A mattress topper is an affordable alternative if your budget doesn’t allow you to replace your mattress with a new one. You could also get one of these comfort accessories if your new mattress is way too firm or too soft for your ZZZ needs.
While the market has a topper for everyone, the difficult task sets in picking your ideal product from the myriad options available today. Fret not though. This mattress topper guide has the basic guidelines to help you narrow down your options.
When do you need a mattress topper?
It’s undeniable that a mattress topper breathes new life into your mattress. However, do know that these bedding items are not a cure-all.
For instance, if you are dealing with an overly sagged or damaged mattress, a topper just won’t cut it. The best recommendation here is to pull the trigger and get a new bed.
Sleep experts advise getting a topper if your mattress is so soft or a tad firmer for your sleeping styles.
Meanwhile, here are common instances when a mattress topper will come in handy;
- When you want to adjust the level of support for medical purposes
- If you want to avoid being in direct contact with the mattress due to allergy reasons
- If your mattress sleeps too hot (a gel infused topper may boost the aeration)
- When you want to isolate your partner’s distractive motions
- Used as an alternative to a mattress protector
- If your mattress is overly noisy especially when tossing or turning, a topper may help buffer the noise
- When you have zero control over the type of mattress on your bed (case in point: Dorm residents)
What to look for in a good mattress topper
As you’ll realize down the road, buying a top for your bed is pretty much similar to buying a new mattress.
Splurging on the most expensive mattress top available is not a sure-fire guarantee for your comfort needs. At times, even a rock-bottom-cheap topper will work miracles on your bed. What you need is a model with the best mix of everything; value, support, comfort, heat elimination, and options.
Material- what’s your preference?
Choosing a mattress topper is a difficult venture for most people today due to the wide range of options available in terms of material.
Memory foam and latex mattress toppers are the most common both online and in most home improvement stores. Other options that will help customize your sleep include wool, egg crate, goose and down feathers, cotton, and polyester.
Worth mentioning is that there’ll never be a category that will fit everyone. The ideal topper material for each of us boils down to personal preferences that may be dictated by several aspects including health issues and sleeping styles.
Consequently, each of these materials has areas where it outshines the rest. But they also have their set of drawbacks that may affect various sleepers differently.
We will talk more about all these materials and their strengths and weaknesses at length in a few minutes.
For the time being, let’s discuss in brief a few key considerations that will help in narrowing down your choices regardless of your preferred material.
Consider the comfort level
Of course, the main reason why you are shopping for a topper is that your mattress does not offer you the comfort that you need. That being said, your ideal topper should enhance your bed’s comfort by bringing what the mattress lacks.
For instance, if you bottom out your current mattress and end up with an aching back in the morning, what you want is a topper that will realign your spine and conform to your body shape.
On the other hand, if your mattress is too firm for your stomach (I’m looking at you belly snoozers), you’ll want something that will offer you a little bit of plush without being so hard.
As you can see, comfort is not a stand-alone feature. It is heavily tied to other characteristics including thickness and density. On the surface, thickness and density may sound the same to a stranger. But these 2 are totally different characteristics and independent values.
Let’s dig deeper.
Put in a layman’s language, the thickness of a mattress topper refers to its size- how thin or thick is it? Toppers offer varying thickness options. While memory foam toppers range from 2 to 4 inches, other materials, for example, latex may offer you a wider range to choose from (1-5 inches).
The ideal thickness range boils down to a few aspects including the condition of your mattress, your weight, and your sleeping style.
1-2 in mattress toppers are the thinnest and will offer you the least cushion. These models are good contenders if you have a comfortable mattress already but you want to make it a tad bit softer.
Thin toppers also make a good choice if you are looking to minimize your mattress’s heat retention issues.
Toppers on the higher end of the thickness spectrum will offer you the most cushion. If your mattress has thinned significantly over the years, a thick topper may be more ideal.
From a memory foam point of view, 2-3 in. mattress tops are the most common. These toppers tend to offer medium firmness.
These tops have an extra soft surface and may contour to your body curves well. Therefore, these models may offer you enough support and pressure points relief without being overly firm.
The trade-off, though, is that mattress toppers tend to sleep hot with an increase in thickness. Their prices also correlate highly with their size.
Density in mattresses and mattress tops has pretty much the same meaning as other applications of the term in real life.
