How to Test for the Best Mattress Topper

by SleePare

By Sofia Axelrod | 1 Minute Read

What is a Mattress Topper?

Well, as the name suggests, a mattress topper is a thick cover to be placed atop the mattress in order to add an extra layer of comfort, plush, and protection to it.

A mattress topper is one of the accessories of your mattress which promises you an enhanced sleeping comfort. Whether you are looking for a soft mattress topper or a firmer one, or may be one for your back pain, there are many types of mattress toppers with many benefits of different models.

A topper’s main purpose is to provide a better slumber, and this bedding accessory truly provides instant relief and comfort. It’s definitely worth the money.

Do You Really Need a Mattress Topper?

Not everyone needs a mattress topper, but many people feel that a topper makes their mattress more comfortable and their nights pleasant.

If you don’t get a quality sleep, you’ll wake up feeling even worse than when you went to sleep. But, it might not be a new bed but a mattress topper that you need.

If you wake up with back or joint pain, it could be due to an uncomfortable mattress. However, a mattress topper could help to remedy.

Despite you can clean your mattress after a spill or a stain, or whenever needed, there is no better way to protect your mattress and your health than investing in a mattress topper. Toppers can easily be washed. Some toppers are also hypoallergenic and protect against bacteria, bed bugs and dust mites.

This article will give you an in-depth understanding of various mattress toppers, their attributes, pros & cons and how you can test a mattress topper in store before buying it, so you purchase the one best for you.

Types of Mattress Toppers: Material Guide

Types of Mattress Toppers: Material Guide

Toppers come with a wide range of fillings. You’ll need to decide which type of mattress topper would suit you best. These are the most common materials used.

ProsCons
Memory Foam
  • Conforms to your body. Gives support and comfort
  • Relieves joint, muscular or back pain
  • Reduces the noise and movement of a restless partner
  • May have strong chemical smell that goes away after a few days
  • Can retain heat
Gel
  • Keeps you cool at night
  • Good option for side sleepers
  • It is expensive
Latex
  • Bouncier and firmer than a memory foam
  • Very durable
  • Excellent at preventing motion transfer
  • More expensive than other mattress toppers
  • Can get hot, especially in the summers
Egg Crate Foam
  • Good option to use for holidays or cramping
  • Thin and lightweight
  • Cheaper than other materials
  • Can be warm during summers
  • Not very durable
  • Does not offer as much comfort as compared to other materials
Down or Feathers
  • Very soft
  • Less expensive than memory foam or latex
  • Doesn’t retain heat
  • Weigh less, easier to move
  • Feather shafts can poke through the fabric
  • Cause allergies to some people
Polyester and Cotton
  • Are quite affordable
  • High quality cotton
  • Easy to clean
  • Cotton can be extremely expensive
  • Not durable
Wool
  • Naturally comfortable & soft material
  • Mites and bed bugs resistance
  • Durable material
  • Keeps you cool during summers and warm during winters
  • Does not offer the feel of a memory foam
  • Quite expensive
Fiber
  • Inexpensive
  • No odor
  • Provides some softness
  • Lacks support and cushioning
  • Can be hot
  • Can become lumpy over time

Memory Foam

Make your hard mattress more comfortable with a memory foam mattress topper. Memory foam is soft and supportive. It contours to your body and gives proportional support, improving spinal positioning. It also helps reduce back pain, and is also great at preventing motion on the bed from being felt on other parts of the bed.

For a person who wakes up with pains and aches, the memory foam topper works well to make the mattress more comfortable and relieve pressure points that cause pain.

Memory foam toppers tend to have a thickness between 2 and 5.5 inches. The more softness and support you want, the thicker your topper needs to be.

Moreover, consider your sleeping position, if you sleep on your back or stomach, your weight is distributed over a relatively large surface area. So, a moderate amount of thickness of a 2-inch foam topper will work fine.

Whereas, if you sleep on your side, all of your weight is concentrated into a limited part of your body. Thus, most pressure is placed on your shoulders, hips, and knees, then you may prefer a 3 to 5.5-inch thick foam topper.

