Topper Pads: Better Alternative Than Replacing Your Mattress?
After spending 25 years as a mattress manufacturer, I learned that the best topper pads can relieve pressure and pain with just a few inches of the perfect ingredients. From memory foam to natural latex, gel foam, even nano-coils, there are a lot of options that can help you revive and rejuvenate an existing mattress to make if cushy, comfortable, and supportive.
Adding a topper pad can reduce pressure, relieve pain, provide effective cooling, and even dampen motion for light sleepers. Couples, pregnant women, post-surgical patients, and even the elderly can benefit from a well made mattress topper.
Instant Fix For A Tired, Road Weary Mattress? Perfect For Dorm, Too.
If you have a crappy mattress, or your mattress has just worn down, it can cost $1,000-1,500 to replace it with a new mattress. You may simply not be ready to part with an expensive mattress that has served you well, especially if it might just need a bit of tweaking to make it really amazing again. This accounts for about 50% of new topper pad purchases.
Live in a dorm room or furnished residence? A topper pad might be the best way to instantly turn an worn out, dust mite infested, mashed down mattress into a sweet sanctuary. I’ve included some great options you can purchase in twin or twin xl sizes that are easy to ship directly to college dorm, too.
A topper pad is lighter than a mattress replacement, and is easily unpacked upon your arrival. If you want to cut to the chase rather than reading my enhanced reviews towards the bottom of this page, here’s a table showing the best topper pads I’ve reviewed and tested:
Want To Cut To The Chase? Check Out These Topper Pads I’ve Tested, Reviewed, And Recommend
|Saatva 3" Graphite Memory Foam Topper-Outstanding 3" pressure relief: A+
|$445 Queen, $565 KIng
|Saatva 3" Micro-Coil Plush Topper-Best 3" luxury pressure relief/cooling" A
|$475 Queen, $575 King
|Nolah 2" Air Foam Topper-Good 2" comfort/nice price point: B+
|$349 Queen, $399 King
|Plushbeds 3" Organic Latex Topper- 3" All Natural, plush cooling:A
|$558 Queen, $711 King
|Bear Pro 3" Copper Infused Memory Foam Topper- Best Price, ideal for dorm/away from home: A
|$160 Twin to $322 King
|Avocado 2" Vegan Topper - Best organic latex, organic cotton cover: A+
|Queen $649, King $909
|Sleepyhead Copper Topper-Best hypoallergenic, cooling topper- 2" or 3": A
|Twin $399, Queen $499
Typically, as mattresses age, the components inside can wear out, pack down, or even deteriorate. this can make your mattress feel hard, with little spring back or comfort.
In most cases, a topper pad will provide support without bottoming into the mattress itself, but the density and thickness of the topper pad and whether it is memory foam or latex will make a difference.
Also, heavier people, say over 250 lbs, might need a 4″ topper pad to prevent indentation and sagging.
Mattress Topper Pads Can Add Supportive, Pressure Relieving Comfort To A Tired Mattress
If you are searching for the best topper pad, you want to make note of the size of your existing mattress, which is typically a standard industry size. You can get in depth information here, on my understanding mattress sizes page.
If your mattress has pretty serious issues such as indentations or gulleys in the center, or is liquid damaged, for example, a new topper pad may not completely fix the underlying issues you have, such as sagging or broken springs or dried out foam that is beginning to pill (crumble). In such cases, replacing the mattress might be a better long-term solution.
Keep in mind that there are several components to a topper pad including the outer encasement, which is typically removable and machine washable. Inside, you’ll find either 1-3 layers of specialized foams which may be laminated together, though this is not typically found in toppers that are 1-4 inches thick.
This outer covering can also be quilted or made of highly breathable materials, also, which add benefit to the topper pad by ventilating air. The covering itself can be made from materials that convert body heat to cold using a technology called phase change.
This kind of fabric on a mattress topper can be a lifesaver for menopausal women, or just those who tend to sleep hot and prefer not to use coverings and blankets
choosing the proper thickness for your mattress topper pad
After you’ve determined what size topper pad you need, figuring out the optimal thickness is next. In the end it largely depends on your personal preferences and needs, with thicker topper pads being more plush and cushiony, offering considerable thickness which benefits side sleepers and heavier people.
