The best mattress toppers in 2024, tried and tested | CNN Underscored

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The best mattress toppers we tested:

Best mattress topper for pressure relief: Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR-ADAPT Topper

Best mattress topper for back pain: Helix Cool Mattress Topper

Best pillow-top mattress topper: Mood Pod Moon Cloud Cover Mattress Topper

Best firm mattress topper: Casper Comfy Mattress Topper

Best cooling mattress topper: Lift by Amerisleep Mattress Topper

It’s not always practical to upgrade to a new bed if your current mattress is not giving you the best night’s sleep, which is where a good mattress topper comes in. The best mattress toppers can breathe new life into an aging mattress, making it feel like a brand-new bed without having to drop some serious cash. They can also spruce up a guest room bed, ensuring that visitors to your home have a comfortable sleep.

Choosing a mattress topper can be challenging with so many options. Some mattress toppers are designed to make your bed softer, while others make them feel firmer. There’s also the material to consider — from foam to hybrids and even mattress toppers with microcoils. Whether you’re looking to make your bed softer or firmer or need some extra pressure relief, we’ve got the topper for you. We slept on and tested six mattress toppers — here are the five that stood out and why.

Tempur-Pedic Tempur-Adapt Mattress Topper

Best mattress topper for pressure relief Tempur-Pedic

The Tempur-Pedic Tempur-Adapt Mattress Topper provides personalized pressure relief, thanks to its squishy memory foam. It molded to our body while we slept and didn’t cause overheating.

$419 $335 (queen) at Tempur-Pedic

Helix Cool Mattress Topper

Best mattress topper for back pain Helix

The Helix Cool Mattress Topper feels more like a mini mattress with its foam and microcoils. It offered extra-firm support while we slept on it, keeping our back from dipping into the topper and helping prevent backaches.

$499 $399 (queen) at Helix Sleep CNN Exclusive Deal

Mood Pod Moon Cloud Cover Mattress Topper

Best pillow-top mattress topper Moon Pod

Pillow-top fans will appreciate the unique feel of the Mood Pod Moon Cloud Cover Mattress Topper’s memory foam cluster and microfiber fill. We enjoyed the soft and cushy feel while we slept. Use the CNN-exclusive code CNNSLEEP18 through March 10 to save an additional 18% off at Moon Pod.

$585 $287 (queen) at Moon Pod CNN Exclusive Deal

Casper Comfy Mattress Topper

Best firm mattress topper Casper

The Casper Comfy Mattress Topper is for those who want a firm feel. Rather than sinking into the foam, we felt more like we were lying on top of it, thanks to the firm foam. Through March 10, you can take an additional 5% off sitewide at Casper when you use the CNN-exclusive code CNNSLEEP at checkout.

$299 $284 (queen) at Casper

Lift by Amerisleep Mattress Topper

Best cooling mattress topper Amerisleep

The Lift by Amerisleep Mattress Topper excels in heat dissipation, providing a cool-to-the-touch cover and open-cell memory foam construction. It effectively kept us cool while we slept and prevented heat buildup.

$429 $322 (queen) at Amerisleep

Best mattress topper for pressure relief: Tempur-Pedic Tempur-Adapt Mattress Topper

$419 $335 (queen) at Tempur-Pedic

Tempur-Pedic

A common complaint among side sleepers is waking up with achy shoulders and hips due to a mattress that’s too firm. The Tempur-Pedic Tempur-Adapt Mattress Topper caters to those who are in need of pressure relief so you don’t wake up sore. Tempur-Pedic states that this topper gives “personalized support that instantly responds to your weight, shape and temperature.” We found this to be true. When we initially lay on the bed, it instantly started molding to our body.

The foam also felt different from the foam in other foam mattress toppers we tested. It has a squishy sensation and conforms to your body shape more than the others. As a combination sleeper, we found sleeping on our side to be very comfortable.

There aren’t any inherent cooling features in the foam, like cooling gel, and even though there was some heat buildup, we didn’t overheat while we slept.

Upon opening the mattress topper from the plastic packaging, there wasn’t an unpleasant smell; however, there was a very faint chemical odor when initially lying down. Fortunately, after a short period of airing out, any lingering smell dissipated entirely.

The topper comes with a removable and washable cover, making maintenance a breeze, and the elastic corner straps ensure a secure fit to your mattress.

Best mattress topper for back pain: Helix Cool Mattress Topper

$499 $399 (queen) at Helix Sleep

Jamie Ueda/CNN Underscored

The Helix Cool Mattress Topper almost feels like a mini mattress. It’s quite heavy due to the fact that this mattress topper contains microcoils along with foam. It comes rolled up in a vacuum-sealed plastic bag with plastic wrap around it, similar to how many mattresses-in-a-box are packaged. Because of the weight and the wrapping, we recommend having two people set this up to make it easier; we were able to set it up by ourselves, but it took quite a bit of effort.

For those who like an extra-firm sleeping experience, this mattress topper is for you. When we slept on it, we felt like we were lying on top of it, and it had very little give. So those who need a mattress topper that’s firm enough that they won’t sink in will appreciate the firmness.

We’re typically a combination sleeper, but this topper was too firm to sleep on our side. However, we found ourselves sleeping on our back more and feeling fully supported. We also didn’t wake up with a backache.

The cover is made with what Helix calls their GlacioTex cooling fabric, which is supposed to pull heat away from your body. Like most cooling fabrics, this felt cool to the touch but some heat does build up if you stay in one position, but we didn’t overheat.

There isn’t a removable washable cover. The brand recommends spot cleaning, so you’ll have to be careful not to get it dirty or have an accidental spill.

