Mattresses are a tough purchase — even if you get to try them out (thanks to 100-night return policies from many companies) or read reviews (like our very thorough tests). When you find yourself with one that’s just a little too firm or too soft, or that makes you sweat through your sheets, a mattress topper can close the gap between the almost there and the just right.
According to Bill Fish, a sleep science coach and co-founder of the sleep-products site Tuck, buying a mattress topper is “a rather inexpensive method to fix an uncomfortable mattress without purchasing a new mattress entirely.” Joe Auer, founder of the review site Mattress Clarity, agrees: “Some purchase one to revitalize an old bed that has lost its cushioning over time, or sometimes couples will disagree on the proper firmness of a bed and buy a mattress topper to place on one half of the bed.” To find the best mattress toppers, we asked sleep-product pros and real people who’ve upgraded their mattresses with a topper to guide us through the options on the market and recommend their favorites. I’ve also tested some of their picks myself. Use the table of contents to jump to the type of topper you’re looking for, or read on to learn more about what to look for when you’re shopping for one.
Note: All prices are for a queen-size topper unless otherwise noted.
What to look for
The material a topper is made of is generally what determines its feel. Firmness “can affect not only one’s comfort but back health,” explains Alex Savy, a sleep-science coach and founder of the sleep-product-review site SleepingOcean. In general, according to Savy, side sleepers should go with softer toppers, back sleepers with medium ones, and stomach sleepers with firm toppers. Since side sleeping is the most common sleeping position, it’s not surprising that “most people purchase a mattress topper to make their bed softer,” says Auer.
Memory foam, one of the most popular materials for mattress toppers, usually feels soft but can sometimes run hot, so if you like the feel of foam, you may want to look for a cooling gel-infused variety or a topper with a fabric cover designed to react to your body temperature. Down-feather mattress toppers are soft and plush but can be more expensive and possibly trigger allergies, while down-alternative toppers offer the same softness in a hypoallergenic package. Fiber-filled mattress toppers (usually made from synthetic or polyester materials) are soft and often cheaper than down. Latex has a firmer feel and may be a good choice if your current mattress is too soft.
Thickness and density
The thickness, or height, of your mattress topper will help affect how it feels. Typically ranging from one to five inches in height, thicker mattress toppers tend to feel plusher and offer a more noticeable difference compared to your bare mattress. Thinner mattress toppers can still feel comfortable but will make less of an impact. For memory foam fans, the density of your mattress topper is another important feature to note. The density refers to the weight per cubic foot and basically translates to how solid the foam is. Imagine a plastic bag filled with 100 packing peanuts, versus the same size bag filled with 50 packing peanuts. The bag of 100 will have a firmer and more dense feel, while the bag of 50 will still feel cushioned but not as supportive. Higher-density memory foam weighs five pounds or more per cubic foot, while more moderate-density foam weighs around three to four pounds per cubic foot. Below, we’ve listed the thickness of each mattress topper, and the density when available, as not all brands provide that detail.
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. Some mattress toppers are entirely machine washable, though whether you can do that at home or have to drag it to the laundromat depends on the size of your machine (if you have one at all). Others have removable covers that are more manageable for cleaning.
Trial period and warranty
It might take a few nights to decide if you picked the right mattress topper. Sometimes what feels great on the first night can feel saggy or too firm after a week, so lots of companies offer extended trial periods (usually up to 100 nights) to give you some time to determine whether the topper is right for you. Some brands offer warranties that cover your topper from defects for additional months or years. Just 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 mattress topper
Material: Memory foam | Thickness and density: 3-inch | Care instructions: Machine-washable cover | Trial period and warranty: Ten-year warranty
At three inches thick, the Tempur-Adapt topper will add noticeable plushness to any mattress. (Meanwhile, if you are looking for one that’s a bit more low profile, Tempur-Pedic sells a two-inch-thick memory-foam topper called the Tempur-Cloud.) Zoë Ettinger, a sleep-science coach and the editor of Sleepopolis, says the foam Tempur-Pedic uses in its mattress toppers “contours around your body almost as if it’s hugging you,” noting that because it is denser than others on the market, it is more durable. And Sleepopolis writer Sarah Ricco previously told us that an earlier version of this topper was “exceptionally moldable” and offered “full-body pressure relief for sleepers of all styles.”
