Last Updated: May 24, 2018.
Having some serious back or hip pain or pain on your body? You may not actually need to replace your mattress yet. Luckily, you can add a mattress topper instead. Think of a mattress topper like a slice of an actual mattress. Most toppers range between 1-3 inches. Most mattresses range between 5-12 inches. By using a topper, you’re adding a layer of mattress and placing it on top of your bed. It creates the effect of owning a new mattress, without having to buy a brand new one.
Pro-tip: Mattresses can cost 4 times more than buying a mattress topper. This means toppers can save you 75% while meeting whatever needs you have. Also, you won’t have to toss out your mattress!
Reviews of the Best Mattress Toppers
A Note On Using Mattress Toppers For Physical And Medical Conditions
It’s tough to go to sleep during the night. It’s even tougher to go about your day knowing that when night rolls around, you will have to endure pain.
Some people may have medical conditions. Others have developed chronic pain. Arthritis sucks. Osteoporosis sucks. Fibromyalgia sucks. Pregnancy can be taxing.
Our advice when buying a mattress topper is to be prepared to purchase a second or third or even fourth. The reason is you deserve the very best. And the only way to find out which is the best that is suited to your specific body and need is to try them out.
You can head over to your nearest mattress store and request to try out different toppers, but until you use a few nights to sleep on different toppers, you may never find the best one for you. In this guide, We review the most suitable, affordable mattress toppers for you.
Mattress Topper vs. Mattress Pad
What Is The Difference Between The Two?
Think of a mattress topper as a slice of a mattress, while a mattress pad like having little mini pillows all over the place. The two can certainly have varying firmness, feels, materials, etc. They can serve the same purpose as to change the comfort level of the surface that you sleep on, without replacing the whole mattress. Other reasons you may want to purchase a mattress topper is because your bed is making just enough noise to wake you or your partner up during the night when you toss and turn.
However, the mattress pad is more known to fit on your bed like bed sheets, protecting it from stains and liquids, with a nice layer of added comfort. The mattress topper, on the other hand, is to completely change (or change just a bit) the feel of your sleep surface.
When Do You Need A Mattress Topper?
When your mattress is too firm, too soft and you need some plush or firmness for a more comfortable sleep surface.
Pro-tip: If your mattress is sagging heavily or damaged in some way, a mattress topper might not help you. As painful as it can be, your best bet (that will save you money and countless hours of loss sleep) is to replace your mattress in full.
When Do You Need A Mattress Pad?
When your mattress is getting dirty or will get dirty from censored activities we shall not discuss at this moment. They also provide a very nice pillow top cushion.
In this guide, we cover mattress toppers to adjust your sleep surface and comfort. Maybe because you’re having pain when you lay down. Maybe because your bed is worn out.
If you’re having either two problems, then keep on reading below…
Why Own A Mattress Topper At All?
If you’re a little fuzzy on why you need a mattress topper, here are a few ideas from other shoppers:
- They provide another layer of support. Not always will you pick the right mattress that will suit you AND your partner for 10+ years. Your body is known to change every 7 years already, so a (cheaper) alternative to replacing your mattress is to add a mattress topper.
- Saves you on a mattress replacement cost. Mattresses can cost $500-$2000 or more. Mattress toppers, on the other hand, are around $100-$500 range.
- Make your mattress last longer. Your bed will wear out as you use it. A topper can extend the life of your bed by a few extra years if used properly. Think about how much you can save if your bed uses an expensive, quality mattress.
- Gives you a cooler sleep. Mattress toppers have great airflow. By adding an additional layer, as opposed to having one gigantic solid piece for a bed, the sleep surface breathes better and can better regulate your body temperature.
- Easy to change, easy to replace. As I mentioned earlier, not always will your mattress be perfect for you. It’s hard to imagine sleeping on the exact same surface comfortably night after night for 1000+ nights. The solution? Add a topper. Too firm or too soft? Switch it up at a fraction of the cost to replace your entire bed.
- You can use it on air beds, too. As funky as it may sound, toppers also work well on air mattresses. Air beds are built to also hold toppers. The surfaces of air beds may not be comfortable or consistently flat (some may be bumpy). Using the right topper can provide the additional layer of comfort and consistent surface for you.
What To Consider When Shopping For A Mattress Topper
Here are a few points you should keep in mind when shopping for toppers:
Pain. I mentioned this earlier in the guide. I’m not a doctor and can never give you medical advice. But if you are going through some pain, please get checked up. This guide is written with you in mind. However, the last thing I want to find out is that your sleep is getting worse. No one deserves this. So before buying a topper, please consult your physical therapist or physician. Ask them if there are better ways to relieve or manage pain. It will be in your best interest.
Budget. It’s no secret. We’re all constrained by some sort of budget. You should be ready to spend as much as $500 for a topper. On average, $200. Within your budget, you may also consider other bedding to improve your sleep, like bed sheets, better pillows, or a snuggly, warm comforter.
