Skip to main content

The best mattress toppers in 2022: latex, memory foam and cooling toppers

best mattress toppers 2022: a woman with blonde hair unfolds a Tempur-Pedic Tempur Supreme Toppper onto her mattress
(Image credit: Tempur-Pedic)

The best mattress toppers make an instant difference to how comfortable your mattress feels. These clever accessories (also known as bed toppers) can make your mattress feel firmer, softer or cooler as needed, and come in a range of thicknesses. Some luxury toppers are even as plush as an option from our best mattress guide – they’ll just cost you less. Here we round up the top-rated mattress toppers for every budget and sleep need, so you’ll easily find the right one for you.

Even better, they are easy to use. Some bed toppers have elasticated straps to anchor them in place, while others have non-slip bottoms to stop them from sliding around. You don’t have to pay a lot for one either, as we have found a great budget option for under $30. That said, we think that the Tempur Topper Supreme (priced from $299) is the best mattress topper around right now, with its thick slab of pressure-relieving Tempur material.

When choosing a good mattress topper, think about the issues you’re facing with your current bed. To make it softer, choose one made from memory foam. To make it firmer, the best mattress topper for you is a thick latex model, such as the Saatva Mattress Topper. Hot sleepers are well-suited to cooling toppers. 

Once you’ve found one you like, keep it safe from spills and dust mites by covering it with the best mattress protector you can afford. For now let’s take a look at this year's comfiest bed toppers... 

The best mattress toppers in 2022

Best mattress toppers: Tempur-Pedic Tempur Supreme

(Image credit: Tempur-Pedic)

1. Tempur Topper Supreme Mattress Topper

The best mattress topper overall – instant sleep comfort

Specifications
Type: Foam mattress topper
Depth: 3 inches
Material: Tempur
Sizes: 6 (twin - Cal king)
Best for: all sleepers; people with joint pain
Warranty: 10 years
RRP: $299 - $449
Reasons to buy
+
Luxurious comfort
+
Adaptive, responding to your weight
+
10-year warranty
+
Washable cover

If the best mattress toppers are capable of breathing new life into old mattresses, then the Tempur-Pedic Tempur Topper Supreme is in a class of its own. There’s a reason it keeps selling out – this mattress topper gives you a big hit of Tempur bed magic at a fraction of the price. Because of supply chain issues this year it’s getting harder to find the Tempur Topper Supreme in the most popular sizes (twin XL, queen and Cal king), especially on the Tempur-Pedic website, so if you see it, don’t hesitate to snap it up. 

Why is The Tempur-Pedic Tempur Topper Supreme so highly rated? For a start, it’s made with three inches of NASA-developed Tempur material; a fast-response foam that hugs your body’s curves and adapts to your body temperature and in-bed movements. Yes there are four-inch mattress toppers elsewhere in this guide, but trust us: three inches of Tempur material easily beats four inches of any other type of foam. 

This comfort-boosting mattress topper also boasts an impressive score of 4.6 out of 5 from over 4,660 user reviews on the Tempur-Pedic website. A common theme from users is that the Tempur Topper Supreme instantly upgrades tired old mattresses – and it's definitely the best way to soften up a bed that’s far too firm for your body and sleep style. Many users also praise its ability to relieve pain when they’re lying on it.

Tempur-Pedic’s best-selling mattress topper also has a hygienic cover that banishes nasties like mold, allergen and dust mite dander. To clean it, simply remove the cover and throw it in the washer. (For more care tips, read our guide on how to clean a mattress topper). Plus, with a 10-year warranty, you'll sleep soundly knowing that your topper will last as long as your mattress. For quality, comfort and price, the Tempur Topper Supreme is simply unbeatable, especially when there's a Tempur-Pedic mattress sale offer on it.

Best mattress toppers: Sleep Innovations 4-Inch Dual Layer Gel Memory Foam Mattress Topper

(Image credit: Sleep Innovations)

2. Sleep Innovations 4-Inch Dual Layer Gel Memory Foam Mattress Topper

The best mattress topper for joint pain (if you can’t get a Tempur)

Specifications
Type: Cooling mattress topper
Depth: 4 inches
Material: Gel memory foam
Sizes: 5 (twin - Cal king)
Best for: All sleepers; pressure relief
Warranty: 10 years
RRP: $84.98 - $127.49
Reasons to buy
+
Pressure relieving
+
Instantly comfortable
+
Cooling gel
Reasons to avoid
-
Too soft for heavier bodies

Second to the Tempur Topper Supreme, this budget friendly offering from Sleep Innovations is the best mattress topper for relieving pressure points when you’re sleeping on a harder mattress. That means it’s a great choice if you currently wake up at night because you can’t get comfy – or stay in a comfortable position for long. 

