Last Updated On September 21st, 2018
Most people are probably sleeping on the same old mattress for many years, even when it’s becoming uncomfortable, saggy or worn. Not everyone has the knowledge and confidence to go out and spend a large sum of money for a new mattress, yet many people have complaints with their current one which may be causing joint or severe back pain due to lack of correct support and gradual build-up of pressure points. Other people may want to experiment with innerspring or latex but without the added cost involved in paying for a full-size edition.
Whatever your situation, you may want to try out something called a mattress topper. Our mattress topper reviews will help you find the best mattress topper for your needs.
The 10 Best Mattress Toppers Summary
- Editor’s Pick – Sleep On Latex Pure Green
- Best For Side Sleepers – Lucid Gel Topper
- Best All-Round Support – DreamFoam Ultimate Dreams Talalay
- Best Memory Foam Mattress Topper – Memory Foam Solutions AllSleep
- Best Cooling Mattress Pad – ExceptionalSheets Extra Plush
- Best Thick Mattress Topper – Zinus Sleep Master
- Best Firm Mattress Topper – Ultimate Sleep ErgoSoft
- Best Gel Foam Topper – Milliard 2″ Gel Topper
- Best For Hip Pain – Nature’s Sleep Cool IQ
- Best Cheap Mattress Topper iSoCore 3.0
What Is A Mattress Topper?
Sometimes known as a mattress pad, it is literally a thinner version of a traditional full mattress. They are lesser in height but often made of the same types of material as found in a thicker full size such as a latex or foam based model. They are most commonly one consistent layer between 1” and 5” thick which you place directly on top of your existing surface, and then place your bedding over this new top layer. As you can see in the picture above, the thick white base is, in fact, the original mattress, the blue layer is the gel topper, and the white cover is the bedding, although you can actually get a separate cover for the topper itself if you want one.
A mattress pad is slightly different to the conventional toppers mentioned above but essentially serve the same purpose. A pad you could say resembles a very thick duvet but is placed under the bedding. They are available in all the standard sizes and usually stuffed with materials such as polyester or cluster fiber, making them soft and plush rather than firm or supportive. A mattress pad is a cheaper alternative to the aforementioned toppers due to the materials they consist of and the reduced longevity in comparison, however, they are still great for a good nights sleep if you’re on a tight budget. Check our article on toppers vs pads for more information and help on deciding which to buy if you’re unsure.
Do I Need a Topper?
The first thing to remember is that these are an extension to your existing sleep surface in the form of an additional layer. When it comes to buying a mattress pad or topper, there are clearly two types of consumer. A minority of consumers may for whatever reason prefer a thick traditional mattress consisting of one wholesome unit, which is fine, but obviously, you’ll have to pay more money for such an item and lose out on many of the benefits of owning a mattress topper. On the other hand, satisfaction surveys show that in general most consumers will happily place the extra layer on top and be content for years to come. Whatever your scenario or preference it’s good to note that they can certainly help in various situations and save a considerable amount of hassle and money by opting down this route as opposed to buying a mattress.
There are a few questions you should ask yourself before you go ahead and buy. The most common would be: Is your current surface uncomfortably too firm or too soft? Is it worn or uncomfortable, noisy or sagging? Do you suffer from back pain in the morning? Are you on a tight budget?
If you answered yes to any or all of the above then maybe you should purchase a topper or pad. It can certainly be the answer to all of the above in one simple cheap transaction. For unbiased recommendations read our mattress topper reviews and buying guide below to help make the best choice.
Toppers vs. Pads vs. Protectors
The basic concept of a mattress topper and a mattress pad is the same: a layer of comfort that safely rests between you and your mattress. These days, toppers and pads are often built right into the mattress as pillow tops or euro tops. But, let’s say you have already purchased a mattress which isn’t one of the aforementioned, or maybe you need more comfort for any reason, a mattress pad or topper might be what you’re looking for.
The main difference between pads and toppers is their thickness and how they are attached to the bed. Typically pads are thinner than toppers, although some more high-end pads are somewhat similar to less expensive or lower end toppers.
