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Written by

Bill Fish

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Research suggests that the ideal temperature for sleeping is around 65 degrees Fahrenheit. While there are many factors that contribute to the temperature of your sleep environment, the importance of your mattress shouldn’t be underestimated. Mattresses that don’t allow room for airflow can trap body heat and lead to an uncomfortably warm night.

If you believe that your mattress could be the culprit for your sleepless nights but you’re not prepared to invest in a new one, a cooling mattress topper may be the best solution. Cooling mattress toppers can be made of latex, wool, gel memory foam, or other materials that draw heat away from the sleeper. They are usually 2 to 4 inches thick and designed to lie on top of your mattress, providing a cooler surface for your body to interact with.

We’ll cover everything you need to know about selecting the best cooling mattress topper, including our top picks and recommendations on choosing a mattress topper based on material, body type, preferred sleep position, and more.

The Best Cooling Mattress Toppers

Product Details

Ooler Mattress Pad

Ooler Mattress Pad
Ooler Mattress Pad

The cutting-edge Ooler Mattress Pad boasts a sophisticated and customizable design powered by active cooling and heating, ambient noise control, and app-controlled alarm and sleep scheduling functions.

Who it's best for:
  • Tech-savvy people who want exact control over the temperature of their bed
  • People who also use ambient noise to fall asleep
  • Couples with different temperature preferences

The Ooler Sleep System mattress pad has an adjustable temperature range controlled by water tubing. Users can set a precise temperature between 55 and 115°F, with individual settings on each side for queen and king mattresses.

In addition to the water-based cooling and heating features, users can also program ambient noise control. The control unit is slim and self-cleans using UV light. It has an auto-dim display and blue-light blocking lens. A smartphone app allows users to program sleep schedules, including pre-heating and pre-cooling as well as a “warm awake” feature intended to replace the need for an alarm clock.

The fabric itself is made of breathable Tencel Lyocell with a bit of cushioning polyester fill and is machine-washable. The bottom is coated with polyester for added protection against spills and stains.

The Ooler mattress pad ships free in the U.S. and comes with a 2-year limited warranty and 90-night sleep trial.

Molecule AirTEC Mattress Topper

Molecule AirTEC Mattress Topper
Medium (5)
Molecule AirTEC Mattress Topper

Constructed from a blend of cooling blend of fiber padding and open-cell foam, the AirTEC features a pressure-relieving zoned layout that promotes extra support to the lower back and hips while cradling the shoulders and legs.

Who it's best for:
  • Those who want a close-conforming topper
  • Couples
  • Combination sleepers

The Molecule AirTEC mattress topper is a multi-layer topper that uses some of the same foams found in the Molecule mattresses.

The topper features a cooling fiber cover designed to draw heat away from the sleeper. Under this is a 1-inch layer of MolecularFlo foam, which is meant to have more airflow than traditional memory foam. This is followed by an inch of open-cell AirTEC foam, a synthetic foam made to mimic the buoyant and breathable properties of latex. Finally, an inch of RecoveryFlo foam adds some support.

The contouring foams in the Molecule AirTEC mattress topper help prevent motion from travelling across the bed, making this a good choice for people who sleep with a partner.

The foams are produced using a variable pressure foaming process that minimizes emissions and waste. Molecule backs the mattress topper with a 30-day sleep trial and 5-year limited warranty.

Plushbeds Latex Mattress Topper

Plushbeds Latex Mattress Topper
Soft (3) Medium (5) Medium Firm (6) Extra Firm (7-8)
Plushbeds Latex Mattress Topper

This topper from PlushBeds is made from premium, sustainably sourced Talalay latex that offers exceptional durability, cooling, and responsiveness. Available in two loft options and four firmness levels.

Who it's best for:
  • Those who want the feel of latex at a more affordable price
  • People with allergies
  • Eco-conscious shoppers

The Plushbeds Latex Mattress Topper is a natural Talalay latex mattress topper that comes in two thickness options, 2 inches or 3 inches. Although not necessary if using fitted sheets, customers can add an organic cotton cover for an extra charge.

Talalay latex is naturally hypoallergenic, durable, and breathable. The pincore design in this mattress topper allows extra room for airflow to keep the mattress cool.

Because of the way it’s manufactured, Talalay latex has a light, springy feel that provides pressure relief without restricting ease of movement. The mattress topper comes in four firmness options: soft, medium, medium firm, and extra firm, so you should be able to find a topper that suits you no matter your body type or preferred sleeping position.

