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The Best Mattress Toppers: Rest Easy With Our Top Picks

Best Mattress Toppers
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Updated January 7, 2024

Once you reach a certain age, it’s genuinely shocking how badly you can injure yourself by the formerly-restful act of falling asleep. Sadly, nighttime aches and pains are all too common, and unless you have a literal sleep demon tying knots in your spine at night, a mattress topper might be the answer to your prayers (if you do have a literal sleep demon, call a priest instead). Below, you’ll find a king-size trove of advice on choosing and using mattress toppers, as well as our picks for the best in multiple categories. Get comfy, we’re about to start.

How to choose a mattress topper

You may be surprised to learn that even the best mattresses may need a topper. “A mattress topper is meant to work in concert with your mattress to produce an overall experience that would be the same as if you had chosen the ideal mattress for you,” explains Mike Magnuson, founder of GoodBed, an independent mattress research and comparison website. In choosing a mattress topper, he elaborates, you should go for one that complements your mattress in a way that, together, they deliver proper spinal alignment, adequate pressure relief, your desired feel, and whatever else you’re looking for. “Depending on how well the underlying mattress meets your needs, the topper may or may not be able to solve all of these things,” he says. “But at a bare minimum, you need to find one that will deliver these things better than your mattress does on its own.”

Our picks for the best mattress toppers

The best value mattress topper: Lucid 2 Inch 5 Zone Gel Memory Foam Mattress Topper

Money worries will keep you awake just as surely as back pain, so get peace of mind with this seriously inexpensive option. Made of soft memory foam and separated into five distinct, contoured zones designed to help alleviate pressure on your various body parts, the topper also features an all-over gel infusion to add a cooling element—so it won’t heat up as much as regular memory foam. There’s an alternative version for a few extra bucks infused with the scent of lavender, for those who like their bed to smell like their nana’s sweater drawer.

Specifications:

  • Material: Gel-infused memory foam
  • Height: 2 inches
  • Available sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Full XL, Queen, King, Cal King
  • Care instructions: Spot clean with mild detergent and air dry
  • Warranty: 3-year warranty
  • Price: $39.99-$74.99

What we like:

  • Inexpensive
  • Cooling

What we don’t like:

  • Can’t be rolled or folded
Best value
Lucid 2 Inch 5 Zone Gel Memory Foam Mattress Topper

Lucid 2 Inch 5 Zone Gel Memory Foam Mattress Topper

The most comfortable mattress topper: Tempur-Pedic Tempur-Adapt Topper

One of the all-round best-rated mattress toppers out there, this features three inches of extra-soft memory foam designed to respond to your body’s weight, shape, and temperature while you snooze. The machine-washable cover is both dust mite- and allergen-resistant, too, meaning you won’t be sneezing yourself awake any time soon. Interested in revamping your entire bed? Tempur-Pedic may be a good choice for your shopping needs—they made our list of the best pillows and the best mattresses of the year.

Specifications:

  • Material: Tempur-ES memory foam
  • Height: 3 inches
  • Available sizes: Twin, Twin Long, Full, Queen, King, Cal King
  • Care instructions: Machine washable cover
  • Warranty: 10-year warranty
  • Price: $319-$469

What we like:

  • Non-slip corner straps to keep it securely in place
  • Moisture-wicking cover
  • Easy to clean

What we don’t like:

  • Heavy for a mattress topper (25-50 lbs, depending on size)
Most comfortable
Tempur-Pedic Tempur-Adapt Topper

Tempur-Pedic Tempur-Adapt Topper

The best mattress topper for back pain: Nolah Mattress Topper

Sleeping with back pain is a nightmare—even if you manage to fall asleep, you never know if you’ll wake up in agony or simply unable to move. Nolah’s solution is this mattress topper made of its proprietary AirFoam, designed to redistribute your body weight and relieve pressure in your shoulders and spine, while still supporting your hips. It also dissipates heat up to 20% faster than regular memory foam, adding a cooling element that will be a relief for many.

