What Do Mattress Toppers Do

Helen Skeates
Helen Skeates
30 min read

You might be surprised to learn that a high-quality mattress isn’t enough to ensure a restful night’s sleep. Many people use mattress pads or protectors to add an extra layer of comfort and protection to their beds. Mattress toppers are one accessory that may stand out if you want to completely alter the feel of your current bed.

The purpose and advantages of a mattress topper are discussed in detail, from added support to cost-effective luxury. You can then decide whether or not a mattress topper is something you need.

So, what exactly is a mattress pad? Read on to learn everything that you need to know about this luxurious bed accessory.

The Casper mattress topper is a luxurious addition to any mattress.


What Is a Mattress Topper?

A mattress topper is a thin, additional layer of supportive material, typically between two and four inches thick, that is placed on top of an existing mattress. The point is to add comfort to your bed by covering it with a new layer.

You can find a mattress topper that suits your preferences for temperature, firmness, and comfort. An extra barrier between you and your mattress can prevent spills and sagging.

Mattress Pad vs. Mattress Topper

There are significant distinctions between a mattress pad and a mattress topper, despite their superficial similarities. Find out what each piece of bedding is for and how it works below.

  • A mattress pad consists of a thin layer (usually between 1 and 2 inches thick) of feathers, latex, or fiber that is placed on top of a mattress to add soft support and shield it from dust mites, allergens, and accidents.
  • A mattress topper is an extra layer of padding placed on top of an existing mattress to improve comfort, prevent the mattress from becoming stained or sagging, and add an extra two to four inches of height to the bed.

Those on a tighter budget who could use some extra cushioning and defense against spills would benefit greatly from investing in a mattress pad. Conversely, mattress toppers are a great option for those who want to invest in a more comfortable night’s sleep because they are thicker and provide additional support.

What is a Mattress Topper & what do they do? | Ecoy

What Does a Mattress Topper Do? 7 Benefits

There are a number of benefits to using a mattress topper, including temperature regulation and pain relief. Learn about all the advantages of a mattress topper by reading this:

Benefit #1: Adjusts Mattress Firmness

A mattress topper can be used to modify the firmness or softness of a mattress to suit individual preferences. A mattress topper can be used to alter the firmness or softness of an existing mattress.

Mattress toppers made of memory foam or latex add a layer of support to already plush beds, while those made of feathers or wool add a layer of comfort to already firm beds. A mattress topper allows you to customize the firmness of your bed to your individual preferences.

Benefit #2: Can Regulate Bed Temperature

A cooling mattress topper is helpful if you have a tendency to overheat in your sleep. For instance, the Casper Mattress Topper makes use of porous, air-permeable foams that direct excess heat away from the sleeper.

However, a wool mattress topper will help keep you warm and cozy because of its ability to trap heat. There is a mattress topper out there for every desired sleeping temperature.

Benefit #3: Can Provide Year-Round Comfort

Having a mattress topper that allows you to customize the temperature of your bed means you can sleep soundly no matter the season.

A wool mattress topper or your regular mattress can provide welcome warmth in the winter. Then, when the temperature starts to rise, you can swap to your cooling mattress topper. A mattress topper can help you maintain a comfortable sleeping temperature throughout the year.

Benefit #4: Can Lift a Sagging Mattress

Mattresses can sag after years of use from being slept on, but this is easily remedied with a mattress topper. A mattress topper, with its extra padding, can be used to restore an older, sagging mattress.

A mattress topper can help with a sagging bed, but it can’t take the place of a bed that’s seen better days. Prior to purchasing a mattress topper, you should consider whether or not you actually need a new mattress. No matter how old or new your bed is, rotating the mattress regularly is essential for keeping the springs in good shape.

Benefit #5: Helps Keep Your Mattress Clean

Since a mattress topper is placed on top of your existing mattress, it acts as an extra layer of defense against soiling, spills, and stains. Not all mattress toppers are completely waterproof, but they all do a good job of preventing spills.

