Mattress Pad vs. Mattress Topper

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Written by: Alex Savy
Read 6 minLast updated on September 8, 2022

The mattress pad vs mattress topper debate is one of the hottest debates in the wellness industry. Even experts confuse the two, though they serve similar purposes. Confused readers will find valuable advice on these vital well-being products in this detailed article. 

What Is a Mattress Topper?

A mattress topper is a relief-inducing layer between the mattress and the bedsheets. The point of using a mattress topper is to provide an added level of comfort, softness, and support to a stiff bed. What’s more: it’ll help sleepers with lower back pain by distributing weight comfortably across the mattress.

Furthermore, mattress toppers offer a cooling effect that stabilizes the user’s body heat during sleep. So, it can aid users that face an increased body temperature, resulting in excess sweating during sleep. The best feature of mattress toppers is preventing overheating, supporting pressure points, and reducing lower back pain while sleeping. Readers interested in the best mattress toppers for lower back pain may check out our guide here.

What Is a Mattress Pad?

Mattress pads cover the surface of the bed with comfortable padding, but they also extend to cover the sides of the mattress. They’re usually filled with micro threads of polyester to provide a higher comfort level, similar to the comforts of a pillow.

Cotton is a common material used in mattress pads, and it’s better for sensitive skin because it’s very soft. Some mattresses use other water-proof materials that prevent spillings and mildew buildup.

One of the best design strengths of the mattress pad is its ability to wrap the edges of the mattress. Thus, it protects the mattress against blood-sucking insects, such as mites or bed bugs.

Knowing the similarities and differences between a mattress topper versus a mattress pad makes it easier to settle the debate between the two once and for all.

Similarities Between Mattress Pads vs. Mattress Toppers

So, what are the similarities between a mattress pad vs mattress topper?

  • Breathability

Breathability refers to a fabric’s ability to circulate air efficiently. In this regard, mattress pads and mattress toppers are similar. Here’s the truth: both additions can help with temperature control. However, a mattress topper might be more breathable if it’s gel-infused with glass beads.

  • Washability

Cleaning a mattress topper can be time-consuming, so users usually use a multi-fabric cleaner and stain remover. Some users use furniture-specific vacuum cleaners. There’s no washing machine large enough to wash mattress pads and mattress toppers, so manual cleaning is the best way to do it.

  • Comfort

Both mattress pads and mattress toppers will increase comfort. Both are good options for increasing support, regardless of sleeping position. Users with unusual sleeping habits should lookout for the most famous mattress toppers for side sleepers.

Differences Between Mattress Pad vs Mattress Topper

So, what are the differences in the mattress pad vs mattress topper debate?

  • Grip

When thinking about a mattress topper versus mattress pads, a mattress pad provides more grip. It surrounds the mattress and covers most of its parts. On the other hand, a mattress topper is a layer that covers the mattress’s surface only. As a result, it’s able to slide around easier.

  • Thickness

Some mattress pads are 21 inches deep. This is much deeper than a mattress topper, which is typically five inches thick. Thus, a mattress pad is much thicker than a mattress topper. As a result, a mattress pad can support overweight users much more than a mattress topper.

  • Uses

The most remarkable difference between a mattress topper and a mattress pad is how people use them. The average mattress topper could be a stand-alone mattress that users can use in a camper. Some users even cut mattress toppers to smaller pieces and use them as fillers in their furniture to add more firmness and support. However, users can’t use a mattress pad this same way. In addition, mattress toppers are easier to remove and store. Meanwhile, mattress pads are heavy and occupy additional space.

Also Read: Best mattress topper for stomach sleepers


Should I get a mattress pad or a mattress topper?

Both items can improve sleep quality in different ways. If a user needs to prolong the life of their mattress, the mattress pad will be a better option. It’ll be like a shield that protects the mattress. On the other hand, buyers looking for better sleep quality and lower back support should opt for a mattress topper.


Mattress pads and mattress toppers are both affordable options to upgrade an aging mattress quickly. They both increase support, comfort, and breathability. Furthermore, they will protect a mattress and prolong its life.

Readers with opinions about the mattress topper versus mattress pad debate are welcome to leave their comments below.

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