Difference between a Mattress Pad and a Topper

Updated on September 14, 2017

Many people say that a mattress pad and a mattress topper are exactly the same. There are also people who say that they are completely different. Which theory is correct? If you are confused, this article is for you.

Descriptions

mattress pad
A mattress pad

A mattress pad is like a fitted sheet; it covers the top and sides of the mattress. However, it is slightly thicker than a regular fitted sheet, with an added polyester or cotton fill for extra support and plush. There are also luxury brands that make mattress pads that are several inches thick.

A mattress pad’s primary function is to protect the core mattress from stains and the usual wear and tear. Some brands make thicker mattress pads which add an extra layer of comfort and warmth. Thicker mattress pads are great for people who need additional back support for comfort or medical reasons. They are also a great solution if the mattress is too firm or too old and no longer comfortable.

mattress topper
A mattress topper

On the other hand, a mattress topper is a thick (up to 3 inches or more) removable layer that sits on top of the mattress. Most toppers do not have securing devices, but some brands make toppers that include an elastic strap to prevent them from shifting.

Different kinds of materials or fiber are used to fill mattress toppers. The most common are foam, memory foam, gel memory foam, cotton, down, latex, and fiberfill.

A mattress topper provides an extra layer of support, comfort, and warmth. It is commonly used by people who have health-related issues like back pain and acid reflux. It is also beneficial for those whose current mattress is either too firm or too soft.

Mattress Pad vs Topper

What, then, is the difference between a mattress pad and a topper?

Generally, a mattress pad is thinner than a mattress topper (although some brands do carry thicker mattress pads). This is because the main purpose of the mattress pad is simply to protect the mattress from stains and wear and tear. A mattress topper, on the other hand, is thicker because its primary purpose is to provide an extra layer of support, warmth, and comfort – especially if the core mattress is too soft or firm, or if the person needs extra back support due to medical reasons.

A mattress pad looks like a quilted fitted sheet, only thicker. It covers the top and sides of the mattress. On the contrary, a mattress topper looks like a flat, giant pillow that is placed on top of the bed. Most mattress toppers do not have securing devices but some brands make mattress toppers that include elastic bands or straps.

Comparison Chart

Mattress PadMattress Topper
Typically thinner than a mattress topperThicker than a mattress pad
Covers the top and sides of the mattress like a fitted sheetPlaced on top of the mattress, either without any securing devices or with elastic straps to prevent shifting
Primarily used to protect the mattress from stains and wear and tear; thick mattress pads can also be used for added comfort and warmthAdds an extra layer of support, comfort, and warmth; great for people who need back support or whose beds are too soft or too firm