfort to your bed’s surface.
The diamond pattern and durable stitching ensure that the material doesn’t clump up or get bunched up underneath you to cause discomfort, and these materials can absorb and trap moisture, helping to keep your sleep surface dry.
The knitted skirt is highly stretchable, allowing the pad to fit mattresses up to 16 inches tall. The elastic provides a smooth grip that should resist shifting loose in the middle of the night. When it comes time to clean this product, you simply place it in your washing machine and then tumble dry on low.
Hanna Kay – Great Quilted Stretch
This poly-cotton blend was created to blend the best of breathability with durability. These materials were also chosen for their hypoallergenic properties, and they’re extremely easy to clean. You’ll only have to put it in the washing machine and dryer with no special considerations needed.
The quilted top delivers a bit of extra plushness compared to other products in this space, 40% more, according to the manufacturer. This was designed to give your bed a cloud-like finish that cushions your pressure points. The “stretch to fit” technology is versatile to fit thinner and thicker mattresses up to 16 inches tall without shifting or bunching.
This choice comes from a company so sure that you’ll love their product that they’re giving you a full 10 years to change your mind. If you fall out of love with your Hanna Kay product, just return it for a full refund.
Hospitology Products – Best Overstuffed Fill
This company does their research, and all of their products aim to combine technology with sleep science to deliver products that will enhance your sleep. If you’re looking for a thicker product that will add a significant amount of additional plushness without committing to a topper, this product from Hospitology might be just what the doctor ordered.
The box-quilted microfiber fabric encases a polyester down alternative designed to deliver a feel that is soft like cotton but hypoallergenic like polyester. These materials are also highly breathable, so you should sleep in pillowy-soft comfort without worrying about overheating. If you like the feel of down but worry about allergens, this product could provide a good alternative.
The two-way stretch fabric in the skirt was built to accommodate a variety of mattresses, though the company does warn that the heft of this product will require a large capacity washing machine or professional cleaning.
oaskys – Best Cooling
Some folks steer away from soft and cushiony additions to the top of their bed because they worry about overheating, but modern technology has many answers for this. Our pick for best cooling harnesses the natural cooling capabilities of 100% cotton fabric and stretches to fit a bed 21 inches high.
Square jacquard quilting works to prevent the fill from bunching or shifting, and the 300 thread count cotton fabric is brushed for softness and comfort. The fill inside the quilting was designed to provide the feel of goose down but with more hypoallergenic alternatives. This also means that the product is machine washable in a large capacity machine.
Because the product arrives vacuum sealed, the manufacturer does recommend that you air the product out before use so that it has an opportunity to return to its full size. If you’re not satisfied with the product for any reason, you can return it to the manufacturer for a refund.
AmazonBasics – Best Hypoallergenic
This pad mixes 20% cotton with 80% polyester to produce an affordable and hypoallergenic product to go complete your sleep surface. This is a lighter weight choice, adding just a touch of extra softness to mattresses, and the deeper pockets fit beds up to 18 inches tall.
The fill inside the pad is also designed with allergy sufferers in mind, and the product was manufactured in a facility certified with OEKO-TEX Standard 100. This signifies that a third party organization evaluated the contents and manufacturing processes of the product to ensure the highest safety and environmental standards.
The poly-cotton woven blend was designed to be breathable and to resist the build-up of stains and allergens, but cleaning is also easy. You can machine wash this pad and tumble dry on high heat if that’s your preference. The durable quilting should prevent bunching and shifting of materials inside during the cleaning process.
Abit Comfort – Best Pocket Depth
If you have an extra big bed, it may be difficult to find a mattress pad up to the job of covering it without springing loose in the middle of the night and being a pain. You’ll want to find a product with extra deep pockets, and Abit Comfort has you covered up to 20 inches. The stretch-to-fit technology is also workable on shorter beds, while still fitting tightly to the mattress even when you or your partner roll around.
The top of this choice contains a 50/50 blend of cotton and polyester, mixing the best of both fabrics into one durable and hypoallergenic surface. The fill inside is also resistant to allergens that can trouble folks with sensitive skin and noses. To further safeguard the highly allergic, this product can be washed and dried at high temperatures without losing its elasticity or even distribution of fill.
What Classifies a Mattress Pad?
There are no standardized definitions that can help you identify a mattress pad as opposed to other kinds of products, and for many, it may be a subtle matter of degrees in features like thickness, design, and proposed purpose.
For most pads, the purpose is to add just a touch of softness while protecting it from the lion share of typical damage. For the most part, they are less than an inch thick and contain stretch fabric or elastic that allows them to be fitted to the bed much like a fitted sheet.
Differences Between a Pad, Topper, and Protector
A lot of folks use these terms interchangeably, but there are subtle differences in design and intent that can help you tell them apart.
A product that is more than one inch thick and designed to provide an additional comfort layer that can change the feel of your mattress is most likely a topper. These typically lay right on top of the bed, and some have elastic placement straps but many do not. The materials are sometimes covered in fabric, but in many cases, they are not.
