If your mattress isn’t satisfying your comfort needs, it’s time for an upgrade–but you don’t have to replace your whole mattress to accomplish this. Depending on your needs, adding something as simple as the right type of mattress topper may help change the feel and support level of your sleeping surface. From altering the firmness to increasing spinal support to smoothing lumps and bumps, a topper can totally change the way your mattress conforms to and cushions you at night.
However, the right mattress topper makes all the difference, which means you’ve got to find one that’s just the right balance of firmness and plushness, thick enough to add cushioning, and breathable on hot nights. To help you find the best option for your needs, we tested 10 mattress toppers from a variety of brands in The Lab for 16 hours to sort out the winners. In the process, we examined and compared each topper, taking a close look at the set-up process, overall comfort, and airflow of these products firsthand. For additional insight, we tested to see whether we could feel hard objects placed underneath the surface (simulating a lumpy mattress), as well as how warm the material got when someone was laying on it.
|Hours Spent Testing||8|
Saatva Mattress Topper
Lumps aren’t detectable through topper
Ideal firmness for multiple sleeping positions
Generous return period
Strong odor after unboxing
Only 1-year warranty
After many hours of testing, we determined that the Saatva Mattress Topper is one of the best choices for most people. Not only does it offer an extremely comfortable and supportive feel that our testers really liked, but it’s also quite heavy and dense, indicating that it’s made from durable materials that will last a long time.
After unboxing, we found that this topper is slightly lumpy and had an unpleasant odor, but we were able to smooth it out. It’s not as squishy as other memory foam options, but it does provide superior support, making it ideal for virtually any sleeping position. You can even pair it with one of the brand's top-rated mattresses for back sleepers. Our testers weren’t able to detect small objects placed underneath the surface and gave it 4 out of 5 stars for cushioning. Our testers gave it 5 out of 5 stars for airflow, citing the organic cotton cover and graphite-infused foam, which make this topper feel much cooler than traditional memory foam.
One of the perks of this high-end mattress is its 180-night sleep trial, during which returns are free, but it only has a 1-year warranty, which is significantly shorter than most other products. Overall, if you’re willing to spend a bit more to elevate your sleeping experience, the Saatva Graphite Mattress Topper is a worthwhile splurge.
Price at time of publish: $345
Material: Graphite-infused memory foam | Height: 3 inches | Sizes: Twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, California king, split king | Certifications: None | Return Policy: 180 days plus 1-year warranty
Runner-Up, Best Overall
Sleep Innovations Dual Layer Memory Foam Mattress Topper
Extremely comfortable and cushioning
Stays in place on bed
Cooling abilities are lessened by top layer
The Sleep Innovations Gel Memory Foam Mattress Topper is another option that our testers loved. This unique topper is actually made up of two layers: it has a 2-inch gel memory foam layer, as well as a 2-inch pillow topper that has a built-in skirt similar to a mattress pad. Not only does this design ensure the topper stays in place on your bed, but our testers absolutely loved how the two layers felt. The topper provided the perfect amount of cushioning without being too fluffy, and the top layer makes it more comfortable than a standard memory foam topper. Our testers ultimately gave it a 5-star rating for its cushioning capabilities.
This mattress topper is easy to arrange on a bed, earning 4 stars for ease of set-up, but the gel memory foam does have a sticky feel. Luckily, the top layer covers the foam so you don’t have to deal with the unpleasant texture. "As someone who has had back surgery, I thought that this topper was neither too firm nor too soft, which is often an issue I run into with bedding," our tester said. "This topper has mastered the balance between support and comfort, and it helped me get a good night’s sleep."
One downside that we noticed with this mattress topper is that the cooling effects of the gel memory foam are lessened due to the polyester-filled pillow topper. It wasn’t the warmest mattress topper we tested, but the surface temperature did increase several degrees when someone laid on it for five minutes. However, you can always pair it with some cooling sheets to help mitigate that issue. In addition to being extremely comfortable, this mattress topper is made in the USA and is CertiPUR-US certified, meaning its foam meets standards for content, emissions, and durability. It’s also backed by an impressive 10-year warranty.
