Add an Extra Layer of Coziness to Your Bed With the Best Mattress Toppers
Domino tested and approved.
Published Mar 31, 2022 6:00 PM
Reading up on Domino’s shopping guides is like having your own personal product concierge. We do the tedious part—deep-dive research, hands-on testing, and tapping experts for advice—so all you have to do is hit “add to cart.” That’s why we call them Simply the Best.
Chamomile tea, one muscle-soothing heated beanbag pad, and a few minutes of meditation: We all have an evening routine to relax and unwind. Pair yours with a paint palette that imbues restfulness, a set of ridiculously soft sheets, and the just-right mattress topper, and you’re looking at a very good night of shut-eye. But the best mattress toppers, much like your wind-down or how you sleep, are pretty personal. Comfort can be such a relative descriptor—it all depends on the sort of foundation you prefer: superplush, soft, a happy medium, or firm.
To find our favorites, Domino editors of many different sleeping persuasions tested a range of options, trying all sorts of styles and materials both popular and lesser known (graphite-infused latex is a thing, and, spoiler, comes highly recommended). Below are the best mattress toppers we loved—and all the diligent details as to why (including a Princess and the Pea–inspired test for editors to assess the level of discomfort caused by placing an everyday household item—such as a pen or deodorant stick—between their topper and mattress).
- Best down: Parachute Down Mattress Pad
- Best graphite: Saatva Mattress Topper
- Best foam: Ruuf Memory Foam Topper
- Best wool: Coyuchi Wool Mattress Topper
- Best blend: Boll & Branch Mattress Topper
- Best Lyocell: Buffy Mattress Protector
- Best cotton: Avocado Vegan Mattress Topper
- Best silk: Gingerlily Mulberry Silk Blend Mattress Topper
Best Down: Parachute Down Mattress Pad
Thickness: 3 inches | Sizes: Twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, California king | Firmness: Soft
What we like:
- Perfectly plush; dual-chamber design provides two layers of down
- No odors
- Machine wash and air-dry
- Not recommended for hot sleepers, as it struggles a bit with breathability
Why we chose it: A feather-fill topper that’s as soft (and bouncy!) as a marshmallow.
Parachute’s down topper feels like a giant hug every night. European white down—85 percent down and 15 percent down and feather fibers—is wrapped in a sateen cotton shell that provides five-star-level comfort. “The topper adds extra cushioning that helps conform to your body and cradle it, without the slow bounce-back tendencies of memory foam. A winner in my book!” reveals Andie Diemer, Domino’s photo director. Diemer is a side and back sleeper who suffers from TMJ issues, so her sleep setup is incredibly important. “I slept soundly while using it,” she adds. “My initial impression was that it’s really soft and comfortable and easy to care for,” as she washed and dried it with zero issues before adding it to the top of her king-size bed. Box stitching helps evenly distribute the fluff, so you don’t have to worry about one side of the bed wearing out over time. Overall, Diemer doesn’t want to sink into her bed, home to a firmer mattress overall, but still enjoys the feeling of coziness, which this topper delivered. “I would definitely recommend this topper to anyone who has an older mattress and is looking to add an extra layer of comfort.”
Best Graphite: Saatva Mattress Topper
Thickness: 3 inches | Sizes: Twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, California king, split king | Firmness: Medium
What we like:
- Cool to the touch
- Provides pressure-point relief
- 180-night free trial
- Free shipping
- Graphite smell lingers for a few days
Why we chose it: Graphite-enhanced layer of foam keeps your nights cool and comfortable.
This topper has definitely improved deputy commerce editor Samantha Weiss-Hills’s quality of sleep—in fact, her Whoop has tracked a steady improvement since adding it to her mattress. As both a back and side sleeper, she has spent more time sleeping on her back, and reports far less shoulder discomfort than when she sleeps directly on her four-year-old mattress. “It’s pretty deep and actually gives height to our mattress on a low platform bed—something both my partner and I were surprised to like!” she notes. Weiss-Hills adds that it’s so thick she was unable to detect anything beneath the topper, masking both a pen and deodorant stick. “It is cool to the touch in general,” she adds. “And keeps me from overheating most nights, even with a down comforter.”
Made from memory foam, this mattress topper is a bit awkward to move around in size and weight, but thankfully it arrives in vacuum-sealed plastic wrap. Extra-long straps help it stay put. Do note: Upon opening, you may detect a slight smell similar to that of a No. 2 pencil—it is graphite, after all!
