Mattress toppers are as wide-ranging as mattresses themselves when it comes to the quality of materials used and the benefits they provide.

However, they all share a goal of adding comfort on top of a mattress. This may include heating or cooling the bed, adjusting the firmness, or simply providing more cozy comfort.

For most people, mattress toppers are a quick and affordable way of adjusting the feel of an existing mattress. They can breathe new life into an older mattress or be paired with brand new mattresses for added comfort.

What Is A Mattress Topper?

A mattress topper is anything you put above a mattress, but below your sheets, to adjust the feel of your bed. These can range from plush pads to layers of memory foam or latex. Some mattress toppers use multiple different materials to provide a more precise adjustment to the cushioning of an existing mattress.

Some mattress toppers also come with other special features, like encasing the mattress to protect it from bugs or using a layer of plastic to stop liquids from soaking into the bed.

Most people focus on adjusting their own bed at home, but you can also bring mattress toppers on vacation if you know most beds are too soft or too firm for you and you want a portable way to adjust them.

Benefits of a Mattress Topper

Here are the main benefits of a mattress topper:

  • Waterproof mattress toppers can stop leaks from children, pets or medical issues.
  • The best mattress toppers can reduce back pain and other common issues caused by poor bedding.
  • Some toppers are hypoallergenic and can be more breathable and cool.
  • Mattress toppers can instantly make a firm mattress softer, or a soft mattress firmer.
  • Mattress toppers are far more affordable than buying an entirely new mattress.

Shortcomings of a Mattress Topper

Mattress toppers are useful, but there are a few limits you should know about, including:

  • Even the best mattress topper can’t completely cover a bad mattress.
  • Some companies make low-quality toppers, so you’ll need to shop around for high-quality options.
  • Some mattress toppers don’t protect from problems like dust mites.

Types of Mattress Toppers

As part of our mattress topper guide, here are the most popular types of toppers and what you should know about them.

  • Organic Topper: Organic toppers are typically a little more expensive, but they’re also extremely durable and a good alternative to getting a complete latex mattress. If you’re curious about going eco-friendly, check out the organic mattress topper from Birch Living. The brand also makes an eco-friendly mattress.
  • Memory Foam Topper: These vary quite a bit from product to product when it comes to thickness and density. They’re comfortable, reduce motion transfer and are a good solution for sore joints.
  • Feather Topper: Feather toppers use down feather or similar materials for a distinctively plush feel. These are good for people who want softer bedding at a low cost.
  • Fiberfill: Fiberfill toppers are a common alternative to the memory foam topper because they come in at a lower cost. These can range quite a bit in quality, so do your research.

We’d be remiss in writing this mattress topper buying guide if we didn’t add one more thing: Some toppers use multiple materials for additional benefits, so you’re not limited to the four varieties above. Don’t hesitate to look around and examine different options before you buy.

One example of this approach is the Helix Sleep Plush Mattress Topper. It’s made from Revoloft™ Cluster Fiber, a high-quality cluster fiberfill that provides a luxury feel and maintains its resiliency over time. It uses breathable bamboo fabric to keep you cool and needle baffle box stitching to avoid bunching materials.

Alternatives To Mattress Toppers

Here are some additional support options if a mattress topper isn’t quite what you’re looking for.

Mattress Topper vs. Mattress Pad

Mattress pads are thin toppers, usually about 1-2 inches high, that people put on top of mattress areas to change the firmness. Mattress pads usually help make a mattress more firm, while toppers are thicker and tend to go for the more plush feel.

Mattress Topper vs. Mattress Protector

Mattress protectors don’t provide an extra layer of comfort on their own, though some come with a topper included or stitched on. Instead, mattress protectors go around the top mattress to protect it from bugs, moisture, or other potential sources of damage.

Finding The Best Mattress Topper

As we said before, a lot of factors go into choosing a topper. Do your research and make sure you’re choosing one that is made with high-quality materials that will last through the years. But if you’re looking for something with a luxury plush feel that will keep your bed cool and breathable, you really can’t go wrong with the Helix Plush Topper.

Adam Tishman
Adam is a co-founder and CEO of Helix Sleep

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