Buying a mattress topper

I recently discovered this site, and am still learning.

I have a simmons comforpedic memory foam mattress. I like it, but I still have some nerve compression issues on this mattress. I think there is a scale of 1-10 of hardness, and mine was something like 4.5. I thought a firm mattress was necessary to avoid back pain, and I sleep a little better. But something softer will probably help with my nerve compression issues.

Since my mattress was 2k, I don’t want to buy another one. I was wanting to just try a topper to see if that adds some softness that helps with nerve compression. Does anyone have any idea where to start?

I’ve been looking at gel egg crate toppers, usually 2-4" deep. But there are foam and latex also as well as various depths, companies, etc.

I don’t mind spending $300 or so on a topper (many only seem to be $150 or less for a queen though), but if I’m going to buy it and use it once then that seems like a waste.

My goal is something that provides enough support to prevent back problems, but enough softness to avoid compressing the nerves in my shoulder and neck.

Hi TedLogan,

I’m glad you found us … and welcome :slight_smile:

A topper can be a very good option if your mattress is too firm and needs some extra softness and pressure relief as long as there are no soft spots or sagging in the mattress.

Post #2 here and the topper guidelines it links to will be useful in helping you make the best possible choice for a topper.

I would also be aware that if you add a topper over memory foam that it can affect the amount of heat that reaches the memory foam which can affect its feel and performance (it won’t soften as much) which can make it feel firmer. The most common topper for a memory foam mattress would be another layer of memory foam so you would still have the “feel” of memory foam that most people who choose a memory foam mattress would likely prefer.


Thanks for that. I guess one of my big concerns is if possible I’d rather buy one from a store that allows returns. has some good deals but no returns. I believe walmart, sams club and costco will allow returns. There is no costco near where I live but sams and walmart are there.

Does anyone know what stores would be good for hassle free returns, preferably brick & mortar stores (even if the topper is more expensive that way)? Part of me wants an eggshell gel topper, another part thinks some kind of foam would be ideal. But I wouldn’t want to spend $200 on one then find out I hate it on the first night.

I want something that is good for relieving pressure points. When I wake up I usually have red marks over my chest and shoulders from laying on my mattress all night. Like I said, on a 1-10 scale (1 being the hardest) my mattress was a 4.5.

Hi TedLogan,

The first step in choosing a topper would be to decide which materials you are familiar with and you would prefer over the other alternatives that you have available. This would be a preference choice more than a “better/worse” choice. Most people who prefer to sleep on memory foam would prefer a memory foam topper unless they wanted to change the “feel” of sleeping on memory foam.

Once you’ve decided on the type of material then you can use the topper guidelines I linked or a more detailed conversation with a knowledgeable and experienced supplier that is familiar with the specifics of their toppers to help you decide on the thickness and softness of the topper that you think would work best for you.

While I don’t know the specifics of the return policies of all the sources that are linked in the component post off the top of my head, they either list them on their site or would provide you with the specifics with a phone call. Most of them don’t allow returns or exchanges for a topper (which is the norm in the industry), some allow for returns/refunds, and some of them have an exchange policy but no return/refund policy.

The advantage of dealing with a big box store like Costco or Sams Club is that they usually have great return policies. The tradeoff is that they usually have little knowledge about the specifics of what they are selling outside of what is listed in their site (which in many cases is incomplete or doesn’t indicate the quality of the material … only the type), they may not have the specific materials that you are looking for, and they also don’t usually have the knowledge or experience to give you any guidance about which of their toppers may be the best choice for you when you talk with them so you would really be rolling the dice and relying more on their return policy than on how the topper may feel and perform on your mattress (see post #4 here). They are also a good way to test different types of toppers and materials that you aren’t familiar with to see which type you tend to prefer. I would just make sure that you know the quality of a topper that you are considering because even a low quality/density topper can feel good for a little while but will soften and break down much more quickly than higher quality versions of the same material and many of the products they sell are not particularly good quality materials.