If your purchase is less than an inch thick and only intended to provide a low shift in the amount of comfort while providing some damage control, it is probably a mattress pad. The thinner material can protect your mattress from most damage, but that is not its sole purpose, and these products are rarely waterproof and often quite breathable.
Finally, protectors are often even thinner than pads and some wrap around the entirety of the mattress. Their sole purpose is to provide a tight layer of protection between the mattress and the outside world and are often equipped to shield the bed from higher volumes of liquid from spills and provide a resistant surface to most allergens. These rarely change the feel of the bed, though some complain that they can make the mattress less breathable and a touch hotter than it would be without the cover.
Figuring Out Which You Need
The packaging and advertising for most of these products can point you in the correct direction as what you require in your mattress enhancement will often be described on the website or box. Some features may be a bit more subtle, so we’ll help you break down what you should be looking for based on your individual needs.
- If You Want Support… We recommend looking for a firmer product that can significantly alter the support in your existing mattress. This is often the case with older mattresses that are breaking down, and if your budget is tight, a good topper could buy you a bit of time for a fraction of the price of a new mattress.
- If You Want to Adjust Firmness and Feel… Again, you’re probably looking for a topper, as these are thick enough to adjust the feel of your existing bed. Some are as many as 4 to 5 inches thick, and depending on materials used, can make your bed firmer or plusher, depending on what you’re looking for. If you only need a slight upgrade in plushness, however, a pad might be thick enough to add the plushness you’re looking to cradle your shape.
- If You Want to Protect the Bed…This may be a little self-explanatory. In these cases, you’re going to want to look for a protector if this is the only purpose you’re looking for because of their waterproof capabilities and enhanced shielding features and allergen deterrents. However, pads may be a possible alternative if your needs are more general. If you don’t expect many spills or moist conditions, a pad may provide all of the protection you really need.
- If You Want a Hypoallergenic Sleep… This, again, will depend on your degree of need. If your allergies are severe, a protector may be able to shield you from more contaminants than a pad, but many pads are designed to be resistant to most allergens and may be enough to keep you breathing easy.
- If You Want to Reduce Noise from a Protector…The waterproof materials that some protectors contain can make crinkling noise when you move around. A pad will make less noise but probably offer less protection.
Padded Mattress Cover Buyer's Guides
The type of material in your padded cover will make a difference in how it performs, how long it holds up, and how much protection it offers.
- Cotton – Cotton is a natural material, and as such, is often quite a bit more expensive than synthetic materials. There are organic and non-organic choices, and many products offer a blend of cotton with polyester or other types of fabrics. Cotton products, in general, are more eco-friendly and require fewer chemicals to process.
For those looking for durability, cotton is a fantastic choice. One of its mechanical properties is wet strength, meaning it can resist breaking down even when wet. To maintain a healthy sleep environment, you’ll need to wash your bedding regularly. Cotton bedding will retain its shape and usefulness even after several washings.
- Wool – Wool, organic and non-organic, can offer a more natural sleep surface than other kinds of materials, and this material has some useful properties unique to its structure. Typically, this product is harvested from sheep, carded, and processed into fabric. Lambswool is often softer and a lot more expensive.
Wool is popular because of its temperature control. Heat can travel through the material easily so it shouldn’t congregate close to your skin when you’re hot, though the materials can insulate well when temperatures are chillier. It also has a a superior ability to wick away moisture, ideal for those who tend to sweat while they sleep.
If you’re looking for a wool product, be sure to read the care instructions carefully as they may vary, though most products are machine washable. Buying a high-quality pad made from wool may be expensive, but the material will likely last you a long time.
- Feather – Despite some misleading claims, there is a difference between feather and down, as these both come from different parts of the bird. Feathers have quills, but down does not.
Feathers are often found in pillows due to their cloud-like comfort, adjustability, and optimal breathability, which helps you keep cool. In pads, their function is largely similar. Naturally sourced feathers are often expensive, but there are many feather alternatives that aim to mimic the feel without harming the actual bird or triggering allergies.
- Memory Foam – Also called visco-elastic foam, this is a material commonly found in mattresses, but some pads have begun to incorporate thin layers of it into their construction. Originally developed by NASA, this material becomes more malleable as it heats up and slowly conforms to your shape to maximize pressure relief.
This foam has cultivated quite a reputation in the bedding industry. On the one side, there are few materials do better to cushion pressure points, but they can sleep hot. Luckily, modern memory foams incorporate heat-conducting materials to help keep temperatures regulated.
Products that incorporate these foams often are covered in breathable cover fabrics that incorporate heat regulating features. Thin memory foam is also not likely to cause repositioning problems as it can in mattresses.
- Latex – Latex has emerged in recent years as an alternative to memory foam. Though it offers slightly less conformance, it’s response time makes it easy to move around in and move air through. The result is cooler bedding.
There are natural choices and synthetic choices, and there are also a number of different latex processing methods that can change the feel of this versatile material. Dunlop tends to be more natural, somewhat more dense, and less consistent. Though Talalay requires a few more chemicals in its processing, the result is a springier and lighter sleep experience.
