Mattress Topper vs Mattress Protector: What Are The Differences?

There are a lot of accessories for mattresses these days, and it can be a little confusing. For example, you might be wondering what’s the difference between a mattress topper vs mattress protector and how can they help give you a great sleep experience?

What is a Mattress Topper?

Mattress toppers add extra comfort to your sleep environment.

For example, if you find that you like the firmness of your mattress but wish that there was just a little extra plushness, you might get a memory foam mattress topper to give your joints that extra bit of care.

There are lots of mattress toppers on today's market, many with different features.

You might look for a mattress topper if you:

  • Want to adjust the firmness of your mattress. You can buy mattress toppers to add softness or firmness to your setup.
  • You’re sleeping hot. Mattress toppers can provide cooling gel layers and other technologies to give you a better sleep environment.
  • You want to reduce motion travel. While mattress toppers won’t stop you from feeling your partner's movements completely, a topper made of foam or high-quality latex can help to reduce motion travel.
  • You want to add extra allergy protection. You could choose a mattress topper made of a natural material like wool that is antimicrobial. Some mattress toppers also contain technologies to reduce allergen exposure.

Mattress toppers can help to protect your mattress. They add an extra layer between your body and the mattress’s surface. In this way, they give you some of the protection that you might feel your mattress needs.

A general rule for mattress toppers is that giving you more comfort is their job though, not necessarily protecting your mattress.

Also, despite all the great features that mattress toppers have, they do not replace a quality mattress. Instead, mattress toppers can offer a way of tweaking your sleep experience to make it even better.

What is a Mattress Protector?

Mattress protectors work similarly to mattress toppers. They provide an extra layer between you and the surface of your bed.

But, while mattress toppers offer additional levels of comfort, mattress protectors are primarily there to create a barrier between you and your mattress.

There are a couple of reasons why using a mattress protector might be a good idea for you and why mattress brands like Eve recommend using a mattress protector.


Throughout our lives, we shed a lot of skin and hair cells. Much of those dead cells end up on our mattresses. We also sweat a lot while in bed. Our sheets soak some of that up, but some will inevitably make it to our mattresses.

These dead cells and fluids can promote a build-up of allergens. They also entice the growth of other allergy-causing organisms like mites.

Using a mattress protector that you can wash regularly may help to keep your sleep environment clean.

And, speaking of cleaning, that’s the other reason you might want a mattress protector.


Mattresses are difficult to clean. Have a look at the care guidelines for your bed, and you are likely to find that the guide dissuades you from using anything more than a damp cloth to clean your mattress.

If you choose to clean your mattress by scrubbing at it or steaming it, you run the risk of potentially voiding your warranty.

A mattress protector can save you from needing to spend time and energy deep-cleaning your mattress by creating a barrier for any spills or grime.

Mattress Protector Styles: It’s All About You

Mattress protectors come in a variety of styles.

For example, you can have a general mattress protector if you think your mattress needs a shield against everyday use. These kinds of protectors might like an additional undersheet.

If you have a child who may still have the occasional accident, you can also buy waterproof mattress protectors that encase your mattress.

Mattress protectors can also help reduce allergen exposure, and some do have cooling technologies like gels built into them to give you a little extra comfort.

One of the main things to look out for from a great mattress protector is one made of durable materials that will stand up to frequent wash cycles.

Many polyester and cotton blend mattress protectors exist on the market, and they are generally considered a good mix for an inexpensive protector.

Final Thoughts

In our mattress topper vs mattress protector comparison, we discovered they are similar products, but they emphasize different features depending on your needs.

If you want to add extra comfort, cooling, or change the firmness of your sleep experience, a mattress topper is likely your best bet.

If you want to protect your mattress from nasty skin cells and fluids, as well as cut down your allergen exposure, you might find a thinner mattress protector that fits your needs.

Do you have a favourite mattress topper or protector? We would love to hear your thoughts on mattress toppers vs protectors in the comments below.

Related Articles