The Sleep Innovations 4 Inch Dual Layer Gel Memory Foam Mattress Topper is also a good choice for anyone dealing with back, hip and knee pain, as it adds a higher level of soothing cushioning around those pressure points when you’re lying on your back, stomach or side.

Considering a queen size costs less than $110, we think this Sleep Innovations bed topper is excellently priced. It makes an instant difference to your sleep comfort too, and all you need to do is unpack it and – after a little airing to get rid of the smell from the packaging – throw it on top of your mattress. 

We’d recommend the Sleep Innovations 4 Inch Dual Layer Gel Memory Foam Mattress Topper with a firm mattress they want softening up – it’s handy to have around if you have just bought a new bed and are breaking it in. Don’t take just our word for it, either: this bed topper has over 23,000 user reviews on Amazon and 87% of those are rated 4 stars or higher. 

best mattress topper: Lucid 4-inch Gel Memory Foam

(Image credit: Amazon)

3. Lucid 4 Inch Gel Memory Foam Mattress Topper

The best memory foam mattress topper to soften your bed

Specifications
Type: Gel mattress topper
Depth: 4 inches
Material: Gel-infused memory foam
Sizes: 6 (twin - Cal king)
Best for: Those wanting a softer bed; small budgets
Warranty: 3 years
RRP: $74.99 - $149.99
Reasons to buy
+
Great value
+
Generous thickness
+
Temperature-regulating
Reasons to avoid
-
May be too soft for some
-
Doesn't come with a cover

A cheaper option than the luxury Tempur mattress topper above, the Lucid Gel Memory Foam mattress topper is a mid-range model that's well worth considering if you want a thick bed topper with plenty of cooling and a lower price. At 4 inches deep, there’s lots of cushioning for maximum pressure relief, without compromising on comfort if you sleep hot.

This is one of the snuggest options in our best mattress topper guide, and is a sure-fire way to soften up any mattress without breaking the bank, although it could be too squishy for some. But if you are a big fan of the feel of memory foam mattresses, then the Lucid Gel Memory Foam mattress topper is perfect for you. There are shallower choices in the Lucid range, but, if you need the extra squish, look no further.

The Lucid Gel Memory Foam mattress topper has a high star rating of 4.4 out of 5 on Amazon US with over 21,000 reviews. Many happy customers were singing the praises of this topper, commenting on how it transformed their sleep and improved their current firm mattress.

If you want similar levels of comfort, cooling and affordability, but want something less thick, there’s some healthy competition from Linenspa. Check our Linenspa vs Lucid mattress topper comparison feature to see which one sounds like the best fit for you.

Best mattress topper: Saatva mattress topper

(Image credit: Saatva)

4. Saatva Mattress Topper

A luxury mattress topper dishing out Saatva magic for less

Specifications
Type: Graphite, latex, foam mattress topper
Depth: 1.5 - 3 inches
Material: Memory foam, latex
Sizes: 7 (twin - split king)
Best for: Sleepers with allergies; hot sleepers
Warranty: 1 year
RRP: $160 - $540
Reasons to buy
+
Advanced cooling technology
+
Anchor bands for extra stability
+
Washable cover
Reasons to avoid
-
Short warranty

If you read our Saatva Classic mattress review and want all that Saatva luxury and comfort but don't have the budget or need for a new mattress just yet, a Saatva mattress topper is the next best thing. 

There are three different topper materials available - graphite, latex or foam - but we recommend the graphite-infused memory foam version for its cooling properties. The graphite layer is designed to draw heat away from your body, while you also get the contouring, cushioning pressure relief of memory foam. And at three-inches deep, it’s twice the thickness of Saatva’s other mattress topper products. 

