Best mattress toppers 2021 – 6 best additions for comfort and cooling

We've tested and reviewed the best mattress toppers for adding an extra layer of comfort and protection to your bed
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  • If you’re not getting the comfort your need from your existing mattress, then the best mattress topper is a good idea. You will be amazed by how much they can improve an uncomfortable sleeping experience – or even offer some cooling properties if it is temperature regulation that keeps you awake. However, there are a few types to choose from, so how can you find the right one for you?

    First, let’s explain what a mattress topper is so you know exactly what you should be looking for. Most are almost like a very thin mattress, made from memory foam or a down-like filling. They are secured to the top of your mattress so need to be the same size, and can be used to soften a firm mattress, or as a breathable layer that helps regulate temperature.

    Time to get a new mattress instead? We can help with that, too: see our best mattress guide for our top mattress reviews for 2021

    There are plenty on the market, so we’ve spent our nights testing them out to give you this definitive list of best mattress toppers. We’ve considered everything from the materials used to fastening, and the initial upfront cost. Recognisable brands such as eve and Simba sit alongside Silentnight so all budgets have been catered for, too.

    Read on, and you’ll also discover how to pick the perfect mattress topper for you. Sweet dreams!

    Best mattress toppers 2021

    1. eve The Mattress Topper

    Best memory foam mattress topper (and all-round mattress improver)


    Best for: support
    Thickness: 5cm
    Sizes: single, small double, double, king super king

    What we like: soft yet supportive, hypoallergenic cover
    What we don’t like: feels a little heavier than some others we’ve tried

    If you’ve heard others raving about the virtues of memory foam but you’re not sure it’s for you, this is a great introduction. Get the benefits of memory foam without having to fork out for a whole new mattress, and while this is not cheap, it is great value for those looking for a sleep upgrade on a budget. This was not the easiest to manoeuvre of the toppers we tested. However, it provided one of the most comfortable night’s sleep we’ve had on our less-than-youthful mattress in some time.

    Arriving boxed, once released from its vacuumed plastic cover it quickly puffed up to its full 5cm height. The initial ‘chemical’ smell often emitted by some memory foam mattresses was hardly there. Any smell evaporated very quickly. The mattress topper doesn’t have elastic corner straps but we found the non-slip back kept it firmly in place.

    This mattress topper is soft but at the same time supportive, particularly good when one of you prefers a firmer sleep than the other. Its hypoallergenic cover unzips so you can take it off and pop in the wash, too. We also liked the idea of the free delivery, 30 day trial and return. We have to wonder how many of these mattress toppers actually go back!

    Ideal Home’s rating: 5 out of 5 stars 

    2. Panda The Topper

    Best mattress topper with gel infused memory foam


    Panda The Topper on a floor in a bedroom

    Best for: keeping cool
    Thickness: 5cm
    Sizes: Single, small double, UK double, king, super king

    What we like: A deep wedge of foam for the money, Oeko-Tex approved for allergy sufferers
    What we don’t like: The straps ping off if your mattress is very thick

    Our runner-up for the best mattress topper is this gel-infused memory foam mattress topper from Panda. It’s really comfortable and supportive, hypoallergenic and comes with an extra washable bamboo cover included. There’s a lot of good things going for this topper but one of our fave features has to be the third generation gel-infused memory foam.

    This layer is designed to improve your comfort. It moulds to your body’s shape, just like a memory foam mattress would, relieving joint pressure, especially when you sleep on your side which makes it ideal for those who suffer from back and neck pain. The gel is also designed to ensure you keep cool throughout the night which works in harmony with the naturally breathable bamboo cover.

    Bamboo is a sustainable, organically grown plant which is kind to the environment. It also has other properties such as being hypoallergenic and gentle on your skin.

    Ideal Home’s rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

    3. Simba Hybrid Topper

    Best hybrid mattress topper

    Simba hybrid mattress topper


    Best for: side sleepers, and hybrid fans
    Thickness: 4.5cm
    Sizes: single; small double; double; king size; super king size

    What we like: cooling for (most) sweaty sleepers, nearly all the support of the Simba mattress
    What we don’t like: price is a little steep

    We’re big fans of the Simba Hybrid Mattress so it’s hardly surprising that we like their topper, too. It combines latex, foam and springs which gives you tons of support and more bounce than just memory foam. It’ll also go someway in helping to keep you cool thanks to its cooling open-cell Simba-pure layer.

