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Ultimate Guide To Choose The Right Mattress Topper

Mattresses tend to wear down with use. This may bring about constant body aches on the back, hips, shoulders, and any other pressure point. The answer may seem easy: change your mattress. But this may not be as easy as it sounds because of the high prices that new mattresses have. 

This is where mattress toppers come into play. They will make your bed feel brand new and will help you sleep comfortably. There are several models in the market, each of them suitable for different needs and budgets. 

While some people are looking for a topper for medical reasons, some others may just want to add an extra layer of comfort. But how do you know which topper is the best for you? Are you sure that what you need is a topper? These questions and more are what we are going to be discussing below.

What is a mattress topper?

There are several related products that many people usually confuse with mattress toppers. Let’s analyze each of them so that you know which one suits your needs better.

Mattress covers and protectors

If you are looking for an item to protect your mattress, a matress cover may be what you need. Covers protect your mattress from accidental spills and dust. As most of them are hypoallergenic, these products are great for those who suffer from common allergies. 

Encasements

If you want to avoid bed bugs, then this is probably the product you are looking for. Encasements cover mattresses on all their six sides, making it practically impossible for unwanted visitors to appear. They may be padded to be more comfortable, but this is not what they are primarily designed for. 

Mattress Pad

These are great for those who need just a little extra comfort, but they do not offer as much padding as toppers. They also offer protection against liquids and allergens. In a way, they are in the middle ground between covers and toppers. 

A mattress pad may fulfill several functions. Some models, for example, help regulate the body temperature by adding heat or redistributing it to give a cool feeling. 

Toppers

Toppers are much thicker than pads, as they usually are between 2 and 3 inches thick. This means that they offer more support for your back and other areas that generally receive pressure, and it also is far more comfortable.

The good thing about toppers is that they work perfectly fine with pads, encasements or covers. So, you can get protection for your mattress and topper, as well as an extra layer of comfort just by using two of these products at the same time.

Yet, if you are on the lookout for a pillow top mattress topper, you may want to bear in mind that many manufacturers use these terms interchangeably. So, if you are in doubt, send them a message asking about the thickness of their product to see if you are buying what you are looking for.

What are the benefits of using a mattress topper?

With use and the passage of time, mattresses tend to lose their support, and so they may contribute to produce back or hip pain. Yet, buying a new mattress altogether is quite expensive, and probably not necessary. This is something that can be easily solved with a full size mattress topper. It will not make it feel like new, but it will make it much more comfortable and with more support. 

Toppers are also useful to make mattresses that are too firm feel softer. As they are usually made out of memory foam or latex, toppers will adapt to each person’s posture and help align their spine. And by doing so, it will help people who suffer from back or hip pain have a good night’s sleep.

Which are the main types of mattress toppers?

Toppers can be made out of several materials, but the most popular are the following four. Each of them has its pros and its cons, so make sure to weigh them out before making the purchase.

Memory Foam

You will see that most toppers are made out of this material. It provides great support for the body and helps to relax it. A feature that sets it apart is that it adapts to your sleeping position. The good ones, though, can be very pricey. So, it is key that you consider how badly you need the best memory foam topper. 

Choosing the right thickness and density

It is important that you understand these two features so that you can choose the one that suits your needs better. Depending on how thick and dense your topper is, the levels of comfort and support that it provides will vary. 

Density

Getting the right density for your king size mattress topper is essential. This feature is measured in pounds per cubic feet. The typical density usually varies between two and six pounds per cubic feet. Usually, the highest density is reserved for those with medical conditions because of the great support that they provide, but anyone can buy them. Yet, you have to bear in mind that this entails a much higher price. 

Mattress toppers that are on the lower end of the density spectrum will feel very soft, but they will not provide as much support as the ones that have a higher density. Also, they are easier to carry because of their light weight. The sweet spot for most people will be between 4 to 5 pounds per cubic feet, as these toppers are a great mix of softness and support. Densities higher than this are usually reserved for people who are very heavy or who suffer from serious backache or hip pain.

Thickness

In this case, the thickness of a topper is usually measured in inches. This parameter usually varies between 1 and 4 inches. The most common ones are between 2 and 3 inches thick. Two inches is a perfect measure for those who are just looking to add a little extra support for their mattresses. Three inches provide a great balance between how cushioned a topper is and how much support it offers. And four inches of thickness is what the people who need the most support usually choose.

