The Best Mattress Toppers 2021Updated on March 11, 2021 While all product recommendations are chosen independently, we may receive compensation for purchases made through our site. Learn more about how we make money here.
If your bed is in need of an upgrade but buying a mattress just isn’t in the cards, a mattress topper may be your best bet. At what is often a fraction of the cost of a full mattress, a mattress topper can go a long way in changing the amount of comfort and support that you get from your bed.
In this guide, we’ll present our top 4 picks for the best mattress toppers. We’ll touch on all the key things that you need to know as you shop for a topper including their benefits and drawbacks, shopping criteria, and different ways that you may put a topper to use.
Our Top Picks
This table provides a quick list and summary of our top picks for the best mattress toppers.
|Brand||Model||Topper Type||Thickness||Firmness||Price (Queen)|
|Molecule AirTEC Mattress Topper||Polyfoam||3″||Medium (5.5)||$299|
|High-Density Topper||Gel Memory Foam||3″||Medium Firm (5-6)||$150|
|Lift by Amerisleep||Memory Foam||3″||2 Choices: Medium Soft (4), Medium Firm (6)||$299|
|PandaZzz Premium Quilted Topper||Memory Foam||3″||Medium Firm (6)||$149|
|Maxzzz 4-Inch 7-Zone Topper||Gel Memory Foam||4″||Medium (5)||$170|
|Natural Latex Topper||Latex||2″ or 3″||4 choices: Soft (4), Medium (5), Medium Firm (6), Extra Firm (8)||$439-529|
Molecule AirTEC Mattress Topper
Why we like it:
- High degree of breathability and airflow
- Medium feel
- Made using eco-friendly methods
The Molecule AirTEC mattress topper is a supportive foam option with a strong cooling factor. All the components of the topper are specifically geared toward increased airflow and breathability.
Overall, this topper has a Medium feel of about 5.5, making it well-suited for sleepers of various sizes and positions.
The AirTEC topper is 3 inches thick and built from three layers. The comfort layer is 1 inch of Molecule’s proprietary MolecularFLO foam. This polyurethane foam is several times more breathable than memory foam, and is well-rated for both comfort and durability.
The core is a 1 inch thick sheet of Molecule’s HexFLO foam, which is formed from a matrix of open, breathable cells. Although it is a foam, HexFLO is designed to be similar to latex in terms of responsiveness, buoyancy, and durability.
The base is a 1 inch layer of Molecule’s RecoveryFLO foam for added spinal support. All three layers are wrapped in a breathable cover made from a blend of polyester, polyethylene, and elastane.
Molecule’s foams are all made using Variable Pressure Foaming, which greatly reduces emissions from manufacture.
Molecule offers free shipping and returns, along with a 30-night sleep trial period. A 5-year limited warranty covers the topper for any defects in terms of materials or workmanship.
ViscoSoft Select High-Density Topper
Why we like it:
- Excellent contouring and motion isolation
- Reduced heat retention with gel-infused foam and bamboo rayon cover
- Stays in place with corner straps and anti-slip mesh
- Medium Firm feel
The ViscoSoft Select High Density mattress topper is a perfect choice for sleepers who want a topper that provides a Medium Firm feel and responsiveness that can support the spine and help prevent back pain.
This topper is made with 3 inches of memory foam that has a density of 3 pounds per cubic foot (PCF). This thickness allows the topper to cushion even the sharpest of pressure points, and the density means that the ViscoSoft topper will have a longer lifespan than many other foam options.
With a Medium Firm comfort feel of around a 5-6 on the typical firmness scale, this topper can work for sleepers in most positions. It also adds significant motion isolation, reducing potential disruptions in the night and making this topper a great fit for couples. The gel-infused foam helps to prevent heat retention and sleeping hot, which is one of the most common problems with memory foam.
To stay in place on top of your mattress, the ViscoSoft topper has four elastic straps at each corner. In addition, the bottom of the topper is made with an anti-slip mesh that prevents the topper from shifting when you move on top of it.