In our topic, density refers to the quantity of mass of the construction material that is used per a measurable size.
Manufacturers measure the density differently depending on the material. In memory foam, density is measured by weighing one cubic foot. For instance, if a memory foam top has a density of 2.5lbs, this means that a block measuring one cubic foot will weigh approximately 2.5 pounds.
Most conventional mattress tops come in 3 density levels; 3lbs and under, 4-5 pounds, and 6 pounds and above.
As a rule of thumb, the denser the topper, the more support it is likely to offer you. A dense topper might be your to-go choice if you have chronic lower back pain since it offers you a good balance especially if you are a side sleeper. Less dense toppers are soft and will melt down quickly.
The general guideline is to get a mattress with the right density in relation to your weight. People who weigh upwards of 240 pounds are better off with a denser top perhaps in the 6+ pounds category. If you weigh below 110lbs, a topper weighing 4-5-pound might suffice.
Worth noting is that similar to mattresses, toppers get pricier with an increase in density. Denser products also have a relatively higher quality and a long lifespan.
Resistance to allergens
If you are an allergy sufferer, then the chances are that you already have the best mattress for allergies. In that case, you want a topper that will complement your mattress by minimizing your exposure to allergens such as dust mites and their feces.
Memory foam and latex are among other materials that are naturally hypoallergenic and may, therefore, offer you a good sleep without distractions. Unfortunately, some people are allergic to latex itself. So, choose wisely.
Other important considerations
Fit (Mattress size vs topper size)
You might want to go for a topper that won’t look misplaced on your bed. Overly thick models may make it a tad hard to fit your sheets thereby standing in the way of your bed’s elegance.
On the other hand, a short topper might reduce the usable sleeping surface on your bed- this is an issue especially for a couple.
Whether the topper costs a few dollars or a good chunk of money, you want good value right off the bat.
While the standard warranty for a typical mattress topper is 2-3 years, there seems to be something good about a manufacturer that extends a 5-year warranty. By the same breath, you should treat brands that offer below-average warranties with caution.
Types of Mattress Toppers
It’s not a surprise that memory foam toppers are, by far, the most popular. Memory foam is a revolutionary material that was created by NASA in the 1960s.
The main purpose for this isco-elastic polyurethane foam was to absorb shock and cushion the astronaut’s pressure points- a task that it did successfully.
Memory foam was used in a mattress for the first time in 1991 and has been the most popular material ever since.
The major reason for this material’s popularity is its excellent back support and back alignment. When used as a mattress topper, it will respond to your body’s curves besides aligning your spine to its neutral position.
The fact that your body will be resting in its most natural position helps to relieve current pains that may have accumulated around your pressure points throughout the day. It also prevents pains that are caused by non-supportive mattresses in the back, shoulders, and hips.
- It is hypoallergenic
- Has good durability
- Excellent motion absorption and elimination minimizes disturbances
- It supports different sleeping positions and styles
- Great pressure point relief
- It may have the ‘new mattress’ smell for a few days
- It’s a known culprit for heat retention
- Can be expensive
Best Memory Foam topper
Best Price Memory Foam Mattress Topper 4-Inch
This 4-inch Best Price mattress topper might bring an end to your mattress woes and back pains thanks to its extraordinary pressure point relief.
The first thing that I like about this topper is that it comes in all sizes; twin, full, king, queen, twin xl, short queen, and California King. This means that there is a topper that will fit in most homeowners’ beds without creating a ledge around the sleeping surface or being unattractively bulky.
Another impressive feature here is that the Best Price is dual sided. What do I mean? This topper’s 4-inch size consists of a 2.5-inch high-density foam on one side that tends to favor side snoozers. The other side features a 1.5-inch dense, regular foam that offers a solution for back sleepers.
If you are looking for a mattress topper to help relieve your lower back and spine pains, I would suggest that you try out this one thanks to its 4-inch size.
The memory foam will contour to your every inch to displace pressure around the joints and relieve aches and pains.
Importantly, its memory foam material makes it hypoallergenic. You also get a 100% polyester mesh zippered cover to help maintain its cleanliness.
The major complaint that we came across in the reviews section is a slight odor that lingers around for a day or two. This is common to new memory foam mattresses and toppers and will fade away with proper venting.
