Mattress Pads Buying Guide

There is no real downside to adding a mattress pad to your bedding layers. It can prolong the life of your mattress and add noticeable comfort while you sleep. Plus, you can remove it for cleaning. And it happens to be one of the least expensive products, starting at just $15 for a basic queen-size version.

Types of Mattress Pads

Types of Mattress Pads

Once you have your mattress in place, you can choose a pad to customize your sleep experience even further. Do you prefer to sleep on a cool surface? Does pillow-top comfort appeal to you? Would it be helpful to limit allergens? A mattress pad, which covers the top and hugs the sides of a mattress, can provide all these benefits -- and plenty of others. Read on for explanations of the different types.


The simplest version of a mattress pad is made from polyester or cotton, has fitted corners to snugly contour to your mattress, and is intended to add a thin layer of cushion to the mattress. Mattresses have hard, welted edges and can have bumps of padding on the surface. A mattress pad can soften and smooth these.


Look for mattress pads labeled "hypo-allergenic," "anti-bed bug," or "dust-mite preventer" if you want to limit your exposure to some of the pests that find harbor in mattresses. These pads have the customary cushiony top, but they also surround the entire mattress and close with a zipper at one end.

Temperature Control

To get a good night's rest, some of us prefer a warmer bed, some a cooler bed. You can purchase pads that perform these functions. Cooling mattress pads may have a gel core or be made from the wicking fabrics common in performance athletic attire. Warming pads are designed like warming blankets, with inner wires and adjustable controls.

Cushioning Comfort

For luxurious comfort that you can add to your mattress, turn to a mattress pad cushioned with memory foam, down, fleece, wool, or polyester. You can purchase a mattress pad with any type of cushion that you find appealing.

Purchase Considerations

Purchase Considerations

In shopping for a mattress pad, the budget is in your hands. You can opt for a basic, inexpensive pad and let your mattress do the job of providing nighttime comfort. Or you can add an expensive pad to give a basic mattress a boost.


To get the best results from your mattress pad, the most important factor is fit. Know the depth of your mattress (9-14 inches is common) and buy a suitable pad. Then try it at home. If the fit isn't snug, the pad will shift around while you are sleeping on it, which could result in uncomfortable lumps and creases.


For the more expensive, complex mattress pads, such as memory foam or warming pads, make sure you know the warranty information. If you have a problem, can you return it to the store or the manufacturer?

Care and Cleaning

Once you decide on a mattress pad, care for and clean it properly. Each will have laundry or dry-clean instructions on the packaging and attached tags. For basic mattress pads, you can -- and should -- launder them as often as you wash your sheets. Other pads with down fill or a cooling-gel pad will have specific instructions.

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