However, memory foam topper is not ideal for people who feel too warm at night and sleep hot, because it is not usually breathable and may cause body temperature to increase while sleeping.

As a memory foam topper lacks bounce, some people may find that they sink too deeply into it. The contouring effect for them may instead be a sinking effect. If still you want to go for this type, select the thickness wisely.

Gel

A cooling gel mattress topper is made from gel-infused foam. It is made of high quality raw materials and despite its high elasticity, it is extremely dimensionally stable. It is as comfortable as memory foam, but much cooler to sleep on.

Gel toppers are available in heights between 6 and 9 cm. Gel foam is high-quality and high-tech material which makes it extremely durable for the consumer.

Sleepers, who toss and turn in bed while sleeping and change their position frequently, often have issues with the topper’s responsiveness. Their topper does not return to its original position quickly enough. A gel mattress topper’s reset time begins immediately after changing the sleeping position.

Gel foam topper is also durable. The open-pore material with optimal airflow avoids excessive sweating during sleep without feeling warm.

Since a gel topper guarantees optimal body adaptation, this topper is suitable for back, side, and stomach sleepers. With improved responsiveness, a gel topper is suitable for people of any weight and size.

Gel foam topper is also recommended for allergy sufferers, as the open-pore design and improved air circulation offers little opportunity for the implantation of dust mites.

Checkout the Gel Mattress Topper Test Winner here.

Latex

Like memory foam, latex mattress topper can also offer great comfort and support. Latex toppers are made with latex rubber, a natural product derived from the milky liquid of rubber trees.

A latex topper compresses when the pressure is applied anywhere on its surface, and rebounds much more quickly than a memory foam when weight is removed. Hence, it is less likely to feel stuck while sleeping on a latex topper.

The thickness of a latex topper ranges from 2 to 4 inches. Overweight or obese people can benefit with toppers made with latex. Thanks to its unique ability to continuously bounce back into shape.

Latex foam is naturally hypoallergenic and antimicrobial, mold resistant, and an eco-friendly choice. Latex foam contours to the body and reduces movement that can disturb your sleep partner. Latex toppers also breathe easier and are the ideal choice for allergy sufferers.

Latex mattress toppers are cooler and responsive. Not only can they keep you cooler in the summer, but they can also keep you warmer in the winter. They also retain less body heat and are durable.

Egg Crate Foam

Egg Crate Mattress topper is made with foam and is extremely light, not as dense as other foams. The look of this mattress topper is easily recognizable as “egg crate” because of its series of oval dips.

The egg tray shaped bumps are carved into the foam to help the sleeper experience a more precise feel for any or all zones of the body. Each zone can be harder or softer depending on how the foam is cut and designed.

Egg crate mattress toppers are most inexpensive. They are light-weight yet provide good cushioning. They are not hard enough to provide significant support, hence, not as great for back sleepers.

Egg crate foam will off-gas and fail to biodegrade, and aren’t nearly as durable as wool, and do not last long.

Down or Feather

Down is the term used to describe the extremely soft and light feathers. Down is soft and comforting, but it tends to bunch up and lose its ability to proportionally cushion the body, yet not supportive when slept on for longer.

So, if you buy one, be certain to select the one stitched to form an obstruction, so the feathers don’t clump. The baffle stitching will help prevent the movement of material. Also, these mattress toppers will have to be fluffed regularly so that they maintain a uniform shape.

But if this is the option you are considering, make sure you select a topper with a minimum thread count of 200, as they are significantly more durable without making a compromise on the softness quotient.

Some people are allergic to feathers, and this is not a mattress topper for allergy sufferers or many asthmatics, as they may have breathing problems due to the feathers. Look for toppers backed by the allergy-free warranty. Such a warranty means that the feather filler has been cleaned thoroughly.

Cotton

Cotton topper is a great natural choice. You might find cotton in combination with polyester, or alone.

Many toppers use all natural cotton, organic cotton, or certified organic cotton as a filler material. This is a great choice for health conscious people who prefer organic material and want to avoid the synthetic choices by replacing them with more natural choices.

Cotton is a softer material and has great breathability. You won’t sweat much on a cotton topper as compared to the polyester fill.