After sleeping on the Tempur-Adapt topper for two weeks, I found the foam both dense and pliant, making it a perfect match for anyone who likes that “all-encompassing” memory-foam feeling. The difference will be noticeable on any mattress, especially if yours is on the firmer side. Since the Tempur-Adapt topper is made of a heavy-duty foam, it is quite weighty (about 32 pounds) and required both my husband and me to drag it into place. But the weight of the topper and its wide, elastic corner straps helped secure it so that it doesn’t shift throughout the night, which can be a downside of lighter-weight toppers. The standard cover is a slightly meshlike poly blend that is dust-mite and allergen resistant as well as moisture wicking — or for an extra $60, you can upgrade to a cooling cover, which is made of high-density “performance” yarns to create a cool-to-the-touch feel.
Best (less expensive) overall mattress topper
Material: Memory foam | Thickness and density: 3-inch thickness, 3.5-pound density | Care instructions: Machine-washable bamboo-rayon cover | Trial period and warranty: 60-day trial, five-year warranty
Like our best-overall pick, this ViscoSoft 3-inch mattress topper is made from medium-density memory foam that experts say strikes the right balance between softness and support. Memory foam mattress toppers “are the most popular due to the fact that they add comfort and relieve pressure,” according to Nick Robinson, editor and publisher of the sleep-product review site Sleep Like the Dead. Robinson recommends this model, which is also a favorite of Keith Cushner, co-founder and general manager of Tuck. “It’s really solid in terms of durability, the quality of the foam, and the experience all of our testers have had with it,” Cushner says. Even at the lower price, it has premium features like a machine-washable bamboo rayon cover and straps that hold the topper in place on your mattress. And to help with cooling, the topper is infused with pockets of gel that absorb and disperse body heat. Strategist writer Jeremy Rellosa, who bought the four-inch version of this topper, says it keeps him cool even though he tends to run warm and “now I sleep like a rock.”
Best multi-zone mattress topper
Material: Gel memory foam | Thickness and density: 3-inch | Care instructions: Machine-washable cover, spot-clean topper | Trial period and warranty: Nonreturnable, 5-year warranty
This GhostBed topper has different zones made of different densities of memory foam to provide targeted support to the parts of the body that need it most; Savvy explains that “each zone responds differently to the sections of one’s body. Heavier parts sink in, while the rest is supported in a relatively straight line.” As chiropractors told us when we researched the best pillows for neck pain, maintaining proper alignment while sleeping is key to minimizing aches and pains. Plus the GhostBed topper boasts some classic memory-foam cooling features like gel-infused foam and increased ventilation to promote airflow.
Best (less-expensive) multi-zone mattress topper
Material: Memory foam | Thickness and density: 3-inch thickness, 1.9-pound density | Care instructions: Spot-clean with a damp cloth | Warranty: 30-day return policy on Amazon, three-year warranty
At under $100, this topper isn’t just the cheapest option on our list, it’s a surprisingly good dupe for the pricier GhostBed one above. At the lower price point, you sacrifice the gel infusion for cooling and the machine-washable cover, but you’ll still get a solid memory foam topper with different density zones to support your whole body. “This topper has five body zones that provide extra pressure relief in certain areas to help level you out across the mattress and maximize comfort,” says Ben Trapskin, founder of the Sleep Sherpa. Trapskin likes the lavender-infused fragrance of this topper, which offsets the chemical smell that sometimes accompanies memory foam. It “provides a fresh-smelling mattress for many months to come,” he says.
Best cooling mattress topper
Material: Memory foam | Thickness and density: 4-inch | Care instructions: Machine-washable cover | Trial period and warranty: 60-night trial, five-year warranty
This ViscoSoft mattress topper has all the benefits of our best (less expensive) overall pick, and it comes with some added frills you’ll appreciate if staying cool is your top priority. Annie Schlecht, an occupational therapist and sleep consultant, explains that the topper’s copper-infused foam “draws heat away from the body and dissipates it into the environment.” It has a sweat-wicking (and machine washable) cover that’s designed to keep you dry, and it feels cool to the touch. Sarah Riccio, senior writer at Sleepopolis, adds that this ViscoSoft model “offers a classic memory-foam feel,” but the copper infusion helps prevent the foam from warming up.