I recommend buying a 2-3″ topper pad unless you’re over 250lbs, in which case a 4″ option might be more effective at keeping you from feeling your mattress underneath.
For memory foam and latex, a 3″ topper is the most popular, with side sleepers tending to do better on 3-4″ toppers, and back and belly sleepers getting good results on 2-3″ toppers.
- 2-3 inches: A 2″ memory foam topper pad is pretty typical if you’re looking to add a slight layer of softness to your mattress without drastically changing its feel. It can also provide some basic cushioning and light pressure relief. It’s important to note though that lower density memory foam is considered inferior, and using it as the body contact layer between you and your old mattress might just be a temporary fix. Find higher density 4lb. memory foam rather than 3lb. density. I’ll have options below to consider.
- 3-4 inches: This range is considered ideal, and if you can afford a 3″ topper pad, whether memory foam or natural latex, you’ll get much better results. A 3″ thick topper pad is often the most popular choice. It provides a more noticeable change to the feel of your mattress, adding significant cushioning and comfort. It can help effectively pressure points at shoulders and hips, and provide a plush, enviable sleeping surface
- 4+ inches: Considered the best topper pad, anything in this range is ideal if you’re looking for maximum softness and a significant overhaul of your mattress’s feel. They offer deep cushioning and can be particularly beneficial for those with joint or back pain.
Remember that thicker topper pads may have a more pronounced effect on the overall height of your bed, so ensure it doesn’t make it too tall for your comfort.
Even if you buy a new mattress, you may not be able to find the comfort and support that many state of the art topper pads can offer.
You can choose from memory foam or gel foam if you are primarily looking for pressure or pain relief, natural latex if you want a hypoallergenic topper, and even copper infused foam which is proven to reduce bacterial growth inside the material.
You’ll see that we recommend both 2″ and 3″ thick toppers in our curated list shown below.
Our lineup of the best topper pads we reviewed were specifically designed to lie directly on top of an existing mattress. By securing with straps, the topper will remain stationary without shifting or migration.
A new topper pad arrives rolled up inside of a box that is typically shipped via FedEx or UPS ground directly to your door. Super easy to unroll, and installs in seconds.
Types Of Topper Pads And Their Benefits
Mattress topper pads are available in a variety of materials, each with its own benefits and characteristics. I’ve manufactured my own natural latex and memory foam topper pads, but there are are materials that can help improve the comfort and support you’ll get from your current mattresses. Here are some common materials used for the best mattress topper pads, and their specific benefits:
- Memory Foam: Memory foam toppers are known for their contouring properties and pressure relief. They conform to your body shape, reducing pressure on your joints and providing excellent support. Memory foam can also absorb motion, making it a good choice for couples who don’t want to disturb each other’s sleep. However, some people find that memory foam retains heat, so consider options with cooling properties if you’re sensitive to temperature.
- Latex: Latex toppers are highly durable and offer a responsive and buoyant feel. Made from a pure, botanical material collected from rubber trees, they provide good support, excellent pressure relief, and can help align the spine properly. Latex is naturally hypoallergenic and resistant to dust mites and mold, making it a suitable choice for allergy sufferers. It also tends to sleep cooler compared to memory foam. Latex will not breakdown overtime and dry out or “pill” like conventional foam.
- Micro-Coil: A micro-coil topper pad is essentially a miniature innerspring mattress, only 2-3″ tall, and is highly responsive and very body contouring. Because they are hollow, they are very effective at cooling by allowing air to actively ventilate underneath your body.
- Feather or Down: Feather or down toppers are made from natural materials, providing a plush and luxurious feel. They offer softness and light cushioning, enhancing comfort. These toppers are often breathable, allowing for good airflow. However, they may not provide as much support or pressure relief as memory foam or latex, and some people with allergies may be sensitive to feathers or down.