Some mattress toppers are designed to block out allergens and dust mites in addition to spills and stains. Allergens can accumulate in a mattress over time, so this extra barrier protects you from breathing them in while you sleep.

Benefit #6: Saves You Money

Did you know that a mattress topper could end up saving you money? A mattress topper can add years to the life of your mattress by protecting it from wear and tear and spills.

You should research how often you should replace your mattress type before purchasing a mattress topper. A new mattress is probably in order if you’ve had your current one for more than seven years. A mattress topper can be added to the bed to increase its longevity.

Benefit #7: May Help Relieve Pain

Those who suffer from chronic back pain may want to consider purchasing a mattress topper. Why? Because sleeping on a bed that is too hard can aggravate existing back pain. One study found that a medium-firm mattress, rather than a very firm one, was the most effective at relieving back pain.

If your bed isn’t helping with your aches and pains, a mattress topper may be the answer. The Casper Mattress Topper, for instance, has three layers of comfort: a plush top layer, a layer of premium latex foams, and a layer of polyester fiberfill.

Types of Mattress Toppers

Mattress toppers come in a variety of materials, each with its own distinct texture. Here are some of the benefits and drawbacks of common mattress topper materials to help you make your decision.

1. Memory Foam

Mattress toppers constructed from memory foam are made from a viscoelastic polyurethane foam that is molded into a specific shape. A memory foam mattress topper is an excellent option if you don’t yet have the budget for a full-size memory foam mattress.


  • Used to prop you up
  • Has no give and won’t squeak
  • Very durable; it will last for a long time.


  • Potentially high cost
  • It may be more challenging to shift roles.
  • Possibly a heat trap

A memory foam mattress topper provides the structured comfort you need if you prefer firmer support and don’t mind spending a little more money. The Casper Layer, a polyurethane foam mattress topper, is a more budget-friendly foam option.

2. Synthetic Latex Foam

Mattress toppers made of synthetic latex foam have the cooling properties of natural fibers and the support of memory foam. If you’re looking for a compromise between the two materials, you’ll find it in these pillows.


  • Helps keep you upright
  • Offers a supportive, padded surface.
  • facilitates heat dissipation
  • Restricts creaking and jiggling
  • Long-Lasting Effects


  • More expensive than competing mattress pads
  • Can get chilly in the wintertime.

The Casper Mattress Topper, with its three layers of premium latex foam, is an excellent addition to any bed.

3. Wool

Wool mattress toppers are plush and comfortable, while also being antimicrobial and long lasting. The natural wool fabric is soft and insulating, keeping you warm all night long.


  • Soft and fluffy padding
  • Antimicrobial and hypoallergenic
  • Bed bugs and mites are repelled.
  • Comfortable heat
  • Durable; it will last for a long time


  • Expensive
  • Not a lot of options
  • Poor body support
  • Smells like woods sometimes.

A wool mattress topper could be a good choice for people who like to sleep toasty but don’t need a lot of support.

Feather or Down

The soft underbelly feathers of geese and ducks are used to stuff feather and down mattress toppers, giving them a sumptuously fluffy texture and a luxurious feel.


  • Highly pliable
  • less expensive
  • Helps improve ventilation


  • Poor body support
  • Some feathers may be visible.
  • Easy to rip or crumple
  • Potential allergen

A feather or down mattress topper could be the best option if you’re looking for an inexpensive way to achieve an ultra-plush feel and don’t require much in the way of support.

How To Use a Mattress Topper

You should know what kind of upkeep a mattress topper requires before you buy one. Read on to find out how to clean and arrange a mattress topper on your bed.

How To Put On a Mattress Topper

Adding a mattress topper to your bed doesn’t change much else about your routine. The proper way to make a bed on a mattress topper is as follows:

  1. Cover the mattress with a bed skirt.
  2. Insert Bedspread
  3. Spread the roll-on mattress pad
  4. Place mattress pad or protector if using one.
  5. Drape on a flat sheet
  6. Linens in the tuck
  7. Spread out the duvet or comforter
  8. Pile up the cushions

Roll your mattress topper onto your bed so that the four corners meet your mattress’s corners.

