When I was shopping for a mattress pad recently, I was struck by the range of choices in coverings. There was everything from basic, waterproof covers to hypoallergenic, anti-microbial, allergen-resistant and bed bug-proof encasements. Then there were foam pads several inches thick. It turns out that each fulfills a different purpose. Here’s a guide:
Mattress protectors and pads. If you have a new mattress, you may need only a protective cover or pad that fits snugly over the corners—or is anchored by elastic bands. Most are machine-washable; many are waterproof. Some even expand to fit varying mattress thicknesses. You probably know if your mattress is a king, California king, queen, full or twin, but to find the right size cover, you’ll need to measure the height/depth of your mattress.
Encasements. Encasements have six sides to fully enclose a mattress and/or foundation (another word for box spring). They also have a locking zipper—making it impossible for bedbugs, dust mites and other undesirables to get in. Some encasements have padding on top, offering an extra layer of cushioning between you and the mattress. If you’re moving, it’s a good idea to protect your mattress with an encasement. They are often available from storage facilities or truck rental places.
Toppers. When you need additional comfort or just a different, perhaps, softer feel, consider a foam-cushioned topper. Memory (viscoelastic) foam, among the most popular alternatives, is available in different thicknesses. It conforms to body weight and slowly springs back to its original shape. Convoluted foam (molded into peaks and valleys) toppers are often thinner and lighter weight. Some toppers made today are engineered with special cooling foams or a ventilated design to facilitate airflow, designed to offer cooling properties. You’ll want to be sure the foam used for cushioning is CertiPUR-US® certified, so doublecheck that the manufacturer is listed in our online consumer directory.