If you'd prefer a thinner option, there are two to choose between. The most premium is Saatva's latex mattress topper. Made from all-natural, renewable materials, this 1.5-inch thick topper is Saatva’s most expensive but most durable product, and should easily exceed the expected lifespan of the average topper. Like the graphite, it sleeps fairly cool as well. 

Saatva's most affordable mattress topper, meanwhile, is made from 1.5 inches of high-density foam. It'll contour to your body to help relieve pressure, and because it's all-foam, it provides great motion isolation as well. We love the choice that Saatva offers with its toppers. If you can't justify buying a luxury Saatva mattress, the company's topper is the next best thing. For the latest savings, read our guide to the best Saatva mattress sale offers.

Torn between the Saatva and the Tempur Topper Supreme? We talk you through it in our Saatva vs Tempur-Pedic mattress topper comparison.

Best mattress topper: ViscoSoft Active Cooling Copper

(Image credit: ViscoSoft)

5. ViscoSoft Active Cooling Mattress Topper

The best cooling mattress topper for hot sleepers

Specifications
type: Cooling mattress topper
Depth: 4 inches
Material: Copper-infused memory foam
Sizes: 6 (twin - Cal king)
Best for: Hot sleepers; warmer weather; nightsweats
Warranty: 5 years
RRP: $332.95 - $519.95
Reasons to buy
+
Great for those who get hot
+
Removable cover
+
Relieves pressure points
Reasons to avoid
-
Could be too firm for some

If you’re particularly prone to sleeping hot, you will want to make sure your bed provides plenty of cooling comfort, while still staying supportive and cozy. And it doesn’t get more luxurious than the ViscoSoft Active Cooling Copper Topper. 

It's 4" deep and comes with a layer of the brand’s antimicrobial copper-infused foam on top of support foam. ViscoSoft has designed it for all sleeping positions, but lighter side sleepers might find it a touch too firm.

To keep things extra hygienic, this mattress topper features a removable cover, which can also be washed – ideal for hot sleepers who always want to ensure they have a healthy surface to sleep on. The topper attaches to your mattress securely with easy-to-fit elastic straps, and also has a breathable, anti-slip mesh cover for an airy feel. As well as the breathable fabric, the topper uses CertiPUR-US premium American-made materials that guarantees no toxins, for a safe surface to sleep on. 

While the ViscoSoft Active Cooling Copper Topper is at the pricier end of our best mattress toppers list, there’s plenty of quality on offer here, and the reviewers agree too with this topper getting 4.6 out of 5 stars on the company website. The reviews also highlight the topper’s comfort and luxury.

Best mattress toppers: Linenspa Gel Memory Foam

(Image credit: Linenspa)

6. Linenspa Gel Memory Foam Mattress Topper

The best budget cooling mattress topper - a queen costs $59.99

Specifications
Type: Memory foam mattress topper
Depth: 2 inches
Material: Gel-infused memory foam
Sizes: 6 (twin – Cal king)
Best for: Instant cradling comfort; cooling support
Warranty: 3 years
RRP: $39.99 - $79.99
Reasons to buy
+
Incredible value
+
Responsive
+
Good temperature regulation 
Reasons to avoid
-
Cover not machine washable 

If you’re after an affordable topper to quickly transform a firm mattress, Linenspa’s Gel Infused Memory Foam mattress topper can't be beaten for value. Starting at just $39.99 for a 2 inches twin size, Linenspa's offering is also the ideal way to upgrade a guest bed. It's simple yet effective, and 2 inches is more than enough to provide some extra comfort for a cheaper or older mattresses. You can also upgrade to three inches for a little more.

While there are no fancy features or elasticated straps to attach the topper to the mattress, this Linenspa topper does feature gel-infused foam – a welcome addition if you sleep hot. There’s also a lovely plush feel with 100% polyurethane memory foam infused with cooling gel beads, offering plenty of cushioning for pressure points as well as a fresh-feeling surface. If you need a touch more comfort, then the topper is also available at 3 inches deep.

On Amazon, the topper has over 74,000 user reviews, with an average rating of 4.5 out of 5. Comments include, “It's soft, forms to our bodies, and it doesn't get hot,” and “my hips and shoulders have great support”. However, there was also mention of a slightly chemical off-gassing odor with this topper, but the reviewer also mentioned the smell soon dissipated. If you are concerned about toxic materials, rest assured this topper is made using CertiPUR-US standard foam that guarantees safe emissions, as well as durability.

