Purchasing a mattress pad is an effective way to improve your quality of sleep without spending a fortune.
Not only could a top-rated mattress pad adjust the feel of your bed to provide additional comfort and support, but it should also protect your mattress from dust, allergens, stains, and other contaminants that can shorten the lifespan of your mattress.
A mattress pad is a layer of cushiony material that is placed on top of your mattress and underneath your sheets. Mattress pads come in a variety of materials, including cotton, polyester, and down alternative, and there are also many great hypoallergenic choices on today’s market for those with allergies. Pads are thinner than mattress toppers but normally run thicker than protectors, so they work as a great middle-ground option for consumers.
In this review guide, we’ll share our top 6 picks for the best mattress pads for your bedding.
6 Best Mattress Pad
- Nolah Bamboo Mattress Pad – Editor's Choice
- Helix Plush Mattress Topper – Best Plush Mattress Pad
- Saatva Organic Mattress Pad – Best Organic Mattress Pad
- Puffy Mattress Pad – Best Cooling Mattress Pad
- Nectar Nectar Mattress Protector – Best Hypoallergenic Mattress Pad
- Avocado Organic Cotton Mattress Pad – Best Waterproof Mattress Pad
6 Top Rated Mattress Pad Reviews
Nolah Bamboo Mattress Pad
- Eco-Friendly Materials
- Naturally Anti-Bacterial
- Six Sizes Available
The Nolah Bamboo Mattress Pad is a soft and smooth cushioning pad that elevates your sleeping experience. The pad is made with 100 percent viscose from bamboo and other eco-friendly materials, making it hypoallergenic, moisture-wicking, and breathable.
Bamboo is a temperature-neutral fabric that wicks moisture away naturally and allows it to evaporate. This way, the pad is always cool and fresh while remaining cozy when the nights are cold. Also, bamboo fibers are antibacterial and hypoallergenic, so this pad is a great choice for those struggling with allergies. The Nolah Bamboo mattress pad comes in six standard sizes and fits any bed up to 15 inches tall.
Why do we like it?
- This mattress pad comes with the Oeko-Tex certification, meaning it’s free of dyes, pesticides, toxins, and harmful chemicals.
- The Nolah Bamboo Mattress Pad is safe to wash and dry in a washer and dryer. Use cold water when washing and medium heat when tumble drying.
Best Plush Mattress Pad
Helix Plush Mattress Topper
- Soft Bamboo Blend Fibers
- 100-Night Sleep Trial
- 1-Year Warranty
The Helix Plush Mattress Topper features Revoloft Cluster fiberfill for a long-lasting shape and a comfortable feeling. The bamboo fibers are soft to the touch but still more resilient than cotton, allowing the pad to return to its original shape.
This mattress pad is hypoallergenic and breathable, so it’s a good choice for people struggling with allergies. In addition, it’s safe to use on sensitive skin since there’s less chance of bacteria build-up, even with frequent use. The pad comes in six standard mattress sizes and has extra-deep pockets to fit a wide range of beds. And the needle baffle box stitching traps the fill inside, ensuring that the fiberfill doesn’t gather in single areas of the pad.
What makes it stand out:
This Helix mattress pad is easy to maintain as it’s safe to wash in a washing machine. However, it’s best to use cold water and mild detergent only to avoid potential damage. You can also tumble-dry it but with little heat.
Best Organic Mattress Pad
Saatva Organic Mattress Pad
- GOTS Certified Organic Cotton
- Extra-Wide Elastic Band
- 45-Day Trial
- 1-Year Warranty
This Saatva mattress pad is one of the best choices for those looking for an organic pad. The Saatva Organic Mattress Pad is diamond-quilted plush layers that add comfort and protection to your mattress. The pad comes in nine sizes and fits mattresses up to 16 inches tall.
This one is made from GOTS-certified organic cotton, so it’s chemical-free and safe to use for people with allergies. The 300 thread count cotton in this pad adds coolness and comfort to any mattress, regardless of the type. Plus, the side panels are woven with 4 percent spandex, featuring a silicone elastic band for added security.
