We tested this during a week when it felt like the world (or at least Surrey, where the testing took place) was on fire – an unbearably hot week during which we’d ditched our duvet, and were keen to minimise any heat retention. And we can honestly say this brilliant topper saved the day.
There are many different kinds of mattress toppers out there spanning wool, microfibre and memory foam options. And if you’re unfamiliar, these additions to your set-up are essentially an enclosed wad of padding which add an extra layer of comfort to mattresses while also protecting it, and extending its shelf life.
Before we delve into our review though, it’s important to note one thing – mattress toppers shouldn’t be confused with protectors. Instead of adding comfort to your bed, these are waterproof covers that have minimal padding and are designed purely to protect mattresses from stains.
But how do you pick the perfect topper for superior snoozing? First of all, think about the obvious stuff: what are you hoping to achieve? Are you keen to crank up the comfort, boost the heat retention qualities of your current mattress, or find a topper which offers better support for your back, neck or shoulders?
If it’s the latter, we’d recommend opting for memory foam. But memory foam – which is generally less breathable – isn’t necessarily the best option if keeping cool is your priority, although there are a handful of exceptions, namely toppers which have cotton covers that wick away sweat and can help to keep you cool. Woollen toppers are brilliant options for anyone keen to keep cool, because wool fibres are naturally breathable, and can absorb large amounts of moisture vapour which are then allowed to evaporate.
We also have a bit of maintenance advice to make sure you get the most out of your topper. Mattress toppers can be washed using your washing machine’s delicate cycle, but should be air-dried, ideally hung outside from a washing line. If the issue is a minor stain, consider spot-cleaning the topper instead. Mix two parts of water with one part detergent and spritz the liquid onto the area in question, or dab on white vinegar to remove stubborn stains.
How we tested
We’ll be honest: we slept. A lot. But in our defence, this wasn’t as easy as it might seem – the testing of the best mattress toppers took place during one of the hottest Julys on record, so we weren’t only able to assess the comfort levels, but each topper’s breathability temperature regulation properties, too.
And the testing wasn’t just carried out during periods of Sahara-like heat – we spread the testing to ensure we tested the best mattress toppers on cooler nights too.
The best mattress toppers for 2023 are:
- Best overall mattress topper – M&S comfortably cool mattress topper: From £69, Marksandspencer.com
- Best mattress topper for value – Richard Haworth hollowfibre bed topper: From £14.37 Richardhaworth.co.uk
- Best mattress topper for allergy sufferers – M&S duck feather and down mattress topper: From £105, Marksandspencer.com
- Best mattress topper for hot nights – Slumberdown airstream memory cool mattress double topper: £75, Slumberdown.co.uk
- Best mattress topper for colder nights – JML bambillo comfort-fit mattress topper: From £229.99, Jmldirect.com