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Best Mattress Pads – Top Picks and Buyer’s Guide

Written by Jackson Lindeke

Quick Overview

A mattress pad is a thin layer of material that is placed on top of a mattress to help protect the surface against dust, stains, and other types of contamination. Mattress pads may also provide slight firmness adjustments. They differ from mattress toppers, which are thicker and act as another comfort layer to your mattress, and mattress protectors, which are soley used to keep mattress surfaces clean and contaminant-free.

Most pads are made from polyester and/or cotton; some pads may also be made using down. They usually have elasticated edges that allow owners to secure the corners and stretch the pad over the entire surface of the mattress. Pocket depth – which indicates the maximum mattress height the mattress pad can be used with – is an important consideration for shoppers. Size is another important factor; most pads are available in the six standard mattress sizes (Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, and California King), but the sizing options may be more limited for some models.

Read on to learn more about mattress pads, including material composition, expected prices, and performance ratings. Below you’ll find our picks for the best mattress pads sold today. Our choices are based on verified customer and owner reviews, as well as intensive product research and analysis.

The Best Mattress Pads

The Best Mattress Pads – Reviewed

Best OverallSaatva Organic Mattress Pad

Best Overall - Saatva Organic Mattress Pad

Highlights

  • Organic cotton (300 TC)
  • 16" pocket depth
  • Six sizing options
  • 45-night sleep trial
The Saatva Organic Mattress Pad is available to Our readers at the lowest price
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Best OverallSaatva Organic Mattress Pad

saatva.com

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Our Editor’s Pick for mattress pads is the Organic Mattress Pad from Saatva. This product is made of certified organic cotton, a breathable material that helps sleepers stay cool throughout the night and wicks away sweat from their bodies. The pad features a diamond-quilted surface and elasticated corners that allow it to be used on mattresses up to 16″ thick. The Organic Mattress Pad can be washed and dried in a machine, as well.

Saatva offers free shipping for the Organic Mattress Pad, and the product is backed by a 45-day trial and return policy; Saatva requests that customers wash their pad before returning it. The Organic Mattress Pad has an above-average price-point, making it a good pick for shoppers with bigger budgets.

Good for:

  • Hot sleepers
  • Those with mattresses up to 16″ thick
  • Eco-friendly shoppers

Best NaturalOrganicTextiles Wool Mattress Pad

Best Natural - OrganicTextiles Wool Mattress Pad

Highlights

  • Natural Australian wool with organic cotton cover
  • 17" pocket depth
  • Six sizing options
  • 30-night sleep trial
The OrganicTextiles Wool Mattress Pad is available to Our readers at the lowest price
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Best NaturalOrganicTextiles Wool Mattress Pad

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Mattress pads with natural materials tend to provide better temperature neutrality than those made from synthetic fabrics, though the price-point for natural pads tends to be significantly higher. Our pick for the Best Natural Mattress Pad is the Wool Mattress Pad from OrganicTextiles, which is constructed with natural Australian wool encased in an organic-cotton cover.

These materials are highly breathable, and will keep the mattress temperature cool and comfortable; they also help wick away moisture from the sleeper’s body. The wool provides extra cushioning, as well, which can make excessively firm mattresses feel softer.

The Wool Mattress Pad is available in all six standard mattress sizes; it has a pocket depth of about 17″. OrganicTextiles backs this product with a 30-night sleep trial. Free shipping is available too.

Good for:

  • Hot sleepers
  • Those with mattresses up to 17″ thick
  • Eco-friendly shoppers

Best ValueUtopia Bedding Fitted, Quilted Mattress Pad

Best Value - Utopia Bedding Fitted, Quilted Mattress Pad

Highlights

  • Polyester fiber fill with microfiber cover
  • 16" pocket depth
  • Six sizing options
  • 30-night sleep trial
Our readers get the Utopia Bedding Fitted, Quilted Mattress Pad at the lowest price
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Best ValueUtopia Bedding Fitted, Quilted Mattress Pad

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Mattress pads can be somewhat expensive, with select models costing more than $200. The Fitted, Quilted Mattress Pad from Utopia Bedding – our Best Value pick – is a notable exception. This diamond-quilted pad is widely available for less than $30 in all six sizes, and is also sold in packs of 10 that cost less than $170. The pad is filled with polyester fibers and encased in a microfiber cover, making it hypoallergenic and resistant to dust and other contaminants. Its edges are fully elastic, as well, making it easy to secure to any mattress that measures 16″ thick or less.

