In this article
If you’ve ever woken up feeling hot and sweaty, you know that temperature regulation is a big part of the “getting good sleep” equation. While products like cooling sheets and pajamas can help, you don’t want to cancel them out by sleeping on a surface that locks in heat. Aside from being uncomfortable, JD Velilla, head of sleep experience for Serta Simmons Bedding, says that sleeping hot can be “one of the biggest sleep disruptors.” If your current mattress is making you sweat and you don’t want to invest in a new one that is designed to help regulate temperature, a more affordable solution to consider would be a cooling mattress topper.
The best cooling mattress topper for you will come down to personal preference, though David Rubin, Sleep Doctor product expert, says that people who run particularly warm should opt for materials that promote air circulation and moisture wicking, like latex, wool, or down (memory foam with cooling components can work too, though foam of any kind usually tends to run warmer). To give you an idea of the different materials and types of toppers out there, we asked sleep experts to recommend their favorites.
Note: All prices are for a queen-size topper unless otherwise noted.
What we’re looking for
While many brands tout the cooling benefits of their mattress toppers, Michael Grandner, the director of the sleep-and-health research program at the University of Arizona, says to keep in mind that there are few scientific studies proving any one material or technology is superior for keeping cool. While foam mattresses have climbed in popularity — in reporting this story, we heard about foam toppers more than any other kind — they are known for sleeping hot and not promoting airflow. Fortunately, there are foam mattress toppers infused with cooling materials that allow you to enjoy the comfort of memory foam without overheating. Alternatively, a fiber mattress topper filled with cotton or polyester can also add softness to a firm bed, while counteracting the heat retention of a foam mattress.
Whether you’re shopping for mattress toppers, sheets, or pillows, you will inevitably encounter all kinds of promises about how a product will help to regulate your temperature. More of an umbrella term that can refer to a variety of components, or even to how a mattress topper is assembled, “cooling” can come from moisture-wicking materials like wool and poly-fiber; heat-absorbing materials like gel, copper, or graphite; tangible features like ventilation holes; or a combination of all three. Some materials will make the mattress topper feel cooler to the touch while others will work to regulate your temperature while you sleep. Keith Cushner, a product expert at sleepfoundation.org explains that “each material has pros and cons, so it’s important to research what you’re investing in before purchase.”
Think of your mattress topper as an extension of your actual mattress. Mattress toppers range in thickness, usually between one and five inches, and can add extra height and comfort. Thinner toppers, under two inches, will add less noticeable comfort while thicker toppers, three inches and up, can totally transform the feel of a mattress.
A mattress topper doesn’t need to be washed as frequently as your sheets and pillowcases, but it’s still a good idea to clean it every couple of months. We’ve listed the basic cleaning details for each topper below.
Trial period and warranty
Grandner advises looking for a mattress topper that has a good return policy so you can sleep on it a few nights and see if it works for you. We’ve noted the length of the trial period and any warranty details for each topper below, but be sure to read the fine print; companies that offer 100-night trials on mattresses don’t always offer the same terms on toppers, and return policies may vary depending on whether you buy the topper directly from the brand or from a third-party retailer like Amazon.
Best overall cooling mattress topper
Cooling components: Copper-infused memory foam | Thickness: 4 inches | Care instructions: Machine washable cover | Trial and warranty: 60-day money-back guarantee, five-year warranty
“People love memory foam because it’s so comfortable and relieves pressure so well,” says Joe Auer, the founder of the review site Mattress Clarity. And this ViscoSoft topper, recommended by both Annie Schlecht, an occupational therapist and certified sleep consultant, and Sarah Riccio, a senior writer at Sleepopolis, is surprisingly cool despite being made of notoriously hot foam. First, it’s infused with copper, which Schlecht explains “draws heat away from the body and dissipates into the environment.” Riccio says it “offers a classic memory-foam feel, but the copper infusion serves to dissipate body heat and prevent the foam from warming up.”
Second, its exterior contains phase-change material, something Joshua Tal, a psychologist who specializes in sleep disorders, says to look for in cooling mattress toppers. “When you’re hot, the material liquifies” to absorb heat to keep you cool, and when you’re cool, “the material then solidifies, trapping in the heat,” he explains. Schlecht says this material keeps the ViscoSoft topper “cool to the touch.” With so many expert recommendations, and a nice balance between comfort and cooling — plus a 60-day return policy, one of the most generous in this roundup — it’s our pick for the best overall cooling mattress topper.
