2-inch vs. 3-inch Mattress Toppers Which One Is Better?

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Written by: Alex Savy
Read 7 minLast updated on February 21, 2023

Two-inch and three-inch mattress toppers are the most common on the market.

These thicknesses are best suited for most mattress sizes and are designed for many sleeping positions and sleepers' body profiles. 

This 2-inch vs. 3-inch mattress topper comparison article will analyze each topper type. The aim is to help sleepers choose the best topper that fits their morphology and sleep style. 

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2-inch vs. 3-inch Mattress Toppers: Which One Is Better? 

A 2-inch mattress topper is one of the thinnest toppers on the market. But it's the best mattress topper for hip pain because the hip must not sink too low into the bed. Otherwise, this may cause dysfunctional alignment and even aggravate an existing hip problem. 

It's also a good option for those who own very high mattresses because it won't make the bed bulkier than it already is. Also, a soft 2-inch model is an option for people with a light build (under 200 pounds). This is because it can still offer these sleepers cushioning and comfort. 

3-inch Toppers: Who Should Get Them?

A 3-inch topper is 50% taller than a 2-inch model. This is the best mattress topper for lower back pain sufferers, especially when it's medium-firm. Medium-depth toppers let sleepers rest with the pressure points on the back cushioned by the sleep surface. Then the back and the spine can be kept straight and realigned.  

When a 3-inch topper is soft or medium-soft, it's also great for sleepers who like to lay on their sides. Side sleepers need their hips, shoulders, and knees cushioned. So, more thickness with the right softness is better for this sleeping style. 

Finally, 3-inch toppers are ideal for medium to heavy sleepers (about 165 to 250 pounds) who need more cushioning or support. In essence,  more cushioning can be achieved when the topper is softer. However, better support can be achieved when it's firmer. 

2-inch vs. 3-inch Topper: How Many Inches Is Best?

There's a rule to remember when shopping for a mattress topper: the thicker and firmer it is, the more support the bedding accessory can provide. But for people with lower back or hip pain, a 2-inch model is better than a 3-inch mattress topper. The body’s pressure points must not sink too deep into the bed, as this may throw the spine into misalignment. 

Other Criteria to Consider 

Sometimes, a 2-inch topper can provide more support than a 3-inch topper, for example, due to its design. That's why a buyer shouldn't limit the scope to the thickness alone. Here are other criteria to consider:


The most common materials used for mattress toppers are memory foam and latex. Latex, especially Talalay, is used to make firmer, supportive toppers [1]. So, a 2-inch latex topper will be perfect for heavy and back sleepers. This is because these sleepers require extra support for their weight or backs. They don't necessarily need much cushioning, which soft and thicker toppers can provide. 

Meanwhile, memory foam toppers are often plush and soft. Thus, those who want a memory foam topper must ensure it's 3-inch or more. This is because this material tends to compress well under pressure. But they're the ideal mattress toppers for side sleepers due to the need for cushioning and support. 


The thickness of mattress toppers should not be confused with density. Density indicates the mass of the material used and gives information on how long the mattress topper will last. It is estimated in kg/m³, but the manufacturers do not always state it. However, in the case of foam and latex, density is also measured in pounds per cubic foot (PCF).

Memory foam toppers usually range from 2 to 5+ PCF. Many models are more on the softer side, making foam toppers ideal for sleepers weighing between 130 to 230 pounds. Latex toppers, on the other hand, typically fall between 4.3 to 5.3 PCF [2].

Higher density typically means more support. Denser mattress toppers usually feel firmer, making them suited for heavy individuals or stomach sleepers. A denser topper would also work with a softer mattress (if the sleeper wants to achieve a more supportive feel).

Also Read: Best mattress pads for people who sleep on their stomach


Is a 2-inch or a 3-inch mattress topper better?

No mattress topper size is better than the other. It's just that preference varies between sleepers. While a 2-inch topper is the best for lightweight sleepers or people who sleep on their backs, this is not quite as suitable for a side sleeper or a person weighing more than 250 pounds. These two categories will prefer a 3-inch topper (or more). 

What mattress topper thickness is better for side sleeping?

A 3 to 4-inch mattress topper is the best for side sleeping as these sleepers need a bed that's softer and more cushioning. A 1 to 2-inch doesn't have enough height to provide that. 

What mattress topper thickness is ideal for back pain? 

A 2-inch model can help ensure spinal alignment as it won't cause the back to bend and sink into the sleeping surface. However, experts recommend 4-inch toppers for people with worse levels of back pain. This thickness can help redistribute the sleeper's weight better (if the topper is supportive enough, of course). 


In summary, there doesn't seem to be a winner in this 2-inch vs. 3-inch mattress topper comparison. It all depends on the sleeper's body and sleeping position. But people with an average build and no strict sleeping position should choose a thicker topper for a more cushioning feel and support. 

So, in your opinion, what is the best mattress topper thickness? Is a 2 or 3-inch mattress topper better? Tell us in the comments!


  1. Mary West and Amy Elizabeth Wolkin (April 28, 2021). 5 of the best latex mattress toppers. Retrieved from
  2. Dusan (July 6, 2019). How Is Latex Density Measured? Retrieved from

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