A plus advantage of a cotton topper is that it is easy to clean and can also be machine washed. It is a softer material and is not quite durable as cotton is more likely to squeeze in a shorter period, so lacks the durability that other topper types tend to have.

Cotton mattress topper is also a great solution for people suffering from allergies, as it is usually well tolerated.

Wool

Wool mattress toppers are made with various wool and wool blends. Although wool is linked to cold weather when we need its warmth, this natural material is great as it can also absorb body heat.

Wool mattress toppers naturally absorb moisture and breathe easily making them ideal for regulating body heat while you sleep. Wool also dries quickly, wicking away sweat when it’s hot, and resist various allergens and dust mites that grow in moist environments.

Since wool is 100% organic and a non-chemical material, a wool mattress topper is hypoallergenic and toxic-free, so that sleepers can be safe from any chemicals and feel comfortable when sleeping.

Wool toppers can be a bit heavy and can compact if not taken care properly; however, fluffing and vacuuming can help revive them to their original condition.

Their durability is unquestionable, lasting many years, with some machine washable and others dry clean options only.

Fiber

Fiber fill, also called as Polyester blend, is a good substitute for those who like the feel of feathers but have allergies to it. This is the least expensive mattress topper type.

Fiber mattress topper is similar to feather or down. It is also a perfect solution to supplement your firm mattress for supporting softness.

It also helps reduce the pressure points well, and has no chemical odor. It also works as a hypoallergenic resistance, and can control the body heat and regulate air flow.

Like feather, fiber topper needs to be fluffed regularly to maintain its condition and comfort otherwise it can become lumpy.

How to Test for the Best Mattress Topper?

A mattress topper is an important purchase. And before you buy one, it is better to check and try it in store. We would like to help you with our tips to test for the best mattress topper in store so that you make a better decision in choosing the right topper.

1. Recovery Test- How Quick It Bounces Back?

If you are buying a foam topper, test it for its recovery time. See how well it absorbs compression pressure, and how long does it take to return to its original shape after applying weight to it.

Exert some pressure on it with your hand and notice the time (seconds or minutes) it takes to bounce back to its original condition.

Some mattress stores allow you to try a mattress and bedding accessories. So take advantage of that and lie down on the mattress topper that you think would suit you, after a thorough research online.

Try a mattress topper for 30 minutes, sleep in your preferred sleep style, change places, shift positions and notice the reset time.

The recovery time of a memory foam topper will usually be more than a gel or latex material. So, if you are looking for a bit bounce in bed, memory foam is not your take.

2. Does It Make Me Warm?

Don’t forget to check the topper for heat retention and body heat regulation. If you sleep hot and experience night sweats, you’ll have to avoid memory foam and latex toppers.

Latex and memory foam toppers tend to retain body heat. The thicker and denser they are, the hotter they can feel.

Whereas, Wool, Down and Feather toppers work for all seasons. They provide extra warmth in winter and reduce heat in summer. So, evaluate what topper type will suit you best.

3. How Well It Cushions and Comforts Me?

This is what actually we are looking for when we decide to buy a mattress topper. The important tip to test a mattress topper in store is, that never go to a store tired. If you visit the store tired, sleepy and exhausted, you’ll find every or any topper soft and relaxing.

Go with an intention to sense and feel the softness to suit your sleep position, and if you have neck or back pain. Decide what level of softness you prefer.

Toppers come in a range of firmness. Do you prefer a topper which molds to your body, such as latex or memory foam? Or do you prefer a naturally soft material such as Cotton, Wool or Down? Try and Feel!

4. Is It Thickness Enough to Support My Weight?

Mattress toppers are usually two to eight inches thick. If you are overweight, you may need to look for a thicker topper.

Moreover, the density of a mattress topper is important to determine how much support it will provide you. So, find the right comfort level you need.

5. Does the Topper Move when My Partner Moves?

If you are going to share the mattress with your partner, take your partner along to the store. Try the toppers by lying down with your partner to check the transmission of movement when your partner moves or tosses and turns in bed. You wouldn’t want to feel their movement on your side.

Latex toppers are excellent at preventing motion transfer, whereas memory foam toppers are good at reducing the noise and movement of a restless partner.