Best (less expensive) cooling mattress topper
Cooling components: Temperature responsive foam | Thickness: 2 inches | Care instructions: Spot clean | Trial and warranty: 30-night trial, two-year warranty
Bill Fish, a certified sleep-science coach and co-founder of sleep-product review site Tuck, says this cushy topper from Nest Bedding is one of his favorites because “it is constructed with a gel-infused memory-foam core that helps to pull that heat away from the body.” It’s the same memory foam that tops Nest’s mattresses, which our kitchen-and-dining writer Emma Wartzman says relieved her of the “back and neck pain that I was waking up with every morning.”
Best memory foam cooling mattress topper
Cooling components: Gel-infused foam | Thickness: 2 inches, 3 inches, or 4 inches | Care instructions: Machine washable cover | Trial and warranty: Ten-year warranty
For an even more affordable option, Brandon Lee, an Airbnb host, recommends this gel-infused memory-foam mattress topper that is wrapped in a soft cover made of bamboo-rayon fabric. Not only does the cover “feel very soft against the skin,” according to Lee, it also “aids in the overall cooling process” — something other experts have said about bamboo when recommending the best cooling sheets. Importantly, it’s very comfortable. “This topper is both dense and well ventilated,” Lee says. “Its airy-yet-firm design allows it to contour to your body.” While this particular version is three inches high, it’s available in (slightly cheaper) two- and (slightly more expensive) four-inch thicknesses as well. Though the details about returns are sparse, the topper also comes with a ten-year warranty, leading Lee to conclude, “It’s a great budget option without sacrificing quality or durability.”
Best graphite-infused cooling mattress topper
Cooling components: Graphite-infused memory foam | Thickness: 3 inches | Care instructions: Spot clean | Trial and warranty: 180-day trial period, 1-year limited warranty
Infused with graphite, this Saatva memory foam mattress topper is designed to draw heat away from your body so that you sleep cooler and more comfortably. The body-contouring foam is designed to provide muscle and joint pressure relief while also isolating movement, which comes in handy if you sleep next to a partner who tosses and turns. The machine-washable organic cotton cover further promotes airflow.
Best copper-infused cooling mattress topper
Cooling components: Copper gel-infused memory foam | Thickness: 2 inches | Care instructions: Spot clean | Trial and warranty: 120-day trial period, 5-year warranty
Both supportive and pillowy soft, this copper gel bead-infused memory foam topper by Layla is designed to pull heat away from your body while you sleep. The two inches of cushioned foam supports your pressure points while the copper infusion works to keep your body cool and to create an antimicrobial sleeping surface. This topper also has a 3.5-pound density level, which means the memory foam is squishy and molds to your body but will be on the firmer side.
Best wool cooling mattress topper
Cooling components: Naturally cooling merino wool | Thickness: 1.5 inches | Care instructions: Spot clean | Trial and warranty: 30-night trial period, limited lifetime warranty
A wool topper may sound counterintuitive to sleeping cool, but the material actually excels at wicking away moisture, like sweat. Compared to the other toppers on our list, this Merino wool topper has a lower profile, with just an inch and a half of thickness, but the plush filling will still add a slight boost to your mattress. The topper is also ideal for people who are sensitive to common allergens like mold and dust mites, which wool naturally combats.
Best latex cooling mattress topper
Cooling components: Open cell latex | Thickness: 2 inches or 3 inches | Care instructions: Spot clean | Trial and warranty: Not returnable, five-year warranty
Although generally more expensive than foam or fiber, toppers made of latex are preferred by some sleepers because they’re all-natural, long-lasting, and allow for better air circulation. Fish likes that this one, from PlushBeds, comes in five different firmness levels to easily customize the feel of your bed, and, he says, “the aerated feature allows for consistent airflow to keep the sleeper cool throughout the night.” For an additional cost, you can also add an organic cotton cover. Unfortunately, these toppers are not returnable, so you should be ready to commit if you’re going to go for it.
Best fiber-filled cooling mattress topper
Cooling components: Viscose and cotton blend and polyester fill | Thickness: Not listed | Care instructions: Spot clean | Trial and warranty: 60-night trial, 180-day warranty
Heather Turgeon, a psychotherapist and author of The Happy Sleeper, often recommends Slumber Cloud products to her patients who struggle with temperature regulation because the brand uses innovative cooling technologies. This polyester-filled topper is lined with a “NASA-inspired” fabric designed to let heat escape from the body. It’s also a favorite of Logan Block, director of content at Sleepopolis, who says it’s durable and sleeps cool.
Best hydro-powered cooling mattress topper
Cooling components: App-controlled temperature-regulating pad | Thickness: Approximately 1 inch | Care instructions: Spot clean| Trial and warranty: 30-night trial period, two-year limited warranty
For a more tech-y (albeit expensive) approach to keeping cool at night, the Eight Sleep Pod 3 allows you to precisely customize the temperature of your bed. I spent two weeks sleeping on the hydro-powered cooling “system,” and the temperature control felt almost magical. The system works by pumping water through low-profile tubing concealed within the cover, which connects to a small water tank that sits next to your bed. You use an app to set your desired temperature with a simple tap, and you can even add your bedtime so it’s ready when you get there.
