How to Pick a Mattress Topper


Whether you spent hundreds of dollars on a new bed that turns out to be too firm or you have an older mattress that is not quite ready for retirement, a mattress topper is likely to provide relief. These tips can help you pick a mattress topper to get a better night's sleep.

How to Pick a Mattress Topper

  • Identify the problems experienced with your current mattress. Note the difference between one that is too firm and too hard. A firm mattress will benefit from most types of mattress toppers, while the latter requires extra-dense padding, such as memory foam to maximize comfort.

  • Test a variety of mattress toppers in a bedding store by resting on each type for at least 5 minutes. Try to find one built upon a mattress of similar firmness as your own. Lie upon the bed in different positions such as you would normally sleep. Optimally, bring your sleeping partner as well.

  • Investigate memory foam, pillow and latex-based toppers to experience the difference. When you find one that you like, obtain the material and density specifications to help you pick a mattress topper with similar characteristics. Note that memory foam toppers soften a bit with use and quality varies widely (see Step 6).

  • Acquaint yourself with the various materials used before you pick a mattress topper, especially if you are prone to allergies. Some individuals find the smell of polyurethane products bothersome, while others are allergic to down and other fillers. Latex provides a good alternative if you are not allergic to the substance.

  • Compare durability among the various brands and styles. Latex tends to last longer, while memory foam may rip, especially with animals and kids pouncing on the bed. Additionally, memory foam retains body heat, which some sleepers dislike, but this can be minimized with the right mattress cover.

  • Pick a memory foam topper with the understanding that you typically get your money's worth in premium brands. Look for a minimum of 4-pound density and 2 inches in thickness. Many individuals prefer a 3-inch memory foam mattress over thicker constructions, which may be too soft for larger people--who sink farther into the topper. Individuals who prefer very soft mattresses or water beds will enjoy the thicker varieties.

  • Select a mattress topper with your next mattress in mind if your current mattress is sagging. A quality memory foam topper will provide significant comfort but this degrades quickly with time on a mattress that is substandard. Either transfer the topper to a new mattress or spend less on one for a temporary fix.

Tips & Warnings

  • Protect your mattress topper investment with a waterproof mattress cover. Newer covers constructed with soft polyurethane on one side and absorbent fabric on the other provide both comfort and protection.

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