The memory foam comes inside a cover that is made with breathable and soft bamboo rayon. This cover is removable and machine-washable, making for easy cleaning to keep your bed smelling fresh.
ViscoSoft offers free shipping and a 60-day sleep trial to test out the topper on your own mattress. They also provide a warranty for 3 years that covers any defects in materials or manufacturing.
Lift by Amerisleep
Why we like it:
- 2 firmness options
- Dense and durable Bio-Pur memory foam
- Zoned firmness offers enhanced conforming
- Micro-grip base keeps topper in place
The Lift by Amerisleep is constructed with Bio-Pur, a proprietary memory foam noted for its dense composition and above-average longevity. The material conforms evenly to alleviate aches, pains, and pressure points but shouldn’t lose shape too quickly, allowing for years of continuous use. A base layer of high-density polyfoam rounds out the topper’s 3-inch profile, adding extra support and stability.
Customers can choose from two firmness levels. The Comfort option, which equates to medium soft (4), will contour more closely to the body and is best suited to side sleepers up to 230 pounds and back sleepers who weigh less than 130 pounds. The Support feel, a medium firm (6), offers an even surface with less sinkage for heavier individuals.
The topper has a breathable cotton and polyester cover that promotes airflow and prevents the surface from overheating too much. The base cover is a micro-grip material that holds the topper in place, so there shouldn’t be too much shifting when you change positions or get in and out of bed. The foams also absorb movement from sleepers to reduce transfer and help couples sleep soundly.
The above-average sticker price for this topper reflects its premium, long-lasting materials, so the Lift should be seen as a high-value investment. Shipping is free throughout the contiguous U.S. and each order comes with a 5-year warranty against structural defects.
PandaZzz Premium Quilted Topper
Why we like it:
- Memory foam layers contour closely without sinking too much
- Above-average breathability for an all-foam topper
- Anti-slip bottom prevents shifting and slipping
- 100-night sleep trial
The Premium Quilted Topper from PandaZzz is an ideal choice for anyone who enjoys the deep, body-hugging feel of memory foam. The top layer of this 3-inch topper is composed of adaptive memory foam, while the bottom layer features denser memory foam ventilated with small holes to promote airflow. The result is a topper that alleviates pressure, isolates motion, and sleeps cooler than average.
The topper’s feel is medium firm (6), so sleepers in the range of 130-230 pounds will probably feel most comfortable – side and back sleepers in particular. The top layer provides ample cushioning for the shoulders and hips, improving spinal alignment for side sleepers and reducing pressure in the process. For back sleepers up to 230 pounds, the topper feels firm and supportive enough to minimize sinkage around the shoulders and hips.
The sleep surface’s cover is made from quilted jacquard, a material that feels exceptionally soft and also retains a minimal amount of body heat. The base cover features a micro-grip material that grounds the topper and prevents it from shifting whenever someone moves or gets up during the night.
In addition to carrying an affordable price-point, the Premium Quilted Topper qualifies for free shipping to all customers. You’ll also receive a 100-night sleep trial with your purchase for testing out the topper before making a final decision.
Maxzzz 4-Inch 7-Zone Topper
Why we like it:
- Memory foam contours closely and evenly distributes weight
- Zoned base foam offers enhanced support throughout the body
- Excellent motion isolation for couples
- Removable cover is machine washable
Maxzzz offers two iterations of the 7-Zone Topper. We’ve selected the 4-inch option because of its close body-contouring, exceptional motion isolation, and above-average pressure relief for both side and back sleepers. The topper is constructed with a top layer of adaptive, gel-infused memory foam that hugs and conforms to the body without trapping excess body heat. The base layer of high-density polyfoam is divided into seven firmness zones, so you’ll receive extra support around the midsection and gentle cradling for lighter areas of your body.
While the zoned base delivers distinct feels across the surface, the topper’s overall firmness level is medium (5) and best suited to people who find their current mattress too firm or stiff. Both foam layers absorb movement and nearly eliminate transfer across the surface, so the topper is a good choice for couples too.
