If you’ve just bought a new mattress, congrats! It's a big purchase that will upgrade your sleep for the better. But if there’s one thing we’d recommend buying too, it’s a protector to go with it. Because although it may seem like an add-on that you can live without, a good mattress protector will make your money go a lot further than just one comfy night's sleep. And for how little they can cost, it's worth the investment.
A mattress protector does what it says on the tin and acts as a barrier between you and your mattress, guarding it against dust, stains, and, accidental spills. Because no matter how careful you are with your Sunday morning toast and coffee, it's far too easy to stain your mattress. Choose from rigorously tried, tested, (and reviewed) mattress protectors from the likes of Simba, Slumberdown, and many more brands that are renowned for their sleep essentials to enjoy peace of mind every time you hop into bed.
The best mattress protectors to buy in 2022
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Our rated best overall mattress protector stands out on top for quality, practicality, and price. It can be washed up to 90°C for an extreme anti-bacterial clean, but it shouldn't be tumble dried to avoid it flattening.
The Nectar mattress protector is 100 percent waterproof, ultra-breathable, and eco-friendly. It won’t cost you, or the earth. Made from sustainable Tencel jersey (here's the science: it's extracted from natural wood cellulose and manufactured into a very soft and ultra-breathable fabric), it's much more absorbent than cotton and cooler than linen. You can tell that Nectar put a lot of effort into making this product really comfortable to sleep on.
All of this wouldn't mean much if we hadn't experienced an awesome night's sleep. Thankfully, we slept soundly without any noise, which is surprising from a waterproof option. To test the waterproof claim, we simply poured a cup of water on the protector and saw it slip right off without any seeping through the fabric. We wouldn't expect anything less from these mattress specialists.
For maximum mattress protection, whether your mattress is new or old, this Emma option has glowing reviews. It’s breathable, comfortable, and water-resistant, plus, it can be washed and left out to dry.
It's made from 100 percent polyester (which we aren't that keen on). However, this does mean that it's fairly cushioned and Emma says that it’s antibacterial. Thanks to special fibres, it's great for those with allergies as it prevents dampness in your mattress. In fact, it shows 89.3 percent fewer dust mite allergens compared to other conventional covers.
Our Head Ecommerce Editor Annie has had this on her bed for more than a year and it's safe to say she hates sleeping without it. Not just because she's clumsy, but it actually adds a thin cushioned layer to your mattress and it stays on even when your fitted sheet has given up during a night of tossing and turning. It makes it easy to keep your mattress in tip-top condition and thanks to its waterproof features, as a clumsy person who enjoys breakfast in bed with her coffee, Annie can vouch for the fact it will protect your base through all kinds of accidents.
Simba makes their own mattress protector starting from £90 for a single — not the most affordable but also not bad compared to what it would cost to replace a ruined mattress...
What sets this Simba mattress protector apart from the rest is its use of Bi-Ome technology which actively eliminates microorganisms and fights odour. Coupled with a soft quilted top layer with 200 thread count cotton for cooling breathability, you'll wake up feeling a little fresher and you'll have longer between washes also. Speaking of which, it can be cleaned at 40°C, then tumble dried, but note to not use biological detergent if you want to keep the tech intact.
Our editor Lindsey has tested the whole Simba range, and while she’d rate the brand a solid five stars, the protector isn't as acclaimed as their mattresses or pillows. In fact, Davis found the protector to be slightly saggy in fit prior to washing. It fits more snugly now, but still takes a bit of smoothing to eliminate ruckles. That being said, the anti-odour properties stand out from the crowd. This one smells good and feels fresh for much longer than you'd expect.
Favouring practicality over comfort, Panda’s mattress protector is the most water-resistant on this list, whilst of course, holding high eco-credentials. Oh, and you can wash it at a higher temperature than most. Even better.
It has Nano TPU™ top material that’s completely waterproof without feeling plasticky or stiff when slept on. Despite the techy name, it’s a fabric that’s soft and natural without absorbing any warmth or moisture from perspiration during the night. It's crafted from bamboo and cotton which are great eco-friendly alternatives to polyester and other synthetic options.