- Wool: Wool toppers provide natural temperature regulation, keeping you warm in winter and cool in summer. Wool is moisture-wicking, breathable, and resistant to dust mites. It can add a soft and comfortable layer to your mattress. Wool toppers are often considered a good option for those with allergies or sensitivities.
- Polyester and Fiberfill: Polyester and fiberfill toppers are typically more affordable options. They offer a soft and cushioned surface to sleep on. While they may not provide as much support as memory foam or latex, they can still enhance the comfort of your mattress. These toppers tend to be lightweight and easy to care for. Often they include pretty basic polyurethane foam layers.
Better quality toppers run anywhere from $200-400 in price, including shipping, though the price will increase 20-30% if you opt for a 3″ vs. a 2″ in most cases.
I’m going to give you a basic outline of the the most popular topper pad options available, and then give you our curated list of recommended retailers that we’ve reviewed to verify owner satisfaction.
One thing you should know up front though, is that there are some basic rules to stick to when buying ANY kind of topper, whether it be polyurethane foam, latex, memory foam, or gel foam.
Also remember that topper pads are different from mattress pads, which really don’t offer any measurable thickness to an ailing mattress.
The Difference Between A Mattress Topper And A Mattress Pad
Mattress pads are usually made with an assortment of fiber layers, like cotton, wool, or perhaps down feathers, and are less likely to provide effective support or change the feel of a mattress, but provide some embellishment or level of protection.
A mattress pad is great if you are looking to protect your bed, or merely add a subtle level of additional padding without changing the underlying feel of your bed.
A mattress topper, when you buy the right one, essentially reinvents and markedly improves the feel of a bed, by adding a substantial amount of unique material, generally a function of thickness, that increases the comfort level and improves the support that you receive from a mattress.
Generally, a decent topper pad is 2-3″ thick, because anything thicker is essentially getting into mattress thickness territory. It might make your mattress too tall to easily get in and out of, but you need to properly choose between a 2″ or 3″ model of topper pad.
I will tell you that if you have an existing mattress that is extremely hard, you will definitely need to opt for the thicker 3″ version of almost any topper pad. A 2″ thick topper pad should only be used if you want minimal improvement in softness, need some additional lower back support, and is best used for back or belly sleeping.
If you are a side sleeper, weigh more than 135 lbs, and sleep with a partner, I almost always recommend opting for a 3″ thick mattress topper pad to get the best results.
Make sure you properly measure your existing mattress before you purchase online. For example, if you are buying a topper pad for a dorm room situation, almost all college dorm mattresses are twin LONGS, which measure 38″ x 80″, unlike conventional twin size, which are 39″ x 75″.
Also, there are a few oddball sizes like full and queen longs, which are 80″ long vs. 75″. In almost all cases, though, the vast majority of mattress topper pads purchased in the U.S. are either queen size or king size.
Use the chart we’ve provided to help with your field measurements. Obviously, the height of your mattress is irrelevant.
As far as sheets are concerned, adding 2-3 of height to your existing mattress should not affect your ability to use your current sheets, since sheets will stretch to accommodate a little bit of extra height.
Differences Between Memory Foam And Latex Topper Pads
- Memory foam, also known as visco-elastic foam, is a kind of urethane foam, and we’re all highly familiar with it. Also known as the “hand print” foam, it offers the slow response and wonderful melting in sensation that helps to distribute weight evenly, and also comforts to your body to offer cradling support.
Memory foam is often combined with gel material that further increases the stretchiness of the material, making it extremely effective at distributing weight and cooling your body as well. If you are a hot sleeper, consider a gel foam type of topper. We recommend a few below that have excellent reviews from its hot sleeping owners.
Copper infused gel or memory foam can also be found in topper pads as well. Copper is naturally anti-bacterial, and helps keep your mattress clean and free of microbes which can grow inside of mattresses.
- Natural Latex foam has been around for more than 60 years, but only recently has made a roaring comeback. Originally derived from natural latex rubber, it can be made synthetically, or blended with natural and synthetic. Either way, latex foam makes an excellent topper pad option.
