Best Mattress Toppers – Our Picks and Buyer’s Guide

Our Review Process

 

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Quick Summary

The term ‘mattress topper’ refers to an extra layer – typically 1″ to 3″ thick – that is placed on top of a mattress to make the sleep surface feel softer and, in some cases, cooler. Toppers can be very beneficial to single sleepers who are dissatisfied with the way their mattress feels; additionally, some toppers are available in larger sizes and suitable for couples.

Toppers sold today are constructed from a wide range of materials, including memory foam and polyfoam, latex, feathers, and wool. The price-points vary significantly, depending on the product’s material composition, but virtually all options are much cheaper than buying a new mattress.

This guide will look at different considerations for topper buyers, as well as our picks for the best mattress toppers sold today. Our choices are based on verified customer and owner experiences, as well as intensive product research and analysis.

The Best Mattress Toppers of 2019

Editor’s Pick – PlushBeds Natural Latex Topper

Runner-Up – Saatva Latex Topper

Best Value – Lucid 2″ Gel Memory Foam Topper

Best Luxury Topper – Avocado Natural Latex Topper

Best Memory Foam Topper – Layla Topper

Best Down Topper – Parachute Down Topper

How We Decided

 

82 mattress toppers considered –– 140 hours of research –– 7 sleep experts consulted

The Best Mattress Toppers – Tuck's Top 6 Picks

Editor's Pick – PlushBeds Natural Latex Topper

Highlights
  • Multiple firmness and thickness options
  • Aerated natural latex
  • Cool organic cotton cover
  • Exceptional conforming and pressure relief

As its name implies, the Natural Latex Topper from PlushBeds is constructed from 100% aerated natural latex. This material is exceptionally durable, giving the topper a longer expected lifespan compared to models made from other materials. The Natural Latex Topper is also available in 2″ and 3″ profiles, as well as four firmness settings – ‘Soft,’ ‘Medium,’ ‘Medium Firm,’ and ‘Extra Firm.’ This ensures most shoppers will find a model that works for them regardless of their height, weight, sleep position, or comfort preferences.

The topper is a good choice for sleepers with back, neck, and shoulder pain, as well. The latex hugs the body and aligns the spine without sinking excessively. Additionally, the Natural Latex Topper sleeps exceptionally cool due to good airflow in the interior and a breathable organic cotton cover. It also isolated motion transfer very effectively and produces virtually no noise when bearing weight. The topper qualifies for free shipping anywhere in the contiguous U.S.

Good for:

  • Every type of sleeper (side, back, stomach, combination)
  • Sleepers in all weight groups (light, average, heavy)
  • Couples
  • Eco-friendly shoppers

Runner-Up – Saatva Latex Topper

Highlights
  • All natural and hypoallergenic
  • Ventilated latex and organic cotton
  • Stays breathable and cool
  • Durable latex lasts for years

The Saatva Latex Topper is another fan favorite, and for good reason. Its four anchor bands create a secure fit, so you won’t be tossing and turning with a loose mattress topper. It’s designed to seamlessly integrate with your current mattress as well, and provides immediate comfort with its high-quality materials.

The latex topper is 1.5 inches thick and provides pressure point relief — meaning it’s helpful for those with back problems while they sleep. Chiropractors and orthopedists alike recommend this topper for better spinal alignment, and the combination of organic cotton and ventilated latex keeps the material from overheating while you sleep.

Good for:

  • Back and side sleepers
  • Sleepers in light to average weight groups
  • Back and neck pain sufferers
  • People who sleep hot

Best Value – Lucid 2" Gel Memory Foam Topper

Highlights
  • Gel infusion to provide temperature regulation
  • Ventilated to regulate sleeping temperature
  • 3 lbs of plush memory foam
  • Open-cell technology that keeps impressions from forming

Unlike some of its competitors, the Lucid 2” Gel Memory Foam Topper has just that — gel. This stands apart from other memory foam brands, as memory foam without any other materials tend to run hot at night. Instead, the gel captures and distributes heat.

