The best gel mattress topper
If your current mattress isn't providing the comfort or support you require but you're not ready to replace it, a gel mattress topper is a great temporary fix. Some people also use gel mattress toppers for their cooling properties because they feel a lot cooler to sleep on than other foam mattresses.
Want to know more about gel mattress toppers? Read on for our quick guide and top three recommendations. Our favorite gel mattress topper is the ViscoSoft Four-Inch Dual-Layer Gel-Infused Mattress Topper, which is hugely comfortable and made to last.
Considerations when choosing gel mattress toppers
Choose a gel mattress topper that's the correct size to fit your current mattress. For instance, trying to put a queen topper on a king mattress will leave you with an annoying gap. The majority of mattress toppers come in the most common mattress sizes -- twin, full, queen, and king -- but you can often find twin XL and California king-size toppers as well. If you have a mattress of a nonstandard size, it will be much more difficult to find an appropriately sized topper.
Gel mattress toppers can range anywhere between two and five inches thick. Although thicker doesn't necessarily equal better because there are other factors at play. If you compare two nearly identical mattress toppers of different thicknesses, the thicker of the two will feel more comfortable. Of course, the trade-off is that thicker mattress toppers tend to cost more.
Gel mattress toppers can range from soft to medium-firm. You won't find extremely firm options because foam toppers have a limit when it comes to firmness. The firmest options tend to feature a layer of gel foam on top of a layer of firmer support foam. Mattress firmness is a preference, so choose whichever you find the most comfortable. That said, soft toppers offer little support and can make back pain worse over time.
Like other foam mattresses and toppers, gel mattress toppers can have an unpleasant chemical odor straight out of the box. Although it will dissipate within a few days, you can find low-odor or no-odor options.
Some gel mattress toppers feature elasticated fittings on each corner to attach the topper more securely to the mattress.
You can find gel mattress toppers with a ridged egg-crate design. This is supposed to increase airflow and distribute the weight of the sleeper more evenly, but some people find it uncomfortable.
Gel mattress toppers can range in price from about $50 to $150; though, you'll occasionally find some more affordable or more expensive options. Prices vary depending on size, thickness, and overall quality.
Q. Will my gel mattress topper stay in place as I sleep?
A. While some gel mattress toppers have straps to help hold them in place on your mattress, many do not. Even so, they're still not fully attached and can move independently of the mattress. As such, there can occasionally be some slippage, particularly if you move around a lot in your sleep. A well-fitting sheet can help keep the mattress and its topper in line.
Q. Why should I choose gel foam instead of memory foam?
A. It's not an either-or situation. Gel foam is memory foam that has been infused with a special kind of gel as it sets. Compared to traditional memory foam, gel foam increases airflow, so you'll sleep cooler. If you tend to feel too hot sleeping on a standard memory foam mattress, a gel topper could help you feel significantly cooler at night.
Gel mattress toppers we recommend
Best of the best: ViscoSoft's Four-Inch Dual-Layer Gel-Infused Mattress Topper
Our take: Supportive and plush-feeling, made from 2.5 inches of gel foam and 1.5 inches of down alternative.
What we like: Combines the benefits of foam and pillow-top mattress toppers. Doesn't have an unpleasant odor. Can help reduce back pain.
What we dislike: Because of the quilted layer, it can feel warmer to sleep on than plain gel toppers.
Best bang for your buck: Linenspa's Two-Inch Convoluted Gel Swirl Mattress Topper
Our take: An affordable yet comfortable topper with an egg-crate design for coolness and even weight distribution.
What we like: Choose between two- and three-inch options in six bed sizes. Gel swirl design helps improve airflow and keeps sleepers cool.
What we dislike: Some users don't find the egg-crate design as comfortable as solid gel toppers.
Our take: A solid memory foam mattress topper at a reasonable price available in two- or three-inch thicknesses.
What we like: CertiPUR-US certified to prove topper is free from harmful chemicals. Gel swirl design has cooling properties. Made in the U.S.A.
What we dislike: Has a slight chemical odor upon arrival, but it will dissipate with time.
Lauren Corona is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money. BestReviews never accepts free products from manufacturers and purchases every product it reviews with its own funds.
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