With the average mattress getting roughly eight hours of use a day, things can start to get a little uncomfortable over time. From deteriorating materials to lumpiness, mould and bacteria, it can all contribute to an uncomfortable night’s sleep.
Different parts of the bed should perform different functions. A mattress should provide maximum support and comfort for the back. Pillows should alleviate stress on the shoulders and neck. While quilts work to keep you at an optimal temperature for a better rest.
One of the most important, yet often overlooked parts of a well-made bed is a mattress topper. These come in all different types of materials to further improve comfort, support and warmth. Best of all, they can extend the lifespan of your mattress by several years.
To help you decide which type of topper will be best for you, let’s take a look at them in a little more detail.
What Exactly Are Mattress Toppers?
Before we dive in with our review of mattress toppers, let’s first clear up a common misconception. Many people get confused between mattress protectors and toppers. While they are both used on the mattress, there are some big differences between them.
A mattress protector is designed to protect mattresses from sweat, dirt, accidental spills and everyday wear and tear. They create an impermeable layer between you and the mattress. However, more often than not they don’t offer any additional support or comfort.
On the flip side, mattress toppers are designed to provide an additional layer of softness on top of the mattress. They can provide further support and improve sleep overall.
Things to consider when choosing a mattress topper.
Mattress toppers vary in price from budget to luxury. Typically, high-end toppers have a longer lifespan and provide more benefits to the body and to your sleep. Materials will also play a big part in the overall price. It may seem to be a better option to buy cheap, but this can cost you in the long term. The more often you need to replace your topper, the more the costs start to add up.
Pain Relief & Support
When in pain, people are likely to spend more time in bed.This is especially true for those with chronic illnesses. A mattress topper can help alleviate aches and pains, arthritic joints, and provide support to the spine for improved sleep. Making the right choice between comfort and support can make all the difference to quality of life.
Comfort & Thickness
Optimal sleep is achieved when both comfort and support are combined. Those with arthritis will appreciate the gentle support yet soft cushioning provided by memory foam. If a hard bed is causing backache, then something a little thicker will help ease things up. The thinner the topper is, the better quality the mattress will need to be.
At night, body temperatures tend to change. Some of us get too hot and others too cold. Both down and wool types are excellent for dispersing heat. Cooling gel toppers are also a great choice too.
Some allergies may be to the materials, others to dust mites and bacteria. Anyone with allergies to latex, wool or down may find that their symptoms worsen when introducing these into the bed.Likewise, dust mites can cause asthma attacks and breathing difficulties. Mattress toppers combined with a mattress protector can help minimise mites and allergens.
Ease of cleaning
Some materials are easier to clean than others. As an example, feathers will be much harder to clean than memory foam or wool. The majority of toppers are easy to clean and dry. However, using a mattress protector on top will help reduce the number of times you need to launder the topper. Simply whip off the protector, wash it, dry it, and then put it back on.
No matter the type of topper you buy, you need to make sure it has a warranty. This is a guarantee that your investment is well protected, and the product will perform as expected. Without a warranty, you are not protected in cases of damage, deterioration or lack of function. Any decent manufacturer will provide you with a minimum of at least 1 year as this is when most problems arise, if at all.
The Different Types of Mattress Toppers
Mattress toppers come in a whole range of different materials. They are not the cheapest product in the world, so it’s important to choose one that enhances your sleep instead of ruining it. When choosing the right type for you, it’s an investment well made.
Here are some of the most common types of toppers on the market:
- Memory foam
- Gel memory foam mattress topper
- Microfibre blends
- Wool (topper and under blanket)
Memory Foam Toppers
Memory foam mattress toppers are by far the most popular choice of topper. They offer a variety of densities and thicknesses that provide more finely-tuned comfort and support. Made out of polyurethane, chemicals are used in the process to create a denser, more pliable material.
The majority of memory foam mattress toppers are also recyclable, meaning they won’t go into a landfill at the end of their lifetime. While perfect for almost everyone, there are a few things to look out for.
- Soft, comfy and lightweight
- Cushions joints to relieve pressure and pain
- Improves comfort of old or hard beds
- Available in many different depths
- Ideal for improving sleep
- Very absorbable, making odour an issue
- Does not regulate body temperature
- Can be expensive to buy
- Reduces ease of turning in bed at night
- Sometimes has a strange smell when new
Gel infused mattress toppers are not made completely of cooling gel crystals. They use convoluted memory foam as the main carrier. They also offer improved airflow while the gel crystals warm at a slower rate than the other materials.
This type of topper is perfect for those going through menopause or with an above average body temperature. However, it’s not ideal for mattresses that offer poor support. For cooling, there are also other types of mattress toppers that offer a similar effect.