This can be a pricy material, so adding a product to the top of your bed may be more cost-effective with this material than purchasing a 100% latex mattress.
- Other Fibers – Of course, there are many other materials, fabrics, and blends that are common in mattress pads. Some of these choices include polyester, rayon, viscose, microfiber, or other synthetics that are processed from polymers.
Many steer away from synthetics because they are less sustainable, and this is a legitimate concern. However, a product that is at least partially poly-based does have some advantages. For instance, these usually are less prone to wrinkling, can hold up through washings, and are more easily designed to be hypoallergenic than some of their more all-natural alternatives.
Viscose, for instance, has a soft feel that is very similar to silk but at a fraction of the price, which may make your sheets slide on easier. Old-fashioned synthetics are often rough and scratchy, but this is not the case with newer blends.
How it Attaches to the Bed
Be sure to examine your choice carefully before deciding which attachment method is best.
The vast majority of mattress pads incorporate some kind of stretch fabric that fits around the bed much like a fitted sheet. These choices either contain elastic in the hem of the skirt or incorporate a stretch fabric on the side panels that wrap around the corners of your bed.
Some pads completely encase the mattress, guaranteeing that the entirety of the surface is covered and cannot come loose. Others may include elastic straps that button or are sewn onto the pad’s cover to fit around the corner of the mattress. This more minimalist approach is usually more adjustable than fitted pads for beds of varying heights.
Finding a pad that fits your bed exactly is ideal for several reasons. Firstly, a pad that is too tight or too big will slip off the corner and force your sheet to come loose when you move around in bed. Secondly, an overly large cover may bunch up in spots underneath your sheet and create uncomfortable pressure points.
Take a ruler and measure how thick your mattress is, and this will tell you how deep the pockets need to be on a mattress pad that is fitted. Most product description will tell you the maximum number of inches that the brand can accommodate, and bear in mind that a tighter fitting pad is more likely to come loose and it may be more advantageous to invest in deeper pockets.
Overheating and Cooling
Take note of what kind of materials are used in each brand and how conducive they are to airflow because breathable materials will let hot air escape. Some might also contain extra features like phase-change technology that can help keep the temperature at a comfortable equilibrium.
There are a variety of extra features that a product might contain that may tip the balance when deciding which to purchase.
Some brands offer money-back guarantees, which is great if you’re worried about fit or temperature because you can try the product out in your home to see if its right. Some companies can give you up to 30 nights to 10 years to decide.
Special quilting and the design and placement of the fill may give you a better idea of how durable the product is and if the filling is likely to remain evenly distributed or may move around. Read reviews to get a better idea of how these things perform long term.
Overall Pros and Cons
On the upside, a great mattress pad can offer some damage protection to your mattress without restricting airflow and making the bed uncomfortably hot. Materials, depending on the loft, may give your mattress a slight upgrade in plushness, which may be all that stands in the way between you and the perfect amount of pressure relief.
That said, they will not improve the firmness or support in a bed that is wearing out and cannot significantly alter the feel of your mattress. Furthermore, they cannot offer waterproof protection against more severe spills and stains. Pads that are ill-fitting can have a tendency to come loose or bunch up underneath you, causing discomfort.
Mattress pads are a good happy medium between the other types of mattress covers because they deliver the best of both worlds. A lot depends on what specifically you’re looking to do to your sleep space and what kind of bedding you require for your personal comfort.
Frequently Asked Questions
Are they waterproof?
Not typically, no. Products marketed as mattress protectors are far more likely to provide protection from severe spills, such as urine or dumped drinks on a mattress. If these are concerns of yours, you may want to invest in a protector.
Are mattress pads thick or thin?
That completely depends on your definition of thick and thin, but generally, pads are thinner than 1 inch. Some are significantly thinner and other choices are called “overstuffed” because they achieve a higher loft with additional fill. If you’re looking for something thicker, you may want to look at toppers.
There’s a reason that pads are so popular, and investing in the right one can extend the life of your mattress and give you a little extra pillowing to rest upon. Not all pads are created equal, though. Be sure to evaluate all the features to get a good idea of what you’re looking for the product to do before you make a purchase.
A different in material, loft, or attachment method may make all the difference in the world in finding the product that is right for you and whomever you share your bed with. Make sure you find the correct match for your mattress, as well, because an ill-fitting pad could find you waking up face-first on a bare mattress. No one wants that.
Author: Sleep Advisor
Our team covers as many areas of expertise as we do time zones, but none of us started here as a so-called expert on sleep. What we do share is a willingness to ask questions (lots of them), seek experts, and dig deep into conventional wisdom to see if maybe there might be a better path towards healthy living. We apply what we learn not only to our company culture, but also how we deliver information to our over 12.7M readers.
Sleep research is changing all the time, and we are 100% dedicated to keeping up with breakthroughs and innovations. You live better if you sleep better. Whatever has brought you here, we wish you luck on your journey towards better rest.