Simply going off what other reviews say, you can’t get much quieter waterproof mattress protectors than this one. And having tried it myself, I definitely agree. I (like most) need a comfy and squeek-fee sleeping surface and honestly, I almost forgot this protector was made from a plastic-based fabric as it was so quiet. I did notice however that it wasn't as cosy feeling as cotton. But for the price, it's still a pretty good pick.
Woolroom’s Chatsworth collection mattress protector goes the extra length in eco-efforts, which is why it is an investment item. Made from luxurious 100 percent British wool, it’s no ordinary cover. And although it won’t protect your mattress directly from liquid spills or staining, it will work to protect it in other ways.
Mainly, it’ll protect the earth. Woolroom’s Chatsworth collection, which also includes one of the best duvets, includes entirely traceable wool using an ID tracking programme. Wool also happens to be naturally temperature-regulating and hypo-allergenic which is perfect for the too-hot, too-cold sleepers and the night-time snifflers.
This protector is really good for winter time. It has a thinner profile, but the wool is dense and thick, making it a cosy addition to your bed. I've tried this one too and as someone who likes to be all wrapped up under the duvet with one leg kicked out for a dash of coolness, I found this pretty perfect for me personally. Super snuggly but not too hot.
For the hot summer days or the sleepers that suffer from night sweats, this best cooling mattress protector (and best pillow too), from the Rem-fit Snow collection, really lives up to its name. Plus, it’s entirely machine washable so you can wash, dry, and have it back on before bedtime.
Featuring Nordic chill fibers that work to dissipate body heat up to 10 times faster than breathable cotton, Rem-fit’s protector creates a cool sleep environment so you can drift off quicker and stay in slumber for longer. Though not just best at getting you a good night's sleep in summer, it also regulates body temperature to keep cold sleepers cosy. It also has a membrane barrier so you can be allergy-free as well as sweat-free.
We’ve compared this against other protectors with cold-to-the-touch properties but this Rem-fit option kept Real Homes' reviewer Millie Hurst the coolest. Tested through heat waves and high temperatures, Hurst felt the difference after putting this on the bed. You may be able to buy a cooling mattress pad at a cheaper price, but it won’t rank as best at its job of protecting you and your mattress from summertime side effects.
If you’re on a budget then this mattress protector is a great compromise. At less than £20, you can save on sleep and extend the life of your bed. It's our best affordable mattress protector.
The total protection range works to guard against allergies with antibacterial and antiviral formulas from its 100% polyester filling. Available in a single size, we think this cover will be great for kids' beds, given it’s splashproof and easy to wash too. Bung in the drum and dry on the line for it to be clean and fresh in no time.
Did it pass the test?
I keep this one on my bed the most because my mattress is pretty new and it's not actually mine as I live in a rental. Although this doesn't quite add an entire comfort layer, it does its job for more than a reasonable price. And come hay fever season, I need all the help I can get.
For the plushest of sleeps, The Kensington Mattress protector from Brook and Wilde is as luxurious as it sounds. Of course, it’s quilted and it is also more expensive.
There are no squeaky plastic layers or thin, flat profiles here. Although that might be down to the fact that it isn't waterproof. But if you’re sensible enough to not spill anything on it, then you can guarantee a comfortable night’s sleep with this best-quilted mattress protector. It doesn't kick practicality entirely out the bed though, as its cosy layer of 100 percent polyester is thick enough to keep dust mites and allergens at bay.
Did it pass the test?
I haven't tried this one for too long but the quilted option does feel more like a 2-in-1 topper and protector. So for the price it seems worthwhile. As for whether it lasts a few washes without losing its fullness, I'll let you know over time if this stays as our best-quilted buy!
If you’re looking for a great value buy that’ll help keep your allergies at bay, Silentnight's Anti-Allergy Mattress Protector is just the ticket.
