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Best Mattress Protectors – Top Picks and Buyer’s Guide

Written by Jackson Lindeke

Quick Overview

Accidents happen. Unfortunately, even light spills and minor stains can permanently damage your mattress and reduce its overall lifespan. Contaminants such as mold, dust mites, and bed bugs also can also compromise the hygiene of your sleeping area, not to mention your own health.

An effective mattress protector will safeguard your mattress against these various issues. Protectors are layers between a sleeper and their fitted sheet that act as barriers to stains and moisture and keep other allergens and irritants at bay. Some protectors wrap snugly around the corners of a mattress much like a fitted sheet, while others encase the entire mattress for coverage. Many are designed with waterproof membranes to prevent liquid seepage.

A mattress protector could be particularly useful for people who live in humid places, those with strong allergies, sleepers who tend to sweat in bed, and parents of young children. Check out our picks below for the best mattress protectors sold today, then scroll down to the buyer’s guide for more detailed information on how to evaluate and select these products.

The Best Mattress Protectors

The Best Mattress Protectors – Reviewed

Best OverallNectar Mattress Protector

Best Overall - Nectar Mattress Protector

Highlights

  • 100% waterproof
  • Stretchy and smooth feel
  • Six sizing options
  • Machine washable
Our readers get the best possible price on the Nectar Mattress Protector.
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Best OverallNectar Mattress Protector

nectarsleep.com

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Our top choice is the Nectar Mattress Protector, a near-invisible barrier designed to protect a mattress from spills, skin cells, dirt, dust, pets, and more. One of the standout features is that it is 100% waterproof, protecting your mattress from any sort of liquids it may come in contact with. A great product for the allergy-prone, the Nectar is resistant to allergens of most sorts. Unlike many mattress protectors, this one is completely noiseless, so there isn’t than crinkling noise when you move around on top of the protector.

The Nectar Protector has a smooth and silky feel and a stretchy consistency. Composed primarily of waterproof materials, it has a cotton cover, allowing for a significant degree of breathability. It comes in all the usual mattress sizes from twin to California king, and has a snug design to prevent slipping. Finally, it’s very easy to care for, as it is fully machine wash- and dry-able.

Good for:

  • People with pets
  • Children who wet the bed
  • People with allergies

Best ProtectionCasper Mattress Protector

Best Protection - Casper Mattress Protector

Highlights

  • Waterproof
  • Quiet
  • Can fit mattresses up to 16"
  • 100-night sleep trial
  • 1-year limited warranty
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Best ProtectionCasper Mattress Protector

casper.com

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In terms of the singular goal of protecting your mattress from spills, dirt, and usual wear and tear, the Casper Mattress Protector is top of the line. This quality protector features a knit top made from polyester and spandex and a skirting made of polyester, nylon, and spandex. The most essential part, its waterproof properties, is from a polyethylene film in the middle of the protector. This construction will not only prevent spills and stains on your mattress, but will give it additional years of life to it as it protects it from daily build-ups of various substances.

Unlike many comforters, the Casper is relatively quiet, and won’t make that plastic crinkling sound associated with many protectors. It’s fairly thin and thus fairly breathable, which is crucial for those that tend to sleep hot. Finally, it features a unique elastic skirting and can fit mattresses up to 16 inches.

The Casper Protector features middle-of-the-road pricing for a mattress protector. It comes with a 100 night sleep trial and a 1-year limited warranty.

Good for:

  • Those looking to extend the life of their mattress
  • People with mattresses up to 16″ thick
  • People who spill often

Best CoverageBrooklyn Bedding Mattress Encasement

Best Coverage - Brooklyn Bedding Mattress Encasement

Highlights

  • Polyester
  • 14" pocket depth
  • Five sizing options (no Twin XL)
  • 120-night sleep trial
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Best CoverageBrooklyn Bedding Mattress Encasement

brooklynbedding.com

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The Brooklyn Bedding Mattress Encasement is unique, in that it is designed to encase the entire mattress (rather than fitting over the top surface). This allows owners to protect the bottom of their bed from stains and liquid damage, as well as dust and other contaminants. The zip closure is snug to prevent too much space from building up between the mattress and the protector. The encasement is made of waterproof polyester that can be washed and dried in a machine without risk of shrinkage.

Brooklyn Bedding backs the Mattress Encasement with a 120-night sleep trial, which is much longer than the average trial period for pads and protectors. The company also offers free shipping for customers in the contiguous U.S.

