A comfortable mattress is one of the most important ways to ensure you get a good night’s sleep that’s restful in every way. However, buying a new one is often expensive and not always convenient. That’s where mattress toppers come in. A mattress topper can be a quick and easy fix to ensure your bed feels much more comfortable to sleep on without costing you a fortune. Even better, because they’re removable, mattress toppers particularly lend themselves to pet owners, keeping your pricey mattress safe from stains (even though that’s not really what they were created to do). There are even some that come with waterproof covers that can help a ton.
As when buying a mattress, it’s essential to know what you’re getting into before you hit the buy button on a mattress topper. There are different types of foam mattress toppers with some made of memory foam while others use other materials such as organic cotton, gel memory foam, and other materials you may have seen in mattresses. A cooling mattress topper is an option too, which can be helpful if you’ve moved to a different climate but don’t want to swap out your mattress.
Other things to consider include knowing how you sleep. We’ve already looked at the and this is a similar purchase. You should take your sleep position into account when choosing a mattress topper, as well as what kind of pressure relief might be necessary to ease your aching joints.
Confused yet? Don’t be. We’re on hand to help you decipher all the jargon and figure out the best mattress topper for you.
What is a mattress topper?
A mattress topper is a detachable layer for your mattress, essentially. It’s usually several inches thick and sits right on top of the mattress as an extra layer of comfort. The idea is that if you realize your bed is too firm or too soft, you can add a mattress topper to balance things out. It’s ideal if your sleeping needs have changed over the years, but you’re not ready to get a new mattress just yet. Or if your mattress is older but you want to get a few more years out of it before buying a new one. Mattress toppers are also sometimes called “featherbeds,” a holdover from back when most were made of down. They’re also sometimes called “egg crates” because their shape is reminiscent of an egg carton.
A mattress topper is also a useful protective layer if you’re worried about damage to your existing mattress. For instance, if your pet sleeps on the bed with you but is liable to scratch, leave dirt, or even have issues with incontinence, then a bed topper like this can protect your mattress from permanent damage.
Finally, if you camp regularly, you can take some mattress toppers with you instead of a mattress, saving some valuable space while still giving you a good night’s sleep.
What’s the difference between a mattress topper and a mattress pad or protector?
Looking around, you might see a lot of similar-looking items described as a mattress pad or mattress protector. There are some key differences here. A mattress pad is generally not as thick as a mattress topper and goes onto your bed kind of like a fitted sheet rather than simply sitting on top. They’re not as comfy as a mattress topper, but they’re often cheaper and better designed for aiding with stains or spills. The can help you in hot climates, too.
A mattress protector does what its name suggests. Its focus is on protecting the mattress rather than providing you with comfort. Designed specifically to keep your mattress safe from accidents, dust, bedbugs, and more, they’re ideally suited for pet owners, but they don’t tend to have any way of improving your comfort levels while you sleep. Ideally, a memory foam mattress topper or similar is what you need instead or in addition to a mattress protector (you can easily use both on the same bed, with the protector as the bottom-most layer of the top of the mattress).
What types of mattress toppers are there?
As with mattresses, there are numerous different types of mattress toppers out there. These include memory foam mattress toppers, latex mattress toppers, foam toppers, and firm mattress toppers. If you get too hot at night, a cooling mattress topper can help with that.
Dodging the jargon, the key things you need to look for are pretty simple. You want a topper that’s at least a couple of inches thick. Generally, the thicker a mattress topper is, the more support you’ll receive from it, but the same goes for its price, generally.
You’ll also need to consider how much support you want, and how firm or soft you need it to be, which depends mainly on personal taste and comfort levels and if you need extra help for any ongoing issues.
What makes a mattress topper good for people with pets?
The convenience of being able to remove a mattress topper is a significant advantage. If you’re trying to house train a puppy or kitten, accidents happen no matter how careful you are. A mattress topper means an accident can be a relatively minor issue rather than your cute fluff ball ruining your expensive mattress. For lesser problems such as dirt or other stains, you can spot clean or even vacuum your mattress topper, knowing that the damage hasn’t seeped too far down. Many (including most of the ones we’ve chosen) aren’t washable, but some can be dry-cleaned. Either way, they act as an extra layer of protection for your more expensive mattress.
If you opt for a waterproof mattress topper, you have even more advantages, thanks to not having to worry about anything soaking in. And if you go with a non-waterproof topper, placing a mattress protector under your topper isn’t a bad idea if you have pets.
How can a mattress topper improve my sleep?
You may have bought the perfect mattress at the time, but a few years down the line discovered you need a firmer or softer bed. Whether it’s because you’ve acquired a chronic injury or you’re just sleeping differently (or you weren’t paying enough attention when you first bought your mattress, which is basically a rite of passage), your mattress needs may have changed even though the mattress is still in perfect working order. A mattress topper effectively extends its life, meaning all you need to do is find the right mattress topper for you, saving you the expense of investing in a whole new mattress.
How long does a mattress topper last?
Mattress toppers don’t tend to last as long as a mattress, but they still have a lifespan of between three and five years. There are exceptions. A good quality latex mattress topper can last over a decade if you look after it well, but they also tend to cost more. Like with a mattress, you’ll know when to replace a mattress topper. It’ll feel less comfortable and less supportive than it used to.
How much do mattress toppers usually cost?
You can spend a little or a lot on mattress toppers. We’ve featured some budget range options under $100 below, but we’ve also included luxury alternatives that run into the hundreds. It all depends on what features you need and what your budget is.