Mattress pads are attached to the bed using a fitted sheet like a skirt. The topper is sewn into this skirt, so the pad is easy to attach to the bed and keep there. Mattress toppers, however, are simply placed on top of the mattress and will need a protector or a fitted sheet to hold them down to the mattress.
Since we mentioned protectors, we should talk about the difference between them and toppers or pads. Protectors look more similar to mattress pads, and they can have some padding to them. However, their primary purpose is to protect you and the mattress from transferring allergens, or to protect the mattress from liquids like sweat that naturally happens while you sleep.
Mattress pads can also be mattress protectors, depending on their materials. However, these products are often marketed differently, and their core uses are very different. Unlike mattress pads, toppers cannot double as protectors. However, they do sometimes come with their own protectors (covers) that can be zipped off and washed.
The differences here are sometimes a bit muddy, so just know that toppers are going to provide the most padding, pads will provide a middle ground, and protectors will give little padding, but will preserve your mattress health for years to come.
Toppers For Sleeping Positions
Different mattress toppers will be more helpful for different sleeping positions, just like certain mattresses are better for side sleepers than back sleepers. Understanding how you sleep will help you to find the best topper for you. So let’s take a look at different sleeping positions and what toppers would benefit each position the most.
Doctors have been telling us for years that sleeping on our back on a medium-firm to firm mattress is the best way to decrease aches and pains, and get the best night’s sleep possible. So what topper will help you to get back to this when your bed is no longer doing the trick? The best option for back sleepers is a firm memory foam topper.
Firm toppers are known for giving you great support while eliminating pressure points by allowing you to sink in slightly as they conform to the shape of your body. An even better option would be a firm gel swirl memory foam topper to help keep you cool. Since your back has the largest surface area, it heats up quickly. Maintaining a constant temperature is vital to great sleep, and gel swirl foam can help achieve this.
Sleeping on your side is tough on your spine, unless you have a pillow between your knees. Still, this position is a very popular way to sleep, so looking for a new mattress topper that will contour to your body without allowing spinal twisting is important. The best mattress toppers for those who sleep on their side are those which are made from latex. They will allow your body to conform, while still maintaining support on pressure points.
If you sleep on your stomach, you are exposing your body to many pressure points, while also risking shoulder and neck pain. Luckily, there are some options to help alleviate some of these risks. The best toppers for stomach sleepers are those which are soft or plush. They will give your neck and head support so they don’t drop and can stay in line with the spine, while allowing the rest of your body to sink into the surface without activating uncomfortable pressure points.
Learn About Firmness Levels
Just like mattresses and pillows, toppers are found in a variety of firmness levels. Because they are so much thinner than typical mattresses, their firmness makes a much bigger difference regarding feel. For this reason, we will discuss all of the levels you might find and what they mean concerning comfort for you. We will also address each firmness level on a scale from one to ten.
The softest and most melt-into-able form is the ultra plush mattress pad. Think about falling into a pile of only the softest part of feathers, and you’ll start to understand what ultra plush feels like. On a firmness scale of 1-10, with 10 being the firmest, ultra plush would fall at around a 1 to 1.5 max. It’s the way to go if you’re looking for luxury over support or if you are a stomach sleeper, looking to add some more cushioning atop a less than plush mattress.
The second softest you can get regarding firmness is plush. It’s a 1.5 to 2 on our previously mentioned firmness scale. Plush mattress pads are typically made from down rather than firmer foams or latex. They are less than supportive, but they will definitely contour to your body and create a more luxurious experience.
The soft level is a middle ground for people who are starting to need some support but are still looking more for comfort than anything else. This level might be a good bet for you if you’re into fetal or stomach sleeping. These can be made from lighter weight foams, but are likely quite thin if that is the case. More often than not, egg crate toppers are part of the soft category. This would be a 3 or 4 on our firmness scale
This level is the ultimate middle ground. If your mattress is firm and you want a little cushion, or if your mattress is plush and you need a just a little support, you’ll probably want a medium firmness in your topper. These fall around a 4.5 to 6 on the firmness scale. Medium is a great level for side sleepers because it contours to your body while still giving support where you need it most. Since medium toppers are middle of the road in everything else, it’s not surprising that they come in almost every material out of which toppers are made. You can really choose what’s right for you at this level.