Good for:

  • Customers who want complete mattress protection
  • Those with mattresses up to 14″ thick
  • People with allergies

Best OrganicPlushBeds Organic Cotton Mattress Protector

Best Organic - PlushBeds Organic Cotton Mattress Protector

Highlights

  • Organic cotton with polyurethane liner
  • 14" pocket depth
  • Eight sizing options, including Split King/Cali King
  • 5-year warranty
Our readers get the best possible price on the PlushBeds Organic Cotton Mattress Protector.
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Best OrganicPlushBeds Organic Cotton Mattress Protector

plushbeds.com

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Our eco-friendly mattress protector pick is the Organic Cotton Mattress Protector from PlushBeds, which is made entirely of certified organic cotton jersey. This soft, breathable material provides complete stain and contaminant protection without retaining body heat from sleepers and feeling excessively warm (a common complaint about protectors made from synthetic fibers). The PlushBeds Organic Cotton Mattress Protector is also laminated on the bottom side with a thin layer of polyurethane for added absorption. In addition to the six standard mattress sizes, this protector is available for Split King and Split California King mattresses. It can be washed and dried in a machine.

PlushBeds ships the Organic Cotton Mattress Protector in eco-friendly packaging made from hemp and corn film. The protector is backed by a five-year warranty; comparatively, most other protectors do not come with any sort of warranty coverage.

Good for:

  • Hot sleepers
  • Those with mattresses up to 14″ thick
  • Eco-friendly shoppers

Best ValueSafeRest Premium Mattress Protector

Best Value - SafeRest Premium Mattress Protector

Highlights

  • Cotton terry with vinyl lining
  • 18" pocket depth
  • Six sizing options
  • 10-year warranty
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Best ValueSafeRest Premium Mattress Protector

amazon.com

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The average mattress protector costs between $50 and $60. Our Best Value Protector, the SafeRest Premium Mattress Protector, is widely available for less than $35 in all six standard mattress sizes. However, it offers the same levels of stain and contaminant protection as many of its more expensive competitors. The Premium Mattress Protector is made of soft, breathable cotton terry and has a PVC-free vinyl liner for added absorption. It is also exceptionally thin and will not affect how the mattress feels. Its pocket depth of 18″ is also deeper than average.

SafeRest backs this protector with a 10-year warranty, which is much longer than average. It is also registered with the FDA as a Class 1 Medical Device, making it a great option for medical and home-based care settings.

Good for:

  • Hot sleepers
  • Those with mattresses up to 18″ thick
  • Medical facilities and home-based care

Additional Mattress Protector Guides

If you’re looking for a mattress protector that’s more specific to your needs or preferences, take a look at one of our more tailored buyer’s guides below:

Buying Guide – Shopping for the Best Mattress Protector

Traditionally, mattress protectors – long known as “rubber sheets” – were made of waterproof vinyl and contained polyurethane waterproof membranes. Many of today’s protectors retain this original design, but others are constructed from absorbent fabrics such as cotton, polyester, and rayon. Most protectors are designed to be waterproof, but even non-waterproof models can serve as an effective barrier against stains, allergens, and contaminants.

It’s important to note that “mattress protectors” are not synonymous with “mattress pads,” even though shoppers often conflate the two. A mattress pad – much like a protector – lies between you and your fitted sheet, but its primary purpose is to adjust how the mattress feels and provide extra cushioning for your body. Some pads are waterproof, but this is not a defining feature. In contrast, most protectors are 1 to 2 inches thick and won’t change the feel of your mattress to a significant extent.

Choosing the right protector depends on a few factors. We’ll discuss the most important considerations for protector shoppers and answer some common questions about these products.

Who Should Use a Mattress Protector?

People who can benefit from using a mattress protector include:

  • Hot sleepers: Many people run hot while they sleep, causing them to sweat in bed. Over time, perspiration may stain your mattress cover. Moisture can also penetrate the surface and contaminate the bed’s internal layers, increasing the potential for mold growth.
  • Parents of young children: Bedwetting is a common issue for young kids, particularly those age 7 or younger. A waterproof protector can safeguard a mattress against the permanent liquid damage that may occur after a nighttime accident. Most protectors are machine washable, making it easy to keep your child’s mattress hygienic after repeated bedwetting episodes.
  • Pet owners: Most mattress covers can only be spot-cleaned, meaning that muddy paws and wet noses will easily leave permanent stains. Protectors are especially helpful if a dog, cat, or other critter naps on your bed during the day.
  • Those with strong allergies: Dust mites and other allergens often reside on and inside mattresses, and removing them can be next to impossible. An effective protector will shield you from these allergens and stop new intruders from entering your sleep surface.
  • People who live in humid places: Mold and bacteria tend to thrive in warm, balmy environs, leaving mattress owners in these locations vulnerable to mattress infestation. The same is true for people with windowless or otherwise dark bedrooms that are more likely to promote mold growth.

These examples highlight people who benefit most from using a protector, but realistically, every mattress owner should consider a protector for one simple reason: savings.

Virtually every mattress sold today is backed by a manufacturer’s warranty against structural and material defects. As part of the warranty agreement, the manufacturer will repair or replace any mattress with a recognized defect. In most cases, contamination issues as stains, liquid damage, mold, and infestations will all void your warranty.

