The first mattresses were constructed of grass and leaves and were held together with animal skins. We have come a long way since those times and the variety of mattresses and mattress pads is wide. Although mattress pads are now being made out of modern materials; they are still made with natural materials as well. Mattress pads can contain air, water, natural materials and man made materials.
Selecting and purchasing a mattress pad can be very confusing. What seems to be a straight forward process actually has many different dimensions to it. A mattress pad may be desirable for many different reasons. They can help add support and comfort to the individual and they can also help improve hygiene by either protecting the mattress or by protecting the individual with hypoallergenic materials. There are even mattress pads with magnets in them. There are many things to consider when buying a mattress pad, just a few are: cost, type, size, cleaning of pad; firmness or softness.
- Cost of Mattress Pad: Mattress pads can run from as little as 10.00 to hundreds. This is very important when selecting a pad. How much are you willing to pay? The saying “You get what you pay for” is pretty much true when selecting a quality product, but you don’t have to break the bank. When determining how much you are willing to pay, remember that pillow-top mattresses start at about 1,200 and can sell for thousands.
- Types of Pad: There are many different types of pads to choose from, with many different uses for each. Some parents of young children like to purchase mattress pads when transitioning their children from the crib to their first bed. The pad can be used to prevent accidents from soiling the mattress. Others select pads for their comfort some like soft (feather) and some like more firm (lamb’s wool), others like memory foam which conforms to their body shape and weight. There are “fitted” mattress pads, mattress pads with elastic straps, and mattress pads that lay on top of the mattress; it is just a matter of preference.
- Mattress Pad Materials: Mattress pads can be made out of a variety of material. There are mattress pads made with down and feathers covered in cotton; there are pads made out of lambs-wool and natural fibres (hypoallergenic); pads made from synthetic material. There are pads made with vinyl or plastic layers (to prevent soiling of mattress); pads made with plastic and vinyl can be very noisy and hot, but they protect the mattress. There are also water-proof mattresses available for hygiene reasons that are of very high quality.
- Size of Mattress Pad: Mattress pads come in all sizes, which of course affects the price. They range from crib size to California King size and there are also specialty sizes which are more difficult to come by and increase the cost (e.g., twin-long).
- Cleaning of Mattress Pad: When selecting a mattress pad it will be important to account for the ease of cleaning. Is the pad dry clean only, or is the pad so large that it requires a Laundromat sized washer to clean? How much space will it require to store when it is not being used?
- Firmness of the Mattress Pad: How firm do you want the pad? There are all levels of firmness; if the pad is for a single bed then you only need to think about the individual’s desire for firmness or softness. If the mattress pad is for a bed where more than one person shares, then you need to keep in mind the desires of both parties.
- Steps to Selecting a Mattress Pad: First, determine what the pad will be used for (protecting the mattress, comfort, or hypoallergenic materials). Second, what size of mattress pad will you need? Third, how much are you willing to spend (remember, you do get what you pay for)? Fourth, do you want it right away or can you wait for it.
I personally feel that it is important to spend a bit more and get quality, especially since the bed is probably the one place that we spend the most time. If you can test the mattress pad at a nearby store, I would suggest doing so; you can buy the mattress pad there, or then look online for a better price. The worst thing is to feel stuck with a bad choice. Many large department stores, or specialty bedding stores, have a bedding section where you can try out or at least feel the pad you are looking to purchase (I would highly recommend this). If that option is not available, there are reviews online that you can read to help determine if the choice is right for you. When purchasing online, you should look up reviews not only on the mattress pad you are looking at, but also the company. It is obvious after reading reviews, that customer service is as important in the purchasing decision as the actual product you receive.