Why would anyone put a foam topper on their mattress? Lots of reasons! A topper may seem like the “last resort” when your bed is not as comfortable as you had hoped, but for some, it’s an inexpensive way to customize your sleep experience without buying a completely new mattress.
Plus, mattress toppers could be a good solution for couples who have differing sleep preferences because they allow you to tweak the softness and support on each side of the bed.
The most common type of toppers are foam, but there are a few other varieties if you’re looking beyond the norm. In this article, we’ll cover our recommended memory foam mattress toppers.
Research & Resources
In writing this article, we…
- Read and compared hundreds of customer reviews.
- Researched over 20 leading brands.
- Spent over 12 hours writing and revising to produce the most valuable content possible.
Best Memory Foam Mattress Toppers
|Layla Memory Foam Topper||2” copper-gel infused memory foam|
|Lucid 3-Inch Gel Memory Foam Mattress Topper||Ventilated gel memory foam adds softness and pressure relief|
Infused with plush gel to control the temperature
|Malouf Sleep Isolus 2.5” Gel Memory Foam Mattress Topper||Gel-infused cooling|
Ventilated for increased airflow
|ViscoSoft 4” Pillow Top Memory Foam Mattress Topper||Reduced off-gassing smell|
High-density foam relieves pressure and offers support
|Sleep Innovations Gel Memory Foam 4” Dual Layer Topper||Dual-layer includes a pillow top cover and a gel foam layer|
Pressure-relieving and contouring
|Weekender 2” Memory Foam Topper||Ventilated open-cell technology regulates sleeping temp|
Plush, supportive foam aligns the spine and relieves pressure
|Dreamfoam 2” Gel Swirl Memory Foam||Unique gel swirl infusion increases air circulation|
|Red Nomad 3 Inch Thick Ultra Premium Gel Infused Visco Elastic Memory Foam Topper||Cool Cycle Polymer Design keeps cool air in|
Reduces pressure points
1. Layla Memory Foam Topper
The Layla topper is a 2-inch copper-infused memory foam to complement their copper-infused mattress. It’s encased in the same cooling fabric you’ve seen on their mattresses, and the inclusion of copper makes this topper naturally antimicrobial, too.
You can use their topper with either side of their mattress (firm or soft side), giving you plenty of options to customize the bed to your preferences.
- Using the topper with either side of the Layla mattress can turn it into a Medium Firm or Soft bed
- Copper gel beads absorb body heat and pull it away from you
2. Lucid 3” Gel Memory Foam Mattress Topper
The Lucid Gel Memory Foam Topper is one of the more budget-friendly options on our list. It has all the basic features of a foam topper—at least 2” of height, cooling gel properties to keep you from sleeping too hot, and a soft supportive feel to upgrade your bed.
- Cooling, ventilated gel promotes airflow so you won’t sleep hot
- Plush gel has a soft feel
3. Malouf Sleep Isolus Gel Memory Foam Topper
Yes, this is a pricier model than some of the others we’ve laid out for you, but it comes with a few more bells and whistles to account for the extra cost.
The topper is 2.5” thick, ensuring even heavier sleepers won’t sink and feel stuck in bed. Its foam has a pin-core design to increase ventilation and cool airflow, and it comes with a removable bamboo cover.
- Made with Memory foam and Dough memory foam, which is more responsive than typical memory foam
- Ventilated for increased airflow
4. ViscoSoft 4” Pillow Top Memory Foam Topper
The ViscoSoft is a popular option on Amazon thanks to its hybrid-like construction, combining the pressure-relief of memory foam with the softness of down. n this case, ViscoSoft uses a down alternative top layer.
A lot of customers opted for this topper to help alleviate their back or neck pain, which is one of the main reasons people use a topper.
- High-density, pressure-relieving foam and fluffy down alternative combine for superior comfort
- Manufacturing process greatly reduces off-gassing smell
5. Sleep Innovations 4” Gel Dual Layer Topper
Like the ViscoSoft topper on our list, the Sleep Innovations Gel Dual Layer Topper is made with gel-infused foam and a fiber-fill down alternative. This topper is perfect for those wanting to make their mattress much, much softer because it has a plush feel. On a scale from 1-10, 1 being too soft to be supportive and 10 being extremely firm, this topper falls at a 3 or 4. The foam is infused with gel so it shouldn’t heat up like most foams do, and most sleep styles should enjoy this particular model.