6. Overnight Test

Choose the mattress topper that you feel will work for you after you have researched on it. If the company offers a trial period for the topper, then that’s good news for you.

Sleep on the topper overnight during the trial period, notice the firmness. Also, test for temperature neutrality. Some mattress toppers heat up quickly at night. So, this is something to remember if you tend to get hot while sleeping.

However, some memory foam toppers tend to retain heat, but the gel-infused toppers can keep you cool.

You can also test the topper on how much you feel the movement when your partner moves at night and whether their tossing and turning would disturb you at night.

Mattress Toppers for Various Sleep Positions

Consider your sleeping position, sleeping habits, weight, size and body needs when you choose a mattress topper.

Mattress Toppers for Back Sleepers

For back sleepers, the mattress topper must not be so soft that the body sinks deeply into it or you feel like you are stuck in bed and have to struggle to get out of it.

Back sleepers are more comfortable sleeping on medium firm mattress topper. Therefore, opt for the topper that has a density of more than 30kg / m². Due to this volume weight, the surface tension in back sleepers can be optimally guaranteed.

Latex and gel foam is great topper materials for back sleepers. People who sleep restless and often change their sleeping position, are usually better served with a cooling gel topper.

If you are one of the quiet sleepers, a memory foam topper is more of a favorite.

If you generally prefer a particularly hard lying surface and, have chosen a significantly hard mattress, a mattress topper with a polyurethane foam, also known as, cold foam core is usually a better choice for you. This topper offers good body contouring, and a comfortable sleeping, and adapts to your sleeping habits at a higher density.

Mattress Toppers for Side Sleepers

Side sleepers are more comfortable on a soft mattress. They tend to twist the body and sleep at strange angles, and they will often need more support than back sleepers. As recommended, memory foam and gel foam mattresses tend to work best for side sleepers.

Side sleepers need good support for hips and shoulders for which they must dive deep into the topper for a comfortable sleeping position.

Memory foam and gel toppers are very suitable for side sleepers. These are soft and adapt optimally to the body weight and posture.

Since a memory foam mattress topper adapts more quickly to your body shape, it is better suited for quiet sleepers.

The gel topper, on the other hand, only changes under pressure and quickly springs back to its original condition. This topper is much better suited for restless sleepers, who often change positions at night.

If you’re not getting enough support from your current mattress, you may wake up with a back pain. If you have severe back pain and are a side sleeper, you should go with a thicker and denser option. If you have neck pain, a memory foam topper will aid in supporting your neck as well.

If your back is fairly well aligned, you can opt for something softer, like wool or fiber.

Mattress Toppers for Stomach Sleepers

Stomach sleepers mostly benefit from firmer mattress toppers. If the topper is too soft, there is a risk of sleeper sinking into the mattress during the night, thus causing prolonged back pain.

Toppers made of cold foam are recommended for belly sleepers. This type of topper offers an enhanced sleep comfort and high surface elasticity. Being elastic, it distributes the entire weight of the sleeper optimally across the bed.

For a stomach sleeper, the volume weight of the topper also plays an important role. So as to prevent back pain and ensure a restful sleep, choose a mattress topper with a minimum weight of 45 kg / m².

By choosing the right topper you not only make your sleep much more relaxed, but also relieve your back and joints’ pain during the night. The topper should always be adjusted to your sleep habits, position, and body weight to ensure peaceful sleep.

Mattress Toppers for Hot Sleepers

It is important to choose the suitable mattress topper if you sleep hot or experience night sweats. For that, cold foam and latex toppers are especially recommended.

These mattress toppers will turn out comfortable as they wick sweat away from your body at night. The air channel design in the latex topper allows good air circulation, which also cools the sleeper.

Sweaty sleepers can also use high density gel toppers, so that they won’t sink deep into it. Memory foam toppers, on the other hand, can react strongly to body temperature and can rather disturb the sleep of excessive sweating people.

Benefits of a Mattress Topper

A mattress topper is an additional comfort layer to your mattress. It provides extra support and cushion to your body while you have your peaceful shut-eye.