Evenly spaced ventilation holes improve the breathability of the material, enhancing airflow throughout. This topper will help align your spine to the natural curve of your shoulders, neck, and head. Best of all, product users still get all the benefits of memory foam — such as elimination of pressure points, distributed weight, and conforming to body curves — without having to deal with all the heat. Bonus: it even comes with a three-year warranty.

Good for:

  • Sleepers who run hot
  • Relieving neck and back problems
  • All sleeping positions (back, side, stomach)

Best Luxury Topper – Avocado Green Natural Latex Topper

Highlights
  • Multiple firmness options
  • Natural Dunlop latex
  • 10-year warranty
  • Breathable and body-conforming

The Avocado Green Natural Latex Topper has a higher-than-average price-point, making it a good pick for shoppers with bigger budgets, but it delivers a comfortable, pressure-relieving experience. The topper is constructed from eco-friendly materials, including an aerated, natural Dunlop latex core, a top layer of New Zealand wool, and an organic cotton cover. These breathable materials regulate temperature well and sleep very cool; the wool also wicks moisture away from sleepers, keeping them cool and dry during hotter periods.

The Avocado Green Natural Latex Topper hugs the sleeper’s body without sagging or compromising support; this helps reduce aches and pains in the neck, shoulders, lower back, and other areas that are prone to discomfort. The topper is sold in Twin, Twin XL, and Full sizes; as a result, it is mostly suitable for single sleepers. It is available in ‘Soft’ and ‘Firm’ settings, as well. Avocado offers free shipping and returns and a 10-year warranty for the topper.

Good for:

  • Every type of sleeper (side, back, stomach, combination)
  • Sleepers in every weight group (light, average, heavy)
  • Single sleepers
  • Those who tend to sleep hot

Layla Topper – Best Memory Foam Topper

Highlights
  • 2” of soft memory foam
  • Copper gel beads in topper foam
  • Antibacterial features
  • A variety of firmness options

There’s gel, and then there’s copper gel. Layla’s unique brand of copper gel beads are naturally antimicrobial, blocking and killing bacteria from finding a comfortable home in your mattress. This product is perfect for people who have found their memory foam toppers a little too firm for their liking. Though soft, the memory foam will still provide support to keep deep compression points in your shoulders and hips aligned.

One reviewer even credited the mattress topper for helping their back recover after a spine surgery, while others have praised it for relieving long-term pain in their hips. If you’re not sure about making the commitment, not to worry: the Layla topper comes with a 120-night trial and five-year warranty.

Good for:

  • Back, neck, and hip pain relief
  • Sleepers who prefer a soft topper
  • Sleepers of all kinds (back, stomach, side)

Best Down Topper – Parachute Down Topper

Highlights
  • Made of premium white down
  • 100% sateen cotton shell
  • Gusset height of 3 inches
  • Dry clean only

Animal lovers will still find a reason to love this down product, as Parachute is Responsible Down Standard certified. That means its materials are ethically and sustainably repurposed from geese and ducks that are treated humanely.

“Plush, luxurious, warm, and cozy” and “like sleeping on a cloud” are just a few words customers have used to describe this topper, which definitely gives an upscale-hotel feel. The three inches of material allow you room to sink in comfortably. While some down products struggle with proper distribution, three-dimensional baffle box stitching keeps the fill from moving to one side or the other.

One note: many reviewers found that these materials stayed cool, but especially enjoyed the product for winter weather.

Good for:

  • Cozy winter nights
  • All types of sleepers (back, side, stomach)
  • A softer, more luxurious bed feel

Best Mattress Toppers Buyer's Guide

A topper can provide additional comfort to sleepers who are unsatisfied with the comfort layer of the current mattress. Toppers are removable by design, though some simply lay on top of the mattress while others can be tucked beneath fitted sheets. Different types of toppers sold today include memory foam, wool, latex, convoluted foam, and feather models (also known as featherbeds), although price and availability vary by type.

