The Best Mattress Protectors

We all know that we should wash our bedding regularly, but how do we keep our mattresses clean? You can’t exactly throw a mattress in the washing machine.

But you can throw a mattress protector in the wash. A mattress protector covers your mattress to keep out a variety of contaminants, from liquid to dust mites. They can help ensure that your mattress lasts as long as possible and that your sleep isn’t interrupted by allergy attacks.  Mattress protectors are a necessary addition to your bedding set, no matter which type of mattress you have.

Our Top Picks

ManufacturerModelMaterial TypeDepthPrice (Queen)
SafeRest PremiumCotton terry18"$26.95
Purple Mattress ProtectorPolyester and spandex13"$59
Hospitology Sleep DefensePolyester knitStandard: 12-18”
Low Profile: 9-11”
Ultra Low Profile: 6-8”
$32
Lucid Bamboo ProtectorBamboo rayon and cotton jersey18"$18.99
Bear Mattress ProtectorCotton, polyester and HeiQ adaptive fabric20"$110

A mattress protector shields your mattress from spills and accidents, saving you money and the hassle of having to buy a new mattress. That’s why finding the right one is so important. We’ve done the hard work for you and outline below our top five mattress protector picks.

SafeRest Premium

Why We Picked It:

SafeRest specializes in mattress protectors and encasements, so they know what they’re doing when it comes to keeping your mattress clean. This cover is made from soft, hypoallergenic cotton terry backed with a polyurethane membrane. SafeRest Premium is made to be 100 percent waterproof and is meant to protect against allergens, dust mites, bacteria, perspiration, urine and other fluids.

Some mattress protectors bunch or crinkle, but the SafeRest Premium is noiseless and doesn’t interfere with the feel of your mattress. The protector can fit mattresses up to 18” tall, and elastic sides make it easy to conceal excess material under the mattress. It’s also free of vinyl, PVC and phthalates.

Who It’s For:

With its excellent waterproofing capabilities, the SafeRest Premium is a great pick for anyone with kids or pets. It’s designed to repel all liquids and their odors. If you’re a light sleeper, the noiseless quality is also a plus.

Who It’s Not For:

Some find the protector traps some heat, so it might not be a good fit for you if you already sleep hot. If you’d like a protector that completely absorbs liquids, you may want to look elsewhere as the SafeRest repels liquids rather than absorbing them.

 

Purple Mattress Protector

Why We Picked It:

The Purple Mattress Protector is one of the thinnest protectors on the market and does an excellent job of wrapping tightly around the mattress. That means that while it’s busy keeping your mattress clean, you won’t be able to feel it. It’s made from 85 percent polyester and 15 percent spandex, and it’s backed by a waterproof membrane made from polyurethane. The same material comprises all five sides, so it’s waterproof all the way around.

Because of its thin design, the Purple Mattress Protector is very breathable so it sleeps relatively cool. The combination of slightly absorbent materials on top and repellent materials underneath means that liquid will stay away from the mattress but not pool on top of the protector.

Who It’s For:

If you don’t want anything interfering with the feel of your mattress, then the Purple Mattress Protector is for you. The thin design and close fit will meld with your mattress, while still keeping it protected from contaminants. Its breathability is also great if you tend to sleep hot.

Who It’s Not For:

Anyone with a mattress taller than 13”. The Purple Mattress Protector is designed for Purple’s mattresses, the tallest of which is 13”. There is also some noise associated with the protector, so it might not be a good fit if you’re a light sleeper.

 

Hospitology Sleep Defense

Why We Picked It:

The Hospitology Sleep Defense is for mattress encasement, meaning it completely encloses the mattress on all six sides. It’s made from a hypoallergenic polyester knit with a polyurethane waterproof layer and zipper enclosures. It doesn’t contain any vinyl, PVCs or phthalates. The protector is soft and doesn’t produce noise when sleepers move.

The real specialty of this mattress protector is in keeping out pests, especially bed bugs, but it also protects against dust mites, allergens and minor spills. It even comes with “zipper locks” to ensure bed bugs can’t access the mattress. It may take more than one person to assemble, but the protection it offers against pests and allergens is worth it.

Who It’s For:

The Hospitology Sleep Defense is ideal for anyone concerned about bed bugs or other pests. Because it encases the entire mattress, it’s also a great fit for allergy sufferers.

Who It’s Not For:

This protector is not entirely waterproof, and Hospitology warns that it only protects against small spills that are quickly cleaned up. It won’t be a good fit if you’re looking for a protector for a child who wets the bed.

 

Lucid Bamboo Protector

Why We Picked It:

In addition to its better-known cotton terry protector, Lucid has come out with a protector made from a combination of rayon from bamboo and cotton jersey. The top layer is ultra soft, with a feel that Lucid compares to that of your favorite t-shirt. The waterproof barrier is comprised of a proprietary polyurethane-based material called StratoSmart, which is designed to block liquids, allergens and dust mites.

The Lucid Bamboo fits snugly to the mattress and it’s noiseless, so you won’t be able to tell it’s there. Elastic sides mean that it can fit a variety of mattress thicknesses up to 18”.

Who It’s For:

At $18.99 for a queen size, this mattress protector provides excellent value. It’s softness and waterproofing capabilities are comparable to more premium protectors but at a fraction of the cost.

Who It’s Not For:

Some find that this protector is not as breathable as others, so it may not work for you if you sleep hot.

 

Bear Mattress Protector

Why We Picked It:

In addition to protecting your mattress from contaminants like other protectors, the Bear Mattress Protector really shines when it comes to keeping sleepers cool. While the top is made from standard cotton and polyester, it’s backed by a material featuring HeiQ adaptive technology. This type of fabric is typically used for performance-based textiles, and it’s designed to pull heat away from the body and wick moisture.