Those who want a slightly firmer feel should consider Maxzzz’s 3-inch 7-Zone Topper instead. This model bears a very similar construction, but the layers are a bit thinner and people who weigh more than 230 pounds should receive more support.
The 4-Inch 7-Zone Topper’s price-point is very reasonable and all orders qualify for free ground shipping. Returns are allowed within 30 days of the original purchase date.
PlushBeds Natural Latex Topper
Why we like it:
- 100% Talalay latex is conforming and bouncy
- Natural latex made to high standards
- Available in two thickness choices and four firmness options
The PlushBeds Natural Latex Topper is a luxury option for sleepers who want high-end materials and abundant choices for selecting the perfect option for their mattress.
PlushBeds offers this topper in a 2-inch and 3-inch model. Both models are made with 100% natural latex. PlushBeds puts an emphasis on sustainable production and uses GreenGuard Gold Certified latex made without synthetic fillers or molding agents.
The natural latex is formed using the Talalay process. This means that the latex is frothed, placed in a mold, flash-frozen, and then baked. The end result is a latex product that is more homogenous and has a lighter, bouncier feel. Customers can choose from four firmness options: Soft (4 on the typical firmness scale), Medium (5), Medium Firm (6), and Extra Firm (8).
With each version, the latex will have the ability to compress to effectively cushion pressure points. At the same time, the material is naturally bouncy, making it easy to move on top of the mattress and never feel stuck in place. The latex is aerated to provide for airflow, and this material is more heat resistant than most foams, making it easier to stay cool all night long.
While the PlushBeds topper has a high price tag, latex is a durable material that should serve customers for years to come. People who want to add another layer of softness and breathability can opt for an organic cotton cover that is available for an additional $75.
Customers should be aware that PlushBeds does not offer a sleep trial for this topper. No returns are accepted, so it is important to do your research and be confident that a latex topper is right for you before making this purchase.
Best Mattress Topper Buying Guide
What is a Mattress Topper?
There are a lot of products out there with similar names, so it makes sense to start by clarifying exactly what a mattress topper is. A mattress topper is a layer of material that you put above your mattress. The purpose of a topper is to alter the feel and performance of your bed.
Other products that are sometimes confused with mattress toppers are mattress protectors and mattress pads.
A mattress protector goes around the entirety of the mattress, and its primary role is to defend the mattress against stains and spills. Most protectors are either waterproof or made with much thicker materials that offer a barrier around your mattress.
A mattress pad is usually thinner and generally only goes over the top part of the mattress. It may add some softness and is also used to provide a buffer against spills or messes.
For a quick overview of the typical characteristics of these three products, you can check out the table below.
|Mattress Topper||Mattress Protector||Mattress Pad|
|Placement||Top of mattress||Over entire mattress||Over top and sides|
|Thickness (typical)||.5″ – 3″||.125″ – 1″||.125″ – 1″|
|Material (typical)||Foam, latex, fiber, down, wool||Fiber (rayon, polyester, cotton, and blends)||Fiber (cotton, polyester), down|
|Amount of Protection||Low||High||Medium|
|Main Reason for Use||Adjust mattress feel||Defend mattress against spills and other damage||Minor protection of mattress|
Benefits & Drawbacks of Using a Mattress Topper
Customers have different reasons for deciding to use a mattress topper, but some of the primary benefits of using one include:
- Enhanced comfort layer: a mattress topper is a great way to give the topmost layer of your mattress, often known as the comfort layer, a boost. A thicker top layer can make your mattress more aligned with your firmness preference since there are firm and plush toppers available. Some materials used for mattress toppers are also highly responsive and can improve the support offered by your bed in ways that promote spinal alignment.
- Affordability: many toppers can be purchased for a significantly lower cost than a brand new mattress. If you are on a tight budget, a topper can be a great option.
