A good mattress topper can help you get a more comfortable night's sleep, and help prolong your mattress's life by protecting it from wear and tear.
A mattress topper can offer a cheap – albeit temporary – solution to the problem of a less-than-comfortable mattress.
In our latest survey of 972 Which? members who owned a mattress topper, 85% told us that a mattress topper made their mattress more comfortable.
You can buy a basic mattress topper for less than £20, although many cost more. Our survey results can guide you towards one that's worth your money.
If you're looking to buy a mattress topper because you really need a new mattress, but don't think you have the budget for one, we might be able to help. Head over to our hand-picked round-up of the for the month where we've picked big brand mattress on offer. Or check out our where you can find a decent mattress at a lower than average price.
|Brand||Which? customer score||Comfort||How well the mattress topper matched its description||Value for money|
|Marks & Spencer|
|Soak & Sleep|
Sample sizes: Dorma (36), Dunelm (106), IKEA (81), John Lewis (234), Marks & Spencer (74), Silentnight (74), Soak & Sleep (34)
If you can't afford a new mattress, or don't want to replace the one you have at the moment, a mattress topper can help make what you have more comfortable for the time being.
More than half of Which? members who took part in our 2021 survey bought a topper to make their mattress more comfortable (and 85% said it did indeed make their bed more comfortable). A third bought one to help protect their mattress from wear and tear.
Our lab testers have found that a mattress topper won't offer any extra body support, but can improve pressure distribution in some instances such as on a firm or thin mattress, giving you a more comfortable experience.
However, if your mattress is already sagging, or has softened a lot over time, a mattress topper may not make that much difference: it's time to buy a new mattress.
The words mattress topper and mattress protector are sometimes used interchangeably, but their functions are quite different.
A mattress topper, as the name suggests, sits on top of your mattress, offering a few extra centimetres of material to make the whole experience more comfortable. Toppers can be made of memory foam, feather/down, microfibre, polyester or a different soft material entirely, or more natural materials such as wool or cotton. A topper is generally thicker than a mattress protector.
As an extra layer, a mattress topper will give some degree of protection from stains and wear or tear, but will probably not be waterproof, unlike a protector. Think of a mattress topper as exactly that: the top layer of your mattress. Some are washable, but not all, so check before you buy.
A protector, on the other hand, shields your mattress (and topper) from stains and can help prevent damage. A protector offers a removable and washable protective layer to your mattress, helping to keep it fresher for longer. It won't be as thick as a topper. It will often be little more than a sheet, and can be added like you would a fitted sheet on top of the mattress (and topper), or held on by straps which go over the corners.
A mattress protector will help protect your mattress from bodily fluids, spills and stains. As a mattress protector won't be as thick as a mattress topper, it won't protect your mattress much from wear and tear, or prevent it sagging.
Mattress protectors are usually washable, but some high-end, natural toppers are spot clean only: check the instructions before bundling it into the washing machine.
There are four main types of mattress topper: memory foam, feather and down, microfibre and latex. But you'll also find other toppers made from more natural materials, such as wool or cotton.
Each type of mattress topper feels different to lie on. Down toppers feel soft, plush and cosy, while memory foam is firm and spongey and can feel warmer.
Made of a temperature-sensitive material, memory foam will react to your body heat and contour to your shape – which manufacturers claim helps relieve painful joints.
A memory foam mattress topper should spring back to the same height each time you use it, too, unlike one made of down or microfibre, which will need to be fluffed up.
However, some people don't like the feel of memory foam and find that it makes them feel too warm. It's worth trying a memory foam mattress topper in-store before buying, if you can.
Some memory foam toppers will smell quite synthetic when new, but this should fade within a week. To remove the smell more quickly, hang the topper up outside or in an airy room to let it breathe before putting it on your bed.
Feather and down mattress toppers have a more traditional feel and you can find cheap down mattress toppers for around £50.
Premium feather and down toppers can be expensive. Some, such as Hungarian goose down, can be very expensive.
These natural options can flatten down quickly and will need regular fluffing to retain their shape. You might find they have a musky smell at first, too.
Feathers and down aren't always taken from birds in a humane way. To ensure you're buying a topper with down that has been responsibly farmed, we recommend checking with manufacturers and retailers to find out what their policies are before you buy.
Microfibre is a synthetic material, often used in pillows and duvets, and is the most affordable of all mattress topper types. It's a great basic option if you need a mattress topper on a budget - you can pick them up for as little as £20 in some places.
It's not as breathable as down, and will flatten quicker, but this can be fixed by regularly shaking to fluff it back up.
Its synthetic fibres make it hypoallergenic, too. Some are sold as ‘anti-allergy’: these ones are treated with a chemical to help stop common allergens such as dust mites and pollen.
Made of either rubber tree sap or synthetic rubber, latex mattress toppers tend to be cooler and more breathable than memory foam. Latex contours to your body shape like foam, but its elasticity means it will bounce back quickly.
It is usually quite expensive, but manufacturers claim that latex is more durable than any other bedding material, so it should stay comfortable for longer.
Latex has an unusual feel, which is different to either memory foam or down. Some people like it and some don't, so it's worth trying a latex topper or mattress in-store before you buy.
If you're after a basic double mattress topper, you can pick up a relatively cheap own-brand supermarket polyester topper for £14.
Entry-level memory foam mattress toppers start at around £20. Some premium mattress toppers can cost more than £200 for a double-size.
Premium down and latex toppers cost more than memory foam and microfibre. And we've spotted super-expensive Vispring models in John Lewis costing an eye-watering £880 for a double-size topper made from British fleece wool.
John Lewis, Dunelm, Next and Dormeo are among the most searched-for mattress topper retailers at the time of writing. We’ve included links to these retailers below, chosen because of their stock availability, best-value price and/or warranty options.
Mattress toppers and protectors can bring comfort and add years of life to your bedding, so buying from a trusted brand is a must. Check the retailer's returns policy and pay attention to customer feedback and reviews. For more details on shopping online safely and arranging refunds for faulty products, see our .
Last updated May 2022