Your mattress protector is pivotal in extending the life of your mattress. Not all mattress protectors are created equal, and there are a few different types (encasements, fitted sheets, or pads, to name a few). Additionally, a mattress pad and a mattress protector are two different things, and we’ll go over that later in the article. Using a high-quality protector can prevent the spread of allergens, bed bugs, spills, and more from ruining your mattress.
Research and Resources
In writing this article, we:
- Read dozens of customer reviews
- Researched over 20 top brands
- Spent 12+ hours writing and editing to produce the highest quality content
Amerisleep Waterproof Mattress Protector – Our Editors’ Choice
Our top recommendation is the Amerisleep Waterproof Mattress Protector and Cover. The surface is made of a cotton-jersey blend and a non-toxic poly laminated film, making it 100% waterproof. It’s extra breathable, so it won’t trap heat, and it also protects your mattress from dust mites and bacteria. This model is a fitted sheet style, so it shouldn’t slip around, and its versatile pockets fit a variety of bed sizes and models. This protector was made especially to fit Amerisleep’s foam mattresses, but it can work with other beds too thanks to its versatile size.
Brand Type Features Maintenance Price for Queen size Editors' Choice: Amerisleep Waterproof Mattress Protector Fitted $90 Best Value: Linenspa Zippered Encasement Encasement $24.99 Best for Kids: Tuft and Needle Mattress Protector Fitted $70 Best Encasement: Utopia Bedding Zippered Mattress Encasement Encasement $21.99 Best Organic: Avocado Organic Cotton Mattress Pad Protector Fitted $249 Best Stain Resistant: Casper Mattress Protector Fitted $95 Best Cooling: Nest Bedding Cooling Mattress Protector Cover with corner straps $129
Why do you need a mattress protector?
If you’ve ever lived in a furnished apartment complex, your landlord may have required you to use a mattress protector on your bed. The extra layer acts as a protective barrier against dust mites, bed bugs, allergens, bacteria, spills, and bodily fluids.
A study by Ohio State University found that 10% of the weight of a pillow that’s just two years old can be filled with dead dust mites and their droppings. A mattress may also have 100,000 to 10 million dust mites inside of it. Your mattress absorbs lots of moisture, too, especially if it’s a memory foam mattress, and then it becomes heavier. A waterlogged mattress may lose its cushioning and break down faster, especially if you’re a heavier sleeper or you sleep with a partner. Bottom line: a mattress protector is your best defense against these issues.
1. Our Editors’ Choice – Amerisleep Waterproof Mattress Protector
The Amerisleep Waterproof Mattress Protector is super soft because of its cotton blend jersey surface. The protector is a fitted sheet style and can fit any depth of mattress between 8” and 18”. A non-toxic poly laminated film protects your mattress from spills and any other liquids that can ruin your mattress, as well as safeguarding it against bed bugs and dust mites.
This mattress protector ships free, has free returns, and is guaranteed to moderate temperature so you won’t sleep hot while using it.
2. Best Value – Linenspa Mattress Encasement
Linenspa mattress protectors come with a 10-year warranty, complete protection from bed bugs thanks to their full encasement construction, and they’re affordable for a wide variety of budgets. This protector is also vinyl-free, so it’s safe for kids and adults alike. Many customer reviews pointed out that the encasement protected their mattress from large spills, so it’s liquid-proof as well as being hypoallergenic.
3. Best Encasement – Utopia Bedding Mattress Encasement
A mattress encasement is slightly different from a fitted sheet protector, as it zips around your mattress completely, covering all sides. Encasements are particularly defensive against bed bugs and dust mites because they cover the entire mattress. If you suffer from allergies or live in an environment prone to bed bugs, an encasement may be your best option. The Utopia Bedding encasement is waterproof as well as being resistant to bed bugs and mites.
4. Best for Kids – Tuft and Needle Mattress Protector
Many children suffer from bed-wetting, especially if they’re in the potty-training phase. You’ll need a mattress protector that’s guaranteed to be liquid-proof. Look for a protector that’s been proven to protect from spills by way of studies or tests done by the company. The Tuft and Needle mattress protector is a fitted sheet style with a liquid-proof polyurethane film which protects against spills and dust mites. They’ve also added a padded top layer to mimic the feel of your mattress, so you don’t even notice the protector is there.
5. Best Organic – Avocado Mattress Pad Protector
If one of your priorities is to stay green, the Avocado Mattress Pad protector is probably the best one for you. Besides being GOTS® organic certified, vegan, and made in the USA, this mattress pad is made with plastic alternatives, unlike other mattress protectors that use polyester or vinyl. The quilted top is soft and comfortable, so you shouldn’t be able to tell you’re sleeping on it.