The Plushbeds latex topper is made in the U.S. and Greenguard Gold certified to be low in volatile organic compounds. The company does not offer a sleep trial, but if you order the wrong size topper you may exchange it provided it has not been opened.

Viscosoft Select Memory Foam Mattress Topper

Viscosoft Select Memory Foam Mattress Topper
Medium (5)
Viscosoft Select Memory Foam Mattress Topper

This affordable Viscosoft topper is produced from open-cell memory foam infused with cooling gel, a material that delivers above-average temperature control, even contouring, and pressure relief throughout the body.

Who it's best for:
  • Side sleepers and those who value pressure relief
  • Price-conscious shoppers
  • People who sleep with a partner

Made with 3 inches of memory foam, the Viscosoft Select Memory Foam Mattress Topper cradles the body and offers superior pressure point relief. The memory foam has a density of 3.5 pounds per cubic foot. This is considered low density, meaning it allows for a greater degree of airflow and has a quicker response to pressure.

The memory foam is open-cell and has gel infusions designed to whisk body heat away from the sleeper. Couples will appreciate the fact that the memory foam absorbs motion transfer, cutting down on nighttime disruptions from your sleeping partner.

The topper is thoughtfully designed with a breathable, no-slip mesh bottom and straps to hold it in place. The bamboo-rayon cover is machine washable for hassle-free care. ViscoSoft offers a 60-night sleep trial and 3-year warranty against manufacturing defects.

How to Choose a Cooling Mattress Topper

Sleeping cool has become a major buzzword in the mattress industry, and all the marketing jargon about the latest technologies and state-of-the-art materials can be overwhelming. This guide will help you to cut through the hype and help you find the best cooling mattress topper for you.

What to Consider When Purchasing a Cooling Mattress Topper

There are a lot of choices to sort through when buying a cooling mattress topper. From price to material, cooling properties to sleeping position, here are some of the most important factors you should keep in mind while you search.

  • Cooling Properties: The most straightforward way to maintain temperature neutrality is by using materials that allow for airflow, thus carrying the heat away from your body. Some mattress toppers accomplish this with the use of naturally breathable materials, like latex or open-cell foams and cotton or wool covers. Others feature a convoluted or aerated design that increases air circulation.For materials that are inherently prone to retaining heat, manufacturers must resort to other tactics. These include charcoal, graphite, gel, or copper infusions designed to transport heat away from the body. Some mattress toppers incorporate phase-change materials, which regulate temperature by absorbing, storing, and releasing heat.For people who run very hot at night, it might be worth investing in a topper that allows you to control the temperature at the touch of a button. These active cooling toppers work by heating or cooling air or water and pushing it through the mattress to actively control the surface temperature.A few mattress manufacturers make toppers that are cooler in certain areas, such as the core. This can have the added advantage of alleviating aches and pains.
  • Price: The price of a mattress topper can vary widely depending on materials and quality. Cooling polyfoam mattress toppers start at less than $100, but you can expect to pay several hundred dollars for a latex topper, and even more for sophisticated devices with cooling tubes. That said, if the added price means better longevity or reduced air conditioning bills, it might pay off in the long run.
  • Sleeping Position: Since your mattress topper goes on top of your mattress, it’s important to choose a topper with the right firmness to accommodate your body type and sleeping position. Side sleepers usually opt for a plusher surface that reduces pressure points, so they may need a thicker topper to form a cradle for the hips and shoulders. Stomach sleepers should be fine with a firmer, thinner topper, while back sleepers fall in the middle of the spectrum.
  • Quality Materials: Latex and wool toppers offer the best longevity, and you can expect them to last around 3 to 4 years on average.In contrast, a low-quality memory foam topper can develop permanent body indentations before the year is out. Higher-density polyfoam or memory foam toppers will last longer than their lower-density equivalents, but they will also usually trap more heat.Fiberfill and feather toppers are fairly high-maintenance and require regular fluffing in order not to lose loft over time. You can usually expect these to last around 2 to 3 years.
  • Firmness Level: Since a mattress topper can’t add support to a sagging mattress, the main reason people purchase mattress toppers is to adjust the firmness level of a mattress. In general, lighter sleepers and side sleepers are best suited to a plusher topper, while stomach sleepers and heavier individuals are best suited to a firmer topper.Mattress firmness plays a crucial role in heat retention, as a softer surface allows the body to sink in further and causes more heat to build up around the sleeper. The heavier the sleeper, the more they will sink into the mattress, leading to increased heat retention. If you find you run hot, you may want to consider getting a firmer mattress topper.
  • Thickness: Mattress toppers tend to measure between 2 and 4 inches thick. People who exert more pressure on the mattress, such as heavier sleepers and side sleepers, should look for a thick mattress topper that can handle this extra weight without bottoming out.
  • Pressure Relief: Memory foam is usually acknowledged as the best material for pressure relief due to its close-conforming abilities. However, if you overheat with memory foam, a latex mattress topper may do the trick. Latex can have pressure-relieving properties similar to memory foam, but it’s more breathable and forms a looser cradle around your body.

