Finding The Best Mattress Toppers and Pads: Buyers Guide

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A lot of folks aren’t really sure what a mattress topper is though it’s fairly easy to deduce what it might be used for from hearing the name. It is simply a thick pad that is placed directly above your mattress in order to add an extra layer of comfort and protection. As you might expect there are many different types of these toppers or pads, as well as many different features and benefits that correlate with different models; this is what happens in the land of plenty.

There is some confusion as to the difference between toppers, pads, protectors and encasement’s. Lets take a quick look at each:

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Topper vs. Pad vs. Protector vs. Encasement

The Exceptional Sheets product made of bamboo is our pick for the best mattress topper.The mattress topper is generally a more expensive, thicker and more comfortable version of the typical mattress pad. You may have tried mattress pads in the past and been disappointed, well, the new mattress toppers are a great improvement over what you’ve tried in the past and definitely are worth a second look. Take a look at our topper comparisons or skip ahead to our top 5 reviews.

Our pick for the best mattress pad is the Pinzon Basics PadA mattress pad is generally a cheaper, thinner version of the mattress topper, they do not tend to add as much comfort but they have other features that many mattress toppers do not have including special heating and cooling features. Some people will opt for a topper and some for a pad, there are many different products for all different kind of people.

You can take a look at our pad comparisons here or read the reviews here.

You can also take a look at our recommended heated pad or our top rated cooling mattress pad.

SafeRest-Premium-Hypoallergenic-Waterproof-Mattress-ProtectorPillow and mattress protectors are generally used to protect these items from bed-wetting or from allergic reactions. These features can be had with toppers and pads, or they may need to be an added feature.

Read our mattress protector reviews.

Sleep Defense System - Mattress EncasementA mattress encasement on the other hand is often used to protect our beds from bed bugs, and are often used in hotels as you might expect. If you’ve had bed bug problems in the past you may want to look into mattress encasements, however they are quite distinct from a topper.

 

5 Best Mattress Topper Comparisons and Ratings

Model
MaterialWarrantyPriceOur Rating
Extra Plush Bamboo Fitted Mattress Topper

Extra Plush Bamboo Topper
Bamboo Cover1 Year Warranty$$$$4.7 Stars
Review
Visco Elastic Memory Foam Mattress Pad Bed Topper

Visco Elastic Topper
Memory Foam3 Year Warranty$$$$
4.6 Stars
Sleep Innovations 4 nich dual layer memory foam topper

Sleep Innovations Topper
Gel & Fiber10 Year Warranty $$$$$4.4 Stars
Grand Down All Season Down Alternative Topper

Grand Down Alternative Topper
Microfiber30 Day Warranty$$$4.3 Stars
Sleep Joy Memory Foam Topper

Sleep Joy Topper
Memory Foam2 Year Warranty $$$ 4.4 Stars

5 Best Mattress Pad Comparisons and Ratings

ModelMaterialWarrantyPriceOur Rating

Pinzon Basics Microplush Pad
Plush / Polyester3 Year Warranty$$4.4 Stars
Review
Nacreous Cooling Pad
Viscose/Cotton60 Day Warranty$$$$4.5 Stars
Review and Discount

Bedsack Mattress Pad
Polyester/Fiber30 Day Warranty$3.4 Stars

Grand Fitted Mattress Pad
Poly / Cotton30 Day Warranty$4.3 Stars

Newpoint Deluxe Pad
Cotton / Poly30 Day Warranty$$4.4 Stars

Mattress Topper/Pad Buying Guide

Words like mattress topper and mattress pad are often used to denote the same thing colloquially, but a topper is different than a pad, generally more expensive and more comfortable as well; the thickness and comfort level provided are quite superior. If you’ve tried cheap mattress pads in the past and been disappointed, you are not alone. But a lot has changed in the last few years in this industry; our aim is of course to bring everyone up to speed so they can figure out the best possible solution for their particular needs.

A mattress toppers main purpose is to provide a better night’s sleep for its owners at a cost that most anyone can afford. And these items definitely do provide instant relief and comfort, they truly are worth the money.