A mattress protector can extend the lifespan of your mattress and potentially save you a great deal of money in the process.

Important Considerations for Mattress Protector Shoppers

Material and Feel

A good starting point for selecting a mattress protector is deciding which materials you like best (or least).

Traditional protectors made of vinyl have a slick, crinkly feel that many people find uncomfortable and unpleasant for sleeping. Another concern is safety, as some vinyls contain chemical additives known as phthalates that pose health risks. That said, vinyl protectors serve as excellent barriers against stains and moisture.

Protectors made of cotton, polyester, and other fabrics can be just as effective without the stiff feel. Most of these models have padded surfaces for a plush feel and side panels made of stretch jersey that offer decent elasticity. However, these protectors usually aren’t any more durable than their vinyl counterparts, but their sticker prices tend to be higher.

Liquid Protection

Waterproof protectors are the norm. Most protectors contain a thin polyurethane membrane that prevents liquid from seeping into the mattress. In recent years, some companies have unveiled protectors with waterproof membranes made of natural materials with liquid-absorbing properties such as wool, but these are much less common.

If you need a waterproof barrier for your mattress, be sure to scope out the product specs before choosing a protector. Some offer great absorbency but aren’t technically waterproof, which can spell doom for the mattress in the event of a heavy spill or bedwetting incident.

Coverage

Protectors often mimic the look and shape of a fitted bed sheet. They have elasticated corners to stretch snugly around the corners of your mattress and cover the sides. Anyone who needs a protector strictly for waterproofing their sleep surface will probably be content with one of these fitted models.

Encasement protectors fit snugly around the entire mattress with a zipper, buttons, locking mechanisms, or hook-and-eye closures. An encasement is considered the best method for staving off dust mites and bed bugs, both of which thrive inside mattresses and box springs. Five-sided protectors don’t shield the bottom, and are thus less effective at blocking these intruders.

Size and Depth

Today’s mattresses are widely available in six standard sizes: twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, and California king. Most protectors sold today match these sizes. Protectors designed for cribs or children’s mattresses are also fairly common, since many young kids wet the bed. Choosing the correct size not only ensures your mattress is adequately protected, but can also minimize uncomfortable bunching and stretching.

You should also take the profile of your mattress into account. Most mattresses measure 10 to 14 inches thick, and protectors sold today are designed to work within these parameters. If you choose a fitted protector, research the “pocket depth,” or the maximum mattress height the protector will accommodate. Full encasements also have thickness limitations to consider. When in doubt, reach out to the manufacturer for sizing and depth information.

Temperature Control

Lack of breathability is a common issue with mattress protectors. The waterproof polyurethane membranes often trap and retain body heat and prevent air from circulating between you and the mattress. This issue can be particularly bothersome with vinyl protectors, but even those composed of fabric can feel uncomfortably warm if they contain polyurethane.

Hot sleepers may find relief from protectors containing cotton, wool, and other natural fibers for their waterproof barrier. Some of today’s manufacturers integrate phase-change material and other cooling agents to help the protector resist heat buildup, but expect to pay more for these models.

Noise

Waterproof protectors with polyurethane membranes may produce rustling or squeaking sounds. Vinyl can also be somewhat loud, so these protectors carry the highest noise potential. Fabric protectors are rarely silent, but these models are less likely to disrupt your sleep.

Ease of Care

Consistently cleaning can ensure your protector stays hygienic and germ-free. The vast majority can be machine-washed and tumble-dried for quick and easy care, which is especially convenient for parents of bedwetting children and others who need to clean their protector more frequently.

However, laundering your protector will cause the materials to break down and deteriorate over time. The more often you clean the protector, the faster it will wear out.

Price

On average, a new, high-quality mattress protector costs between $50 and $175. Factors that influence the price-point include size, materials, waterproofing, and whether the protector is a fitted or full-encasement model.

One thing to keep in mind: protectors aren’t very durable. The relatively short lifespan of a protector may be reduced even further if you need to wash it more than once or twice a month. You may be tempted to invest in a more expensive protector in the hope it will last a long time – but realistically, expect a lifespan of two to three years for any protector regardless of its up-front cost, and even less time for one you need to frequently clean.

What Are the Differences Between Mattress Protectors, Pads, and Toppers?

Many companies that sell bedding products use the terms “protector” and “pad” interchangeably, and consumers also frequently conflate the two. Despite some structural and functional similarities, protectors and pads are two different products. Adding to the confusion are mattress toppers. Below, we’ve listed a few important distinctions between these three sleep accessories.