Another cooling option that doesn’t really add height or thickness to your mattress, but could be paired with a topper that does, is the Slumber Cloud Core Mattress Pad. The fiber-filled pad is made from a proprietary viscose-based material called Outlast that was developed by NASA to regulate astronauts’ body temperatures in space. If you have a memory-foam topper that isn’t keeping the sleep sweats at bay, the Slumber Cloud pad can be placed on top for a comfortable and cooling combo.
[Editor’s note: The ViscoSoft 4-Inch Active Cooling Memory-Foam Mattress Topper is on backorder, but pre-orders are being accepted.]
Best plush mattress topper
Material: Cross-cut memory-foam and microfiber blend | Thickness and density: 5-inch thickness | Care instructions: Spot clean | Trial period and warranty: 100-day free return window, 5-year warranty
The extra-thick Coop Sleep Goods Retreat topper is stuffed with five inches of the brand’s signature cross-cut memory-foam and microfiber blend, with baffle-box stitching to keep the material in place. Similar to the Tempur-Adapt topper, the Retreat topper has a weighty denseness to it, but the fill of the Retreat topper has a fluffier feel since it’s filled with a blend of foam and fiber instead of a slab of foam. I’ve slept on both, and while I would describe the Tempur-Adapt as a soft topper, the Retreat topper is distinctly plush and cushiony — which I personally prefer. Additionally, each of the baffle-box-stitched squares are robustly filled, so the topper actually looks and feels like several small pillows sewn together. And since this one is one of the thicker options on this list, it will provide a very noticeable difference in both the appearance and feel of your mattress. The topper’s brushed-microfiber exterior gives it a pleasingly smooth texture that feels comfortable even through a fitted bed sheet.
Best soft mattress topper
Material: Open-cell foam | Thickness and density: 2-inch | Care instructions: Spot clean| Trial period and warranty: 100-night sleep trial, 3-year limited warranty
If your mattress is too firm for your liking or has become less comfortable over time, adding the two-inch Tuft & Needle mattress topper can give it a boost. This topper is made of cushiony, bouncy open-cell foam that is designed to respond to your body’s movement and offer pressure relief while allowing air to circulate so that the topper is less likely to trap your body heat. Since this one is made of a slab of foam, it is designed to be soft and cushioned versus the dense fluffiness of the Coop Sleep Goods topper. The poly-blend cover adds an extra-soft and cooling layer, but it is not removable, meaning the entire topper can only be spot cleaned.
Best latex mattress topper
Material: Latex | Thickness and density: 2-inch or 3-inch thickness | Care instructions: Spot clean | Trial period and warranty: Nonreturnable, 5-year warranty
Savy describes latex as more resilient than memory foam, meaning it will bounce back to its original shape quickly after you get up. Latex tends to be firmer and more supportive, too. Savvy, Fish, and Cushner like this all-natural latex topper from PlushBeds. It’s available in two heights (two inches for those who want to feel their mattress underneath and three inches for those who prefer more cushioning) and four different firmness levels. The brand recommends Soft for back and side sleepers who like a plush feel, Medium for side sleepers looking for softness and support, the slightly denser Medium-Firm for back and stomach sleepers, and Extra-Firm for people who weigh over 250 pounds or prefer maximum support. “The latex can soften a firm mattress but still give you some bounce, and the aerated feature allows for consistent airflow to keep the sleeper cool throughout the night,” says Fish. Latex is naturally cooler than memory foam, but small ventilation holes in the PlushBeds topper are a nice touch for those who sleep especially hot on any material. Since it’s made from 100 percent natural latex, this topper is on the more expensive end, but Savy says its durability makes it worth the investment.
Best hybrid mattress topper
Material: Wool-latex hybrid | Thickness and density: 3-inch thickness | Care instructions: Spot clean | Trial period and warranty:100-night trial, ten-year warranty
A pillow-top mattress topper made from all organic materials, this model from Birch Living blends wool and latex for a plush yet supportive feel. Since this topper contains latex (like the PlushBeds one above), Auer says it “shouldn’t sag the way memory foam is known to do.” The high-density wool offers similarly lasting firmness. And though you might associate wool with warmth, it actually excels at temperature regulation (one reason it’s a popular material for activewear), so this topper won’t leave you sweaty. “If anything, it can wick away heat,” Cushner adds. The top layer is made from cool-to-the-touch organic cotton, but just a heads-up: It’s not removable or machine washable, so you’ll have to spot-clean this topper.