- Comes in different sizes
- It’s CertiPur certified
- It’s dual sided
- Great for pain relief
- 5-year warranty
- Has a slight odor during the first few days
- Can retain heat
While memory foam is arguably the most popular in this realm, experts say that latex is, hands down, an ace performer in terms of support, durability, and eco-friendliness.
The major benefit that you get from a latex mattress topper is the knowledge that it won’t expose you to harmful chemicals like memory foam. This is because latex is crafted from certified organic and natural components.
Another impressive feature that mattress experts appreciate about latex is its natural springiness design. Again, it beats memory foam in that you don’t tend to sink to the bottom.
This means that although latex products also have their share of heat retention, the issue is not as prevalent compared to a memory foam topper.
- Offers a good deal of back support and back alignment
- Excellent motion isolation
- Promotes pain relief
- Latex has minimal odors
- Has improved air circulation compared to memory foam
- Not ideal for sleepers who are allergic to latex
- Can be expensive
Best Latex Mattress Topper
Ultimate Dreams Full 3″ Latex Mattress Topper
The Ultimate Dreams may fit the bill if you are looking for a topper that will add a magnificent feel to your mattress for years to come.
This is among the best selling latex toppers on the market today. With its 3-inch size and 3 firmness levels, this bed solution combines a good amount of support and comfort to make a go-to topper for people with different sleep needs and styles.
If you are suffering from back pains, for instance, the Talalay latex used in this topper conforms to your body shape instantly to offer an all-round support. Thanks to the natural springiness feature of latex, the Ultimate Dreams ensures constant support even as you turn and toss.
Speaking of tossing, latex material is known to be a little bit more breathable than memory foam. Notably, latex also has special holes that boost its breathability design even further. This material is also known for its excellent motion isolation.
Putting into account all the features above, the Ultimate Dreams 3’’ mattress topper might be a good option for;
- Senior citizens who want excellent back support and pressure point relief
- People who like sleeping cool
- People who are startled out of their sleep by the slightest movements by their partners
- Excellent pressure point relief
- Comes in different sizes
- Has good support
- More breathable than memory foam
- May last long
- Features an irremovable cover
- It’s pricey
Egg Crate Foam Mattress Toppers
You may have noticed that both memory foam and latex mattress toppers can be darn expensive. Toppers are ideally meant to improve your sleep quality without necessarily purchasing a new bed.
Thus, a model that costs several hundred bucks might be quite uneconomical for the average sleeper. Luckily, there are other affordable options to the rescue, for instance, an egg crate foam mattress topper.
These tops derive their name from their egg-crate shape. They are made by passing foam through a special machine known as a convolutor.
An egg crate topper might be an answer, for instance, if you are looking for a temporary solution to your hard-like-stone mattress.
The best part about these toppers is their relatively low price. However, be informed that they are not as durable as memory foam or latex. These mattress tops are designed to last for a few months but may go a little bit longer with irregular usage.
Despite their low price and short-term durability, egg crate toppers are known to be more breathable than memory foam. This is because air passes under you.
This feature makes it a worthy contender for people who wake up sweating. However, do know that they can sleep hot during summer.
Another impressive feature of these toppers is their incredible pressure relief and support. Their bumps and dips contour to your body shape thereby offering constant support and minimizing pressure points.
- They are more affordable than other materials
- Allow air to pass through. This increases breathability and reduces sweating
- Contours to your body shape to relieve pressure points
- Forms permanent indentations after a few months
- May sleep hot in hot months
- Not as supportive as memory foam
Best Egg Crate Foam Mattress Topper
Milliard Egg Crate Memory Foam Mattress Topper
The 4.6/5 star rating that the Milliard Egg Crate topper has garnered from its 600+ reviewers might be enough proof of its performance and reliability. This is an affordable topper that comes in 4 sizes; twin, full, king, and queen.
What attracted us to this topper is its combination of memory foam with the egg crate design. The foam contours to your body curves and may help in relieving stress and muscle and joint pain. But the most appealing part is its high breathability.
Besides the dips, this memory foam features open cell technology that takes breathability to another level.
Given its short durability, the Milliard Egg Crate memory foam topper may be a great option for a new mattress that is yet to break in. Again, you might want to buy it for your dorm bed if your budget does not allow high-end latex toppers.
