Transform Your Bed Into an Airy Cocoon With the Best Cooling Mattress Toppers
Expert picks, right this way.
Published Jun 20, 2022 7:54 PM
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Even if you have your air conditioner cranked all the way to its limits, a bed setup with little to no airflow may be the reason why your body still feels like a heat magnet while sleeping. The good thing is you don’t have to ditch your current mattress to get some relief: The best cooling mattress toppers are an easy way to kick-start a breezy makeover and transform your sleeping situation.
We tapped medical and bedding experts to sort out options that can make your bed feel cozier and hopefully way cooler to slide into when nighttime rolls around. “Cooling mattress toppers differ on how they keep you cool during the night,” says Sleep Number sleep expert Dr. Peter G. Polos MD, PhD. “The most ideal options have active air technology, silky-soft covers that conform to your body while regulating temperature and plush, breathable blends that allow for soothing sleep.” Whether you’re after a gel memory foam or a latex topper, read on for our picks.
- Best overall: Saatva Mattress Topper
- Best memory foam: Tempur-Pedic Cooling Memory Foam Mattress Topper
- Best moisture wicking: Brooklyn Bedding Titanflex Topper
- Best lightweight: Sleep Number True Temp Mattress Layer
- Best organic: Woolroom Wooly Mattress Topper
- Best latex: PlushBeds Natural Latex Topper
- Best construction: Avocado Vegan Mattress Topper
Best Overall: Saatva Mattress Topper
Best for: All sleeping types | Available sizes: Twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, California king, split king | Material: Graphite, latex, foam
What we like:
- You can pick from 2 cooling materials
- Naturally hypoallergenic latex version
- Free returns
- Sleeps a bit firm
- Prices vary by material (from $245 for a foam twin to $650 for a split king latex)
Why we chose it: A cushy-layered versatile topper, with the choice of two types of cooling materials that suit all types of sleepers.
This Saatva option lets you choose the way you cool off with two chill-inducing materials. The graphite-infused memory foam gives you 3 inches of support, contouring, and pressure-point relief, all while drawing heat away from the body. If you prefer a more eco-friendly topper, the 1.5-inch Talalay latex version checks that box and is perforated for increased airflow. Both are encased in breathable organic cotton, designed to keep moisture and heat under control. We also love the extra-long straps that keep the topper from sliding off your mattress. And while you’re enjoying the airflow from this high-end cooling accessory, its third layer enhances spinal alignment to guarantee you remain in a comfortable, apt sleeping position.
Best Memory Foam: Tempur-Pedic Cooling Memory Foam Mattress Topper
Best for: Side sleepers, back pain relief | Available sizes: Twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, California king | Material: Memory foam, polyester knit
What we like:
- Washable, mold- and allergen-resistant cover
- Emphasis on supporting pressure points
- Free shipping
- No trial period offered for mattress toppers
Why we chose it: A cloudlike layer to add to your mattress that conforms to the body without sacrificing airflow.
Memory foam has a reputation for sleeping hot, but Tempur-Pedic remedies this issue with a signature foam layer that’s breathable and designed to minimize heat retention. The cooling factor paired with the topper’s penchant for improving pressure-point discomfort makes it ideal for side sleepers and those dealing with back pain. We also love the convenience of the premium knit cover, which is removable and machine washable, plus it’s resistant to mold, dust mite, dander, and allergens, so allergy sufferers can snooze in peace. The 3-inch layer may stretch your fitted linens beyond their capacity, so deep-pocket sheets will come in handy to make sure the topper stays in place. Tempur-Pedic offers a 10-year warranty, but with the company’s zero waste practices, it only accepts returns on any non–mattress products if the item is damaged during delivery or has a manufacturing defect.
Best Moisture Wicking: Brooklyn Bedding Titanflex Topper
Best for: Combination sleepers | Available sizes: Twin, twin XL, full, queen, queen short, king, California king | Material: Contouring foam
What we like:
- 2 cover fabric options
- Custom firmness
- Reasonably priced
- Slight odor at first
Why we chose it: This accessory takes a twofold approach to stifling nighttime overheating—cool fabrics and water-absorbing foam.
Brooklyn Bedding’s signature hyper-elastic foam has an open-cell structure that gives it excellent water-absorption powers. And it gets an extra boost of cooling and breathability with two zipped cover options: a high-end organic cotton and a premium circular knit that feels cool to the touch (a savior on hot summer nights). You also get to customize your support level by choosing from soft, medium, or firm. Regardless of which firmness you choose, the elastic Titanflex foam is very responsive to movement, so you can lie down and still feel stable, or move around the bed without getting stuck in one of those too-soft sinking spots.