When you are looking at a return or exchange policy I would make sure you know all of the options and costs involved.

  • Do they offer an exchange, a refund, or both?

  • Who pays the cost of shipping to return or exchange it (and how much is it likely to be) and is the cost of the original shipping to you (which may have been a hidden cost included in the purchase price) included in any refund?

  • Are there any restocking or other fees deducted from your refund?

  • If they only offer an exchange … what kind of other toppers do they have available to exchange for?

  • How much time do you have to try it before you need to decide about returning or exchanging the topper?

  • How does the topper need to be packaged if you decide to return or exchange it?

Once you are clear about all of these then you can factor in the “value” of the return or exchange policy along with the type and quality of the topper and the “value” of the guidance they can give you into your purchase decision.

Outside of the big box stores … the retailers/manufacturers on the list that have a return or exchange policy I’m aware of (but check to see the specific costs and time frame involved are) … 90 day return and a member of the site 30 day return policy and a member of the site 30 day return policy and a member of the site. (Brooklyn Bedding) 30 day return policy and a member of the site. 30 day exchange 90 day return 30 day return 30 day return 30 day return
Amazon fulfilled toppers: 3o day return. They have told me that a topper return will generally cost between 15% and 20% of the cost of the topper depending on the condition when they receive it.

Once again … make sure you are clear about the terms and conditions and any costs involved in any return or exchange policy before a purchase.

If you let me know the city or zip code where you live I’d be happy to let you know about any of the better “brick and mortar” options or possibilities I’m aware of in your area so you could check to see if any of them sell toppers and find out about their return policies.


You seem very knowledgeable about these subjects. The problem with a mattress or a topper is you can’t tell if it is for you unless you sleep on it for a few nights. You can do research, but that only takes you so far. I know I need to do more research, but again my biggest goal is to find something that offers back support while being soft enough to not cause nerve compression. I’m assuming that is a common paradox for people who buy mattresses and toppers, and as a result maybe there is a general way to approach the subject.

I live in Indianapolis. So I have access to Walmart, Sams club as well as a variety of department stores (Sears, Kohls, Macys, JCPenney, etc).

Looking into it, we do have Costco here. I don’t know why I thought we didn’t. I think I was thinking about Ikea, there is no Ikea in Indianapolis.

Hi TedLogan,

Yes … this is the same concern for everyone when they buy a mattress, a topper, or a combination of the two. The balance between the two main functions of a mattress which is the opposing needs of good comfort/pressure relief (which requires softer materials) and good support/alignment (which requires firmer materials) is the most important part of choosing any sleeping system or component and is part of the “art and science” of all mattress theory and design that makes one mattress or combination suitable for some people and not for others. Too much or too little of one (either comfort/pressure relief or support/alignment) can lead to choosing a mattress or “sleeping system” that produces symptoms in the other and either doesn’t provide good alignment in all your sleeping positions or doesn’t relieve pressure points.

Careful and objective testing on a mattress or a specific mattress/topper combination can do a good job of predicting how a mattress or mattress/topper combination will work for you in real life in terms of PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and Personal preferences) but if you can’t test a specific mattress/topper combination in person then the topper guidelines I linked (which are based on your experience and perceptions on your mattress), a more detailed conversation with a knowledgeable and experienced manufacturer or retailer who is knowledgeable about how the toppers they carry may work for different people on different mattresses, and/or a good return or exchange policy if you aren’t confident in your choice has the best chance of success and the lowest risk.

The better options or possibilities I’m aware of in the Indianapolis area are listed in post #2 here. I don’t know which of them carry toppers or what their return policies are but a few quick calls will easily find out.


Does anyone have experience with Brooklyn bedding 5lb 3 inch memory foam topper?

I’m curious what it feels like, as well as the overall quality and durability. I’m looking to replace some 5lb 3 inch memory foam from Foam Factory, which was fine for a while but died eventually.