Pros

  • This material yields amazing results for people who suffer from skeletal pain in their backs, hips, or other places. As it adapts to the curvature of the body, it helps to align the spine and, in turn, diminish the amount of pain. Usually, toppers made out of these materials include some cooling gel because memory foam tends to retain heat. So, by having this substance, the cooling mattress topper distributes evenly the heat and helps prevent excessive sweating during the night. Toppers made out of this material are also useful if you have a partner that tends to move much during the night. Memory foam dampens the noise that they make and does not transmit vibrations, so probably you will not feel anything at all. 

Cons

  • Memory foam is not good by itself to distribute heat, so models that do not come with aid for this will probably be quite uncomfortable, as they will make you sweat a lot. So, if you have your heart set on getting a memory foam topper, make sure that you pick one that is infused in gel or has a ventilation system. Otherwise, you may not get the results that you expected. Also, memory foam toppers usually come with a weird smell out of the box. But do not worry, it goes away after a few days.

Latex Foam

This material is extracted from rubber plants and is used for a wide variety of things. It can be turned into foam by using different methods, but the most popular one for toppers is called Talalay. This method ensures that the resulting foam is soft and comfortable.

Toppers made out of this material are great for people who sleep on their sides, as it helps to absorb the pressure that is made on the hips and shoulders. Back sleepers will also find that these toppers give them good support on their shoulders and buttocks. Another key aspect of latex foam is that it is quite durable, as this material is very resilient. 

Pros

  • Latex foam also adapts to the body shape of the person who uses it, though not as well as memory foam does. It also does not transmit vibrations, so if another person sleeps with you and they move, you will not feel it and it will not interrupt your sleep. Toppers made out of this material are great to soften mattresses that are too hard.

Cons

  • If your main interest is that the topper adapts to your body shape, you will probably do better with a memory foam topper.

Feathers

If what you are looking for is just some extra comfort, a feather mattress topper queen should be among your top options. These are the most cushioned toppers by far. They come particularly in handy if you have a mattress that is too firm and you would like to soften it. 

Pros

  • This material is very comfortable and luxurious, and will definitely help you relax. It is a great improvement for hard beds.

Cons

  • Some people are allergic to feathers. Make sure that this is not your case before buying the topper. Also, feathers tend to retain a lot of heat, so they may be uncomfortable during summer. What is more, this material is quite expensive, which affects the final price of the topper.

Synthetic Fiber

This material is not the most common among mattress toppers, but it can be found. It comes in two main densities. Microfibers are soft and comfortable, perfect to use on top of a hard mattress to make it more comfortable. Thick fibers are harder and firmer, and they provide better support for your body. Hollow fibers, for their part, are the ones offer the best support out of the three. It is better if you can see the topper personally to make sure that you get the firmness that you are looking for.

Pros

  • This material has different levels of thickness, which means that it can adapt to each customer’s different needs. Make sure to test the firmness to see if it fits your needs. 

Cons

  • Picking the right firmness may be difficult due to the number of options that there are.

Wool

Wool is a material extracted straight from nature, which can make it quite expensive. Yet, a wool mattress topper may be worth its price depending on your needs.

Pros

  • Toppers made out of this material tend to last for a long time if they receive proper care. Also, they are very soft, which is great to complement hard mattresses. One of its key benefits is that people who are allergic to synthetic materials will find that wool is a great replacement for them. And most importantly, bed bugs usually avoid getting into wool toppers. This material does a good job of distributing heat, so it regulates well the temperature depending on the season.

Cons

  • On the negative side, this material can be more expensive than other materials. And even though it is quite soft, it is not as soft as memory foam.

Cotton and polyester

Many toppers are made out of a combination of these two materials, often combined with a third one. Depending on the quality of the blend and the quantity of each material that is used, the final price of the topper will vary.

Pros

  • Because of the flexibility that using a blend of materials offers, there are many options to choose from. And it is also possible to find options that are totally synthetic or entirely organic. The ones that are made exclusively of polyester are quite cheap. This also means that it is possible to find toppers with different densities and thicknesses.

