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Mattress Pad vs. Mattress Protector: What is the Difference?

October 14, 2022

Mattress Pad vs. Mattress Protector: What is the Difference?
Let's determine the differences between a mattress pad and a mattress protector to help you decide what you need.

There are various terms to understand when buying your bedding accessories. Mattress protectors, pads, toppers, covers, sheets—with all these confusing names offered, it can be easy to get lost. But do not fret. It is natural to be confused since many of these terms are often used interchangeably. While there are noticeable similarities among these bedding accessories, there are also differences that can significantly improve your sleep quality.

In this guide, we will begin with the definitions of a mattress pad and a mattress protector, walk you through their benefits, and then distinguish the difference between the two.


What is a Mattress Pad?

What is a Mattress Pad?

A mattress pad is a thin, usually quilted, additional layer placed on top of your mattress to increase its comfort and give it a more luxurious feel. Mattress pads are thinner than mattress toppers and provide some protection like mattress protectors.

Mattress pads lie atop the mattress but below the bed sheets. In terms of design, they look similar to fitted sheets but with some added cushioning. This quilted bedding set is usually thin; thus, it does not alter the natural feel and block the breathability of your mattress.


Mattress Pad Pros:

  • A mattress pad is a lightweight solution to increase the comfort of your mattress while adding some protection against dirt, dust mites, and allergens.
  • Mattress pads are generally more affordable than thicker mattress toppers.
  • When partnered with a mattress protector, you can reduce the plastic feel of the former with the plush comfort of a mattress pad.
  • In terms of convenience, mattress pads are easy to fit into the mattress since they are wrapped around the sides of the mattress like fitted sheets.
  • Because of their relatively thin structure, mattress pads are easy to clean and maintain. Many mattress pads are machine washable.
  • With proper care, high-quality mattress pads can last up to 5 years.

Mattress Pad Cons:

  • Mattress pads don’t regulate the temperature of your mattress.
  • A mattress pad may be more protective than a topper but is not as protective as a mattress protector.
  • If you plan to use a mattress pad for your old mattress, note that it will not be as supportive as a thicker mattress topper.
  • While it can last up to 5 years, a mattress pad can also be prone to damage when not taken care of well.


What is a Mattress Protector?

What is a Mattress Protector?

A mattress protector is also called a mattress cover. This reliable bedding accessory serves as an additional guard against stains, spills, moisture, and oil buildup that can affect the quality of your mattress. In short, as its name suggests, a mattress protector keeps your mattress free from mishaps.

A mattress cover lies between your mattress and bed sheet. To ensure the perfect fit, a mattress protector comes in various forms, like a zippered encasement that provides 360-degree protection for your mattress and a fitted type that works like a fitted sheet.

This excellent bedding accessory does not come with any extra padding. Instead, it is made of waterproof materials to, well, guard your mattress against nasty elements while preserving its lifespan. When buying a new mattress, we highly recommend buying a new mattress protector of the same size to maximise the lifespan of your mattress up front.


Mattress Protector Pros:

  • A mattress protector guards your mattress from stains, spills, dust, dust mites, and other elements that can affect its quality.
  • If you are an allergy sufferer, a mattress protector is a good addition to your bedding layers to ensure the cleanliness of your mattress.
  • A mattress protector makes mattress deep cleaning more convenient. In addition, the mattress protector itself is easy to clean.
  • Using a mattress protector can extend the lifespan of your mattress.
  • If you have kids or pets at home, you will benefit a lot with a mattress protector.

Mattress Protector Cons:

  • Since it does not have extra paddings, mattress protectors don’t provide extra comfort to your mattress.
  • Mattress protectors may give your mattress a plasticky feel since they are made from waterproof materials.
  • During hotter nights, mattress protectors might trap some heat, which is not beneficial for hot sleepers.
  • Mattress Pad vs. Mattress Protector: The Differences


Mattress Pad vs. Mattress Protector: The Differences

Mattress Pad vs. Mattress Protector: The Differences

Mattress pads and protectors are both reliable materials that take care of your mattress. Both can present a convenient fitted sheet look, so you don’t need to worry about these bedding items slipping out of your mattress when you sleep. Both offer some extra protection for your mattress and are both easy to clean! 

One of the main differences between the two bedding accessories is their thickness. With the presence of padding, a mattress pad is relatively thicker than a mattress protector. It can also increase the softness of the mattress a little. Mattress pads are excellent for older mattresses to provide a temporary comfort layer to a weary mattress. A mattress protector, on the other hand, is a great addition to your new mattress purchase to protect your mattress from dirt and allergens upfront. In short, a mattress protector improves the hygienic condition of your mattress, while a mattress pad offers additional support to your mattress without significantly altering its feel.

Here’s a quick summary to help you make your buying decision:

Mattress Pad:

  • Offers a thin additional cushioning to your mattress
  • May increase the bed height
  • Ideal for a saggy mattress

Mattress Protector:

  • Thinner than a mattress pad
  • Offers a waterproof protection against spills and allergens
  • Can help drive bed bugs away
  • Can lengthen the lifespan of a new mattress

Ultimately, both the mattress protector and the pad offer ample protection against allergens, which makes them beneficial for allergy sufferers. 


What Happens if You Use Both Bedding Accessories?

What Happens if You Use Both Bedding Accessories?

Can you use both a mattress pad and a mattress protector for your bed? Yes! You will be surprised at how these two can improve the feel of your bed, even the already supportive hybrid mattress. In fact, if you use both for your mattress, you can increase the comfort of your mattress while strengthening its protection. As the mattress protector protects your bed, a mattress pad can remove the plastic feel of the mattress cover. It’s like enjoying the best of both worlds.




When buying a mattress in Singapore, it’s smart to also invest in quality bedding items to make the most of its quality. Choosing between a mattress pad and a protector depends on your needs and preferences. We also highly recommend choosing some cosy and breathable bed sheets and blankets to ensure the best comfort of your lovely mattress.

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