Mattress Pads

My Opinion on Mattress Toppers

One of the ways to improve your quality of sleep is to add a mattress topper to your bed. The search process can be confusing though, so here’s some information about your options.

Mattess Topper vs. Mattress Pad

To begin with, the terms “mattress topper” and “mattress pad” are often used interchangeably, but actually describe different products. A mattress pad is used as a protector that serves as a liquid barrier between yours sheets and the actual mattress. Some luxury mattress protectors are padded, but I don’t recommend using them as an actual topper. Here’s a good example.

Mattress toppers are added to the top of a mattress for cushioning, support or comfort. There are three different types…

Egg Crate Toppers (Convoluted Bed Pads)

At $40 or less, these tiny foam cones are the cheapest mattress toppers you’ll find. Here’s an example. There’s a reason why these are priced the way they are… they break down very fast. In a matter of weeks (sometimes days) they’ll wear out and lose their support. Plus they look rather strange underneath a sheet.

Featherbeds

As the name implies, these are filled with a generous amount of down feathers. I’ve always been a bit puzzled by these toppers because I’m not sure why anyone would want to sleep on feathers… They’re quite pricey, ranging anywhere from $60 up to $200 or more, despite being minimally supportive. Engulfing yourself in feathers may help keep you warm on cold winter nights, but apart from that I see no value in this if you’re looking for support. In my experience, they’re more annoying than comfortable.

Memory Foam Mattress Topper

If you’re going to buy a topper for your mattress, this is the type I recommend. But if you’re not diligent in your search, you could end up wasting money by having to replace it prematurely. Here’s what you should know if you’re looking to buy…

First you’ll need to determine the desired thickness. Toppers range between 1-4″ thick. Anything 5″ or above can be considered a mattress, so prices make a dramatic leap. I don’t recommend buying anything that’s 2″ or less. Focus your search on 3-4″ toppers. These will provide you with the most noticeable amount of comfort.

The next measurement you should consider is the mattress topper’s density, which is measured by weight. The heavier the density, the better the memory foam. This is by far the most important number when comparing memory foam. It’s better to buy a 2″ topper that has 4-lb density than a 4″ topper with only 2-lb density.

If pound-density isn’t listed, you might be able to determine it by reviewing the shipping weight. A 3″ queen topper with 4-lb density should have a shipping weight of at least 35-lbs.

The last thing to review is the dimension of your mattress relative to the topper you’re about to purchase. Mattress toppers aren’t designed to cover your bed from edge-to-edge. There will probably be about an inch difference all around. That’s okay – the memory foam slightly expands after it’s able to breathe.

Price Comparisons for Queen 3″ Topper

  • Walmart – $231 plus S/H (3-lb density, 20 pound shipping weight; density not provided)
  • Bed, Bath & Beyond – $250, free S/H (shipping weight & density not provided) 
  • Target – $200 plus $15.65 S/H (shipping weight & density not provided)
  • Amazon.com – $148, free S/H (4-lb density, 37 pound shipping weight)

The price difference and quality of mattress toppers sold by these four stores is significant. Amazon’s topper is superior to the others in selection, price, and overall quality. So if you’re interested in adding a memory foam mattress topper to your existing mattress, here’s what I recommend.