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Finding Your Mattress Topper

Even the most durable mattress will eventually develop indentations and soft spots in its surface. Major sagging will probably necessitate a new mattress, but for minor dips and impressions, you can put off buying a new bed by using a mattress topper instead.

Toppers are also helpful if your firmness preferences have changed over time, and now your mattress feels too firm or too soft. Additionally, they can be used for foldout couches, RV beds, and other sleep surfaces that tend to lack the comfort of a traditional bed.

What Is a Mattress Topper?

A mattress topper is an individual layer of cushioning material that is placed on top of your mattress, either directly on the surface or tucked beneath a fitted sheet. Most toppers measure 1 to 4 inches thick, so using one is essentially adding an extra comfort layer to your mattress.

Although the terms “mattress topper” and “mattress pad” are often used interchangeably, these are two distinct products. A mattress pad is generally thinner and designed to do two things: provide a minor comfort adjustment and protect the mattress from spills, dirt, and other contaminants. Toppers, on the other hand, can significantly change the feel of your mattress but don’t provide much protection.

Most toppers are sold in the six standard sizes for mattresses: twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, and California king. If you and your partner share a split king mattress, then two twin XL toppers can be used.

Which Materials Are Used to Make Toppers?

Material construction is arguably the most important consideration when choosing a mattress topper. Each type of topper has distinct pros and cons when it comes to durability, pressure relief, cooling, and other performance factors. The most common topper materials include:

Memory Foam

Viscoelastic polyurethane foam – aka memory foam – is a material that softens after coming into contact with body heat. This allows the foam to evenly mold to the unique contours of your body and distribute your weight. When you get up, the foam will return to its original form.

Memory foam isolates movement very well, which can reduce nighttime sleep disruptions for couples. The material also excels at pressure relief, particularly for side sleepers and people with back pain or hip pain. However, the foam can absorb body heat and sleep uncomfortably warm, and unpleasant off-gassing odor is a common issue for these toppers when they are new.

Thicker, denser memory foam mattress toppers tend to perform better in these areas, though these models are usually more expensive than their less dense counterparts.

Convoluted Polyfoam

Convoluted polyfoam toppers are also known as egg-crate foam toppers due to the ridges across their surface. The foam contours to the body, though not to the same extent as memory foam, so this material may be ideal for sleepers with pain or pressure points who dislike memory foam’s signature body hug.

Convoluted polyfoam toppers tend to be quite inexpensive compared to other types. The downside is that these toppers are not particularly durable.


Latex – also known as natural rubber – is produced from a colloid extract found in rubber trees. The material is naturally responsive. While latex conforms to the body, it won’t sink or hug as closely as foam. This makes a latex mattress topper well-suited to anyone who enjoys a balance of contouring and support.

Although latex can absorb body heat, many latex toppers are ventilated with holes to promote air circulation and cooling. Latex is also quite durable and normally won’t wear out as quickly as foam. However, latex toppers can be fairly expensive.

When choosing a latex topper, look for the type of latex used. Dunlop latex is a dense, durable material that reduces pressure fairly well, but it’s more likely to trap body heat. Talalay latex is typically lighter and more breathable, but it often wears out faster than Dunlop.


Feather toppers, or featherbeds, are filled with the outer plumage of ducks or geese. They may also contain down, inner plumage that is noticeably softer and fluffier than feathers. In most cases, the toppers are often with baffle boxes to contain and evenly distribute the fill. These materials create an exceptionally plush feel for your sleep surface that many liken to sleeping on a cloud. As a result, feather toppers are most practical for people who find their mattress too firm.

These toppers usually carry low sticker prices, and most absorb a minimal amount of body heat and sleep at a reasonable temperature. However, a common complaint is that the fill will shift or clump, requiring owners to frequently fluff their topper. Cleaning can also be a hassle since many feather toppers can’t (or at least shouldn’t) be washed or dried in household machines.

Down Alternative

Down alternative is the trade name for polyester fiber clusters intended to mimic the soft, light feel of natural down. Like featherbeds, down alternative toppers are normally used to make a mattress feel more plush. Baffle-box construction is also fairly common.

If you are allergic to down or would rather not buy animal-based products, then a down alternative topper might be a good compromise. These toppers also tend to cost much less than models with real feathers or down. The biggest drawback is durability. Down alternative fill tends to clump with continuous use, and the topper will likely flatten over time.

The materials used to make topper covers are also important. Polyester covers are common, especially on lower-priced models, but fibers like cotton or Tencel tend to be more breathable. Some toppers made of foam or latex don’t have any cover whatsoever.

Other Important Considerations for Mattress Topper Buyers

In addition to material composition, be sure to take these factors into account when shopping for a new topper.

Thickness: The difference in comfort adjustment between a 1-inch topper and a 3- or 4-inch model is pretty significant. A topper with a thinner profile can be useful for a mattress with minimal wear and tear, but noticeable dips and impressions will probably warrant a thicker model. Keep in mind that topper thickness is often tied to cost.

Firmness: Toppers are predominantly used to make a mattress feel softer, but there are a few models sold today that are designed to make your mattress feel firmer and more supportive.

Ease of Cleaning: Latex and foam toppers should only be spot cleaned if necessary, though you can usually wash and dry the covers in any machine. Feather beds usually require dry cleaning. Many down alternative toppers are technically machine washable, but cleaning them in a typical household washer can cause permanent damage.

