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Daniel Noyed

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Best Mattress Protectors of 2020

Accidents, sweat, and dirt can cause stains, mold, mildew, and other damage that may jeopardize the lifespan of a mattress. A mattress protector acts as an extra barrier between the sleeper and the bed to reduce the likelihood that a simple mishap could spell disaster.

Mattress protectors can typically be removed and washed, thereby shielding the bed from allergens, dirt, and damage while also making it easier to maintain a clean and fresh sleep surface.

We’ll cover our top picks for mattress protectors and explain what makes them unique. We’ll also go over tips for selecting the best mattress protector for you and answer common questions that shoppers may have.

Product Details

Avocado Organic Waterproof Mattress Protector

Best Overall

Who it's best for:
  • Shoppers who prefer organic materials
  • People who sleep hot
  • Those who don’t want to notice the protector
Avocado Organic Waterproof Mattress Protector

The Avocado Organic Waterproof Mattress Protector offers shoppers quality material, durable construction, and exceptional performance.

A thin polyurethane film sits between two layers of GOTS-certified organic cotton. The polyurethane shields against liquids, bacteria, and dust mites without producing the rustling noise sometimes associated with waterproof protectors. Both layers of cotton allow ample airflow for excessive heat to escape. Cotton also wicks moisture away from the sleeper’s body. This construction should provide protection without noticeably altering the feel or performance of your mattress.

The Avocado Organic Waterproof Mattress Protector goes on the bed like a fitted sheet to cover the top and sides of the bed. Elastic around the perimeter holds it in place, and it can accommodate mattresses between 6 and 16 inches thick. Because cotton can shrink in the wash, the Avocado Organic Waterproof Mattress Protector is intentionally oversized so that washing helps it fit better. It comes in the six standard mattress sizes.

A 100-night trial allows customers to return their protector for a full refund of the purchase price if they decide it isn’t right for them, while a 1-year limited warranty covers defects.

SpineAlign Arctic Cooling Mattress Protector

Best Cooling

Who it's best for:
  • Hot sleepers
  • People who live in warm climates
  • Those who prefer technologically-advanced materials
SpineAlign Arctic Cooling Mattress Protector

The SpineAlign Arctic Cooling Mattress Protector uses phase change material (PCM) that pulls warmth away from the sleeper’s body to reduce heat buildup.

This PCM is applied to the top layer of the protector, which is made up of polyester. While polyester isn’t very breathable, the PCM regulates temperatures enough that the surface should feel cool and comfortable to most sleepers. A polyurethane membrane backing protects against liquids. While it may make a slight rustling noise when the sleeper changes positions, it shouldn’t be loud enough to be problematic for most individuals.

Each of the six standard mattress sizes is available, and every size can accommodate mattresses up to 15 inches thick. This fitted-sheet-style mattress protector covers the top and sides of the bed.

The SpineAlign Arctic Cooling Mattress Protector is returnable for 30 days in its original packaging.

Bare Home Mattress Protector

Best Value

Who it's best for:
  • Shoppers on a budget
  • People with high-profile mattresses
  • Those who are easily woken by noises
Bare Home Mattress Protector

While the Bare Home Mattress Protector is budget-friendly, it’s also high-quality and comfortable, making it an excellent value for shoppers.

This protector uses cotton terry, which is soft, durable, and breathable. However, it could tear more easily than other materials, so following the care instructions is important. Underneath, a polyurethane membrane serves as the waterproof layer, safeguarding the mattress while remaining whisper-quiet. The thin, hypoallergenic fabric also resists dust mites and bacteria.

As a fitted-sheet-style protector, the Bare Home Mattress Protector has elastic around the edge to prevent slipping and ensure the top and four sides of the mattress remain covered.

The Bare Home Mattress Protector comes in eight sizes: crib, twin, twin XL, full, full XL, queen, king, and California king. Twin through California king sizes fit mattresses up to 21 inches thick, so they should be able to accommodate virtually any high-profile mattress on the market today. OEKO-TEX certification verifies that the Bare Home Mattress Protector is free from an array of potentially harmful substances.

Unopened, unwashed, and unused products are eligible for a 30-day return policy. A restocking fee may apply.

Slumber Cloud Dryline Mattress Protector

Best Luxury

Who it's best for:
  • Hot sleepers
  • Those who value advanced materials
  • High-profile and low-profile mattress owners
Slumber Cloud Dryline Mattress Protector

The SlumberCloud Dryline Mattress Protector makes use of high-tech materials for strong all-around performance.

The top of the protector uses Outlast Xelerate, a polyester and lycra knit fabric with PCM technology originally engineered by NASA. This PCM absorbs and redistributes heat to regulate the temperature of the sleep surface, while high-density polyethylene (HDPE) backing blocks liquids from reaching the mattress.

Because of its high-quality materials, the SlumberCloud Dryline Mattress Protector should hold up well over time and make little to no noise. In addition to shielding against liquids and stains, this protector is hypoallergenic.