Sleep Innovations Highlights
- Marketed for back, stomach, and back sleepers alike
- Gel memory foam and quilted fiberfill layer create a soft surface for your achy joints to land
6. Weekender 2” Memory Foam Topper
The Weekender Memory Foam topper will be one of the first results when you search foam toppers on Amazon. Its low price point makes it friendly for a wide range of budgets, and the foam is CertiPUR-US® certified— meaning, it’s safely manufactured with high standards.
This topper comes to your door compressed in a box much like foam mattresses do; after it arrives, let it expand for a few hours before hopping into bed.
- Premium memory foam offers superior comfort and ventilated airflow
- Contouring and responsive
7. Dreamfoam Bedding 2” Gel Swirl Memory Foam Topper
The Gel Swirl Topper by Dreamfoam is their best-selling topper. Infused with gel, the foam stays cool, keeping you from waking up in a puddle of sweat. It can enhance the comfort of your current mattress or even act as a “protector” of sorts, extending the life of your bed and giving you a better night of sleep.
- Unique gel infusion increases air circulation
- Pressure-relieving and contouring
8. Red Nomad Ultra Premium Gel Infused Foam Topper
The Red Nomad brand makes quite a few foam toppers, but this model is one of their most popular. Many reviewers said they bought it specifically to add a soft layer to their firm mattress and mentioned its cooling abilities, banishing the worry of heat retention.
Red Nomad Highlights
- CertiPUR-US® certified foam reduces pressure points and alleviates aches and pains
- Advanced design keeps heat out and cool air in
Who Should Use a Foam Topper?
While a topper isn’t a necessity, it is an innovative way to make your bed more comfortable, customize your mattress, and extend its life.
Many reviews we read said they bought a topper for pain-relief since their mattress wasn’t offering enough on its own. Others said they bought the topper to make their bed even softer, even if they were currently sleeping on a soft or medium-soft mattress; this was especially common for side sleepers.
If you want to extend the life of your mattress, a topper can help, but we also recommend investing in a mattress protector since they’re specifically made to keep out dust mites, bed bugs, dirt, sweat, and other pollutants that can damage your mattress.
Before you decide on a topper, make sure your sheets will fit with it. Some toppers are quite thick and can drastically change your bedding’s fit.
Comfortable Mattress Toppers for Different Sleeping Positions
Back and stomach sleepers are most comfortable on thinner toppers that are around 2 inches thick. This is because they will want to feel like they’re on top of their mattress without sinking too far into it, losing support and throwing things out of alignment. On the other hand, side sleepers will snooze soundly on thicker toppers nearing 4 inches tall because they typically prefer a softer, more moldable feel.
Common Foam Topper Materials
Like memory foam mattresses, foam toppers seem to be everywhere these days. Many brands are trying to address customer’s concerns with foam by combining it with other materials like gel, charcoal, copper, and more for added sleeping benefits.
You probably noticed a lot of the toppers in our list were infused with gel. We like to think of gel like an ice pack— preventing you from waking up sweaty, sleep-deprived, and miserable.
Gel-infused foam was first introduced in 2011, and has become a popular way to prevent foam from retaining heat. Often, gel foams are a pretty blue color.
Charcoal in foam? Yep! Charcoal is known for neutralizing odors and regulating moisture—all issues that people sometimes face with foam.
Most foam toppers will use bamboo charcoal, which is created when the bamboo plant is burned at a high temperature, then ground into powder. This charcoal is then infused with the foam, turning it a slate-gray color.
Graphite has been used for years to efficiently transfer heat away from its source, and it does the same when it’s infused with memory foam. It naturally conducts heat by transferring it away from the body and dissipating it out of the mattress.. Graphite foams are dark gray in color.
Copper foam is already making the rounds in many mattresses because, like other materials mentioned, it’s temperature-regulating. Copper is also antimicrobial and quite supportive, offering more pressure-relief than traditional memory foam. Copper-infused foams are tinted brown.
Deciding what kind of topper is best for you comes down to personal preference. If you’re on the fence about what to choose, read additional mattress topper reviews to hear feedback from other customers.
Pros and Cons of Using a Foam Topper
Investing in a topper seems like a great idea for most, but there’s always two sides to the coin. A topper is a nice and easy way to upgrade your bed without buying a new mattress, but there are times when just buying a better mattress is more effective.