The Fitted, Quilted Mattress Pad is currently the top-selling product in the ‘Mattress Pads’ category on Amazon.com. It is backed by a 30-night trial.

Good for:

  • Sleepers seeking a thinner pad
  • Those with mattresses up to 16″ thick
  • People with allergies

Mattress Pad Shopping Guides

Buying Guide – Shopping for the Best Mattress Pads

Mattress pads are highly useful when it comes to preserving a mattress and protecting sleep surfaces from contaminants, stains, and physical damage, as well as providing small comfort adjustments to your sleep surface. Read on to learn more about the similarities and differences between mattress pads and protectors, hear frequently asked questions, and find out important buying tips.

What Are Mattress Pads and How Are They Different From Protectors?

A mattress pad acts as a barrier between the sleeper and his/her mattress cover. Many are quilted to provide an additional layer of cushioning to the sleep surface, but their primary purpose is to shield the bed from dust mites and other allergens, as well as bacteria. Some pads are also hypoallergenic. Most pads measure no more than one inch thick, and fit over the edges of the mattress much like a fitted sheet — although some rest freely on the top mattress surface.

Mattress protectors, like pads, keep contaminants like dust mites, allergens, and bacteria off the sleep surface. Additionally, most protectors are waterproof in order to shield mattresses from sweat, urine, and other stains. Many protectors are hypoallergenic, as well. Although some pads may be waterproof, for the purposes of this page: ‘mattress pad’ refers to non-waterproof layers, while ‘mattress protector’ refers to waterproof layers. Protectors are rarely quilted, and most will not alter the feel of a mattress to any noticeable extent. Protectors usually measure no more than one inch thick.

It’s important to note that the term ‘mattress topper’ is also used interchangeably with ‘pads’ and ‘protectors’; this is also inaccurate. Toppers are specifically designed to provide extra cushioning to mattresses, and most provide little to no protection against contaminants or stains. Most toppers are one to three inches thick, and some weigh as much as 30 to 40 pounds.

The table below illustrates the key differences and similarities between mattress pads, protectors, and toppers.

Some notable benefits of using a mattress pad include the following:

  • Pads protect against dust mites and other allergens, bacteria, and other contaminants that may infiltrate the sleep surface and affect sleeper health.
  • Thicker pads can be used for moderate comfort adjustment.
  • When used with a topper, fitted pads can help keep the cushioning layers in place and prevent uncomfortable bunching.

Drawbacks of mattress pads include the following:

  • Mattress pads do not normally protect against liquid spills and stains; waterproof pads are somewhat rare.
  • Mattress pads tend to deteriorate quickly, often due to machine washing and drying.
  • Thin mattress pads do not improve softness or comfort to any noticeable extent.

Next, let’s look at some benefits of using a mattress protector:

  • In addition to acting as a contaminant barrier, most protectors are waterproof and will shield beds from bodily fluids like urine and perspiration, as well as drinks and other liquid spills.
  • Many protectors are hypoallergenic, and will not trigger any allergies from sleepers.
  • Fitted protectors can help keep toppers in place and prevent bunching up, which negatively affects the feel and comfort level of the sleep surface.

Some drawbacks of using a mattress protector include the following:

  • Most mattress protectors will not improve the feel or comfort level of a mattress surface to any noticeable extent.
  • Waterproof mattress protectors can sometimes cause a slight noise when moving around a mattress due to their composition – think crinkling plastic wrap.
  • Because they are frequently washed and dried in machines, mattress protectors tend to degrade rather quickly.
  • Some sleepers claim that using a mattress protector will cause the mattress to sleep warm or hot.

Frequently Asked Questions about Mattress Pads

This next FAQ section will look at some common questions and concerns about pads.