Price: The cost of a new topper is tied to its material construction. Latex and memory foam toppers tend to cost the most, while convoluted polyfoam and down alternative models are usually the cheapest. Thickness also plays a role in pricing. Expect to pay at least $80 to $150 for a queen size topper regardless of its design.

Lastly, you should determine if using a topper on your mattress will be adequate for making the surface more comfortable. The average mattress performs for seven to eight years before a replacement is needed. If your sleep surface has deep sagging or body impressions, then it may be time to invest in a new mattress. Using a topper should be seen as a temporary fix – not a permanent solution – to mattress wear and tear.

Mattress Topper Reviews

Brand Model Material Firmness Full Review Price
Avocado Alpaca Wool Mattress Topper GOTS-certified organic wool and natural alpaca fiber Soft (3) Read Our Review $699
Avocado Eco Organic Mattress Topper 2″ Dunlop Latex Medium (5) Read Our Review $499
Avocado Firm Organic Latex Mattress Topper 2″ Talalay latex Firm (7) Read Our Review $449
Avocado Organic Latex Mattress Topper 2″ Talalay Latex Medium Soft (4) Firm (7) Read Our Review $449
Avocado Organic Latex Mattress Topper 2″ Talalay latex Medium Soft (4) / Firm (7) Read Our Review $449
Avocado Plush Organic Latex Mattress Topper 2″ Talalay latex Medium Soft (4) Firm (7) Read Our Review $449
Avocado Vegan Mattress Topper 2.75″ ventilated GOLS-certified Dunlop latex Firm (7) Read Our Review $649
Avocado Vegan Mattress Topper 2.75″ ventilated GOLS-certified Dunlop latex Soft (3) Read Our Review $649
Casper Mattress Topper 1″ synthetic latex 1″ graphite latex 1″ base foam Medium Soft (4) Read Our Review $295
chilisleep chiliPAD Sleep System with Chili Cool Mesh Silicone tubing N/A Read Our Review $1,099
Dream Serenity Memory Foam Mattress Topper 3″ gel-infused memory foam Medium (5) Read Our Review $99
Layla Memory Foam Topper 2″ Copper Gel-Infused Memory Foam Soft (3) Read Our Review $349
LinenSpa Gel Infused Memory Foam Mattress Topper 2″ gel-infused memory foam Medium (5) Read Our Review $60
Lucid Bamboo Charcoal Memory Foam Topper Ventilated, Bamboo Charcoal-infused Memory Foam Read Our Review $49.99
Lucid Down Alternative Fiber Bed Topper Down Alternative Polyester Fibers Read Our Review $59.99
Lucid Gel Memory Foam Topper Ventilated, Gel-infused Memory Foam Medium (5) Read Our Review $39.99
Lucid Lavender Memory Foam Topper Ventilated, Lavender-infused Memory Foam Read Our Review $36.99
Lucid Memory Foam Topper Open-cell Memory Foam Read Our Review $64.99
Novaform EVENcor Gel Plus, ComfortLuxe, and Seasonal Gel-infused Memory Foam (EVENcor Gel Plus) Gel-infused Memory Foam (ComfortLuxe) Side 1: Polyfoam Side 2: Gel-infused Memory Foam (Seasonal) Read Our Review $139.99
Novaform EVENcor GelPlus Mattress Topper 3″ gel-infused memory foam Medium (5) Read Our Review $140
Novaform LURAcor Advanced Support and Overnight Recovery Polyfoam (Both Models) Read Our Review $139.99
Novaform Plush Pillow-Top 2″ Down Alternative Fibers 2″ Memory Foam Read Our Review $159.99
Novaform Seasonal and Pure Comfort Side 1: Standard Memory Foam Side 2: Gel-infused Memory Foam (Seasonal) Memory Foam (Pure Comfort) Read Our Review $139.99
Saatva Graphite Topper 1″ graphite-infused memory foam, 2″ transitional polyfoam Medium Soft (4) Read Our Review $445
Saatva High-Density Foam Topper 1.5″ High-Density Polyfoam Medium (5) Read Our Review $295
Saatva Mattress Topper Graphite-infused memory foam, ventilated Talalay latex, or high-density polyfoam Medium Soft (4) or Medium (5) Read Our Review $445
Saatva Natural Latex Topper 1.5″ Ventilated Talalay Latex Medium Soft (4) Read Our Review $445
Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR-Adapt + Cooling Topper 3″ TEMPUR ES memory foam Medium (5) Read Our Review $519
Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR-Adapt Topper TEMPUR Memory Foam Medium (5) Read Our Review $419
ViscoSoft Active Cooling Copper Topper 2″ copper-infused memory foam 2″ copper-infused polyfoam Medium (5) Read Our Review $470
ViscoSoft Reflex Gel Mattress Topper 2-3″ gel-infused memory foam 2″: Medium (5) 3″ Medium Soft (4) Read Our Review $125
ViscoSoft Select High Density Topper Gel-Infused memory foam Medium Firm (6) Read Our Review $270
ViscoSoft Serene Latex Hybrid Mattress Topper 1″ Down Alternative Pillow-Top 2″ Gel-Infused Latex Medium Soft (4) Read Our Review $320
ViscoSoft Serene Memory Foam Hybrid Mattress Topper 1.5″ down alternative pillow-top 2.5″ gel-infused memory foam Soft (3) Read Our Review $329

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