Mattress vs Topper

Do you need a mattress topper or a new mattress?

Before you go ahead and purchase a memory foam mattress topper, we strongly encourage you to go through this page to find out if you actually need a mattress topper or if you need to replace your whole mattress. Some people unfortunately end up buying a mattress topper when they actually needed to replace the whole mattress; now they’re going to have to go through the trouble of returning the topper and exchanging it for a new mattress. We want you to get properly educated on how to make the right decision about whether to buy a mattress or topper.

Memory Foam Mattress Toppers: 5 Facts and Myths

Check out the following infographic which illustrates 5 Facts and Myths about memory foam mattress toppers!

Memory foam mattress vs mattress topper comparison

Q1: A high-quality mattress topper can magically fix a mattress however bad its condition may be, correct?

A1: Nope, this is a MYTH!

Think about this for a second. A topper is only a few inches thick. Imagine laying a 2″ thick memory foam topper on a mattress that has a 1.5″ deep sagging right in the middle. Do you think the topper will dip in to the sagging on the mattress or would the topper stay straight as if it were made of wooden or steel? Yes, that’s right, the topper WILL sink into the valley on the mattress. So, did the topper fix the problematic mattress? Not really! As you will agree, a topper cannot be the solution to a deep sagging, a failing spring on a mattress etc.

This is why it is recommended that the underlying mattress be in decent condition if you plan on laying a memory foam topper on top of it. This doesn’t mean that the mattress has to 100% perfect. Shallow saggings or slightly uneven mattresses may be ‘fixed’ with a high density (4-5 Lb density) topper that is at least 3-4″ thick. But if the sagging is permanent and over 1 – 1.5 inches deep, definitely consider investing on a memory foam or latex mattress instead of a topper.


Q2: A mattress topper can fix an extra-firm or extra-soft mattress, correct??

A2: Absolutely correct!

A mattress topper can be used in any of the following conditions, provided that the mattress that goes underneath the topper is in decent shape.

    1. Mattress is too firm: lay a soft (2 – 3.5 Lb density) memory foam topper on it instead of throwing away the current mattress for a new ultra-plush memory foam mattress
    1. Mattress is too soft: lay a firm (4 – 5 Lb density) memory foam topper on it. A latex topper is also a good option here because latex is naturally firmer than memory foam
    1. Mattress is too warm: lay a gel-infused memory foam topper that is known to help people sleep cool and your problem is solved overnight
  1. Nothing wrong with the mattress, but back/neck/joints/whole body aches when you wake up in the morning: go for a high density, therapeutic memory foam topper


Q3: Memory foam density, ranging from 2 – 5+ pounds is nothing more than a marketing gimmick! Who falls for these nowadays?

A3: That’s a …….. MYTH!

Memory foam density is an important feature you need to pay attention to when purchasing a topper or mattress. Generally, higher the density, higher the firmness. So if you want a mattress topper that is firm, go for one with a density of 4 or more pounds (great for stomach sleepers and those who want a high therapeutic effect); if you want a medium-firm mattress topper, 3 or 3.5 pound toppers work great (recommended for back sleepers); if you’re looking for soft or medium-soft mattress topper, 2 or 2.5 pound toppers suit you the best (recommended for side sleepers, where the topper should be soft enough for the shoulders to sink in). Check out the infographic on memory foam mattress toppers for a more in-depth explanation on how memory foam topper density affect your mattress choice.

Q4: Memory foam toppers last as long as memory foam mattresses do.

A4: Nope, MYTH again! High-quality memory foam mattresses will last 10 – 15 years while a memory foam topper will rarely last over 5 years (unless you keep it packed up in a closet).


Q5: Buying a memory foam topper is cheaper in the long run

A5: Depends…

Generally, a topper costs about 1/3rd to 1/2 the cost of a mattress. This is a very general statement given that mattress prices can range from about $400 to several thousands. If a topper costs half the price of a mattress, but the mattress lasts twice as long as the topper, at the end of the mattresses lifespan, there is no difference in total cost. On the other hand, if the topper is $200 and the mattress is $4000, you’re definitely saving money by purchasing a new topper rather than replacing the whole mattress.



  • If your mattress is old and heavily sagging, a topper will most likely not be able revive it
  • If your mattress is generally in good condition, however, you want to firm/soften it up a little or make it cooler, a memory foam topper will do wonders
  • The obvious advantages of a topper over a mattress are their cheaper price and easier maneuverbility
  • The obvious advantages of a mattress over a topper are their longer durability and ability to sleep a person on their own. In contrast, a topper needs to have a mattress underneath to support it.

Here’s an excellent video

If you decided what you wanted is a mattress topper, read our review on the 6 best memory foam mattress toppers OR if you decided what you wanted is a memory foam mattress, read our review on the 10 best memory foam mattresses by clicking on the relevant links.