On top of the plushness and cooling , the Linenspa topper is backed with a three-year warranty, free delivery and free returns. It’s also available in eight sizes, from twin to Cal king.

Best mattress topper: Turmerry Organic Latex

(Image credit: Turmerry)

7. Turmerry Organic Latex Mattress Topper

An eco-friendly bed topper in a huge range of sizes

Specifications
Type: Organic mattress topper
Depth: 2-3 inches
Material: Organic latex foam
Sizes: 6 (twin - Cal king)
Best for: Those who want organic sleep products; healthy, non-toxic topper
Warranty: 5 years
RRP: $159 - $429
Reasons to buy
+
Three firmness options
+
Choice of two depths
+
100% natural and organic latex
Reasons to avoid
-
Shorter trial period

If you frequently find yourself waking up with aches and pains, the Turmerry Organic Latex mattress topper is worth considering. Available in two and three-inch thickness versions, as well as three firmness levels - soft, medium and medium firm - Turmerry mattress toppers are specifically designed to provide pressure relief and support in all the right places.

They're also a top choice for hot sleepers. The organic Dunlop latex is ventilated with lots of small holes to help the air circulate, which helps keep you cool at night. All Turmerry toppers are hypoallergenic, so they're safe choice for anyone with allergies. And they should also appeal to eco-conscious consumers too: the company’s manufacturing facility is carbon neutral certified, and the latex used has 100% organic certification. Plus Turmerry plants a tree with every sale, so you're helping the environment in more ways than one. 

The Turmerry website features almost 450 reviews, the majority of which rate its products a full five stars – the general consensus being the toppers are good quality at a great price. And you can’t argue with value for money here, with Turmerry's Dunlop latex material outdoing the competition in terms of durability by a minimum of 10 years. 

The free trial period is shorter than other companies listed. However, it's still a significant enough period of time to decide whether you’re happy with your purchase. If you suffer from aches and pain while you sleep, or you're looking for a sustainable option, the Turmerry Organic is one of the best mattress toppers around. 

For more natural sleep solutions, read our best organic mattress guide. For further guidance on the material, read our memory foam vs latex mattress comparison feature.

Best mattress toppers: The Tuft & Needle Mattress Topper

(Image credit: Tuft & Needle)

8. Tuft & Needle Mattress Topper

The best mattress topper for side sleepers

Specifications
Type: Cooling mattress topper
Depth: 4 inches
Material: Gel memory foam
Sizes: 5 (twin - Cal king)
Best for: Side sleepers; relieving pressure points on hips and shoulders
Warranty: 10 years
RRP: $84.98 - $127.49
Reasons to buy
+
Contours to your curves
+
Relieves pressure on hips and shoulders
+
Works with a wide range of mattresses
+
Non-skid bottom
Reasons to avoid
-
Not washable

We’re huge fans of Tuft & Needle’s affordable yet high quality mattress range (we’ve even featured the brand in our best mattress guide), and its two-inch mattress topper is equally well-made and highly rated. There are over 1,600 user reviews on the brand’s website, with a collective rating of 4.4 stars out of 5. On Amazon, it has a higher score of 4.5 out of 5 stars from over 800 user reviews.

Essentially, what you’re getting here is a two-inch slab of responsive foam designed to relieve pressure on your hips and shoulders. That alone makes Tuft & Needle the best mattress topper for side sleepers seeking higher levels of comfort and cushioning from their existing bed. 

While the topper is made with open-cell foam to boost breathability, it does sleep a little warm. So if you run very hot, look further up this list for a proper cooling bed topper such as the Sleep Innovations 4 Inch Gel Mattress Topper. As you may have spotted, it comes in a Heather Grey color, so if you want an all-white mattress topper to match your pristine, all-white mattress, this isn’t the one for you. 

However the Tuft & Needle Mattress Topper is the best choice if you don’t want to mess around with any elasticated anchor straps. That’s because it uses silicone beading on the bottom to prevent it from sliding around while you’re lying on top of it. Tuft & Needle has also covered the topper with a polyester-blend fabric that prevents bed sheets from bunching up on top of it. 