Underestimating the actual power, I chose a -3 temperature rating to start and it actually turned out to be far too cold (the temperature dial ranges from -10 to +10, which is 55 to 110 degrees Fahrenheit). Ultimately, I found that the -1 setting the company suggests for most users — which corresponds to 79.75 degrees — was perfect. It is not unusual for me to wake up in the middle of the night feeling much hotter than when I fell asleep, but the Pod cover kept me comfortable all night. (Strategist writer Dominique Pariso had a similar experience when she tested an earlier version of the cover.) The app-controlled interface is full of trackable insights like heart rate, the number of times tossed and turned, and total hours slept; all of those data points helped to determine my sleep score, which I appreciated as an indicator of how well I was sleeping overall. There’s also a vibration alarm that I could set to gently wake me up each morning, and sleeping partners are able to choose different settings for their own sides of the bed — crucial, as my fiancé runs much warmer than me. We were initially worried that the cover would totally alter the feel of our mattress because of how tightly it encases the mattress, and while it does make it slightly firmer, I didn’t notice any change in the comfort level.
Best (less-expensive) hydro-powered cooling mattress topper
Cooling components: Remote-controlled temperature-regulating pad | Thickness: Not listed | Care instructions: Pad is machine washable | Trial and warranty: 30-night trial, two-year limited warranty
For her clients who “really struggle with temperature regulation at night,” Schlecht turns to this high-tech mattress topper (also recommended by Tal and Grandner) that can be set to an exact temperature anywhere from 55 to 115 degrees. Similar to the Pod Cover, it’s lined with water-filled silicone tubes and connects to a power unit that cools or heats the water to a steady temperature, so it’s a good choice for those who want to guarantee that their bed will stay cool. Available in half-queen and half-king sizes (as well as standard queen, king, and California king sizes), it’s also a good solution for bed partners who prefer different temperatures.
Best fan-powered cooling mattress topper
Cooling components: App-controlled Ai-R SleepTech airflow technology | Thickness: Approximately 1 inch | Care instructions: Machine washable cover | Trial and warranty: 30-risk free return, one-year limited warranty
Similar to the hydro-powered toppers, the Perfectly Snug Smart Topper is tech-enabled and customizable so that you can warm or cool your mattress to your desired temperature. However, instead of water, the Smart Topper uses temperature-controlled airflow pushed through the topper by mini-fans in the corners or at the foot of the topper, depending on which size you get. There is also a heating option, powered by the same fans in the way that a space heater would work, which is nice for preheating your bed before hopping in.
With the app, you can set the temperature range you’d like (ranging from 10 to negative 10), and the topper automatically adjusts throughout the night to help your body maintain your preset baseline temperature. The brand does not offer exact heating and cooling temps, so you’ll need to experiment with the settings to find the one that works for you. Beauty writer and editor Cheryl Kramer Kaye says that, while pricey, the Smart Topper has helped her actually stay asleep instead of waking up in her own personal swamp, particularly when dealing with sleep-disrupting menopausal hot flashes. “There are tons of great solutions out there for hot sleepers, but I wanted the one that would let me stay asleep rather than fall back to sleep. And I found it in this mattress topper,” Kramer Kaye says. For extra-hot nights, there is a burst button that turns on an extra five minutes of cooling air, and like the other smart toppers on this list, each side has its own temperature-control capabilities, which is handy if you share your sleeping space.
Some more cooling bedding we've written about
• Joe Auer, founder of Mattress Clarity
• Logan Block, director of content at Sleepopolis
• Bill Fish, certified sleep-science coach and co-founder of Tuck
• Michael Grandner, director of the sleep-and-health research program at the University of Arizona
• Cheryl Kramer Kaye, beauty writer and editor
• Keith Cushner, a product expert at sleepfoundation.org
• Brandon Lee, Airbnb host
• David Rubin, Sleep Doctor product expert
• Sarah Riccio, senior writer at Sleepopolis
• Annie Schlecht, occupational therapist and certified sleep consultant
• Joshua Tal, psychologist specializing in sleep disorders
• Heather Turgeon, psychotherapist and author of The Happy Sleeper
• JD Velilla, head of sleep experience for Serta Simmons Bedding
The Strategist is designed to surface the most useful, expert recommendations for things to buy across the vast e-commerce landscape. Some of our latest conquests include the best acne treatments, rolling luggage, pillows for side sleepers, natural anxiety remedies, and bath towels. We update links when possible, but note that deals can expire and all prices are subject to change.