This page will look at what toppers do, pros and cons of using them, and some distinctive characteristics of each topper type, as well as some user’s guides for adding and maintaining optimal comfort levels.

What Is a Mattress Topper?

A mattress topper is simply defined as any separate layer of cushioning that can be added or removed from the top surface of a mattress.

Toppers are primarily used to provide extra comfort as well as adjusting the firmness of the sleep surface. They may also serve other purposes, such as alleviating pain and pressure or cooling the bed.

In addition to primary beds, mattress toppers can be used in RVs, hotels, college dorms, guest beds, or sofas.

Who Should Consider a Mattress Topper?

A mattress topper is typically most suitable in the following situations:

  • The mattress is too firm. The topper can create a softer, more comfortable sleeping experience for individuals who prefer less firm surfaces.
  • The sleeper has no control over their sleep surface. Toppers can provide more comfort — and in some cases, support — for people sleeping in college dormitories, hotels, long-term care facilities, and other away-from-home accommodations.
  • The mattress on an RV bed is not comfortable enough. RV beds often feature cheaper mattress models that offer minimal comfort and support, and toppers can significantly optimize these sleep surfaces.
  • The sleeper is staying at a different residence. Toppers are ideal for guest beds, sofas, and other sleep surfaces that are normally reserved for overnight visitors (and may not be as comfortable as the guest’s primary bed).
  • A couple has different comfort preferences. In the absence of a dual-firmness mattress, a topper can modify one side of the mattress for couples who prefer different sleep surfaces.    

Mattress Topper v. Mattress Pad

The terms ‘mattress topper’ and ‘mattress pad‘ are often used interchangeably, but these are in fact distinct products with different characteristics and uses. The table below breaks down the main differences between toppers and pads.

Product Mattress Topper Mattress Pad
Primary Purpose Toppers are designed to add an extra comfort to the mattress. Pads are designed to protect mattresses from stains and contaminants.
Material Composition Toppers may be made from an assortment of different materials, including memory foam, latex, wool, feathers, or fibers. Most pads are made from fibers like cotton or polyester.
Thickness Some topper types, such as memory foam and latex, come in varying thicknesses to accommodate different sleepers. Other types may be limited in terms of thickness options. Thickness options are fairly limited for pads, and most are fairly thin.
Application Toppers may rest freely on top of the mattress surface, or they may be tucked beneath fitted sheets. Most mattress pads are designed to be tucked beneath sheets, and do not rest freely on top of the mattress.
Cushioning Potential High. Toppers are made to create extra cushioning, and most are thick enough to alter the feel of an existing sleep surface. Low. Most mattress pads are relatively thin, and do not change the comfort level of a mattress to a significant extent.
Mattress Protection Moderate. Toppers may  protect mattress surfaces from contamination to some extent, even though this is not their primary purpose. High. Mattress pads generally provide adequate protection for mattress surfaces.
Durability The durability of a mattress topper varies by its material composition. Memory foam and latex toppers tend to have longer lifespans than toppers made of fibers, wool, or feathers. Mattress pads are usually machine washable, but most have below-average durability and may wear out over time due to machine cleaning.
Average Price Range The price range varies, as some topper types are more expensive than others. However, most have medium to high price-points Mattress pads are typically lower-priced. Most models typically cost $100 or less.

Pros

Mattress toppers can make a huge difference for sleepers, ranging from alleviating pain and pressure to creating an experience that regulates body temperature. There are also the less advertised pros, such as less noise and even better responsiveness for sex.

