Soft vs Firm Mattress Topper

One of the easiest ways to make your bed more comfortable is to use a mattress topper. As the more affordable alternative, toppers can buy you some time before you need to replace a mattress. You can also easily switch your topper later if your needs change over time.

What is a Soft Mattress Topper?

Soft mattress toppers are thick, plush cushions that work well for those who think their mattress is too firm. The thick materials provide steady but comfortable support for sleepers who need more pressure relief. If you regularly wake up with sore joints, a soft mattress topper could be for you.

Although soft toppers are thick, they're less dense than firm toppers, allowing them to adjust to an uneven surface of your mattress quickly. The topper fills in the gaps and levels your bed, resulting in a more comfortable place to sleep.

These toppers come in a variety of materials and thicknesses, ranging from 1 to 8 inches. Each material type has a distinct feel, but the most common to find is memory foam. Both choices come down to your preference and sleeping position.

Pros and Cons of Soft Mattress Topper


  • Softer mattress toppers are more suitable for side sleepers. The use of plusher materials prevents added pressure in the shoulders and hips.
  • Soft mattress toppers distribute the sleeper's weight more evenly. Back sleepers who wake up with back pain would benefit from a soft mattress topper.
  • Softer materials means a more plush feeling while sleeping.
  • People recovering from an injury can benefit from the relief a soft mattress topper can offers.


  • If you share a bed with a partner, using a thicker soft topper could disrupt your partner's sleep.
  • Shifting and switching positions in the middle of the night is more difficult on softer toppersmattresses.
  • Sinking into a soft topper can make you feel warmer since you expose less of your body to the bedroom air.

What is a Firm Mattress Topper?

Sleepers whose mattresses feel too soft can opt for a firm topper to change the surface. Firm toppers on a firm mattress can also help extend the bed's life, reducing the wear and tear it suffers.

Firmness is a subjective value, and several factors influence how firm the topper feels. For example, lightweight sleepers may consider a medium topper firm, especially if the mattress underneath is also firm. Likewise, a sleeper over 25030 pounds may think a particular firm topper is too soft, especially if the bed beneath is soft.

Firm mattress toppers typically range between 1 and 4 inches thick — the thickness of your topper influences how it adjusts to the mattress's surface. If you think your bed is far too soft, a firm topper may be the solution.

Pros and Cons of Firm Mattress Topper


  • The older mattresses get, the less support they offer. A firm topper won't restore your bed to the newly-bought days, but it will substantially improve your comfort. In other words, you can wait a little longer before you have to buy a new bed to replace it.
  • You will feel as if you're sleeping "on top" of the mattress rather than sinking into it. In other words, you won't struggle switching positions in the middle of the night.
  • Because you don't sink into the mattress, the bedroom air reaches more of your body, allowing you to feel cooler as you sleep.
  • Likewise, a bed partner who tosses and turns in the middle of the night won't disrupt your sleep.


  • Though firm mattress toppers offer great support, they aren't good at relieving pressure. If you struggle with joint and back pains, a firm topper may not be for you.

Soft vs Firm Mattress Topper

Choosing between a firm or soft mattress topper means understanding their main differences:

  • Comfort
  • Body support
  • User design
  • Temperature regulation
  • Lifespan


The most apparent difference between a soft or firm mattress topper is how it feels to sleep on it. Dense toppers are more rigid and won't sink much. Soft toppers compress more easily when you lay on top of them.

Body Support

Firmer mattress toppers force your bones to support your body instead of your muscles, allowing your muscles to relax when you sleep, improving body circulation. Additionally, your lower back won't sink into the bed, making it less likely that you will wake up with back pain the next morning. A soft topper can also give you comfort throughout the night, but you must make sure it doesn't distort your spine to use.

User Design

Typically, whether you prefer a soft or firm bed is rooted in how you sleep; stomach sleepers usually prefer firmer beds while side and back sleepers typically opt for a medium mattress. Generally, softer mattresses are better for side and back sleepers because they have the flexibility to conform to and cushion the joints.