Best Foam: Ruuf Memory Foam Topper
Thickness: 3 inches | Sizes: Full XL, queen, king, California king | Firmness: Plush
What we like:
- CertiPUR-US certified foam
- Affordable (less than $100 for king)
- Also available in a 2- and 4-inch thickness
- Temperature-regulating gel keeps you cool all night long
- May take up to 48 hours for smell to dissipate
Why we chose it: Gel-infused, thick, cloudlike softness ideal for side sleepers.
While it initially feels like you sink right into this topper, its 3-inch thickness ensures you’ll never touch the top of your mattress, and it masked pretty much anything our tester placed underneath it (pen and deodorant stick included). After you’re up and about, it resumes its original form as if you had never laid there at all. It may not be the firmest option for those with back issues, but it is great for other pain points. For instance, it surrounds your body with support, so it will alleviate pressure points for side sleepers who tend to crush their shoulders. Memory foam has a tendency to trap heat, but this topper is gel infused and helps to more evenly distribute body temperature and keeps things relatively cool. It’s not cooling per se, but definitely provides better airflow compared to other foam toppers our tester has tried.
Best Wool: Coyuchi Wool Mattress Topper
Thickness: 1 inch | Sizes: Twin, queen, king | Firmness: Slightly soft
What we like:
- Wool sourced from California and assembled in Michigan
- Hand-knotted in 9-inch squares that evenly distribute the filling
- Benefits 1% for the Planet
- Breathable but warm (skip if you’re a hot sleeper)
Why we chose it: Luxuriously quilted, eco-friendly wool topper that adds just a hint of softness.
Coyuchi’s wool-derived products are really the cream of the crop. Although perhaps not as plush as your typical mattress topper, it is still extremely soft and cozy. While it didn’t have a significant impact on our deputy commerce editor’s sleep, she would recommend it for those looking to soften up their bed and possibly keep warm in a cold, drafty home during the winter months. If you run cool and don’t want to lean on an electric blanket, definitely give this topper a try. Weiss-Hills was also impressed by the packaging. “It arrived in a zippered fabric storage bag, which I appreciated from an eco-friendly perspective,” she says. “It was easy to remove and affix, and didn’t move around much once on the bed. I was very drawn to this topper for its design and feel.” Alone it’s just fine, but Coyuchi does note that it’s best paired with a mattress pad.
Best Blend: Boll & Branch Mattress Topper
Thickness: 1 inch | Sizes: Twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, California king | Firmness: Neutral
What we like:
- 100-night, risk-free trial
- Free shipping and returns
- Slightly cooling
- Includes free-range New Zealand sheep wool
- Medicine-like smell took 3 days to wane
Why we chose it: Wool, cotton, and polyester come together for a firm yet pillowy layer.
As a generally hot side and stomach sleeper, our style director, Naomi deMañana, was pleasantly surprised by how cool this topper kept her. If you’re already working with a quality base, such as deMañana’s original Casper, it may not be the most necessary add-on, but it is still equally comfortable. “The topper actually seemed less soft than my mattress,” she notes, but adds it was welcome, as she prefers a firm and soft combination. Thick elastic corner straps are designed to fit over any mattress and keep it from sliding around. For a low-quality mattress, this additional topper can make a world of difference. And if you’re looking for just a little extra comfort rather than something incredibly plush or superfirm, it is likely a happy medium.
Best Lyocell: Buffy Mattress Protector
Thickness: 1 inch | Sizes: Twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, California king | Firmness: Soft | Maintenance: Dry cleaning recommended
What we like:
- Cool to the touch
- 300-ply Tencel Lyocell fiber shell
- Recycled fill
- PET (though recycled!) fibers
Why we chose it: A thin but magically plush protector.
If your mattress could do with a bit more cushion but you’re not in the market for something ultrathick, Buffy’s plush mattress topper may certainly do the trick. Our tester was convinced she was Team Memory Foam all the way, but this protector has proven otherwise. Sure, it only adds about an extra inch to the overall height of your mattress, but that layer is incredibly fluffy. Our tester slept just as well as she does on her typical foam topper. Filled with shredded, recycled fibers made from plastic water bottles and covered with the brand’s signature fabric (Tencel Lyocell, to be exact, which is a natural and synthetic hybrid), the protector offers a cooler sleep, and it’s just the little extra oomph a pillow-top mattress needs if you’re really into supersoft comfort. Elastic straps hold it down, which is helpful when changing your bedding—you don’t want to worry about things slipping out of place, even when you lift the mattress up to tuck in the top sheet.