Average Thickness1 to 2 inches1 to 2 inches1 to 4 inchesCommon MaterialsVinyl, cotton, polyesterCotton, polyester, down, down alternativeMemory foam, polyfoam, latex, down and feathers, down alternativeBest Suited to…People who want to keep their mattress clean, maintain a hygienic sleep surface, and prevent damage from stains, fluids, and other contaminantsPeople who want minor comfort adjustments for their sleep surface without drastically changing the feel of their mattressPeople who want to improve the feel of an old, lumpy, or excessively firm mattressAverage Price$50 to $175$100 to $300$150 to $500

Mattress Protectors Mattress Pads Mattress Toppers
Main Purpose Protecting the mattress from stains, liquid damage, allergens, and infestations Improving the comfort of a mattress with thin padding layers, as well as some stain and fluid protection Significantly changing the feel of a mattress to make it more comfortable for sleeping

The bottom line: a mattress protector will be more effective than a pad or topper at preventing stains or liquid damage, but will not make a mattress feel softer or more comfortable. If you want a barrier that protects the mattress and changes its feel, then a waterproof mattress pad will be your best bet.

Frequently Asked Questions

Lastly, let’s look at some common questions and concerns shoppers have about mattress protectors.

  • How much should I spend on a new protector?

    Expect to spend between $50 and $175 on a high-quality mattress protector. However, the size, shape, materials, and selling brand will all affect the sticker price. Full-encasement protectors tend to be more expensive than five-sided models, and vinyl or polyester models will probably cost less than those made of cotton. Add-ons like phase-change material for cooling or multi-layered waterproof membranes can also drive up the cost.

    We recommend researching a few different brands and models. Make note of their prices in the size you need, then establish a realistic budget based on how much you’re able to spend – and stick to it. Don’t focus too much on longevity. Even the most durable protectors will only serve their purpose for a few years before a replacement is needed.

  • Should I buy a fitted protector or a mattress encasement?

    If your primary concern is shielding the surface of your mattress from stains and spills, then a five-sided waterproof protector with fitted corners will probably suffice. Those who want additional protection against dust mites and bed bugs should consider a full encasement instead.

  • How can I tell if a protector is waterproof?

    Protectors that contain polyurethane membranes are almost always fully waterproof. This material has been used for decades and proven most effective at preventing liquid seepage and damage. Manufacturers like to highlight this quality as a selling point, so the protector’s product page is the first place you should check.

    However, watch out for tricky language. Some manufacturers describe their protectors using terms like “absorbent” or “spill-resistant,” rather than calling them waterproof. This often indicates the protector is, in fact, not fully waterproof. If you aren’t sure, reach out to the brand and inquire further.

  • Will any protector be compatible with my mattress?

    Not necessarily. For one, you’ll need a protector that corresponds to the size of your mattress. A protector that’s too small will feel taut across the surface and likely lose its elastic grip around the corners, while a protector that’s too large will bunch up during the night. Likewise, be sure to measure the profile of your mattress.

    Fitted protectors have a maximum “pocket depth” the elastic skirt will reach, while encasements are also designed for a certain thickness range.

  • Do I need a mattress protector or a mattress pad?

    A protector – as its name implies – safeguards your mattress against contaminants without altering the feel too much. Conversely, most mattress pads are constructed with cushioning material that will make a mattress feel softer. Some pads are waterproof, but comfort adjustment is their primary purpose.

    People who should consider a mattress protector include those who sweat in bed or reside in humid climates, parents of young children, pet owners, and sleepers with strong allergies. A mattress pad is better suited for people with shoulder, back, or hip pain, as well as anyone who wants a bit of extra cushioning for their mattress.

    If you aren’t concerned about protecting the mattress and your sleep surface is exceptionally stiff or uneven, you should forgo a protector and pad. A mattress topper will better suit your needs in this case.

  • How frequently should a protector be cleaned?

    A good rule-of-thumb is to clean a protector each time it becomes soiled. This can mean frequent washings if a bedwetting child or adult with incontinence uses the mattress. Pet owners and people who eat and/or drink in bed may also need to clean their protector on a regular basis. Those who use a protector to stave off dust mites and bed bugs may not need to wash it as often, though they should routinely open the encasement to check for signs of infestation (such as eggs, feces, or remains).

    Regardless of how frequently or seldom the protector is soiled, always follow the manufacturer’s care instructions. This will ensure a healthy lifespan and minimize potential for early wear and tear.

  • Will my mattress protector come with a sleep trial or warranty?

    Sleep trials for protectors are fairly rare due to the nature of how these products are used. Some brands offer return periods, typically in the range of 30 to 90 days, but be sure to read the fine print – these companies may not accept returns unless the protector is unused and still in its original packaging.

    Warranties are more common for protectors. A warranty, which usually covers defects such as structural flaws and premature wear and tear, may last anywhere from 30 days to 10 years. However, manufacturers often void warranties for protectors that become heavily soiled. Your protector’s warranty will not cover normal wear and tear that occurs with cleaning the item.

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