The SlumberCloud Dryline Mattress Protector is available in the six standard mattress sizes. It has elastic skirting to secure it to models between 5 and 20 inches thick. Like other fitted-sheet-style protectors, it wraps around the top and the sides of the bed.

If you don’t like your protector, a 60-night satisfaction guarantee allows you to return it for a refund of the purchase price. A 180-day warranty gives customers recourse if defects arise.

Sweet Zzz Cooling Mattress Protector

Best Waterproof

Who it's best for:
  • Hot sleepers
  • People who tend to sweat during the night
  • Eco-conscious shoppers
Sweet Zzz Cooling Mattress Protector

The Sweet Zzz Cooling Mattress Protector helps keep both the sleeper and the mattress dry.

Eucalyptus-based Tencel lyocell makes up the top part of the protector. Not only is this material breathable and cool-to-the-touch, but it is also extremely absorbent, pulling excess moisture away from the sleeper’s body. While the Tencel top wicks away liquids, polyurethane lamination underneath ensures they don’t seep down into the bed. This construction makes the protector quiet and durable, but the Tencel could pill over time.

The Sweet Zzz Cooling Mattress Protector is hypoallergenic and acts as a barrier against liquids, dust mites, and allergens. With its fitted-sheet-style design, the protector covers the surface and four sides of the mattress. The silky smooth Tencel is gentle on sensitive skin, and the protector holds OEKO-TEX certification for product safety standards.

All six standard mattress sizes are available and should accommodate models between 10 and 14 inches thick. A 10-year limited warranty covers qualifying defects, while a 50-day trial period lets customers try the protector at home to decide if it’s right for them.

Buffy Plushy Mattress Protector

Softest

Who it's best for:
  • Sleepers who want to soften the feel of their mattress
  • Hot sleepers
  • Those who are primarily interested in protecting the top mattress surface
Buffy Plushy Mattress Protector

The Plushy Mattress Protector from Buffy features shredded, recycled PET fill encased in a shell composed of natural eucalyptus fibers. The protector is exceptionally soft to the touch and can help make your sleep surface feel plusher and more comfortable. Eucalyptus fibers are naturally breathable too, making the protector a good option for hot sleepers and people who reside in warmer climates.

The PET fill is free of BPAs and the shell has received an OEKO-TEX certification, so you can rest easy knowing the protector does not contain any harmful chemicals or substances. This product should also appeal to eco-conscious shoppers because the fill in each protector is derived from up to 16 recycled plastic bottles.

The protector is designed to rest on the top surface of the mattress without draping over the sides or fitting around the corners. The material absorbs liquid well, but it is not waterproof.

Buffy offers six sizes – twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, and California king. Since pocket depth is not a factor, this size range makes the protector compatible with virtually any mattress sold today.

The Plushy’s price-point is in line with industry averages and Buffy provides free ground shipping to all 50 states. The company allows you to test out the protector for seven nights, during which time your credit card will not be charged. Free returns are also offered during the trial period.

In-Depth Mattress Protector Guides

For more personalized mattress protector guides, check out the following pages:

What is a Mattress Protector?

A mattress protector is an extra layer between the fitted sheet and the mattress that defends against dirt and damage. Many protectors also have waterproofing to prevent issues like mold and mildew that could arise from the moisture of sweat, spills, and accidents. While most mattress protectors rest on top of the bed, some wrap all the way around for more comprehensive protection.

In addition to safeguarding the mattress, protectors may also shield the sleeper from irritants that could already reside in the mattress, like allergens, mold, and dust mites.

Mattress protectors, mattress pads, and mattress toppers all typically rest on the surface of a mattress, but they perform different tasks. A mattress protector’s main purpose is to act as a buffer between the sleeper and their bed, though some may alter the feel slightly with cooling effects or added softness.

On the other hand, pads and toppers help alter the feel of the mattress. Pads are thinner for a bit of extra cushioning, while toppers are thicker for a more significant adjustment. Like protectors, pads and toppers can also enhance the lifespan of your mattress, but they do so by preventing some of the normal wear and tear associated with regular use.

How to Choose a Mattress Protector

Most shoppers don’t put as much thought into the purchase of a mattress protector as they do into their bed, sheet, and pillow selections. However, the right protector can improve your sleep experience and enhance the life expectancy of your mattress, so it’s worth the effort to find the best option for you.

What to Consider When Purchasing a Mattress Protector

We’ll explain the top things to look for when selecting a mattress protector. These criteria can affect the comfort, performance, convenience, and level of protection.

Price
A mattress protector is just one component of your sleep setup, so selecting an option within your budget is important. On average, mattress protectors usually cost between $50 and $100. However, this will vary based on their materials and construction. Some protectors with additional features, like padding and/or cooling, may cost more, while more basic protectors often cost less.

When assessing the cost, you should also consider the level of protection. Even if the initial price seems high, a mattress protector that significantly extends the life expectancy of your mattress could ultimately save you money. Similarly, protectors with cooling features and padding frequently cost more, but they often do the job of both a protector and a pad or topper, so they may be more affordable than purchasing two separate components.

