Whether you've just invested in the best mattress in a box or you're sleeping on an uncomfortable mattress that your landlord supplied (with a comfortable mattress topper) you need a mattress protector. Honestly, this is an add-on you can't live without — because one spill of that morning latte and you'll have all of the regrets.
Even if your mattress or topper isn't particularly expensive so you're not too bothered about protecting it, per se, do bear in mind that a good mattress protector is important for sleep hygiene. It acts as a barrier between you and your much-loved mattress, guarding it against dust, mites, bed bugs, and more.
These incredible mattress protectors will ensure your mattress lasts longer — and they'll make your money go further. The best part? You can get a great buy for as little as $50 depending on the size of your bed. We've reviewed all five of the buys in this guide, giving each one a rating of 4.5 stars or more.
The best mattress protectors to buy in 2023
Why you can trust Real Homes Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.
Our top 3 mattress protectors
Sizes: Twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, Cal king
Care: Machine wash, tumble dry low
Our best-rated mattress protector is affordable and eco-friendly, plus it comes with a 50-night trial and a one-year warranty. It's also nice and breathable.
Sizes: Twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, Cal king
Care: Hand wash, air dry
Price: $89 – $109
This waterproof pick comes in slightly cheaper, though it isn't machine washable. It's made from the same waterproof material used in premium outdoor gear, and it comes with a 30-night trial.
Sizes: Twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, Cal king, split king Waterproof: Yes
Care: Machine washable, air dry
Price: $149 – $209
Sweaty sleeper? This protector uses NASA-designed cooling technology to store your body heat when you're warm and release it only when you're cold. It fits mattresses up to 20" thick meaning that if you sleep on a topper it will fit around both, and you get a 60-night trial.
Hi, I'm Kaitlin and I tested all the mattress protectors on this list, which was great, as I got to compare and contrast the pros and cons of each. I have a double bed and share it with my husband, and as much as I hate the fortnightly bed-change routine, we came to look forward to swapping out and trying out different under-sheet protectors and pads.
I also have a black lab, who often ends up on our bed (not that we openly allow him), so making sure our mattress is protected is certainly a priority.
Which material mattress protector should I choose?
- Cotton mattress protectors will suit sweaty sleepers because the breathable fabric will wick away body sweat.
- Waterproof, cotton blend is a popular choice (think cotton/polyurethane mix). They won't be as breathable and may be noisier than pure cotton ones but they will protect against spills — something cotton-only options can't do.
- Polyester mattress protectors are your budget buy or you'll find it as a material in a waterproof mattress protector. Perfect for children or anyone suffering from incontinence, they're pretty much fail-safe. Downsides? They're not great for sweaty sleepers.
- Rayon is man-made from natural fibers, and mattress protectors in this material are usually breathable and comfortable to sleep on. Better still? They're often the eco-friendly choice.
- Tencel is a fiber made from regenerated wood cellulose, making it a sustainable and non-toxic choice. It's also softer than silk and supremely breathable.
Mattress protector reviews
Our top pick of mattress protector
The Nectar Mattress Protector is a 100% waterproof, ultra-breathable mattress protector that doesn't feel like it. Instead, Nectar has concentrated on delivering a comfortable surface with a ton of bonus practical features that are comfortable to the touch. Made with Tencel (here's the science — it's extracted from natural wood cellulose and manufactured into a soft and ultra-breathable fabric), it's more absorbent than cotton and cooler than linen. Plus, Tencel is eco-friendly, which is a major bonus.
During testing, Kaitlin found it to be silky to the touch, as well as quiet and stretchy. It's resistant to allergens and dust, making it a good buy for both allergy sufferers and pet owners like Kaitlin, who regularly returns home to find a furry friend on her bed. It sits at a nice and affordable price tag, too, while it's often on sale.
The best waterproof mattress protector
We recently got our hands on the Casper Waterproof Mattress Protector and were super impressed. It's fully waterproof and still feels like the snuggly, comfortable bed sheets of our childhoods, setting it up to be one of the best waterproof mattress protectors. It's made from the same waterproof material used in premium outdoor gear, and that's the genius of it. Its microscopic pores are small enough to keep spills out but large enough to let air in. The cover needs to be hand washed and air dried, however.
Some of the waterproof mattress protectors we've tried feel crinkly, which means that when you move in bed it causes materials to move and make a crunching noise. Not this one, though. Kaitlin claims it feels more like terrycloth and it's designed to cling firmly to your mattress. It's also so thin, she hardly knew it was there. If you love the feel of your mattress and don't want to alter it, this one is your best bet. Do note that it fits mattresses up to 16 inches only, so if you use a topper then measure to make sure it will fit.
The best cooling mattress protector
Hot sleeper? The SlumberCloud Core Mattress Protector will work wonders for your comfort levels, and it's one you'll find yourself discussing at the dinner table about how it changed your sleep (well, Kaitlin did, anyway). Made with NASA-developed technology originally used to regulate the temperature in space suits, it's the best cooling mattress protector, of course! The mattress pad has a quilted HDPE/polyester blend cover. Inside, it holds a lining treated with Outlast technology — a Certified Space Technology by the Space Foundation. This astronaut-worthy tech is designed to keep the fabric at a certain temperature, so it'll absorb heat when the fabric gets too warm and release it when needed. It doesn't add any extra padding to your mattress.
With its thin, crinkle-free waterproof barrier, Kaitlin found this protector to work its magic on spills and accidents. We would say sweat, too, but the core mattress pad kept her from overheating at all. It works double duty and stayed put when she shifted positions during the night on an adjustable base. It's also nice and big so it will fit deep mattresses up to 20", meaning that even if you have a topper on your mattress it should still stretch.