Best Lightweight: Sleep Number True Temp Mattress Layer
Best for: Combination sleepers | Available sizes: Twin, queen, king, FlexTop king, California king, FlexTop California king | Material: Polyethylene with polyester fill
What we like:
- Machine washable
- Quilted, cool-to-the-touch cover
- Only available in 1 color
- Not available in full size
Why we chose it: This svelte layer is engineered to keep you cool without the bulk of a traditional topper.
This pick stands out for its 37.5 technology, which is designed to prevent moisture buildup while you sleep: Particles embedded in the fibers are said to release vapors from sweat to keep you cool and dry. This process also allows the topper to adapt to your body temperature, which the company claims can keep you from getting too toasty at night. And these hardworking threads are wrapped in a cover for extra protection against stains and wear and tear. If you tend to toss and turn a lot in your sleep, the corner anchor bands will help keep the topper in one spot. An added bonus: It’s machine washable, and when it’s time for a refresh, you can toss it in the washer and tumble dry on low heat (just skip the fabric softener and dryer sheets). Fluff or shake it to redistribute the fill to perfection.
Best Organic: Woolroom Wooly Mattress Topper
Best for: All sleeping types | Available sizes: Twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, California king | Material: Merino wool, organic cotton, viscose blend
What we like:
- Fire barrier made from natural materials
- Ethically sourced wool throughout the entire topper
- Coils provide edge support
- Trial period only available with purchase of the brand’s mattress protector
- No removable cover
Why we chose it: A topper that dissipates heat using all-natural materials.
Hot sleepers should be able to rest cooler in environmentally conscious comfort. Woolroom’s mattress topper—sourced from farms in Britain and handmade in the U.S.—consists of 3 to 4 inches of wool for body-temperature regulation. It’s a soft-to-medium firmness, but no worries about that sinking-into-the-bed sensation: A microcoil-filled base layer adds relief for any bothersome pressure points. And if you tend to snooze close to the edge of the bed, the coil system forms an anti-roll border so you don’t easily tumble out. The perimeter stitching also keeps its materials in place so you don’t rest on lumpy, bunched-up filling. And the 100-night trial period gives you plenty of time to break in your topper, but it only applies if you purchase a Woolroom mattress protector, so plan accordingly.
Best Latex: PlushBeds 100% Natural Latex Topper
Best for: Side sleepers | Available sizes: Twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, California king | Material: Latex
What we like:
- Naturally hypoallergenic
- 5 firmness options
- Oeko-Tex Standard 100 and Greenguard Gold certified
- Not returnable
- 5-year limited warranty
Why we chose it: Get support that’s not too firm from this all-latex topper.
Latex has natural cooling properties, but PlushBeds’s mattress topper feels a cut above the rest: The natural material gives you the sensation of sleeping on top of the bed as opposed to sinking into it. Choose from 2- or 3-inch thickness (go with the latter for more insulation from your mattress). PlushBeds has a broader range of firmness levels than all of our other picks, including soft, medium-soft, medium, medium-firm, and extra-firm. While the breathable, open-cell latex is there to keep things less hot for sleepers when temps rise, its natural buoyancy allows it to take the pressure off your shoulders, hips, knees, and back, so a night of restful sleep won’t be hard to come by. It’s also Oeko-Tex Standard 100 and Greenguard Gold certified for the eco-conscious shopper.
Best Construction: Avocado Vegan Mattress Topper
Best for: Combination sleepers | Available sizes: Twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, California king | Material: Organic latex, cotton
What we like:
- Extremely comfortable
- 1-year trial period, 30-day minimum
- No off-gassing or scents
- No straps, prone to sliding
- Some sinking
Why we chose it: A well-made, cruelty-free topper with thoughtful design details.
It’s hard to overlook the attention that went into the construction of the Avocado Vegan Mattress Topper. The double-stitched seams and reinforced top and bottom perimeters give it excellent motion isolation, and its organic cotton canvas base ensures stability. There are plush and firm options made from soft natural and medium-firm latex, respectively. We tested the plush option and found it to be very comfortable and noticed an immediate improvement in moisture wicking and cooling compared to sleeping without it. The unboxing and setup were easily accomplished, and there were no strange odors or off-gassing. The topper doesn’t have straps, so we noticed that it tends to move out of place—but deep-pocket sheets help with that. After getting up in the morning, it takes a few minutes to bounce back to its original height. And it has the stamp of approval with Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)-certified materials (meaning the product contains at least 70 percent organic fibers).
How We Chose These Products
The best cooling mattress topper can stave off heat retention for a while without skimping on comfort, support, and quality construction (i.e., it won’t leave your bed looking or feeling lumpy from its fill). At best, a topper can extend a mattress’s life in case it’s almost time for a new one. It’s also ideal if you’re looking for something to support a mattress that’s still in good standing. To help us narrow down our choices and sort out their pros and cons, we tested at home where we could and spoke with Woolroom in-house sleep expert Chris Tattersall and Polos. From there, we considered fill material, whether the topper covers were the sole source of coolness, which brands are known for quality products, firmness levels (the more options, the better), sleep style, and eco-conscious manufacturing processes. We also were aware of trial periods, warranties, and, of course, a variety in price.
