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Mattress Pad vs. Mattress Topper: what’s the difference?
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The mattress pad located above the Polysleep mattress topper


Mattress Pad vs. Mattress Topper: what’s the difference?

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Mattress accessories are perfect for people looking to customize their beds.

Mattress pads and mattress toppers are often the two choices that people pivot around when looking for extra comfort and protection. 

But what are their differences? 

Your mattress specialist at Polysleep can already tell you that they aren’t the same.

Mattress pads – also named mattress protectors – are perfect to add an extra protection to your mattress, while mattress toppers will add comfort. 

In this mattress pad vs mattress topper article, learn more about the two and how to choose them. 

What is a Mattress Pad?

The Polysleep waterproof mattress protector unfolded from the corner of the Polysleep bed


A mattress pad is a thin, quilted cushion made from memory foam, wool, feather, or fiber. 

Mattress pads soften your bed while providing an extra layer of protection from accidental spills and stains.

Benefits of a mattress pad

Mattress pads provide comfort and a layer of protection for your mattress. They are thin and easy to clean, some mattress pads are even machine-washable

Pads are usually attached to a fitted sheet with straps in the corners so you can tuck it underneath the mattress. This allows the mattress protector to stay in its original position when you shift and change positions during sleep.

 Because mattress pads are much thinner and more lightweight than mattress toppers, they are much easier to transport, and are more inexpensive

Try the Polysleep mattress pad if you want the best mattress pad money can buy.

Benefits of a cooling mattress pad

Cooling mattress pads, also called “cooling mattress topper” quickly distribute or eliminate your body heat to keep you from overheating during the night

They usually use a gel or liquid system but are more expensive than regular mattress pads. 

Others are more breathable so your heat doesn’t get trapped in your bed and keep you up. Either way, cooling mattress pads are a great solution if you are kept awake in a hot bed.

Some drawbacks of a mattress pad

  • Mattress pads can be flimsy and easily torn and worn down.
  • Although mattress pads may offer some comfort, they do not offer additional support, and you may not notice any extra comfort.

What is a Mattress Topper?

The semi-rolled up Polysleep mattress topper on the Polysleep bed


A mattress topper is a thin cushion placed on top of the mattress that changes the feel of the bed. They are sometimes called a “mini-mattress” because they provide comfort and support like a mattress does. 

They are placed on top of the mattress to provide additional comfort, and can make a firm mattress feel softer or give a soft mattress extra support. 

Benefits of a Mattress Topper

Mattress toppers allow you to change the comfort and feel of your bed without having to change your whole mattress. 

They also provide extra support, especially for your back and neck. Like a mattress pad, mattress toppers extend the life of your mattress, protecting it from wear and stains.

Check out Polysleep mattress topper for a comfortable, practical topper that is great for all types of sleepers.

Some drawbacks of a mattress topper

  • Mattress toppers aren’t as lightweight as mattress pads and can be difficult to move.
  • They can shift positions and bunch up because they are not directly attached to the mattress.
  • They are difficult to clean and are not machine-washable.
  • They can be expensive (although they are still cheaper than replacing an old mattress).
  • Mattress toppers can insulate the heat and make your bed hotter.

Mattress Pad vs. Mattress Topper: What Are Their Differences?

The Polysleep mattress topper fully rolled up on the Polysleep bed
  Mattress Topper Mattress Pad
Thickness Greater than 1 inch Less than 1 inch
Protection Thickness provides great protection from wear, but not spills Protective from spills, but not as resistant to wear as toppers
Maintenance Difficult to clean Easy to clean
Purpose Changes the feel of your mattress Extra softness and protection
Material Memory foam, latex, wool, featherbed,  Cotton, wool, feather, fiber, latex, memory foam

How to wash a mattress protector?

How to wash a mattress topper?

Mattress Pad vs. Mattress Topper: Material Guide

  Mattress Topper Mattress Pad
Memory foam Popular for contouring to your body and pressure point relief Contours to your body, but not thick enough for real results 
Latex Provide extra support; hypoallergenic, resistant to mites, bedbugs, mold, and mildew Contours to your body and offer bounce
Wool Soft and supportive- good for temperature regulation- wicks away moisture Soft and breathable
Featherbed Plushy and soft Soften a firm mattress, and it can be professionally cleaned
Feather Soft and luxurious, feathers can poke through Soft and warm, not very stain-resistant
Fiber Can wick away moisture when made of wool fibers Stain-resistant, but may be noisy
Viscoelastic hybrid foam Provides the comfort of memory foam with air-circulation so you stay cool Resistant to bacteria and dust mites, while offering air circulation

How to choose a mattress topper?

Mattress Pad vs. Mattress Topper: Which one is right for you?

Corner of the mattress protector unfolded on the Polysleep mattress topper

So if you’re still wondering which one is right for you, just ask yourself this one question:

Are you mostly looking for mattress protection along with a little extra comfort or are you looking to completely change the feel of your mattress? 

If you’re mostly looking for protection, then a mattress pad is right for you. Plus, if you want serious protection from bacteria and water, then check out Polysleep’s waterproof mattress protector, to make sure your mattress will last the test of time. 

However, if you’re looking to change the feel of your mattress, add support or make it softer, then a mattress topper is what you need. Try the Polysleep Mattress Topper to enjoy better sleep and comfort more suited to you.

Or maybe you’re a hot sleeper looking for a temperature regulation solution? Then a cooling mattress pad, like the PolyCool topper, which is thin like a pad, but that you put on top of your mattress like a topper, is the perfect solution for you. 

And if you’re looking for both protection and more comfort, then feel free to use both. Plus, it’s always a good idea to have a mattress protector even if you have a topper. 

Do cooling mattress pads really work?

Woman sleeping on the PolyCool topper mattress

At the end of the day, whether to choose a mattress pad vs a mattress topper comes down to you: what you need, what preferences you have, and how you sleep. 

Choosing a mattress accessory is really about what you’d like to change. 

But whether you just need some extra protection with a mattress protector or extra support that keeps you cool, Polysleep has everything you need, so look no further!

The panda-tester hugging the Polysleep mattress topper

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