Do You Need a Mattress Topper? Should or Shouldn’t You Buy One?
After a bed is used frequently, the mattress can become flat and lose comfort. A mattress topper, in this case, offers many advantages that can improve the quality of your sleep. Sitting on top of your regular mattress, it can keep the mattress in good condition for much longer. In fact, mattress toppers are made to enhance and adjust the level of comfort and supportiveness of your mattress.
You need a mattress topper if you want to make your mattress either firmer or softer or you need to extend the life of your mattress. You should not buy a mattress topper if your mattress is already so old and worn out because a mattress topper won't improve it.
Mattress toppers are available in different types, designed for different purposes. Memory foam toppers for instance, will increase the level of firmness to combat soft mattresses, while featherbed toppers will provide a softer sensation. Mattress toppers are affordable and can be used as a short-term fix to cover up the lumps and uneven areas of your old mattress until you are able to invest in a new mattress. On another hand, a mattress topper won’t make your old mattress feel like new if the mattress is too old and worn out. Otherwise, you need to be honest with yourself and admit when it is time to invest in a whole new mattress. We've discussed this mattress topper hack in more detail in our other article.
Toppers aren’t always the answer. For example, toppers come in different sizes that don’t always match the exact same dimensions as the mattress. This can be a bit annoying to some sleepers, especially those who sleep close to the edges of the bed. Another disadvantage of using a topper is that toppers can slip off and disturb your sleep especially when your mattress has a smooth surface. (However, you can fix the topper in place by using anti-slip sheets or mats.)
What Is a Mattress Topper and What Are Its Benefits?
Mattress toppers are available in a wide variety of styles, materials, and features. They can be as simple as a layer of foam or as complex as a variety of layers with a covering.
A mattress topper is a layer that lies directly on top of your regular mattress. It can add extra cushioning to improve the level of comfort of your mattress. A mattress topper can also improve the support a mattress gives your body and extend the life expectancy of a mattress by protecting it from wear and tear.
Mattress toppers come in different types of materials, such as memory foam, latex, wool, cotton, polyester, and feather. If you want a truly luxurious experience, you can even get mattress toppers that are filled with real silk. They vary in terms of thickness, density and firmness, price, heat regulation, durability, and extra features.
Mattress toppers offer many benefits. They protect mattresses from sagging and wearing out prematurely, prolonging their lifespan. Mattress Toppers can cover up the lumps on your mattress and provide a cushioning layer to make your old mattress feel like new. They can adjust the degree of firmness or softness of a regular mattress to best match your preferences and needs. They also accommodate and distribute your body weight evenly, allowing for a neutral spine alignment.
Furthermore, because mattress toppers are affordable and much cheaper than buying a whole new mattress, they can serve as a temporary fix for your old flattened out mattress. You may also find value in our article when to buy a mattress topper instead of a new mattress as well.
- How to choose a mattress topper for neck pain and support
- What's the difference between latex vs. memory foam mattress toppers?
- How do you protect a mattress topper or pad?
What's the Difference Between a Mattress, Mattress Topper, and a Mattress Pad?
A mattress is expensive, but it is definitely worth the investment to buy a good quality one. A quality mattress is a comfortable sleeping surface that supports your body when you sleep. Mattresses come in a variety of thicknesses to match all types of bed frames and needs. Mattress toppers and mattress pads are optional add-ons for your existing mattress. In case you're wondering whether you can use a mattress topper on top of your memory foam mattress, read our article!
The difference between a mattress, a mattress topper, and a mattress pad lies in their purpose, their thickness, density, and price. The mattress is the foundation of the bed. Mattress pads and toppers are extras that alter mattress function and longevity. A mattress topper can protect a mattress and adjust the feel of the mattress by making it firmer or softer whereas a mattress pad is designed to only protect a mattress.
Mattress toppers are generally made of memory foam, latex, wool, feather, cotton, and polyester. In general, mattress toppers will last three to five years on average if well cleaned and maintained. They sit on top of your mattress and prolong the lifespan of your regular mattress. Their thickness ranges between two to greater than six inches. A good topper should be thick enough to protect the mattress so that they don’t easily follow the indentations of your old mattress. You can find more information about mattress topper benefits and disadvantages here too.
Mattress pads are thinner than a topper but can still add some plushness to your mattress. Some are made of materials that will keep spills from soaking through, protecting the mattress. They last three to five years on average, and can be added over any existing mattress or mattress topper to protect it.
