Mattress topper or new mattress

This research is supported by you, our readers, through our independently chosen links, which earn us a commission with no extra cost to you. Learn More

Written by: Alex Savy
Read 7 minLast updated on June 1, 2021

When a mattress becomes uncomfortable to sleep in, it automatically means you'd get less quality sleep. So the only way to go is to make your bed comfortable again. And you've got two options here; mattress topper or new mattress.

The big question is, "Is a mattress topper comparable to a new mattress?" The answer depends on the particular situation. There are a few times where it's preferable to get a mattress topper instead of a new mattress. We'll share this and more in this comparison guide.

What can a mattress topper do?

As the name suggests, a mattress topper is a mini mattress made to supplement a regular mattress. It comes in different materials like memory foam, latex, or polyfoam (1).

The telling difference between a mattress topper and a regular one is the thickness. Toppers come in different sizes and dimensions. Some are designed to fit queen-size mattresses, and some are for king sizes, and so on.

With all its features, here are some things mattress toppers are perfect for;

  • The soft feel of a mattress

If you need to add an extra layer of softness to your bed, getting a soft foam topper is a good deal. 

  • More customized joint and lumbar support

For firm beds, especially new ones, there usually is poor body contouring. And for side sleepers, that can cause joint pains. Adding a soft mattress topper for side sleepers can provide customized support at the joints - hips, back, and shoulder. 

  • Maintain your mattress and ward off allergens

People living with allergies have to take extra care of their surroundings to reduce exposure to allergens. For example, in a bedroom, the mattress is about the area most susceptible to gather dust, mites, mold, and other allergens. Therefore, using a topper to cover the bed serves as an extra layer of protection.

When to resort to buying a new mattress

A mattress is one of those household materials we use almost every day. But because they are built to last, we often never think about replacing them. And the truth is that no matter how high quality a mattress is, it has a limited life span. The type of mattress, quality of the product, and how well you maintain it; are the factors that determine how long your mattress would last.

Say you've used your mattress for a long time, between 5 and 10 years, you should start preparing to move on and get a new one. However, age isn't the only deciding factor. To know when it's time to get a new mattress, here are some indicators to watch for;

  • Noticeable sag or indentation

If your mattress has sagged and shows a noticeable dent around the region where you often sleep, then it's time to move on. Unfortunately, no trick can reverse an indented foam. It would only keep caving in and would no longer be healthy for sleep.

  • Your body weight has changed drastically.

As we grow, the chances are that we are also increasing in weight or size. Now, we're not talking about small changes here but something like more than 5 inches taller or 30 pounds heavier. If that happens, chances are that your old bed won't support you well again. 

  • Mattress contaminated with allergens.

Old mattresses are known to smell musty - the smell of an old room. That smell is an indicator that it's ready for a change. This mainly happens when the mattress isn't correctly maintained. A bed like this can be a severe problem for allergic people or those with other health issues.

Mattress topper or new mattress?

Like we made clear, it's not a straightforward question that has just one answer. The best choice is peculiar to the specific situation. So, you need to figure out what's causing the discomfort, which is why you're looking to improve the feeling.

On a general note, you should know that a mattress topper is never a total replacement for a mattress. You can't possibly use it as your primary sleeping material; it's best used alongside a regular bed. 

Regardless of your mattress type, there is a suitable topper for you. Whether you use a rare mattress like a mattress for adjustable beds or even less common ones like mattresses for platform beds, you'll find a well-fitted topper.

If what you need is a long-term solution to your sleep issues, buying a new quality mattress should be the best investment.

Quote Box

Mattress toppers come in grades just like regular mattresses. However, high-quality toppers made from high-end materials like gel-infused memory foam cost much more and are more comfortable than those made from polyfoam.


Let's consider the different common conditions that warrant a change in mattress and determine which option is most appropriate for each scenario; mattress topper or new mattress.

  • Firmness

When your mattress is too firm, it suggests you haven't used it much. So, you won't be needing a new bed. Instead, you'll need a soft, high-quality mattress topper

  • Cost

When budget sets in, it can sometimes lead to bad decision-making. In this case, however, you shouldn't let the budget take complete control. Usually, quality mattresses come with a high price tag; whether mattress topper or new mattress, you're bound to spend something worthwhile. 

A choice to go for a top-quality topper to augment a poor quality mattress would result in its quick wearing down - costing you more in the long run. Hence, it’s best to go for a new mattress.

  • Sagging mattress

A mattress sag can't be undone. Your best bet is to buy a new mattress; using a topper would only lead to back pains. However, learning how to care for your new mattress properly can help you enjoy it longer.

"Also read: Best mattress toppers for lower back pain sufferers."

  • Sleeping hot

Sleeping hot can be unbearable when sleeping on a mattress with poor breathability. The most breathable mattresses are those with different layers that allow air to circulate. A mattress topper is just one layer; therefore, it's a limited solution to sleeping hot. Buying a new breathable mattress like a hybrid mattress is a more concrete solution.

  • Durability

It doesn't matter the material used to make a mattress topper, and it can't be as durable as a new mattress. But if you're looking to extend the lifespan of your mattress, you can get a topper to ease the weight impact.


Can a mattress topper fix a bad mattress?

No, a mattress topper can't fix a lousy mattress because you’ll still use the topper on top of the old mattress. The best solution to a bad mattress is to buy a new mattress.

Will a mattress topper help a firm mattress?

A mattress topper can help a firm mattress feel softer and comfier.


Choosing between a mattress topper and a new mattress is always a sort of crossroad for different reasons. However, with a holistic view of things like we've compared here, you can choose which option would serve you best and give you your money's worth.

That said, have you tried a mattress topper before? Did it make you more comfortable? How about a new bed? Share your experiences and concerns with us in the comments. We’ll love to interact more with you.


  1. Hui Mei, E. L., and Amir-Hashim, M.Y. (March 2011). Polyurethane and Natural Rubber Latex Blend Foam Rubber. Retrieved from

Leave a comment