How to select the best memory foam mattress topper?
Before we introduce you to our list of 6 best memory foam mattress toppers, let us enlighten you on how you can pick your own memory foam topper based on your unique requirements. In contrast to what a manufacturer might have told you, in reality, there isn’t a “one size fits all” type of memory foam mattress topper that would work wonders for every individual on the planet. Different people have different sleeping preferences and therefore require different mattresses, different toppers etc. based on their specific sleeping habits. To ensure that you buy the topper that suits your personal needs best, it is highly recommended that you make your choice based on:
- Your sleeping position: do you sleep on your side, your back or your stomach? Or are you a combination sleeper (you switch between side and back-sleeping during sleep)? Look at the illustration below and you’ll understand that, generally, thinner mattress toppers are best suited for stomach and back sleepers while thicker mattress toppers are best suited for side-sleepers.
- The level of pain relief you expect from your topper: some people want to buy a new topper because they want relief from an existing back, neck, or joint pain. Others just want to make their current mattresses more comfortable and don’t really care about pain relief. Refer to Figure 1 above and you’ll understand that, generally, the thicker the memory foam topper is, the better the therapeutic pain relief is. From Figure 2, you’ll understand that higher memory
- The firmness of your current mattress: your new memory foam topper has to go on top of your existing mattress. The topper should be chosen based the current mattress’s firmness. Is it firm, medium-firm or super soft/ultra plush?
- Your weight: do you have a small body frame or large one? If you weigh over 250 pounds, your memory foam mattress needs to be dense enough to support the extra weight.
6 Best Memory Foam Mattress Toppers
If you’ve gone through the infographics above, you already know how to choose a memory foam topper based on your sleeping position, your therapeutic requirements, your existing mattress, and you body weight. Below we review 6 of the best memory foam mattresses of 2017 based on the above described criteria + existing customer reviews. Check them out and decide which model suits you best based on the 4 criteria described above:
Top 2 Memory Foam Mattress Toppers for Side-Sleepers
#1 Recommendation for Side-sleepers
#2 Recommendation for Side-sleepers
Best Memory Foam Mattress Topper Brands for Back-Sleepers
#1 Recommendation for Back-sleepers
Best Memory Foam Mattress Toppers for Stomach-Sleepers
#1 Recommendation for Stomach-sleepers
This is an excellent mattress topper suitable for stomach sleepers.
#2 Recommendation for Stomach-sleepers
Memory Foam Mattress Topper FAQ
Q1: My current spring mattress is 12 years old and is sagging quite a bit right in the middle. Placing a memory foam topper on top of it will fix the problem, right?
A1: Wrong! Sorry to disappoint ya, but, the truth of the matter is, contrary to what a topper manufacturer might have told you, a mattress topper CANNOT fix all your mattress woes. As you can imagine, a mattress topper will take the shape of the mattress that lies under it.
Mattress has a valley? The topper will dip in to it. Mattress has a mountain? The topper will rise over it. Get the picture? If your mattress is sagging or uneven, don’t expect a topper to solve that miraculously. Ideally, the underlying mattress should be perfectly flat for it to accommodate a memory foam topper. However, if you buy a thick topper (3-4″) of high density (>4 Lb density), you may be able to ‘fix/cover up’ relatively small valleys/hills and not feel them through the topper. However, if the sagging is considerably deep, the best option may be to buy a new memory foam mattress.
Q2: What mattress woes CAN a memory foam topper fix?
- Mattress is too soft: put a firm topper on top of it
- Mattress is too firm: put a soft topper on top of it
- Need more support on an aching back/neck/joint: put a high density, therapeutic/orthopedic topper on top of it
- Mattress is too warm: put a cool gel memory foam topper on top of it
- Need a temporary mattress for a dorm/RV/camping/to put on the floor/sofa bed, but don’t want to spend $400+ on a mattress
- My wife loves our current mattress, but I don’t: put a topper of your choice on your half of the bed!
Q3: I see a variety of memory foam toppers ranging from 1″ to 4″ of thickness. Which thickness should I go for?
A3: This depends on:
- Your sleeping position
- Amount of therapeutic support you expect from your topper
- The firmness of your existing mattress
- Your body type.
Sleeping position: If you’re a side sleeper, your shoulders need to ‘sink’ in to the mattress to keep your spinal cord straight. When a side-sleeper sleeps on a thin, extra-firm mattress, his/her shoulders cannot sink in to the mattress and the part of the spinal cord towards the shoulders will get pushed up resulting in back and/or neck pain. This is why 3″-4″ thick, soft to medium-firm mattress toppers are recommended for side sleepers. On the other hand, if you’re a back sleeper, your buttocks don’t need to sink in as much as the shoulders (on a side-sleeping position), because they don’t jump out as much as shoulders do. That’s why a 2″-3″ thick topper will suffice. For stomach-sleepers, sinking should be minimal because the deeper the stomach sinks, the more the spinal cord will curve inwards towards the stomach. This is not good. That’s why stomach-sleepers are recommended to go with a thinner topper of higher firmness.
Therapeutic support: From a therapeutic/pressure relief point of view, the thicker and firmer the mattress, the better the support and greater the pressure relief. If you currently have no back/neck/joint aches and don’t really care about pressure relief, just forget about the pressure relief aspect. On the other hand, if you already suffer from any of the above pains, go for a thicker topper with higher density (more on density later). If you’d like to maximize the therapeutic effect of your new mattress topper, you may want to check out our reviews on the best adjustable beds as well.
Existing mattress: Topper thickness also depends on the firmness of the underlying mattress. If it’s too firm and you want a softer bed, you obviously need a topper that is thick and soft. On the other hand, if your mattress is too soft and you wish to make it firmer, you want to buy yourself a firm topper, preferably not too thick. If your existing mattress is very soft, you may even need to think of a latex topper instead of a memory foam topper, because naturally, latex is firmer than memory foam.
Body weight: Topper thickness also depends on one’s body weight. Heavier individuals (in the over 250 Lb category) are advised to go with a thicker mattress topper. A heavy person sleeping on a thin topper is likely to feel the underlying mattress rather than the topper lying on top.
Q4: What is memory foam density? I see many manufacturers talking about 2Lb density, 4Lb density etc. Do I need to bother about density when buying a mattress topper?
A4: Yes, you must definitely pay attention to memory foam density before you pick a memory foam mattress topper. Again this is related to the four aspects we addressed above.
Sleeping position: The higher the density, the higher the firmness. As you can already guess, the side-sleeping position demands a low-density softer mattress to allow the shoulders sink in to the memory foam. On the other hand, the stomach-sleeping position demands a high-density, firmer mattress to make sure that the stomach does not sink in to the memory foam.
Therapeutic support: As you may have already guessed, the higher the density of memory foam, higher/better the pressure relief/therapeutic effect. So, a person needing relief from joint/back aches should go for a mattress with over 4 Lb of density.
Existing mattress: Choice of topper density also depends on the firmness of the underlying mattress. If it’s too firm you need a softer topper, that is a memory foam topper with a density of no more than 2 – 3 pounds. On the other hand, if your mattress is too soft, you want a firm topper, that is a memory foam topper with a density of no less than 3 – 4 pounds.
Body weight: Memory foam topper density also depends on one’s body weight. Light-weight individuals can go with any density. However, heavier individuals (in the over 250 Lb category) should opt for a high-density topper. A topper with at least 4 Lb of density will be able to provide enough support to keep the spinal cord in perfect alignment even in case of heavy individuals.