Naturally bouncy, spongy, and lively, many people love the “freedom” latex offers, with no sinking or molding around your body, giving restless or light sleepers the ability to turn and move without awakening. It is also naturally anti-bacterial and anti-mold, as it repels these organisms due to its high acidic qualities.
Natural latex is also known for being dust mite resistant. Dust mites lay eggs inside of mattresses and their components, and many people have strong allergies to dust mites. If you are looking for the most hypoallergenic topper pad you can buy, consider a natural latex topper pad.
Nano-Coil Topper Pads Imitate The Feel Of Luxury Innerspring Mattresses
Nano-coils, also known as micro-coils or micro-springs, are smaller-sized coil systems that are used in mattresses. They are typically made of steel or other durable materials and are designed to provide targeted support and enhanced comfort, and work really well inside of today’s high tech best topper pads.
Nano-coils are much smaller in size compared to traditional mattress coils, with diameters typically ranging from 1 to 2 inches. They are often individually encased in fabric pockets or wrapped in foam to allow for independent movement and better isolation of motion.
The primary purpose of nano-coils in a mattress is to enhance pressure relief and conformability. Due to their smaller size, nano-coils can respond more precisely to the contours of the body, providing localized support and reducing pressure points. They can contour to the curves of your body more effectively than larger coils, which can lead to improved comfort and reduced discomfort.
In addition to pressure relief, nano-coils can also contribute to increased breathability and airflow within the mattress. The smaller size of the coils allows for more open space in the mattress, promoting better ventilation and heat dissipation. This can help regulate temperature and create a cooler sleeping environment.
Sleepyhead USA offers two different topper options, a gel memory foam and a copper memory foam pad. We’ll discuss the benefits of gel foam vs. copper.
Sleepyhead is an online store that strictly specializes in just topper pads. In fact, they offer two options, a gel foam version as well as a copper infused gel foam version.
You can get either version in 2″ or 3″, and they are in the ballpark of $349-369 in a twin long size (typical size for a dorm room mattress) but are available in most mattress sizes as well.
Either option has a stretch knit, breathable and machine washable removable outer covering, too.
Generally I recommend a 2″ topper pad for most situations, but we tested their 3″ options in both the gel memory foam and the copper infused memory foam versions.
I have to tell you, adding that extra inch and upgrading to the 3″ makes all the difference in cush factor and pressure relief. You’re basically reinventing the mattress.
Sleepyhead Gel Memory Foam Topper Option In 2″ Or 3″ Thickness
Sleepyhead’s 100% gel-infused memory foam mattress topper contains an open cell design, and breathes and moves hot air trapped underneath out and away from your body. It’s one of the best topper pads we’ve seen for keeping your body cool and comfy.
Want to learn more about memory foam and gel foam material? You can visit our memory foam history page here.
It helps regulate body temperature while conforming to your body to ease pressure points, promote spinal alignment, and provide an all-around more comfortable sleeping experience.
In a 2″ twin long it costs $249 with free shipping and a no questions asked 30 day trial. This gives you a bit more confidence about trying one out.
I recommend giving the 2″ gel foam option a try if your existing mattress is too soft, a pillowtop, or just needs some extra thickness to add a touch of plushness.
You won’t bottom into your mattress underneath, and you’ll get a bit more pressure relief at hips and shoulders when you’re sleeping on your side.
Sleepyhead Copper Infused Memory Foam Topper Pad
The Sleepyhead Copper Topper is a 100% copper-infused mattress topper featuring advanced hygiene and wellness benefits. Sleep comes easiest when your worries have been put to rest.
Boasting antimicrobial, hypoallergenic, anti-inflammatory, and odor-eliminating properties, our ventilated and copper-infused memory foam draws excess heat from the body, working to keep you cool so you can catch more Zzzs.
The Sleepyhead Copper Topper is a 100% copper-infused mattress topper featuring advanced hygiene and wellness benefits. Sleep comes easiest when your worries have been put to rest.
Copper infused memory foam offers antimicrobial, hypoallergenic, anti-inflammatory, and odor-eliminating properties.
