Three best mattress pads
Perhaps you've never given much thought to mattress pads and put the fitted sheet right over your mattress. But a mattress pad serves several functions. It protects and extends the life of your mattress, it offers extra padding and comfort for you, and it may help you fall asleep more easily.
There's a wide selection of mattress pads available, made of different materials with different attachment styles, so shopping can be confusing. Some mattress pads are better suited to specific types of mattresses. If you have allergies, it's important to find a pad made of hypoallergenic materials. While materials like natural down and cotton are popular, there are many synthetic materials that offer similar loft and additional health benefits.
A mattress pad should last for years, so it's an important decision. This shopping guide offers some tips and recommendations to help you find the right one for you.
Considerations when choosing mattress pads
Other than finding the correct size to fit your mattress, the most important decision when searching for the right mattress pad is choosing a material that is comfortable and won't irritate your skin or aggravate any allergies. Some materials provide excellent comfort, while others are best for protecting your mattress from dirt and wear.
Cotton: This is a common material as both the fill and the cover of mattress pads. Cotton's absorbency makes it efficient at protecting your mattress from spills. Cotton mattress pads are easily washed in the machine, but they don't offer as much support as some other materials.
Nylon and rayon: Synthetic materials like nylon and rayon are good at repelling liquids and trapping allergens. While synthetics are the most durable option, they aren't always the most comfortable.
Wool: It might be surprising to learn that a wool mattress pad feels cool. It's also effective at trapping allergens, but it can irritate the skin of some people. Not all wool mattress pads can be machine washed.
Latex: These mattress pads, also known as "egg carton" foam pads, provide decent comfort but are somewhat difficult to clean.
Memory foam: For an extremely soft and comfy pad, memory foam is the best choice, but it's more expensive and likelier to retain body heat, which can be uncomfortable in hot weather.
Mattress pad features
Attachment: The best attachment method depends mostly on your preference.
Anchor straps in the corners are common in lower-priced mattress pads. These are most effective on thin mattress pads.
Fitted mattress pads have elastic around the edge and work similarly to fitted sheets. This system is less likely to slip than anchor straps, but only if the pad is the proper size for your mattress.
Wrapped elastic mattress pads cover the entire mattress, offering little chance of slipping, but these tend to be more expensive and can be difficult to put on and take off.
Maintenance: A mattress pad can accumulate dust, dirt, and body oil just like sheets. It's a good idea to wash your mattress pad every few months. Check the manufacturer's instructions for the safest cleaning method for your particular pad.
Mattress pad prices: Mattress pads vary greatly in price, depending on size and material. The cheapest cotton pads cost as little as $30, while high-end memory foam pads can cost as much as $2,000.
Q. Will a mattress pad make my bed warmer?
A. Generally, it won't, but some materials, like latex, are more likely to retain body heat.
Q. Can a memory foam mattress pad work as an alternative to a memory foam mattress?
A. While a memory foam mattress pad will make a traditional mattress more comfortable, it won't be quite as comfortable as a memory foam mattress, and it isn't very good at trapping allergens.
Mattress pads we recommend
Best of the best: ExceptionalSheets Bamboo Fitted Mattress Pad
Our take: On the more expensive end of the price range, but the difference in quality is noticeable.
What we like: The hypoallergenic down alternative is luxuriously comfortable whether or not you have allergies. And the sustainable bamboo is a plus if you're concerned with buying environmentally friendly products.
What we dislike: There are many less-expensive alternatives available.
Best bang for your buck: The Grand Quilted Fitted Mattress Pad
Our take: This is your best bet if you want something simpler on the lower end of the price spectrum.
What we like: An affordable hypoallergenic mattress pad made of polyester and cotton.
What we dislike: This mattress pad doesn't offer much cushioning.
Our take: This allergen-free mattress pad is a solid mid-range option but has a thinner layer of fill.
What we like: Stretchy mattress pad fits most mattresses, including memory foam.
What we dislike: The thinner fill material doesn't provide much support. Can start to wear out after a few washings.
Peter McPherson is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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