Pros of using a mattress topper on an existing mattress include the following:

  • Improved Sleep Surface: Toppers can add comfort to old mattress surfaces that have developed some sagging or indentations over time, as well as newer models that are too soft or firm for its current sleepers.
  • More Support: Mattresses made of materials like memory foam or latex can help crate and maintain a stable, even sleep surface with enhanced neck and back support.
  • Pain and Pressure Relief: Some mattress toppers, such as memory foam and latex models, conform closely to sleepers bodies. This helps align the spine and target pressure points in the neck, shoulders, lower back, and hips.
  • Dual Comfort Options: For mattresses that are not designed with a dual-firmness comfort layer, a topper can be an inexpensive way to modify the feel of one side while maintaining the original firmness of the other.
  • Increased Durability: Utilizing a mattress topper can help extend the lifespan of a mattress by reducing sagging and indentations in the comfort layer.
  • Mattress Protection: Although they are primarily intended to add extra comfort, mattress toppers can create a buffer that protects the top surface of a mattress from stains, soiling, and physical damage.
  • Minimal Noise: With the exception of featherbeds, which may produce rustling sounds, mattress toppers produce little to no noise when bearing weight.
  • Better Sex: With the exception of memory foam toppers (which are considered less-than-ideal for sex), toppers are generally considered responsive enough for sex.
  • Inexpensive Alternative to Replacement: Most mattress toppers cost less than $200, but even the most expensive toppers — such as wool and latex models — rarely exceed $400. As a result, using a topper is much cheaper than replacing the mattress completely.
  • Cooling Effect: Many mattress toppers have gel features or other cooling and aeration technology that will keep you from overheating at night, ensuring a deeper night’s sleep.

Cons

Despite the benefits of using a mattress topper listed above, there are also some drawbacks associated with these products. You may overestimate how much the topper can help your sleeping situation if you have a mattress that badly needs replacing. Additionally, some toppers may not fit your bed very well or make it difficult for you to move around freely at night.

Here are some of the downsides to look out for:

  • Fitting Issues: Mattress toppers that do not lie freely on the sleep surface are usually smaller than the mattress itself, which allows sheets to fit over them. This may present two issues. One: the sleeper may need to purchase new sheets. Two: the topper may slide around beneath the sheet, depending on how it’s constructed, which can lead to uncomfortable bunching and an uneven surface.
  • Edge Support: Due to the fact that toppers are slightly smaller than mattresses, this may reduce how supportive the bed feels around its perimeter where people tend to sit.
  • Limited Improvements: Although toppers can significantly improve older mattresses with some sagging or indentations, they may not be as effective at changing the feel and comfort level of a mattress with extensive damage.
  • Off-gassing: Some topper types — particularly polyfoam and memory foam models — may emit unpleasant off-gassing odors that eventually dissipate, especially in well-ventilated rooms, but these smells may be persistent.
  • Sleeping Hot: Toppers made of feathers or wool tend to sleep fairly cool, but memory foam, fiber, and latex models tend to retain high levels of body heat and sleep somewhat hot as a result.
  • Difficult to Move: The average topper weighs at least seven or eight pounds, and some topper types — such as latex — often weigh more than 20 pounds. This can make them difficult to move and maneuver during the night, especially if they are tucked beneath fitted sheets.
  • High Maintenance: Mattress toppers are rarely machine washable, and usually need to be either dry cleaned or spot cleaned by hand. Some toppers, such as featherbeds, also require constant fluffing in order to maintain proper loft.

What to Look for When Buying a Topper

Next, let’s look at some of the key factors to keep in mind when shopping for a mattress topper and browsing different types, brands, and models:

  • Material: Different mattress topper materials offer different comfort experiences. Memory foam and latex conform closely to the sleeper’s body for improved spinal alignment and pressure relief. Wool and feather toppers do not conform as closely, which creates less resistance for people moving on top of the mattress, and they also sleep somewhat cooler. Shoppers should research the properties of each mattress topper type as they relate to their sleep needs and preferences.
  • Thickness: Mattress toppers may measure anywhere from 1 to 4 inches thick. The thickness of a topper is should correspond to the mattress surface. If the mattress is much too firm for the sleeper, then a thicker topper will be needed to effectively adjust the comfort level. Thinner toppers may be suitable when minor changes are needed. Also, it’s important to note that thicker convoluted foam, memory foam, and latex models tend to sleep somewhat hotter than thinner models.
  • Density: Like thickness, the density of a mattress topper corresponds to other performance factors. High-density memory foam toppers, for instance, offer better edge support and conform closer than low-density foam toppers; however, high-density models also tend to sleep hotter, produce more odor, and not be as good for sex.
  • Firmness: Generally speaking, firmer toppers are ideal for sleepers who find their mattress too soft, while softer toppers work best on overly firm surfaces. However, a topper can also enhance the firmness of an older mattress. For instance, a medium-firm topper used on top of a medium-firm mattress can help preserve the original sleep surface while still maintaining the sleeper’s desired firmness level.
  • Durability: Although lifespan varies by model, most latex, memory foam, and wool mattress toppers are considered fairly durable and will perform for several years without excessive sagging or indenting. Feather and fiber toppers, on the other hand, tend have below-average durability.
  • Motion Isolation: Toppers made of foam or latex tend to absorb motion and isolate it to certain areas of the mattress, which can help reduce sleep disruptions. Feather, fiber, and wool toppers offer minimal motion isolation by comparison.
  • Allergy Potential: Some topper materials, such as latex or feathers, may trigger allergies in certain sleepers. Other topper materials, such as fibers and wool, are hypoallergenic and should not cause allergies to flare up.

Topper Ratings by Material

Mattress toppers are made of a wide variety of materials, from down feathers to memory foam, gel, and even polyester. Each material type has its own benefits and drawbacks. What you like will largely depend on your taste, needs, and sleeping style. In the table below, we’ll examine some key similarities and differences between the six most common mattress topper types.

Type Convoluted Polyfoam Feather Fiber Latex Memory Foam Wool
Composition Egg-crate polyurethane foam Feathers from ducks or geese Rayon, polyester, and/or down alternative Talalay and/or Dunlop latex Viscoelastic polyfoam Sheep or lamb wool
Average Weight 10 to 15 lbs 10 to 20 lbs 5 to 10 lbs 25 to 40 lbs 20 to 30 lbs 5 to 10 lbs
Thickness Selection Limited Somewhat Limited Limited Somewhat Wide Wide Somewhat Limited
Durability Poor to Fair Fair to Good Poor to Fair Very Good to Excellent Good to Very Good Very Good to Excellent
Support Poor to Fair Fair to Good Fair to Good Good to Very Good Good to Very Good Fair to Good
Conforming Poor to Fair Poor to Fair Poor to Fair Very Good to Excellent Very Good to Excellent Fair to Good
Pain/Pressure Relief Poor to Fair Fair to Good Fair to Good Very Good to Excellent Very Good to Excellent Fair to Good
Motion Isolation Good to Very Good Poor to Fair Poor to Fair Fair to Good Very Good to Excellent Poor to Fair
Noise Very Good to Excellent Poor to Fair Good to Very Good Very Good to Excellent Very Good to Excellent Very Good to Excellent
Temperature Neutrality Poor to Fair Very Good to Excellent Fair to Good Fair to Good Poor to Fair Very Good to Excellent
Odor Poor to Fair Fair to Good Very Good to Excellent Very Good to Excellent Poor to Fair Fair to Good
Sex Fair to Good Very Good to Excellent Very Good to Excellent Very Good to Excellent Fair to Good Very Good to Excellent
Ease of Moving Very Good to Excellent Fair to Good Very Good to Excellent Poor to Fair Poor to Fair Very Good to Excellent
Cleaning Spot Clean or Dry Clean Dry Clean Machine Wash or Dry Clean Spot Clean or Dry Clean Spot Clean or Dry Clean Machine Wash or Spot Clean
Maintenance Very Good to Excellent Poor to Fair Poor to Fair Very Good to Excellent Very Good to Excellent Poor to Fair
Availability Moderate Moderate Moderate Rare Wide Rare
Average Price $10 to $30 $100 to $150 $60 to $100 $100 to $400 $100 to $250 $150 to $300

Choosing the Right Topper for You

The right mattress topper for a given sleeper often comes down to two factors: sleep position and body weight.