6. Best Cooling – Nest Bedding The COOL Mattress Protector
Perhaps you’re concerned about sleeping too hot, and you’ve got a mattress and pillows to address this problem. But what about a mattress protector? If you put a protector over your cooling mattress, will you be able to feel the cooling effects of the mattress anymore? That’s where a cooling mattress protector comes in. Many customer reviews said The Nest Bedding Cooing protector kept them from sweating and waking up too hot.
7. Best Stain-Resistant – Casper Mattress Protector
The Casper Mattress protector uses a waterproof lining with microscopic pores to keep any liquids out while also making sure it stays breathable. The protector was designed to have a sturdy fit on most mattress sizes thanks to its 360-degree grip.
Mattress Protector Buying Guide
Mattress Pads vs. Mattress Protectors
The term “mattress protector” gets thrown around a lot and it’s often misused or confused with other mattress accessories. We’re going to break down the differences between a few different products so you know what you’re buying:
- Mattress protector: These are often waterproof, they protect your mattress from dust mites, bed bugs, and stains, and most of them are hypoallergenic. They are usually made in a fitted-sheet style or as an encasement (which covers your entire mattress).
- Mattress pads or mattress covers: These are usually much smaller than your mattress and they are meant to just prevent any liquids or spills from getting to your mattress. Typically, they are used for children with bedwetting issues. They are absorbent, but not waterproof.
- Mattress topper: These do not protect your mattress in any way–in fact, they are meant to adjust the comfort level of your mattress. They will inevitably change the height of your mattress, so when you’re looking to use one, make sure the mattress protector can still fit comfortably over the topper.
- Encasement: An encasement covers all sides of the mattress; it is typically zippered over the entire bed and is meant to keep out dust mites and bed bugs. Not all encasements are waterproof, so look for a model that does both.
|Mattress Protectors||Mattress pads|
|Protects against dust mites and bed bugs||Can be used to add comfort layers|
|Most are waterproof||Can keep cushioning layers in place and prevent bunching|
|Thicker pads can offer comfort adjustment||Not waterproof|
|Prolongs the life of your mattress||They typically don’t last long|
Types of Mattress Protectors
There are a few different types of protectors you’ll see as you’re researching, and they serve different purposes. Some companies will claim their protector does all of these things (protects from allergens, is waterproof, and is cooling), but reading reviews will reveal whether or not that claim is true.
- Hypoallergenic: A hypoallergenic protector can be made with hypoallergenic fabrics, like bamboo, or constructed as an encasement, which we discuss further down.
- Waterproof: We go over the two main waterproof materials used in mattress protectors below, but always be on the lookout for this word in the brand’s marketing. If they say the protector is “waterproof,” that may not mean it is 100% liquid-proof. Read customer reviews and of course, make sure they use actual waterproof materials in the waterproof barrier.
- Encasements: An encasement covers all sides of the bed and is usually zippered over the mattress. Encasement-style mattress protectors are specifically made to keep bed bugs, dust mites, and allergens out of your mattress.
- Cooling: Cooling protectors have an extra job to do: they shouldn’t stifle any heat coming from you or your mattress. Look for technologies in the protector that offer actual breathability.
What’s a Mattress Protector Made Of?
There are a few different fabrics used to make mattress protectors, and they each serve a different purpose. We’ll go over the materials used in the two basic components of a protector: the top cover and the waterproof backing.
Top Cover Materials:
- Down: down mattress protectors are typically used to create an additional comfort layer. They are usually more expensive because of the down filling, so you might see them referred to as “premium mattress protectors.”
- Spandex: 100% spandex mattress protectors are not common, but you’ll see this material blended with others to create a stretch. Usually, you’ll find spandex in the fitted sheet style.
- Cotton-terry blend: cotton-terry fabric is soft and towel-like, so it absorbs any moisture or spills that might happen on your mattress. It’s very common in mattress protectors.
- Cotton: cotton is quite common in sheet protectors, but it’s usually blended with other fabrics, like polyester, terry, or bamboo. It gives the protector a sheet-like feel, but cotton alone will not be very absorbent. Most sheet protectors that utilize this fabric will have an additional waterproof layer made with polyester, polyurethane, or a poly-blend.
- Bamboo: bamboo is one of the more eco-friendly fabrics and it’s commonly substituted for or blended with cotton.
- Lyocell: often marketed as Tencel, this fabric holds up fairly well against liquids but it is not fully waterproof.
