What is a mattress topper and why would you want one?
And how do they differ from mattress pads?
Even though they sound much the same, mattress toppers are quite different than pads. As the name implies, mattress toppers sit atop a mattress and are designed to make a rock-hard or otherwise uncomfortable mattress (read: your average college dorm mattress) much easier to sleep on.
Mattress toppers add comfort and support.
Mattress pads, on the other hand, only offer a minimal amount of additional comfort. Pads are designed to prevent damage to a mattress—some are waterproof, others are designed to prevent bed bugs. Mattress pads go on a bed like a sheet, wrapping around the corners.
This article focuses on mattress toppers. There are two basic types of toppers: memory foam and down alternative toppers.
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. And that can be uncomfortable.
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 instead of duck or goose feathers. Square quilting keeps the fill 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). By contrast, memory foam toppers can only be spot cleaned.
After researching 9 different down alternative mattress toppers to find the most cushy soft one, we think Oaskys is the best bet. We were impressed with the quality here. Pillowy soft, comfortable, yet easy on the wallet. Here’s more:
What We Liked
• Easy to transport.
• Lightweight at 4 lbs.
• Machine washable and dry!
• Combed cotton fabric.
What Needs Work
• 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.
• Not soft enough for some folks. We thought this mattress topper was very soft—but we know some folks want even more softness. 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. If you want a memory foam mattress topper, we’ll discuss that option next.