Mattress toppers have been an affordable way for people to add a little bit of extra comfort to a worn or uncomfortable mattress for quite some time now. They are also a convenient and cost-effective way to prolong the life of a mattress that may have seen better days and would otherwise be on its way to the dump.
Mattress toppers are as popular (or more popular) today than they have ever been. They are seemingly constantly improving in terms of quality and comfort while simultaneously dropping in price. It’s gotten to the point now where many people aren’t even considering changing their mattress when they traditionally would of in the past…
These days they just buy a new topper instead.
With that in mind today we are going to take a look at the ins and outs of the world of mattress toppers. We’re going to provide you with an in-depth buyers guide, and share with you 9 of our top recommendations that represent the best toppers 2021 has to offer.
Let’s get started.
The 8 Different Types Of Mattress Topper
The biggest decision you’re going to have to make when you’re shopping around for a mattress topper is what kind you want. There are many different options available to consumers and each has their own strengths and weaknesses.
Cooling – As the name suggests cooling mattress toppers do their best to keep you cool throughout the night. They are extremely popular with people who live in warm climates (and people that generally run hot while they sleep). They can be made out of a range of materials, some of which (like rayon) are naturally better at heat dissipation than others (like memory foam).
That being said, it’s mainly the design of the topper that provides the desired cooling effect as opposed to the material. Most cooling toppers provide unrestrictive airflow for ventilation, but some use layers of cooling gel to spread the heat evenly over the topper reducing hotspots where you’re sleeping. Either way, they ensure you get a cool and comfortable night’s sleep.
Memory Foam – Memory foam mattress toppers are without a doubt the most popular kind of mattress topper on the market right now. This space-age wonder material took the world by storm when it was first unleashed on to an unsuspecting public. Despite improvements in manufacturing efficiency (and reductions in materials costs) memory foam mattresses still remain a reasonably costly investment.
Memory foam mattress toppers provide consumers with a viable and highly effective way to get the comfort of a memory foam mattress without the large costs involved. They are extremely comfortable but can get a little hot due to their thermal insulation capabilities (unless you choose a cooling gel infused or an open cell topper).
Pillow Top – It could be argued that all mattress toppers are pillow tops (as they are essentially a removable version of the pillow in a pillow top mattress). But dedicated pillow top mattress toppers go one step further and attempt to recreate the luxurious feel that is traditionally associated with the coveted type of mattress.
You’ll find very few dedicated pillow top mattress toppers on the market. But the ones that do exist mainly prioritize comfort over all else. They are generally made from a variety of materials including memory foam, wool, down, comfort foam, and polyester.
Latex – Latex is commonly seen as the main competitor to memory foam in the world of mattress toppers. It’s incredibly comfortable and supportive which provides a firmer memory foam alternative. Like memory foam, latex mattresses are reasonably expensive, which has made the demand for latex toppers explode in recent years. As such latex toppers are one of the most expensive kinds of topper on the market.
Despite this consumers can’t seem to get enough of this natural material. They love the firm night’s sleep it provides, and they are almost always impressed with the above average durability of the material (making the larger upfront cost much more economical in the long run). As an added bonus it’s much better at staying cool throughout the night compared to memory foam, and it’s hypoallergenic too.
Feather – Feather mattress toppers are still seen as being one of the most luxurious choices consumers have on offer. Despite this, they are usually very reasonably priced and fit snugly in the mid-range price bracket. They offer one of the gentlest, softest night’s sleep on the market and they are great at staying cool, even in warm climates.
Many people are surprised to know that feather toppers are actually extremely durable, despite being made from what is commonly known to be a delicate and soft material. The only downside to feather toppers is that they’ll need a little fluffing every now and again as the feathers get compressed over time and don’t naturally expand fully (they’re not very supportive either).
Fiber – Fiber mattress toppers are an unusual category that is hard to pin down in a section like this. They can be made from all manner of different materials that each have their own advantages and disadvantages. For example, you can get memory foam fiber toppers, and you can get wool fiber toppers – both are very different from one another, but both fit this category. They are usually a more cost-effective option (with the exception of memory foam fibers) but rarely outperform their non-fiber counterparts.
Wool- Like many other wool products, wool mattress toppers are extremely soft and comfortable. They are also surprisingly durable compared to some of their synthetic counterparts.
Contrary to popular belief, wool toppers do not run hot throughout the night. Wool has excellent natural thermal regulation properties that ensure a cool night’s sleep. It’s a mid-range, mid-priced material that is considered to be one of the most luxurious on the market. The only downside to wool toppers is that they are less cushioning than other materials, which can be a slight issue if you’re looking for a more “plush” experience.
Organic – Oganic mattress toppers aren’t really a category in the true sense of the word (but that doesn’t stop people using it as one). Organic toppers are simply a name given to mattress toppers that are made from natural materials. This most commonly includes toppers made from wool, feather, down, rayon, and latex.
Best Mattress Toppers For Specific Sleep Positions
As you may or may not know, finding the perfect mattress (or mattress topper) for you doesn’t really revolve around personal preference – it’s all down to your sleeping position. Different positions put different amounts of pressure on the mattress in different ways.
This means that a mattress topper needs to have different properties to ensure proper support and optimal spinal alignment throughout the night depending on how you sleep.
Stomach sleepers need to pay the most attention to the kind of mattress topper they purchase out of all sleeping positions (because according to doctors, it’s the unhealthiest position). If you’re a stomach sleeper, you should be looking out for a topper that is medium to firm at a minimum. Avoid soft toppers at all costs as they allow you to sink into them too much which will increase the already less than ideal curvature of your spine even more.
