Why the Panda Mattress Topper is the sleep essential you need on your next campervan or caravan holiday

Our Panda Mattress Topper review puts this bestselling topper through its paces to see if it delivers on claims to offer cushioning, support, and breathability

The Panda Mattress Topper on a grey upholstered bed
(Image credit: Future)
Ideal Home Verdict

During testing this cushioning mattress topper really impressed us with its comfort and breathability, plus, the wide range of size options on offer mean it's a great buy for awkwardly sized sofa beds, caravan or campervan sleeping areas

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Supportive and cushioning

  • +

    Breathable for a cooler sleep

  • +

    Good motion isolation

  • +

    Anti-slip base and straps

  • +

    Removable machine-washable cover

  • +

    Wide range of size options

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Not the deepest so won’t transform a lumpy/sagging mattress

  • -

    Sleep trial isn't as long as some

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Our Panda mattress topper review puts this bestselling mattress topper to the test to see how it compares to the best mattress toppers and best cooling mattress toppers on the market.

The Panda mattress topper is a popular buy thanks to its mid-range price point and cushioning memory foam sleep surface. It may only be 5cm deep, but thanks to memory foam's dense structure that's still plenty of extra cushioning to add an extra layer of comfort to a mattress. 

As this topper also comes in a wide range of size options, it's also a great option for adding to one of the best sofa beds or for use in a campervan or any other non-standard sized sleep surface.

As a side sleeper, I was eager to test this mattress topper out on a hybrid pocket spring and memory foam mattress that I sometimes find a little too firm, despite it otherwise being one of the best mattresses I've slept on. During testing, I focused on how easy the Panda Topper was to attach to my bed, how comfortable myself and my partner found it to sleep on, whether it was able to keep me feeling cool overnight, and how easy it was to care for. 

Panda Mattress Topper review

Specifications

  • Construction: Memory foam
  • Sizes available: Single / Small Double / Double / King / Super King / EU Single / EU Double / EU King / EU Emperor
  • Depth: 5cm
  • Care instructions: Machine-washable removable cover

Panda mattress topper rolled up with box besideIdeal Home approved 5 star badge

(Image credit: Panda)

How I tested

Rachael Phillips freelance writer
Rachael Penn

I’m Rachael, a freelance reviewer who helps the Ideal Home team put products through their paces to find the top recommendations for our readers. For this review, I tested out the Panda Mattress Topper over my existing hybrid mattress on a king-size slatted bed base. 

I'm a combination sleeper, so this mattress topper's comfort levels have been put through their paces in various different sleep positions, and – much to my partner's annoyance – I tend to move around a lot at night, so I was able to test out the Panda Mattress Topper's motion isolation as well. As a hot sleeper I was also well placed to assess the topper's breathability to see if it delivered a cool night's sleep.

Sleep position: combination sleeper, but mainly side Tension preference: medium firm Sleep problems: hot sleeper, lower back and neck pain

What the brand says

Panda claims that the Panda Topper can deliver 'next-level orthopaedic support' that 'supports your back, neck, and hips in perfect alignment', whilst its 'gel-infused technology reacts to your body temperature and keeps you cool'.

It aims to do all this by way of what the brands dubs 'Hydro-foam™' – a 5cm deep layer of memory foam that's then wrapped in a removable and machine-washable bamboo cover.

Panda describes the 'Hydro-foam™' as a '3rd generation, gel-infused memory foam' that uses ‘open cell cooling technology'. In practice, this means 'tiny heat-sensitive capsules' that 'react to your body temperature and expand when the memory foam warms'. This extra space between the cells should allow bodyheat to dissipate, meaning a cooler sleep than denser 'old school' memory foam.

The bamboo topper cover is also designed with a cooler sleep in mind, with Panda stating the fabric's natural breathability helps better air flow and promotes coolness whilst you sleep. This cover is also hypoallergenic and, according to the brand, 'naturally antibacterial and inhospitable to micro-organisms and parasites such as dust mites and bed bugs'.

This topper also conforms to Standard 100 by OEKO-TEX®, which means it's tested to check there’s no trace of any harmful substances in its make up.

Unboxing

When the PandaTopper turned up at my door, courtesy of mattressnextday.com, I initially thought there must have been a mistake with the size. The box was small and compact and really light to lift. However, having tested out plenty of different mattress toppers and mattress-in-a-box over the years, I know how tightly vacuum-packed they can be, and low and behold there was indeed a king-size mattress topper hidden in the box. 

The topper takes quite a while to fully expand, with Panda advising to leave it laid flat for around 16 hours before you sleep on it. I noticed mine was fully expanded within four hours. However, I did leave it for over 12 hours before I attached it to the bed and slept on it for the first time.

The Panda Mattress Topper in a branded cardboard box

(Image credit: Future)

Attaching the topper to the bed

This topper is super simple to fit to the bed, even if you’re fitting it on your own. 

Unlike the 9cm deep Emma Premium Topper I'd just reviewed that was extremely weighty, in comparison the 5cm deep Panda Mattress Topper is light enough lift singlehandedly and easy to be manoeuvre around so you can get it perfectly aligned with your mattress. 

