Foam Mattress vs. Topper: 4 Tips to Help You Decide - Latexbear
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Foam Mattress vs. Topper: 4 Tips to Help You Decide

(Last Updated On: July 18, 2018)

We all probably know by now that getting your hands on a new mattress can be very expensive and there’s a reason why people call a mattress an investment. However, you also can’t sacrifice the quality of your sleep. Poor quality of sleep can be the root of a lot of many chronic health problems, not to mention, many grumpy mornings.

Mattress toppers, on the other hand, can be a cheaper alternative to buying a new mattress altogether. They can significantly improve the quality of your sleep at a fraction of the price. However, do they always work?

So what should your decision be? Should you purchase a mattress topper to improve the quality of your sleep; should you replace your mattress with the best one in the market; or should you shell out the money to do both?

This little guide will help you decide if it is time for you to buy a new mattress or improve your bed with a mattress topper. So read on, there’s plenty more advice here.

First things first…

There are a couple of things that you should do first before you start shopping for your topper, mattress, or both a topper and mattress. First, assess the level of comfort that you are aiming for, is your current sleeping setup not good enough that it warrants spending on a bed.

And secondly, get an honest assessment of the sleeping situation that you currently have. How long have you had your mattress? Is its condition still alright to continue having it around?


Once you’ve gotten these preliminary questions out of the way, it’s time for us to assess the four primary reasons to consider the decision of a new mattress versus a mattress topper.

Are You Sleeping on a Sagging Bed?

One of the worst things you can experience is sleeping on a bed that’s sagging in the middle. You end up rolling towards the middle and it can make sleep very uncomfortable indeed. Forget motion isolation properties on this mattress. In these cases, a mattress topper just won’t cut it for you anymore.

There are a number of reasons why your bed could be sagging and one of the main considerations is the age of your mattress. Mattresses vary in durability with latex mattresses lasting around 12 years, high quality memory foam for about a decade, and normal innerspring mattresses lasting anywhere between five to eight years.

If you happen to own one of these beds and you have passed the durability date, then there is chance that your mattress could be sagging. Other factors could be the load applied to the mattress over time, the overall quality of the mattress, your maintenance, and wear and tear.

This is a serious issue that should be rectified quickly, continuous sleeping on a sagging mattress can cause a bunch of health problems. Chronic pains in your joints, neck, and back; inadequate spinal support that could lead to more problems in the future; and of course, overall poor quality of sleep.

Mattress Choices

We can dedicate entire guides on the different mattresses available because you are pretty much spoiled for choice if you are considering getting yourself a new mattress altogether. We won’t give one specific recommendation, but latex, memory foam, and hybrid mattresses deserve some ample consideration.  Towards the end, we have thrown in a list of questions you can ask yourself before getting your hands on a new bed.

            Topper Choices

We won’t even give you recommendations at this point because of the number of medical issues you can go through because of a sagging bed. You should really consider getting a new mattress and forget getting a topper.


Is Your Mattress to Soft or Firm?

We have all been there at one point. We get on a bed and then we suddenly think that this mattress would be perfect if it was just a little firmer or softer. Who hasn’t?

The way to actually measure how soft or firm you want something to be – especially when you are shopping for a mattress online – is to check out its indentation load deflection score. Anything around 15 is really soft, whilst 45 and above will indicate firmness. Want something in the middle? Then, you should go around the 25-30 ranges.

A lot of people will say that the ILD score is a myth, but rest assured that it isn’t. It’s the best way of determining if it’s worth the buy.

In this scenario, you are better off purchasing a topper; it’s significantly cheaper and more convenient to get your hands on.

Mattress Choices

In this case, you do not really have to go out shopping for a new mattress. You’re better off with a topper especially if your mattress is still pretty new.


            Topper Choices

There are plenty of choices depending on how firm or soft you want your topper to be, from memory foam toppers, eggshell foam, to newer technologies that make sure your sleep is firm whilst trying to boost the overall quality of your bed in general.


Is Excessive Heat Your Problem At Night?

Temperature plays an important role in getting the right amount of shuteye. There are a lot of people who struggle with their quality of sleep due to the inadequate amount of heat dissipation in their beddings. If you’re one of the people that cannot stand being awakened all sweaty, then there are actually a few solutions for you.

While some will be alright with an egg crate foam mattress topper as its structure helps keep the air circulation in check with your mattress, you’ll find that the best option would still be taking a look at a new bed.

There could be a chance that your mattress is not dissipating heat properly and no matter what kind of breathable mattress topper you get, it will still be undercut by the fact that your bed is not helping in the overall breathability.