  • How do mattress pads attach to the mattress? Most pads can be attached to a mattress in one of two ways. Most models have elastic corners, and will stretch around the edges of the bed much like a fitted sheet. Some pads have an anchored design the item is attached to the corners of the bed using elastic bands. Select pads do not have elastic corners at all, and are simply draped over the top surface of the bed.
  • Will a mattress pad make the mattress feel softer? In most cases, a pad will provide minimal pressure relieving adjustment, though some do find they help slightly soften their bed. Thicker, quilted pads may be an exception to this rule.
  • Are pads suitable for children’s bedding? Mattress pads can be great bedding accessories for kids’ bedding. They protect against dirt, grit, and other contaminants that little ones may track in. We do typically recommend that a waterproof protector can be highly beneficial for children that wet the bed.
  • How should mattress pads be cleaned? Most pads can be machine washed. Although this can cause them to deteriorate quickly, machine washing and tumble drying is usually the only way to effectively clean and sterilize the product. It’s also important to note that care instructions are often stipulated in the warranty of a pad (see below).
  • Will a pad make the mattress sleep hot? Most pads do not sleep hot or warm. Protectors, on the other hand, have a tendency to sleep somewhat warm; cotton protectors may sleep cooler, since cotton is a more breathable fiber than polyester or rayon.
  • How can customers make sure their pad will fit? The pad size should always match the mattress size. For mattresses that are more than 12 inches thick, be sure to check the pocket depth of the pad; some — but not all — provide extra coverage for mattresses with above-average thickness.
  • How much should someone pay for a new mattress pad? The average price-point for a standard mattress pad is $60 to $100. Some pads are made from luxury materials (such as organic cotton), and may have much higher price-points.
  • Do mattress pads come with warranty coverage? Some do. Warranty coverage for pads typically lasts no more than 10 to 15 years. It’s important to note that many manufacturers require owners to wash their pad whenever it is soiled; otherwise their warranty may be voided. Additionally, most manufacturers will not warrant against certain types of damage, such as permanent stains from cosmetics, food, or bleach.

Buying Considerations for Mattress Pads

Next let’s look at some important factors to consider when shopping for a new mattress pad, or when comparing both products to decide which one will work best.

  • Size: Pads are typically sold in sizes that correspond to standard mattress sizes, including Twin, Full, Queen, and King. However, certain brands may not be available for other, more specialized sizes, such as Twin XL or California King. Pads that don’t properly fit can be a major nuisance, so measuring a mattress before buying one is highly recommended.
  • Pocket Depth: Pocket depth is often associated with fitted sheets, but it also applies to pads with fitted edges. Pocket depth refers to how far the fitted edges of a pad will stretch over the sides of a mattress. This measurement is particularly useful for mattresses that are thicker than 14 inches, which are often too thick for standard fitted sheets. Pads generally have a pocket depth of 14 to 18 inches, but this varies by brand.
  • Liquid Protection: Some mattress pads are waterproof and create a sound liquid barrier that fully protects the tops and side of your mattress. If waterproofing your bed is your singular goal, a waterproof protector will be the best choice. These include bedding for young children who may wet the bed, as well as adults who are incontinent or tend to sweat in their sleep. Select pads are waterproof, but protectors typically offer a better waterproof barrier against bodily fluids and liquid spills.
  • Comfort Adjustment: Most pads are no more than one inch thick, and will not greatly affect the comfort level of a mattress. Thicker, quilted pads may provide some cushioning — but for those seeking a major adjustment, a mattress topper is recommended instead.
  • Weight: Most pads are lightweight, and weigh no more than four pounds, making them easy to move and adjust for most adults. This puts them at an advantage over certain types of toppers, such as latex and memory foam models, which can weigh more than five times as much.
  • Price: Because pads tend to be low-priced, cost is not a major concern for most shoppers. However, some models may be priced at $200 or higher.
  • Warranty: A select number of pad manufacturers offer warranty coverage for their products, while most do not. Warranty coverage may last anywhere from three to 15 years. However, given the low price of replacing pads and toppers, warranty coverage is not a major selling point for most shoppers.

Conclusion

If you are looking for a layer that will adjust the feel and comfort level of a mattress, then a mattress topper may be more suitable. For more information about different topper types, please visit our Best Mattress Toppers page, as well as our pages for convoluted polyfoam, feather, fiber, memory foam, latex, and wool mattress toppers.

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