February 2016

What is the construction method for mattress toppers?

Mattress toppers are great mattress accessory if you're struggling with your existing mattress especially if your beds too firm. There's a variety of different topper styles and makes which can sometimes be overwhelming. This article will help give you a better understanding of mattress toppers.

The general rule of construction is that the upholstery used to make the topper should be ‘in keeping’ with what is used as the primary layer within the mattress. A topper is usually softer to give a deeper comfort layer to your mattress.

Latex 100% Natural Topper
Mattress toppers protect your mattress and can add extra comfort layers for softness

Many people contact us in confusion over mattress toppers.

  • Should I get one?
  • What do they do?
  • Which topper should I buy to go with my new John Ryan mattress?
  • How many toppers do I need?

We always advise that in most instances you should try a mattress without a topper first. Though we recommend all mattresses use a protector at all times, not to be confused with a topper!

A mattress protector is usually a relatively cheap polyester cover that fits over the mattress and protects it from sweat, moisture and damage.  You can either wash or replace this when it becomes dirty or worn out.

So why try the mattress without a topper first?

This is because toppers usually soften the top layer of a mattress.  We recommend you get a feel for your mattress before adding more layers, this means that you’re not spending excess money on your mattress if you don’t need to. You may find your stand-alone mattress perfectly adequate, or you may find you want some extra comfort and top it with a fantastic 100% latex topper for example later down the line!

Matching your topper to your mattress

Our advice is that any topper bought to go with your mattress should follow the same fibres or components found in your mattress.  This is especially true for 100% natural mattresses.  Meaning that in this example you should stick to natural fibres, after all, you don’t want to cover a hand made Artisan mattress which is 100% natural, with a cheap polyester layer between you and your dream mattress! You could use, for example, a natural fiber such as cashmere wool if you so wished, but we would avoid synthetic fibres in this example. It’s really important that when you choose a topper it works with the original mattress construction and not against it!

We find that hybrid foams and latex give a consistent feel to the topper with a suitable rebound rate.  Cheaper polyester toppers tend to compress very quickly but are a lot cheaper. You really do get what you pay for so bare this in mind.

We tend to find that one topper is usually enough, that said, if you want that extra deep soft sink the more the merrier!

A topper can help soften and deepen your mattresses comfort layers
A topper can help soften and deepen your mattresses comfort layers
You should always look to match the topper material to the mattress
You should always look to match the topper material to the mattress

Many of the high street retailers don’t recommend toppers or if they do they permanently stitch the topper to the mattress completely removing the longevity benefit. Retailers that do sell them often are selling products without explaining the benefits, drawbacks or product details leaving you once again confused and scratching your head.

Top end foam bed companies such as Jensen use toppers in their top end mattresses commanding a high-end price, £3000 plus in some cases.  They do provide some truly excellent products but are simply out of the reach of some budgets. Again you are paying a premium for these products and in some cases, some topper retailers still won’t tell you the exact depths and densities of their toppers which are really important. We will provide you with all the details, benefits, drawbacks and advice when choosing a topper from our range.

If you have read the techniques of mattress construction in another post you will know that as you get higher up the mattress the material should get softer. The topper, however, can be firmer or softer as its a separate part of the mattress. We have matched our toppers to the mattress bases to provide the best progressive comfort as we have tried and tested the combinations that work well together.



When buying your own topper you need to work out what will work best for you given your existing mattress.  If it is too firm then maybe a softer topper will help, if it is too soft then maybe a firmer topper will help remove some of the issues.  Mattress toppers used in this fashion can only tweak a bed and not completely restore it.  Our guidance is to make sure you buy a topper alongside your mattress to enable the two to fully work together.

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