You may want to use non-slip pads under your mattress topper if it does not have a non-slip, viscoelastic bottom. For a comfortable night’s rest without worrying about sliding around, both the Casper Mattress Topper and the Casper Layer feature a viscoelastic bottom.

The 8 Most Comfortable Mattress Toppers In 2023

How To Clean a Mattress Topper

You should clean your mattress topper regularly to keep it free of allergens and grime. Your mattress topper should be washed or spot cleaned at least four times a year to prevent buildup.

Many mattress toppers, such as those made of wool or down, can be washed in a washing machine, but those made of memory foam or latex should not. Cleaning a foam mattress topper without a washing machine and dryer will prevent the topper from shrinking.

Always refer to the care label on your mattress to determine if it is machine- or hand-washable.

Do You Need a Mattress Topper?

Not sure if a mattress topper is necessary yet? Finally, here are a few indications that a mattress topper could be worth the money:

  1. Do you prefer a mattress that is warmer or cooler?
  2. Do you prefer a mattress that is firm or soft?
  3. The bed you sleep on is sagging.
  4. You aren’t ready to buy a new mattress just yet.

We Spent 2 Days Testing Mattress Toppers—These Are the Best

Best Overall: Saatva Mattress Topper

Graphite-infused memory foam; 3 inches in height; available in twin (and twin XL), full (and full XL), queen (and queen XL), king (and California king and split king), and cal king sizes; no certifications required; 180-day return policy; 1-year warranty.

Our Favorites

  • Extremely encouraging
  • Topper prevents detection of lumps.
  • Optimal density for a wide variety of sleeping positions
  • Period of generous return

The Things That Bother Us

  • Unboxing revealed a potent odor
  • Limited to only one year!

Does anyone else think you should try it? Good Housekeeping, TechRadar, and the Sleep Foundation have all chosen the Saatva Mattress Topper. 123

After putting the Saatva Mattress Topper through its paces, we think it’s one of the best options for most people. Our reviewers were impressed by its luxurious softness and buoyant support, and it seems to be constructed of high-quality materials given its weight and density.

While this topper is slightly lumpy and had an unpleasant odor upon first opening the packaging, it was easily smoothed out. While it lacks the softness of some memory foam mattresses, its superior support makes it a good choice for people who prefer to sleep in a wide variety of positions. In terms of padding, our experts gave it a four out of five star rating because they couldn’t feel small objects placed underneath it. The organic cotton cover and graphite-infused foam are two reasons why this topper felt much cooler to our testers than standard memory foam, leading them to award it a perfect score for airflow.

This high-end mattress offers a generous 180-day sleep trial with no restocking fees, but its warranty, at only 1 year, is much shorter than that of similarly priced products. The Saatva Graphite Mattress Topper is, in general, a good investment if you want to upgrade your sleep for a higher price.

Runner-Up, Best Overall: Sleep Innovations Dual Layer Memory Foam Mattress Topper

Gel memory foam; 4 inches high; available in Twin, Full, Queen, King, and California King sizes; CertiPUR-US and retailer-specific; 10-year warranty.

Our Favorites

  • Created with two layers
  • Exceptionally soft and padded.
  • Rests firmly on the mattress.
  • Warranty for ten years

Disliked Features

  • The top layer’s cooling effectiveness is diminished.

Another option that was highly regarded by our panel was the Sleep Innovations Gel Memory Foam Mattress Topper. This one-of-a-kind topper is constructed out of two parts: a 2-inch layer of gel memory foam, and a 2-inch pillow topper with an attached skirt that functions like a mattress pad. This structure not only guarantees the top, but it also holds fast on your bed, but our test subjects overwhelmingly preferred the double layer. The comfort of this topper exceeds that of a regular memory foam topper thanks to its top layer, which provides extra padding without adding bulk. In the end, its cushioning properties earned it a perfect score of 5 stars from our testers.