Because it’s a more porous foam, it draws excess heat from the body, working to keep you cool so you can catch more Zzzs.
The copper infused version is a bit more expensive, with a twin long 2″ costing $269, and a twin long 3″ costing $369. The benefits though, especially in a harsh dorm room environment or kid’s room is well worth the upgrade, though.
We tested this topper pad, which claims to sleep cool, relieve pressure, and deliver durability and lifespan. Turns out it was one of our favorite for best topper pads that we reviewed.
Even though it’s just 2″ thick, you don’t bottom into it, and I even found myself floating on it, much like a raft in swimming pool. I’m 6’2″ and 190 lbs, so I expected to crash right through it.
Because Nolah uses a proprietary material called AirFoam®, a kind of modified memory foam with a specialized cell structure, it keeps the air inside of the topper pad without bleeding it out through the edges of the topper.
Arrives to your door with pre-installed organic cotton cover, and according to owners who have had their Nolah AirFoam® Mattress Toppers for as long as 3 years, the topper will not mash, collapse, settle, or develop indentations over time. $349 in queen, free shipping.
Latex For Less specializes in latex mattresses and toppers made using pure, botanically derived latex. The covers used for their topper pad are pure organic cotton, and contain no synthetic fibers.
They also offer not only 2″ and 3″ natural latex topper pads, but you can choose your level of firmness, of which they offer three options.
With the organic cotton cover, their 3″ super thick topper in medium firmness runs $431. You can opt for the 2″ natural latex topper in your choice of firmness levels for just $287.
I would describe the 3″ topper as sumptuous, buoyant, and provides cushioning even when on your side at hips and shoulders. If you have an extra firm mattress that needs a real overhaul and you have a sleep partner, or you weigh over 175lbs., I highly recommend the 3″ option.
You’ll get free shipping with your order as well. Our #1 choice for all natural latex mattress topper.
- No Chemical Smell– Made using no fillers or synthetic additives
- Superior Pressure Relief– reducing pressure points and providing forgiving support to your shoulders, hips, back and knees
- Resilient And Long Lasting– Because our topper is made from our wonderfully resilient single-origin latex, a pure natural latex topper won’t sag or break down and will always return back to its original shape.
For best targeted back pain relief, we loved testing and reviewing The GhostBed 3″ Memory Foam Topper. It’s made with a 4lb density memory foam, considered more durable and more responsive to pressure.
For lower back pain, shoulder and neck pain, even hip pain, it is designed to target areas where pressure requires optimal support.
We found it to be comfortable, medium firm (you don’t sink to the bottom) and very inviting. Also, at just $299 with free shipping using my link, it’s a pretty good deal for a more sophisticated topper pad.
Excellent for renewing even the most tired mattress. 2-stage cooling for deeper, more restorative sleep. Includes elastic straps which grip the underside of both mattress and foundation.
The mattress cover itself adds a cozy feel that we really liked. The best 3″ topper pad in any category under $300.
GhostBed customers who buy their mattresses often purchase the topper as an add on, just to make their brand new mattresses even more sumptuous and embracing.
Saatva is known for offering upscale products, and we’ve reviewed many of their mattress options. They are outstanding and more upscale without being priced out of the market.
Their mattress topper pad lineup does not disappoint.
Choose from three options, each outfitted with an organic cotton cover and elastic straps to secure to any mattress.
Each of their three premium mattress toppers are thoughtfully designed to elevate your sleep experience.
You can choose from memory foam, for best pressure relief, latex for springy livelier bounce factor, or graphite /memory foam which prevents odors, is antibacterial, and helps to cool more effectively. Each model includes:
- A cover made with naturally breathable and moisture-wicking organic cotton
- Secure elastic anchor bands keep mattress topper in place
- Works with all mattress brands in standard sizes
- Spot clean
We’ve reviewed Saatva products for years and have typically found that they set the gold standard for customer service and consistency with quality foams, as well.
We have found that many mattress shoppers will often buy a more basic mattress that can be upgraded substantially simply by adding a topper pad.