Here are some of the benefits of a mattress topper, and why you should have one.

  • It Protects

    Mattresses can accumulate many germs. If you’ve been sick lately or even experienced night sweats in bed, the bacteria go right through the bed sheet and settle into the mattress.

    However, if you have a mattress topper on your mattress that is antibacterial, hypoallergenic and moisture-resistant, it can greatly help reduce allergy symptoms that are usually caused by breathing in harmful micro-organisms that are nested in your bed.

  • It is Cost-Effective

    Buying a new mattress can be costly if you are on a tight budget, however, going for a mattress topper to improve your sleep is a cost-effective option instead.

    A mattress topper will go easy on your pocket and is capable to provide you with much needed comfort, cushion and contour.

  • It Extends the Life of Your Mattress

    A mattress topper does not only add comfort to your mattress, but it also extends the life of your mattress by protecting it. Even if you have a new mattress, supplement it with a mattress topper. It will also protect your mattress from the wear and tear.

  • It’s Comfortable

    One of the benefits of a mattress topper is that it can turn a mattress that is a bit too firm into a cushier and comfortable one. A mattress topper can add plush to your bed. You can feel like you are sleeping on a new mattress without having to spend big bucks.

  • It Helps Sleep You Cool

    Many mattress toppers are well ventilated, and will wick away moisture, keep air flowing consistently around your body, and prevent you from becoming overheated throughout the night. A mattress topper can help moderate your body temperature, and keeps you from getting hot.

  • Eco-friendly Mattress Toppers

    Some mattress toppers are eco-friendly and made with natural material. You can find toppers with different material fillings, such as natural latex, natural cotton and wool. Toppers made with these materials are free of toxic chemicals.

  • It can Reduce Pain

    Adding a mattress topper to your bed can also help with alleviating pains and aches. A good quality mattress topper can help eliminate back pain and get a better night’s snooze. With a certain thickness and support of a topper, your back pain issues can be resolved.

Buying Considerations for a Mattress Topper

Even if you have a perfect mattress, a mattress topper is still a useful item that can help customize your bed, making it a much more pleasant space to relax.

Following are a few considerations you should pay heed to when buying a mattress topper.

1. Best Suited Mattress Topper

Review the section on mattress topper material guide to have a general idea of the fillings that will be most likely to work for you. Depending on your needs for firmness, bounce and responsiveness, certain types are better fits than others.

2. Firmness and Softness

Different mattress toppers have different firmness levels, ranging from soft to firm. To find the best type of mattress topper depends on your preference. Some prefer a softer one while others go for a firmer option. It comes down to your needs for a peaceful shut-eye.

3. Heat Retention

Some mattress toppers retain more heat and offer poor airflow as compared to others, making the sleeper feel hotter during the night.

Memory foam is often said to make the sleeper feel too warm at night. So, if you like the feel of it, but can’t bear the heat, gel, or latex mattress toppers are the cooler alternatives.

4. Transmission of Movement

If you sleep with a partner who moves much while sleeping, opt for a mattress topper with low transmission of movement. So, if your partner tosses and turns on the other side of the bed, it should cause almost negligible movement on your side.

5. Thickness and Comfort

If you are an overweight sleeper, go for a mattress topper that is thick enough to provide you adequate support and comfort. Also, ensure to check the thickness of your mattress, so you would know what it feels like to sleep a couple of inches higher.

6. Ease of Handling

Choose a mattress topper that is easy to handle, can move easily, and can flip when required. Also, be aware of the weight of the mattress topper, since with some toppers you’ll have to remove it from the bed for cleaning.

7. Ease of Washing & Cleaning

Some mattress toppers come with removable and washable covers. While you’ll more likely have a bed sheet to cover your mattress topper, some people prefer to have an extra washable cover to easily wash off stains.

8. Allergies and Sensitivities

Check and ensure that the topper isn’t made from a material that you may have an allergy or sensitivity to. If you have allergy issues, look into a topper with a hypoallergenic cover.

Latex mattress topper is the best option to go for if you are allergic to dust mites. Or ask the salesperson about the material used in the topper. There are toppers that are made with 100% material, are toxic-free, and organic.

References