- Makes your mattress last longer: the comfort layer is often the first part of the mattress to break down, lowering the level of performance and comfort offered by your bed. A sagging comfort layer also means that more of your weight is borne by the supporting layers, accelerating the demise of your mattress. A topper that bolsters the comfort layer can thus enhance the useful life of your mattress.
- Mattress protection: though a topper isn’t designed to protect the mattress, it can be an extra line of defense against spills or allergens, reducing the likelihood of permanent damage to the actual mattress.
- Gives you more choice: when you select your topper, you can choose one with the types of features that most appeal to you. This includes things like firmness and support but can also include temperature control to help prevent sleeping hot and motion isolation to decrease disruption from a partner moving on the bed.
- Help with pain: if your mattress isn’t delivering the kind of support that you need, it can cause pain throughout the body, most commonly in the back and hips. Choosing a mattress topper that delivers more contouring and support can thus serve an important role in relieving pain.
Though a topper can be a reasonable choice for many people, they aren’t a perfect option. Some of the drawbacks of using a mattress topper include:
- It can’t fix a broken mattress: if a car has a motor that never works, it doesn’t make much sense to put on a brand new set of tires. The same logic applies to mattress toppers. If the bed is already giving out and sagging, a mattress topper will likely suffer from the same problems. As a result, you could wind up throwing good money after bad.
- Fit problems: the size of the topper in terms of width and length is quite often a bit smaller than the mattress itself. This is especially common with foam and latex toppers. As a result, the lack of fit may be noticeable. In some cases, there may also be fit issues with your sheets. Depending on the existing mattress height, some customers find that they have to buy new, deeper sheets to fit over a topper.
- Movement of the topper: because the topper isn’t actually attached to the mattress, it can move during the night and may need to be repositioned.
- Lack of edge support: virtually no mattress toppers have reinforced edges, and the materials used to make them may compress considerably around the perimeter. This can make using a topper a problem if you regularly sit or sleep near the edge of your bed.
- Temperature regulation: given that many toppers are made with foam, specifically memory foam, heat retention can be a problem. When a foam contours right up against the body, it restricts the flow of air around the body and can lead to sleeping hot. Many toppers have design elements to reduce this risk, but it is important to keep in mind, especially for people who have known issues with sleeping hot.
- Foam odor: foam materials that have been compressed for shipping tend to off-gas or give off a smell when they are first opened. There’s no health risk, and the smell usually goes away within a few days at most, but it is still important to be aware of.
Who Should Consider a Mattress Topper?
Because of the benefits and drawbacks of mattress toppers, they usually fit better in certain situations. Some of the best instances to consider using a mattress topper include:
When you need to make a firm mattress softer: one of the best ways to make a hard mattress more palatable to sleep on is by using a mattress topper with a softer feel.
When your bed is assigned to you: let’s say you’re renting a furnished room or are a student in a dorm room. In either case, your bed is likely provided for you, and if it’s not comfortable, a topper can be a great way to adjust its feel at a low cost.
When you need a better RV bed: the beds that come in RVs usually aren’t especially comfortable or supportive, and a topper can dramatically improve the situation.
When you want comfort for your guests: you may not want to shell out a ton of money for a guest bed that is only used every now and again, but a topper on an older mattress can provide plenty of comfort for your visitors.
When you need to beef up your pull-out sofa: pull-out couches are notorious for being uncomfortable. Putting a topper on the provided cushion can make these much more inviting.
When you need more motion isolation: if you sleep with a partner and find that their movement is disrupting your sleep (or the other way around), a topper with good motion isolation may help to resolve your problem.
Mattress Topper Types: Features, Pros, and Cons
When you first get started looking at mattress toppers, you’ll notice that many different materials may be used to make a topper. In this section, we’ll describe the most common materials used in toppers.
Memory foam is often used in bedding products because of its ability to be both soft and supportive at the same time. The nature of this foam, also called viscoelastic foam, is that it responds directly to the pressure that is put on it. This allows it to contour to the body and give proportional support, improving spinal positioning. It is also great at preventing motion on the bed from being felt on other parts of the bed.
