Mattress Pad vs Mattress Topper: Know the Difference

Posted By Vaibhavi K on Sep 12, 2021

Have you ever wondered how to increase the durability and plushness of your mattress? Mattress Pads and Topper are additional layers that are known to provide protection and comfort. While mattress pads are known to protect the mattress, Mattress toppers provide extra comfort and support to your mattress. In this article, we look at mattress pad vs mattress topper.

According to your mattress quality, we discuss some of the best mattress pads and the different types of mattress toppers available. While discussing the difference between a mattress pad vs topper, we also look at the uses of mattress pads and what a mattress topper does.

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What is a Mattress Pad?

A mattress pad is known to be a layer of extra padding for your mattress. A mattress pad is added as a layer of comfort and makes your bed feel softer, and prevents the mattress from getting damaged or stained. Depending on the mattress layer and its softness, the pad can be a thick mattress pad or a thin mattress pad.

Types of Mattress Pads

The mattress pad can be divided into the six best mattress pads depending on their softness and texture quality.

Cotton Mattress Pad

Cotton mattress pads are made from organic cotton and are known to provide plushness and durability to your mattress is will stop. They provide an extra layer of cushioning but cannot protect the mattress from spills as cotton tends to absorb any stains.

Wool Mattress Pads

Wool mattress pads are known to be soft and keep the mattress away from moisture. These mattress pads are made from shearing sheep wool and are known to be a premium quality material. However, these matrices cannot prevent spills and stains and are difficult to maintain.

Feather Mattress Pads

Made from feathers of duck and geese, feather mattress pads are known to provide extra softness and warmth to the surface of the mattress. These mattresses can provide a soft and cozy mattress top but cannot prevent spills and stains.

Latex Mattress Pads

Latex mattress pads are made from natural or synthetic latex and are known to offer extra bounce and softness to your mattress. These mattress pads come in varied thicknesses and offer protection against spills and stains. The latex mattress pads are often used over latex mattresses.

Fiber Mattress Pads

Fiber mattress pads are made from fibers such as polyester, rayon, and other fiberfill. These matrices are known to be stain-resistant and do not absorb spills. Since they cannot be machine washed, their maintenance can be a little difficult.

Memory Foam Mattress Pads

Memory foam mattress pads are known to provide extra plushness and softness to your mattress. These mattress pads are often paired with memory foam mattresses and are known to provide comfort and support. Since these mattress pads cannot be machine washed easily and cannot block stains, maintenance can be difficult.


  • Mattress pads are known to add cushioning to your bed
  • Since they are lightweight, they can be easily placed as extra padding over your mattress.
  • Some mattress pads are also known to be machine washable and are easy to maintain.
  • Some mattress pads are also known to protect the mattress from damage and stains.


  • Mattress pads offer minimal cushioning and cannot increase the comfort levels drastically.
  • Since mattress pads are thinner and lightweight, these mattresses are prone to damage.
  • Some of these mattress pads are not stain-resistant and can easily absorb spills.

What is a Mattress Topper?

Mattress toppers or bed toppers are known to be thicker than mattress pads and are often used to increase the comfort and softness of your mattress. These toppers act as an additional layer over your mattress and can provide plush firmness depending on your mattress type.

Types of Mattress Topper

Depending on their thickness and quality, mattress toppers can be broadly divided into four types:

Memory Foam Mattress Topper 

Memory foam mattress toppers are known to provide extra comfort and support over your mattress. Memory foam Topper is often used to relieve pressure points and prevent body aches or soreness. A memory foam mattress is also available in gel memory foam which is a variant filled with gel.

Latex Mattress Topper

Latex mattress Topper is responsive and is added over the mattress to provide an additional layer of support. The natural latex toppers are hypoallergenic and can prevent dust mites, fungi, molds, and much more, and are ideal for those with sensitive skin or allergies.

Wool Mattress Topper

Wool Mattress Topper is added over mattresses to provide extra comfort and support. These mattress toppers are also excellent at regulating temperature and can adjust well with the surrounding atmosphere. The Wool Mattress Topper keeps you cool in summer and warm during winters by preventing excess moisture retention.

Featherbed Mattress Topper

Featherbed is also popularly known as a pillow top mattress topper as it provides extra plushness and softness to the mattress surface. Since pillow-top mattresses can easily feel mattered after prolonged usage, featherbed mattresses can be fluffed up and become ideal for prolonged usage.


