A comfortable mattress is key to a good night's sleep, but buying a new one can be pricey and inconvenient. The good news is that a mattress topper can be an easy fix to make your bed much more comfortable to sleep on. It's also ideal for situations when you're not at home (like in a college dorm or a care facility) because it's easier to transport than a mattress. The right mattress topper can give you pillow-like softness if your bed is too hard, or add firmness if you need more support. There are even cooling options if your mattress gives you night sweats and ones with pressure-relieving memory foam for people with back pain.
The bedding experts in the Textiles Lab at the Good Housekeeping Institute researched dozens of mattress toppers to find the best ones on the market. We reviewed each one's features and benefits, then narrowed down the picks to brands that have performed well in our mattress evaluations and popular toppers with unique features and rave reviews from users.
Here are the best mattress toppers you can buy in 2021:
Best Overall Mattress Topper: Tempur-Pedic Tempur Supreme Mattress Topper
Best Value Mattress Topper: Linenspa Gel-Infused Memory Foam Mattress Topper
Most Popular Mattress Topper on Amazon: Lucid Down Alternative & Gel Memory Foam Mattress Topper
Best Stay-in-Place Mattress Topper: Viscosoft Serene Memory Foam Hybrid Mattress Topper
Best Mattress Topper for Firm Mattress: Parachute Down Mattress Topper
Best Mattress Topper for Side Sleepers: Tuft & Needle Mattress Topper
Best Mattress Topper for Back Pain: Saatva Graphite Mattress Topper
Best Cooling Mattress Topper: Therapedic Polar Nights Cooling Ice Cube Mattress Topper
Best Mattress Topper for Couples: Sleep Number DualTemp Individual Layer
Best Organic Mattress Topper: Avocado Green Organic Latex Mattress Topper
Best Machine-Washable Mattress Topper: SOPAT Extra Thick Mattress Topper
What's the difference between mattress toppers, pads and protectors?
Mattress toppers are usually several inches thick and sit right on top of your mattress. The goal of a mattress topper is to make your bed more comfortable, whether adding firm support or pillowtop softness.
Mattress pads aren't as thick as toppers. They also typically go onto your bed like a fitted sheet with five sides instead of just sitting on top. You won't get quite as much added comfort as you would with a mattress topper, but they're typically less expensive and can often help protect your mattress from stains or spills.
Mattress protectors are designed specifically to keep your mattress safe from things like accidents, dust, and bedbugs. Toppers and pads can technically extend the life of your mattress by protecting it from wear and tear, but a protector is more suitable if you're just looking to keep your mattress safe since it doesn't usually have comfort enhancements. These can be five-sided (like a mattress pad) or fully encased to keep the mattress protected on all sides.
What are the most comfortable mattress toppers?
There are a variety of toppers to choose from and there isn't a one-size-fits-all solution, so here are factors to consider when shopping for your most comfortable mattress topper:
Thickness: A good topper should be at least two inches, but a thicker option will offer more support, especially when it comes to foam toppers. If you’re just looking for a small upgrade, opt for a thinner model.
Softness: If your mattress is too firm, adding a down or fiberfill topper can give you plush comfort so it won't feel as hard.
Support: If you're feeling pain when you wake up, adding a foam topper can increase firmness or give you you pressure relief around your joints.
Temperature regulation: Some mattresses can cause night sweats because they trap heat around your body, so you can opt for a topper with cooling features.
Care: Many mattress toppers aren't washable, especially ones made of foam. If this matters to you, check for one that you can launder in a washing machine.
Certifications: To make sure there are no harmful levels of chemicals in the materials, look for labels like CertiPUR-US on foam toppers. For down toppers, check for the Responsible Down Standard (RDS), which ensures the ducks and geese receive humane treatment.
Best Overall Mattress Topper
Tempur-Pedic Tempur Topper Supreme
This three-inch foam topper is surprisingly firm and is ideal for beds that need more support or innerspring mattresses that have too much bounce. It's also the best mattress topper for heavier weights or anyone that needs a firmer surface to cradle pressure points. And though it's pricey, it's less expensive than buying a Tempur-Pedic mattress for thousands of dollars. Tempur-Pedic's foam material is famous for its motion transfer reduction — you may remember those Tempur-Pedic commercials of someone jumping on a bed beside a motionless glass of wine — so you'll be less likely to feel your partner tossing and turning.
Best Value Mattress Topper
Linenspa Gel-Infused Memory Foam Mattress Topper
If you're looking for the best mattress topper under $100, this two-inch layer of memory foam is a bestseller with thousands of five-star reviews on Amazon. The brand describes the foam as "ultra plush" and says it'll help soften mattresses that are too hard. Plus, there are gel beads in the material to prevent overheating. Because it's a softer foam, it's ideal for more lighter weights and those that sleep on their side since it'll relieve pressure around the joints. For a slightly higher price, you can opt for the three-inch version to hug your body even more. Just note that these toppers don't come with a cover like some of the pricier ones.
