Mattress topper and mattress pad are the same thing…no? The confusion is understandable – they’re both interchangeable terms and pretty much mean the same thing. So is there any difference between the two? Sort of.

Both mattress toppers and mattress pads are meant to add another layer on top of your mattress. Generally, they are both used for extra comfort, but they serve slightly unique comfort functions. And choosing one over the other is really up to personal preference and need.

On the other hand, a mattress protector falls in a different vein. These are highly recommended as a way to maintain mattress cleanliness and longevity. Either way, all three of these mattress accessories are meant to enhance your overall sleep quality.

So what is the difference between a mattress topper and pad?

What is a mattress pad?

Mattress pads are a thin layer of added comfort for your mattress surface. They help to soften, add extra support and work as a barrier between the sheets and the mattress, preventing more wear and tear over time. They’re not as protective as a mattress protector per se, but fit great on top to alleviate any slight noise from the protector.

Closeup of white topper on the bed in the bedroom

What is a mattress topper?

A mattress topper is basically an upgrade from a mattress pad; it’s just a thicker version. And it will probably feel even more comfortable and luxurious. A topper is a good way to add extra cushion to mattresses that are on the firmer side.

Both mattress pads and mattress toppers are found in a range of materials, including latex, cotton, wool and foam. Whichever one you buy depends on your mattress type, quality and price. But they’re more or less a similar enhancement to your current mattress. Both provide a “sleeping on a cloud” like quality and act as a protective layer: win-win!