There are three potential downsides to memory foam. First, some people find that they sink too deeply into it. The contouring effect for them may instead be a “swallowing” effect. Second, memory foam is usually not very breathable and the way it contours can cause overheating in the night. Third, because it is slow to bounce back to its original shape, some people find it hard to move on top of a memory foam mattress or topper, and this may impede intimacy.
A cooling gel topper is very similar to a memory foam topper. The foundational material is still viscoelastic foam, but with a twist: swirls of gel or beads filled with gel are mixed into the foam. The science on this isn’t definitive, but there are many customers who find that gel memory foam toppers sleep cooler than those made of traditional memory foam.
Latex toppers are made with latex rubber. Like memory foam, latex is responsive and compresses according to the amount of pressure that is applied to any part of its surface. But latex rebounds much more quickly when weight is removed, making it a more “resilient” material. As a result, it’s less likely that you will feel stuck in a latex mattress, and issues like overheating and inhibition of sex generally aren’t problems on a latex comfort layer.
The downside to latex is that because it doesn’t contour quite as much, it may not cushion pressure points as much as memory foam. Latex also tends to be heavier and pricier than foam.
An egg crate topper is made with foam, but the look of this foam is instantly recognizable as “egg crate” because of its series of oval indentations. While egg crate toppers are usually extremely affordable, they are normally not hardy enough to deliver significant support or to last for a long time with nightly use.
Down is the term used to describe the extremely soft and light feathers from the underside of the plumage of ducks and geese. Some companies refer to their down toppers as “featherbeds.” Down is very soft and comforting, but it tends to bunch up in the night and lose its ability to proportionally cushion the body. It also is usually a very expensive material relative to the others on this list.
Wool, which comes from sheep, is a natural material that resists heat and odors and wicks away moisture. As a result, it’s used in all sorts of consumer products. The downsides to wool, though, are that it does not offer much responsiveness and that it usually has a high price tag.
What Should You Consider When Buying a Topper?
Making a good choice for a mattress topper requires evaluating a number of different factors and considerations. Some of the most important to review include:
The Type of Topper
After reviewing the section on materials used in toppers, we hope you have a general idea of the materials that will be the most likely to work for you. Depending on your needs for firmness, responsiveness, and bounce, certain types are likely to stand out as better fits than others.
As we mentioned earlier, some toppers can make a bed softer while others can make it firmer. Think about your current bed and what is most likely to work for you going forward. If you aren’t sure, a medium firm feel is the most widely accepted for mattresses and toppers.
Make sure to look at the thickness of your current mattress and consider what it will be like when it is several inches higher. You can also consider your sheets and whether they are likely to cover a taller bed. If you weigh over 200 pounds or have very sharp pressure points, you may also want to err toward a thicker topper that will offer more cushioning and durability.
Keep an eye out for any indications, such as from verified reviews, that a topper has a tendency to wear out quickly. If that happens, you won’t get the support or the comfort that you need.
If you’re looking at a foam topper, it can be helpful to know about the density of the foam. A foam with more density is typically more durable. But if you’re not planning to use the topper very often, this may be less relevant. A denser topper can also be inconvenient as it will weigh more, which can be a pain if you are going to have to remove and store the topper frequently (e.g., on a fold-out sofa).
If you’re having issues with sleep disruption from the motion of a partner on the bed, it makes sense to prioritize a topper that can help to alleviate this issue.
Again, think about your current sleeping experience. If you’re having issues with overheating at night or if you’ve had this issue in the past, keep that in mind when selecting a topper and look for one with cooling properties.
Check to make sure that a topper isn’t made from a material that you may have an allergy or sensitivity to, such as latex or down. If you have general allergy issues, you may also look into a topper with a hypoallergenic cover.
Sex and Intimacy
When it comes to facilitating sex, not all materials are created the same. If it’s important to have a bed that’s easy to move around on top of, look for a topper with more bounce and resilience.