Best Cotton: Avocado Vegan Mattress Topper
Thickness: 2.75 inches | Sizes: Twin, twin XL, full, queen, king, California king | Firmness: Firm and medium options | Maintenance: Spot-clean
What we like:
- Vegan-friendly (cotton instead of wool)
- No odd scents and well packaged
- Supportive sleep (no aches and pains here!)
- Surprisingly cool, according to a hot sleeper
- Sinks a bit where you sleep; doesn’t bounce back as well as foam
Why we chose it: Natural materials for extra support.
Staff writer Kenya Foy is a combination sleeper (side and stomach); she found this cotton topper wrapped around latex to be supersoft and comfy. And when paired with her firm Martha Stewart pillow-top mattress, it provided just the right amount of support she needs to avoid waking up stiff or sore. Though it was thick and comfy enough to hide the silhouette of a pen and deodorant stick, Foy placed her phone underneath, too, for curiosity’s sake, and still felt nothing. She was most impressed by the unboxing and installing. It arrived in a pretty tall box, meeting her about eye level (she’s 5-feet-5), and was vacuum sealed. “It was surprisingly heavier than I expected, but I had no problem handling it and positioning it on my bed,” she shares. “And I didn’t notice any scents.” Her advice is to invest in deep-pocket sheets, as it added a few inches to her setup, causing her fitted sheet to slide around and come loose.
Thickness: 2 inches | Sizes: Queen, king | Firmness: Soft | Maintenance: Air out once a year, spot-clean, or have professionally laundered
What we like:
- Luxury you can feel
- Long-strand silk fill
- 300-thread-count cotton
- Only sold in queen or king
Why we chose it: For a fluffy springiness you can see—pleasantly cushy but won’t sag or sink in.
Commerce editor Collier Sutter was really taken with Gingerlily’s mattress topper, which is filled with silk and encased in cotton sateen. “Incredible, soft, silky, and every adjective in between—this mattress topper is the most luxurious I’ve ever felt while sleeping,” she shares. “It feels as if it’s hugging you, though you won’t sink in too far. My bed is medium-firm, and though I have back issues, I always wished it were slightly cushier. This was the perfect solution, and I actually slept very well.”
In that same vein, it’s definitely not a suitable option for those who prefer a firmer foundation. Heat-wise, Sutter sleeps with her AC on every night, no matter the time of year, so she didn’t mind the warmth it added. “Compared to naturally breathable materials like latex foams and cotton wool covers, there’s not as much noticeable breathability here,” she observes. Other noteworthy details: You may detect a faint manufacturer smell, but it subsides in minutes. Sutter found it was neither heavy nor bulky and easy enough to set up alone (not a two-person job and far less of a struggle than putting fitted sheets on a bed!).
We Also Tested
- While the Brooklinen Down Alternative Mattress Topper promised plush comfort, our tester was expecting something thicker with a lot more fill. It was pretty thin and didn’t mask the pen or deodorant stick placed under it.
- Domino’s newsletter guru, Joelle Bellini, found that while the Nest Cooling Topper was incredibly comfortable, it retained her body heat rather than kept her cool. Unboxing and installing were a breeze, and the topper is thick enough to mask any discomfort (“The true antonym of The Princess and the Pea,“ Bellini professes). She didn’t feel a pen or a deodorant stick, and even stuck a jar of petroleum jelly under it—and still couldn’t feel anything. “I even debated putting a large candle underneath, because the other objects were nonexistent,” she notes.
How We Chose These Products
Mattresses and their bedfellows, like the best mattress toppers, are highly personal products. After poring over the market and diving into research, we narrowed our list based on favored materials. Then testers tried these products for a significant period of time, considering comfort, packaging, and sustainable business practices, as well as firmness. For example, to assess thickness and support, each editor placed general household items everyone usually has lying around (read: a pen and deodorant stick) between the mattress and topper to see if it could be detected. Not surprisingly, foam-based mattresses and those boasting an ultrathick height completely hid the fact there was anything there at all. To provide additional context, we outlined the sleep style of each tester paired with a product that best suited their needs.