  • Mattress Toppers can easily alter the feel of the mattress below and provide extra comfort.
  • Mattress toppers can prevent the mattress from getting damaged and improve durability.
  • Soft and firm mattress toppers are known to provide additional back support and easily relieve pressure points.
  • Mattress toppers easily adapt to mattress structure and quality and adjust softness or firmness accordingly.


  • Mattress Toppers can be expensive depending on their thickness and quality.
  • Since mattress toppers are bulky, periodically cleaning and moving them can be difficult.
  • Some mattress toppers can retain heat and feel hot after prolonged usage.
  • Mattress toppers are not effective in retaining stains and easily absorb stains over time.

Difference Between Mattress Pad And Topper

FactorsMattress PadMattress Topper
ThicknessMattress Pads are known to range under 1-inch in thickness and can vary according to comfort levels.Mattress Toppers have a thickness scale ranging between 1-3 inches and can vary according to comfort and support requirements.
PurposeThe main purpose of a Mattress Topper is to make the mattress surface feel softer and protect its wear and tear.Mattress Toppers are often used to improve and modify the feel of your mattress and provide extra comfort and support.
FeelDepending on the quality of your mattress pad, the texture and feel of the pad can be soft and plush.Mattress Toppers have a soft surface and are used as an additional layer over the mattress to alter its feel according to the softness and firmness of the mattress.
Durability Some mattress pads can protect the mattress from stains and spills but cannot protect the wear and tear of a mattress and its quality.Mattress Toppers are known to be durable and effectively increase the quality and life span of the mattress.
ProtectionSome mattress pads are stain-resistant and prevent any spills or marks on the mattress surface. Depending on the quality of the mattress pad, some mattress pads are waterproof and prevent the mattress from soaking liquids.Mattress Toppers are less stain and spill-resistant than mattress pads. However, mattress toppers are known to protect the mattress and increase its durability better than pads.
Maintenance and CareMost Mattress Tops are easy to clean with a machine wash and can be maintained properly.Mattress Toppers are heavy and are difficult to wash. They need to be cleaned with a vacuum or sprays, which makes the cleaning process time-consuming and tedious. 
CostMattress Pad is relatively less expensive than Toppers as they are thin and only used for making the surface softer and protect the mattress.Mattress Toppers are higher in cost than Mattress Pads as they are thicker in quality and add a layer of comfort to your mattress.

Mattress Pad or Topper: What Should You Choose?

Mattress Pad and Topper have their benefits and disadvantages. While one can protect the mattress from stains and spills, the other protects the mattress’s durability and provides extra comfort and support. Mattress Toppers and Pads are available in varied materials and quality and can be paired with appropriate mattresses for enhanced usage.

Depending on the softness or firmness of your mattress, you can select the appropriate topper for the bed. With various thin and thick mattress pads available, you can choose the right kind of mattress padding depending on the mattress material and quality. This helps in easily pairing pads with your mattress construction. Hence, you can decide on a mattress topper vs. a mattress pad depending on your mattress quality and structure.


What is the difference between a mattress pad and a mattress protector?

A mattress pad is used to provide extra comfort to your mattress, while a mattress protector is used to protect the quality and surface of your mattress from the external environment.

Do you need both a mattress pad and topper?

No. Depending on the softness or firmness of your mattress, you can select a mattress pad or topper. The mattress pad will provide a thin protective soft layer, while the topper will adjust according to the mattress quality and improve comfort levels.

Does a mattress topper help with back pain?

Yes. Mattress Topper helps with back pain as it provides an additional layer of comfort and support and effectively relieves stress from pressure points.

What kind of mattress pads do hotels use?

Most hotels use memory foam or fiber mattress pads depending on their mattress quality and durability. These pads effectively enhance the softness of hotel beds.

Which is a better memory foam or feather topper?

Featherbed Topper is an ideal option as it can be fluffed again for prolonged use. Memory foam mattress toppers are difficult to maintain and less soft than featherbed toppers.

Do mattress toppers make you hot?

Depending on the material of the mattress topper, they can retain heat and make you feel hotter over time. Some mattress toppers like synthetic latex toppers are known to become hot after prolonged usage.