This mattress topper has a sticky feel due to the gel memory foam, but it is simple to set up on a bed and thus receives 4 stars for ease of use. Thankfully, the foam is hidden by the top layer, so you won’t have to experience the unpleasant texture up close and personal. However, we did find that the polyester filling of the pillow topper reduced the cooling effects of the gel memory foam. It wasn’t the warmest topper we tried, but after just five minutes of use, the surface temperature did rise by a few degrees.

This mattress topper is not only soft and luxurious, but it was also manufactured in the United States CertiPUR-US foam that has been certified as meeting all relevant content, emissions, and durability standards. It also comes with a generous 10-year guarantee.

Best Budget: LUCID 3-inch Gel Memory Foam Mattress Topper

Gel memory foam; three-inch height; twin, full, queen, king, and California king sizes; CertiPUR-US certification; return policy varying by retailer; three-year warranty

Things We Dig

  • Fair price
  • Soft and bolstering
  • Open vents create a breezy environment.

Disliked Features

  • Clearly emitted gases

The LUCID Memory Foam Mattress Topper is an affordable choice that offers a firm yet comfortable sleeping surface. It was constructed from a gel memory foam with open cells, so our testers appreciated how breathable it was (despite feeling slightly tacky to the touch). The topper’s firmer feel than the others we tried makes it a good option for side sleepers and those who prefer a more structurally sound mattress.

This mattress topper did have an odor upon initial unboxing, so we let it off-gas for the suggested 48 hours before putting it to the test. Our testing mattress fit perfectly. Our sleep testers didn’t report any discomfort while lying down, despite the fact that we could see bumps when we put objects on top of the topper.

Best Foam: Tuft & Needle Mattress Topper

Open-cell foam; 2 inches tall; available in twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, and California king sizes; CertiPUR-US and UL GREENGUARD Gold certified; Intertek Clean Air Certified; 100-day trial period; 3-year warranty

Things We Dig

  • The Perfect Gauge
  • Excellent for use on uneven beds.
  • The silicone beading secures the lid.
  • Dressing to impress

Disliked Features

  • Two people are needed for setup.
  • Unboxing revealed a potent odor

The Tuft & Needle Mattress Topper is constructed from an open-cell foam that does not retain heat as much as memory foam, making it more suitable for those who find traditional memory foam to be too hot. Our reviewers were impressed by the balanced texture despite its 2-inch thickness. Also, we could hardly feel any hard objects placed under the topper, so it’s a good option if you’re looking to fix a mattress that’s too lumpy or uncomfortable.

Unboxing revealed a potent odor emanating from this mattress pad; an off-gassing period will be necessary (though not advised by the manufacturer). Get a friend to help you put the cover on, as it has silicone beads on the bottom to keep the topper from sliding around on the bed.

Best Memory Foam: ViscoSoft Active Cooling Memory Foam Mattress Topper

Copper-infused memory foam; 4 inches in height; available in twin (and twin XL), full (and full XL), queen (and queen XL), king (and king California), and California king (and king) sizes; CertiPUR-US and CertiPUR-US-compliant; refundable within 60 days; 5-year warranty (when purchased from ViscoSoft).

Our Favorites

  • Soft and cushiony texture
  • No Conversion of Motion
  • inferior to other materials in heat retention
  • Cloth washable cover

Disliked Features

  • Feeling of mild sinking

Because of its softness and resilience, memory foam is frequently used as a mattress topper. The ViscoSoft Mattress Topper performed exceptionally well in our tests against other memory foam products. Our sleep testers didn’t report feeling any lumps when hard objects were placed atop the topper due to its thick and cushiony texture. For this reason, it is the best option for those who suffer from a saggy mattress.

This topper required a 48-hour off-gassing period because it is made of memory foam. Because the memory foam requires a cover made of cooling fabric, assembly is also slightly more difficult. Even though memory foam typically retains heat, this topper remained cooler than many others we tested thanks to its breathable cover and copper-infused foam. The lack of motion transfer made it an excellent option for those who are disturbed by their partner’s tossing and turning in the night. It didn’t quite fit on the bed.