Most people who have used this topper reported that they had a very good experience with it. A quick scan through the reviews shows that most users were impressed by its ability to relieve back pain.
Only a few people noted that the topper had an odor for a few days. While several of these didn’t have much trouble with the smell, one reviewer (who had confused it for latex) reported a seemingly difficult experience with the smell.
A good solution to this might be to allow the topper to decompress and air for at least 4 days before using it on your bed.
- Highly breathable
- Contours to your curves to relieve pain and stress
- Soft yet supportive
- May not last long
- May need airing for up to 96 hours
Other recommendable options
LUCID Gel Infused Memory Foam Mattress Topper 2’’
This gel-infused mattress topper is meant for people who want a little bit more comfort without spending much. It is a nicely built bed solution with a manageable weight and minimal maintenance requirements.
Besides its low price, the gel-infusion technology used here offers excellent air flow. Although it won’t offer you the cooling effect of an ice pack, the gel beads will go a long way in minimizing the heat retention. As such, it might come in handy especially in the hot months.
The Lucid Gel-infused memory foam mattress is 2 inches thick. Thus, it might be ideal for back, side, and stomach sleepers. Unfortunately, I wouldn’t recommend it to you if you have chronic back and spine pains given its size.
- Great price
- Has gel beads to minimize heat retention
- Ideal for different sleeping styles
- Has no top cover
- Few reports of an odor that hangs around for some days
SleepJoy ViscO2 Ventilated Memory Foam Topper (2-inch)
Another highly rated memory foam topper, it’s very unlikely that you’ll regret this purchase. I would recommend you to try the SleepJoy ViscO2 mattress topper if you hate the pungent fumes that most memory foam products ship with.
The thing with this topper is that a large proportion of the odor is removed at the factory. As such, you’ll not be tossing and turning on your super hard mattress for a few more days as you wait for the topper to air.
CertiPUR-US certified, the SleepJoy ViscO2 is made with memory foam but has been infused with plant products to minimize the effect on the environment. This construction design also helps in improving its ventilation. This helps in minimizing tossing and turning due to sleeping hot.
The memory foam cradles you to relieve pressure points and also isolates your partner’s motions to let you sleep more peacefully.
- No ‘new mattress smell’- use it right out of the package
- Minimal heat retention issues
- CertiPUR-US certified
- 5-year warranty
- Too thin for huge users
Pure Green Natural Latex Mattress Topper
The Pure Green might be the ticket if you are planning to bring back the bliss on your bed with an eco-friendly model.
Admittedly, this might be the most expensive topper in this list. But that’s because you are getting a bed solution made of 100% natural latex. Furthermore, this latex is extracted through the Dunlop process to minimize the use of chemicals and make the product friendly to you and the planet.
This topper comes in nearly all sizes and offers 3 thickness levels. Our recommendation here features a soft texture and a medium firmness that offers you a well-balanced support surface that isn’t too hard on you.
This will help in relieving strain, pain, and aches from your joints and muscles. Its excellent ventilation, on the other hand, will eliminate the issues of sleeping hot.
On this note too, this topper’s medium firmness level is an ideal choice for almost all sleepers. Whether you are belly sleeper, side sleeper, or back sleeper, the Pure Green topper might offer the support that your joints and curves need.
Again, since it’s latex, the Pure Green topper will help in keeping dust mites and other allergens at bay. This topper might also last you for quite a long time since natural latex does not lose its shape easily.
- Has good support
- Has no heating issues
- Offers ultimate comfort for all type of sleepers
- It’s allergens resistant and anti-microbial
- It’s pricey
A good mattress topper is an inexpensive way of upgrading your bed’s comfort without spending a fortune. We hope that our buying guide and best picks above have put you in the right direction.
For homeowners for whom money is no object, the Pure Green 100% Natural Latex might be a good bet for you.
However, if you don’t want to sell a kidney for a mattress topper, then the SleepJoy ViscO2 2’’ might make getting into the bed a pleasure each night. This is a USA-made, CertiPUR-US certified foam that has been made with eco-friendly materials.
Previous buyers appreciate its pressure relief performance that helps in reducing toss and turns. Its open-cell technology offers it a unique airflow and allows you to sleep cool and hygienic. Its excellent motion isolation, on the other hand, offers you and your partner a good sleep without distractions whenever you need it.