Extensive support • Can add-on cooling topper • 10-year warranty
Expensive • Cooling topper is extra
Expensive it may be, but the Tempur-Topper Supreme is an excellent way of upgrading your existing mattress for less than a whole new bed.
Tempur-Topper SupremeFor a splurge, the Tempur-Topper Supreme is a dream to sleep on, but you do pay for the privilege.
Tempur is one of the best names in the mattress business, but to buy a whole new mattress costs a lot. The Tempur-Topper Supreme ensures you get the best of both worlds with three inches of supportive Tempur material guaranteeing a good night’s sleep. The material responds to your weight, shape, and temperature, adjusting accordingly, so you get the best support possible. A removable and washable cover means you don’t have to worry if your pup gets too up close and personal, and a 10-year warranty means it’s a long-lasting companion at night.
The only real downside here is that if you sleep hot and want to buy a cooling topper, you’ll need to pay extra for the Tempur-Adapt Cooling Topper for a more breathable fit.
Well priced • Good for joint issues • Relatively lightweight
Not as thick as some • Runs a little hot
For those with joint problems, the Tuft & Needle Mattress Topper does a lot to ease your woes.
Tuft & Needle Mattress TopperIf you suffer from some aches and pains, this mattress topper will keep you well-supported at night.
Prices (Twin-Cal King):
Tuft & Needle has kept it simple with its mattress topper. It uses a responsive open-cell foam rather than memory foam with a polyester blend on the cover to keep things feeling comfortable. It runs a little hotter than some of its competitors, but it’s incredibly supportive for a two-inch topper. Whether you have issues with your back or other joints, it’s suitably soft so as to relieve pressure points on all your limbs as you sleep.
Because it’s simply designed, you can’t wash it, although spot cleaning is an option, but it’s easy enough to roll up and store away, meaning it’s great for camping or if you only need it for occasional use while pets are visiting.
Organic cotton • Thick topper • Secure fit
Expensive • Spot clean only
With a breathable organic cotton cover, the Saatva Mattress Topper is a cooler and more refreshing fit than some competitors.
Saatva Mattress TopperOffering naturally hypoallergenic organic cotton covers makes this a tempting proposition for sensitive skin.
Foam and organic cotton
Prices (Twin-Cal King):
With three inches of memory foam, you can be sure of a comfortable night with the Saatva Mattress Topper. The memory foam helps limit motion transfer while also providing pressure-point relief that eases your limbs at night. As well as that, there’s a graphite layer that draws heat away from your body, so you get a cooler and more refreshing night’s sleep. Finally, there’s the all-important organic cotton cover. It’s more breathable than other materials, and it also means if you have sensitive skin, you shouldn’t have an issue here.
Despite being a topper, the Saatva Mattress Topper also snugly fits your mattress thanks to four elastic anchor bands that keep it tied neatly to the rest of your bed. A small but important touch.
Thick layer of support • Designed to be cooling • Removable cover
Unusual smell at first • Heavy
If you hate to be hot in bed, this Subrtex mattress topper helps a lot to cool you down.
Gel memory foam is an effective way of providing cooling and this Subrtex mattress topper ably demonstrates that. It uses 3.5-pound density memory foam to provide plenty of support but with a ventilated design that optimizes airflow so you don’t have to worry about trapped body heat. It’s highly effective too with the right level of support for your limbs and highly reduced motion transfer a significant bonus. A removable bamboo cover is helpful if you’re prone to spills or your pets love to join you on the bed with a zipper meaning it won’t come off too quickly.
It’s a good idea to leave it expanded and rested for a couple of days when you first get it due to a slightly unusual smell and for the material to rest, but other than that, it’s an excellent option for those that hate to run hot.
Latex foam • Rollable design • Breathable
Possibly too simple for the price
A classic mattress topper, there’s not much to the Casper Mattress Topper, but it does the job well and with latex instead of memory foam.
Casper Mattress TopperSimple yet comfortable, the Casper Mattress Topper is an appealing proposition for those that want to avoid memory foam.
Prices (Twin-Cal King):
With two layers of premium latex foam followed by a plush top layer, the Casper Mattress Topper feels distinctly comfortable. It has breathable foam with tiny pores to let hot air escape so you don’t have to worry about sweating at night.
It all simply just works although you’ll find yourself wishing that there were attachments to keep it connected to your mattress. At this price, it feels like something that should be there. Still, it does an excellent job of pressure relief at night which is the main thing.
3-inch layer of foam • Comes with two free pillows • Comes with a waterproof cover that fits it perfectly
Not the cheapest, but not the most expensive
This topper’s waterproof cover means never needing to worry about pet accidents. And that’s one way to get better sleep.
This mattress topper is great if you’re on a budget, as it comes with two shredded foam pillows as a bonus. It features three inches of elastic heat-sensitive visco memory foam, which the company claims will react to your body temperature to keep you cool in summer and warm in winter. But the most important thing about this mattress topper for pet owners is the fact that it comes with its own waterproof cover. ‘Nuff said!
Inexpensive • Cooling gel beads
Not as long-lasting as some
Using gel beads to dissipate heat helps this memory foam-based mattress topper even if its longevity isn’t vast.
The Linenspa 2-inch Gel-Infused Memory Foam Mattress Topper is a good option if you’re on a budget. While you miss out on the extra inch of thickness (although you can choose to pay the extra for it) and we’re not convinced it’ll last as long as others, it’ll get you out of a jam for a while. Reasonably soft and with effective cooling gels to help keep heat away at night, it covers all the bases of what you need, even if you may need to make the odd concession.