Our Shopping Checklist
Thickness and Support
Whether you’re looking to make your mattress firmer for extra spine support or plush like a cloud, this extra layer of comfort is going to add a bit of height to your overall bed. “It’s important to make sure that the fitted sheet you choose will ultimately be able to cover both your mattress and the mattress topper without sliding up from under the corners of the mattress,” says Ariel Kaye, founder of Parachute. That’s why it’s paramount to add together the height of both your mattress and mattress topper; this number will reveal the ideal pocket depth needed. For example, Parachute’s fitted sheets are designed to fit a 16-inch mattress height, as its toppers add about 3 extra inches of cushion to the company’s standard mattress, which is 13 inches tall. The best mattress toppers we tried added anywhere from 1 to 4 inches to our beds.
The filling of your topper is probably pretty similar to your mattress, comforter, and pillows. You’ve probably heard of down already, which is a filling of feathers, and down alternatives, which mimic the same lightweight softness and are great for those with allergies. But they aren’t the only options these days. Here are some other increasingly popular materials:
- Wool is a natural insulator and moisture wicking, so it’s great at keeping you warm during the colder months and cool once the temperatures rise.
- A cotton-filled mattress topper is similar to wool but plant-based—it’s sought out for being soft and breathable.
- Memory foam can provide both a protective and ultraplush layer of comfort between you and a hard mattress. It’s designed to form to the shape of your body while you sleep, but is more resilient than fabric, bouncing back to its original shape easily.
- More commonly associated as a natural rubber, latex is great for sleepers looking for firmness and wins durability points for longevity.
- Silk sceams “luxury,” and this ultrasoft, delicate natural fiber is great at regulating body heat.
- For certain fills that are susceptible to being matted down or lose thickness, a polyester—a synthetic fabric—core can help the topper filling retain its shape.
And, of course, there are always blends, which bring together the beneficial qualities of the multiple materials (above) into a single topper.
Sleep Trials and Returns
You can’t expect every product you try to offer a sleep trial, but 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.
Q: Will a mattress topper really extend the life of my mattress? What’s the real purpose?
“The choice to add a mattress topper is entirely up to you and how you prefer to sleep,” offers Kaye, and helps provide the best of both worlds: support from your mattress without sacrificing comfort. “Pillow-top mattresses degrade over time, much quicker than the mattress itself. So if the pillow top is attached to the mattress, it shortens its life span.”
You’re probably also wondering if there’s a real difference between a mattress topper, pad, or protector—and really, they all sort of aim to do the same thing at the end of the day: change the overall feel of your mattress while prolonging its integrity and act as a barrier against stains. We’d also argue it’s the ultimate hack if you aren’t in a position to purchase a whole new bed. Mattresses can be pricey, but a topper is a fraction of the cost and can still achieve the same coveted comfort, whether you want plush or firm.
Q: Is it necessary to wash my mattress topper? If so, how?
Just like bedding, we’re inclined to advise washing the surface you sleep on regularly, but Kaye explains it’s not always necessary, and some toppers on our list simply can’t be bundled up and tossed in the wash. Part of this is just the sheer size, but some materials don’t permit it (foam, for instance). We always recommend checking the manufacturer’s instructions first, but most standard toppers can be added to a laundry cycle if size allows; otherwise you’ll need to take it to the dry cleaner or spot-clean with a mixture of water and vinegar (really, that’s the solution to nearly everything). To restore freshness, just spritz your topper with a fabric-sanitizing spray.
Q: My back is a real pain, if you know what I mean. Can a mattress topper help?
While we aren’t doctors, there are plenty of recommendations from experts (as we’ve been previously told when searching for the best affordable mattresses)—including the Sleep Foundation—out there that reveal a mattress topper can certainly help alleviate muscle aches and pains if your mattress has started to see better days. You’ll want a material that will help relieve pressure points, which is why Saatva recommends latex or memory foam (these toppers are best for support). But Parachute points to wool as a great option, too, because it’s less likely to lose its shape. In general, however, certified sleep science coach Alex Savy of Sleeping Ocean previously told us, “Medium-level firmness tends to be good for pressure and tension relief for people with lower back pain.”
Though if your mattress in general is really starting to sag or look a little lumpy, we hate to be the bearers of bad news, but it’s probably time for a new mattress altogether. Don’t worry, Domino has you covered there, too, no matter if you need something more affordable or a large king.
The Last Word
The best mattress toppers are largely up to personal preference—comfort is so relative, which is why our testers (who sleep in all sorts of different ways) tried a variety of materials from reputable brands, and made a point to test out the overall feel. No matter if you’ve invested in a luxe mattress or your bed is starting to sag, we’re of the mindset that mattress toppers are pretty key to a sound night of z’s.
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