New 8" gel foam mattress too hard: Add topper or exchange for diffrent mattress?

I recently purchased a new gel foam mattress, but unfortunately, it’s too hard for me. Initially it seemed OK. I felt fine when I’d go to bed, but after a while, it felt like it got harder the longer I’d lay on it. As a result, I toss and turn throughout the night, only to wake up stiff sore and tired.

I got it from, and when I called them to exchange it, they simply refunded my money and said to keep it. I guess it would cost them more for the return shipping than it’s worth. So now I need to decide if I should get different mattress or just add a topper to the one I have. And if so, which brand, model, etc.? I’m leaning toward a topper because it’s obviously cheaper, easier to handle, and I wouldn’t have the hassle getting rid of another mattress; but will they do the trick and do they last long?

I’m a 50 year old male who weighs 230 lbs. My budget is $265. The mattress is on a platform bed frame. I’m a side sleeper, but move throughout the night, and sometimes end up on my back or even my stomach.

The mattress I have now is a queen sizeClassic Brands, Cool Gel, 8 inch foam mattress. (It’s also sold under the brand name Sleep Trends, through Macy’s, PostureLoft through, and ModernSleep through Walmart.)

I chose it based on my experience at a local retailer who sold the same mattress under their store name. Being that I move a lot throughout the night, I liked that it offered some plush contouring, [though it could use some more] while still being easy to move on. I definitely don’t like typical memory form mattresses, due to the “crater” feeling I get, making it difficult to move or the heat issues. Classic Brands does make a 10.5" Cool Gel version, that’s only $40 more, but I’m not certain if the hardness is due to the material or thickness. Both are referred to as “medium” by Classic Brands. I am willing to compromise a little on the movement if a more comfortable mattress means less tossing and turning.

Here are two gel foam toppers I’m considering: Cloud9 Gel Foam 2" Topper and Milard 2" Gel Foam Topper. I chose them because most other seem to rip too easily, and based on the reviews, these stay relatively cool and don’t restrict movement too much. Both are 2", because I was thinking thinner means less “sinking in a hole” or would still be hard? Would a 3 inch gel-foam topper add more comfort without restricting movement? I have tested regular memory foam toppers and the thicker ones do sink a little too much for my liking.

I’m open to all suggestions so please feel free to share your thoughts.

Thanks in advance for all your input.


Hi doc_v2018,

Welcome to the Mattress Forum! Hope you had a Happy Thanksgiving!

Sorry to hear you’ve been tossing and turning and feeling stiff as a result of your new mattress.

The Classic Brands Cool Gel 8-Inch is advertised as a 2" of gel infused memory foam with a 6" support core and the country of origin is China. You can do some reading about mattresses shipped compressed from overseas in post #6 here. Unfortunately there is no further information about the material used in the product and is most likely made with a lower density foam. This would be an indicator that it is of lower quality, and may not last a long time – regardless of thickness. So while you may be able to use this mattress temporarily, you may find yourself back on the forum sooner than you would like shopping for a new bed. To further your research on this model, you can use this forum to search for Classic Brands (or just click this link) and it will bring up other discussion and feedback.

In regards to toppers, memory foam typically sleeps hot. Gel memory foam can be cooler at first, but usually the coolness does not last through the night. Depending on the amount or the type of gel that is in the foam will determine whether the temperature benefits will last longer or shorter. Also the cell structure and amount of airflow through foam will have an effect in the level of heat buildup in the material. You should also note that these gels have chemicals added and typically a lower density and less durability.

A couple of great resources to use from this website to help assist you in your buying process, would be to calculate your personal value equation. This can also refer you to a “simplified choice mattress” that has low and high budget ranges you can view in post #2 of this topic. Be sure to check the coupon codes to see the discounts offered from the sites members. There are a wide range of mattress prices and options on this forum so I think you will be able to find something of higher quality while being better suited for you.

I hope this information has been helpful! Please let me know if you have any further questions.

FSF Team

Thank you for the detailed response. I followed the links, and if I’m honest, I’m a bit more confused now than I was before. I don’t want to look a gift horse in the mouth, however, I was hoping for a bit more of a direct recommendation.

Being fully aware that everyone is different and, of course, my mileage my vary; given the details I provided in the original post above:

Would you recommend a topper over a mattress?

Should I try latex instead of gel foam?

Would 2" or 3" be more suited to my needs or would the difference even be noticable?

Do either of the two examples of toppers I posted throw up any flags?

You mentioned toppers don’t last long, on average, are we talking 6 months, 1 year, 2 years, 5 years?

And lastly do you have any you’d recommend instead?

I hope that’s not asking to much.

Thanks again!

Hi doc_V2018,
Please see below for my responses to your questions:

Would you recommend a topper over a mattress?[/quote]

Toppers can be beneficial. Whether you choose a 2" or a 3", it is all dependent on the type of material the topper is made of, as well as what is in the mattress the topper is on. For example, you could have an amazing and durable topper, but it is used on a mattress that is old and dipping. Therefore, this makes the topper not very impactful. The type of material would determine the longevity of the topper. It would also be helpful to review the warranty when purchasing this product.

As a company that sells latex, we highly advise it since it is all natural, contains no chemicals, and has more longevity. This is why the material in the toppers you posted does have setbacks. As I mentioned in my previous post: “You should also note that these gels have chemicals added and typically a lower density and less durability.”

After hearing from Phoenix, the forum host and owner, they gave me references to mattresses that have quality/value for you to consider that are in your price range:

Christeli has one memory foam option
Arizona Premium has a 7" of 1.9lb @ 31 ILD polyfoam base here and you can add some plushness with adding a separate topper
Magic Sleeper has many low budget option mattresses
Nest Bedding has their Love & Sleep Mattress
Quality Sleep Shop also has a good quality low budget lines
Texas Mattress Makers here has some nice options
Flexus has a number of innerspring mattresses here
Some of the mattresses from Ikea (not members of the site) may also be worth considering (you can view post #3)

Hope that helps!
FSF Team