Comparing mattress toppers, mattresses, and mattress pads
|Feature of Mattress Toppers, Mattresses, and Mattress Pads||Mattress Toppers||Mattresses||Mattress Pads|
|Primary Purpose||Adjusts the feel of your mattress, making it softer or firmer||Supports the body||Softens the mattress |
Protects mattress from dust, dirt, spills, and moisture
|Thickness||Between 1 to 6 inches||Between 8 to 14 inches||Less than 1 inch|
|Density||Between 2 to 6+ pounds per cubic feet||Varies||N/A|
|Price||Between $75 and $400||Between $300 and $2500||Less than $100|
|Types of Materials||Memory foam, latex, wool, feather, cotton and polyester||Memory foam, innerspring, latex, water, feather, wool||Cotton, cluster fibers, down filling, and feather filling latex, memory foam, wool|
|Durability/Lifespan||3 to 5 years||7 to 10+ years||3 to 5 years|
|Example Product||~$100Lucid 3-Inch Ventilated Gel Memory Foam Mattress Topper- Queen||~$290Zinus 10-Inch Green Tea Memory Foam Mattress||~$25Mattress Pad Cover Fitted, Deep Pockets|
Make sure to take a look at our articles about how to fix a mattress topper that keeps sliding off and how to layer a mattress pad, mattress topper, and mattress protector.
When Do You Need a Mattress Topper? When Are Mattress Toppers Worth It?
Whether your mattress is new or old, a mattress topper can sit on top of it to enhance its comfort and support. The topper protects the mattress from dust, stains, sweat, and moisture, and therefore keeps the mattress in good condition for much longer. It also makes an old mattress feel like new again by covering up lumps and signs of wear and tear. It adjusts the degree of firmness of your mattress if it’s initially too firm or too soft for you. Some toppers are designed to be positioned on one side of the bed in case you and your partner share the same bed and have different firmness preferences. Some models are also designed to regulate body temperature by keeping you warm during winter and cool during summer.
You need a mattress topper if you need to adjust the softness, firmness, lumpiness, or temperature of your mattress. You should also get a mattress topper when your regular mattress is new and you want to protect it and prolong its lifespan.
A topper will prevent your new mattress from sagging and wearing out prematurely. It will also protect the mattress from dust, stains, sweat, and moisture, and will hence keep your mattress in good condition for much longer. If your regular mattress is new but it isn’t as comfortable as you would like, then a mattress topper may be the answer. A topper will adjust the level of comfort of your mattress by adding an extra cushioning surface on top of it. The extra layer will keep your pressure points cradled and supported, preventing body aches. A mattress topper can also help you change the entire surface feel of your mattress. With different types of toppers in the market, you can decide whether you want to increase the level of firmness or add more softness to your already firm mattress.
You might also want to use a mattress topper if you and your partner have different firmness preferences. Some mattress toppers are designed to be positioned on just one side of the bed in case two individuals with different firmness preferences are sharing the same mattress. Similarly, a topper can cover up lumps and signs of wear and tear on your old mattress to temporarily make it feel like new again until you can buy a new mattress.
|Situation||Should You Buy a Mattress or a Mattress Topper in This Situation?||Suggested Product from Amazon||Price|
|Your mattress is too soft.||Buy a firm mattress topper as it will be cheaper and still make your mattress firmer.||Natural latex topper from Sleep On||~$20|
|Your mattress is too firm||Buy a foam mattress topper that will soften up the bed.||Foam topper by Sealy||~$60|
|Your mattress feels too hot.||Buy a well-ventilated mattress topper.||Feather topper from Blue Ridge Home Fashions||~$90|
|Your mattress is sagging||If you think your mattress has a few more years left, then a mattress topper should be ok to purchase. Get a thick, firm topper, so it doesn’t sag.||4” SleepInnovations Topper||~$110|
|Your mattress has holes or cracks||It’s time for a new mattress|
When Should You Not Buy a Mattress Topper?
You already have an expensive mattress. Do you really need a mattress topper? Not always.
You should not buy a mattress topper when your mattress is new or already comfortable. Also, you should not buy a mattress topper when your mattress is too old and too far gone since your topper won't make any difference. In this situation, you should buy a new mattress.
A mattress topper is optional. It is beneficial in a lot of circumstances. If your regular mattress is still in good shape but needs a little comfort adjustment, purchasing a topper is the right move. If your existing mattress is old, and you are unable to replace it with a new one, a topper may be the answer temporarily until you can make an investment in a new mattress. However, don’t plan on a mattress topper being a long-term solution as it cannot always restore a mattress to its glory days.
There are two main situations when you should not buy a mattress topper.
- If you are satisfied with your new regular mattress, you won’t need to buy a mattress topper. When your mattress is brand new and you are happy with the level of comfort, firmness, and support, then a mattress topper is not necessary. You do not need a topper to adjust the level of comfort of your mattress However, you might want to add one for the protection it can give your mattress to extend the life expectancy of your mattress.
- If your existing mattress is already older than 7 years, a mattress topper won’t restore your mattress. It might buy you some extra time before you have to go and buy a new mattress, but if there is major damage, wear and tear, or a saggy middle, the mattress topper won’t do much to improve the comfort of the mattress. Eventually, a mattress just reaches a point where it needs to be replaced. A topper would just sink into the holes and won’t fix the issue.
- Here's how you choose a mattress protector that's not hot or uncomfortable
When Do You Need To Replace a Mattress Topper?
As any other product, a topper has a lifespan. On average, it can be expected to last three to five years. There are different factors that could impact the longevity of the topper, such as its thickness, the frequency of use, how well it is maintained, and the condition of the existing mattress underneath.