Best mattress topper: The Malouf Isolus 2-Inch Mattress Topper in white

(Image credit: Malouf)

9. Malouf Isolus 2 Inch Mattress Topper

The best memory foam mattress topper for back sleepers

Specifications
Type: Pressure relieving mattress topper
Depth: 2 inches
Materials: Memory foam
Sizes: 6 (twin - Cal king)
Best for: Making hard beds softer; reducing pressure points on your back and shoulders
Warranty: 3 Years
RRP: $160 - $300
Reasons to buy
+
Luxury feel
+
Instant head-to-toe comfort
+
Ventilated for cooling
Reasons to avoid
-
Could be too soft for lighter bodies

Malouf’s 2-inch topper provides a straightforward and effective way to transform a firm mattress into something much more snug, using premium foam that contours to the body and delivering big on pressure relief for all sleeping positions.

The design of this topper includes small ventilation holes that provide an airy surface to sleep on, plus this bed topper is also hypoallergenic, CertiPUR-US certified and free of harmful chemicals, meaning you can breathe easy if you suffer from allergies. 

If you want something premium and cozy to make your current mattress less firm, but don’t want to spend the top prices found in luxury brands, this mid-price topper is good value for money. The price for a twin starts at $190, but it’s always worth keeping an eye on the Malouf website for discounts.

Best mattress topper: The Birch Organic Mattress Topper in beige

(Image credit: Birch Living)

10. Birch Plush Organic Mattress Topper

The best eco-friendly mattress topper for non-toxic sleep

Specifications
Type: Organic mattress topper
Depth: 3 inches
Materials: Organic wool, organic cotton, natural latex
Sizes: 6 (twin - Cal king)
Best for: People with allergies; those seeking eco-friendly sleep products
Warranty: 10 Years
RRP: $300 - $550
Reasons to buy
+
Certified organic materials
+
Non-toxic
+
100-night sleep trial
Reasons to avoid
-
Expensive

There’s plenty to love about Birch’s organic mattress topper, especially if you are an eco-conscious shopper or want to ensure your bed stays allergen free. While the organic materials and superior craftsmanship are reflected in the high price of this bed topper, it’s worth every cent if you are after something truly luxurious and long-lasting.

With three inches of premium materials, Birch’s topper is made using organic cotton, organic wool, and natural latex. The wool is hypoallergenic and is also a natural fire retardant, while also offering superior comfort and temperature regulation. Back sleepers and side sleepers in particular will benefit from sleeping on this topper, with the cushioning layers offering excellent pressure relief.

Soft to the touch, and airy, Birch’s topper is handmade in the US. The plush pillow top offers incredible comfort, and is also breathable thanks to the natural materials. This bed topper is free of toxins, and is GreenGuard Gold and GOTS certified.

The prices start at $300 for a twin, and reach $550 for a Cal King, but with a ten-year warranty, free shipping, plus the fact it can transform any mattress into something supremely luxurious, it could well justify the price – take advantage of the 100-night sleep trial to find out for yourself.

Best mattress topper: Pure Brands Down Alternative Mattress Topper and pad

(Image credit: Pure Brands)

11. Pure Brands Down Alternative Mattress Topper Pad

One of the most popular mattress toppers on Amazon

Specifications
Type: Down alternative mattress topper
Depth: 2 inches
Material: Breathable microfiber
Sizes: 8 (twin - Cal king)
Best for: Guest beds; people with allergies
RRP: $35.99 - $44.99
Reasons to buy
+
Excellent value
+
No animal products used
+
Machine washable
Reasons to avoid
-
Not as thick as others

Pure Brands’ topper not only offers an affordable and lightweight way to upgrade your mattress if it’s too firm, but if you suffer from allergies or are looking for a vegan non-feather option, then it’s a smart choice too. Made with 100% microfiber and a down-alternative polyfill, it’s cozy without compromise.

Despite being only 2 inches deep, there’s still lots of comfort on offer, and there’s plenty of positive reviews from happy customers too. Over on Amazon, there are nearly 12,000 reviews and a 4.4 out of 5 star rating, singing the praises of this simple yet extremely cozy mattress topper. 

One reviewer compared it to a foam topper, saying, “Some mattress toppers, particularly the foam ones, have a chemical smell, but fortunately this one does not.” While another reviewer commented how, “It feels like you're sleeping on a cloud – it's so soft and fluffy.”

