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Which mattress pad and topper should you choose? The ultimate guide

At JYSK, we have a large selection of mattress toppers and no matter your budget or preferences, we can help you find a good mattress topper. 

In this article, you will find an extensive mattress topper guide on everything you need to know when choosing your new mattress topper – from material to quality, size, and price.  
You can use the table of contents below to go directly to the category you would like to know more about in this mattress topper guide. 

    1. What is a mattress topper and what does it do? 

    A mattress topper is a supplement to your regular mattress. You can use a mattress topper to adjust and improve the overall comfort of your bed. Mattress toppers come in different sizes and prices, are made of different materials and have different properties but the purpose of a mattress topper is always the same: 

    To adjust your bed to your current needs and ultimately to improve your quality of sleep.

    Both new and old beds can benefit from a mattress topper. In addition to improving comfort, a mattress topper also aids in protecting your underlying mattress and extending its lifespan. 

    2. Advantages of a mattress topper  

    • Improved comfort: A mattress topper can give new life to an old mattress that has developed indentations or lost its elasticity. If you have a newer mattress that feels a bit too firm or too soft, you can adjust it by adding a mattress topper. 
    • Prolonged durability: A mattress topper protects your underlying mattress against moisture, sweat, and stains, and can keep it from developing indentations. A mattress topper will prolong the life of your underlying mattress and thus your entire bed.   
    • More support: A mattress topper made of memory foam or latex can give you a more stable and supportive surface to sleep on. This can be beneficial for people who suffer from lower back or shoulder pain.
    • Less noise and movement: If you are bothered by creaking sounds from your mattress, a mattress topper can help dampen the noise. A mattress topper can also help absorb movements of someone sleeping next to you. 
    • An affordable alternative to a new mattress: A mattress topper is generally a much more affordable solution than buying a new mattress. 
    • Improved pressure relief: When you lie on a mattress, you put pressure on different parts of your body depending on your sleeping position. This happens night after night. If your mattress doesn't relieve pressure in the areas where you need it to do so, it can cause pain and a poor sleep. A mattress topper can provide better relief to the affected parts of your body. 
    • Help during warm nights: If you sweat a lot or generally feel too warm when trying to fall asleep, a latex mattress or a mattress topper with built-in cooling gel can help solve the problem. 

    3. Disadvantages of a mattress topper

    • Makes your bed thicker: A mattress topper can make your bed a bit thicker because you are adding an additional layer to the setup. This could possibly affect how your old sheets fit your bed. 
    • Initial odour: A mattress topper made of memory foam can have a certain scent for the first couple of days after being unpacked. This can be alleviated by airing out the mattress for a few days before using it. 
    • Cleaning: Most mattress toppers from JYSK have a cover with a zip so that they can be washed in a washing machine (always check the washing instructions on the product). It is a good idea to put a mattress pad, which can be easily machine washed, on top of the mattress topper.

    4. What should you consider when choosing a mattress topper? 

    The most important thing when selecting a mattress topper is to find a model that feels comfortable to you and gives you the ergonomic support that your body type needs. We suggest that you is to visit a JYSK store, try out the various mattress topper types and let our trained store staff guide you – or continue reading. 

    5. Personal needs for a mattress topper 

    First put some thought into the specific qualities you are looking for in a mattress topper: 

    • If you prefer a soft and sinking feeling, you should choose a mattress topper made of memory foam, Gel foam or Comfort+ foam.  
    • If you prefer a firmer, more stable surface, you should choose a polyether foam or latex mattress topper. 

    "What makes a good mattress topper is up to each individual and is very much a question of personal preferences."
    - Peter, Category Manager at JYSK. 

    6. Mattress topper types and materials 

    The properties of a mattress topper are largely dependent on the material that makes up its core. 

    The most popular materials used in mattress toppers are:

    • Polyether foam, also known as standard foam
    • Memory foam 
    • Latex 
    • High resilience foam, also known as cold foam  
    • Hybrid foam
    • Gel foam 

    Polyether foam (standard foam) 

    • Also known as regular foam, standard foam, PU foam or PUR foam.
    • Makes for an absorbent and generally affordable mattress topper.
    • As a general rule, a mattress topper made of polyether foam will only add a marginal amount of extra comfort. Its primary function is to protect the underlying mattress. 

    High resilience foam (cold foam)

    • An oil-based foam, resulting in a medium-firm to firm mattress topper.
    • Moisture-absorbing and ventilating material.
    • Affordable and very durable.
    • Provides additional comfort to your bed setup.

    Hybrid foam and gel foam 

    • Hybrid foam is made of several types of foam. For comfort, it is positioned between polyether foam and memory foam.
    • Gel foam is a soft foam which shapes to your body contours and provides you with a cloud-like comfort. 
    • Both hybrid foam and gel foam cost roughly the same as memory foam.
    • Both materials provide very good comfort. 