Best micro-coil mattress topper
Material: Micro-coils and latex | Thickness and density: 2.5-inch | Care instructions: Spot clean | Trial period and warranty: Nonreturnable, no warranty details
If you’re new to sleeping on memory foam or another type of all-foam mattress and missing the bounciness of your old innerspring mattress, Cushner suggests this topper. It combines supportive latex with a layer of tiny springs and feels a little cooler than straight memory foam does. While Cushner admits it won’t transform a foam mattress into a spring one, it’s an option if you prefer that bouncier feel.
Best down mattress topper
Material: 85 percent European white down feathers and 15 percent down feather fibers| Thickness and density: 3-inch, 550 fill power | Care instructions: Dry-clean only | Trial period and warranty: Free returns within 60 days, three-year warranty
For that “traditional hotel-bed feel,” Logan Foley, the managing editor at Sleep Foundation, says you have to go with down, and he specifically recommends this topper from Parachute. Natural down is known for being ultra-plush and lightweight, lending a luxurious softness to any bed. Robert Pagano, a co-founder of sleep-product review site Sleepline, also likes Parachute’s version, which he says envelops sleepers without any of the heat-retaining properties of memory foam. Down toppers will need regular fluffing to keep the filling in place, but this one has the added benefit of sewn baffle-box construction to prevent filling from shifting around as you sleep. The downsides of down include the potential for irritating allergies and the occasional feather poke-through. Additionally, this mattress topper is dry-clean only, which makes maintenance a little more difficult.
Best down-alternative mattress topper
Material: Down-alternative microfiber | Thickness and density: 3-inch | Care instructions: Dry-clean only | Trial period and warranty: Free returns within 60 days, three-year warranty
Designed to feel like down, down-alternative toppers (which are typically made from microfiber) are a good alternative to the real thing if you have allergies or want to save some money. Experts love this topper from Parachute for many of the reasons they recommend the brand’s down style: marshmallow softness, baffle-box construction, and a 100 percent cotton shell. Savy says it’s likely one of the best-selling toppers on the market right now because it’s hypoallergenic, durable, and “generously stuffed.” Former Strategist writer Lauren Levy got a chance to try this mattress topper firsthand and reported that she felt herself “gently melting and folding into” it when falling asleep, and she woke up “feeling lightly sandwiched between layers of plushness.” Like its down counterpart, this Parachute topper is dry-clean only.
Best firm mattress topper
Material: Wool-latex hybrid | Thickness and density: 2-inch | Care instructions: Spot-clean | Trial period and warranty: One-year trial (with a 30-day minimum), 10-year warranty
Firm mattress toppers are ideal for people who are managing body pains and aches or just need some extra support. This organic-latex mattress topper by Avocado is rated as medium-firm and designed to gently cradle your body. Similar to the Birch Living Plush Topper above, it is layered with moisture-wicking organic wool, latex, and cotton to create a buoyant sleeping surface. For sleepers who run warm, David Rubin, product expert at The Sleep Doctor, says that toppers made of wool or latex are naturally cooling, since they “promote more air circulation” compared to memory foam and help to disperse body heat.
• Joe Auer, founder of Mattress Clarity
• Logan Block, former director of content at Sleepopolis
• Keith Cushner, co-founder and general manager of Tuck
• Zoë Ettinger, sleep-science coach and editor of Sleepopolis
• Bill Fish, sleep-science coach and co-founder of Tuck
• Logan Foley, managing editor at Sleep Foundation
• Robert Pagano, co-founder of Sleepline
• Sarah Riccio, senior writer at Sleepopolis
• Nick Robinson, editor and publisher of Sleep Like the Dead
• David Rubin, product expert at The Sleep Doctor
• Alex Savy, sleep-science coach and founder of SleepingOcean
• Annie Schlecht, occupational therapist and sleep consultant
• Ben Trapskin, founder of the Sleep Sherpa
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.
Every editorial product is independently selected. If you buy something through our links, New York may earn an affiliate commission.