Specifications:

  • Material: Nolah AirFoam
  • Height: 2 inches
  • Available sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, Cal King
  • Care instructions: Not listed
  • Warranty: 10-year warranty
  • Price: $299-$449
  • Exclusive promotion: Through September 11, 2023, automatically save $50 off of the Nolah Mattress Topper, and $100 off of Nolah Mattresses, when you click the link to Nolah. Your savings will be automatically applied in your shopping cart.

What we like:

  • Free from many of the harmful chemicals common in memory foam mattress toppers
  • Cooling and moisture-wicking
  • Two firmness options, Plush and Luxury Firm

What we don’t like:

  • Trial period only lasts 30 days
Best for back pain
Nolah Mattress Topper

Nolah Mattress Topper

The best cooling mattress topper: Viscosoft Active Cooling Copper Topper

Some people like to be bundled up beneath eight comforters at night; others like to sleep under a fan with at least one limb hanging out of the nearest window (shout-out to all the couples navigating that middle ground). If you’re in the “literally start sweating as soon as I get into bed” camp, try a cooling mattress topper. This one features two inches of copper-infused foam designed to draw heat away from your body, while its bottom two inches provide stability for your spine. (And if you really want to up the cool factor, it wouldn’t hurt to consider the best cooling sheets.)

Specifications:

  • Material: Foam
  • Height: 4 inches
  • Available sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, Cal King
  • Care instructions: Machine washable cover
  • Warranty: 5-year warranty
  • Price: $334.95-$534.95

What we like:

  • Cooling
  • Breathable
  • Corner straps to keep it in place

What we don’t like:

  • Some customer reviews complain that it’s too soft
Best cooling
Active Cooling Copper Topper - Black / King

Active Cooling Copper Topper - Black / King

The softest mattress topper: Parachute Down Alternative Mattress Topper

Considering the sheer number of customer reviews who attest to this topper making it feel like they’re sleeping on a cloud, it seems safe to say softness-seekers have met their match here (and also, that too many people don’t really understand what clouds are). Stuffed with a hypoallergenic down alternative wrapped in a soft, cotton sateen shell, some reviews also say it’s like sleeping on a marshmallow—so hopefully it means you’ll get s’more sleep. Note: Parachute made our list of one of the best places to buy bedding, especially for their comforters (and some of the best linen bed sheets ever).

Specifications:

  • Material: Hypoallergenic microfiber fill
  • Height: 3 inches
  • Available sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, Cal King
  • Care instructions: Dry clean-only
  • Warranty: 3-year warranty
  • Price: $199-$299

What we like:

  • Hypoallergenic
  • Super-soft

What we don’t like:

  • Can only be dry cleaned
  • Several customer reviews claim it requires daily fluffing to hold its shape
Softest
Twin Down Alternative Mattress Topper | Parachute

Twin Down Alternative Mattress Topper | Parachute

The best memory foam mattress topper: Sleep Innovations 4-inch Gel Memory Foam Mattress Topper

For anyone sick of their mattress topper sliding all over the place, this one has a nifty solution. Its one-inch thick, pillowy cover stretches all the way down to envelop your mattress like a fitted sheet. The topper itself is composed of medium-soft gel memory foam designed to provide comfortable support to your body, while allowing cooling air flow to stop overheating. End result? Almost universally positive customer reviews, mostly of the 5-star variety.

Specifications:

  • Material: Gel memory foam
  • Height: 4 inches
  • Available sizes: Twin, Full, Queen, King, Cal King
  • Care instructions: Machine-washable cover
  • Warranty: 10-year warranty
  • Price: $109.99-$159.99

What we like:

  • Cooling
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Fitted sheet cover

What we don’t like:

  • A handful of customer reviews complain that it’s too easy to sink into
Best memory foam
Sleep Innovations 4-inch Gel Memory Foam Mattress Topper

Sleep Innovations 4-inch Gel Memory Foam Mattress Topper

The best latex mattress topper: PlushBeds Natural Latex Mattress Topper

If you’re leaning toward a latex topper (or rather, looking to lean on one), go for one that’s hypoallergenic, all-natural, odorless, antimicrobial, and mildew- and dust mite-resistant. On top of all that, this topper is super soft, heat-redistributing, and even claims to absorb the movement from others in the bed. So if you’re constantly woken by your squirming partner fighting off their night terrors (not the furious lunch lady with the hairy mole again!), this one’s for you.

