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 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 my firm mattress softer?
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 a 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 too-firm mattress is at fault.
If your mattress is too firm for you, your spine won't remain straight 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 layer of cushioning 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.
The most premium memory foam mattress topper on the market is the Tempur mattress topper.
It is very expensive but, if you have the budget available, this is an excellent choice.
Can a mattress topper make me feel warmer or cooler?
Mattress toppers generally allow for a warm and cosy sleeping environment.
This is especially true of memory foam toppers.
Memory foam retains more body heat than other types of foam, so you're more likely to feel snug and comfortable.
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.
But, they're unlikely to have a cooling effect if your actual mattress stores a lot of heat.
If you're a hot sleeper, we'd recommend opting for a pocket sprung mattress from the get-go.
The spaces between the springs allow for natural ventilation channels, keeping the air flowing. 💨
This will ensure you stay cool and comfortable and wake up refreshed.
A hybrid mattress, which combines foams with pocket springs, is also a good option.
One of our all-time favourite hybrid mattresses is the Simba Hybrid.
If you find yourself cold during the night, memory foam would be an excellent choice.
Alternatively, consider an electric blanket for a heated mattress topper to keep you cosy and warm. 🔥
Can a mattress topper be used to combine two single mattresses?
If you've used two single mattresses to form a double bed, you'll be familiar with the annoying gap between them.
A large mattress topper placed over both mattresses can help solve this problem.
Keep in mind, though, that 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, like the Silentnight Yours & Mine Dual Firmness Mattress.
Here, each partner can specify the firmness and comfort levels of each side of the 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 for this. 🐼
In our tests, it significantly altered the motion transfer of our mattress, resulting in a 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. 🕵️♀️
Consider 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.
We recommend a density of at least 40 - 50 kg/m³. 👍
Density is most important when looking at foam mattress toppers.
While toppers don't necessarily have a set degree of firmness in the way that 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 sleeping preferences, and pay attention to your body weight and size.
The best mattress topper for side sleepers, back sleepers and stomach sleepers varies per sleeping position.
- 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 your 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, an extra thick mattress topper is better.
We wouldn't recommend choosing a topper that's under 4 cm thick.
If you're looking for an extra deep mattress topper, take a look at our thick mattress topper review.
We give you our favourite recommendations for 7 - 10cm 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.
Most mattress toppers are available in all of the 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”)
- Mattress topper king size: 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.
However, caravan mattress toppers or those designed for travelling may come in smaller sizes designed to fit a compact space.
How much should a good mattress topper cost?
Mattress toppers come in a wide range of prices.
But, it's always worth investing in a high-quality product.
More premium products, like the Simba mattress topper and the Eve mattress topper, can cost closer to £250 - £300 for double size.
High-end quality mattress toppers, like the Tempur Topper, will set you back an average of £850 for a double size!
Our favourite budget-friendly quality option is the Panda memory foam topper.
How do you attach a mattress topper?
The last thing you want is your mattress topper moving around on your bed while you sleep - especially if you're a restless sleeper!
Most quality mattress toppers have elastic bands that allow you to easily attach them to your mattress, keeping them firmly in place. 🥳
But some mattress toppers don't have this.
We really wouldn't recommend buying a mattress topper that doesn't come with straps - it can be super uncomfortable.
But, if your mattress topper doesn't come with straps & you don't want to buy a new one, we'd suggest using a fitted sheet or mattress protector to help you keep your topper in place.
What is the best mattress topper to buy?
You don't need a mattress topper if you have a high-quality mattress that's perfect for you.
But, if your mattress is a bit too firm or you're looking for additional cushioning, a mattress topper is a good idea 😁
The best mattress topper for you will depend on your:
- Preferred sleeping temperature
- Orthopaedic concerns
Or favourite all-rounder is the Panda memory foam bamboo mattress topper, but you won't go wrong with any of the ones we've recommended.
Don't forget that a mattress topper is not a cheat for a new mattress.
If your mattress is old, damaged, or sagging, you'll have to throw it out and get a new one.