It seems like a big jump from medium to firm, but really it’s quite a natural move. Firm is a great level for those who need quite a bit of extra support, but who don’t want to feel like they are sleeping on an air mattress. Typically these are made from higher density foams, and fall at around a 7 or 8 on the firmness scale. This level is the absolute best for back sleepers, and could be a good choice for some side sleepers as well.
A 9 to 10 on the firmness scale, ultra firm toppers are for those looking for the maximum support and needing the least amount of cushion. These are great for folks with back pain or other pain issues and will give the best support to back sleepers. They won’t be great for stomach or side sleepers, however. Ultra firm toppers are usually made with ultra-high density foams, gels, or latex, and are made with support in mind over comfort. Ultra-firm are usually also the thickest toppers you can find.
We aim to offer you sound advice on the most popular and satisfactory products on the market in 2018. We update our reviews regularly when new models are released, and our reviewers have extensive knowledge on the subject of sleep, comfort and available products for sale, which means, in this case, you’ll always read reviews of the most current and best mattress topper available. Below we discuss what to look out for, and how to end up a satisfied customer without breaking the bank:
One of the most important factors to take into consideration before you buy is the thickness level. As they range anything between 1-6 inches, as you can imagine the differing levels of thickness will have a direct effect on things such as comfort, longevity and of course price. As a general rule, the thinner options are less comfy, less durable and less expensive. For satisfaction and value for money, we recommend a thickness of anything over two inches. Don’t forget, if your bed is already quite high, adding another four or five inches on top could be very noticeable.
Some toppers are sold with an included cover whereas others are available for purchase from the same supplier but sold separately. A cover isn’t generally required because your normal bedding should suffice to place directly over the surface. The benefit of having a cover is that usually they are made of 100% cotton or natural plant bamboo fabric, quilted into nice patterns and are a relatively cheap way of combining your topper using one cover. On the other hand, mattress pads do not need covers because they are filled and wrapped in their own cover, i.e., the sewn outer fabric acts as the cover. Purely because you’ll not be able to laundry a mattress topper, if you don’t buy a cover for it, make sure there is a mattress protector in place to keep the topper fresh from bodily fluid and other things which could decrease its lifespan.
15 Common Types Of Toppers & Pads
The best thing about mattress toppers is that they’re available in different materials such as natural latex or gel swirl memory foam.
All of them are highly rated regarding end-user satisfaction; they usually offer similar levels of spinal alignment, comfort and support, and motion isolation (apart from wool). A foam option might have its perks but not quite as good as latex. Which one you opt for though depends on your needs and budget.
Mattress toppers come in all shapes, sizes, and materials, so the process of finding one that is right for you can be confusing. Once you’ve decided on a level, it’s easier to narrow down the type of topper that is right for you. However, there are still plenty of options, especially if you’re going with a prevalent firmness level.
Below we will take a look at some of the different types on the market so that you can have the best idea of what will work for you!
Memory foam mattress toppers tend to be the most popular; they provide more than adequate support and longevity at a lower price than latex. They are also available in different types of foam like their full-sized bigger brother, eg. cool gel foam and traditional visco foam.
A latex topper tends to be more expensive, but are very durable, and often come in all-natural latex which means they are hypoallergenic and dust mite resistant. They also provide a great level of support due to their springy nature which means it pushes back into your body contours to provide the utmost support and spinal alignment.
Due to the expensive nature of buying a wholesome latex mattress, the alternatively smaller and cheaper toppers are very popular. In fact, this option is among the top 3 best-selling in comparison with the other types in this section.
Wool mattress toppers are also popular because they are relatively cheap compared to the aforementioned two, but they offer little if any support, but do provide a soft plush feeling. These options are more geared towards altering the feel of an existing mattress as opposed to revitalizing an old and sagging one.
Orthopedic / Supportive
Orthopedic mattress toppers are built from the study of our joints, back, and bodies to create the most comfortable and aligning sleeping positions possible. These come in various levels of firmness and are typically made of a combination of foams and gels.