Price at time of publish: $160
Material: Gel memory foam | Height: 4 inches | Sizes: Twin, Full, Queen, King, Cal King | Certifications: CertiPUR-US | Return Policy: Dependent on retailer plus 10-year warranty
LUCID 3-inch Gel Memory Foam Mattress Topper
Comfortable and supportive
Ventilation holes provide airy feel
For a more budget-friendly option, the LUCID Memory Foam Mattress Topper provides a firm yet comfortable surface to sleep on. It’s made from an open cell gel memory foam that allows air to pass through, and our testers liked that it felt airy and breathable (though it did feel slightly tacky to the touch). The topper has a more firm texture than other options we tested, making it a good choice to go on beds for side sleepers, or for anyone who needs a more supportive mattress surface.
This mattress topper did have an odor after unboxing, so we gave it the recommended 48-hour off-gassing period before testing it. It was the perfect size for our testing mattress. While we were able to see lumps when objects were placed underneath the topper, our testers didn’t feel any discomfort when lying down.
We tested the 3-inch version of this mattress topper, but it also comes in a 2-inch foam layer, as well. The material is CertiPUR-US certified, and the manufacturer offers a 3-year warranty.
Price at time of publish: $100
Material: Gel memory foam | Height: 3 inches | Sizes: Twin, twin XL, full, full XL, queen, king, California king | Certifications: CertiPUR-US | Return Policy: Dependent on retailer plus 3-year warranty
Tuft & Needle Mattress Topper
Good choice for lumpy mattresses
Silicone beading keeps topper in place
Set-up requires two people
Strong odor after unboxing
If you typically find memory foam to be too warm, the Tuft & Needle Mattress Topper is made from an open-cell foam that doesn’t retain as much heat. While it’s only 2 inches thick, our testers loved how it felt, noting that it wasn’t too thick or too thin. Further, we were barely able to detect hard objects placed under the topper, so it would be a good choice if you’re hoping to remedy a lumpy or uncomfortable mattress.
This mattress topper did have a strong odor after unboxing, so it will likely require an off-gassing period (even though the brand doesn’t recommend one). The cover has silicone beading on the bottom to help keep the topper in place on your bed, and we’d recommend enlisting a partner to help set it up.
One of the great things about this topper is that it offers several certifications, including CertiPUR-US and UL GREENGUARD Gold, which verifies the topper gives off low emissions to support healthy indoor environments. Tuft & Needle offers a 100-night sleep trial with hassle-free returns, and the product is backed by a 3-year warranty.
Price at time of publish: $250
Material: Open-cell foam | Height: 2 inches | Sizes: Twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, California king | Certifications: CertiPUR-US, UL GREENGUARD Gold, Intertek Clean Air Certification | Return Policy: 100 days plus 3-year warranty
Best Memory Foam
ViscoSoft Active Cooling Memory Foam Mattress Topper
Thick and cushy feel
No motion transfer
Retains less heat than other options
Slight sinking sensation
Memory foam is a popular material for mattress toppers thanks to its comfortable yet supportive feel. Of all the memory foam products we tested, the ViscoSoft Mattress Topper was our favorite. It has a thick and cushy texture that’s comfortable and supportive, and our testers noted they weren’t able to feel any lumps when hard objects were placed underneath the topper. This makes it a top choice for anyone with a lumpy mattress.
Because it’s memory foam, this topper did require a 48-hour off-gassing period. Set up was also slightly more complex since you have to put a cover, which is made from cooling fabric, onto the memory foam by hand. Memory foam is notorious for retaining quite a bit of heat, but thanks to its breathable cover and copper-infused foam, this topper actually stayed cooler than many other options we tested. For added comfort, you can pair it with cooling pillows. It also prevented any motion transfer, making it a top choice for anyone who’s bothered by their partner’s movements during the night. It was a little bit large for the bed.
This topper is available with either a black or white cover, and its materials are both American-made and CertiPUR-US certified. The brand offers a 5-year warranty on the product, and the cover can be machine-washed for easy maintenance.
Price at time of publish: $235
Material: Copper-infused memory foam | Height: 4 inches | Sizes: Twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, California king | Certifications: CertiPUR-US | Return Policy: 60 day guarantee and 5-year warranty (when purchased from ViscoSoft)
Nest Bedding Cooling Topper
Soft and squishy
Ideal for firm mattresses
Made to order
Not the best value
While it didn’t beat the other foam toppers in testing, we’d still recommend the Nest Bedding Cooling Topper, which could help to provide more cushioning on a too-firm mattress. It’s made from the brand’s proprietary foam, and our testers liked its soft and squishy texture. It also has an attractive design and is made in the US using CertiPUR-US certified foam.
