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After a long hard day’s work, many of us look forward to coming home and crashing out on a comfortable bed. However, we get back, throw our clothes to the floor and jump in bed only to find it’s no longer as comfortable as it once was. What to do next? Perhaps buying a new mattress isn’t an option, after all, they can be quite expensive, or perhaps your landlord advises against it, or maybe even donating a mattress where you live is difficult. There are numerous constraints one can come across. In which case, an excellent answer to these issues is to buy a mattress pad, or, a topper. Not many people are aware of these low-cost alternatives. Many more don’t know the difference between the two. In this short article, we’ll discuss the difference between mattress pad and topper, so hopefully, you’ll be in a position to decide which to buy, if any.

Mattress Pads

A thin mattress pad

A mattress pad is a soft and protective layer placed above a mattress, much like a topper, which we discuss below. It not only covers the whole surface of the top but can also stretch around to the sides. Mattress pads generally work in two ways; one is for comfort, and the other is for protection. We discuss some of the key features, pros, and cons below:

  • They are quite often used to protect against stains, spills, and damage. You cannot clean a mattress as easily given the size and shape, but you can wash a mattress pad very easily in the washing machine.
  • Additionally, certain mattresses can collect dust, allergens and other harmful elements, and sleeping over them can lead to health problems such as Asthma or other breathing-related issues. However, the hygiene involved in cleaning mattress pads allows for protection against these harmful elements.
  • Regarding placement, depending on the type, it generally rests atop your original mattress and can either be tucked in at the sides or has some form of elastication which tucks under the mattress securing the pad in place, to prevent it from sliding off.
  • Some pads are thicker, plush, and hence provide extra comfort apart from protecting the mattress.
  • Typically hotels use mattress pads so that the mattresses underneath remain clean and the top layer can be washed or easily maintained for hygiene purposes. It is also a great idea for use in your guest room so that each time you can give your new guests a clean surface to sleep on.
  • Some pads are made of naturally cooling materials, which is ideal for hot sleepers. Check our cooling mattress pads for more information on this.
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Number 1 Mattress Pad For 2021

Mattress Toppers

Thick mattress topper

Like with pads, a mattress topper is similarly an additional layer of mattress over your original one. These are thicker than mattress pads and essentially provide many of the same benefits as pads, such as comfort, revitalizing a sagging mattress, and longevity. If your mattress has lost its charm and is no longer comfortable, and you do not wish to buy a new one right away, then a mattress topper is your best option. Toppers are typically used when you do not want to change your mattress immediately, or the new one you bought is too stiff, or you feel an added layer will make your sleep more comfortable. They are readily available online and in stores, easily purchased and taken away in your car or SUV due to their lightweight and compact nature. What’s more, is they are very competitively priced.

  • Mattress toppers can range from anything between 1-5 inches thick to give added comfort. Generally the thicker the better because they tend to last longer and are more durable.
  • In terms of material, most of the popular and relatively cheap options are memory foam, which takes the shape of the body by contouring using body temperature, and gives you more comfort, meaning a better sleep. Gel foam is also a popular option but slightly more costly. There are even more expensive options such as latex mattress toppers. Essentially, latex vs. memory foam is a common crossroad which you’ll need to know about before you hit the “add to cart” button.
  • Like with pads, mattress toppers can either be designed so they just sit on the top of the mattress or there could be elastic bands to keep them in position.
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Number 1 Mattress Topper For 2021


Pad or topper, there is no better or worse, it merely boils down to requirement and preference.

If buying a mattress pad, get one that is washable, else it simply beats the purpose. Also, look for something quite thick, you will notice a huge difference in longevity and comfort too. Most of the best mattress pads will have some mechanism to secure it in place to prevent movement.

There are indeed both pros and cons of mattress toppers, however, if you’re considering buying, try to get one that has a removable and washable cover, this makes addressing hygiene and cleanliness very easy. Also, ones that have elastic bands to keep in place are beneficial. Lastly, even if the cost is slightly more, opt for something over 2 inches, it will last longer, and the comfort will be more noticeable.

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