5 Best Mattress Toppers 2023, Tested For Back Relief and Soft Support
Even if your current mattress is the same rock-hard floor model you’ve been without for the last decade, the best mattress pads out there can evenly reinforce your pillow and support without having to settle for a whole fancy new model. Mattress toppers are traditionally pieces of memory foam (some with cooling technology, some without) that you can slap on your bed to add some separation between your bones and the innersprings that are so old they’re practically poking into your side. But the latest class of mattress topper even includes down feathers, natural latex, cooling gel and more if you tend to branch out. Before you start looking for a quality mattress topper, there are a few things to consider before you hit the buy button.
The best mattress pads at a glance
To get straight to the heart of the story, here’s a quick list of our favorites that we’ve tested and analyzed below.
What should you look out for when buying a mattress topper?
People sleep in all kinds of positions, it’s a fact of life. Think about who will be sleeping on the mattress topper, and if it’s not just you, let your sleeping buddy carry out the idea first. Find out what they love and dislike about the mattress and take notes on their preferred sleeping position and how they feel about the bed. Do the same for yourself and find the similarities. Are you a bunch of side sleepers in dire need of a top layer with extra padding? Do you tend to burn at night and need a sweat-wicking surface underneath? Are you a staunch back sleeper and need some pressure relief to counteract your overly soft mattress? It’s all important in deciding what type of topper you’re attracted to.
Types of Mattress Pads
Speaking of which, there are generally four main types of mattress pads: cooling, firm, cushioning, and pillow-soft. Most mattress toppers are made out of memory foam, but you’ll find others filled with feathers, microfiber, and cooling gel. Memory foam is great because it molds to your body, adding a level of customization that other materials can’t offer as easily.
Still others feature temperature regulation technology to ward off night sweats. In most cases, this means that the topper is woven with copper, a material that is naturally cooling. You can also opt for hypoallergenic mattress pads if you’re worried about dust mites and allergens, or opt for something organic if you’re unsure about the eco-friendliness of your bedding.
As we tested
After a few months of disciplined bed making, sweaty wrestling with box toppers, and sleeping on different mattress toppers, we consider ourselves to be true experts in the field. Each mattress topper was tested by this author and her husband for at least a week and a half each, taking into account each topper’s breathability and heat dissipation, how we feel each morning, the support each topper had to relieve back pain. any motion transmission issues that would rattle sensitive sleepers, and – one of the most important elements – how easy the thing was to get in and out of bed. Below we’ve rounded up our top picks for the best mattress topper, from summer-cooling options to a surprisingly convenient budget choice.
The Best Mattress Pad for Most People: The Company Store Legends Hotel Down Alternative
Vivid childhood memories of the first time I sank into a brand new double pillow-top mattress came flooding back after I sprawled out on this topper — this time sans the, uh, mid-calf socks and the mesh jersey. Filled with polyester fill and nested in a cotton twill shell, the Company Store’s Legends Hotel Down Alternative topper is great for down-sensitive people. It might not be as elegant as other options — the plush pillow creates a sea wave beneath your fitted sheet — but the fact that it doesn’t shift around while you sleep helped it make the top of the list.
A detail that takes that topper, um, above The best part is how good we felt the next morning… and the next… and the next. It offers enough softness for comfortable side sleeping while providing just enough firmness for stable back support on our usual mattress. Thankfully, there wasn’t any weird smell (outgassing!) when the thing was unpacked, and it took less than three minutes to get on the bed. One small thing: it’s only spotlessly clean unfortunately, which is pretty standard for toppers, but considering it’s backed by one lifespan guarantee, which in our opinion more than makes up for the tricky cleaning situation.
The Best Firm Mattress Pad: Tuft & Needle
Mattress pads are never cradle proof. The point is to add a little support, but memory foam and polyester fill are inherently soft. This particular topper is made from open-cell foam, making it super breathable for hot sleepers. The overall look is fairly minimal – an important factor if you need to store it in one easy place when not in use – and the extra two inches of padding are designed to relieve pressure points all over the body, especially in the hips and Shoulders.