    Reviewed by two, there was a slight difference in opinion just how cooling the topper is. For one of us (the sweaty sleeper), we found that we were just as hot as usual; the other (the non-sweaty sleeper) enjoyed its breathability. And as a side note on the Simba-pure: it’s a purer foam that is free from nasty chemicals such as phosphate, parabens, biocides and persistent organic pollutants, which makes it good for you and the planet.

    The Simba Mattress Topper also comes with an anti-slip base and wriggle-free straps so it stays firmly in place as you sleep.

    Ideal Home’s rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

    4. Soak & Sleep Double Luxury Wool mattress topper

    Best mattress topper for temperature regulation


    Best for: temperature regulation
    Thickness: 3cm
    Sizes: Double

    What we like: naturally cooling, machine washable, stays in place (even if you’re a fidget in bed)
    What we don’t like: may not be thick enough for some sleepers and mattresses

    If you find that you and your partner have greatly differing body temperatures, this mattress topper might be for you. Super slim and lovely to the touch, this quality topper is filled with wool. This helps to cool down hot sleepers at the same time as warming up those who like it hot. The elasticated straps were robust enough to hold the mattress in place. This was a feat considering one of the testers – we’re not saying which – is a fidgety sleeper.

    Thinner than some mattress toppers we tested, its unbleached cotton outer felt lovely under the sheet. The Michell wool filling definitely did its job of wicking away moisture, making for a much more comfortable night. We loved the fact that the whole thing is washable at 30ºC. As it’s not too bulky, we felt sure it would fit in our 9kg washing machine without too much trouble. The makers do recommend you get it washed professionally, though, and we felt it would be worth a trip to the launderette to keep this at its best.

    Ideal Home’s rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars 

    5. Silentnight Airmax Mattress Topper

    Best mattress topper for support


    Best for: support
    Thickness: 3cm
    Sizes: single, double, king, super king

    What we like: soft-to-the-touch, light yet substantial, machine washable, good value
    What we don’t like: prone to going a little flat so may need a plump-up every now and then

    If your mattress is just a little hard, then this is a great addition to the bed. It’s particularly useful if you find yourself overheating during the night. Its a very light mattress topper, but don’t let that fool you into thinking it’s insubstantial. The filling is kept even by a waved panel stitch and it has elastic straps to secure in firmly in the right place. Plus, it’s machine washable.

    We found it not only added the required level of softness but it also helped us keep cool on warmer nights and toasty on cold evenings. This is probably helped by the ‘Airmesh’ side panel, which helps to increase circulation around you while you sleep. A microfibre outer is lovely and soft to the touch and the polyester filling has a dual layer, which provides ‘air pockets’. Practically, this meant that, although not the deepest of toppers we tried, it was one of the most comfortable.

    Ideal Home’s rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars 

    6. Sealy Select Response mattress topper

    Best budget mattress topper

    best-mattress-toppers-4 Sealy

    Best for: shoppers on a budget
    Thickness: 5cm
    Sizes: single, double, king, super king

    What we like: good for those prone to allergies, machine washable
    What we don’t like: doesn’t feel particularly thick

    This is an excellent value mattress topper and is a particularly good choice for those with asthma or, like us, allergies. This is because it’s both hypoallergenic and dust mite-resistant. Just over 70 pockets (on the double) are filled with springy DuPont™ Serica® fibres, which are designed to respond to body temperature. That means that sleeping conditions remain just right, all night long.

    Easy to unpack and fit, the straps held it secure. This mattress topper was a nice addition to a medium firm mattress, adding a layer of protection as well as comfort. There was no sign of recurring allergies, which in turn led to a relatively snore-free night. The whole thing is machine washable at 40ºC, which is great. Having said that, it might take a bit of persuasion to get this topper into smaller-drum machines.

