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Mattress Pad Vs Mattress Topper: Know The Difference

When making the decision to upgrade your mattress by adding a mattress pad or mattress topper it can be confusing. The words pad and topper are sometimes used interchangeably which can make it hard to identify the one you should be shopping for. Even though both products have their unique qualities, you need to know what those qualities are that make the pads and toppers different from each other in order to know whether you should buy a mattress topper or mattress pad.

What Are Pads and Toppers Made Of?

There are a variety of materials that can be used to make a mattress pad. Some of these materials include wool, natural latex, cotton, cluster fiber, and down.

Just like the mattress pad the mattress topper can also be found made of cotton or down, but can also be found constructed of foam, memory foam, or latex rubber.

When it comes to the different materials that mattress pads and mattress toppers are made of it is a good idea to check into how these different materials give each mattress its own added benefits as well as that extra layer of comfort.

For example, if dust mites are a worry for you then you would want to look at materials such as wool, or natural latex. If natural latex isn’t an option for you do to an allergy to this material, you could look into another such as memory foam.

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Another paint to consider when looking at what the pad or topper is made of is how some materials can offer an added benefit. When using a wool pad, it can act like a natural insulator keeping you warm and cozy while you sleep. If you are looking at the support of a down pad or topper it can keep you warm on those cool nights as well as cool on the warm ones.

The material that is used in creating the mattress pads and toppers can play a large role in the decision-making process as to which one will be right for you. This alone can help start you on the course to finding the right match to get you that wonderful sleeping experience for your mind and body.

How They’re Used

A mattress pad is often made with a fitted sheet this way it can be wrapped around the corners of your mattress just like a normal fitted sheet. Some other mattress pads may come with elastic straps located at each corner. These straps can be positioned around the corners of your mattress to secure the pad in place.

A mattress topper may come with straps as well and are used in the same way to secure the topper onto the mattress. Other times the topper does not include straps but with the thicker material that the mattress topper is constructed of it should easily lay in place.

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The material that is used in the pad or topper that you purchase can make a difference in the amount and type of maintenance needed to keep it in peak performance.

For example, if dust mites are a worry for you then you would want to look at materials such as wool, or natural latex. If natural latex isn’t an option for you due to an allergy to this material, you could look into another such as memory foam. And if you’d like to use a mattress pad or topper to make your bed softer, wool, cotton, and memory foam are the perfect materials to go for.

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Other materials like cotton are often machine washable. If having the ability to clean your whole pad at once is something you prefer, then this would be a great option for you. Just make sure to double check the material of the pad you are buying and the manufacturers cleaning instructions.

If a down pad is more to your liking you will be able to spot clean as needed and revive it with a bit of steam to maintain its cushion as the down can flatten out over time.

Mattress toppers usually need to be thoroughly cleaned to maintain them. If you are looking at a topper and want some extra protection you can always add a mattress protector or other barrier between your topper and you.

Each material has something to offer when looking at how you will need to take care of it so that it provides you that needed comfort for years to come.


One of the main answers to the question what’s the difference between a mattress pad and a mattress topper is the support they will give you. Depending on the extra layer of comfort that is needed this can determine whether you will be looking at mattress pads or mattress toppers.

Mattress pads can be used in situations where you are only looking for a mattress protector but would rather not have the noise that is sometimes associated with a mattress protector. It can also be used to add an extra layer to your original mattress if you are only looking for a slight change from what you already have.

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Mattress toppers offer more ability to change the way your bed feels from firm (see: best firm mattress topper) to soft or vice versa. They are made thicker than what a mattress pad is and therefore offer more support if that is what you are needing for a good night’s sleep.


A pad compared to a topper would be a cheaper alternative if you are looking to slightly upgrade your original mattress or protect it. However, if you are finding your mattress lacking in comfort to the point you feel you need a new mattress but you don’t want to spend the money then the best cheap mattress toppers can help you give your bed what it is lacking without breaking the bank.

In summary the mattress pad and topper are uniquely different in what they will provide for you in updating your mattress. When considering which one you think will be the best mattress pad or topper for you keep in mind the materials they are made of, the cost of each, and most of all the support you are looking to gain with your purchase.

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