Price ranges for a mattress topper will run the gamut from under $100 to several hundreds of dollars, but they really can work miracles on your old mattress. Older mattresses tend to get worn out over time and begin to refuse to conform to our bodies, and when that happens we tend to wake to a lot more aches and pains.

Mattress toppers are generally built mostly for comfort, where pads are built to protect your mattress from wear and tear as well as from moisture.

Types of Mattress Toppers

Some mattress toppers are made of a type of gel material which will be cooling for the body during the night. If you sweat heavily or your body temperature runs higher then this may be a good options for you.

Some actually use water and tubes to keep you cool.

Memory Foam is very durable and conforming to your body so it actually provides excellent support. The drawbacks might be the initial unpacking smell and the fact that it may trap excess body heat, if these types of issues may bother you this might not be the right material for you.

This type of topper is generally less firm and thick than some other types, it is also less expensive. If you want to try a mattress topper and see if it’s for you, this could be a good entryway point for you, this way you’re not dropping a ton of money.

These types are very versatile and are considered a green product, so if you are looking for something earth friendly then you should definitely look into something like this. It is also considered a firmer choice for extra support as well, latex models can be of the finest quality and very high end, however there can be an initial odor when unpacking.

These toppers are made from goose feathers and as you would imagine they do a great job of softening a very firm mattress. Support is variable and some will find it spotty, and cost will vary quite a bit. These are generally not good for those of us with certain allergies.

Fiber mimics the feel of feathers but uses a material that is modern and that is also more importantly hypoallergenic. These are quite supportive and affordable, these are a good cheaper option for many people.

Wool is extremely durable and has the advantage of both keeping you cool when it’s hot and warmer in the cold months. It has a price point in the moderate range and durability is on the high side, however, it’s not as easy getting this type of material into place on top of the bed.

Latex and wool toppers can be certified organic or they may not be, its up to you to do your homework on the company and manufacturer. True organics may be hard to find, however you should be able to find a large number of green materials.

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Mattress Topper Pros and Cons

 

Pros

  1. A mattress topper can often restore like new quality to an old and worn out mattress and greatly improve sleep quality.
  2. There are a wide variety of price points, features, and benefits to fit a wide audiences needs and wants.
  3. These can also help you sleep more deeply by limiting motion from your partner as well as helping people with back pain.

Cons

  1. Price points on top of the line mattress toppers can get pretty expensive, creeping up into the hundreds of dollars.
  2. You will generally not find heating and cooling options like you can with a mattress pad.
  3. Warranties tend to be somewhat on the shorter side with most lasting between one and five years.

Types of Mattress Pads

Mattress pads will fit to your baby’s crib, ensuring a better night’s sleep for your infant. If you have a baby who won’t stop crying it’s certainly worth a try, and as always read all the manufacturers directions for safety. Some folks may believe this is dangerous, but if you follow all directions then you should be just fine.

Some of us live in very cold climates or like to keep the heat down in our homes, in fact for some of us it’s very invigorating to sleep in a colder room, however often times we want to stay extra warm while under the covers, a mattress pad of this type could be what you’ve been searching for. You get the best of both worlds here.

Check out our recommended heated pad.

Cooling pads can get quite elaborate and costly. Some using fans to blow cold air up through the bed and others actually using a liquid system.

Check out our pick for the best cooling mattress pad.

A fitted mattress pad will form fit specifically to your bed and will much more easily stay in place. Often times people who have tried mattress pads complain that they will not stay in place, this type of pad solves that issue.  If you toss and turn at night then please look at something that will more easily stay in place.

In search for a more permanent fit to the bed? This type of mattress pad has four anchors which attach underneath each of the four corners of the bed. If you’ve tried a fitted solution and that didn’t work then perhaps it’s time to try anchors.

This is the ultimate in fitting for your mattress. It is similar to an anchor model however it will expand to perfectly fit any size bed. If you’re not sure what size your bed might be then you’ll want to upgrade to this type of pad.

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Mattress Pad Pros and Cons

Pros

  1. Mattress pads are within the budget of just about everyone and will add comfort and some protection.
  2. Ability to have heated or warming features.
  3. Because of the lower cost you won’t worry much about a warranty or the item being damaged, which can often be the case if you don’t pay close attention to your dryer settings.

