How we test products
Our mission is to take the guesswork out of finding the perfect sleep products.
We've dedicated hundreds of hours to testing mattresses and sleep accessories, and rely on a team of testers of differing weights, temperature preferences, and sleeping positions to evaluate each product.
Tested products are granted the Sleep Hero tested stamp of approval, a mark of our review's reliability.
If we haven't personally tested a product, please be assured that we invest significant time and energy into scouring the UK market and researching the best recommendations, and we work with a team of sleep experts who review our articles, ensuring that the insights we provide are not only relatable but also reliable.
What is a mattress topper?
Mattress toppers are all the rage - but what exactly is a mattress topper?
A mattress topper is a 4 - 10 cm (1.57 - 3.9 inches) thick removable layer of extra padding that you place on top of your mattress.
Often designed as an additional layer of comfort, mattress toppers change the overall feel of your mattress. 🐑
The exact feel of a topper will depend on the material used (more on this a bit further down).
But, in general, mattress toppers are meant to make a firm mattress softer.
When should you buy a mattress topper?
A comfortable mattress topper cannot solve all your mattress problems, and there are certainly some instances when buying a mattress topper is the wrong choice.
But, there are many times when purchasing a mattress topper is the perfect solution to your mattress-related problems.
This is great news as it'll save you the cost of having to buy a new mattress. 🥳
So, if you need any of the below, a mattress topper is the way to go.
Can a mattress topper make a firm mattress softer?
Yes - this is the number one reason people buy a mattress topper. 🥇
If you have a mattress with high-density foams or quality pocket springs that's still in perfect condition but just a bit too firm, then a mattress topper is the perfect solution.
It's also much cheaper than buying a new mattress.
Mattress toppers of any material can add a top layer of soft cushioning to your mattress.
Memory foam, gel foam, and latex mattress toppers are the softest, while cold foam toppers and hybrid toppers are firmer.
Can a mattress topper provide orthopaedic support?
Mattress toppers can effectively reduce aches and pains and provide overall orthopaedic support if a mattress that is too firm is at fault.
If your mattress is too firm for you, your spine won't remain in optimal alignment while you sleep. 📏
You need a mattress that offers enough support for the lighter parts of your body but still offers enough sinkage for your hips and shoulders.
A mattress topper can provide this extra cushioning layer to help with spinal alignment.
This is also why mattress toppers are so great for side sleepers.
Memory foam mattress toppers are an excellent choice.
Memory foam adapts well to your body, relieving pressure points and supporting sensitive areas like the lower back and hips.
Can a mattress topper make you feel warmer or cooler?
Mattress toppers generally allow for a warm and cosy sleeping environment, especially if they're made from memory foam, a material known to retain body heat.
But you can also purchase cooling mattress toppers with cooling gel, enhanced breathability, and temperature-regulating properties. ❄️
The Simba Hybrid mattress topper is a good option.
These breathable mattress toppers are more suitable for hot sleepers as they won't increase the overall temperature.
Unfortunately, though, they're unlikely to have a cooling effect if your actual mattress stores a lot of heat.
Both contain springs, which create natural ventilation channels to keep the air flowing and allow you to stay cool and comfortable and wake up refreshed. 💨
Can a mattress topper be used to combine two single mattresses?
If you've used two single mattresses to form a super-king bed, you'll be familiar with the annoying gap between them.
A large mattress topper placed over both mattresses can help solve this problem.
This works best if both partners have similar body types.
If you've chosen two single mattresses because you and your partner have different support requirements, then a bed bridge is a better option.
You can also opt for a customisable mattress or a zip-and-link mattress.
Can a mattress topper ease motion transfer?
If you're sleeping on an innerspring or hybrid mattress, you're likely to experience some motion transfer.
This means that movements from your partner will be carried through the mattress. 👩❤️👨
Adding a memory foam, polyfoam, or latex topper can decrease motion transfer and help you sleep more comfortably.
These mattress toppers are particularly great for couples.
We particularly like the Panda memory foam mattress topper - in our tests, it significantly altered the motion transfer of our mattress, resulting in calmer and more restful sleep.