Most Popular Mattress Topper on Amazon
Lucid Down Alternative & Gel Memory Foam Mattress Topper
This hybrid mattress topper is a mix of foam and fiberfill for both support and pillowtop comfort. The bottom layer is memory foam infused with gel to help keep it cool, while the top is pockets of down alternative for plush padding. It goes onto your bed like a fitted sheet to help everything stay in place. It's a luxurious four inches high, but it's actually two separate pieces that you can layer or use separately. Though the foam layer doesn't come with its own cover, the down alternative top layer that holds it together is machine washable and dryer safe.
Best Stay-in-Place Mattress Topper
Viscosoft Serene Memory Foam Hybrid Mattress Topper
Some mattress toppers can easily shift on your bed, but this four-inch hybrid model has fitted sides with an elastic band to tuck it in securely. It also has a separate strap to keep the two layers of foam and fiberfill together. Users said it was a bit tricky to set up at first, but noted very minimal shifting during use. On top of that, our testers found it to significantly improve the feel of the bed, offering more support and leading to less aches and pains. It's not too soft or too firm, making it ideal when your bed needs an instant upgrade yet you're not sure whether to choose a supportive foam or plush fill.
Best Mattress Topper for Firm Mattress
Parachute Down Mattress Topper
Soften up a hard mattress with a down or down alternative mattress topper to give you pillow-top comfort. This featherbed is three inches thick with layers of down and feathers in a baffle box construction that keeps the fill evenly distributed. The outer fabric is a cotton sateen, which prevents feathers from poking out. If you’re looking to save a bit or have allergies to down, the brand also sells a down alternative version made with microfiber fill. Besides the fill, it has the same overall construction.
Best Mattress Topper for Side Sleepers
Tuft & Needle Mattress Topper
If you sleep on your side, a mattress topper with memory foam is ideal because it takes pressure off the areas where you put the most weight, like your hips and shoulders. This one from Tuft & Needle has two inches of foam that's specifically designed to add cushioning, while still being more supportive than a featherbed. Though it doesn't have straps to tuck under your mattress, it has a unique non-skid bottom that prevents it from shifting on your bed. It also has a comfy knit cover that helps it feel breathable. The downside is this one isn't washable.
Best Mattress Topper for Back Pain
Saatva Graphite Mattress Topper
This three-inch mattress topper is perfect for someone with back pain because it has a high-density layer for support with memory foam on top for pressure relief. The graphite infusion helps keep you cool, and it also has thick straps to go around your mattress so it'll stay in place. If you prefer a latex mattress topper, Saatva has a 1.5-inch version that's more expensive, but it's more durable and made of natural resources. It also has a less expensive "Performance" topper that's 1.5 inches of high density foam for anyone that doesn't need pressure relief and is just looking to add a layer of comfort.
Best Cooling Mattress Topper
Therapedic Polar Nights Cooling Ice Cube Mattress Topper
If you're a hot sleeper or deal with night sweats, this mattress topper uses an innovative technology that pulls in body heat to keep you at a comfortable temperature throughout the night. It's pressure-activated, so the brand says you can expect to feel the cooling effect within eight seconds of getting in bed. The fill is a blend of memory foam cubes mixed with polyester fiberfill that one tester described as feeling like "laying on a cloud." It's two inches thick and comes with straps to secure the topper on your mattress. The cover is 100% cotton, but keep in mind that this one's spot clean only.
Best Mattress Topper for Couples
Sleep Number DualTemp Individual Layer
For sleeping partners that can't agree on the perfect temperature, these half-size toppers are temperature controlled so you can choose to keep things extra-warm on one side and cooler on the other. A floor unit sends the hot or cool air to the thin mattress topper through a tube. Just note, this pad is pricey and only takes up half the bed. You'll need to buy two if both people want to control their side, meaning that it could cost more than a mattress. Still, the technology is truly innovative and it's backed by the Good Housekeeping Seal.
Best Organic Mattress Topper
Avocado Green Organic Latex Mattress Topper
Most mattress toppers are made of synthetic materials like memory foam or fiberfill, but this one's made of certified organic latex, wool and cotton. Not only are they organic, but they're also top quality: Latex is durable and resilient, wool has inherent temperature-regulating properties, and the cotton cover is soft and breathable. The two inches of latex comes in both firm and plush options. This can help you pick the right topper for your sleeping position: back and stomach sleepers generally need firm, while side sleepers can opt for plush. The brand also sells a vegan version with cotton fill instead of wool.
Best Machine Washable Mattress Topper
SOPAT Extra Thick Mattress Topper
Foam mattress toppers typically aren't machine washable. This super fluffy option has a microfiber fill and is machine wash-safe. It also comes with an attached sheet to keep it in place, which can fit mattresses up to 21-inches tall, so more than you could possibly need. On top of that, it's under $100 and is Amazon's Choice for machine washable mattress toppers. Hundreds of reviewers give it five-star ratings and say it's incredibly comfortable and the sides tuck easily under a mattress.
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