Orthopedic toppers will usually feature different patterns on different areas of the topper, all designed to give the right support to you where you need it. Some are thicker around the knee region to give you added support and alignment, and others have cooling gels built in to help keep your joints cool and comfortable while you sleep.
No, we are not referring to toppers specially made for air mattresses here; we are actually talking about those that are inflatable. Although they are not as common as some other forms of mattress topper, they can be super effective, especially for those of you who need a little extra support.
Air mattress toppers are usually firm to extra-firm and are built to fit specific support needs, like back or neck alignment issues or arthritic pain in the spine and joints. You will also see the air type referred to as medical mattress toppers or pressure pads because of their ability to alleviate pain in chronic sufferers.
Allergy sufferers rejoice, bamboo is here to give you the luxury of down toppers in a hypoallergenic form! These can come in a variety of thicknesses and different firmness, but will feel like falling onto a cloud no matter what level you choose. Bamboo fibers naturally resist bacteria and do not cause allergy flare-ups in most people, so they are awesome materials for mattresses and toppers.
Bamboo also cools quickly, so, despite the fact that you won’t find many combined with cooling gels like memory foam options, you won’t find your mattress topper retaining body heat if you get up or move around in the middle of the night.
If you have trouble sleeping in the summer because your bed and pillow are trapping body heat, cooling mattress toppers are here to help! The cooling is usually in the form of gel beads or gel foams. They trap and release air pockets as you move, to gently cool your body and the topper as you naturally adjust positions at night.
Gel foams are not the only things that create this cooling for sleepers. Some major hotel chains swear by the fibers in bamboo toppers for a similar effect, so you have options when it comes to materials if cooling is what you are looking for.
Much like a pillow top mattress, these exist to provide luxurious cushioning throughout the night, but with little regard for spine and joint support. The goal of pillow top mattress toppers is to create a layer of plush comfort over a firm or ultra-firm mattress so that you don’t feel like you’re sleeping on a brick.
Often considered ultra plush, plush, or soft, these are made typically from down, feathers, lightweight foams, bamboo or synthetic fibers. It’s important to pay attention to the materials used in these toppers if you are an allergy sufferer. They can be difficult to clean at times as well, depending on the material.
When you think of cooling toppers, you typically think of gel foam. These are usually somewhat pricier options than other topper materials, but they are incredibly technologically advanced, so you shouldn’t discount them due to the price if you are looking for comfort and support.
They are beneficial, not only because they conform to your body to give you support where you need it, but also because of the reduced vibrations from your partner while moving in their sleep, thereby helping to get a great night’s rest.
Egg crate mattress toppers get their name because of the signature bumps on them that make them look like a great spot to store eggs. Their shape has a purpose, though; it is meant to reduce the risk of bedsores and pressure points on people who have to spend extended time in bed. This design was actually created for nursing homes and hospitals for that particular reason.
Egg crate toppers are made from lightweight foam, so your body sinks into them much like memory foam. The egg crate shape supports the body in a similar way to more advanced memory foams, but at a relatively smaller price tag.
These can either be made from down feathers or from synthetic fibers created to mimic down. The latter was created as a hypoallergenic option since many individuals are allergic to true down.
Down mattress toppers are available in plush to medium levels, but are not going to give you the same support that others will. They are meant to create more comfort rather than to cool or support those with back and joint issues. Down toppers are great for stomach and side sleepers.
Typically created using goose feathers, these are ultra luxurious. They are meant to soften firm or ultra firm mattresses for individuals who need the support of the mattress, but aren’t comfortable with the extremely hard sleeping surface.
Feather mattress toppers are not hypoallergenic, so allergy sufferers beware. They are on the lower end of cost, typically, but can be pricey depending on what materials are used to encase the feathers and how well the feathers were processed during manufacturing. Feathers are often found in pillowtop mattress toppers and are more common to find in mattress pads than toppers overall.
Natural and Hypoallergenic
It’s difficult to find a good mattress topper that isn’t hypoallergenic these days unless you are looking for a down or feather topper specifically. Memory foam, gel, and bamboo toppers are all naturally hypoallergenic. Since so many Americans suffer from allergies, manufacturers are doing their best to ensure allergens will not affect consumer’s sleep.