Specifications:

  • Material: GOLS-certified latex
  • Height: 2 or 3 inches available
  • Available sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, Cal King
  • Care instructions: Spot-clean only
  • Warranty: 5-year warranty
  • Price: $288-$774

What we like:

  • 5 firmness options available (soft, medium-soft, medium, medium-firm, extra-firm)
  • No synthetic latex used

What we don’t like:

  • Requires rotating and flipping every three to six months to keep its shape
  • Can get expensive
Best latex
PlushBeds Natural Latex Mattress Topper, Twin / 2 Inches / Med-Soft

PlushBeds Natural Latex Mattress Topper, Twin / 2 Inches / Med-Soft

The best down mattress topper: Parachute Down Mattress Topper

This is essentially the same topper as our earlier Parachute entry for “softest mattress topper,” but for those who insist that only down will do. Featuring the same cotton sateen cover and baffle box construction, it’s stuffed with two layers of premium down, ensuring that after a night’s sleep on this, the only ruffled feathers will be the ones underneath you.

Specifications:

  • Material: Natural European white down
  • Height: 3 inches
  • Available sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, Cal King
  • Care instructions: Dry clean only
  • Warranty: 3-year warranty
  • Price: $299-$429

What we like:

  • Super-soft

What we don’t like:

  • Can only be dry cleaned
Best down
Twin XL Down Mattress Topper | Parachute

Twin XL Down Mattress Topper | Parachute

How we selected the best mattress toppers

We made our choices based on expert opinion, thorough research, and overwhelmingly positive customer reviews. The options presented here represent the most popular picks in each category.

What are the benefits of a mattress topper?

“The principal benefit of a mattress topper is the ability to improve how well a mattress meets your personal requirements, without having to invest in the more expensive proposition of starting over and buying a whole new mattress,” says Magnuson. “This might mean improving a mattress that wasn't quite right for you in the first place, or extending the life of a mattress that has lost some of the characteristics that you liked about it. A topper can't solve all types of problems though, so you should be careful that adding a topper doesn't just mean throwing good money after bad.”

What's the difference between mattress toppers, pads, and protectors?

“There might be some variation to how different people use these terms, but I would generally define pads and protectors as similar (if not synonymous) products that are designed simply to provide a barrier between you and your mattress, generally for hygiene purposes,” explains Magnuson. “They may contain a small amount of fiber quilting, but they shouldn't have a significant impact on feel, spinal alignment, pressure relief, etc. A topper, by contrast, is a product whose principal job is to add cushioning to your mattress.”

When is the best time to buy a mattress topper?

The best time to buy a mattress topper (or mattress) is either during a big sales event (think end-of-year sales, Black Friday, July 4th, etc.), or in early spring, as this is when most mattress retailers will be looking to clear out their stores in advance of the new models debuting in May.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

How long do mattress toppers last?

“Just like with mattresses, this will vary significantly based on the quality of the materials used in the topper, as well as the conditions under which it's used,” says Magnuson. “That said, toppers are generally put under more strain than a mattress because they’re not sewn down and therefore flex more when you lie on them. So all things being equal, a few inches of a given foam will incur more wear and tear as a topper than it would as the top layer of your mattress. Overall, most people should plan to replace a topper at least twice as often as they would replace a mattress.” Since you should ideally replace a mattress every eight to ten years, that means replacing your mattress topper every four to five years.

What are mattress toppers used for?

“The best use case for a topper is to add characteristics like softness,” advises Magnuson. “Imagine that your underlying mattress gives you most of the things you need, except it doesn't quite feel soft enough for your taste—you’re the perfect candidate for adding a topper. Likewise, toppers can sometimes be a good way to enhance the pressure relief or spinal alignment for a side sleeper.”

That said, in order to understand if a mattress topper is worth it for you, it’s equally important to understand what they shouldn’t be used for. “Most notably, toppers are not a viable way to fix a sagging mattress or make it offer firmer support,” warns Magnuson. “This will result in good money being thrown after bad.”

Is latex or memory foam better for a mattress topper?