- Polyurethane: Polyurethane is the most common material used to create the waterproof barrier of a mattress protector. It’s usually thermally bonded to the fabric to hold it in place (you may also see this referred to as TPU, or thermoplastic polyurethane).
- Vinyl: vinyl used to be more common as the primary material in waterproof mattress protectors, but questions about its safety have made it much less common (due to the phthalates content). In fact, many companies will openly advertise their protectors as “vinyl-free” to reassure consumers.
How Do You Know It’s Waterproof?
Many companies will say their sheet protectors are waterproof, but the customer reviews tell a different story. How can you be sure your protector really will be a shield against any spills or leaks? The risk you take in buying a faulty or low-quality mattress protector is high since your mattress could be ruined (and they aren’t cheap to replace) and you may void its warranty as well.
You can usually tell by the materials used if the protector will truly be waterproof. Polyurethane is the most common waterproof material, so if the mattress doesn’t have that or any other waterproof materials, beware. You’ll also need to consider maintenance. A truly waterproof protector will come with a warning about drying it on high heat. If you dry a waterproof protector on high heat, you can ruin the waterproofing layer–some brands even recommend you don’t dry the protector in a machine at all, instead air-drying to eliminate any risk of ruining it.
Frequently washing the protector in a washing machine can also degrade it faster, so take care not to wash it too much. That said, you shouldn’t completely neglect your protector since it is taking the brunt of all the spills, mildew, allergens, dust mites, and bed bugs hitting your mattress. You can always alternate washing it in a machine and by hand.
Other Things to Look Out For
In reading customer reviews, you may notice a few complaints (or high praise!) surrounding certain elements of the mattress protector. Here are a few things you’ll want to keep your eye out for:
- Breathability: Some mattress protectors are specifically made to be cooling so they don’t disrupt the flow of air through your mattress. It can be frustrating to spend money on a cooling mattress and sheets, only to stifle it all with a hot mattress protector. Rayon and synthetic blends are usually fairly breathable, so protectors that use these may be best for breathability.
- Comfort: Most protectors aren’t made with comfort in mind since your mattress or mattress topper is supposed to do that for you. However, if you can feel the protector underneath you, it negates all the comfort of your mattress. A protector with padding, like a down protector, can add even more padding to your mattress if that’s what you’re looking for. Look for soft fabrics, like cotton or cotton terry.
- Size and Fit: If your protector is a fitted style, it should fit comfortably on your mattress without crinkling up or moving around. Be sure you get one with compatible pockets and depth. Additionally, if you use a mattress topper, you will need a protector that fits over that and your mattress.
- Noise: The best mattress protectors will feel and sound like nothing (unless you want one with extra padding). A noisy one can unnecessarily disrupt your sleep, so avoid protectors made with plastic material. Try cotton or blended synthetics instead for a quieter night of rest.
- Bed bugs protection: To fully protect yourself from bed bugs, you’ll want to consider an encasement. A couple of our suggestions are zippered encasements, so they protect all sides of the mattress.
- Allergens: If you’ve got bad allergies, a protector made with hypoallergenic material may be best (like bamboo). An encasement is another good choice for allergen protection.
- Sleep trial: Some companies offer some kind of sleep trial with their protectors, but in-home trials are not as common with protectors. If this is important to you, look for companies that offer one. You should also be aware of their return policy should the protector not work for you.
- Warranty: Warranties vary with protectors, but most are anywhere between 1-10 years. Read the warranty thoroughly so you know what’s covered–typically it covers things like a damaged zipper or other defects in the material beyond normal use.
When To Replace
Like anything you use frequently, your mattress protector won’t last forever (even if you wish it would!). Even with proper maintenance and care, you should still think about replacing your protector every few years depending on its material. If you wash it frequently, the waterproofing material may have already begun to degrade. To avoid the risk of ruining your mattress, consider replacing your protector every couple of years–less than that if the protector has already begun to let spills and stains through. Some protectors last only a few months, and at that point, you may want to upgrade to a higher-quality model.
Additional Brands to Consider
|Saferest Premium Mattress Protector||Fitted sheet|
|Lucid Encasement Mattress Protector||Encasement|
|Luna Premium Hypoallergenic Mattress Protector||Fitted sheet|
|Bear Protector||Fitted sheet|
|The Purple Mattress Protector||Fitted sheet|
Are You Ready to Protect Your Mattress?
Mattresses can be difficult to maintain, especially if you have a child that’s potty-training, if you have pets, or if you just like to eat and drink in bed. To safeguard against anything that could damage your mattress and void your warranty, you can invest in a mattress protector. We hope after reading this you’ve found one that will fit your mattress and your budget.