- Maintains a cooler temperature when sleeping
- Provides increased breathability and airflow
- Encourages a better night’s sleep
- Easy to wash and keep hygienic
- Not ideal for those who like a hot bed
- Doesn’t offer great support on hard beds
- Can be very expensive compared to standard memory foam
- Not easy to find on the market
When it comes to mattress toppers, microfibre fill is the cheapest type around. Of course, quality is often reflected in price and polyester blend toppers offer very little in the way of support. On the flip side, they are great for improving comfort at an affordable price. They resemble a traditional quilt, but with a square panel design.
While very soft and fluffy to begin with, they compress over time and provide a less than adequate sleeping experience. Some things to be aware of include:
- Very cheap compared to other types available
- Readily available in most bedding stores
- Bambi’s come with a 2-year guarantee
- Provides quick and easy softness to hard beds
- Typically, they are odour-free
- Great for children or occasional use
- Tends to deteriorate quickly over time
- Offers minimal support to the back and joints
- People may find them overly hot at night
- Have a habit of going lumpy and distorted with continued use
- Will most likely it need to be replaced yearly
Wool Toppers / Underblankets
Wool is nature’s miracle. Soft yet supportive, they keep you snug during the cooler months and cool during the warmer months. For those who suffer from overheating at night, wool under blankets are a great option due to the fact that they don’t retain heat. While not as soft and sumptuous as many other toppers, they offer great comfort and an additional layer of support for those who like a medium firm bed.
It’s important to note that wool is an animal by-product, therefore it’s not a great option for vegans and vegetarians. Here are a few things to be aware of when looking at purchasing a wool mattress topper.
- One of the most durable natural fibres around
- Naturally hypoallergenic and antimicrobial
- Helps create optimal sleeping temperatures throughout the year
- Doesn’t create an overly soft feel to the bed
- Is on the more expensive end of the types available
- Can have a strange odour when brand new
- Not easy to find in many bedding stores
- Not suitable for vegans or those with wool allergies
Eco Friendly Topper Options
When choosing a mattress topper, many people are becoming much more eco aware and searching for sustainable options. There are a few things you can do to ensure that your purchase is as good for you as it is for the environment. When you go eco, you can sleep sweetly at night knowing you’re doing your bit.
- Aim to buy products that are made in Australia, with Australian materials. This helps to cut out carbon emissions from overseas imports.
- Look for mattress toppers that support local farmers and business instead of supporting unregulated factories and unfair labour practices overseas.
- Ensure your topper is 100% recyclable. Landfill is not eco friendly and is becoming an ever growing worry round the world.
- Look for the mark of quality and durability. The less you need to change your topper, the better it is for the environment.
A great bonus of using eco-friendly options is that these are the ones that tend to be anti allergens. Natural materials are less likely to trigger asthma and allergies due to their antimicrobial properties. While synthetic materials may be great for some people, especially those on a budget. They are often lacking in many of the benefits offered by natural options.
Our Top Mattress Topper Picks
Best Memory Foam Topper
Made from high-quality, durable memory foam that moulds to the shape of your body, it provides additional support and luxurious comfort to any bed. The perfect choice for both adults and kids.Tencel/polyester blend cover Topper is 4 cms thick Comes in 5 sizes 2-year guarantee.
Best Allergy-Friendly Underquilt
Matilda Hypo-allergenic Wool Underquilt This soft and warm underquilt is the perfect choice for sensitive sleepers and allergy sufferers. Enclosed in a pure Australian cotton cover, the luxurious wool pile is kept concealed. Enjoy a comfy sleep without any irritation.Machine washable and super cosy. Fitted skirt Made from Australian downs wool Comes in 5 sizes and 3 lofts 5-year guarantee
Best Cooling Mattress Topper
Cooltouch Mattress Protector Proudly made in Australia using a high-performance, breathable fibre that improves airflow. The ideal choice for those who run hot at night and during the warmer summer months. Enjoy an extra layer of comfort while protecting your mattress. Highly absorbent Comes in 6 sizes 5-year guarantee
Best Gel-Infused Memory Foam Topper
Gel Infused Memory Foam Mattress Overlay (with cover) Infused with cooling gel crystals that warm up slightly slower than the convoluted foam, this mattress topper provides soft support, improved airflow and gentle cooling for better sleep. Designed to be used under a fitted sheet, it provides additional comfort and support throughout the year while retaining its shape. Great for hot sleepers and those going through menopause.Convoluted designGel-infused cooling crystals Comes in 5 sizes1-year warranty
Best Wool Underblanket
Matilda Single Layer Wool Underblanket Enjoy keeping cosy in this 100% Australian-made silver knit sheeps wool underblanket. While not exactly a mattress topper, it offers an additional layer of luxurious comfort and softness, perfect for keeping yourself nice and toasty during the cooler months. Australian cotton Japara cover Made from 100% Australian wool Comes in 5 sizes5-year guarantee
Treat you and your family to the best night’s sleep ever by improving comfort, support and softness with a quality mattress topper. With options for all ages and sleeping requirements, you’re sure to find your perfect fit. From soft to firm, warm to cool and full to thin, get ready to sleep sweetly and say goodbye to aches and pains.