If you want to add new life to an older bed, a mattress topper will add an extra layer of cushioning, relieving pressure points, and enhancing the quality of your sleep. However, mattress toppers can’t compensate for major problems such as sinkholes, sagging, or springs poking through the mattress cover. If your mattress is that bad, you’ll need a new one.
People often add a mattress topper to adjust the firmness level of a newer mattress. Toppers are wonderful for micro-managing the comfort levels of your firm mattress. You can always make a mattress softer, but you can never make one harder. Want a firmer mattress, remove the topper. Want it softer again, put it back on.
Here we review and compare two major brands: Latex for Less vs PlushBeds. Check also our Mattress Toppers Buyers Guide, at the end of this page.
“I suffer from allergies, and this topper is perfect for me. It is hypoallergenic, and the memory foam is CertiPUR-US certified, too. I can easily remove and wash the cover and keep my bed clean at all times. I love it!” – Martin C.
Buyers Guide: How to Shop for a Mattress Topper
A topper can provide additional comfort to any sleeper who is unhappy with the comfort layer of the existing mattress. Any topper is easily removed from the bed, though some can be tucked beneath fitted sheets, while others simply lay on top of the mattress. Different types of toppers marketed today include wool, memory foam, latex, and feather beds.
Here we review at what toppers do, the pros and cons of using them, and some unique characteristics of each topper type, as well as our tips for guaranteeing optimal comfort levels for the sleeper.
Toppers are primarily used for providing additional comfort as well as adjusting the firmness of the sleep surface, cooling the bed, and also alleviating pain and pressure.
Mattress toppers can be used in hotels, college dorms, primary and guest beds, sofas, and vehicles containing living accommodations (RVs).
A mattress topper often adds the most value to sleepers in the following situations:
- The mattress is too firm. The topper can recreate a softer sleeping setup for consumers who prefer fewer firm surfaces.
- If you do not own a dual firmness king-size mattress, a topper can modify one side of the bed for couples with different comfort preferences.
- Toppers can provide more comfort and support for individuals sleeping in college dormitories, and away-from-home accommodations.
- Toppers are the best option for sofas, and guest beds that are often reserved for overnight visitors.
- RV beds often provide cheaper mattress models that offer unsatisfactory support and comfort, and toppers can significantly improve these sleep environments.
- Mattress toppers can make a big impact on sleepers: alleviating pain and pressure, regulating body temperature through the night, less noise, and providing an improved surface for sex.
Here are a few benefits of using a topper on a current mattress:
- Lots of toppers contain gel features and other cooling technology that will prevent you from overheating at night.
- Mattresses made of materials like latex or memory foam can help maintain a stable sleep surface with enhanced back and neck support.
- For mattresses that were not designed with a dual firmness comfort layer, adding a topper can be a cheap way to change the feel of one side of the bed while maintaining the firmness of the other.
- Mattress toppers containing latex or memory foam may conform more closely to sleepers’ bodies. Thus, it’ll help align your spine and target pressure points in your shoulders, neck, hips, and lower back.
- Toppers are generally considered responsive enough for sex – except the ones containing memory foam.
- Mattress toppers produce virtually no noise when bearing weight.
- Adding a topper to an existing bed can help extend the lifespan of a mattress by reducing indentations and sagging in its comfort layer.
- Toppers can also create a buffer that protects the top surface of a mattress from physical damage and stains.
- Most toppers cost less than $200, but even the most expensive ones (the latex and wool models) rarely cost more than $400. Therefore, buying a topper is cheaper than replacing the existing mattress entirely.
- Toppers can add comfort to old mattress surfaces that have developed some indentations or sagging over time. They are great for micro-managing the comfort levels of your firm mattress. You can always make a mattress softer, but you can never make one harder. If you want a firmer mattress, remove the topper. Want it softer again, put it back on.
Important Issues for Mattress Topper Shoppers
Mattress toppers come in a range of very different materials and styles. So, it’s important to know both what the pros and cons are of each material and what you hope to gain from using a topper. With so many types of mattress toppers, it’s perhaps more helpful to decide first what you need. Then you can work out which materials will best meet your needs.
Here are some of the key factors to take into consideration.
Firmness, pain relief, and extra support
If it’s extra support for your limbs and back that you need, latex and memory foam are usually more effective than any other materials. They’re better at supporting your natural posture and holding the shape of your body.
A topper can enhance the firmness of an older mattress, e.g., a medium-firm topper used on top of a medium-firm mattress can help keep the original sleep surface while still preserving the sleeper’s desired firmness level.
Polyester, plain egg crate foam, and some cotton toppers tend to be the cheapest. With higher-quality cotton, feather is in the middle, in terms of prices. Wool and memory foam can be more expensive, with organic latex even more so.
Softness and Comfort
With such a wide range of brands, materials, thicknesses, and densities, you should be able to find the optimum level of comfort and softness. But your evaluation of comfort may be different from someone else.
Different mattress topper materials offer different comfort experiences. Latex and memory foam tend to conform more closely to the sleeper’s body for improved pressure relief and spinal alignment. Feather and wool toppers tend to not conform as closely. Are you more suited to a naturally soft material such as cotton?
Motion Transfer (reducing the noise of a partner moving)
Latex and memory foam are both good at reducing the transmission of movement from your partner. If you sleep with someone who’s tossing and turning keeps you awake, both materials are good choices, as they tend to absorb motion and isolate it to certain areas of the mattress, which can help reduce sleep disruptions.
Feather, wool, and fiber toppers offer minimal motion isolation.
Latex and memory foam mattress toppers tend to retain the most body heat. The denser and thicker they are, the hotter they can feel – despite the attempts of mattress manufacturers to add elements such as ventilation tubes or gel cooling features.
Wool and feather toppers are good all year round, as they reduce heat in summer and provide extra warmth in winter. Bear in mind that the outside material can also contribute to the body temperature by wicking away sweat.
Density and thickness options
Toppers tend to fall in the range of between 2 and 6 inches thick. If you need to revitalize an aging mattress, that weigh more than average, or if you sleep on your side, you may need to look at thicker options. The materials with the best range of thickness are latex and memory foam. Thinner toppers may be suitable when minor comfort changes are required. Furthermore, thicker latex and memory foam models tend to sleep hotter than thinner ones.
Furthermore, the density of a topper is important in ascertaining how much support it will provide you. Latex and memory foam toppers tend to offer the most choices, allowing you to find just the right comfort level you’ll need.
High-density foam toppers conform closer and offer better edge support than low-density foam ones; however, high-density toppers also tend to sleep hotter, not be as good for sex, and produce more odor.
The most common warranty time is 2 years for many mattress toppers. But it can be as short as 1 year and as long as 5. Bear in mind that you won’t get a replacement simply because it’s compressed under your weight, over time.
Ease of moving and cleaning
You’ll need to remove the topper from its packaging, get it onto your bed and potentially remove it for cleaning. So, be aware of the overall weight of the mattress topper before buying it.
Egg crate is the easiest to transport, whilst feather, cotton, and down are easier to move than latex or memory foam.
Some toppers can be machine-washed, but lots of them can’t. It can be very inconvenient if it needs to be washed by hand, which is another good reason to use a cover as well.
Topper materials such as latex or feathers may trigger allergies in a few sleepers. Other topper materials such as wool and fibers are hypoallergenic and thus will not cause allergies to flare up.
Latex, wool, and memory foam mattress toppers are considered fairly durable and will perform for many years without excessive indenting or sagging. On the other hand, fiber and feather toppers tend to offer the shopper below-average durability.