Last Updated: Sep 8, 2020 @ 10:31 am.

What's the best mattress topper? Yes, you can give an old mattress new life with a topper—but what is best for back support? Hot sleepers? Side sleepers? We surveyed the readers of our parenting books (2.1 million copies in print!) to find their favorites. Then we took these suggestions and did additional work . . . including trying them ourselves. Here are the ones we'd recommend.

FYI: We've been reviewing and writing about products for the home, parents and families since 1994. We don't take money or freebies from brands we review. When we test out a mattress topper for this article, we pay for it without own money. Our work is 100% reader-supported!


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Best Memory Foam Topper

Like sleeping on a cloud
We loved this affordable yet comfortable topper—no odor issues and ships in compact box (great for college dorm move-ins). Caveat: can be hot and no cover.
$49.99

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Best Memory Foam Topper: Linenspa 2 Inch Gel Infused Memory Foam Mattress Topper

Let’s talk mattress toppers.

Made of memory foam, down alternatives or latex, mattress toppers add cushioning to an old mattress that may have become too firm over time.

So what’s right for you?

Memory foam is popular, thanks to its affordable price and cushy softness. The downside? It can be hot.

For hot sleepers, a down alternative mattress topper might be just right. Latex toppers are great for side sleepers, while 3″ memory foam provides the most back support (in our opinion).

We surveyed the readers of our parenting books to find their favorites—it’s always nice to find out what works well in the real world! We took their suggestions and then did additional research. (When we purchase a mattress topper to test ourselves, we use our own money!).

After several more hours of research comparing features and performance, we think these are the best bets.

FYI: Before you purchase any topper, be sure to measure your bed first. Just because a topper says it fits a full-size or queen size bed, doesn’t mean it actually will fit your mattress. Measure first!

For the best memory foam topper, we picked Linenspa’s 2″ Gel Infused Memory Foam Mattress Topper. It combines the best comfort (“like sleeping on a cloud” said one of our parent readers) with a price that easy on the wallet.

Here’s more:

What We Liked

• Arrives in small package; expands when removed. That’s great if you need to take this topper to college, since it is easy to transport.

• No odor issues. That’s a common complaint about memory foam toppers—this one is stink-free, according to our research and reader feedback.

• Super soft and comfortable.

• Lightweight at 9.53 lbs.

• Allergy friendly. This memory foam is latex free (but made in a plant that also makes latex foams).

• Affordable.

• Wide range of sizes available.

What Needs Work

• No cover available as of this writing.

• Hot. Unfortunately, this is a problem with many memory foam mattress toppers—they trap heat from your body. This bothers some people more than others, of course. Some folks like the extra warmth. Others think it is too hot.

• Too soft for some folks. 

• Probably not the best for back support. After our testing and research, we think three inch mattress toppers are better for back support than 2″ models like this one. So if you want a mattress topper for back pain, see the Pure Green latex mattress topper recommended later in this article.

• Durability could be better. We see a few reports form folks who said this memory foam topper cracked after a year or so of use. These were a minority, however. We’re not sure why it cracked after a year’s use for some folks and not others.

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Best Topper For Cooling

Very comfortable + easy on the wallet
A great solution for kids or a college dorm—this topper adds comfort, yet is machine washable. Cooler than memory foam . . . but not as squishy, in our opinion.
$39.95

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Best Topper For Cooling: Oaskys Queen Mattress Pad Cover

Memory foam mattress toppers are a great way to add comfort to a too-firm mattress . . . but they have one major issue: heat.

Memory foam retains body heat—and since it is a dense material, there isn’t much of a way for the heat to dissipate. As we noted earlier, this bothers some folks more than others.

If you are a hot sleeper, then we’d consider a down alternative mattress pad cover. What is down alternative? Basically, it is polyester fill. Square quilting keeps it from shifting.

Another major advantage to down alternative mattress toppers: they are much easier to clean. The one we recommend is machine washable (cold) and can even be put in a dryer (tumble dry low). That makes them great for kids . . . or if your pet has tummy issues. By contrast, memory foam toppers can only be spot cleaned.

After researching 9 different down alternative mattress toppers, we think Oaskys is the best for most people. Soft, comfortable, yet easy on the wallet. Here’s more:

What We Liked

 Lightweight at 5.1 lbs.

• Soft!

• Affordable.

• Machine washable and dry! 

• Combed cotton fabric.

What Needs Work

• Not soft enough for some folks. In fact, some people buy a memory foam mattress topper and THEN put a down alternative topper on top—that might be a good way to get the both of best worlds.

• Probably not the best solution for back support.

• Could be cooler? Overall, we think down alternative mattress toppers are cooler than memory foam . . . and our reader feedback and extensive research confirm this. However, we realize some folks who are hot sleepers may even find down alternative toppers like the Oaskys too hot.

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Best Topper Back Support

Open cell foam = less body heat trapped
We loved this 100% natural latex mattress topper made in Sri Lanka. 3" depth provides excellent support for back and hips, two key pressure points for side sleepers.
$89.99

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Best Topper Back Support: Linenspa 3 Inch Gel Swirl Memory Foam Topper

Some folks buy a mattress topper to add softness to a too firm or aging mattress. Other people suffer from back pain and want more support. If you are a back sleeper and want more support, we think the best solution would be Linenspa’s 3″ Gel Swirl mattress topper. It is an excellent choice with a good quality track record, in opinion.

Three inch memory foam toppers are better for back support, in our opinion. That’s based on our reader feedback and additional research. And yes, we tested out a 3″ memory foam topper on a writer with back issues (that is, me).

Here’s more on why we would recommend this model:

What We Liked

• Soft! 

• Open cell memory foam = cooler than others.

• Durable.

• Thick and springy.

• Affordable. 

What Needs Work

• Needs to be aired out for 48 hours before using. Some folks complained about a strong smell even after ventilating.

• Still too hot? Yes, this mattress has an open cell memory foam design that is supposed to be cooler than other brands. Yet in the real world, some folks think it is still too hot. So we would recommend this mattress topper, with the caveat that your cooling mileage may vary.

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Best Side Sleeper Topper

Doesn't trap body heat
We loved this 100% natural latex mattress topper made in Sri Lanka. 3" depth provides excellent support for back and hips, two key pressure points for side sleepers.
$249.00

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Best Side Sleeper Topper: Pure Green 100% Natural Latex Mattress Topper

Side sleepers put more pressure on points like hips or shoulders.

For these folks, we recommend a latex mattress topper—and after doing extensive research, we think Pure Green’s 100% Natural Latex is the best bet.

Why latex? It’s generally cooler than memory foam, most folks agree. And it provides excellent support for those with back or hip issues.

The downside: it is more expensive than memory foam.

Here’s more:

What We Liked

• Super comfortable.

• 100% natural latex doesn’t trap heat like memory foam. It’s “heat neutral.”

• OEKO-TEX.

• Springy but not bouncy.

• GREENGUARD low emission.

What Needs Work

• Pricey.

• Odor. Latex does have an odor . . . and even if you air it out, it can linger for a while.

Why Trust Us

We’ve been rating and reviewing products for the home and families since 1994. We do extensive research and hands-on testing. When we test a mattress topper for this article, we purchase it with own money. We evaluate products with an eye toward quality, ease of use and affordability.

Here’s another key point: we don’t take money from the brands we review. No free samples, no sponsors, no “partnerships.” Our work is 100% reader-supported!

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