Cons

  • Toppers made out of high-quality cotton are quite pricey. Also, this material does not las as much as latex or memory foam. This is particularly so for cotton. This material tends to compress quickly, and thus lose its softness.

Egg crate

This name comes from the shape of the material. It has small bumps that look like egg crates. These toppers are usually made of memory foam, though there are models that have common foam. This means that the final price of the topper will vary a lot depending on the material that is used. 

The more basic models are not cushioned and do not offer as much support as memory foam, but they are a great option for those who are on a budget. 

Pros

  • The price of these toppers is usually lower than most competitors. They are very light and thin, which makes it very easy to carry them from one place to the other. This makes them perfect for camping.

Cons

  • Toppers made out of this material tend to be more uncomfortable than those that have memory foam or latex. They do not provide as much support and tend to retain heat. Also, they are not very resistant and may break easily after recurrent use.  

What to look for in a mattress topper

Choosing the topper for your bed goes beyond the materials. They are very important, it is true. But there are several other factors that will affect your final decision. Read on to see what to pay attention to when choosing your next topper. 

Price

The common belief is that the more expensive the product is, the better is its quality. But this is not necessarily so. What matters the most here is that what you buy satisfies your needs, and maybe you do not need something super expensive. 

If you are looking for something cheap, you could check out toppers made out of egg crate foam or polyester. If you need the best toppers, then you may want to go for one made out of memory foam, latex or wool. If you would like the best of both worlds, cotton and feathers are materials that are that expensive, and yet provide a nice experience.

Pain relief, firmness, and extra support

If you suffer from backache or need more support for your hips, then it would be best for you to go for toppers made out of memory or latex. They adapt to the shape of your body and posture and help align your spine while providing very good support for your hips.

Thickness and density options

Toppers come in all types of sizes and forms. The most common ones are the toppers that are between 2 and 3 inches thick, though some of them may reach even 8 inches. Side sleepers and people who are heavier than the average person may want to go for a topper on the thicker side. If that is the case, you will probably want to go for memory foam or latex.

Closely related to the thickness is another key aspect to bear in mind: the density. Depending on how dense the material is, the topper will give you different amounts of support for your back, hips, and shoulders. The ones that usually provide the most options are memory foam and latex. 

Avoid feeling the movements of your partner

If every time your partner moves, you feel it and wake up, then memory foam and latex are the best options for you. They do not transmit vibrations, so if you sleep with someone that moves constantly, these will totally help you to sleep well.

Body heat

This is one of the most important aspects to consider when choosing your next topper. Memory foam and latex are the materials that have the most problems when it comes to heat distribution. This varies a lot depending on the density and thickness of the topper, though. This is why many companies add ventilation and gel to their products.

Yet, if you want to go for a material that doesn’t retain heat out of the box and that you can use no matter the season, you should go for wool, as it is quite warm during the winter, but does not keep the heat during the summer.

Allergies

Most top-notch toppers come with hypoallergenic covers to protect you from the dust. Also, check if they state that they will be helpful against bed bugs.

Ease of cleaning and moving

Make sure that you choose a topper that you can operate easily. Not only will you need to take it out of its box and put it on the bed, but you will also need to take it out once in a while to clean it. For your own good, do not choose a topper that looks nice, but you cannot move, or you may hurt your back, which is what you were trying to avoid in the first place...

Because of their higher density, memory foam and latex are the most difficult to move and carry. So, if you know that this is going to be an issue for you, make sure that pick one made out of feathers or cotton. Egg crate is a good option for this too. 

Before buying your topper, make sure to ask what the recommended cleaning process is. While some can be washed with a machine, many of them can only be washed by hand. If you would like to avoid this process as much as possible, make sure to use a cover so that your topper does not get dirty. 

Warranty

This will mostly depend on the manufacturer. While some of them offer only one year of warranty, the best ones can offer up to 5 years. Yet, this is not the rule. The industry standard is between 2 and 3 years. 

Also, make sure to find out in which cases the warranty will cover you. If it is worn out because you are too heavy or do not use properly, most manufacturers will not let you use the warranty. 

Final considerations

Mattress toppers are a great complement for your mattress whether you have a medical condition or are just looking for some extra comfort. Choosing the right one might be a bit tricky if you do not know exactly what you are looking for. Hopefully, this information will help you make the right purchase.