Which is Better: Gel Mattress Topper vs Memory Foam?

Who doesn’t want a solid night’s sleep? While the number of hours required for optimal health varies from person to person, almost everyone will agree that a good sleep tonight makes for a better day tomorrow.

Perhaps your existing mattress is not quite as comfortable as it used to be, or you want to extend its lifespan. Maybe there are health and/or sleeping issues. Whatever the reason, if you’re looking for a new mattress topper, you’re browsing through a competitive market. Let us break it down for you and look at gel or memory foam mattress toppers.

What is the Best Mattress Topper?

Some stores may use the terms “mattress topper” and “mattress pad” interchangeably. The main difference is that mattress toppers are a lot thicker than pads. Make sure you understand which one you need.

A mattress topper is exactly what it claims to be – a piece of removable bedding that is laid on the top of a mattress. A topper may be washable; however, you can place a mattress protector or a sheet over the topper for additional protection.

Mattress toppers are generally between two and eight inches thick. A topper should be at minimum two inches for optimal use, and you can expect a topper to last between three-to-five years when used according to manufacturer specifications.

A mattress topper is designed to:

  • Extend the life of your mattress
  • Provide additional support
  • Make your mattress more comfortable
  • Reduce pressure on mattress springs
  • Help prevent sagging
  • Protect your mattress

What is the Best Memory Foam Mattress Topper?

The bedding market has become very competitive over the last several years, with an increasing number of companies vying for market share.

A memory foam topper is made from viscoelastic, a low-resilience polyurethane foam.

Viscoelastic was developed by NASA more than 50 years ago for the space shuttle and has stood the test of time. Press your hand into a memory foam topper and it briefly retains the shape of the hand as well as the indentation.

The memory foam topper:

  • Is constructed with viscoelastic
  • Comes in a variety of thicknesses
  • Comes in varying densities
  • Is recommended for cushioning
  • Is recommended for support
  • Is soft and comfortable

What is a gel memory foam mattress topper?

You may want to read: Best Gel Pillows

It’s a bit of a tongue twister!

a hand pressing down on a memory foam mattressGel foam, introduced in 2011, is a relatively new addition to an older memory foam product – let’s call it the new generation. It’s also made with viscoelastic, however, gel microbeads are added to provide a temperate sleeping surface. If you’ve ever included an ice pack in a lunch box, you’ve already done some research on how gel works.

A gel memory foam mattress topper:

  • Reduces body heat while you sleep
  • Creates a softer mattress
  • Provides cooler sleeping conditions
  • Provides pressure relief
  • Helps regulate body temperature

Memory Foam Versus Gel Foam

Memory Foam Pros:

  • As mentioned earlier, press your hand into memory foam and the shape remains.
  • Memory foam cuddles your body and keeps your weight off the sensitive areas, resulting in restful sleep.
  • Memory foam may keep the peace in the bedroom if your sleeping partner is prone to restless nights.
  • The sturdy foam keeps motion to a minimum.
  • Memory foam feels like a sponge – it’s neither soft nor firm.

Memory Foam Cons:

  • Certification is very important.
  • Make sure the topper is certified for density and tested for harmful chemicals.
  • A low-quality topper may retain odors.

Gel Foam Pros

  • The same advantages as those cited above apply.
  • It’s all about the microbeads – adding gel to memory foam enhances air circulation which means you stay cooler while sleeping.

Gel Foam Cons

  • Gel foam toppers are more expensive.
  • Microbeads can break down over time, negatively impacting the longevity of the topper.

Gel vs Memory Foam Mattress Topper?

The decision comes down to money and preference.

The gel foam mattress topper is the more expensive of the two, however, if you are finding your bed too toasty at night, and the temperature is affecting your sleep, then this is your best option. The gel is also a good choice if aches and pains are keeping you awake.

On the other hand, if you like the cushioning effect of a memory foam topper, which is also lower in price, you might want to choose the lower-cost option.


Mattress toppers are priced according to many factors, including material, size, density, and thickness.

Memory foam mattress toppers are the lower-cost option, ranging in price from less than $100 to more than $300.

Gel mattress toppers are more expensive, ranging from less than $100 and going as high as $800.


A mattress topper is a piece of removable bedding that is laid on the top of a mattress. It’s a good fit if your mattress is not as comfortable as it used to be, if you want to extend its lifespan, or if you have health and/or sleeping issues.

Mattress toppers are made with different materials so ensure the one you choose will not cause an allergic reaction. Choose a topper that decreases movement, is firm, and maintains a comfortable temperature.

When it comes to memory foam vs gel mattress topper, our research determined that either one can create a more comfortable mattress. It can also help you sleep better.

Their many varieties on the market today so choose carefully, and according to your budget.

As with any purchase, you should carefully research the product before you buy or order online.

Here are some points to think about as you consider your options:

  • Set a budget you can live with
  • Consider the purpose of the purchase
  • Decide which mattress topper will work best for you
  • Measure your mattress before purchasing a topper
  • Talk to experts, family, and friends regarding the quality of the product
  • Use online forums or chat rooms to discuss both the pros and cons of the product
  • Talk to retailers about warranties and return/repair policies
  • Read reviews
  • Check out the websites that offer wide ranges of brand names and product lines

Please comment below if there are any questions or recommendations.