Our Shopping Checklist
Types and Materials
Just like with mattresses, toppers come in a variety of materials, including memory foam, gel, microfiber, latex, feather, down, cotton, and wool. Don’t rely on your cooling topper to do all the work, though: It needs to be compatible with your sheets and bedding of choice in order to perform its best. For instance, if you sleep on a medium-weight fabric like flannel (which is intended to keep you warm), this could impact your topper’s ability to keep your body cooled down.
On average, a mattress topper lasts anywhere from three to five years, but obviously the quality with which it’s manufactured can determine how long it retains its cool, comfy qualities. Shop brands with a reputation for first-rate products and read labels closely to see what kinds of fabric and fillings are used in construction before buying.
Some toppers contain naturally breathable fabrics like cotton, wool, and latex, while others are designed with aerated foam for increased airflow and to move heat away from the body. A few, like the Dual Temp Individual Layer, use temperature-regulating technology that allows you to customize the sleeping experience for each side of your bed, so you or partner won’t have to worry about sacrificing personal preference.
Thickness and Support
Toppers range between 2 and 5 inches thick. A thicker topper can help prolong the life of a sagging mattress until you find a replacement, and it can also be helpful if you have back pain or need extra support. But don’t assume that thickness is synonymous with quality. Instead, keep comfort and your sleeping style in mind. Certain cooling toppers cater to particular sleeping positions in the same way that different mattress types do. For instance, foam toppers are often recommended for side sleepers because the material contours to the body and offers pressure-point relief. A thicker mattress topper could cause you to sink further into a mattress, leading to possible discomfort, pain, or limited movement, which isn’t ideal for combination sleepers; a thinner topper may be the better choice in that case. However, Tattersall’s opinion is that a good cooling mattress topper offers comfort for all types of sleepers, regardless of their preferred position.
In some cases, mattress toppers come with removable covers, but if yours doesn’t, we recommend buying a mattress protector, which goes over the mattress and the topper to keep it from damage, stains, and allergens.
Sleep Trials and Warranties
You can usually expect most products to offer some sort of sleep trial (our picks on this list range 100 nights to one year, though Tempur-Pedic doesn’t allow returns on toppers). And since the best mattress topper is a big investment, and you never know how well you’ll sleep until it’s actually on your bed, we prioritized brands that are game for returns. Whether it’s a 7- or 100-plus-night free trial run, this is definitely the sort of product we’d recommend trying for yourself before fully committing.
And don’t overlook the warranty options, either: Our picks range from 1- to 10-year coverage.
Q: How do I clean a mattress topper?
Because most mattress toppers are a little too bulky to fit in a standard at-home washer, Polos has a few alternative cleaning suggestions. Use equal parts cool water and vinegar to spot-clean stains as soon as possible, and then allow the surface of the topper to air-dry. For more stubborn stains, use water and baking soda, or use a vacuum with a clean hose attachment to remove dust and debris. Also, baking soda is a great natural deodorizer.
Q: Let’s talk shop: Do cooling mattress toppers really work on hot summer days?
It’s hard to say definitively if one product will keep you cool. Tattersall points out that many factors determine how comfortable you’ll sleep during hotter seasons; you can’t pin your hopes on just one item. Room temperature, humidity, the clothing you sleep in, the type of sheets you sleep on (linen and organic cotton are especially cooling, while bamboo sheets are known for their superior moisture-wicking abilities), and the top bedding layer all make an impact, too.
For the best results, Polos recommends pairing your cooling mattress with a temperature-balancing mattress layer that moves heat and humidity away from your body and continually adapts to help keep you comfortable during the night, like the Saatva Mattress Topper.
Q: What’s the difference between a mattress pad and a mattress topper?
Polos sums it up nicely: “A mattress pad will protect your bed, and a mattress topper will complement your sleeping style.” Pads safeguard your mattress from stains and spills to keep it fresh and in good condition as long as possible. Toppers enhance the bed’s comfort and can affect its firmness and ability to disperse heat. If you’re trying to determine the difference between the two at a glance, most of the time toppers are noticeably thicker. And finally, pads are typically washable, whereas toppers are too large for in-home washers and should be routinely spot-cleaned or vacuumed.
The Last Word
When settling on the best cooling mattress topper for your bed, consider its material, whether it’s at the level of firmness you like, and, of course, if it’s designed to help pull moisture and heat away from your body. A new mattress topper doesn’t have the magic to fix up your old, sagging mattress underneath, but it can contribute to making a difference in your sleeping setup based on its cooling properties and will add a nice layer of comfort.