Mattress Protectors vs. Mattress Encasements

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If you have pets or children at home, you’re probably interested in products that can help protect your mattress. Both mattress protectors and mattress encasements work to shield your mattress from stains, liquids, and allergies. Here’s how to find out which one of these is best for your bed. 

Mattress Protectors 101

A mattress is typically a costly investment that you’ll want to last for years. A mattress protector is an inexpensive tool that can help prolong its life. 

Mattress protectors cover the top of the mattress like a fitted sheet. You’ll stretch it over the mattress where it works as a barrier against spills and other debris.

It’s typically a more affordable option than an encasement. You can also remove a mattress protector easily and machinewash it when it gets dirty. But you might need a higher level of protection that a mattress protector can’t provide.

Mattress Encasements 101

A mattress encasement is breathable but more durable than a protector. You’ll place an encasement over the entire mattress and secure it with a zipper or velcro. 

Encasements are available to protect against:

Since they cover the entire mattress, they offer a broader range of protection compared to mattress protectors. 

Mattress encasements can be great as long as they fit correctly. If you purchase one that’s too big, you may feel or hear the extra material when trying to sleep. They are also harder to clean. So, it’s best to double-check the care instructions to avoid damaging the encasement. 

Finally, removing and putting back on the encasement for cleaning may be more challenging than the protectors.

Which One’s Right for You?

The best option depends on your individual needs. Mattress covers come in different materials and offer unique functions. You can ask yourself these questions to find out what’s best for you and your loved ones:

  • Are allergies a concern?
  • Is there a fear or risk of bed bugs?
  • Are there frequent bathroom accidents or spills in the bed?
  • Do pets sleep on the bed?
  • What can I afford?

Once you’ve answered these, you can identify if a mattress protector or mattress encasement is best.

When to Choose a Mattress Protector

Adults who only use their beds for sleep may find a mattress protector is enough of a barrier. It prevents the occasional spill and is easy to clean.

A protector is typically cheaper than an encasement if you’re trying to stay on a tight budget. And protectors come in different materials that can enhance your comfort, such as temperature cooling protectors. 

Spills happen. Frequently snuggling with kids in bed or sleeping with a pet may make it commonplace to clean the mattress cover. In that case, a protector is best since you can wash them frequently and quickly. 

When to Choose a Mattress Encasement

Mattress encasements offer six-sided mattress protection. This comprehensive line of defense better shields your mattress against the elements around you.

A bed bug infestation may be costly and takes time to stop. So, if bed bugs are possible, an encasement is best to seal the mattress and prevent them from reaching your bed.  

If you’re living with allergies or asthma, a mattress encasement can keep allergens from settling into your bed. For example, research shows that preventive measures like a mattress cover effectively lower symptoms of chronic allergic rhinitis caused by dust mites. 

If you or a loved one are more prone to large spills or accidents, you’ll want extra protection for all sides of your mattress. An encasement can help. An encasement offers additional insurance to preserve the mattress when needed most. 

Saatva Waterproof Mattress Protector

This luxury protector is waterproof and offers breathable protection from humidity, spills, and stains. With the 1-year limited warranty, you can feel confident about the investment ideal for hot sleepers and thick mattresses. 

Nolah Bamboo Waterproof Protector

Customers offer glowing reviews about this more affordable mattress protector. It’s quiet, cooling, and helps keep your mattress clean and dust-mite-free. 

Sleep Defense System by Hospitology

Amazon consumers award this mattress encasement 4.5 stars because of its durability. The thickness of the fabric may be noisier, but a less expensive way to get more protection from bed bugs and spills. 

Bear Encasement

The Bear Encasement is great for kids who have nighttime accidents or adults with incontinence. It’s waterproof but remains soft and breathable, made from jersey-knit fabric.  

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the difference between a mattress protector and a mattress encasement?

Both are mattress covers designed to prolong the life of your mattress. But a mattress protector is typically less expensive that fits over the top of your bed like a fitted sheet. On the other hand, a mattress encasement envelopes the entire mattress offering a bit more protection. 

Do you need a mattress encasement and protector?

You only need one or the other, but not both. 

Can bed bugs bite through mattress encasements?

Bed bugs don’t have any teeth, so they can’t bite through mattress encasements. That can keep them away from your mattress or trap them inside the encasement with no way to escape if they’re already on the bed. 


Mattress covers are a great way to keep your mattress clean and ensure it lasts for years. A mattress encasement is ideal for bed bug protection, allergies, and when you need more safeguards. 

But, a mattress protector is a small investment to protect it from occasional spills and bed wetting. Choosing one depends on your family’s needs, but both can help protect your bed. 

Source List

Krzych-Falta E, et al. (2022). Prevention of perennial allergic rhinitis in the conception of coordinated healthcare in Poland.,110155,0,2.html