A mattress topper is a comfort layer for your mattress and often adds no protection. Ranging in thickness (1-5 inches) and materials (memory foam, latex, synthetic fibers, feathers, or wool), it is designed to sit on top of and change the feel of the mattress (softer, firmer or providing extra support). This is typically a more expensive accessory option for your mattress and will only last for a few years.
A mattress pad is often a quilted layer that fits on top of your mattress for comfort and some protection against normal wear and tear. These can come in many different materials (synthetic and natural) and thicknesses. They are often treated with stain repellant but due to the quilted fiber layer, are not waterproof. Depending on the material and thickness (0.5”-2”) they may be machine washable—but it's important to make sure your washer will accommodate the bulky pad.
A protector fits more like a fitted sheet and is placed directly on top of the mattress. It generally covers 5 sides, focusing protection on the top portion of your mattress. It can easily be removed and washed with other bedding as needed. Moreover, this top layer offers plenty of other great benefits: like cooling, waterproofing, allergen protection, and stain repellant. Investing in a mattress protector will extend the life of your mattress if properly cared for. If using a mattress protector along with your ChiliSleep sleep system, check regularly for condensation underneath the mattress protector. Inspect for signs of condensation. If the mattress is damp, allow it to air dry and make changes to the sleep system temperatures to narrow the gap between the room air temperature and your sleep system temperatures.