Type of material. Latex. Pillow top. Memory foam. Wool. Down feathers. And more. Most shoppers tend to chase after memory foam because the majority of shoppers sleeps on a firm surface better than their slowly deteriorating, soft bed. Those with allergies to bedding should be weary of material type. Other less popular mattress types can also be firm and serve you (and your wallet) well. More on this later.
Thickness, density and size. Everything is in inches. More often than not, toppers are roughly 3 inches in height. You may want thicker or thinner depending on your need. As a general rule, thinner = feel your mattress more, and thicker = your sleep surface is more about the bed topper. Don’t forget to pick the right size. King size beds should get king size toppers.
Rating. What others have to say may save you some of your hard-earned cash. In this guide, we comb through reviews and feedback from verified shoppers to make sure we are suggesting only the best mattress topper for back pain out there. However, in your best interest, you should always be on the lookout for what others have to say. What you, myself, or other shoppers think is best won’t always be the same. We all have different needs.
Other Considerations To Keep In Mind
Warranty. Generally, warranties for most toppers are 1-3 years. The warranties on toppers protect you from manufacturer defects. For example, if the topper begins to sag or show indentations within a few months. Depending how risk adverse you may be, you may want a topper with a longer warranty or be totally okay with settling without any warranty.
Price range. Mattress toppers can vary greatly between a few dollars to several hundred. The better toppers are certainly the more expensive. However, you don’t necessarily have to dive right into the most expensive toppers to find the best. In this guide, we provide a wide range of toppers in price and quality for you.
Types Of Mattress Toppers
There are five main types of material that manufacturers use to create their mattress toppers: Latex, memory foam, wool, goose or duck down feathers, egg crate, and cotton and polyester.
Latex is a natural material. Straight from liquids of rubber trees, they can be comfortable, support, and especially durable. Latex can take a beating while retaining antimicrobial and hypoallergenic properties. They can also absorb movement pretty well, so you and your partner won’t feel each other’s twist and turning during the night as much.
Warning: Some people may be allergic to latex. Talk to your partner, make sure your kids aren’t allergic, etc.
Memory foam are certainly a popular pick for shoppers. They can be slightly pricy, depending on how they are made. However, considering how well memory foams conform to the contours of your body, they can help minimize a lot of pressure that is applied to common pain areas like the shoulder, back, and hips.
All types of sleep positions benefit from memory foam. If you sleep on the side, there will be less pressure on your shoulders and hips as memory foam relieves the weight by distributing it uniformly across the body.
Gel-infused memory foam is a popular seller for toppers. The cooling gel ingredient does reduce the durability and firmness of the memory foam in a trade off for better airflow and a cooler sleep. Memory foam in itself is already quite firm, however.
Wool toppers are on the pricey end, and for good reason. They are naturally soft, hypoallergenic, and can last a lot longer than memory foam and latex. Wool is also known to regular body temperature really well as it has a significantly greater airflow, allowing moisture (such as your sweat) to evaporate, taking the heat with it.
One drawback with wool is that it may not be as firm as other fabrics and material.
Goose or duck down or down alternative are popular with comforters and winter jackets. They are fluffy with lots of loft, and soft for a comforting feel. However, one major concern shoppers may have is that they do indeed collect dust and allergens. The nature of the material also means a softer surface. Not so great if you are trying to create a firmer sleep surface.
This material does minimize movement disturbance extremely well and does an amazing job at regulating your body temperature. If you want a softer surface, this material is for you.
Note: Most goose or duck down or down alternative are known as padding (not toppers). They can certainly be treated as a topper to provide you with loft and cushion. However, more likely than not, they will not be firm.
Pro-tip: Goose or duck down feather mattress toppers may need the occasional fluffing or shaking for loft.
Egg crate is a design, usually made with memory foam material. It derives its name from its shape. The quality of egg crate toppers vary, which can be a blessing or a curse. They are extremely light weight, therefore, easy to move around and lift. They are also cheaper than other materials.
The drawback of egg crate is that they are less durable and may not provide as much comfort compared to other materials. If you are a shoestring budget, egg crates may be the way to go.
Cotton and polyester toppers are either made of pure cotton, 100% polyester, or a blend of both. Prices will vary, which means you have a range of options available with this type of topper (from synthetic to organic). This type of topper is great for all budget levels.
Cotton and polyester, depending on the blend, may not be as durable as latex, memory foam, or wool. 100% polyester is highly durable, but doesn’t regulate temperature well. 100% cotton is the complete opposite.
Our Final Thoughts
For the best memory foam topper, I recommend the Amazon’s Best Seller 3-Inch Lucid Topper. It’s made with quality, gel-infused memory foam material, provides 3 inches of support with 3 pounds of foam density.
For the best topper to support pressure points and pain points, I recommend the 4-inch Sleep Innovations Dual Layer Topper (and Pad). This product comes with both a topper and a mattress pad to provide you the full body and relieve pain.
For a budget topper, you won’t get a better bang for your money than the 2-Inch Zinus Topper. Made with 2 inches of gel-infused memory foam, this CertiPUR-US certified topper is durable and a nice blue. It comes with a 5-year warranty, and certainly beats the price and comfort of other inexpensive toppers.