Whether you sleep on a bed that came with your rental or not, there's nothing I'd recommend more than a mattress protector. Although it might seem like an add-on you can live without — especially if you've been able to splash out on a new mattress (lucky) — a good mattress protector will not only improve your sleep hygiene but also help your bed last longer, not to mention, make your money go further.
Wondering why else you need a mattress protector? It does what it says on the tin and acts as a barrier between you and your much-loved mattress, guarding it against dust, stains, and, accidental spills. Because no matter how careful you are with your morning toast and coffee (or lunch — WFHers, we hear you) it's far too easy to stain your mattress. And for how much work they do, mattress protectors don't actually cost that much and you can get a great buy for as little as $50 (or less!), to protect your much-loved mattress from everything life throws at it.
Choose from rigorously tried, tested, (and reviewed) mattress protectors, designed by the likes of Allswell, Tempur and Lucid, Simba, as well as, other brands renowned for their sleep essentials. Enjoy peace of mind in bed at all times, without having to overspend.
The best mattress protectors of 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.
- Best mattress overall: Nectar mattress protector (it's on sale!) (opens in new tab)
- Best waterproof mattress protector: Casper mattress protector (opens in new tab)
- Best eco-friendly mattress protector: Avocado organic mattress protector (opens in new tab)
- Best cooling mattress protector: Slumbercloud core mattress protector (opens in new tab)
- Best quilted mattress protector: Saatva mattress pad (opens in new tab)
- Best cheap mattress protector: SafeRest mattress protector (opens in new tab)
More about these mattress protectors...
The Nectar Mattress Protector is a 100 percent 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.
This mattress protector is 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.
Forget that for a minute, though. This mattress protector is waterproof, so you can be sure that it'll protect your mattress. But if you think waterproof means stiff and plasticky? Think again. During testing Kaitlin, our US writer, found it to be silky to the touch, but interestingly, also quiet and stretchy. Plus 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.
We recently got our hands on the Casper mattress protector and we are 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 protector options.
This mattress protector is 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. It can be machine washed on a gentle cycle with a mild detergent and – happily – tumble dried on a low setting (not all mattress protectors can).
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. Kaitlin claims it feels more like terrycloth and it's designed to cling firmly to your mattress (even deep ones up to 15"). 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 ones a keeper.
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 both from spills and stains and in an environmentally friendly, nontoxic way.
The Avocado organic waterproof mattress protector safeguards your mattress while adhering to the company's strict sustainability standards. To create a waterproof barrier, two layers of soft GOTS-certified organic cotton sandwich a thin, waterproof polyurethane film (which makes up only 5 percent of the overall construction). It's also made without vinyl, PVC, and phthalates, and small pores allow for breathability.
Kaitlin was keen to test whether this protector was worth the expensive price tag. Well, where this mattress is designed for Avocado mattresses, she was surprised that it would fit most mattresses between 6" - 16" deep, thanks to a deep pocket design. More so, a cotton, non-plastic layer that's waterproof? Wow, she loved how it felt so soft yet was so great at keeping water pills at bay. This mattress protector really gives the premium Avocado experience, without having to splurge on a mattress itself.
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 a 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, which encases a fabric lining treated with Outlast technology, deemed a Certified Space Technology by the Space Foundation. This space-aged tech is designed to keep the fabric at a certain temperature, meaning it absorbs heat when the fabric gets too warm and releases it when needed. It doesn't have any extra padding, but if comfort is what you're looking for, Slumber Cloud also makes a mattress pad version, but you will lose the waterproof feature.
With its thin, crinkle-free waterproof barrier, Kaitlin found this protector to work its magic on spills and accidents, and we would say sweat too, but the core Mattress pad kept her from overheating at all. It works double duty. And, even held tightly and securely to the mattress when she shifted positions during the night, on an adjustable base.
Don't miss our expert guide on the best cooling mattress pad and toppers, too.
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, it's made from Fair Trade Certified Cotton. You can sleep well knowing where your money's going.
Essentially: it's simple, cozy, and high quality. 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 of cotton help create a barrier that protects the mattress underneath, and 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.
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, she can benefit from a soft padded sleep surface. It's not waterproof, so making sure you don't drink, and certainly spill, liquid in bed, is something she's had to take special care of. But breakfast in bed? No question about it.
If you’re not looking to spend quite so much on a mattress protector, we feel confident in this pick from Saferest. Why? It's one of the most popular, if not the best-selling protector on Amazon. It's hypoallergenic and waterproof, but a queen size will still run you less than $40 (the price tends to fluctuate a bit, be sure to click above to check the best price on Amazon ). It's our best mattress protector for those looking for quality at a great price.
It’s water-proof, which is great for those who tend to sweat at night, or youngsters dealing with the occasional bedwetting situation– and yet it’s made from cotton terry, so it's still super soft, which means there’s no need to worry about it being uncomfortable, or crinkling as you sleep (because why would you want anything that disturbs your sleep). There's not much information about what the exclusive waterproof membrane layer is made of, though it's free of vinyl, PVC, phthalates, and fire retardant treatments.
We haven't had our hands on this one ourselves (surprising, we know, since so many out there do). But for that reason, we feel as though it still deserves a spot in this best mattress protectors guide. Customers on Amazon rate it an average 4.5 stars. The only complaint? The terry cotton meant some people did get a little hot in bed. Perfect for the winter time then.
Real Homes review process
When reviewing our mattress protectors we're looking 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 as you would, 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, in the washing machine or otherwise, and dried, to test their durability. To see how waterproof they really are, we pour drops of water and see how it interacts with the fabric. We've had one of our expert reviewers, Kaitlin, test all of the protectors on this list with a badge. Here's what she had to say:
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.
How to choose a mattress protector
There are a few questions to ask yourself prior to picking your new mattress protector, including considering what type of sleeper you are and what you would benefit from between you and your mattress. See below for the specs you should ask about to decide which protector to go for:
- Is it waterproof? The best mattress protector will be waterproof. It will keep your mattress clean and dry. Though they can be noisy, and made of plastic materials, which isn'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 temperature is regulated 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.
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, which cotton-only won't.
- 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, too.
- 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.
How often do you wash a mattress protector?
Experts suggest you wash your mattress protector every few months. It's not quite as necessary to wash as often as your duvet cover or pillows, providing you don't have any impromptu spills before then.
Those that are synthetic may be quicker to wash too, meaning you can have them cleaned and dry before the night is over. Otherwise, grab a spare. Do 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 on their longevity.
See our guide on how to wash a mattress protector for our top tips.