If you purchase an 8″ or even 10″ memory foam or latex mattress, and need a little bit more of a sumptuous feel, adding a memory foam or latex topper pad adds a lot of luxury and makes your mattress feel more inviting and “nest like”.
The Saatva web site features verified owner reviews as well, and overall, their lineup is outstanding in quality.
Bear Mattress offers a 3″ copper infused memory foam topper pad that is covered with an outer fabric material called Celliant fiber.
This unique material converts body heat to far infrared heat, and is clinically proven to promote a more restful sleep, aid in quicker recovery, and help you wake up with more energy.
Copper infused memory foam is an excellent thermal conductor that pulls away excessive body heat as you sleep, keeping you at optimal temperature.
Sleeping on a slightly cooled surface, around 88ºF actually, causes you to sleep deeper, meaning you get more REM sleep which is restorative and energizing.
We reviewed the Bear Pro Copper Infused Memory Foam Topper and loved it. And, you can get a queen for just $276, or a king for $396, and shipping is included.
Features And Benefits Of Topper Pad By Type
Topper pads can offer various benefits for an old mattress, regardless of the material used (latex, gel foam, memory foam, or pocket coil). Here’s a technical description of the benefits of each type of topper pad:
- Latex Topper Pad: Latex topper pads are made from natural or synthetic latex, a resilient and durable material. I recommend buying a botanical latex topper pad which is derived from the white sap of the rubber tree and will not decay, pill, or develop cracks over time. SBR, which is synthetic rubber, can easily mash down and form gulleys. The technical advantages of a natural latex topper pad include:
- Enhanced Support: Latex has a high resilience, providing consistent support to the body’s contours, relieving pressure points, and promoting proper spinal alignment.
- Breathability: Latex has an open-cell structure that allows for better air circulation, keeping the sleeping surface cool and reducing heat buildup.
- Durability: Latex toppers are long-lasting and maintain their shape and support for an extended period, which can extend the lifespan of the old mattress.
- Hypoallergenic: Natural latex is resistant to dust mites and mold, making it a suitable option for allergy sufferers.
- Gel Foam Topper Pad: Gel foam topper pads incorporate gel-infused memory foam, which brings several advantages:
- Temperature Regulation: The gel infusion helps dissipate body heat, preventing overheating during sleep, and offering a cooler sleeping surface.
- Pressure Relief: Gel foam conforms to body curves, distributing weight evenly and alleviating pressure points, which is especially beneficial for those with joint or back pain.
- Motion Isolation: Gel foam reduces motion transfer, meaning movements by one sleeper won’t disturb the other, leading to better sleep for both.
- Supportive Comfort: The combination of gel and foam creates a balance of comfort and support, enhancing the overall sleep experience.
- Memory Foam Topper Pad: Memory foam topper pads are made from viscoelastic foam, offering the following technical benefits:
- Contouring Support: Memory foam responds to body heat, softening and contouring to the body’s shape, providing personalized support and alignment.
- Pressure Relief: The ability to distribute weight evenly helps reduce pressure on joints and soothe aches and pains, particularly for side sleepers.
- Motion Isolation: Memory foam absorbs and isolates motion, preventing disturbances caused by a restless partner or pet.
- Allergy-Friendly: High-density memory foam is hypoallergenic, resisting dust mites and allergens for a cleaner sleep environment.
- Pocket Coil Topper Pad: Pocket coil topper pads consist of individually encased coil springs, delivering the following technical advantages:
- Targeted Support: Each pocketed coil operates independently, contouring to the body’s shape and providing targeted support to different areas.
- Minimal Motion Transfer: The individual coil construction reduces motion transfer, preventing disturbances from movements during sleep.
- Increased Airflow: The spaces between the pocketed coils allow for better air circulation, promoting breathability and a cooler sleeping surface.
- Longevity: Pocket coils are highly durable, providing lasting support and preventing sagging in the old mattress.
Ultimately, finding the best topper pads depends on individual preferences and needs, but all these types of toppers can improve the comfort, support, and longevity of an old mattress, enhancing the overall sleep experience.