The waterproof layer is thicker than those found on other protectors, so liquid is absorbed into the protector rather than being repelled by it. This can help minimize any cleanup associated with spills as you can toss the whole protector in the wash without wiping it down first.

Who It’s For:

If you sleep hot, the Bear Mattress Protector is for you. It features superior spill and contaminant protection while also contributing to a cooler sleep environment.

Who It’s Not For:

The Bear Mattress Protector is a bit on the pricey side, so unless its cooling properties are important to you, you might want to opt for a less expensive protector. It’s also thick and can be felt through the sheets.

What is a Mattress Protector?

A mattress protector does just that. It protects your mattress—from sweat stains, bed wetting, dust mites and other allergens. There’s some variation in what different protectors are designed to keep out and how they’re designed to perform. Some are waterproof, while others are simply water resistant. You’ll also find different methods for keeping liquid from reaching the mattress, with liquid pooling on top of some protectors and being absorbed by others. While most protectors are designed to keep liquid from your mattress, others are also hypoallergenic and keep away dust mites and bacteria. For those who sleep hot, there are also protectors with heat-wicking properties.

Mattress protectors are sometimes confused with mattress pads or mattress toppers, but they all serve different purposes. Mattress protectors and mattress pads are both designed to create a barrier around the mattress, but protectors are typically designed to keep out liquids, while pads are less likely to be waterproof. Pads also tend to change the feel of the mattress to some degree. Mattress toppers are specifically designed to add comfort to a mattress and offer little to no protection from contaminants. The table below gives more information about similarities and differences.

Mattress ProtectorMattress PadMattress Topper
Purpose To keep contaminants and liquids from reaching mattress To keep contaminants from reaching mattress and add some comfort To add additional cushioning and comfort to mattress
Material Cotton, polyester, rayon, polyurethane Cotton, down, polyester Memory foam, latex, wool, down
Thickness 1” or fewer 1” or fewer1-3"
Waterproof?UsuallySometimesRarely
Hypoallergenic?UsuallySometimesRarely
When You Might Need One You want to protect your mattress from both contaminants (like bacteria) and liquids. Maybe your child shares your bed frequently or you sleep hot and sweat through the sheets. You want to protect your mattress from contaminants like bacteria, dust mites or other allergens, but don’t see a need for keeping out liquids You would like to add comfort to your mattress and/or adjust its firmness level
Interested in a mattress pad or topper instead? Check out our reviews.

Why everyone should buy a mattress protector

To find the right mattress, we invest a great deal of research, time and money. Why wouldn’t we want to protect that investment? Especially when you consider that we spend about one-third of our life sleeping, it follows that we’d like to ensure our sleep surface is as clean and healthy as possible.

There are a variety of situations that warrant purchasing a mattress protector. Perhaps you sleep hot and frequently sweat through the sheets. Maybe your child often hops in bed with you, and sometimes wets the bed, or you’d like a protector for your child’s bed. Bodily fluids not only make a mattress feel less clean, but liquid can also wear down any foam in your mattress, shortening its lifespan. You might also have allergies or eczema, or you just don’t like the idea of sharing your bed with hundreds of dust mites.

Even if none of the above applies to you, the reality is that accidents do happen. Who hasn’t spilled some water when reaching for a sip in the middle of the night? Even those who don’t suffer from allergies benefit from a sleep surface free of contaminants. Beside, who likes the idea of sharing a bed with a bunch of dust mites?

Even if you don’t mind that your mattress has a few stains, your mattress company likely will. Most mattress warranties don’t protect against spills or accidents. If you try to return your mattress because of a defect, your warranty may be void because of that pesky coffee stain.

Selecting the right mattress protector

Just like when you’re selecting a mattress, there are a several considerations to make when choosing a mattress protector that will work well for you:

Fabric/Material Type

Most mattress protectors feature a soft top layer with a waterproof layer underneath. Natural materials like cotton and bamboo tend to be more absorbent than polyester, so look for these if you want your mattress protector to contain some liquid rather than completely repel it. Some form of polyurethane is typically found in the waterproof barrier, but some protectors use vinyl instead. Vinyl has been linked to environmental and health issues, so if this is a concern, make sure you choose a protector that is vinyl-free.

Waterproofing

While most mattress protectors are made to be waterproof, not all are, and some perform better than others. Some protectors only claim to be water resistant. You might also want to look into whether a protector is designed to completely repel water or to at least partially absorb it. This is particularly important if you’re purchasing a protector for a child and want to avoid having them wake up in a puddle.

Bed Bug Protection

Mattress protectors are designed to keep out dust mites and allergens, but mattress encasement is the only way to keep out bed bugs. If bed bugs are a concern of yours, look for a protector that covers your mattress on all six sides to ensure the bugs can’t find a way in.

Allergy Protection

If you suffer from allergies, then you’ll want to find a mattress protector that is specifically designed to keep common allergens out of your bed. This is especially important if you are allergic to dust mites, which can build up in mattresses not covered by effective protectors. Also ensure that the protector itself is hypoallergenic so you won’t find yourself reacting to your protector.

Sizing

Most mattress protectors will fit mattresses up to 18”, but not all. If you have an especially thick mattress, make sure to find a protector that will stretch to fit it. Some brands offer protectors for lower profile mattresses, so you might opt for one of those if your mattress is thin. Look for protectors made from stretchy material with elastic sides to avoid any bunching.

Breathability

Because of their waterproof layers, some mattress protectors can trap heat. Especially if you tend to sleep hot, you’ll want to look for a protector that is designed to encourage airflow.