Difference in thickness of mattress toppers

Written by meg mackenzie
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Difference in thickness of mattress toppers
A thick mattress topper could make even this bed feel luxurious. (bedroom image by ann triling from Fotolia.com)

If you have an old mattress that is too firm, a mattress topper might be a great option to extend your mattress's life. A mattress topper is a pad, often made of memory foam or latex, which sits on top of your mattress, acting as a cushion. To decide how thick your mattress topper should be, consider cost, quality and personal preference.


Mattress toppers generally range in thickness from an inch to 5 inches. Two inches is a common height, and many people feel that 2 inches gives them all the added comfort they need. A 3-inch topper will allow you to sink a bit deeper and will be softer than a 2-inch. Toppers that are 4 or more inches thick are very luxurious, and can be expensive, so 2- to 3-inch toppers are the most common.


One factor to consider when choosing the thickness of your mattress topper is the weight of the sleeper it will be supporting. A 2-inch topper will likely work well for a smaller person, but a larger person may want a 3-inch topper, or thicker. Remember, the purpose of a mattress topper is to create a cushion so you don't have to lie on your hard mattress; if you are sinking to the bottom of the topper, then it is not doing its job.

Comfort vs. Support

Thickness is an indicator of quality in mattress toppers because the thicker the topper, the more comfort it provides. A 4- or 5-inch mattress topper will simply be more luxurious than a 2-inch, so if you want to be able to sink into your bed at night like it's a cloud, look for the thickest topper you can afford.

On the other hand, a mattress topper eliminates some of the support that your firm mattress provides. The thicker the topper, the deeper you can sink into it, and the less back support your bed will offer. If you need a lot of back support, it might be best to go with a 2-inch topper that will not block as much of your mattress's support.

Personal Preference

As long as you are within the range of quality mattress toppers, much of your choice should be based on personal preference. Just as people prefer different levels of firmness in their mattresses, one person may prefer a 2-inch topper to a 3-inch. Your choice may also depend on how firm your current mattress is; a slightly too firm mattress may not need as thick a topper as a mattress that is hard as a rock. Your own sleep problems may affect your choice as well; if you wake up every morning numb or aching, you may need a thicker mattress topper than someone who is only looking to add a little comfort to her bed.


Mattress toppers vary in price depending on thickness, material and quality. Thin foam toppers are the cheapest, while natural latex toppers are the most costly. Though the primary decider of price is material, thickness also contributes. As of June 2010, a 5-inch natural latex mattress topper can cost more than £650, so before you choose, consider how thick a topper you can afford. If you truly feel you need a 5-inch topper, it might be worth it to buy a whole new mattress instead.

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