A few years ago, I had to write about mattress toppers for a job. I knew nothing about them, so I had to do a lot of research. What I learned is that they’re better than sex. Unless, of course, the sex is on top of a mattress with a topper. I had to buy one. Since then, I have not had a restless night of sleep, aside from a couple of times when I was too intoxicated to sleep well, but I deserved that for my gluttony.
Mattress toppers are the affordable way to make your crappy mattress into one of those fancy expensive luxury sleep cruises that whisk angels off to Nanightland. And, there are tons of cost-effective options out there. What should you look for? I’m glad you asked:
What You Should Look for
There are a few questions you should ask yourself when shopping for mattress toppers:
Do you feel lucky? – This will be the last time I reference sex in this post. Your kids can come back in the room and read this article now.
What sorts of allergies do you have? – This one is obvious, but if you are allergic to feathers or latex, then do not sleep on these materials. Unless, of course, you enjoy your allergic reactions. No judgment here.
Why do you want a topper? – You probably need a firmer or softer topper that only covers half the bed if you and your bed buddy prefer mattresses of different firmnesses. You will want a topper that is fairly soft and thick when you are looking for more cushioning for your firm mattress. And, you should buy a latex or high-density memory foam setup when you want pain relief.
Do you prefer to be cool at night? – Latex and memory foam toppers tend to trap body heat. When the mattress topper is denser or thicker, it will feel hotter. On the other hand, wool toppers reduce heat in the summer by wicking away moisture while offering added warmth in the winter.
Do you piss the bed? – If so, you need a mattress pad that is waterproof.
What Are Mattress Toppers Capable of?
The best mattress toppers do so much more than just lay there and look pretty. Here are some common features you might want:
Maintains Its Shape – After a couple of months of use, cheapo mattress toppers may tear, develop lumps, or sag.
Free of Scents – Brand new foam toppers may have an unpleasant odor. I know you can’t wait to visit Comfort Country, but I recommend putting your topper in a well-ventilated area (like your garage) to let it air out for a few days after it arrives.
Keeps You as Cool as the Other Side of the Cliché – As mentioned above, some like it hot, and some like it cold. Some people’s minds change with the season. The materials will determine how well the mattress topper regulates heat. I’ve found gel memory foam does an excellent job of keeping me cool at night, which is what I prefer.
Gives You a Good Balance of Support and Cushion – In Asia, they like to sleep on firm surfaces. In the US, we like it nice and soft. Firmness is all about personal preference. Choose a topper that has your preferred level of softness but that does not collapse under your weight (I’m not calling you fat.)
Now that you have a few tools to guide you in your mattress topper shopping, check out my picks for the top 10 best mattress toppers. Just a note: All of the reviews are based on the model’s queen size unless otherwise noted.
- Uses “Cool Cycle Polymer” design to keep you cool
- Aims to reduce pressure points to help relieve back or neck ache
- Designed to accommodate snug placement of fitted sheets
The most common user review of the Red Nomad Gel-Infused Memory Foam Pad is that it is like “sleeping on a cloud.” Personally, I find this offensive. My father tried to sleep on a cloud once and ended up plummeting 20,000 feet to his death. This mattress topper will not kill you. It envelopes you like a large matronly bosom. The topper is durable and won’t become misshapen over time, though Red Nomad recommends flipping and rotating your pad occasionally.
- Made of premium memory foam manufactured in accordance with CertiPUR-US
- Made in the United States
- Visco Elastic comfort, which means less tossing and fewer turnings
The main difference between this and my top pick is that the above mattress topper is gel-infused memory foam. This Red Nomad pad is made with just your run-of-the-mill Visco Elastic memory foam. I am partial to gel-infused memory foam, but if you like to be warmer when you’re sleeping, I strongly recommend going with this pad. The only user complaints are that it may be a bit too soft/not supportive enough for some, and it tends to smell a bit at first.