The mattress topper was a great fit the first night, but after two more nights we noticed some movement on our mattress, despite the silicone beads on the back designed to prevent just that. Slipping the topper back under the fitted sheet was a relatively quick fix, but still something to keep in mind. There was also a bit of outgassing that occurred after the topper was unpacked. But after about an hour of stretching and breathing, everything was fine. The topper made no noticeable difference to our existing sleep setup, but this author’s partner gave it two thumbs up.
The best cooling mattress topper: Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR-Adapt
We’re going to get the worst part of this topper out of the way first: skip your workout, tucking that thing in the removable cover will be your cardio of the day. We recommend recruiting a buddy, as the memory foam pad needs to be placed in its outer shell and zipped up before use (so it’s worse than dealing with a fitted sheet). Despite the sweaty introduction, this option proved massively chilling during a week of unusually warm Brooklyn winter nights. The mattress topper fitted perfectly under our sheets and we experienced little movement during the testing period. Plus, the cover can be removed and machine washed in cold water if you sweat at night – just clean the core of the mattress topper.
There was a few hours of outgassing after unboxing this thing, but it was worth the work and wait. At nearly $300 (the temperature control option will cost you an additional 60 bones), it’s more expensive than other options, but the cooling design was worth the extra money. As a heavy sleeper who usually wakes up once or twice to take off a shift, this tester was very surprised at how well she slept.
The best latex mattress topper: Birch Living Plush
Organic mattress toppers are made from eco-friendly, naturally occurring materials rather than the standard memory foam we typically see in these designs, which would explain the premium price that the Birch Plus Organic is sold for. This topper is made of cotton, wool and latex that will ensure a soft landing after a long day. The plush, premium design gives it extra room for airflow, and the breathability was definitely noticeable for dissipating body heat on warmer nights. Also, there was absolutely no outgassing to speak of. After working the 2-inch pad on the bed, we noticed the least amount of stretch underhand. This was actually a huge plus as it meant a good morning stretch wouldn’t pull the pad completely out of alignment on the bed.
The latex construction also proved to be a major benefit, as it helps mimic the body-contouring effects of a memory foam option. The fact is, it’ll never be as soft as a foamy topper, but it’s a small sacrifice for a slightly more luxurious organic construction. Also of note is Birch Living’s 100-night trial period, which allows customers to return the topper for a full refund if they’re not happy with it, as well as the 10-year guarantee, which sets you up for success from the start. Just don’t throw it in the dryer – like most other toppers, this is a stain-only situation. For a lavish, sustainable purchase that will help you sleep better at night, this is spot on for the money. But for most people who don’t have to shell out $500 for a mattress, the Company Store option is still our top choice for value and their unbeatable lifetime guarantee.
The best budget mattress topper: Zinus Copper Cooling
Of all the toppers we tested, this “egg crate” style option (meaning it’s a foamy model with indentations and valleys to support your body’s natural curves) was one of the firmest options out there Market. The ‘Zon’ is full of these types of frothy textured topper and Zinus’ Copper Cooling ranks among the most popular.
There are very few frills with this topper, but we appreciated the support of its 3-inch surface. An accidental motion transfer test – in which a teacup sat unsteadily on the bed while someone else sat down – took place, and miraculously the cup stayed in place. So you probably won’t notice much movement from your partner tossing and turning at night.
And while we didn’t exactly wake up sweaty, all of the promised cooling benefits seemed more apparent among other breathable options on this list. A minor annoyance was that we could feel the pad’s bumpy surface beneath our bodies while we slept, although ultimately it wasn’t big enough to care. The biggest downside we found was a strong chemical smell out of the box, which took a couple of hours next to a window to completely go away (the brand suggests 72 hours airing). Still, for around $100, it’s one of the best memory foam mattress topper in its price range.