What’s more, this topper is breathable, machine-washable, and fits over your mattress in the same way as a fitted sheet to ensure it stays put no matter what. Pure Brands’ topper starts at just $35.99 for a twin and is available in all the major sizes from Twin to Cal king. It is designed to fit over mattresses up to 18 inches deep.

What is the best mattress topper in 2022?

Right now, the Tempur-Pedic Tempur Supreme tops our list of the best mattress toppers. The three-inch thick luxury foam topper offers a whole lot of comfort, pressure and pain relief at a very reasonable price, starting from $299 for a twin (that's a lot cheaper than buying a full Tempur-Pedic mattress, and there's often a discount too).

The Tempur topper gets an average of 4.6 out of 5 stars from over 3,500 user reviews, and with a 10-year warranty, you're covered for the long haul. If you're looking to upgrade the comfort of your mattress, this is our top choice.

How to choose the best mattress topper for you

Choosing the best mattress topper for you is easier when you know what qualities you would like it to have. For example, if your existing mattress is the wrong firmness, look for a bed topper such as the Turmerry Organic Latex Mattress Topper that offers a choice of firmnesses so you can find one that’s more suitable. You might want a firmer topper that supports you if you sleep on your back or front, or you might prefer a softer memory foam or plush-top option to cushion joints.

If you need something vegan or hypoallergenic, then the best mattress topper for you is The Company Store Legends Hotel Down Alternative Baffled Featherbed. This one offers luxurious levels of comfort, while also taking the strain off your hips, shoulders and knees. 

There’s plenty of choice if you need a mattress topper with cooling properties. It’s best to find one with a removable cover, as well as antimicrobial properties to keep the topper hygienic. Saatva and Eight Sleep go the extra mile when it comes to keeping things cool at night, with innovative materials or tech that help keep the body at a comfortable temperature for sleeping.

Best mattress toppers: The Lucid 4-inch Gel Memory Foam Mattress Topper on a wooden bed frame

(Image credit: Lucid)

When is the best time to buy a mattress topper?

Good value mattress topper deals come up regularly throughout the year. Usually at least one of the toppers in our guide will have a discount at any given time.

That said, there are some key periods that tend to offer slightly bigger discounts. November is when we normally see some of the best Black Friday mattress topper deals from the biggest names in sleep, and these usually form part of the wider Black Friday mattress sales.

In February, there are big discounts in the Presidents Day sales; and in May there's always a wide variety of toppers on sale during the Memorial Day mattress sales. We also tend to see decent deals during the summer sales, in the Labor Day mattress sales in September, and in late November with all the Cyber Monday mattress deals.

Mattress toppers vs mattress pads vs protectors

This is a common question, but there’s an easy way to tell the difference between these three main mattress accessories:

Mattress toppers, also known as bed toppers, are the thickest of the three and are designed to sit right on top of your mattress. They are usually anchored in place by thick straps that go over and under your mattress. You can buy toppers that are up to seven inches deep, and their goal is to make your bed more comfortable for your body. That could be by adding firmer support or quilted top softness, or even dedicated cooling gels to dissipate body heat.

Mattress pads are thinner and therefore make less of an impact than toppers. Some people choose them if they aren’t sure whether they need a full bed topper, but keep in mind that mattress pads won’t add anywhere near as much comfort as a proper topper will. They are cheaper though and can add a layer of protection to help protect your bed from stains.

Mattress protectors are the thinnest of the three but they play a very important role: they are designed to keep spills, dust, urine, dust mites and pesky bed bugs away from your mattress. We always recommend placing a protector over your mattress topper for maximum hygiene, and to help all of your accessories last longer, giving you more value for money in the long-term.

What are the benefits of a mattress topper?

If your mattress is still in good condition, but isn’t quite right – maybe it’s too soft, too firm, or not cooling enough – then there will be a mattress topper to help. Bed toppers are a simple way to transform any mattress, instantly, cheaply and easily, with just a few inches of memory foam, latex, or feathers providing that little extra something you need. 

If you’re looking to bring the temperature down, try a bed topper with cooling qualities such as a gel-infused top or a sweat-wicking cover. Many come with covers that can be removed and washed too, making it easier to keep fresh.