This cover comes in either black or white and is made from CertiPUR-US certified, American-made materials. The manufacturer provides a 5-year guarantee, and the cover is machine-washable.

Best Mattress Pad: Nestwell Double Layer Fiberbed Mattress Topper

Sizes available include twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, and California king, and the product is certified to STANDARD 100 by OEKO-TEX and has a 90-day return policy.

Our Favorites

  • Minimalist in weight and setup complexity
  • Easily wipes clean
  • Offers the Coziness of a Pillow

The Things That Bother Us

  • Not ideal for mattresses that are too firm or too soft.

Toppers are typically thicker and more supportive than mattress pads, but they serve essentially the same purpose. The Nestwell Mattress Topper, for instance, can be used to impart a pillow-top softness to an otherwise firm mattress. While it is called a mattress topper, our experts said it was more like a mattress pad and didn’t perform as well as the other toppers we tried.

Quilted on top and secured with snaps, this one-of-a-kind product features a 2-inch gusseted support layer filled with polyester fibers. Testers were able to easily feel and see objects placed beneath the topper, which is held in place by anchor bands at each corner. This mattress topper’s top layer can be unzipped, taken to the washing machine for a thorough cleaning, and then zipped back into place.

Honorable Mention: Nest Bedding Cooling Topper

Certified by CertiPUR-US and with a 30-day return policy, the EnergexTM Foam mattresses come in twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, and California king sizes and have a 2-inch height.

Our Favorites

  • Fluffy and mushy
  • Perfect for use on hard beds
  • Uniquely crafted for each customer

Disliked Features

  • Miserable price

The Nest Bedding Cooling Topper didn’t fare as well as the competition in our tests, but it’s still a foam topper we’d recommend if you have a mattress that’s too firm. Our reviewers were impressed by the cushiony feel of the brand’s proprietary foam. It’s made with CertiPUR-US certified foam in the USA and has a sleek design to boot.

Unboxing revealed a faint odor from this topper, and it was also a hair too short for the bed. Only 2 inches thick, it warmed up significantly during testing and allowed us to feel objects placed beneath the surface. Overall, it’s not a terrible option for those seeking to soften a firm mattress, though it is more expensive than some alternatives.

How We Tested the Toppers

The editors of The Spruce spent two days putting eleven of the market’s most popular products through their paces.The Lab We rated each topper on a scale from 1 to 5 for ease of assembly, comfort, and airflow. Only eight of the original eleven made the cut.

We timed how long it took to unpack and set up each topper, made note of any odors, and looked for any flaws in the overall design. The tester’s level of comfort was determined by observing how easily they could feel objects placed between the mattress and the topper. Using a surface temperature tester to compare the temperature difference between the tester’s test area and an unoccupied control area, we also evaluated the breathability and heat retention of each topper.

What to Look for in a Mattress Topper


A thicker mattress topper will offer more padding and comfort. If you just need a little extra comfort in bed, a thin option (between 1 and 2 inches thick) will do the trick. However, if your bed is exceptionally uncomfortable, you may want to invest in a thick mattress pad (up to six inches in some cases).


It’s possible to find mattress toppers stuffed with anything from memory foam to down feathers to traditional pillow fillings. Each potential course of action has advantages and disadvantages: Initially, memory foam mattresses can have an unpleasant odor, and down pillows can shed their filling over time. Before deciding, weigh the benefits and drawbacks of each material.

Temperature regulation

Do you have trouble keeping cool at night? Keep in mind that different mattress toppers have varying degrees of success in controlling body temperature. Specifically, down feathers are much better at maintaining a normal temperature than memory foam, which can cause you to get too warm during the night.

What Is a Mattress Topper – Top 5 Benefits | Mattress Online


How thick should a mattress topper be?

