The 6 Best Firm Mattress Toppers Of 2023 To Perfect Your Sleep Setup
The importance of getting quality shut-eye can't be overstated. So if natural solutions like supplements and sleep meditations haven't helped you get the optimal snooze, then it might be time for you to evaluate your current mattress.
There's evidence1 to suggest a medium-firm to firm mattress is better for back and stomach sleepers, as well as those experiencing back pain. Anyone who falls into these categories and is struggling to sleep in their current sleep setup should consider switching things up.
Now if you're not quite ready to splurge on an entirely new extra-firm mattress, a topper can be a great way to improve your current bed. By covering your existing mattress with a firm foam topper, especially latex foam, you'll get one step closer to finding the best mattress to help you fall asleep—and stay there.
Who can benefit from a firm mattress topper?
Back and stomach sleepers:
Before diving into the world of mattress toppers, I asked Shelby Harris, PsyD, author of The Women's Guide to Overcoming Insomnia, how to tell what type of sleep surface is best.
"It really can vary, but it's all about proper alignment for the spine and neck," Harris says. "Think about how you sleep—on your stomach? Back? Side?"
Once you've taken note of your sleep position, there are a few tried-and-true mattress pairings: "Stomach sleepers usually need a firmer mattress, side sleepers need a medium-firm bed to support the neck and shoulders, and back sleepers range from medium to firm to help support the spine," Harris adds.
So, if you're a back or stomach sleeper who can't get comfortable, or if you keep waking up with back pain, you might want to firm up your current mattress situation—literally.
People looking to change the feel of their existing mattress:
Although there are plenty of relatively affordable mattresses on the market, a new bed is still a big purchase. Trying a firm mattress topper before investing in something new could save you some cash—plus, if it doesn't work out, most brands have generous trial periods to get your money back.
Who won't benefit from a firm mattress topper?
Folks with super-soft or sagging mattresses:
Anyone looking to revive a bed that's sagging in the middle or on the sides will be sorely disappointed; a firm mattress topper simply won't do the job. Similarly, if your mattress is extra soft or made with memory foam, a firm topper might not make a huge difference in the overall feel of your bed. If either of those is the case, you're ready for a new mattress (and we have plenty of suggestions there!).
Side sleepers, or anyone who likes to feel cradled in bed, might prefer a softer topper. Most of the options on this list offer different firmness levels, and a medium to medium-firm is going to be better for side sleepers than a firm or extra-firm mattress topper.
How we picked:
All of these picks are made in the USA or Canada and use materials that are Certi-PUR US certified—that means they meet rigorous safety and emissions standards.
We keep sustainability and the environment at the core of what we do at mindbodygreen. That’s why we prioritized toppers that use sustainably-sourced, organic materials. If something on this list doesn’t quite stack up to those standards, we’ll call it out.
Almost every pick on this list is made with natural latex foam —that’s because it’s your best bet for making your current mattress feel firmer. Just make sure you’re choosing the “firm” version if the brand has options!
We only added brands trusted in the sleep space to our roundup with a focus on items with stellar ratings. When reviewers felt divided by a possible con, we mentioned it in the copy.
mbg's picks for the best firm mattress toppers of 2023:
Best medium firm: Saatva Latex Mattress Topper
- Perforated natural latex
- Straps keep it in place
- Spot-clean only
- No firmness options
Saatva is a fan-favorite mattress company that uses sustainably sourced, organic materials in its beds and accessories. This mattress topper comes in three different materials: a graphite foam, a natural latex foam, and a high-density foam. For folks seeking a firmer topper, we recommend the latex model, as it's going to be more responsive and durable than the other options.
There is only one firmness option for each of the models, and the latex version is a true medium-firm. It's on the slimmer side compared to others on this list, so if you're truly not a fan of your current mattress, this 1½-inch model might be too thin for you. However, that also means you won't sink too deeply into the topper, which is good news for stomach and back sleepers. Reviewers of all sleep styles seem to be pleased with the support and cush of the latex version.
The organic cotton cover isn't removable, so you'll have to stick to spot cleaning. But one great perk of this topper is that it comes with elastic straps to make sure it doesn't slide around on top of your existing mattress.
Best extra firm: PlushBeds 100% Natural Latex Topper
- 2 thickness options
- 5 firmness options
- Organic & eco-friendly
- No trial & not returnable
- Firmer toppers are more expensive
Alongside Avocado, PlushBeds is a leader in sustainably sourced mattresses and sleep accessories—and its 100% Natural Latex Topper is no exception. With certifications like OEKO-TEX Standard 100 and GreenGuard Gold, this slab of organic Talalay latex wrapped in an organic cotton cover ticks a lot of green boxes.
Speaking of the cover, it is removable. If you want to wash it, PlushBeds recommends you hand wash and air dry the material. Several reviewers say the combination of the cotton cover and perforated latex makes for a cooler sleep surface than other foam toppers that they've tried.
With five different firmness options and two different thickness options (2-inch or 3-inch heights), you can customize your PlushBeds topper to suit your existing setup.
Side sleepers could probably stand to get away with a medium or medium-firm version, while back and side sleepers wanting a firmer surface should stick to medium-firm or extra-firm. PlushBeds also recommends that anyone seeking a true extra-firm surface (especially folks weighing over 250 pounds) choose the extra-firm model.
Best cooling: Avocado Organic Latex Mattress Topper
- Nontoxic organic materials
- Free, carbon-negative shipping
- Not for folks with latex allergies
This topper from Avocado uses GOLS-certified organic latex to create a luxurious, supportive feel. Unlike memory foam, latex is bouncier and more responsive. If you like the feeling of sleeping on top of your bed versus in your bed, the firm version of the Avocado Organic Latex Topper topper might help achieve the firmness you're looking for.
