Mattress Toppers: What Are They & Are They Worth It?

Last Updated on June 24, 2022

by Marc Werner, Founder - GhostBed

Waking up with aches and pain? Having trouble falling asleep because you can’t get comfortable? The wrong mattress can really put a damper on your sleep environment.

But if you’re not ready to buy a new mattress right now, you’re not out of luck. Adding a quality mattress topper is a fantastic way to instantly upgrade your comfort and get back to sleeping soundly. Here, we’ll explore everything you need to know about toppers, including the different types you can choose from, how to select the right one for your needs, or how to determine if you need one or not.

Overview: What is a Mattress Topper?

A mattress topper is a layer you can add on top of your existing mattress, designed to provide extra support and/or softness. It can also extend the life of your mattress, as it offers an additional layer to protect against sagging and wear.

Depending on the type and materials used, a mattress topper can also:

  • Regulate your temperature so you stay cool
  • Make a too-soft mattress a little firmer
  • Reduce motion transfer from your partner
  • Provide a hypoallergenic barrier between you and your mattress
  • Help reduce joint pain
Woman laying on mattress topper with comfort and cooling features

I. What is a Mattress Topper?

II. Selecting Your Mattress Topper

III. How to Use a Mattress Topper

IV. Are Mattress Toppers Worth It?

V. Introducing the GhostBed Mattress Topper

I. What is a Mattress Topper?

First things first: what exactly is a mattress topper, and what’s the point of buying one? Simply put, it’s an extra layer you can put on top of your mattress to achieve a variety of goals, including:

  • Making a too-firm mattress a little softer
  • Making a too-soft mattress a little firmer
  • Alleviating aches and pains by providing more support
  • Extending the life of your mattress
  • Providing a hypoallergenic barrier between you and your mattress
  • Reducing motion transfer, if you sleep with a partner
  • Making your mattress more comfortable for your sleeping style

While upgrading your mattress can definitely help you sleep better, a mattress topper is a good option if you’re not ready to do that—or if you want to try something out in the meantime while you shop around for a new one.

Do you need a mattress topper? Maybe yes, maybe no. It really depends on how you feel about your mattress.

And is a mattress topper worth it? Absolutely! The right topper can completely change the feel of your mattress. Keep in mind, though, that a topper isn’t a long-term fix if your mattress needs to be replaced. A mattress that is sagging heavily may even pull a lower-quality topper down with it!

Mattress Toppers vs. Mattress Pads

GhostBed mattress topper vs mattress pad

If you’re saying to yourself, “I’ve got a mattress pad, I’m all set!”... Think again. There are some big differences between toppers and mattress pads.

While a topper is usually thick and designed to offer support, a mattress pad is typically on the thinner side. While it does add some softness, it’s not going to add that next-level comfort. Its design is like a fitted sheet with a little bit of padding, and you may see it marketed as a “pillow-top” mattress pad.

Mattress Toppers vs. Mattress Protectors

GhostBed mattress topper vs GhostBed mattress protector

Mattress pads and mattress protectors are sometimes used interchangeably, so it’s important to do your research. If you’re looking for something that will protect your mattress from things like fluids, oils, dust mites and other allergens, you need something that can pull its weight. A good quality mattress protector will be 100% waterproof, with protection on the sides too—not just the top. It’s also smart to look for one made with breathable materials. While the traditional plastic protectors tend to retain heat, you can find newer mattress protectors made with super-soft cotton.

Marc's Tip

Your best bet is to use both a mattress topper and a mattress protector. The topper will give you amazing support and comfort, while the protector provides a barrier and keeps your mattress dry and clean. The GhostBed Memory Foam Topper is a two-in-one, with our breathable-yet-waterproof cover included.

II. Selecting Your Mattress Topper

Next, how do you choose the right mattress topper, with so many options out there? If you’re imagining the old-school egg-crate toppers, we’ve come a long way. Nowadays, you can find a variety of toppers in different materials, styles and densities. We dive a little deeper into selecting a mattress topper here, but here’s an overview.


Finding the right size for your mattress topper is easy: just select the same exact size as your mattress. So if you have a queen size mattress, you’ll purchase a queen size mattress topper. We don’t recommend trying to piece together two smaller mattress toppers, unless you’re placing it on top of a split king mattress and prefer the individual sides.


Mattress toppers come in a variety of densities, so this is another factor to consider. This will usually come down to preferences, although heavier people will typically need a thick topper. A good middle-of-the-road option is 2- to 3-inches in depth.

Sleeping Style and Preferences

Your sleeping style will also play a part in selecting the right mattress topper for you. Side sleepers, for example, need extra support around their shoulders and hips, which are the heaviest parts of your body when you’re on your side. Back sleepers need support without any sagging, to keep the spine aligned. Stomach sleepers may want a topper with cooling features, as your face and neck are pressing up against your mattress.


Down feathers, faux down, memory foam and more—oh my! How do you choose? For the best support, memory foam is your best bet. While the other options may seem soft, they just don’t provide the same level of contouring and comfort that memory foam does. If you sleep hot, opt for gel-infused memory foam to keep you cool.

III. How to Use a Mattress Topper

Woman adding a waterproof cover on top of a mattress topper

Once you’ve narrowed down the type of topper you’d like, it’s time to understand how to use it properly. A memory foam topper, for example, will come in a condensed box, so it will require some time to expand. Some need about a day to fully expand and air out, with slight scents that go away with time. The initial smell is similar to a new pack of tennis balls or a new car, and is normal and harmless.

If your topper has “zones” or looks like the egg-crate style, make sure to place it with the textured side facing up. Those little peaks and valleys promote airflow, so you stay cool all night.

Another common complaint with mattress toppers is that they slide around throughout the night. To combat this, we recommend adding a cover, pad, or protector on top of your mattress topper. This helps it stay in place, even if you’re tossing and turning.

Marc's Tip

We’ve included deep pockets and our signature GhostGrip elastic band on our topper’s cover, so it not only stays cool, it stays put.

IV. Are Mattress Toppers Worth It?

We’ve explored what mattress toppers are, how to select a mattress topper, and how to put one on your mattress. So the question remains…are mattress toppers worth it?

If you ask us, 100% yes! If you’re struggling to get a good night or sleep but you’re not ready to upgrade your mattress yet, buying a mattress topper is a great compromise. When added to any mattress, you’ll get next-level comfort at a fraction of the cost of a new mattress.

V. Introducing the GhostBed Memory Foam Topper

GhostBed 3” Zoned, Cooling Memory Foam Topper

Now that you know what a mattress topper is and why you might want one, it’s time to start shopping! We developed the GhostBed Memory Foam Topper with all the best features to keep you cool, comfortable and cozy. 3” of gel memory foam absorbs heat, while the cool-to-the-touch cover adds an extra layer of chill. Plus, targeted comfort “zones” cushion your pressure points and keep your body weight distributed perfectly from head to toe.

But the coolest part? We’ve included a 100% waterproof cover, so it’s like getting a mattress topper and a mattress protector in one. Made from a super-soft cotton blend, it’s whisper-quiet and won’t crinkle or crunch as you move—unlike a traditional plastic mattress protector. You’ll stay comfortable, while your mattress stays dry, clean and dust-mite-free.

Plus, explore other GhostBed products to complete your bedroom:

Marc Werner - Founder, GhostBed

Marc Werner

Founder - GhostBed

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After undergoing three neck surgeries, Marc knew what it was like to live and sleep in constant pain. In 2001, after searching fruitlessly for a comfortable pillow and mattress that supported his neck and back ... Learn More

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