The best organic mattress protector
If you prefer the plush feel and breathability of a traditional quilted mattress protector, the Saatva organic cotton mattress pad is hard to beat. Not only is it organic, but it's also made from Fair Trade Certified cotton. You can sleep well knowing where your money's going. It adds an extra element of comfort (but not so much that it'll change the firmness of your mattress) thanks to the plush layers of comfortable organic cotton. The moisture-wicking properties help create a barrier that protects the mattress underneath, and its quilted stitching ensures the fill stays plump and even. It's also fitted with an extra-wide elastic band to keep it securely in place. Do note it isn't waterproof, though. You can wash it in your machine and tumble dry it, however.
Kaitlin has a mattress she's not quite entirely happy with comfort-wise, so a mattress protector that's quilted? Great! Not only does it make sure the mattress isn't getting dirtied or stained, but she also benefits from a soft padded sleep surface. Do bear in mind that it only fits mattresses up to 16" high, so if you have a deep mattress or use yours with a topper, be sure to check that it will fit.
The best mattress protector for deep mattresses
The perfect pick for those looking to marry sustainability with functionality, the Avocado Organic Waterproof Mattress Protector will let you rest easy knowing your mattress is covered from spills and stains in an environmentally friendly, non-toxic way. To create a waterproof barrier, two layers of soft GOTS-certified organic cotton sandwich a thin, waterproof polyurethane film (which makes up only 5% of the overall construction). It's made without vinyl, PVC, and phthalates, and the cover has small pores that allow for breathability. It comes in two depths depending on your mattress thickness. Standard is perfect for mattresses 16" and less, and the deep pocket fit is for mattresses (and topper combinations) 22" in depth.
Being eco-conscious, Kaitlin was looking forward to testing whether this protector was worth the price. While it's designed for Avocado mattresses, it fit her other brand of mattress perfectly. Moreover, a cotton, non-plastic layer that's waterproof? Wow. She loved how it felt so soft yet was so great at keeping water droplets at bay. This mattress protector really gives the premium Avocado experience, without having to splurge on a new mattress.
This protector is designed to be washed and tumble-dried, and you need to wash it before the first use. It will shrink a little to fit your mattress better. It comes with a one-year warranty.
What to consider when choosing a mattress protector
There are a few questions to ask yourself prior to picking your new mattress protector. We've already answered why you need a mattress protector, BTW. "It’s best to pick a mattress protector which includes an anti-bacterial and anti-viral treatment," says Karen Innes, NPD manager at Slumberdown. "This will help reduce the build-up and cross-contamination of bacteria, ensuring you are sleeping in a cleaner, more hygienic bed." See below for more features to keep in mind.
- Is it waterproof? The best mattress protector will be waterproof. It will keep your mattress clean and dry. That being said, these types can be noisy and made of plastic materials, which aren't the comfiest to sleep on.
- Is it made from breathable fabrics? If it's waterproof, it needs to be breathable, especially for those with traditional memory foam mattresses. Check that the material can regulate your temperature so you don’t overheat.
- Do you suffer from allergies? If you have hay fever or struggle with dust allergies, you may need to consider a hypoallergenic mattress protector.
- Comfort? Some prefer their mattress protector to be quilted for extra comfort and softness.
- Can it be washed and/or dried? Most mattress protectors are machine washable but not all can go in the tumble dryer, so check first.
- Is it eco-friendly? If sustainability is a priority, look for materials like organic cotton, Tencel, bamboo, and eucalyptus fiber.
How often do you wash a mattress protector?
Experts suggest washing your mattress protector every few months. It's not necessary to wash as often as your duvet cover or pillows if there aren't any spills or stains to take care of.
Synthetic protectors are typically quicker to wash and dry. Otherwise, have a backup option. Note: Those with this easy-to-care option may mean you wash more frequently, which won't do you any harm, but it might impact their longevity.
See our guide on how to wash a mattress protector for our top tips.
What's the difference between a mattress protector and a topper?
We asked Steve Reid, CEO at Simba, who notes how it can be confusing to know the real difference between the two products. "Many people are understandably confused by the difference between a mattress protector and a mattress topper," says Reid. "You do put them both on top of your mattress to improve its quality. The difference is that a mattress protector protects your mattress from dirt, moisture, and dust, while a mattress topper increases the comfort of your mattress if it’s old, worn out, or just low quality. Toppers can be filled with feathers, synthetic alternatives, or memory foam."
For max comfort and max cleanliness, we recommend using both.
Is a mattress protector worth it?
Mattress protectors are unsung bedding heroes. Their biggest benefits are the fact that they will keep your mattress safe from spills and stains.
A good mattress can easily set you back $700 or more, whereas most mattress protectors can be snapped up for less than $100. If you consider that using a mattress protector can prolong the life of your mattress by at least a couple of years, without even factoring in early replacement due to major accidental damage, then a protector sounds like a very wise purchase. Invaluable even.
How we test mattress protectors
When reviewing our mattress protectors, we look at factors like fit, breathability, comfort, and of course, if they're as waterproof as they claim to be. As you would assume, the most practical way is to use them on our own beds! They get slept on for at least a week to endure the practicalities of everyday life. Then, they'll be washed according to their instructions (either in a washing machine or hand-washed) and dried to test their durability. To see how waterproof they really are, we pour drops of water on them and see how it interacts with the fabric.