This topper had a very slight odor after unboxing, and it was a tad too short for the mattress. Because it’s only 2 inches thick, we were able to detect objects placed underneath the surface, and it also got quite warm during testing. Overall, it’s not a bad choice for those looking to make even the best firm mattress more comfortable, but it’s a bit pricey compared to other comparable options.
Price at time of publish: $219
Material: Energex™ Foam | Height: 2 inches | Sizes: Twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, California king | Certifications: CertiPUR-US | Return Policy: 30 days
Cozy Earth Bamboo Mattress Pad
Cooling bamboo viscose material
Easy to get onto mattress
Works for regular and deep pocket mattresses
Not very plush
If you aren’t looking for a whole lot of additional cushioning on your current mattress, Cozy Earth’s Bamboo Mattress Pad is a great option–and we especially like this product for hot sleepers. We were immediately impressed by the softness of this mattress pad, and it felt cool to the touch when we first began using it. Made out of premium viscose bamboo, it’s designed to be incredibly soft, and we found it easy to get onto the mattress in our testing. Thanks to the lightweight, airy nature of the bamboo fabric, it can help lower your temperature while asleep with enhanced breathability and airflow.
It’s important to note, however, that this isn’t a true topper. Rather, it’s a pad, which means it’s thinner and doesn’t offer inches of extra cushioning or support. However, if you want something that’ll help lower your body temperature and stay breathable and cool to the touch, you can add this Cozy Earth pick to the list of products to help you sleep cooler, particularly in the summer. While its price is high, those seeking a soft in-between layer will find it meets the bill.
Price at time of publish: $209 for a Queen
Material: Premium viscose from bamboo | Height: Not listed | Sizes: Twin, full, queen, king, Cal king | Certifications: Not listed | Return Policy: Within 100 days
|Overall Rating||Set Up||Airflow|
Saatva Mattress Topper
Runner-Up, Best Overall:
Sleep Innovations Memory Foam Mattress Topper
LUCID Gel Memory Foam Mattress Topper
Tuft & Needle Mattress Topper
Best Memory Foam:
ViscoSoft Cooling Memory Foam Mattress Topper
Nest Bedding Cooling Topper
Cozy Earth Bamboo Mattress Pad
After extensive testing, we're confident that the Saatva Mattress Topper would be a great fit for most people. It's extremely supportive and made of thoughtful materials that are designed to last a lifetime. For something a little cheaper, the LUCID Ventilated Gel Memory Foam Mattress Topper is cushy and supportive. We liked its airy feel, which is achieved thanks to dozens of ventilation holes in the foam.
How We Tested the Mattress Toppers
Over the course of two days, members of The Spruce’s editorial team tested 11 total toppers at The Lab. We evaluated each topper on its ease of set up, comfort, and airflow, rating it on a scale of 1 to 5. Eight of the 11 products we tested made it onto our final list.
To test the ease of setup and overall design, we timed how long it took to unbox and arrange each topper and took note of any smells or defects that appeared as the products fluffed up to size and off-gassed (if necessary). To assess comfort, team members placed items varying in size from small to large between the mattress and the topper before we laid in bed, judging how easy it was to feel any of the items through the topper. The highest-rated toppers were those that provided ample cushioning to keep our bodies comfortable and not distracted by lumps or uncomfortable bumps.
In the testing process, we also assessed the breathability and heat retention of each topper, using a surface temperature tester to determine the difference between the area where we were laying down and the area that was left untouched. To properly consider breathability, we considered how much body heat each mattress topper retained, along with any claims of “airflow” and “cooling” material that prevented sweating or discomfort in bed.
What to Look for in a Mattress Topper
Part of the key to a mattress topper’s increased comfort and support is its thickness. Typically, the thicker a mattress topper is, the more added cushion it will provide. The thickest options tend to stand between 3 to 4 inches tall, adding to the height of your mattress and offering a plush-to-the-touch sleeping surface made out of foam, down fill, or down alternative fill. If it's added thickness you’re searching for, we like Sleep Innovations Dual Layer Memory Foam Mattress Topper, which stands 4 inches tall and offers multiple layers of cushioning against your existing mattress.