Side Sleepers

Side-sleeping creates an unnatural curvature in the spine that puts pressure on sensitive areas, such as the neck, shoulders, and hips. The topper should sink beneath these areas in order to straighten the spine and alleviate pressure.

Lighter sleepers (less than 130 pounds) tend to feel most comfortable on softer, lower-density toppers, while those who weigh 130 pounds or more prefer firmer toppers because they don’t sink too deeply.

Back Sleepers

Sleeping on one’s back naturally aligns the spine, which helps alleviate pressure, but a higher-density topper is needed to maintain adequate support. Toppers that are too soft cause the back and hips to sink too deeply, while overly firm toppers create a gap between the sleeper’s lower back and the bed.

A medium-firm topper is considered the best option for people of average weights (130 to 230 pounds); lighter sleepers may feel most comfortable on slightly less firm toppers, while heavier sleepers usually prefer toppers that are slightly firmer.

Stomach Sleepers

Stomach-sleeping is generally not recommended. Most people carry a large amount of weight in their stomach, and this can cause excessive sinkage around the hips and pelvis that can misalign the spine and increase the potential for pain and pressure.

However, for those who prefer this position, a slightly firmer topper is usually best because it prevents sinkage in the stomach area and keeps the spine straight. The topper should also be somewhat thin, and carry a lower density; this holds true for all weight groups.

The table below looks at the ideal firmness, thickness, and density settings for different sleepers based on position and body weight.

Position Weight Group Ideal Topper Firmness Ideal Topper Thickness Ideal Topper Density
Side Less than 130 lbs Soft to Medium Soft 1″ to 2″ 2.5 PCF and lower
130 to 230 lbs Medium Soft to Medium 2″ to 2 1/2″ 3 to 4 PCF
More than 230 lbs Medium Firm to Firm 2″ to 3″ 4 PCF and higher
Back Less than 130 lbs Medium Soft to Medium Firm 1 1/2″ to 2 1/2″ 2.5 to 3 PCF
130 to 230 lbs Medium to Firm 2″ to 3″ 3.5 to 5 PCF
More than 230 lbs Medium Firm to Firm 2″ to 3″ 4.5 PCF and higher
Stomach Less than 130 lbs Medium Soft to Medium Firm 1″ to 1 1/2″ 3 PCF and lower
130 to 230 lbs Medium Firm to Firm 1″ to 2″ 2.5 to 4 PCF
More than 230 lbs Firm to Extra Firm 2″ to 3″ 3.5 to 4.5 PCF

Setting up and Maintaining a Topper

Toppers are fairly easy to set up and maintain, but here are three factors to keep in mind:

  1. Some toppers are designed to be tucked beneath the top sheet. For optimal comfort, be sure to flatten the topper as much as possible before tucking the sheet over it. This helps to prevent bunching and maintain a flat, even sleep surface.
  2. Off-gassing can be an issue for toppers, particularly those made of foam. Odors are usually strongest immediately after the topper is removed from its packaging. To help these odors dissipate, unpackage the topper completely and place it in a well-ventilated room. Sleepers may want to wait one to two days before using the topper, though some models will carry lingering smells that may never completely dissipate.
  3. Wool toppers are often machine washable. Some fiber toppers are also advertised as machine washable, but wash cycles may cause these models to deteriorate over time; dry cleaning may be best for long-term maintenance. Memory foam, latex, and feather toppers should only be spot cleaned by hand or dry cleaned, and should never be washed in a machine.

Additional Tuck Resources

If you’re still having trouble narrowing down the best topper for you, we’ve got you covered. Tuck provides in-depth reviews for toppers sorted by material, including some pillows and mattress pads that will round out your experience for an excellent night’s sleep.