Waterproofing
While not all mattress protectors are waterproof, most are. A waterproof protector may be ideal for children prone to accidents, anyone who tends to sweat, and those who like to eat or drink in bed.

Quality Materials
High-quality materials may better shield your mattress and ensure that nothing sneaks through. Additionally, protectors made of high-quality materials should hold up well to regular washings so that you can refresh your sleep surface without needing to replace the protector as often.

Cooling Properties
Some protectors are built to cool the sleep surface. They generally use special cooling components, like phase change material or eucalyptus fiber. These options may appeal to hot sleepers and those living in warm climates.

Warranty
Many mattress protectors come with warranties that provide recourse if a qualifying defect occurs. Most warranty policies come at no additional charge, so they’re a nice bonus for buyers.

Noise
While protectors are often designed to be quiet or completely silent, some could produce noise when the sleeper moves. This is more likely with waterproof protectors because of their backing. Paying attention to the materials, construction, product description, and customer reviews may give you a better idea of a protector’s noise potential.

What Are the Benefits of a Mattress Protector?

A mattress protector could have many advantages depending on its build and materials. We’ll highlight some of the most common potential benefits.

Mattress Protection: As the name suggests, protecting the mattress is the main duty of a mattress protector. However, what it protects against will depend on the protector itself. Some shield against dirt, debris, and allergens. Others protect against sweat and other liquids, and some defend against dust mites and bed bugs.

Reduction in Allergens: Allergens can permeate the surface of a mattress, and since mattresses are usually spot-clean only, it can be virtually impossible to get them out. A protector could stop many allergens from reaching the bed. Most protectors are machine washable, so you can easily freshen up the sleep surface and remove allergens that accumulate. Even if your mattress already contains allergens, the right mattress protector might help isolate them so that they don’t interfere with your sleep.

Durability/Lifespan of Mattress: A waterproof protector can prolong the life of a mattress by preventing damaging liquids from reaching the bed. Moisture can foster mold growth, cause stains, and deteriorate the material, thus jeopardizing comfort and hygiene. Protectors that are not waterproof can also keep a mattress usable longer by limiting dust mites, allergens, and dead skin from accumulating.

Cost Effectiveness: Since protectors typically cost significantly less than a new mattress, they can be a cost-effective way to prolong the life of your bed so that you don’t have to replace it as often.

Ease of Cleaning: Care instructions vary between protectors, but they are generally machine-washable for easy cleaning.

While mattress protectors can provide many benefits, they may not be ideal for all sleepers. For individuals who want to adjust the feel of their bed, the biggest drawback may be that most mattress protectors do not provide much if any cushioning. Some padded protectors are available, but most sleepers who are primarily interested in adjusting the feel of their bed will prefer a topper or pad.

Additionally, protectors may help extend the lifespan of your mattress, but they can’t prevent all wear and tear. Depending on their construction, some protectors could also make noise when you move.

Frequently Asked Questions About Mattress Protectors

Do I need a mattress protector?
While mattress protectors are not essential and you can use your bed without one, they are an inexpensive way to keep your bed cleaner and prevent long-term damage from liquids. This makes them a good investment for most sleepers. Additionally, many mattress warranty and/or trial policies either require the use of a mattress protector or are voided if the mattress develops stains or other evidence of damage.

How does the mattress protector attach to the bed?
How the mattress protector attaches to the bed depends on the model. Most options affix like a fitted sheet with elastic around the perimeter to hold them in place. However, encasement-style protectors are also available that wrap around the whole mattress and zip shut for full coverage.

Are all mattress protectors waterproof?
The vast majority of mattress protectors are waterproof, but some may not be. Many manufacturers will label the product as a “mattress pad” rather than a “mattress protector” if it isn’t waterproof. However, if protection from liquids is important to you, it’s best to look for an option designed for spills and accidents.

Can mattress protectors adjust the firmness of my bed?
Mattress protectors are generally thin, so they’re unlikely to affect the firmness of the bed. However, some protectors have a bit of cushioning, which could make a bed feel slightly softer. If you’re looking to adjust the firmness of your bed, a mattress topper may be a better choice.

How do I clean my mattress protector?
Owners should clean their mattress protector following the manufacturer’s care instructions to prevent damage. Most protectors can be machine washed in warm or cold water on the gentle cycle with mild detergent and tumble dried on low heat.

Can I iron my mattress protector?
Most waterproof protectors use backing that could be damaged by high heat, so ironing usually isn’t advisable.

Does a mattress protector prevent dust mites or bed bugs?
The level of protection against dust mites and bed bugs varies between mattress protectors. Encasement-style protectors are more likely to shield against these pests than fitted-sheet-style options because they wrap around the whole mattress. However, if dust mite and bed bug protection is a priority, you should look for options specifically designed for the task.

What’s the difference between a mattress protector and a mattress topper or mattress pad?
Purpose and thickness are the main differences between a mattress protector, a mattress pad, and a mattress topper. A mattress protector is traditionally thin and engineered to shield your mattress. Mattress pads usually add a bit of cushioning but are not built for protection. Toppers are thicker layers intended to alter the softness or firmness of your mattress.