If you don’t need a whole lot of extra thickness but simply need a little more softness, a thinner mattress topper may do the trick. Thin options are often between 1 to 2 inches thick, and will do just fine if you simply want a little bit of added comfort on your bed. Options like Tuft & Needle’s Mattress Topper, which stands just 2 inches tall, can balance additional cushioning with a surface-smoothing sleep surface that’ll eliminate lumps and bumps.
On the other hand, some mattress pads can be up to 6 inches thick—ideal if your bed is incredibly uncomfortable.
Mattress toppers can be made with a variety of materials, including different types of foam, down feathers, and regular pillow material. There are pros and cons to the different options: For instance, memory foam often has an odor at first, while down toppers may lose feathers over time. While memory foam may be the most popular (and common!) choice, it’s best for sleepers who need additional support and cushioning. However, it may not offer the highest level of breathability or take mattresses from too firm to nicely plush. If you’re seeking a softer sleeping surface, materials like down or down alternative fill will add cushioning without any extra support. You’ll want to consider the positives and negatives of each material before making a decision.
Do you tend to get hot at night? Certain mattress toppers regulate body heat better than others, so consider this while shopping. Specifically, memory foam is known to retain heat, which can cause you to get too warm during the night, while down feathers are significantly better at maintaining a normal temperature. You can also consider thinner toppers–or even mattress pads–that are constructed with more breathable and heat-reducing materials, like the Cozy Earth Bamboo Mattress Pad.
How thick should a mattress topper be?
The majority of mattress topper are between 2 and 4-inches thick, and the ideal thickness depends on your needs. If you’re looking for a mattress topper to cover lumps on your existing mattress, you’ll likely want a thicker product made from a dense foam. On the other hand, those simply looking to add plushness to their mattress will be fine with a thinner topper.
Are mattress toppers hot to sleep on?
Many mattress toppers are made from memory foam, and this material does retain a lot of body heat, making them warm to sleep on. However, there are many mattress toppers that are designed to regulate temperature better. Some products use gel- or copper-infused memory foam to dissipate heat, while others have ventilation holes or cooling fabric covers. Further, materials like open-cell foam or latex typically don’t retain as much heat, making them more comfortable for those who sleep hot.
How long do mattress toppers last?
The lifespan of your mattress topper will depend largely on the material it’s made from. Low-quality foam will often break down after a year or two, but better quality memory foam will usually last three to five years. Latex mattress toppers are especially durable and often last five years or more.
Can mattress toppers be washed?
Some mattress toppers come with machine-washable covers that make them easier to clean, and certain down or down alternative options can be machine washed, as well. However, foam toppers can’t be put in the washing machine, but there are ways to clean and care for them, such as hand washing using baking soda or laundry detergent.
Do mattress toppers help with back pain?
Because mattress toppers provide an even, supportive, and firm layer for you to sleep on, they can help relieve your back pain. Studies have found that sleeping on a firmer surface can help alleviate back pain.
Why Trust The Spruce?
This article was written by Camryn Rabideau, a lifestyle writer and expert on all things homes who has firsthand experience testing all sorts of bedding, including mattress toppers. To compile this list, she used testing insights from The Lab, where each of the mattress toppers was evaluated on its ease of set up, comfort and support, thickness, and temperature regulation. Before testing, we searched through dozens of today’s top mattress toppers, considering factors like customer satisfaction, price, and features to determine which products to test firsthand.
What is Spruce Approved?
Here at The Spruce we want to ensure we fully stand behind every product we recommend, and that when we say something is the best, we mean it. You might have noticed The Spruce Approved badge next to the products on this list. Every product with this badge has been rigorously tested in person and carefully selected by our expert team of lab testers and editors. In most cases, we buy all these products ourselves, though occasionally we get samples provided to us directly by companies. No matter how we procure products, they all go through the same tests and must meet the same strict criteria to make the best-of cut. We also pride ourselves on transparency and will always let you know if we received a product for free.
Caggiari, Gianfilippo, et al. What type of mattress should be chosen to avoid back pain and improve sleep quality? Review of the literature. J Orthop Traumatol, vol 22, no. 1, 2021, pp. 51., doi:10.1186/s10195-021-00616-5