Mattress Pad vs Mattress Topper: Difference and Comparison

The mattress is a large soft thing that is used to lie on to sleep and generally put on a bed. The right mattress is vital for good and enough quality sleep. It can be an expensive endeavour to buy a whole new mattress. Sometimes renting is not a possible way to switch out a mattress.  

In these cases, mattress accessories come into play. It can be a perfect choice to customize a bed to be perfectly suited to your needs. It can be quite confusing between the mattress pad and topper and can make matters worse if used interchangeably. This article highlights the differences between the mattress pad and the mattress topper to clear up the confusion. 

Key Takeaways

  1. Mattress pads provide a thin layer of cushioning and protection for your mattress, while mattress toppers offer a thicker, more substantial layer for comfort and support.
  2. Mattress pads primarily protect mattresses from spills and stains, whereas toppers focus on improving sleep quality.
  3. Toppers come in materials like memory foam and latex, while pads are often cotton or polyester.

Mattress Pad vs Mattress Topper 

A mattress pad and mattress topper both add comfort and protection to a mattress. Pads are generally thinner and provide a layer of protection, while toppers are thicker and used to enhance comfort.

Mattress Pad vs Mattress Topper

A mattress pad is commonly a fairly thin layer of padding or quilting within the fitted sheet or with straps of elastics to anchor it to the mattress. Over a mattress, it attaches like a fitted sheet and won’t shift at night. Mattress pads are generally made of fibrous paddling and quilted cotton as opposed to foam.  


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A mattress topper is quite similar to a mini mattress. It is a thin cushioned layer and can be stacked on the mattress top to change the way it feels. A foam feel is made up of foam to give a supportive feel or an innerspring mattress. 

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonMattress PadMattress Topper
InterpretationOn a bed, it works as a covering that goes under a sheet to protect.On top of a mattress, it is a removable layer to provide support and cushioning.
ThicknessLess than 1 inchGreater than 1 inch
Maintenance Several are machine washableCumbersome to clean
Protection from wearNot effective compared to mattress topperSuperior protection due to thickness
PurposeImproves protection and adds a bit of softnessMakes the mattress firmer or softer

What is Mattress Pad? 

The mattress pad is generally placed on top of a mattress to alter its feel or shield it from accidents, dirt, and liquids. They do not drastically change the firmness level of the bed because it is generally 1 to 2 thick at most.  

A mattress pad can be made from natural or synthetic materials or simply a combination of both. They can make a feel plusher rather than significant pressure relief. Depending on the style and materials used in the construction of the mattress pad, the feel of a bed varies.  

Several different mattress pads are available on the market, designed with different goals, such as to protect it from everyday tear and wear or to keep sleepers cool. Its performance ultimately depends on the construction material, such as feather, fibre, or wool.  

The mattress pad is used to modify the comfort level of a mattress. It can give structure to a soft design to a firm model and adds a level of plushness. Depending on the model, it can shield a mattress from mites, dust, and other allergens. 

mattress pad

What is Mattress Topper? 

A mattress topper is a more substantial material layer that noticeably changes the mattress’s firmness level. It is made from a huge variety of materials and can be thick anywhere from 1 to 4 inches. They are not generally intended to protect the mattress from other contaminants.  

Mattress toppers are made in mattress sizes of six standards. Some of them are designed to rest directly on top of the mattress, whereas others have straps of elastic to ensure a secure fit. It can notably change the firmness level of the mattress in either direction.  

A plush and thick model of topper can add extra cushioning to a simple bed. Even the best topper fails to restore an old mattress fully. Mattress toppers can temporarily compensate for slight indentation or sagging.  

A mattress topper can be useful to slow down typical tears and wear. It can also increase the overall height of the mattress. It would change the feel of the bed rather than replacing a whole mattress. Some of the toppers are made to give pressure relief and to isolate motion or keep sleepers. 

mattress topper

Main Differences Between Mattress Pad and Mattress Topper 

  1. Using a mattress pad increases the comfort of the bed and protects the mattress from contaminants and accidents. But the mattress topper provides extra pressure relief and lengthens the life of a new mattress or revitalizes an old one.  
  2. Mattress pads offer some materials which prevent spills from soaking through. On the other hand, mattress toppers are not resistant to stains or spills.  
  3. The benefits of a mattress pad are that it is easy to transport, reduces unwanted noise of a mattress, and is generally stable and unlikely to move around. The benefits of the mattress topper are that it offers additional support, customizable comfort, and protection from sagging.  
  4. Regarding drawbacks, the mattress pad can be prone to damage and flimsy depending on the type and does not offer extra support. On the flip side, the drawbacks of the mattress topper are that it makes the bed warmer and difficult to manoeuvre.  
  5. In terms of field, the bed feels slightly plush with a mattress pad, but it won’t alter the firmness level. Depending on the kind of mattress topper, it can make a mattress firmer or softer. 
Difference Between Mattress Pad and Mattress Topper
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