    Ideal Home’s rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars 

    Why do I need mattress topper?


    Image credit: Dan Duchars

    Mattress toppers can perform a number of functions. They’re great if you’re renting a furnished flat, for instance, and the mattress provided doesn’t provide you with the comfort and rest you need. Adding a soft layer can quickly and, relatively cheaply, turn a rock hard mattress into an altogether more comfy one. And, even if you have invested in the best sofa bed, their mattresses are by nature quite thin, so a mattress topper can up the comfort and support for guests.

    Alternatively, it might be that your once-comfortable mattress doesn’t quite suit your needs any more, you just can’t afford a new mattress right now, or you are deferring the pleasure until you move. They also can be used to add breathability and cooling qualities.

    Whichever way, a mattress topper will help you sleep easy. If your mattress is lumpy or sagging the middle, however, a topper will make little difference.

    They differ from mattress protectors. Though some of the best mattress protectors do have a bit of padding, they are not intended for adding the levels of comfort you can get from a topper. If you want to shield your mattress from spills and keep it fresh, a protector is for you. If it is added comfort you need, choose a topper. Need both? Get a mattress protector that is large enough to cover your mattress with a topper on top. You can also get toppers that have removable covers for washing if required.

    Do I need a mattress topper or a new mattress?

    Experts suggest we change our mattresses every seven years or so. Beyond this, the support offered by even the best materials will start deplete. Even a really good mattress topper can only do so much to remedy this. They can offer that lovely sinkable top layer to cushion joints and hold your body in a more comfortable position, but if the mattress below if shot, you will not get the full benefits. This is when it is time to buy a new mattress instead.

    If however your mattress is just a little past its best, or you are planning on getting a replacement in the next couple of years, then a mattress topper is an affordable way to improve your sleep without the full commitment and expense of a mattress. For example, you might be renovating or planning to move, and hope to get a new mattress once work/the move is done. You might know you will have a bigger bedroom, so you may be looking to get a bigger bed, and thus a bigger mattress.

    How much should I spend on a mattress topper?

    Prices range from £20 for thinner polyester hollowfibre mattress toppers – but they won’t necessarily provide you with the extra comfort you need. The price you pay will depend on which kind of filling you opt for, with man-made fibres generally more affordable than natural materials. Whether you want specific design features such as anti-allergy or temperature controlling will also affect the price.

    Expect to spend around £30-40 for a good quality standard hollowfibre topper and up to £150-£200 for a decent memory foam or quality duck-down one.

    How will a mattress topper help me get a better night’s sleep?

    Toppers are a useful temporary fix if your sleeping habits change – from sleeping in a different position when pregnant or if you have an injury, for instance. They provide an extra layer of softness or support. They can also help make sleeping more comfortable for allergy sufferers by adding a layer of protection that your mattress might lack. Many mattress toppers are now hypoallergenic or covered and filled with materials such as silk, which dust mites and bugs loathe.

    Mattress toppers can also help keep you warm in the winter or cool in the summer – particularly useful if heat regulation is an issue. You can get some specifically designed for this so check our list of the best cooling mattress pads and toppers to see the top options. Finally, a mattress topper is ideal for improving the comfort of that old guest bed.

    What are the main features of mattress toppers?

    Mattress toppers come in traditional bed sizes (usually from single to super king) with a wide variety of depths and outer materials and fillings. Adding a layer of comfort is the main criteria but beyond that how can you choose your mattress topper?

    If you have allergies, a silk or duck-down topper might be best for you. Mattress toppers that help to regulate your temperature are great, particularly if you differ from your partner. Also, if you like the idea of memory foam for soft support for your joints, but need a firm mattress for back pain, a mattress topper can be a great way to get the best of both worlds.

    What else should I look for in a mattress topper?

    Look for mattress toppers that can be popped in the washing machine at 40˚C, or at least have removable outer covers. Elastic corner straps or a slip resistant base will keep it from moving around. This is particularly helpful if you’re a restless sleeper as it means you won’t have to reposition your mattress topper every night before you go to bed.

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