It also gets rave reviews for maintaining a comfortable temperature during the night—that's thanks to the thick layer of organic, moisture-wicking wool at the top. Not into wool? They also have a vegan version of this mattress topper, which swaps cotton for wool (but is the same price). Speaking of price, this topper is on the higher end. However, if your priorities are temperature regulation, eco-friendly practices, and sustainable materials, the extra bucks might be worth it.
A few considerations: There isn't a removable cover on this topper, so you'll need to spot-clean as you go. Reviews are also mixed as to whether this topper slides around on top of a mattress. A few folks suggest layering it on top of a grippy surface (like a rug grip) to avoid needing regular adjustments.
Best memory foam: TEMPUR-Topper Supreme
- Good for side sleepers
- Cool, removable cover
- Softer than latex foam toppers
- No free trial or returns
Although memory foam is definitely not as firm as latex foam, this topper from TEMPUR-Pedic still provides a thick, 3-inch slab of comfort to any mattress. Memory foam provides a cradling sensation, so this topper is a better pick for side sleepers than back or stomach sleepers—folks who move around often in the night are likely to feel stuck. Although it's definitely softer than the option on this list, plenty of reviewers still say the foam topper is on the dense side.
The cover on the TEMPUR-Topper Supreme is removable for easy washing. And while memory foam is notoriously warm, not many reviewers complain about sleeping hot on this topper made of it. If sleep temperature is a concern for you, you can upgrade your topper's cover to a "cool-to-the-touch" material, which costs an additional $60.
TEMPUR-Pedic has been a household name for decades thanks to its signature memory foam material (you might have witnessed a demo of someone walking on the foam with a glass of red wine at your local mall in the aughts?). However, the foam isn't made from sustainably sourced or recycled materials. On the upside, you're likely to find a TEMPUR-Topper to lie on at a mattress store near you to try before you buy, which is helpful as TEMPUR-Pedic doesn't offer trials or returns for toppers.
Best thin topper: Silk & Snow Organic Mattress Topper
- Organic materials
- Removable, washable cover
- Thinner topper
- Only 3-year warranty (and 1-year for cover)
The thinner profile of the Silk & Snow mattress topper is great for shoppers who don't want to add too much height to their current mattress. Completely GOTS and GOLS-certified, the organic latex is sourced from Sri Lanka and then manufactured into a mattress topper in Canada or the U.S.
One big perk of this latex topper is that it comes with a removable organic cotton cover that's also machine-washable (so there aren't any excuses when spring cleaning rolls around). You can even purchase additional covers separately if you so choose.
Silk & Snow's topper comes in a medium or firm option. Since it's rather thin—we couldn't find an exact measurement, but it looks to be around 1½ inches—you should consider how much you're trying to firm your current mattress. If you're looking to make a big change to the overall feel of your bed, you're likely better off with the firm version. Side sleepers, on the other hand, might prefer the feel of the medium.
Best budget: Sleep On Latex Pure Green Natural Latex Topper
- More affordable than others on the list
- Organic, fair trade foam
- Shorter trial period
It's unclear how Sleep On Latex sells an organic latex foam topper for so much less than competitors like PlushBeds and Avocado, but we're glad they do. The brand even has many of the same credentials and business practices, such as using GOLS-certified organic, fair trade foam.
The Pure Green Natural Latex topper comes in three different thickness options and three firmness options. Side sleepers might prefer the feel of the medium topper, while back and stomach sleepers are likely better off choosing the firm. There's also an option to add an organic cotton cover if you don't like the feel of perforated latex through your sheets—however, the perforation should help regulate temperatures nicely for hot sleepers.
Like Silk & Snow, PureGreen also sources foam from Sri Lanka but manufactures all of its beds and accessories in Chicago. Plus, the toppers get rave reviews on Amazon—just note that the return policy and warranty might vary depending on where you make your purchase.
The pros & cons of mattress toppers.
- Improving your bed: A thick, firm mattress topper can change the feel of your current, soft mattress if it's in good condition (hybrids or innersprings have a better chance than memory foam).
- Cost savings: Significantly less expensive than the cost of a new mattress, a topper might save you money.
- Movin' and groovin': Mattress toppers go in between your mattress and your sheets. However, some slide around and might require regular adjustments. You can always try a rug grip pad on top of your mattress to prevent it from sliding around.
- Band-Aids a bigger issue: If your mattress is sagging or misshapen, a firm topper isn'''t going to help. Additionally, you might end up spending more money trying out toppers than you'd spend buying an entirely new mattress.
Mattress toppers vs. mattress pads?
The aim of a mattress pad is to cushion the surface of your bed and provide a layer of protection between your sheets and the mattress. This can help elongate the life of your bed. Mattress toppers, however, are intended to change the feel of your mattress entirely. They’re considerably thicker than pads and can soften or firm the feel of your current bed.
Is a thicker mattress topper better?
It depends on the firmness of your current bed. The thicker and firmer your topper, the further you’ll be from your mattress. If you’re looking to firm up your bed, a thicker firm topper is better. However, note that a thicker topper can add more cushion if it's not a true firm or extra-firm, which might exacerbate the problem you're trying to solve!
What's the best mattress topper alternative?
If your goal is to firm up your current mattress, your only real option is to add a firm mattress topper. Not sure it'll do the job? You might be better off shopping for a firmer mattress.
A good night's sleep is crucial for your overall health—that's not news. But the perfect sleep surface isn't one-size-fits-all, and it can require some finagling to get just right.
Luckily, there are plenty of ways to fall back in love with your existing bed, from new sheets to a quality new topper. And if you're looking to improve your current mattress versus buying an entirely new one, a firm mattress topper might just do the trick.