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How to Choose a Mattress Topper

How to Choose a Mattress Topper

If you love the feel of a firm mattress but want something soft and squishy to sink into at the end of the day, a mattress topper is a great solution. Providing a soft, comfortable layer, they can also prolong the life of your mattress. 

They’re affordable too, providing a budget-friendly alternative to replacing a tired mattress. But how do you pick the right mattress topper? What’s the difference between a mattress topper and a mattress protector? 

Here is our quick guide to choosing the right mattress topper for you. 

What is a mattress topper?

Mattress toppers are an extra comfort layer that sits between the mattress base and the rest of the bedding. Once your bottom sheet is on, you lay directly on top of the topper. 

  • They're filled with a variety of different materials, including synthetic memory foam or natural wool fibre
  • They’re covered in a soft material such as cotton, damask or man-made fibres
  • They reduce the pressure on the mattress springs, prolonging the mattress’ lifespan
  • They are ideal for back or side sleepers who still want a firm mattress but also need a softer comfort layer to support and cushion the body
  • They come in a variety of sizes for different mattresses (single through to king-size)
  • They’re available in a range of budget options

What does a mattress topper do?

A mattress topper provides you with an additional layer that delivers a softer, plumper sensation without compromising the firmness of the mattress beneath. They can also extend the lifespan of a mattress by reducing the pressure on the internal springs and improving your sleep quality.

Why choose a mattress topper?

1. Price

Replacing a mattress can be expensive. A mattress topper is a budget-friendly alternative.

2. Comfort

If you’re a side sleeper who loves the feel of a firmer mattress but wants that cushioned sensation, a mattress topper is a good compromise.

3. They come in a variety of materials

From memory foam to man-made fibres, waterproof options for children and naturally hypoallergenic fibres such as wool and cotton, mattress toppers come in lots of different materials.

4. Lengthen the life of your mattress

If you want to get a little extra life out of your existing mattress or feel that it doesn't quite need changing yet, a mattress topper will protect the internal springs from further excessive compression. They’ll even lengthen the lifespan of the mattress.

5. They can soften a hard mattress

If you find that your mattress is too firm, a mattress topper can soften the sensation, giving you a better night’s sleep.

What are the different types of mattress topper?

In the same way that there are different types of mattresses, toppers come in all types of combinations.


Naturally hypoallergenic and anti-microbial, they’re firmer than memory foam options. Also good for side sleepers and those suffering from joint pain. They’re durable, long-lasting, and reduce movement transference for a restful night’s sleep. 

However, if you have a latex allergy, avoid latex toppers. They can also feel a little hot, so they may not suit those who suffer from hot flushes.

Memory foam

Soft, comfortable, and supportive, memory foam is a favourite choice for mattress toppers. They provide exceptional support along the length of the body and minimise motion transference. 

They can be expensive and also feel hotter than other options. You may notice a chemical odour when new. Although this does diminish over time.

Polyester and man-made blends 

Budget-friendly, these toppers offer good comfort levels and cushioning. But not as much support as memory foam or latex. They lose their shape quicker than foam alternatives. However, a good shake can fluff up the fibres again.

Natural materials

From feathers to wool, natural materials are an excellent choice if you want the comfort of a topper. But don’t want the hot feeling associated with foam alternatives. They’re naturally hypoallergenic, cooler in hot weather, and create a healthier sleeping environment. They are more expensive.

What is the best mattress topper?

1. Memory foam - Silentnight Impress Memory Foam Mattress Topper – 5cm

Also available in a cheaper 2.5cm thickness, this memory foam topper is hypoallergenic. Available in single, double, king-size and super-king sizes. A removable cover can be washed for freshness. Cushioned comfort that moulds to the contours of your body. Ideal for side sleepers.