Most mattress toppers range in thickness from 2 to 4 inches; the thickness that’s best for you will depend on your specific circumstances. If you need a mattress topper to hide bumps in your current bed, you should look for one that is thick and made of dense foam. However, a thinner topper will suffice for those whose only goal is to increase the softness of their mattress.

Are mattress toppers hot to sleep on?

Memory foam is commonly used to make mattress toppers, but due to the material’s high heat retention, sleeping on one can be uncomfortable at night. There are, however, many temperature-regulating mattress pads available. Memory foam with gel or copper infusion is one method of heat dissipation, but ventilation slots and breathable fabrics are also common. Additionally, those who tend to sleep hot may find more relief on mattresses made of open-cell foam or latex, which tend not to retain heat as much.

How long do mattress toppers last?

Your mattress topper’s durability will be determined in large part by the fabric it’s crafted from. Memory foam of higher quality will typically last between three and five years, while cheaper foam will typically break down within a year or two. Mattress toppers made from natural latex can easily last for five years or more.

Can mattress toppers be washed?

Certain options for down or down alternatives can also be machine washed, and some mattress toppers even come with covers that can be washed in the washing machine. You can’t wash foam toppers in the machine, but you can spot clean them with some baking soda or detergent.

What about back pain? do mattress toppers help?

Mattress toppers can be helpful for back pain because they add a firm, even layer to your mattress. Sleeping on a firmer surface has been shown to reduce back pain, according to research.


We’re here to answer any questions you may have about mattress toppers that haven’t already been answered. Read on for explanations of some frequently asked questions about this item of bedding:

Do mattress toppers work?

Many people do find relief with the use of mattress toppers. A mattress topper can be used to make the bed more firm or plush, as well as to modify the temperature, if the original mattress is too soft or too hard. In addition to extending the life of your mattresses, mattress toppers can help you save money in the long run.

What is a mattress topper used for?

To alter the texture of your mattress, try using a topper. You can find a mattress topper that adjusts the temperature, adds warmth, adds firmness, or adds softness to your bed. A mattress topper, no matter the material, will keep your bed clean and extend its life.

Are mattress toppers worth it?

A mattress topper is a good investment if you don’t like your current mattress’s feel. Your bed will be stain- and temperature-resistant, and you’ll get to choose how firm you want it.

Does a mattress topper go under a mattress pad?

A mattress topper is intended to be used in conjunction with a mattress pad or protector. This will add an extra barrier between your mattress topper and liquids like sweat and spills.

Can you wash a mattress topper?

Many mattress toppers are machine washable, such as those made of wool or down, but those made of memory foam or latex should be cleaned on the spot to prevent shrinkage.

Clean a foam mattress topper by dabbing stained areas with a towel, spraying them with a vinegar solution (made in a spray bottle), applying baking soda, letting it sit for eight hours, and then vacuuming it dry.

To find out how to clean your mattress topper properly, read the label.

Should I get a mattress topper or a new mattress?

A mattress topper is a simple and inexpensive way to revive an old, sagging mattress. A mattress topper can help, but only so much if your current bed has lasted longer than the typical lifespan of a mattress (seven to ten years).

In that case, a new mattress might be a good investment to guarantee a restful night’s sleep.

What is the difference between a mattress pad and topper?

The thickness and purpose of a mattress topper distinguish it from a mattress pad. Mattress pads are thin, protective layers that can range from one to two inches in thickness. A mattress topper, on the other hand, is an extra layer of support and protection for your mattress, typically measuring between two and four inches thick and made of memory foam, latex, wool, or feathers.

Those who are satisfied with the feel of their mattress but would like an inexpensive extra layer of comfort and protection can benefit from purchasing a mattress pad. However, a mattress topper is the way to go if you want to completely change the texture of your bed.

It’s helpful to know exactly what a mattress topper is and what it can do for you before purchasing one of the many bed accessories on the market. The quality sleep of your dreams may be yours for the taking if you decide to purchase a mattress topper.

Helen Skeates

Helen Skeates

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