    Memory foam (pressure-resistant foam)  

    • Of all mattress topper materials on the market, memory foam, gel foam and latex are the materials which contribute with the most comfort. 
    • The material adjusts itself to the shape of your body when you are lying on it. 
    • Provides a sinking and enveloping feeling. 
    • Is not as good at releasing heat as other types of material, so a memory foam mattress topper is probably not the best choice if you often feel hot in bed. 

    Latex (artificial latex and natural latex)

    • While latex can be synthetic, natural latex is a completely natural material made from the sap of rubber trees.
    • Mattress toppers are usually made of a combination of natural and artificial latex.
    • As a hypoallergenic material, the presence of bacteria and fungi is minimised. 
    • Effectively releases excess heat, making it a good choice for those who tend to feel warm when sleeping. 
    • 100% natural latex generally costs more than other mattress topper materials. The higher the percentage of natural latex, the more expensive the mattress topper will be. 

    7. Mattress topper thickness

    A mattress topper can be anywhere from 2.5 cm to roughly 10 cm thick. Most models have a thickness – also known as core height – between 3 to 5 cm. A thicker mattress topper will have a greater effect on your bed and sleeping setup as a whole. 

    If you only want to create minor changes in your bed's overall comfort, a thin mattress topper is a good choice for you. Think of a thin mattress topper as something that gives the feeling of a somewhat softer or firmer bed. 

    If, on the other hand, you want to significantly change the feeling of your bed without replacing your primary mattress, a thick or extra thick mattress topper is the way to go. Think of a thicker mattress topper as a way to make your bed as soft or firm as possible. 

    8. Mattress topper size

    The size of a mattress topper should match the size of the underlying mattress. This is primarily a matter of comfort, but it also makes your bed look better. If you have a single bed, a double bed, or a super king size bed, you will most likely need a mattress topper in one of the standard sizes, which you can see in the table below. 

    It is always a good idea to double check the dimensions of your bed to ensure that you will not end up with a mattress topper that does not fit your sleeping setup. 

    Mattress topper dimensions 

    Fits

    80-90 x 190-200 cm

    See our selection

    Standard single bed  

    120 x 190-200 cm

    See our selection

    Small double bed

    135-140 x 190-200 cm

    See our selection

    Double bed

    150 x 200 cm

    See our selection

    King size bed

    180 x 200 cm

    See our selection

    Super king size bed

    It might be the case that your bed will not match one of these standard measurements. If that is the case, you will need to find a special or custom sized mattress topper, but luckily there are many of those available on the market. 

    9. Mattress topper firmness

    Once you have put some thought into your personal preferences, you can match them with our general recommendations for how firm or soft your new mattress topper should be. 

    • If you have a sleeping setup with a soft bed that you would like to make a bit firmer, you can choose a memory foam or polyether foam mattress topper. 
    • If you have a sleeping setup with a firm bed that you would like to make a bit softer, you can choose a latex or comfort+ foam mattress.

    To ensure that you end up choosing a mattress topper that will fulfil your needs, you should always visit a JYSK store and try it out before you make a decision.

    Characteristics of a firm mattress topper:

    • Low flexibility and elasticity
    • Lower ability to adapt to your body
    • Example: A 5 cm thick mattress topper made of memory foam or polyether (PUR) foam

    Characteristics of a medium-firm mattress topper:

    • Medium flexibility and elasticity
    • Medium ability to adapt to your body
    • Example: A 3 cm thick mattress topper made of memory foam or polyether (PUR) foam

    Characteristics of a soft mattress topper: 

    • High flexibility and elasticity
    • Higher ability to adapt to your body
    • Example: Mattress toppers made of gel foam or comfort+ foam

    10. Which mattress topper is best for your sleeping position? 

    Your preferred sleeping position plays a role in which mattress topper you should pick. Different sleeping positions have different comfort and support needs, and some materials are better at fulfilling those needs than others. The underlying mattress is the most important factor, but as a rule of thumb we can say:

    • Most back sleepers will feel more comfortable with a mattress topper that makes the bed a bit firmer. This could be a 3 cm thick memory foam mattress topper, for example. 
    • Side sleepers may get more comfort out of a mattress topper that makes the bed softer, like a 3 cm thick latex mattress topper, for example. 
    • If you fall asleep on your stomach, you may need a mattress topper with extra deep shoulder zones. 

    11. Why mattress topper or mattress pad?

    A mattress topper is a roughly 5 cm thick mattress that allows you to change how your bed feels when you lie on it. It also prolongs the lifespan of your underlying mattress. A mattress topper can improve the comfort of both new and old beds. 