2. CoolGel - MLILY Premier Luxury Gel Memory Mattress Topper

CoolGel memory foam mattress topper that eliminates the 'hot' feeling of typical memory foam toppers for a cooler night's sleep. Quilted soft top layer. Mid to upper-price range. Good for side sleepers and back sleepers. Available in single, double and super-king sizes.

3. Natural fibres - Hypnos Natural Mattress Topper

Filled with 100% natural wool that’s hand-sewn into panels to prevent the material from moving or bunching up. Breathable and cooler than foam alternatives. Naturally hypoallergenic and anti-bacterial. Upper price range makes it a luxury choice. Available in single, double, king-size and super-king sizes. Good for back and side sleepers.

4. Budget man-made fibres - Silentnight Deep Sleep Mattress Topper

Generously filled with man-made fibres for a cosy night’s sleep. Elasticated corners make it easy to fit. Fully machine washable and hypoallergenic. Available in single, double, king-size and super-king sizes. Great budget-friendly option.

What is the best thickness for a mattress topper?

Choosing the right mattress topper thickness largely comes down to the condition of the mattress itself. A thicker topper is likely to be your first port of call for a mattress which has seen better days while something a little thinner could still work well on a newer model.

Thick mattress toppers, around about the 7.5cm deep mark, are the best choice for worn out mattress. This allows plenty of room to sink into the topper while dulling the uncomfortable feeling of the mattress itself. As a middle ground, choose a 5cm thick mattress topper if you’re looking for steady levels of support and ample comfort. For newer mattress that need a slight comfort boost, anything under 5cm will provide a smooth, luxurious finish. Be careful with thin mattress toppers if you’re susceptible to pain at night, however, as they may exacerbate your problems.

How to clean a mattress topper?

If your topper is made from man-made fibres, it should be possible to put it in the washing machine. Others, particularly memory foam and latex toppers, should not be machine washed but do have removable and washable covers. You can spot-treat a topper:

  • Remove bedding
  • If the outer cover is washable, remove and wash
  • Vacuum the topper to remove any dust, debris or loose particles
  • Use a spot treatment or gentle cleaning solution on marks and stains
  • Air dry in a well-ventilated and sunny area. Ensure it is completely dry before positioning it back on the bed. 

What is the difference between a mattress topper and protector?

A mattress topper is designed to improve the comfort factor of your mattress. They can help with joint and back pains, providing you with additional cushioning depending on the type of material used. 

If your mattress is old and starting to lose its 'bounce', they can prolong the life of the mattress. This is by reducing the compression on the internal springs. This makes them a good budget choice if you do not want to invest in a new mattress for a while. 

A mattress protector’s job is to protect the surface of the mattress from spills, dirt and damage. They are usually waterproof and much thinner than a mattress topper. They are hypoallergenic and protect the sleeper from coming into direct contact with dust mites that may be in the mattress body.

When should you change your mattress topper?

A mattress topper should be changed once a year, ideally. However, many of our highly durable toppers for beds can last between around 3 years, or even longer, with the right amount of care or if it isn’t used every night. Toppers with added depth can also last a little longer. There are also ways to make the most our your mattress topper.

While the day will come where you need to change your mattress topper, it will continue to perform to its optimal capabilities with the right amount of care. Regular head to foot rotation will keep the topper fresh and prevent it from losing its shape. As a general guide, aim to rotate your mattress topper as often as you’d change your bed sheets to keep it protected from general wear and tear.

Cleaning your mattress topper will also keep avoidable dirt and dust from accumulating and causing. This can be done with a vacuum cleaner or a dry cloth. While some toppers can be machine washed, always check the instructions of the topper before getting it wet, as moisture may damage some models.

Author: Lucy

Lucy is a copywriter, trend spotter, and our resident sleep expert! Lucie has been with the team since 2018 and her articles cover a sweeping array of subjects from general product care, the latest bedroom design trends, ways to promote healthier sleep and jargon-busting explanations to help you understand what goes into our products. Do you have questions for Lucy & the team? Call one of our sleep experts today!