“This depends entirely on your personal preference,” says Magnuson. “Both of these are high quality materials that can add softness and enhance pressure relief. If you prefer that slow-responding memory feel, certainly go with memory foam. If durability is more important to you, natural latex may hold up slightly better. But either can be a great material for a topper.”

Do mattress toppers have fiberglass?

“This depends entirely on the specific product,” says Magnuson. If you have concerns, check the label and see what materials have been used in the construction of the mattress topper.

Are mattress toppers good for back and hip pain?

“I'll have to generalize here, because back pain is a huge topic and of course can have many root causes that have nothing to do with your sleep system,” says Magnuson. “Lower back pain [when sleeping] tends to come from improper spinal alignment. To the extent that this is a result of your mattress surface being too rigid and therefore not providing sufficient conformance to your body's curves, adding a mattress topper can help with this. But if it’s because your mattress is providing insufficient support—say, it’s sagging—a mattress topper can’t solve this.”

“Upper back pain generally stems from the position of your head and neck while you sleep,” Magnuson continues. “This is a function of having a pillow that doesn't match the combination of your mattress and your body. A topper can make it so your pillow becomes a better fit. But in most cases, if you have upper back or neck pain when you wake up, the better (and cheaper) way to fix this will be to replace your pillow, not to add a topper.”

“Hip pain is most often a result of inadequate pressure relief when sleeping on your side, especially if the pain is on the outside of your hips, rather than in the joint,” Magnuson says. “In most cases, this is something that can be improved by adding the right topper to your mattress.”

However, if you need to start from scratch to find a more supportive mattress, check out our lists of the best mattresses for back pain and best mattresses for side sleepers, then our in-depth guide to how to dispose of a mattress.

How thick should a mattress topper be?

“This will depend entirely on what objective you’re trying to achieve by adding the topper,” says Magnuson. “For example, if you’re a back sleeper merely trying to add a little softness and lumbar support to a very rigid mattress, then a thin topper might be best—say, one to one-and-a-half inches of padding. However, if you’re a side sleeper whose mattress is offering inadequate pressure relief or conformance to your body's curves, you’ll generally need a topper two inches or thicker, depending on how much additional conformance and pressure relief is needed.”

How do you use a mattress topper?

“As described above, the best use case for a topper is to change the feel characteristics of a mattress to better suit your personal preferences, such as making it softer, giving it more ‘memory feel,’ or having it provide more of a sleeping ‘in’ your mattress sensation,” says Magnuson. “Likewise, toppers can sometimes be a good way to enhance the pressure relief or spinal alignment for a side sleeper. A topper is very rarely a good solution to fix a broken mattress, and is never a good way to fix a sagging mattress.”

What’s the best way to wash a mattress topper?

When it comes to washing a mattress topper, it's important to check the manufacturer's instructions for specific care guidelines. “Mattress toppers are bulky by design and a beast to clean,” says Angela Brown, host of the Ask a House Cleaner show. “Spot clean them if possible, using a mild detergent with water. Blot the stained area with a damp sponge. Avoid soaking the topper excessively to prevent damage.”

“If you have to wash the entire thing, it is recommended to take the mattress topper to a laundromat with industrial-size washing machines,” Brown continues. “Most home machines can't handle the bulk of a mattress topper, and many home washing machines’ doors or lids won't close if a mattress topper is crammed in one. Not only that, but if washed in a smaller machine, the bulk of the mattress topper, when cleaned, will cause the washing machine to rock and shake since it's hard to balance the load.”

Brown recommends using an industrial, large-capacity washing machine on a medium heat cycle with mild detergent, which will clean the topper and rinse off the soap. “A laundromat will also have an industrial, large-capacity dryer where you can dry the mattress topper on low heat or a delicate cycle,” she adds. “Add dryer balls or tennis balls to help fluff the topper and prevent clumping. Check the topper periodically to avoid over-drying. Once the topper is completely dry, take it home and put it back on the bed. Consider using a mattress protector or encasement to keep the mattress topper clean and protected from body sweat and soil.”

The time spent cleaning a mattress topper is also a good opportunity to assess the condition of your mattress, and get stains out of your mattress.

The information presented here is created independently from the TIME editorial staff. To learn more, see our About page.

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