You need to replace a mattress topper when it gets old and shows signs of wear and tear. Toppers are expected to last five years on average. After that time, they will start showing signs of wear and tear.
In fact, the topper requires maintenance to remain in good conditions. Make sure to clean and protect your topper from spills and dirts. If the damage is not well addressed, you will have to replace your topper sooner than expected.
You might need to replace a mattress topper if you find that it is too thin. Mattress toppers are thinner than regular mattresses and are placed over the mattress. Therefore, they tend to wear out quicker. In general, the thicker the topper is, the longer it will last. So a two inch topper will need to be replaced sooner than a thicker topper. You will also want to replace the topper when it has lost its supportiveness. Applying so much pressure on the topper everyday will cause its internal structure to deteriorate over time. The topper will sag and won’t support the body evenly after a while.
In this case, make sure to replace your topper with a new one that is designed to support your weight.
Can a Mattress Topper Help Fix a Bad Mattress?
A mattress topper cannot help fix a bad mattress because it will lose its cushioning support when laid on top of a mattress with lumps and indentations.
If your mattress is lumpy or saggy, the topper won’t have a positive impact on your sleep quality as it will follow the curve of the mattress. Only mattresses in fairly good condition can be restored with a topper.
Do you Need a Mattress Protector and a Mattress Topper?
Mattress toppers and mattress protectors can be used together or on their own to add a little comfort to old or uncomfortable mattresses. A mattress topper makes your bed feel brand new and adds height, depth, and extra cushioning to your mattress. On the other hand, as the name suggests, a mattress protector protects the surface underneath against dust, dirt, sweat, moisture, and spills. For more information, take a look at our article do you really need a mattress protector.
You need a mattress protector to protect your mattress against spills and liquids. However, you do not need a mattress topper if you are already happy with the comfort of your mattress.
The mattress protector will help prolong the lifespan of your mattress. Even a simple waterproof mattress protector like this one from amazon can add years of life to your mattress because it will limit moisture buildup and absorption into your mattress. Note that you will need to replace your mattress protector to maintain its integrity as well. Here's a guide to how often you should replace a mattress protector.
If you are not satisfied with the cushioning or the firmness of your mattress, then you may want to adjust its comfort by adding a mattress topper.
You might need a mattress protector and a mattress topper because the combination of both together will have a great impact on sleep quality and bed protection. Although you will be spending more, the mattress protector will protect both the topper and the mattress. Ultimately, the regular mattress will last much longer.
How Do You Choose a Mattress Topper?
When you decide to look for a mattress topper to add to your bed, you want to make sure that the topper is a good match for your mattress. If you pick the wrong topper, your bed may actually become less comfortable.
To choose a mattress topper, first consider how you want to improve your mattress. Get a firm mattress topper made of latex if your mattress is too soft. Get a pillow top mattress topper to make your mattress softer. Gel foam memory foam mattress toppers make your bed cooler. Wool mattress toppers can increase heat retention and thermal regulation if your mattress is too cold.
Picking the right mattress topper is a great investment if you want to improve the comfort level of your mattress. There are a number of factors to consider in choosing the right mattress topper for your needs. The main qualities to consider are materials, thickness, size, budget, and extra features, such as cooling qualities.
When you choose a mattress topper, start by considering the material you want it to be made of. Mattress toppers are made of latex, memory foam, wool, cotton, polyester, egg crate foam, or feathers. Pick the material according to what you are looking for. Memory foam toppers for instance, will increase the level of firmness while feather provides a softer sensation. Choose the thickness of the topper according to how much you want to change the feel of your regular mattress.
Make sure to select a topper that fits to the size of your mattress. Having a smaller or bigger topper will make your sleeping surface less comfortable. Finally, consider extra features such as hypoallergenic materials, motion isolation benefits, and cooling options. Pick the right topper that matches with your requirements and budget. Some toppers are hypoallergenic; others are better at temperature regulation, or at motion isolation. So make sure to consider the extra features before making up your mind.
|Mattress Topper Material||Benefit of This Material for Side Sleepers||Recommended Mattress Topper Made of This Material||Price|
|Memory Foam||Conforms to the shape of your body, but slowly returns to its original shape when pressure is released |
Available in different densities and firmness
Provides comfort, support, and even weight distribution
Absorbs motion when shifting in bed
|4” Memory Foam Mattress Topper, Queen||~$130|
|Wool||Is naturally soft, comfortable, and hypoallergenic |
Isolates motion transfer
|Home of Wool 2- inch Wool Mattress Topper||~$675|
|Cotton||Light and breathable |
Found in synthetic and organic materials
Makes your mattress softer and more comfortable
|Extra Thick Queen Size Cotton Mattress Topper||~$70|
|Polyester||Cheapest option |
Easy to clean
Fluffy, soft and comfortable
|Sweet Home Collection Hypoallergenic Topper Polyester Down Alternative Soft and Luxurious Bed Mattress Pad, Full||~$40|