The topper is fitted with four adjustable corner straps, so if your mattress is on the deeper side you can rest assured the topper will still fit. 

The base of the topper also has an anti-slip cover which means it will stay firmly in place on the bed – even if you're like me and tend to wriggle around a lot at night. 

A hand holding the adjustable corner strap on the Panda Mattress Topper

(Image credit: Future)

Comfort

I’m not usually a fan of pure memory foam mattresses. I’m a slightly heavier sleeper and I sleep on my side a lot, so sometimes a softer all-foam sleep surface leaves me feeling like I'm sinking in too deep which I just don’t like. 

However, despite being made of pure memory foam, the Panda Mattress Topper didn’t feel like that, and did a great job of keeping me comfortable. I tested it on top of a medium-firm hybrid mattress, and because the topper is only 5cm deep there was still a little bit of bounce underneath which added to the responsiveness of the topper and made moving around at night easy. 

I didn’t ever feel this topper was too soft, instead, it softened up my already firm mattress and offered excellent pressure relief and cushioning where I needed it the most.

However, if your sleep problem is that your mattress is on its last legs and has started to sag or isn't offering enough support, then at 5cm thick this topper is unlikely to be able to make much of a difference. The deeper Simba Hybrid Topper I tested which features supportive pocket-springs may be a better fit in that regard. 

But, if you're simply after an extra layer of cushioning the I felt this Panda topper did a great job of adding comfort.

Thanks to the memory foam, it also did an outstanding job of isolating motion. So if you or your co-sleeper are restless at night then your won’t have to worry about disturbing the other person. 

A side view of the Panda Mattress Topper on a bed

(Image credit: Future)

Breathability

Because this mattress topper is made from memory foam, which can often tend to reflect heat back towards the sleeper, I intially worried it wouldn’t live up to its cooling claims. I do sleep hot, regardless of the weather outside, so I prepared myself for a night of tossing, turning and flinging my leg out of the cover for a bit of cold air to hit. 

But, during testing I was very pleasantly surprised by how breathable this topper seemed. As well as feeling soft and comfortable, I didn’t wake up once overnight overheating. In fact, quite the opposite, I woke up in the morning feeling just the right temperature and with the duvet still completely covering me. 

This is likely down to the fact that Panda uses ‘open cell’ gel-infused memory foam rather than 'old school' memory foam in this topper. As the brand states, these 'tiny heat-sensitive capsules react to your body temperature and expand when the memory foam warms', the extra space between the cells should then allow body heat to escape rather than becoming trapped between your body and the topper.

As well as the gel-infused foam playing its part in keeping me cool, I think the bamboo cover also did a stand-up job. This is so super comfortable to touch – think about the softest Egyptian cotton you’ve ever felt and you’ll get a good idea. It’s also true that bamboo feels cool to the touch – when I first got up in the morning the topper did feel warm where I lay, but within minutes it was back to feeling super cool. 

The cover also has moisture-wicking qualities so even if I did start to get a little warm, this cover would have wicked any humidity away leaving me feeling dry and comfortable all night.

The Panda Mattress Topper on a grey upholstered bed

(Image credit: Future)

Ease of care

Keeping your Panda topper clean is super easy. The bamboo cover can be removed and machined washed on a cool wash up to 40 degrees, it just can't be tumble dried so you need to leave time for it to air dry before popping it back on the bed. I found it really easy to remove and replace the cover for washing. 

Because the topper itself is made from memory foam, you can't get that wet as it will weaken its viscosity and you’ll notice that it starts to break down. Instead, if you do need to clean the foam for any reason, Panda advises removing any liquids as quickly as possible by using a dry cloth or paper towels, and keep dabbing the damp patch until your cloth comes back dry.

A hand folding back one corner of the Panda mattress topper

(Image credit: Future)

Verdict

At 5cm deep, this topper may not be able to transform an old, sagging mattress in quite the same way as the more structured Simba Hybrid Topper can, but if you're simply looking for a layer of extra cushioning to soften up a firm sleep surface this topper does a great job for a lot less money. 

I tested it on our spare bed which has a mattress that's a bit firmer than I’m used to sleeping on, and this mattress topper definitely did a good job of making it more comfortable for me as a side sleeper. I found it added extra support around my neck, hips and shoulders, and also to my lumbar region when I was laid on back.

This topper also did an outstanding job of isolating motion, with very little transfer of movement from one side of the bed to the other with two of us in the bed. And, as a hot sleeper, I felt it did a good job of keeping me cool overnight due to its more breathable open cell memory foam.

Thanks to its adjustable straps it also fits on to any depth of mattress, and with its non-slip bottom, once it’s attached, it’s attached, so you won’t find it slipping or sliding around at night. And although it's less deep than an option like the 9cm deep Emma Premium Topper, that does mean you shouldn't need to buy new sheets to cover this topper once it's on the bed.

A wide range of size options also means this a really useful option for a non-standard sized sleep surface, such as a sofa bed. In fact, if I was off campervanning or caravanning this summer, this would be the topper I'd be purchasing for a better night's sleep sleep on one of those awkwardly-sized beds.

All in all, if you're looking for an extra layer of cushioning to soften up a firm mattress, I think this mid-range topper is a great buy.

Rachael Penn