    A mattress pad, also known as a mattress protector, is significantly thinner and primarily serves a hygienic purpose. An advantage of a mattress pad is that it is very easy to clean. By contrast, only a few mattress topper models can withstand machine washing. A mattress pad will also extend the life of your underlying mattress by absorbing moisture and dirt before they reach the mattress. 

    Choose a mattress topper if: 

    • You have a mattress you want to adjust a bit. A mattress topper can help your underlying mattress feel softer or firmer, depending on your preferences. 
    • You have an older mattress that is not as comfortable as it once was. A mattress topper can give your old bed a new life. 
    • You suffer from back, joint, or other pains that keep you from getting a good night's sleep. The extra support of a good mattress topper can help. 
    • You want to extend the life of your bed as a way of saving money in the long run. 

    Choose a mattress pad if: 

    • You want an affordable solution that will not significantly change the way your bed feels. 
    • You want to extend the life of your mattress by protecting it against moisture, sweat, and dirt. 
    • You want to make it easier to keep your sleeping environment clean. In contrast to most mattress toppers, mattress pads can go in the washing machine. 
    • You are bothered by noises from your mattress when you move around on it. A mattress pad is an affordable and effective solution for reducing disturbing mattress noises. 

    Choose a mattress topper and a mattress pad if: 

    • You want to protect both your underlying mattress and your mattress topper against moisture, sweat, and dirt. 
    • You want to extend the life of both your mattress topper and your underlying mattress. 
    • You want a sleeping environment that is hygienic and easy to keep clean. With a mattress pad atop your mattress topper, you won't need to wash the mattress topper or the underlying mattress as often.

    12. Durability and guarantee 

    We recommend that you evaluate the comfort of your bed after 5-10 years. This is primarily because our bodies typically undergo physical changes over the course of 10 years. If your weight has changed since you bought your bed, it can affect whether the mattress topper is still providing you with proper support and comfort. 

    "Evaluate the comfort of your bed after five to ten years. Does it hurt when you sleep? If so, that is a sign that you could benefit from a mattress topper. If you need to make major changes to the comfort level, for example if you want a much softer bed, then you'll probably need a new mattress rather than a mattress topper." 
    – Peter, Category Manager at JYSK. 

    Durability 

    The durability of a mattress topper is determined by its material and density, which is measured in kg/m3. The higher the density, the better the mattress topper will be at absorbing the pressure it is subjected to over the course of its life. 

    Most people will not notice the difference between a high-density mattress topper and one with normal density. Most of us will be just fine with a mattress topper that fulfils the minimum requirements for density:

    • 65 kg/m3 for latex mattress toppers
    • 30 kg/m³ for memory foam mattress toppers
    • 25 kg/m³ for polyether foam mattress toppers

    Top 5: Most durable materials

    The durability of a mattress topper is also dependent on its material. The most expensive materials, often memory foam and latex, last longer while mattress toppers made of more affordable materials like polyether foam are less durable: 

    1. Latex 
    2. Memory foam
    3. Hybrid foam and gel foam 
    4. High resilience foam (also called cold foam)
    5. Polyether foam (also called standard foam) 

    13. Cleaning and allergies

    Ideally, you want a sleeping environment that is easy to keep clean. When it comes to cleaning, a mattress pad will always be the best choice. This is because it can be machine washed, making it much easier to clean than a mattress topper. 

    For this reason, it is always recommended to cover your mattress topper and/or regular mattress with a mattress pad. 

    Some mattress toppers have a removable cover that can be taken off for cleaning. These models are usually a bit more expensive, but they are particularly good for those who are allergic to things like dust mites. 

    Is there a special mattress topper for allergies? 

    If you want to buy a mattress topper that is good for those affected by allergies, it is a good idea to choose one made of latex. Latex is a natural, high-density material that makes it harder for dust mites to survive. But even with a latex mattress, there is no guarantee that your sleeping environment will be completely free of dust mites. 

    The most effective method for keeping dust mite allergies in check is to have both a mattress pad and a mattress topper with a removable cover that can tolerate frequent washings at 60°C. 

    14. The best mattress toppers and mattress pads

    If you are looking for a mattress topper or a mattress pad, you have likely discovered that there are many models to choose from. At JYSK, we are always ready to advise you on your purchase so you can choose a model that fits your needs, sleeping position, and budget. 

    We have selected various mattress topper and mattress pad models that are all great fits with mattresses at different price points and for different needs. 

    You can also read our other guides with inspirational tips and advice that will help you create the best possible sleeping environment for you. JYSK offers a large assortment of mattress toppers and mattress pads for varying needs and budgets.

    If you do decide that it is time for a new mattress, rather than a mattress topper or a mattress pad, read our extensive mattress guide [link to: Which is the best mattress for you? The ultimate guide]

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