How to choose your perfect mattress topper
Not all mattress toppers are created equal.
There are some great ones on the market, but there are also some substandard ones available.
If you're on the hunt for a new mattress topper, then consider the following key criteria. 🕵️♀️
The density of individual materials
Density is important when choosing a new mattress, but it's equally important when looking at mattress toppers.
Density indicates the amount of material used during production.
The higher the density, the higher the quality of your mattress topper and the more durable it will be.
Density is most important when looking at foam mattress toppers, and we'd recommend a density of at least 40 - 50 kg/m³. 👍
While toppers don't necessarily have a set degree of firmness in the way mattresses do, the material used still affects how soft or firm the mattress topper is.
As a guideline:
- Most standard mattress toppers are categorised as medium-firm.
- Memory foam toppers tend to be the softest.
- Cold foam toppers are the firmest.
Choose according to your personal needs and pay attention to your body weight and size.
Your preferred sleeping position will also play a part.
- Stomach sleepers need an extra firm mattress topper or mattress
- Back sleepers need a medium-firm mattress topper
- Side sleepers need a soft mattress topper
Your weight and sensitivity to pressure also contribute to whether you need a soft or hard mattress topper.
How thick should a mattress topper be?
Most mattress toppers are between 4 cm (1.6 inches) and 10 cm (3.9 inches) thick.
The thickness you choose will depend on how much softness you require.
- If you want a little bit more cushioning, a thinner topper will be sufficient.
- If you need lots of additional cushioning and support, a deeper mattress topper is better.
We wouldn't recommend choosing a topper that's under 4 cm (1.57 inches) thick.
Take a look at our thick mattress topper reviews for our favourite recommendations for 7 - 10 cm (2.7 - 3.9 inches) mattress toppers.
Mattress topper sizes
Of course, your mattress topper has to fit your mattress perfectly.
But you don't need a made-to-measure mattress topper to make that happen, since most toppers are available in all standard UK mattress sizes 🇬🇧
- Mattress topper single: 90 x 190 cm (3’ x 6’3”)
- Small double mattress topper: 120 x 190 cm (4' x 6'3")
- Mattress topper double: 135 x 190 cm (4’6” x 6’3”)
- King size mattress topper: 150 x 200 cm (5’ x 6’6”)
- Super-king mattress topper: 180 x 200 cm (6’ x 6’6”)
Some mattress toppers, like the Panda memory foam bamboo mattress topper, will also be available in select European sizes.
If you're using a large mattress topper over two single mattresses, ensure that the topper covers both mattresses.
Simply measure the dimensions (length x width) and choose accordingly.
Caravan mattress toppers or those designed for travelling may come in smaller sizes to fit a compact space.
What should a good mattress topper cost?
Mattress toppers are available at all price points.
In contrast, more luxurious toppers, like the Simba Hybrid mattress topper or the Tempur topper, will set you back a few hundred quid for the smallest size.
Value-for-money toppers, like the Panda memory foam topper, are a good in-between.
Mattress topper discount codes
A mattress topper sale can help you buy within your budget, and you're likely to find the best sales around peak periods like Easter and Christmas.
We also share our favourite UK mattress topper deals throughout this article and on our discounts page.
Alternatively, sign up for our newsletter for the latest deals and sleep advice.
How do you wash a mattress topper?
If you're looking after your mattress, the last thing you want is a mattress topper that's stained and unhygienic.
Some foam mattress toppers turn yellow with age, but most mattress toppers (and mattress pads in general) turn yellow due to sweat stains, dead skin, and general household dirt.
Some thinner or quilted mattress toppers are machine-washable, but most foam mattress toppers can't be popped into the machine. 🧺
That's why we recommend choisng a mattress topper with a removable cover that's machine-washable at a high temperature.
This will remove dirt, kill bacteria and dust mites, and help with allergies. 🤧
If your foam topper is stained, you can remove individual stains with detergent, a damp cloth, and water.
We'd also highly recommend that you invest in a waterproof mattress protector. 💦
Mattress protectors will safeguard your mattress and mattress topper against dirt, stains, moisture, and bacteria.
If you protect your mattress topper, it should last you 3 - 5 years.