Additionally, support is highly important for stomach sleepers and you should do all you can to ensure you get a supportive topper. This is again down to spinal alignment. Stomach sleepers may move less throughout the night than people who sleep in other positions, but the slightest movement can put your neck and spine severely out of alignment.
Side sleepers are the most commonly found people in the world (it’s by far the most popular sleeping position). Due to this, there is a huge range of toppers on the market that are specifically designed for them. Again like stomach sleepers support is super important (just for different reasons). Side sleepers are much more likely to toss and turn throughout the night, but with the proper support the issues this causes can be mitigated slightly.
Side sleepers need a topper that is soft to medium in hardness for optimal spinal alignment. This allows the topper to slightly contour to your body and gives you the support your body needs. However, be sure you don’t get a topper that’s too soft, this can reduce the amount of support it provides and increases tossing and turning throughout the night.
Again, for back sleepers support is highly important (it’s important regardless of how you sleep, to be honest). However, the most important thing for back sleepers is the firmness of the mattress. Back sleeping is the healthiest way of sleeping according to doctors, and to get all the benefits it provides you should get something as firm as possible. A firm topper allows for optimal spinal alignment.
If you can’t handle a hard topper then a medium firmness product isn’t going to cause you any issues worth worrying about too much. But the firmer the better.
Advantages And Disadvantages Of Using A Mattress Topper
There are two main advantages of using a mattress topper, comfort, and longevity. A topper is almost always going to be more comfortable than the mattress it is placed on due to simple economics. It’s much cheaper to buy a thin layer of comfortable material than it is to buy an entire mattress made from it.
Mattress toppers are also a great way to extend the life of a mattress that would otherwise be on its last legs and ready for replacement. This is often the scenario that first leads people into the world of toppers (and many never look back).
The main issue that can be a little annoying with mattress toppers is slippage. If you get a low-quality product (or have an unusually shaped bed) then you’re not going to the snug secure fit that’s required. Over time (or after getting “snuggly” with your partner) the topper can slip and slide out of alignment with the mattress.
This means you’re going to have to get out of bed, possibly remove some bedding, and then fix the issue before going to sleep (it’s as annoying as it sounds). To avoid this issue, get a high-quality topper, it’s more than worth the small additional investment.
Top Overall Pick for the Best Mattress Topper in 2021
It wasn’t difficult for us to pick the best overall mattress topper in 2017, this product from sleep innovations is currently widely regarded as being the best product on the market in terms of both comfort and price.
It’s a luxuriously thick 4-inch topper that is made from a sandwich style layer of materials that provides impeccable support and unbeatable comfort. The top layer is a 2-inch thick slab of memory foam that has been gel infused to ensure a cool night’s sleep. This is supported by a layer of 2 inches thick fluffy fibrous filling for additional comfort.
It’s got a secure cover that’s not going to slip and slide, and it is suitable for all sleeping positions. Combine this with the excellent reputation of the Sleep Innovations brand (and the 10-year warranty) and it’s easy to see why it’s our top pick for 2017.
If you can afford this topper you should get it, it’s honestly the best on the market right now.
8 Mattress Toppers We Recommend Getting Today
Honestly, nothing really comes close to the Sleep Innovations product we chose as our top pick. But if you want to see what other decent options there are, here are some other products worthy of your consideration.
This 3-inch thick memory foam topper from Lucid is a great alternative if you liked the sound of the top pick above but think it’s a little out of budget. It’s a solid one piece topper that is made from a similar cooling gel-infused memory foam as the Sleep Innovations product above. It has a decent length warranty and the Lucid brand is well respected within the industry.
This 2-inch topper is reasonably similar to the Lucid above and is again made from 2 inches of cooling gel memory foam. It’s cheaper than the Lucid, but it’s thinner and feels less luxurious too. That being said it’s still very comfortable and highly supportive, it’s not a bad product at all and is more than worthy of your consideration.
The DreamFoam above is a decent product available for a very reasonable price, however, we’ve found a similar product from LinenSpa that is also made from cooling gel memory foam (and is the same thickness). This product is very slightly cheaper, but honestly, there’s not much difference between the two. We recommend you look at both and see which one takes your fancy.
This product from Zinus is a great topper and is the first memory foam product on our list to use a ventilated open cell design (in combination with a cooling gel layer). This advanced hybrid will keep you cool and comfortable throughout the night, even in hot climates. Zinus is a well-respected brand and you can expect years of hassle-free reliability if you pick this topper.
This 4-inch memory foam mattress topper is probably our “number 2” recommendation. It’s got a respectable 1.5-inch layer of cooling gel-infused memory foam that is placed on top of a 2.5-inch layer of high-density foam for support. It’s a luxurious product that’s very fairly priced (but is more expensive than the rest of the “runners up” in this section.
If memory foam isn’t your thing, then you should check out this affordable and comfortable product from Leisure Town. It’s an “overfilled” down mattress topper that is as luxurious as they come. It’s a super soft, hypoallergenic organic product that’s going to leave you feeling like you’re sleeping on a cloud.
This product from “Home Sweet Home Dreams” is a great alternative to the down topper we mentioned above. It’s 2 inches thick and is again hypoallergenic with a fibrous organic filling. It’s around $10 cheaper than the cover above, and considering the quality of the brand – we highly recommend you check it out.
The final product on our list is one of the most comfortable and “firm” down mattress toppers on the market. It’s made by the designer brand Shilucheng who are known for providing impeccable quality and beautiful design at the same time. It’s 2 inches thick and is incredibly supportive for a down topper (which is a welcome rarity worthy of your consideration).
So there you have it, all you ever wanted to know (and probably a bit more) about mattress toppers. Follow the recommendations we have made in the buyer’s guide (and pick any one of the products we have just mentioned) and you’re guaranteed a cost-effective, comfortable night’s sleep.