The Best Down Mattress Toppers, According to Bedding Experts

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A mattress topper made with real down is the kind of bed level-up that nobody technically needs but everyone can enjoy. The best ones are soft but not scratchy, plush, and billowy in a way that mattresses — and even other mattress pads — are simply not. Sleeping on actual feathers also has a kind of old-world, aristocratic appeal, if we do say so.

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The price tags on down mattress toppers tend to be higher — anywhere from around $100 to $500 for a queen size — than their synthetic alternatives, perhaps save the space age-iest of memory foam options.

What the Experts Say

Sources within the bedding industry say that buying a down mattress topper is simply a matter of knowing which materials and constructions are worth the investment. For this story, SPY spoke with Julia Forbes, sleep expert at Sleep Advisor; Martin Seeley, founder and CEO of Mattress Next Day; Robert Pagano, owner of Sleepline; and Olivia Walton, sleep expert at Bedz4U, to help sort through the best down mattress toppers available now.

Helpfully, there are three numbers to look for when shopping for down mattress toppers that reveal much of what consumers need to know. “The first thing you want to look for in a down mattress topper is a high fill power,” says Walton. This figure refers to how many cubic inches of loft you get from one ounce of the down fill. “It’s a measure of the fluffiness and insulation abilities of the down — a higher fill power tends to mean a better-quality, longer-lasting mattress topper,” he adds.

Another metric to consider is down cluster percentage, or down-to-feather ratio. Down clusters is a technical term that refers to the down and plumule that sits below the feather layer on a bird. Down clusters tend to be softer and more insulating than feathers. “Premium down mattress toppers tend to have a higher ratio of clusters to feathers, which means that you’ll get a softer topper with a more luxurious feel,” Walton says.

The third number to consider is thread count, which should be familiar to anyone who’s ever shopped for sheets. Generally, a higher thread count means that “the cover will be soft and comfortable (and will hold up over the long run),” Pagano says.

Nearly all of the experts agree that no matter what materials are inside the mattress topper, baffle-box construction is a must. “A good down mattress topper should have a baffle box construction,” ” Walton says. “This means sewn-in walls or boxes that ensure an even distribution of the down and prevent it from clumping together.”

Forbes adds that she values responsible sourcing in her down, and looks for certifications like the Responsible Down Standard. Some down toppers are machine-washable and some aren’t, so it’s also a good idea to check the washing instructions before purchasing.

BEST OVERALL

Allied Essentials Luxe Featherbed Mattress Topper

This down mattress topper boasts great stats and a solid price, with baffle-box construction and solid ethical bona-fides.

“This topper stands out because of its turtle top construction; it has two compartments filled with 550 fill power down and goose feathers,” says Forbes. The shell is 300-thread count cotton, and the down itself is Responsible Down Standard-certified. It’s also part of Allied Essentials’ Track My Down traceability program that allows consumers to look up the test reports for the exact material in the item they purchased.

Price-wise, at $134 for a queen, this mattress topper is less expensive than expected for a model that’s this warm, soft, and transparently sourced.

This mattress topper is unique in that it’s filled with both goose feathers and synthetic materials, a combination that gives it the benefits of both.

Forbes says that the polyester, a popular down alternative, “adds comfort” to this topper; its 100% cotton cover is also breathable and feels luxurious to the touch. It is dry-clean only, though, so maintenance is a bit less convenient, but experts recommend using a protector for down mattress toppers, in general, to minimize trips to the dry-cleaner.

The $170 price tag for a queen is reasonable despite the presence of the less expensive polyester.

Pagano says this mattress topper is “not cheap, but it’s by far one of the best” — particularly for those with more to spend who may or may not need a hypoallergenic option.

Forbes is also a fan of this topper. He cites the Resilia feathers, which are the product of a proprietary process that Pacific Coast says “results in tightly curled feathers that are springy yet soft.” The 230-thread count cotton shell, American Down and Feather Council certification, and 525 fill power round out this great option.

A queen-sized version of this featherbed is $345, which is more than the competitors on this list but worth it for those with bigger budgets and sensitive sinuses.

BEST THICK

Blue Ridge Home Fashions Luxury 5″ Down Pillowtop Featherbed

Most down mattress toppers are three inches-thick. This one is five.

When evaluating mattress toppers, Forbes advises focusing on their specific materials, build quality, and supportive construction methods. This topper does well on the first two counts, but its more complex construction really makes it stand out. The base layer is 100% feathers, its middle layer is a 75/25 blend of down and feather fibers, and its top layer is a one-inch pillow top filled with white down.

The $119 price tag for this queen-sized topper is a better-than-good deal considering the complexity and thickness it offers.

Sateen — a fabric made using a satin weave structure — can be slightly polarizing, but its fans would love this mattress topper from Parachute, which has a silky-smooth, 100% cotton sateen shell.

Inside the shell are two layers of down and feathers with a whopping 750 fill power. That’s a good deal warmer than most of the other mattress toppers on the market, which makes it a great choice for those who sleep cold. Seeley also says that “fill power, which quantifies the elevation and fluffiness, is an indicator of quality” — and this topper scores high marks, there.

High fill power and high quality mean a high price to match. But for sateen enthusiasts who are willing to pay a premium, this model is a good option.

Frequently Asked Questions About Mattress Toppers

Why do I need a mattress topper?

There’s something lacking about your current sleep setup. Maybe your mattress isn’t comfortable. Or maybe you’ve decked out your bedroom with a white noise machine and blackout curtains and you want to go all-in on an ideal sleep setting.

Why is down a good material for a mattress topper?

Down is soft, fine, and fluffy. It has been used in all kinds of bedding — pillows, comforters, and mattress toppers alike — to create soft, warm surfaces to sleep upon.

Will buying and sleeping on a down mattress topper make me a fancy boy?

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