Even if your current mattress is the same hard-as-rock floor model that you’ve been passing out on for the last decade, the best mattress toppers out there can uniformly boost your cushion and support without you needing to go all out on a fancy new model. Mattress toppers are traditionally hunks of memory foam (some with cooling technology, some without) that you can slap onto your bed to add a degree of separation between your bones and the innersprings that are so old they’re practically jutting into your side. But the most recent class of mattress toppers even involve down feathers, natural latex, cooling gel, and beyond if you’re inclined to branch out. Before you embark on your own hunt for a superior mattress topper, there are a couple of things you should mull over before smashing that buy button.
The Best Mattress Toppers, at a Glance
To get right to the core of the story, here’s a quicklist of our favorites that we’ve tested and parsed out below.
What to consider when shopping for a mattress topper
People sleep in all kinds of positions, this is a fact of life. Think about who will be sleeping on the mattress topper and if it’s not just you, first run the idea by your sleeping buddy. Find out what they love and less-than-love about the mattress and take notes on their preferred sleeping position and bed feel. Do the same for yourself and find the common ground. Are you a bunch of side sleepers in desperate need of a top layer with extra cushioning? Do you tend to burn up at night and need some sweat-wicking surface beneath you? Are you a dedicated back sleeper in need of some pressure-relieving to counter your too-soft mattress? It’s all important for deciding what kind of topper you’ll gravitate towards.
Types of mattress toppers
Speaking of, there are generally four main types of mattress toppers out there: cooling, firm, cushiony, and pillow-soft. Most mattress toppers are made of memory foam, but you will find others filled with feathers, microfiber, and cooling gel. Memory foam is great because it conforms to your body and adds a level of customization that other materials can’t offer as readily.
Still others are infused with temperature regulation technology to ward off night sweats. More often than not, this means the topper is woven with copper, a material which is naturally cooling. If you’re worried about dust mites and allergens, you can also opt for hypoallergenic mattress toppers, or spring for something organic if you’re fussy about how eco-friendly your bedding is.
How we tested
After a few months of disciplined bed-making, working up a sweat wrestling toppers out of cardboard boxes, and sleeping on various mattress toppers we consider ourselves bonafide experts on the subject. Each mattress topper was tested by this writer and her husband for at least a week and a half each—keeping in mind each topper’s breathability and heat dispersion, how our bodies felt every morning, the amount of support each topper had for easing back pain, any motion transfer issues that would rattle sensitive sleepers, and—one of the most important elements—how easy the thing was to get on and off the bed. Below, we rustled up our top picks for the best mattress toppers, from cooling options for summer to a surprisingly comfortable budget selection.
The Best Mattress Topper For Most People: The Company Store Legends Hotel Down-Alternative
Vivid childhood memories of sinking into a brand-new twin-sized pillow-top mattress for the first time rushed back after sprawling out on this topper—minus the, uh, mid-calf socks and mesh jersey this time around. The Company Store’s Legends Hotel Down Alternative topper, which is packed with polyester fill and ensconced in a cotton twill cover, is great for those sensitive to down. It may not be as sleek as other options—the plush cushion creates an ocean-y wave beneath your fitted sheet—but the fact that it doesn’t slide around while you’re sleeping helped bump it to the top of the list.
One detail that takes this topper, ahem, over the top is how good we felt the next morning…and the next…and the next. It provides ample softness for comfortable side-sleeping, while offering just enough firmness on top of our usual mattress for sturdy back support. Blessedly, there was no weird smell (off-gassing!) when the thing was unboxed and it took less than three minutes to get on the bed. One minor ding: It’s sadly spot-clean only, which is pretty standard for toppers, but considering it’s backed by a lifetime guarantee, we think that more than makes up for the delicate cleaning situation.
The Best Firm Mattress Topper: Tuft & Needle
Mattress toppers will never be cot-at-summer-camp firm. The point is to add a bit of support, but memory foam and polyester fill are soft by nature. This particular topper is made of open-cell foam, making it super breathable for hot sleepers. The overall look is pretty minimal—an important factor if you’re going to have to store it in plain site when it’s not in use—and the extra two inches of padding are designed to relieve pressure points across the body, particularly in the hips and shoulders.