Many hypoallergenic toppers are also naturally antibacterial, meaning you won’t have to worry about sweat or pets negatively affecting your sleep or the cleanliness of your mattress topper. Whether it is hypoallergenic or not, you will find out immediately by reading its box or bag.
Cheap / Budget
You can always find a less expensive mattress topper if you so desire, regardless of the materials used to make it. However, as with many mattresses, you get what you pay for in this category. Because of that, you will want to read reviews and shop around before you commit to a specific topper.
Finding a cooling topper may be difficult in the lower price ranges, simply because this technology is not mainstream enough yet that the less expensive brands have caught up to the higher end options. Keep that in mind when searching for the right topper on a budget.
Expensive / High End
High-end mattress toppers are not difficult to find, and you can pretty much spend as much money as you desire if you have no budget. At the higher end, you will get the most luxurious and supportive, usually complete with cooling fibers or gels and hypoallergenic materials.
The most expensive toppers tend to be thicker than the rest as well. Sometimes you are adding up to 6 inches of height to your mattress, so make sure you consider how high your bed already sits before purchasing a high end or ultra thick topper.
Top 10 Mattress Topper Reviews
Sleep On Latex Pure Green Latex
The Sleep On Latex Pure Green 100% natural latex mattress topper gives great support for the pressure-sensitive areas of the human structure, relieving the stress and fatigue of a hard day at work. A good night’s sleep is necessary for optimum concentration, better mood, and productive work performance. With the best mattress topper often voted as being made of latex, complimenting a good mattress, that sleep is assured. As the name suggests, the Pure Green has no synthetic material in it. Available in all the common sizes, and ranging from 1″ thick to 3″ thick, there is also the option of soft, medium or firm. As expected, the latex is hypoallergenic, antimicrobial and anti-dust mite resistant.View Price →
Lucid Gel Topper
The 2.5-inch thick cooling gel mattress topper is a great addition to the market at the right price too. The gel is relatively new concerning sleeping technology but that’s not to say it’s no good, in fact, it captures and distributes heat, so there is a minimal unnatural rise in body temperature, which is a common flaw in viscoelastic foams. This one is also ventilated to increase airflow and comes with a super-soft, removable bamboo cover which is an added bonus. We like this one for many reasons and feel it’s well worth the money.View Price →
DreamFoam Bedding Ultimate Dreams Talalay Latex
The 3″ blended Talalay latex mattress topper is proving to be an extremely popular sleep surface for those with a little extra cash. It’s not exactly cheap, but for a fraction of the price of its wholesome peers, you get 3 inches of firm, supportive, ventilated, hypoallergenic mattress wrapped in an attractive natural bamboo cover. Though it’s not 100% natural latex like the other two on this page, this option really does have a luxurious feel but without being too firm or soft. What’s more is that it’s available in the rare Short Queen size, unlike others. Our findings were as expected from this one; given the trusted name we knew what to expect. So, another thumbs up to the team who seem to be producing top rated products on a regular basis.View Price →
Memory Foam Solutions AllSleep
Their latest addition is a top quality 3″ memory foam mattress topper, which is a great amount of thickness for the small amount of money you pay. The supportive 4 lbs viscoelastic foam conforms to your body perfectly and instantly makes any mattress more restful. It provides excellent comfort and support, especially in sagging areas. Currently, a best seller across many online retailers, the owner verified reviews rate this product 5 out of 5, and we certainly agree. It does a great job reducing pressure points that cause you to toss and turn, so you sleep better and wake up refreshed or back pain-free. In all, this is a highly recommended product and probably the best memory foam mattress topper available at the moment in our opinion.View Price →
ExceptionalSheets Extra Plush
If latex or foam isn’t your thing then you should certainly try what we consider the best mattress pad on sale at the moment. Their Extra Plush Rayon From Bamboo model is a great option for adding an extra layer of silky, luxurious softness to your current sleep surface. The top-quilted natural bamboo fabric cover houses the hypoallergenic, plush, synthetic cluster fiber. Readily available in various sizes ranging from Twin to California King and even Olympic Queen, this pad is an overall recommended purchase from a trusted USA based company who also promise a 100% no quibbles money back guarantee.View Price →