Which Type of Mattress Topper is Best at Cooling?

Most toppers on the market today are made of memory foam, polyfoam, or latex, each of which offers its own advantages. You may also see mattress toppers stuffed with wool, which wicks moisture away from the body to keep you cool when it’s hot and warm when it’s cold.

  • Memory foam: Memory foam is a popular material for mattress toppers because it offers superior pressure relief and motion isolation. Unfortunately, memory foams, particularly high-density memory foams, have traditionally been known for trapping heat. Modern-day cooling memory foam mattress toppers get around this by infusing the memory foam with charcoal, copper, graphite, or other substances that draw heat away from the sleeper.
  • Polyfoam: Open-cell and convoluted polyfoam mattress toppers are designed to improve airflow, allowing body heat to escape from the sleeper instead of building up on the surface of the mattress. Polyfoam has the added advantage of being the cheapest topper material. The downside is that polyfoam toppers will eventually develop permanent body indentations.
  • Latex: Natural latex is a breathable, open-cell material that is prized for its durability and sustainability. Latex tends to keep sleepers “on” and not “in” the mattress, preventing heat build-up around the body. While natural latex toppers can be expensive, they maintain decent temperature neutrality and are much less likely to develop body indentations compared with synthetic latex or other foams. Many latex toppers are “ventilated” with pincore holes that allow for better air circulation.
  • Gel: Many manufacturers use gel infusions, gel beads, or a top layer of gel in an effort to stem heat retention in memory foam or fiberfill toppers. As we will discuss in the next section, the jury is out on whether or not this is actually an effective cooling technique.

Frequently Asked Questions About Cooling Mattress Toppers

Do gel mattress toppers keep you cool?

While they may help a memory foam topper sleep somewhat cooler at first, cooling gel mattress toppers don’t always manage to keep a neutral temperature all night long. The gel may also lose potency over the years.There are two principal ways by which gel is used to help memory foam sleep cooler. Thermal gels are cool to the touch, whereas phase-change gels regulate heat by absorbing and redistributing it to maintain a constant temperature.

While these techniques can stave off heat retention for a while, many sleepers find that the mattress eventually warms up anyway. However, a cool gel memory foam mattress topper may help keep the temperature low long enough to help you drift off to sleep.

In a nutshell, if you sleep hot but have your heart set on memory foam, then a gel memory foam topper might be the way to go. But for people who sleep very hot, it’s usually better to avoid memory foam altogether.

Do cooling mattress toppers really work?

Cooling mattress toppers have varying degrees of success depending on the type. Materials like latex, wool, and open-cell or aerated foams can help disperse heat, but they won’t actively cool the mattress.

Phase-change material goes an extra step by using a chemical reaction to keep the surface cool to the touch. For people who are very sensitive to temperature changes, the best solution might be a mattress topper that actively works to control the temperature via water or air channels.

What’s the difference between a mattress pad and a mattress topper?

Mattress pads are relatively thin and are primarily meant to protect against spills and stains, whereas mattress toppers are usually several inches thick and are designed to change the feel of a mattress.Mattress pads often contain some kind of padding like wool, cotton, fiberfill, or down. While this can add some plushness to a mattress, this is not their main purpose.

Mattress toppers usually come in the same materials you would expect from a mattress comfort layer, such as memory foam, polyfoam, latex, wool, or down. A mattress topper can’t fix an old, sagging mattress, but it can change the feel of a mattress that’s too firm or too plush. This is a cost-effective way to obtain a different firmness level without investing in a whole new mattress.

Can I buy sheets to keep me cool?

The sheets you use definitely play a role in maintaining temperature neutrality. Linen, cotton, and bamboo are all naturally breathable and will help fight heat retention. In terms of weave, stay away from flannel sheets and choose sheets with a breathable percale weave. Some synthetic fabrics also use technology such as phase-change material to keep you cool.

It’s important to remember that the temperature of your sleeping environment is a product of many factors including your mattress and/or topper, sheets, ambient temperature, your pillow, and your own personal body heat.