If you're looking to improve the comfort of your mattress without actually shelling out the big bucks for a new one, there's an easy fix: Purchase a mattress pad. This thin layer of cushioning can be added to the top of any mattress to add softness and leak protection, notes Stephen Light, certified sleep science coach and CMO and co-owner of Nolah Mattress.
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"Mattress pads are typically constructed like a fitted sheet — made to slip over the top of a mattress and remain secure by tucking slightly underneath," Light says. "As an added benefit, they protect your mattress from everyday spills, stains, dirt and buildup, all of which can spell the end of your mattress's life far earlier than necessary."
You may have heard of a mattress topper, and it's important to note that this is not the same thing as a mattress pad. Mattress toppers tend to be thicker than pads and are more ideal for those looking to entirely change the feel of their mattress — changing it from soft to firm or vice versa, Light points out. "Due to their thickness, toppers are more difficult to clean than pads, as pads can often be tossed directly into a washing machine," he adds.
With that in mind, here are the best mattress pads for all-night comfort.
The Best Mattress Pads
- Best Overall: Saatva Organic Mattress Pad ($155-$285, Saatva)
- Best on a Budget: Sweet Zzz Mattress Pad ($103.35-$142.35, SweetZzzMattress)
- Best Down Alternative: Parachute Down Alternative Mattress Pad ($149-$209, ParachuteHome)
- Best Cooling: Birch Organic Mattress Pad ($149-$229, BirchLiving)
- Best Heating: PlushBeds Reversible Mattress Pad ($305-$399, PlushBeds)
- Softest: Cozy Earth Bamboo Mattress Pad ($143.20-$199.20, CozyEarth)
- Best Organic: Coyuchi’s Organic Mattress Pad ($198-$328, Coyuchi)
How We Chose
We reached out to various sleep specialists to better understand the specific features that make a mattress pad especially useful and how to find the perfect fit. Our top picks below are based on the following criteria:
- Temperature-regulating technology
1. Best Overall: Saatva Organic Mattress Pad
Not only does this mattress pad provide a nice layer of plush comfort and protection for your mattress, but it's also made from 100 percent GOTS-certified organic cotton that is sustainably sourced.
"Its organic makeup is ideal for people who appreciate natural materials and chemical-free cotton along with the environmental and social aspects of sustainable production," says Megan Anderson, APN, nurse practitioner with the California Center for Functional Medicine, where she counsels patients on sleep optimization.
Another plus: It has great temperature regulation thanks to cotton's naturally cooling properties. Cotton is also very absorbent, so it's great at wicking away moisture, notes Anderson.
Buy it: Saatva.com; Price: $155-$285
2. Best on a Budget: Sweet Zzz Mattress Pad
With a 100 percent natural cotton cover and a fill that's 100 percent down alternative, this thick and plush mattress pad is an affordable option that Light recommends.
"Natural cotton is soft and excellent for sensitive skin, and has wonderful cooling abilities," he says. "It can accommodate a wide variety of mattress thicknesses and retains its plushness and thickness even after years of use."
Buy it: SweetZzzMattress.com; Price: $103.35-$142.35
3. Best Down Alternative: Parachute Down Alternative Mattress Pad
Down-filled mattress pads are undeniably comfortable — it's almost as if you're sleeping on a cloud. The unfortunate issue with them, however, is that they are allergy-inducing.
This is an excellent down alternative. With a 100 percent sateen cotton shell for softness and a microfiber fill, it is entirely hypoallergenic and mimics the lofty feel of natural down, says naturopathic doctor, clinical nutritionist and sleep specialist David Friedman, ND, DC.
It accommodates mattresses up to 18 inches deep and is completely machine-washable.
Buy it: ParachuteHome.com; Price: $149-$209
4. Best Cooling: Birch Organic Mattress Pad
The naturally cooling properties of organic cotton are put to work in this mattress pad to help wick away moisture and regulate your temperature throughout the night.
It's 100 percent GOTS-certified organic and is made up of three layers — a top one that focuses on moisture-wicking, a middle that's plush and provides ultra comfort and a bottom that maintains structure and shape.
"It has pockets that are 16 inches deep, making it a great choice for people with thicker mattresses," Anderson adds. "While not completely waterproof, it still has great protection from mild spills."
Buy it: BirchLiving.com; Price: $149-$229
5. Best Heating: PlushBeds Reversible Mattress Pad
This reversible mattress pad allows you to utilize its temperature-regulating technology in a unique way — one side offers a cooling effect for summer and the other side offers a warming effect for winter.
"It is made of natural hypoallergenic cotton and wool, making it a soft and breathable mattress pad," says Anderson. It's on the pricier side compared to other mattress pads, she says, but it works great year-round.
Buy it: PlushBeds.com; Price: $305-$399
6. Softest: Cozy Earth Bamboo Mattress Pad
Made from viscose fabric, this buttery-soft mattress pad is notably one of Oprah's favorites thanks to the fact that it's even more breathable and moisture-wicking than cotton.
"Its temperature-regulating properties make it an ideal option if you have hot flashes," says Friedman.
It's also machine-washable and made with an enhanced weave that doesn't pill over time.
Buy it: CozyEarth.com; Price: $143.20-$199.20
7. Best Organic: Coyuchi’s Organic Mattress Pad
Made entirely from 100 percent GOTS-certified organic cotton, this mattress pad is completely chemical-free and made without flame retardants.
It is topped with a soft-to-the-touch 220 percale covering designed in two-inch quilted squares for ultimate comfort.
Not only does it provide an added layer of softness to your bedding, but it also extends your mattress's longevity by protecting it from spills, stains, sweat and more.
Buy it: Coyuchi.com; Price: $198-$328
What to Look for in a Mattress Pad
Before you set out to buy the best mattress pad, here are some important factors to keep in mind to help guide your purchase.
Of course, one of the most fundamental features of a mattress pad is that it fits your mattress.
"When in doubt, the general rule of thumb is that you should buy one that is roughly 6 inches longer to cover both sides of the bed," says Anderson. "For example, if your mattress measures 60 inches wide, look for a cover that is 66 inches long."
Remember: It's always better to have too much coverage than too little.
Mattress pads come in all sorts of materials, including feather, latex and fiber-filled.
"Feathers offer the most plush, but also come at a heftier price," Friedman says. "Latex is the middle-of-the-road option, as it is made from natural or synthetic latex and provides much better protection against spills than the feather pad option."
Other material options he recommends for mattress pads, especially if you are allergy-prone, are polyester and faux down.
3. Cooling Technology
If you prefer cooling properties in your mattress pad, Light recommends avoiding memory foam, as it conforms to your body and can trap heat.
"Down or feather pads are great temperature-regulators and can keep you warm in the winter and cool in the summer," he says. "It sounds a bit counterintuitive, but some wool pads work beautifully for hot sleepers because they're moisture-wicking, drawing sweat away from the body."
While protection might not be your main reason for purchasing a mattress pad, it's a plus that it can offer some.
"If you're looking to choose a mattress pad that offers the best hypoallergenic properties, latex is a great choice, and wool pads are also famously dust- and mold-resistant," says Light. "Fiber pads provide excellent stain resistance, though they're often not machine-washable."
According to Light, memory foam mattress pads are often more difficult to clean due to their thickness.
"Cotton pads are incredibly simple — just toss it into the washing machine and go," he says. "Fiber and down mattress pads are typically not machine-washable and therefore can be quite difficult to clean as well."