Thanks to its 100 percent microfiber composition, this pick helps stop dust mites from settling and in turn subsides any symptoms you may have at night. The material makes it good for a quick wash turnover, too, given its lightweight feel, but make sure to not machine wash over 40ºC and only hang it outside to dry.
Did it pass the test?
At under £20, many customers did not expect the best from this protector. But reviews suggest Silentnight pulled it out of the bag with some surprising results. As long as you stay away from spills, it seems to stay in good shape. In fact, they’ve had this one for a while so the trick might be in handling it with care.
Real Homes review process
As noted in our how we test guide, we at Real Homes like to review the best products for you. This means sleeping on the product and testing them ourselves and/or looking at what other customers have to say. We aim to test everything in person but are still working our way through some of these protectors.
For the ones we have and are currently reviewing, they've been put on our mattresses at home, washed after a few uses, and used again. We'll see how they feel, look, cost and wash. During the process, we are considering everything from longevity, materials used, sustainability, whether or not it is waterproof, and of course, the price.
Meet our mattress protector testers below:
As sleep editor, I love finding the best bedding options out there because it is so essential to good sleep night after night.
Having hayfever and also being a hot sleeper means I sometimes struggle with getting to sleep, especially during the summer. That's why I've found Slumberdown's total protect (opens in new tab) and Silentnight's anti-allergy (opens in new tab) to be great value buys as well as Woolroom's protector (opens in new tab)being essential for the winter.
I've tested the majority of the mattress protectors on this list and then divvied them out to friends and family, based on which suits who best.
'The mattress protector deserves a slot on the list of the best mattress protectors, but my main complaint is that it is not as snug a fit as Simba claim and even on their rather deep 28cm thick Simba Hybrid Luxe, there is a bit of extra material for the top. This is a minor thing, and otherwise, the protector fits very well, but worth highlighting all the same.'
Millie Hurst is the content writer and news writer across Ideal Home and Real Home brands. She's tried our best cooling mattress protector: the Rem-fit (opens in new tab)(and now reaches for it every time the sun happens to shine).
'I have the Eco Hybrid Mattress from Rem-Fit, which comes with a super soft mattress protector. I didn't even realise the mattress had a cover for the first month or so because of its lovely woven finish. This protector has great eco-credentials, made of 100% recycled ocean plastics. It also adds an extra layer of comfort and, most importantly, it keeps the mattress underneath cool and clean so I can hold onto it for years to come. I love that you can just throw it in the wash when needed, too.'
How to choose the best mattress protector for you
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.
As Karen Innes, NPD Manager at Slumberdown (opens in new tab), comments on how crucial they are. "Mattress protectors are key to prolonging the lifespan of your mattress. Designed to protect it from allergens, dust, spills, and general wear and tear," says Innes. "It’s best to pick a mattress protector which includes an anti-bacterial and anti-viral treatment. This will help reduce the build-up and cross-contamination of bacteria, ensuring you are sleeping in a cleaner, more hygienic bed."
As well as this, you should ask: Is it waterproof? How breathable is the fabric? Would you like a layer of comfort from a quilted cover? How well does it wash? And most importantly, how much does it cost?
What's the difference between a mattress protector and a topper?
We asked Steve Reid, CEO at Simba (opens in new tab) 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.
How often do you wash a mattress protector?
Experts suggest that you should wash your mattress protector every few months. It's not quite as necessary to wash it as often as you would a duvet cover or pillows, provided that you don't have any impromptu spills before then.
Those that are synthetic may be quicker to wash too, meaning that you can probably wash and dry them in an evening. Otherwise, grab a spare. Those with this easy-to-care option may be tempted to wash yours more frequently but we wouldn't recommend going overboard as it may impact their longevity.
Is a mattress protector worth it?
Mattress protectors are unsung bedding heroes. They will add a tonne of benefits to your sleeping routine, not least protecting the surface on which you spend one-third of your life...
A good mattress can easily set you back £650 or more, whereas most mattress protectors can be snapped up for less than £100. Our best value pick is a snip at just £16 for a double. So 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 soon sounds like a very wise purchase. Invaluable even.