Best pillow-top mattress topper: Mood Pod Moon Cloud Cover Mattress Topper

$585 $287 (queen) at Moon Pod

Jamie Ueda/CNN Underscored

The Moon Pod Moon Cloud Cover Mattress Topper stands out because instead of using a slab of foam, it uses memory foam clusters and microfiber for the fill. This combination gives it a unique feeling that’s soft and squishy when you lie on it. This mattress topper is good for someone who wants to add softness to a bed that’s too firm.

It was comfortable sleeping on our back or side on the Moon Pod topper. Our only complaint is that we could sometimes feel the space between the large quilted squares, but it wasn’t enough to deter us from saying this is one of our favorite mattress toppers. There was some minor heat buildup when we slept, but it didn’t make us feel hot.

Not only was this topper soft and squishy but it was easy to put on the bed straight out of the box without too much wrestling. It has four elastic straps to go around each corner of the bed to secure it in place.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t have a removable, washable cover.

Through March 10, use the CNN-exclusive code CNNSLEEP18 to save an additional 18% off at Moon Pod.

Best firm mattress topper: Casper Comfy Mattress Topper

$299 $284 (queen) at Casper

Jamie Ueda/CNN Underscored

Straight out of the box, the Casper Comfy Mattress Topper felt light compared to some of the others we tested, so it was easy to unpack and position on the bed. It came with a separate cover that unzips on three sides, but it took some time to get the mattress topper lined up properly with the casing and zip it up. This would be much easier with two people.

The foam itself has perforations to let heat and moisture escape, but we noticed some heat buildup, which we didn’t expect since the foam is perforated. That being said, we didn’t overheat, and if we changed positions, the heat released quickly.

The foam is firm, so this is best for someone who is looking for a firm mattress topper. When we slept on this, it felt more like our body was on top of the mattress than sinking into the foam.

It’s not the best for side sleepers because it’s so firm, but our body felt well supported while we were sleeping on our back. Stomach sleepers will likely also find this comfortable.

Through March 10, you can take an additional 5% off sitewide at Casper when you use the CNN-exclusive code CNNSLEEP at checkout.

Best cooling mattress topper: Lift by Amerisleep Mattress Topper

$429 $322 (queen) at Amerisleep

Jamie Ueda/CNN Underscored

One drawback of foam mattress toppers is that they tend to cause overheating. The Lift by Amerisleep Mattress Topper stood out for how cool it kept us while we slept. The cover feels cool to the touch, and the memory foam has an open-cell construction so heat doesn’t get trapped in the foam. It felt the coolest among the toppers we tested, effectively preventing heat buildup throughout the night.

Two choices for firmness are available. The Comfort option is geared toward combination and side sleepers; the Support option is made for back sleepers, stomach sleepers or anyone who wants to add firm yet gentle support. We slept on the Comfort option and found it accurate to its description. We enjoyed sleeping on our side and back. Those who like a firm feel or need more support should opt for the Support option since the Comfort option will likely be too soft.

The foam feels soft and has some give, but it doesn’t mold to your body, so you don’t have the feeling of being trapped in the foam when trying to move.

Setting it up was fairly easy, with only having to cut away the plastic. It comes already inside the removable and washable cover so you don’t have to go through the hassle of trying to get the foam inside the cover. It had a very faint smell when first opened, so you may want to let it air out for a few hours before using.

How we tested

To test the mattress toppers for this review, we first compiled a list of top-rated 3-inch mattress toppers and then brought six queen-sized mattress toppers in for testing. We slept on each topper for at least two nights and noted the following during testing:

Delivery and setup

Ease of delivery and setup: We gauged each mattress topper on ease of delivery and how easy it was to set up. Odor: We also noted whether or not the product had a strong smell to it that needed airing before use.

Comfort

Pain relief: After sleeping on each topper, we noted how comfortable we were in the morning. Pressure points: We also noted whether or not we woke up with any backaches or other pain, and if the mattress topper was able to provide relief to our pressure points.

Cooling

Warm or cool slumber: We tested each mattress topper to see if it kept us cool while sleeping as well as how well it contained our body heat while we slept on it.

The other mattress topper we tested

Linenspa 3-Inch Gel-Infused Memory Foam Mattress Topper

$90 $88 for queen at Amazon

The Linenspa 3-Inch Gel-Infused Memory Foam Mattress Topper is made with memory foam infused with cooling gel. It’s available in 2- or 3-inch thicknesses. We tested the 3-inch version, and the first thing we noticed upon initially lying on it was that it felt very firm — almost hard. However, after lying on it for a few minutes, our body heat started to make the foam softer. It has a typical feel of memory foam that you would expect. Our body sank into the mattress, and the topper molded to our body. We found it comfortable, and it relieved pressure points.

One complaint we had, though, was that if we moved to a different spot, it felt hard, and we had to go through the process of waiting for it to warm up from our body heat again. This may not be as much of an issue in warmer summer months or for those who keep their bedrooms warmer. (For reference, we keep our thermostat at 68 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit.) We noticed some warmth buildup while we slept, but if we changed positions, the heat dissipated.

A washable, removable cover is available for it but sold separately. The cover has nonslip rubberized dots on the bottom to help keep the mattress protector in place.

Unfortunately, there was a very strong chemical odor when we removed the foam mattress topper from the plastic vacuum-sealed bag. We had to open a window and shut the door to our bedroom to let it air out. The smell lasted about a day. Linenspa claims the topper is CertiPUR-US certified, but we’re skeptical of it due to the strong chemical smell.