Cons

  1. With a mattress pad you will be sacrificing a modicum of support and comfort.
  2. Mattress pads aren’t made to be as durable as a more expensive mattress topper.
  3. Because these pads are thinner the chances of being woken in the night by your partner is more likely, especially for light sleepers.

Understanding Density Ratings

Mattress toppers have what is called a density rating, and this simply measures the overall density of the item (thicker will generally mean denser), some people will prefer something less or more dense than others.

A higher density rating will be firmer and thicker as you might expect. These are highly recommended for folks with severe back problems. Something less dense may feel good for a while, but you’ll want firm and dense for proper support in the long run.

You may be looking for something extra durable, if that is the case look for a higher density rating. A lower rating will be softer and sometimes less thick, this may also cause the item to be less durable as a general rule.

Everyone prefers something different, one size does not fit all, and even those who sleep on their side or their back may not opt for different density ratings. In all we would say that the density rating probably correlates most with durability but can be important for severe back alignment issues.

Many sleep experts cite the fact that folks with particularly bad backs, buy a mattress topper with at least a density of 4, and that higher weight individuals also buy more dense toppers. We should of course keep this in mind when purchasing. Density ratings tend to run from 3 to 5.

Firm Or Soft?

The firm or soft debate will rage on and on for eternity, the simple fact is that you need to find what works for you.

Firmness supports the back, and softness helps with contouring to your body, each is important to address back pain. In general it is thought that back sleepers need a firmer mattress, side sleepers need something on the soft side, and stomach sleepers need something in the middle. However, many of us are combination sleepers, so your individuality will be your best guide.

If you have a slipped disc or something serious in your spine’s alignment then you will want to get something firmer and with a higher density rating.

Of course, what mattress topper you choose may also depend on the firmness of your mattress, as we can plainly see there are multiple variables at play. If you’re confused you may want to consult your doctor or your chiropractor, a good medical professional should really be consulted if you have a serious health issue.

Mattress Toppers For Side Sleepers

Side sleepers will tend to twist the body at night and sleep at strange angles, and they will often need more support than back sleepers. So we would recommend a memory form or latex support topper for side sleepers. If you awaken with pain in your mid-back and underneath your ribs then you’re not getting enough support from your current mattress. You may also have neck pain as well, this can sometimes be solved with the appropriate pillow, however a memory foam topper will also aid in supporting your neck as well.

If you have serious back pain and are a side sleeper you should go with a thicker an denser option, if your back is fairly well aligned you could opt for something softer, like wool or fiber.

The Queen Size 3 Inch Thick, 4 Pound Density Visco Elastic Memory Foam Mattress Pad Bed Topper is a good fit for many. It has thousands of positive reviews and is moderately priced. It also comes with a full 3-year warranty; that is more than you might expect, we like the fact that this is tried and true with a full warranty (not limited).

Visco Elastic Topper

For Side Sleepers
  • Visco Elastic Memory Foam Mattress Pad Bed Topper

  • Memory Foam

  • 3 Year Warranty

  • Made in USA

Mattress Toppers For Sofa Beds

There is nothing worse than having an uncomfortable sofa bed for your guests to sleep on, but many of us are in this situation and with little time to remedy it. Don’t go and buy a brand new sofa bed, these are extremely heavy and expensive and just a big all around hassle.

Try the Queen Sleeper Sofa Mattress Pad Cotton Top (60″x74″x6″) made specifically for sofa beds and if you not sure of the sizing then you may want to look into guaranteed fit models as sofa beds will often be of odd sizes.

If you’re pressed for cash you could so with a more affordable mattress pad but make sure it’s hypoallergenic for your guests.

Queen Sleeper Sofa Pad

For Sofa Beds
  • Queen Sleeper Sofa Mattress Pad

  • For Hide a Beds

  • Made in USA

  • 30 Day Warranty

Mattress Topper Reviews

1. Extra Plush Bamboo Fitted Mattress Topper

Overview

  • This is made in the USA and hypo allergenic in nature, also made of a very natural material.
  • Made from bamboo with regards to the cover, the internal material is alternative down cluster fiber.
  • Sizes: Full, Full XL, Twin, Twin XL, Queen, Olympic Queen, King, California King, Split King
  • Our top mattress topper pick.