Zinus Sleep Master Gel
The Sleep Master by Zinus is a gel mattress topper which is slightly different to the other reviews here because of its dual layer construction. It comes with 2″ of gel memory foam which ensures a beautiful cooling effect and a further 2″ of high-density base support for extra durability and support when sleeping. The foam is CertiPUR US Certified, so rest assured of a safe material which provides excellent performance. The gel is infused with a new substance known as Biofoam, which replaces the traditional use of petroleum byproducts with plant oils and natural green tea extracts along with natural active charcoal which has moisture absorbing properties. It also helps keep away bad odor and leaves af Zinus’ toppers looking and feeling fresh for years.View Price →
Ultimate Sleep ErgoSoft Latex
This natural latex mattress topper is made from 100% organic latex and comes in almost all sizes such as Full, Twin, Twin XL, Queen, King, and even California King. Although we have reviewed the 2″ version it is worth noting that it’s also available in 3″ and 4″ versions too. The springy layer of hypoallergenic and antimicrobial latex provides a great level of orthopedic support due to its Comfort Zoned Hole Sizing. Possibly qualifying as the best mattress topper for back pain, for the money, compared to a full-size latex mattress which could cost thousands of dollars, this cheaper option is a must buy for latex lovers.
Milliard 2″ Gel
The Milliard 2″ thick gel mattress topper ensures that your sleep is less to do with tossing and turning through the night and more to do with actually having good sleep. The infused cooling gel memory foam is naturally hypoallergenic and has antimicrobial properties. This is ideal for various allergies, asthma patients, and also those with arthritis and similar joint pain. It gives both orthopedic support for the pressure points of your backbone and thus has therapeutic properties as well. Perfect contouring of your neck, shoulder and joints mean added support while you lay fast asleep, giving your body the best support for maximum stress relief.
Unlike most of the other reviews here, this one comes with an ultra soft machine washable removable cover for hygiene and added comforting purposes. Overall, this is one of those products that will make people wonder why anyone would buy a full-size mattress. Why would you, when you can revitalize the old one over and over with a product like this?View Price →
Nature’s Sleep Cool IQ
The 2.5″ thick traditional visco elastic memory foam mattress topper by Nature’s Sleep is an impressive addition to their portfolio. Designed from 3.5 lb of Cool IQ foam technology, the beauty here is that it contains large open foam cells which naturally assists air circulation reacting to the user and therefore allowing the topper to breathe more naturally. It also has hypoallergenic, antimicrobial and antibacterial properties; something that is extremely important for people with asthma and other breathing related problems or allergies. Ready to rejuvenate any failing mattress effectively, this is a good choice for a decent price.View Price →
iSoCore 3.0 Memory Foam
Another addition to our memory foam topper reviews, this one goes by the name of the iSoCore 3.0 based on the next generation technology it is constructed of. Designed with a soft finish in mind, the plush sensation is relieving and comfortable, yet healthily supportive and durable. Made in the USA where it meets Consumer Product Safety Commission, and, Environmental Protection Agency standards, this is a company manufacturing a product you can rely on. With a three year limited warranty and at such an affordable price, this is not to be missed.View Price →
There are so many choices on the market nowadays that it’s hard to review each and every model. That’s why we chose to write about the top 10 best mattress toppers and pads to see what they had to offer.
In short, our favorite all-rounder was the Sleep On Latex Pure Green. It was extremely comfortable and had the quality of a full size bigger brother, and obviously at a fraction of the price. The level of orthopedic support offered is second to none. It’s not the thickest being only 2″ but don’t let this put you off; this 100% natural latex topper will last years and provide good pressure point relief without sagging down into your existing base.
Overall if you are after a cheap but effective alternative to paying hundreds of dollars for a traditional sized thicker model, you can certainly rely on the ever-popular Sleep On Latex. In our opinion the best latex mattress topper so far in 2018; it gets 5 out of 5 from us and is the number one choice for some years to come.