What makes it unique:
- The Saatva Organic Mattress Pad is safe to wash in a machine using cold water and no bleach. You can also tumble-dry it, but make sure you use a gentle cycle with little heat.
- Cotton is highly breathable, so this Saatva may be the perfect choice if you usually sleep hot and struggle with overheating at night.
Best Cooling Mattress Pad
Puffy Mattress Pad
- Highly Breathable Fabric
- 101-Night Trial
- Lifetime Warranty
The Puffy Mattress Pad is designed to deliver cooling comfort all year round. The pad is made with highly breathable fabric that allows maximum airflow to prevent hot flashes and overheating. Plus, it’s also hypoallergenic to resist any bacteria build-up, which should benefit people who struggle with allergies.
The pad features bamboo fabric that’s naturally cooling and breathable, which should help hot sleepers sleep better. In addition, the bamboo fabric is organic and easy to maintain as it doesn’t collect dust, mites, mold, or mildew. This Puffy pad fits mattresses of all sizes, so it’s an easy match to whatever mattress you have at home. And, Puffy offers a 101-night trial for sleepers to test the pad before purchasing.
What makes it special:
Puffy offers an industry-leading lifetime warranty with its mattress pad. This is a nice touch on top of the long trial period the company offers to protect your purchase.
Best Hypoallergenic Mattress Pad
Nectar Mattress Protector
- Four Sizes Available
- 50-Night Trial
- 5-Year Warranty
This Nectar is a mattress protector and a barrier against dust and dirt. In addition, the protector is 100 percent waterproof, protecting against spills for those who enjoy their coffee in bed. Another thing worth noting is that the pad has a breathable cotton cover to stay cool, comfortable, and clean for the longest time.
The pad is seamless, featuring a quilted top layer for added cushioning and comfort. Plus, it’s stretchy to fit most beds up to 22 inches tall. The brand offers four sizes, so it should fit most mattresses. This Nectar is a good choice for single individuals and couples as it’s noiseless when you move around.
What makes it stand out:
This Nectar is resistant to stains and spills because it’s waterproof. It keeps liquids off your mattress, which gives you enough time to remove and clean it. Machine-washing and tumble-drying are recommended but on a low setting.
Best Waterproof Mattress Pad
Avocado Organic Cotton Mattress Pad
- MADE SAFE® Certified
- Waterproof and Breathable
- GOTS Organic Certified
The Avocado Organic Cotton Mattress Pad is a waterproof protector for your mattress. The pad features two layers of GOTS organic certified cotton and a thin polyurethane film in between. The polyurethane layer is waterproof and breathable to resist spills while allowing maximum airflow.
The pad comes in six standard mattress sizes to fit a wide range of beds. Plus, Avocado allows consumers to choose between deep and standard pockets, depending on the type of mattress they have.
Why it’s special:
- The Avocado Organic Cotton Mattress Pad is waterproof but doesn’t contain any phthalates, vinyl, or PVC. The pad is quiet and soft to the touch, providing maximum comfort in all sleeping positions.
- Polyurethane makes for just 5 percent of the mattress pad, whereas cotton makes for the rest of 95 percent. This means the pad is soft and comfortable without feeling rubbery or dense.
What Classifies a Mattress Pad?
There are no standard 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, mattress pads 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 mattress 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.
Check Our Comparison: Mattress Pad vs Protector
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 mattress 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 mattress 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… If you're only looking to protect your mattress and not cushion it, you’re going to want to look for a bed protector that has waterproof capabilities, 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 mattress pad may provide all of the protection you need.
- If You Want a Hypoallergenic Sleep… This, again, will depend on your degree of need. If your allergies are severe, a mattress 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 mattress 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 latex mattress pad 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. Other mattress pads 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. Mattress 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 About Mattress Pads
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.
Want to see more? Check out our guide for waterproof crib mattress pads.
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 mattress 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.