When answering this question, you need to ask yourself what you are trying to achieve. If you are simply trying to put off buying a new mattress when the one you have is no longer providing you with the level of comfort and support that it did when new, then you will be wasting your money buying a mattress topper.
If your mattress is worn out, you need a new mattress and possibly a new base to place it on. Don’t kid yourself that a mattress topper is a substitute for a properly supportive mattress – it isn’t. If you place a mattress topper on an old, unsupportive mattress, it will very quickly take the same shape as the mattress, dipping in exactly the same areas.
Most toppers are purchased to soften the initial feel of a relatively new mattress where it is proving to be a little firmer than expected. New mattresses will soften with use but once you’ve given it a couple of months to ‘relax’, if you’re still finding it too firm for your liking, a soft mattress topper can provide a higher degree of pressure relief, improving your chances of achieving an undisturbed night’s sleep. Similarly, a firm mattress topper can provide additional support to a mattress if it’s softer than you expected it to be.
Don’t get confused between a mattress topper and a mattress protector – they are completely different products designed to do two different jobs. A mattress protector is designed to do exactly that – protect your mattress surface from staining and wear & tear. They aren’t particularly expensive and it is a good idea to buy two so that you can wash one when the other is in use.
Back to mattress toppers. As a general rule, you should choose a topper with a minimum depth of 5cm or 2 inches. Anything less than this and you’re unlikely to feel any real benefit. And double check the exact size of your mattress to ensure the best fit. You don’t want the topper to be hanging over the sides or ends of your bed or worse still being so much smaller that you end up lying half on the topper and half off it.
Toppers can have a tendency to slip a bit during the night so look for one that has a non-slip fabric on the underside or is fitted with elasticated corner straps that stretch over the mattress to hold it in place.
What type of mattress topper filling should I choose?
Popular fillings for mattress toppers include memory foam, latex foam, polyester fibre, down/feather and polyurethane foam. They each have their own unique feel and properties and can vary in price according to their depth and the type of fabric used to cover them.
However, in general, polyurethane or polyester fibre types are less expensive than luxury fillings like goose down, latex foam or memory foam. The more expensive types provide greater pressure relief, tend to be harder wearing and may have additional features such as temperature regulating properties or zoned support.
In conclusion, the right topper has the potential to turn an uncomfortable mattress into one that is more bearable and can turn a good mattress into a fantastic one. It can extend the life of a relatively new mattress that’s in good condition but it won’t resurrect an old, worn out mattress.