            Mattress Choices

In our professional opinion, sometimes a topper will not cut it during times like this, and you will be better off purchasing a new mattress entirely. The good news is that mattresses have come a long way in heat dissipation technology and you will have a lot of choices available for you.

Latex mattresses are the best way to go since they are all-natural and their natural material structure allows them to maximize overall breathability. They are also perfect for tropical climates. Gel memory foams are also a great alternative because these are memory foam mattresses that are infused with gel technology that helps heat dissipate. For a more affordable alternative, you can check out innerspring mattresses as they have been said to help whisk away heat.

            Topper Choices

If you really think that you can do with just a topper you can try out gel memory foam toppers. They are built in a way that captures and distributes heat evenly. However, we would still recommend a new mattress for overheating issues during sleep.

Do You Want an Affordable Alternative to a Deluxe Sleeping Experience?

This is a tricky question to answer because it combines two things, getting both a mattress and a topper to complement each other for an improved sleeping experience at night. However, it is also the most affordable way to get a pleasurable sleeping experience without breaking the bank.

You can pull this off with your current mattress as long as it still is not anywhere near the end of its lifespan, or you could get a new mattress that is in the middle of the range of affordable and premium.

However, as with all choices, there is still the drawback of the decreased lifespan. Take for instance this scenario, a midrange mattress made of memory foam will last only around five years, compared to premium 100-percent latex one that can last for a few more years and you can get instead for a couple of hundred dollars extra.

Mattress Choices

Getting a midrange mattress that will not break the bank, there are a couple of blended latex, medium density memory foams, or innerspring beds for you to choose. Avoid the ultra-premium lines to make the most out of your mattress budget. Anything that has a durability of at least five years should work the best.

Alternatively, you can use your current mattress provided that it does not show any signs of old age – sagging and massive indentation for example.


Topper Choices

This department is where you can get a truly customized bed by just choosing the perfect topper for your needs. You can spend a little in this aspect for premium toppers. There are a variety of choices that you can go with depending on your comfort needs – we will go into a little more detail in the next section of this guide.

Topper Choices

Just like the myriad of possibilities that come with choosing a brand new mattress, there are also a lot of choices in the mattress topper department. They come in pure blends, hybrids, and some are more technologically advanced than the others.

The common toppers are made from:

  • Memory Foam
  • Latex
  • Feathers
  • Wool
  • Convoluted Foam (or Egg Crate Foam)
  • Polyester Blenders
  • Hybrids

These common toppers can also be further subdivided depending on your particular needs, take for example memory foam mattress toppers. If you want a softer mattress you can opt for a soft memory foam topper with a density of 2-3 lbs. and if you want a firmer bed to lay your back on, there are 4-5 lbs. density variations that make sure your bed gives you a firmer feel.

As for hybrids, some toppers are even infused with gel to help whisk away a hot night of sleep and maximize heat dissipation. Some even combine support, comfort and heat dissipation all in one.

Looking for something that will help you with motion isolation from your partner’s movements at nights and support those aching joints? Then a latex topper should be the choice for you with its great support and motion isolation properties. You also benefit from its wonderful natural properties – antimicrobial, hypoallergenic, etc. – and its very durable nature.

The topper possibilities can be seemingly endless and they can help bring new life into any mattress that you have – provided that it is not sagging or near the end of its lifespan.

Questions to Consider Before Choosing a New Mattress

Here are a few basic questions that you can ask yourself if you have finally set your mind on getting a new mattress.

  • How firm or soft do I want my mattress to be?
  • How much support does my body need when I sleep?
  • Do I have issues with heat dissipation?
  • Do I need something that is hypoallergenic?
  • Can I stand the chemical smell of some mattresses when they are new?
  • How much am I willing to spend per night on a mattress? – Computing its price divided by how many nights you will be able to sleep on. (You will find that expensive choices usually last longer and are cheaper per night compared to super-affordable mattresses on the market today.)

So there you have it

These questions and tips should help you decide if you should be in the market looking for either a new mattress or a new mattress topper. As you can see, choosing to get either a new mattress or just a topper depends on a variety of factors that have to do with what your currently have.

You can either choose to replace the mattress entirely, get a topper, or a mixture of both. There are definitely a lot of choices that you can have to get the sleep of your dreams.

Again, in our professional opinion, make sure that your bed (with or without a topper) gives you the quality of sleep that you need it. Trust us, your body will thank you for it in the morning. Don’t keep good rest waiting for too long and make that important sleep investment today.

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