- Comes with a three-year manufacturer’s warranty and 60-day money back guarantee
- With a density rating of 3.3 pounds per square foot, it is a great balance of comfort and support
- Open cell structure dissipates heat
Users are raving about the Advanced Sleep Solutions Gel-Infused Memory Foam Topper. I’m telling you: gel-infused memory foam is what humans were meant to sleep on. Sufferers of chronic pain report that this mattress pad gave them their first nights of pain-free sleep in years. The only complaint I could find was that it may take a few nights for your body to get used to the cushioning.
- Comes with an ultra-soft removable bamboo-fabric cover with non-slip bottom
- Gel-infused memory foam designed not to lose its shape
- May take up to four days to fully decompress
Have you destroyed your bed by sleeping in the exact same position every night? Are you thinking of dropping thousands of dollars on one of those mattresses that comes in the mail that you heard about on your favorite podcast? Not so fast! Revitalize your mattress with the Milliard Gel Infused Memory Foam Mattress Topper. It comes in a box no bigger than an extremely large thimble, and after you allow it to decompress and stop stankin’ for about 96 hours, it’s ready to use. The biggest complaint from users is how long it takes for the stank to dissipate.
- Ideal for back, stomach, or side (both left and right) sleepers. Not recommended for levitators
- Made of premium memory foam
- Has open cells which allow for air flow
Users have had a couple complaints about the Sleep Innovations Memory Foam Mattress Topper. Apparently, it might lose its shape after about half a year, and it is hard to reach Sleep Innovations’ customer support to get a replacement. For the most part, the comfort is excellent, and the topper doesn’t have much of a smell to it. Pro-tip: consider getting a waterproof cover (like the SafeRest Premium Hypoallergenic Waterproof Mattress Protector) to put over it in case you have some accidental water sports.
- Makes your mattress more comfortable, restful, supportive, and cooler instantly
- Exceeds PURGreen Certification standards
- Conforms to your body perfectly, which makes it ideal for creating molds for replacement clones
The Memory Foam Solutions Gel Swirl Visco Elastic Mattress Pad is an excellent gel-infused topper. I’ve made it clear that I’m partial to the gel-infused products. I have not found a gel-infused mattress topper, shaving foam, dessert treat, or shoe insole that wasn’t well worth the cost.
- Washer and dryer safe removable snug-fit cover
- 10-year limited warranty
- 2 inches of fluffy fiberfill and 2 inches of cooling gel memory foam
For Christmas a few years ago, my mother sent us a good chunk of change. So, we decided to splurge on a mattress topper. The Sleep Innovations 4-Inch Dual Layer Mattress Topper is what we got, and it has been a paradigm shift in our sleep experience. We now do everything on our bed: sleep, read, roughhouse, host dinner parties, roller skate, you name it! The only reason I put this at #7 is that I’m not sure if the quality justifies a cost of nearly twice as much as any of the other above options.
- Designed to regulate air flow with ventilation channels and open cell technology
- Aimed to relieve back, shoulder, and neck pain by reducing pressure points
- May also relieve pain from arthritis
I called up Milliard and recommended that the tagline for this mattress topper should be “it’s like sleeping on egg shells,” but I don’t think they’re going to take my idea and run with it. For some reason, this pad seems to be a big hit among people with Ikea mattresses.
- Uses plant-based ingredients for a low environmental impact
- Creates a healthier, hygienic sleeping experience with breathable materials
- Offers pressure relief and cradling comfort
The SleepJoy ViscO2 is a great product…maybe. Apparently, the manufacturer is inconsistent. Many users have complained that the quality is spotty, even arguing that some recent pads were nothing more than sponges.
- 3-year warranty
- Will fold into your fold-out couch
- Won’t burn your house down
The DreamFoam Bedding DF20GT2050 is the most affordable gel-infused memory foam topper worth buying. If you want to spend the absolute minimum for a gel pad, this is the way to go.
Do you know someone who has trouble sleeping, has back problems, or whose life you just want to improve immeasurably? Share this review with them!