4.6 Stars

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Best Suited For

Our pick for the best mattress topper. This is best suited for people who are looking for a natural fiber, medium support, and something that is more environmentally friendly

 2. Visco Elastic Memory Foam Mattress Topper

Overview

  • Material is memory form that is best suited for folks looking for firm support, back sleepers and very bad backs.
  • Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King

4.1 Stars

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Best Suited For

This is best suited for someone looking for a top of the line, higher density mattress topper, especially if you have curvature of the spine.

 3. Sleep Innovations 4-Inch Dual Layer Topper

Overview

  • This is a very thick yet soft mattress topper that aims to combine the best of both worlds.
  • Material is gel memory foam.
  • Sizes: Full, Twin, Queen, King, California King

4.3 Stars

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Best Suited For

Best suited for someone who is looking for medium firmness with solid support, but with a very soft plush top.

4. Grand Down All Season Down Alternative Topper

Overview

  • The material is made for those with allergies who are looking for a down alternative. Down alternatives are not as common, so this is a good option.
  • This is made from a microfiber with regards to the internal material and the cover.
  • Sizes: Twin, Full, Queen, King

4.3 Stars

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Best Suited For

Best suited for those on a budget and people with allergies who are looking for something on the softer end of the spectrum.

5. Sleep Joy 2″ ViscO2 Ventilated Memory Foam Mattress Topper

Overview

  • Relieves pressure points with advanced material that is one of a kind, also allows for breathability so that sleepers won’t feel too hot at night.
  • Made from ventilated memory foam so it breathes better.
  • Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Queen, King, California King

4.3 Stars

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Best Suited For

Best suited for those who are looking for comfort and breathable solutions, won’t get too hot for people who have experienced this problem with other toppers.

Mattress Pad Reviews

 

1. Pinzon Basics Overfilled Ultra Soft Microplush Pad

Overview

  • Simple, very plush, and with no odor. This is for someone looking for something simple, comfortable and cool.
  • Made from micro plush fiber and filled with polyester, space age advanced materials.
  • Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Queen, King, California King

4.4 Stars

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Best Suited For

Our pick for the best mattress pad. This is best suited for someone looking for something thinner and very breathable.

2. Slumber Cloud Nacreous Mattress Pad

Overview

  • Temperature Regulating
  • Made from 50% viscose, 50% cotton
  • Sizes: Twin, Twin Xl, Full, Queen, King, California King

4.5 Stars

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Best Suited For

Best suited for thermally incompatible couples, hot flashes, and people that sleep hot.

3. Bedsack Classic Mattress Pad

Overview

  • This is a very inexpensive mattress pad with a lot of mixed reviews on Amazon, it appears that it’s not durable and won’t quite fit many thicker mattresses.
  • This is made from a polyester fiberfill material.
  • Sizes: Twin, Twin Xl, Full, Queen, King

3.4 Stars

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Best Suited For

This is best suited for those with a very tight budget who are looking for a hypoallergenic solution.

4. The Grand Fitted Mattress Pad

Overview

  • Some cushion and support to improve comfort.
  • Hypoallergenic
  • Made from poly/cotton
  • Sizes: Twin Xl, Full, Full XL, Queen, King, California King

4.3 Stars

Z

Best Suited For

Best suited for those with allergies and those that are looking for a less expensive option.

5. Newpoint Home Deluxe Mattress Pad

Overview

  • This pad has a high thread count (250) and thus has a great feel; it is inexpensive and has been greatly discounted recently. Can be used in all seasons.
  • The material is a cotton cover with polyester fibers as the internal material.
  • Sizes: Twin,Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King

4.4 Stars

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Best Suited For

This is best suited for those looking for a thinner, cheaper pad with good quality. It won’t heat the body and is also hypoallergenic.

Best Cooling Mattress Pad Reviews

For those thermally incompatible couples and people that wake up sweating, a cooling mattress pad or thermal regulating pad may come in handy. Our review team had the pleasure of testing the Nacreous mattress pad from Slumber Cloud and the results were quite positive.

