Mattress Pad vs Topper: Different or Similar?

Before the question is answered, it must be noted neither a mattress pad nor a mattress topper should be used in place of sheets. It doesn’t matter what material they are made out of. Quality bedding such as bamboo sheets should be used with them to provide superior quality sleep and protection for your mattress. What are bamboo sheets? They are sheets made from bamboo fibers, and they are exceptional at keeping a sleeper comfortable all night long.

Now, to answer the question. Mattress Pads and Toppers are different in many ways and yet similar. Let’s consider the characteristics common to both— mattress pad vs topper.


  • Both were created to do the same thing: change the feel, support, and firmness of a mattress in order for the owner not to have to replace it. 
  • Make the mattress feel softer. 
  • Both also reduce wear and tear on a mattress. 

Mattress pads don’t change much as far as the support and firmness of the mattress, but they do make it feel a bit softer. They are less than one inch thick.

Mattress toppers create a great deal of change in the support and firmness of the mattress. They are always more than one inch thick.


  • Both are made to be placed on top of the mattress
  • Both quilted and padded.

Mattress pads are made like a fitted sheet to go around the top of the mattress. Many have elastic bands for attaching directly to the mattress and they won’t move during the night.  

They are easy to move around when placing them on the bed initially; however, they are not that durable and are prone to damage.

Mattress toppers just sit on top of the mattress. They are not attached directly to the mattress and they move at night.  

They are also more cumbersome to move around, and quite durable and not easily damaged.


Both are made from soft fabrics or other materials designed to increase the comfort of the sleeper.

Mattress pads use more natural materials such as cotton and bamboo and have stain resistance and breathability.  

They can be machine washed, for the most part, and there are some on the market that require hand washing or dry cleaning only.

Mattress toppers use foam: foam latex and memory foam, as well as some natural materials in their construction, and have almost no stain resistance.

Some can be quite hot due to the density of the material and no airflow. They can’t be machine-washed, not even the ones made from natural material.  


Both are cheaper than buying a new mattress. Mattress pads have cheaper construction and are cheaper to clean while mattress toppers are more expensive construction and are more expensive to clean.

Additional Benefits

Both reduce the noise from mattresses and mattress protectors.

Mattress pads are healthier because they can be cleaned easier and more often while mattress toppers add to the life of the mattress by preventing sagging.


As you can see, mattress pads and mattress toppers are basically the same, but they do have some very definitive differences as well.

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