- Motion isolation: Like memory foam mattresses, toppers limit motion transfer. Putting one on top of your mattress, whether it’s an innerspring, hybrid, or latex, can offer you more sound sleep.
However, if you’re investing in a topper because your current bed doesn’t isolate motion very well, you might as well just buy a new mattress.
- Pressure relief: Foam is notorious for its pressure-relieving properties. It contours nicely to the body and springs back quickly.
Hypoallergenic: Foam is hypoallergenic, and with most foams in toppers and mattresses being CertiPUR-US® Certified, you don’t need to worry about harmful chemicals being present where you sleep. If you suffer from allergies or are worried about bacteria, foam is a great option.
- Overheating : Foam is not usually thought of as the most “cooling” material, but that’s why a lot of companies have started to infuse their foam toppers with copper, gel, or charcoal.
If you live in a hot or humid climate, consider investing in cooling sheets as well as a cooling topper to ensure you don’t wake up hot.
- Odor: Foam can have an off-gassing smell, which is similar to “new car” smell. This smell should dissipate rather quickly when it comes to high-quality foams. However, if you find the chemical smell lingers long after your bed has been out of the box, you may want to look for a different product.
- Heavy: Foam can be a bit cumbersome to move. Thicker toppers are quite heavy and may require more than one person to get them onto the mattress securely.
Topper vs. Pad vs. Protector: What’s the Difference?
You’ll see these three terms thrown around a lot in the mattress world, but they are not the same and should not be conflated with one another.
- Toppers: Mattress toppers are the subject of our article. These are used to add more comfort layers to a mattress or more support. They can protect the mattress somewhat but are not an adequate substitute for mattress protectors.
- Pads: Mattress pads are thinner than a topper but they are used for the same reason—to add an extra layer of comfort to a mattress. Usually, pads are made with quilted cotton or polyester. Like toppers, they are not a substitute for a protector.
- Protectors: Mattress protectors give the user some peace of mind since they are specifically made to protect the mattress from stains, spills, bed bugs, dust mites, and other damaging particles.
We should note, not all protectors are waterproof or shield against bed bugs. Before buying, read the accompanying claims to make sure you’re getting the protection you want. Protectors can go on top of the mattress or they can be encasements, which zip around the entire mattress.
Returns and Warranties
Most toppers come with warranties, but they are not as extensive as mattress warranties. The average range we saw for most brands was between a 3-5 years of coverage, protecting you from deterioration beyond normal wear, indentations of 1” or more, and any cracks or splits in the foam beyond normal use.
Obviously, if the owner damages the topper in any way, the company will not cover that.
Some companies offer a sleep trial and a generous return policy with their topper, too. If you’re unsure what topper is best for you, choose one that comes with a sleep trial.
Maintenance and Care
Foam mattress toppers are not machine washable because they act like a sponge and soak up moisture. Instead, spot-clean them the same way you’d clean your foam mattress.
Alternatives to Memory Foam
Now that we’ve discussed the different types of foam toppers out there, let’s go over a few alternatives to foam. These present different pros and cons depending on your needs— let’s dive in.
|Topper Type||Pros||Cons||Brands to Consider|
|Latex Mattress Topper||Not made with synthetic materials|
Consistent, supportive feel
|Typically more expensive|
Bouncier than memory foam
|Avocado, Pure Green, Sleeping Organic|
|Down Mattress Topper||Extremely plush and soft|
Little to no resistance
|May not work for side sleepers or those needing extra support||Parachute, Pacific Coast Bedding, Canadian Down & Feather Company|
|Down Alternative Mattress Topper||Hypoallergenic|
Less expensive than down but feels similar
|May break down faster than latex or foam|
Not as supportive
|Duck and Goose, Pure Brands, Lucid|
|Egg Crate Foam||Usually made with poly foam; the design is a little bit more contouring||Thinner, not as bouncy or pressure-relieving||Zinus, Linenspa|
Did You Find Your Next Mattress Topper?
Toppers are a wonderful, budget-friendly way to improve your bed’s comfort without throwing down more money on a new mattress. They also let you customize your mattress to meet your sleep needs, and they’re great for partners.
However, if your mattress is more than eight years old, or it’s been giving you problems for a while, it might be time to skip the topper and invest in a new mattress.