Made of Outlast Viscose fabric, the Nacreous mattress pad has earned a Gold + rating from the innovators at Outlast Technologies.

Nacreous Cooling Pad

  • Nacreous Mattress Pad

  • Heat Management

  • 60 Day Warranty

Review & Discount

Best Heated Mattress Pad Reviews

Heated mattress pads are perfect those long winter nights, especially when we’re trying to save money on our heating bills. Or perhaps you like to sleep with the window cracked open for the circulation of air, or you just like a cooler sleeping room, but you want to keep nice and toasty underneath your covers.

If this is the case then you’ll want to check out heated mattress pads. There is nothing like being able to breathe in cool air but be under a nice heated enclosure, it ensures a nice deep sleep.

Sunbeam Quilted Polyester Heated Mattress Pad

The Sunbeam is our recommended product in this category, it has auto shut off features and 10 different settings for heat so that you will find your exact right temperature.

Sunbeam Pad

  • Sunbeam Quilted Polyester Heated Mattress Pad

  • Heated Pad

  • 1 Year Warranty

  • 10 Heat Settings

Conclusion

We hope that you have a much better understanding of mattress toppers and pads and you have a nice bird’s eye view of all of your options. There is a lot of information to process and a lot of choices to consider.

As with most things in life you often get what you pay for, so it’s good advice to choose something that is at least modestly priced or you may wind up having to purchase a similar item at a later date.

When choosing a product it’s also a good idea to read the reviews and read between the lines too. If a product has many good reviews and a handful of bad ones, then you can feel more confident when buying. Many people don’t read all the instructions that come with a product and then they are upset when the product is ruined, however, it is not the manufacturers fault; it is the fault of the customer. CHECK TO MAKE SURE IT IS WASHER/DRYER FRIENDLY.

In review, we recommend mattress toppers with a density rating of at least 4 for those with bad back problems. Also, there are some great priced mattress pads out there but they may not be thick enough for serious back problems. Of course, they are more affordable but often times they do not post any warranty information or many not have any warranty. The more expensive the product the longer the warranty will be, in general.

So always take into account the over-all value of the purchase and not just the price. If you use your common sense and know what you really want you can’t go wrong despite all of the information over load.

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9 Comments

  1. Mary Jo Irino

    What’s order of placement of layers on bed? My Son purchased, on Amazon, #memory foam mattress and #1 choice Pinzon Overfilled Microplush mattress pad , And hypoallergenic mattress cover.

    Reply
    • Frank Apodaca

      Hey Mary,

      It would be mattress, mattress cover, pad, sheets.

      Reply
  2. Rose

    I want something strictly for softness. I prefer fiber over foam.

    Reply
  3. Anna

    Does a new mattress need a mattress topper. I bought a new mattress and was told to expect a break in period. I hate my new mattress and was wondering if a topper would make it better.

    Reply
    • Frank Apodaca

      If you aren’t happy with the comfort level of your mattress. A topper is a great inexpensive way to adjust the firmness of your mattress.

      Reply
  4. Abi

    I bought a very expensive Tempur Sensation Deluxe mattress and I am disappointed because it is too soft and not firm enough. I do have back problems in my neck and lower back area. Should I get a mattress topper?if so what would be the best

    Reply
    • Frank Apodaca

      Take a look at Eluxury. Our number one rated topper is the Extra plush Bamboo topper. You can see our full review here.

      Reply
  5. Billie

    Hi I recently purchased two toppers to boost the comfort of our twin adjustable beds. My husband is elderly and feels the cold so has a good quality electric blanket permanently fitted to his mattress. We used them for the first tim last night and found that warmth from his electric blanket under the topper didn’t seem to come through. Would this be because there would be a need for some initial airing of the topper or is it in fact not possible to use an electric blanket with a topper? Because he is elderly his blanket is turned off before he goes to bed. So question Is it safe to use an electric blanket in conjunction with a Bamboo Topper?

    Reply
    • Frank Apodaca

      If you’re not feeling the heat from below the topper, then it’s best to put the electric blanket on top of the pad. I understand that it’s permanently fixed to the mattress, but if you can’t feel the heat when the topper is on top then unfortunately, you probably aren’t going to get the desired effect.

      Reply

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