Most mattress toppers are around 3 inches thick, but there are many that are deeper if you need extra support or stability beyond your existing mattress. If you need more relief for pressure points, then a memory foam topper is ideal. 

The Tempur-Pedic Tempur Topper Supreme shown on a wooden bed frame

(Image credit: Tempur-Pedic)

Guide to mattress topper materials: foam, gel, latex

There are countless number of mattress toppers available, so it can be difficult to know what to choose. Here’s a quick guide to the three main materials that you’ll find in bed toppers and the benefits of each.

Memory foam – these toppers are a cheap and easy way to change up your mattress, making it softer or firmer depending on what you need. If you get chilly, then memory foam is a cosier option as it tends to retain heat, although there are some cooling options too.

Gel – if you sleep hot then bed toppers made with cooling gel-infused foam are designed to keep your body temperature at a cooler level as you sleep. These are often cool to the touch, which is total bliss for hot sleepers. Look out for gel-infused toppers that also have washable and antimicrobial covers, which is essential for keeping your bed topper hygienic if you sweat. 

Latex – natural latex is extremely durable, nicely springy and breathable making it ideal if you’re looking for something long-lasting and hard-wearing on top of the comfort. Latex mattress toppers are often a good choice for RVs/campervans.

How thick should my mattress topper be?

Mattress toppers can range in thickness greatly, from just an inch or two to eight inches or more. However, a happy medium for most is around four inches, and those under two inches should probably be avoided.

A thin topper is unlikely to actually provide much extra support or cushioning, and in use you're likely to 'bottom out', meaning your pressure points won't really be feeling any difference compared to your mattress alone.

Those that are too thick, however (especially standard memory foam toppers), will have you sinking deeply into the topper. While some might enjoy this, it can prove problematic when it comes to moving around in bed. You might find yourself feeling a little trapped, and if it doesn't spring back into shape immediately you could also struggle to get comfy when you change position.

While it all depends on your preference and what material you've chosen, we think between two to four inches is the best for a mattress topper.

A woman sits on a mattress holding a hand to her lower back

(Image credit: Getty)

Are mattress toppers good for back and hip pain?

If you suffer from back ache and suspect it could be caused by your mattress, it could just take adding a mattress topper to help relieve the pain. Side sleepers, for instance, should be properly supported along the spine and at the pressure points, something a memory foam topper can help with.

If you’re sinking too much into your mattress, that can push your spine out of alignment, so a firmer topper will help even straighten things out. The same is true for a mattress that is too firm, which can quickly cause soreness. A mattress topper with a softer surface, such as a plush top, will soon transform your sleep and make it less painful at pressure points too.

If your pain is severe or persistent then check with a healthcare professional, who should be able to advise you further.

The best way to wash a mattress topper

When browsing for mattress toppers online, check to see what the care instructions are, because not all bed toppers can be washed, although you should still be able to spot clean them.

Meanwhile, some mattress toppers are completely machine washable, while others offer a middle ground with a removable washable cover. Whatever the care instructions are for your bed topper, using a protector will help keep the topper fresh and protected against accidental spills, sweat and dust mites. It’s always a good idea to freshen up your topper by airing it regularly if you can.

Gel vs memory foam mattress toppers

Memory foam toppers dominate the market, and can provide affordable, effective ways or both firming up or softening your current mattress. However, cheaper versions do often suffer from heat retention, which can make some overheat at night.

Gel and gel-infused foams perform much the same as memory foam toppers, but have technologies baked in that help dissipate heat. This is great if you tend to run hot, but many premium foams without gel have other ways of dissipating heat. We pit two of these types against one another in our Saatva vs Tempur-Pedic mattress toppers article.

Read more:

Claire Davies
Claire Davies

Claire is a Sleep Editor at Future, and writes about all things related to snoozing, from mattresses and pillows to the latest sleep advice and research. Before taking on the role of Sleep Editor, Claire worked as Health & Wellness Editor at Top Ten Reviews, and before that was a Senior Content Editor at T3. Claire is super-passionate about how consistent, good quality sleep can boost our physical and mental wellbeing, and would love to hear from PRs and brands regarding sleep products, services and research that can help our readers sleep better than ever.