Temperature Regulation

Simply put, firm mattress toppers feel cooler than soft mattress toppers. Sleepers tend to sink into more delicate toppers, which prevents air circulation from cooling the body in the middle of the night.


Firm toppers using low-density foams will weaken and sag more quickly than other types of toppers. More durable materials won't soften as soon, but it will still happen at some point.

Is it better to sleep on a soft or firm mattress topper?

A crucial part of finding the best mattress topper for your needs is determining whether you need a soft topper, a firm topper, or something in between.

As we mentioned above, your preference between soft or firm is largely rooted in what position you sleep in:

  • Stomach sleepers usually prefer a firm bed
  • Side sleepers usually prefer a soft bed
  • Back sleepers usually prefer medium firmness

No matter what kind of bed you typically prefer, your body will automatically adjust itself during sleep to counter misalignment. Sleeping on the wrong surfacemattress can cause your body to adapt too much overnight, resulting in bad sleep and morning pains.

The number one key to a good night's sleep is proper spinal alignment. As long as the spine is in a natural position, the back and the neck easily relax. Good alignment gives your lungs room to take in more oxygen, relieving muscle pains and increasing circulation.

Regardless of whether you use a firm or soft mattress topper, poor spinal alignment will keep you from relaxing when you try to sleep. It's essential to pick the right topper for your personal sleep style to ensure you get the best possible sleep every night.

Who Should Choose a Soft Mattress Topper?

  • Side sleepers: If you sleep on your side, you'll want a mattress that relieves the pressure in your hips and shoulders. Soft mattress toppers usually have superior pressure relief.
  • People who suffer from pain: Soft mattress toppers are a better match for those who suffer from hip or joint pain. Memory foam toppers can especially alleviate pain in those regions.
  • Sleepers who like sinking into the mattress: A soft topper offers more leeway for you to sink into the bed. If you prefer to truly sleep "in" bed, look for a soft mattress topper.
  • Couples: Soft toppers, especially those made of memory foam, are better at handling middle-of-the-night motion. When you or your partner moves while sleeping, the movements are less likely to disturb the other person with a soft topper.

Who Should Choose a Firm Mattress Topper?

  • Stomach sleepers: If you primarily sleep on your stomach, you need a mattress topper with sturdy enough support across the whole body. The hips especially need the increased support that only a firmer topper can offer.
  • Certain back sleepers: Though most back sleepers would benefit from a medium or softer mattress, some might sleep better on a firm topper. As long as the hips have enough room to sink a little bit, the spine will stay healthily aligned while sleeping. If your mattress is too soft, it may not be appropriate for back sleeping.
  • Heavier people: Sleepers who weigh more typically need more support than the average soft mattress topper offers. A firmer topper has a strong structure that won't quickly compress during the night.
  • People who don't like sinking into the mattress: A firm mattress topper won't let you sink that far. If you prefer to feel like you're on the bed and not "in" the bed, look for a firm topper.
  • Sleepers who get too hot: Because you don't sink into a firm mattress, your body will feel cooler sleeping on a firm topper. Softer memory-foam mattresses redirect body heat back to sleepers.
  • People with mobility issues: It's easier to change positions on a firm bed. Those who struggle with moving around due to injury or disability may have an easier time with a firm topper.

How can I make my bed firmer?

Put your mattress directly on the floor. If putting the mattress directly on the floor feels firm enough, you can either stop there or put plywood boards between the mattress and bed frame. This hard surface will firm up your bed and gives you more support.

Replace your old box spring. Over the years, box springs can wear out. As they lose their strength, box springs stop providing as much support as they used to, making your bed feel softer. Swapping a worn-out box spring is more affordable than buying an entire mattress, and it can make a firm mattress topper even better.

If all else fails, buy a new mattress. Having an appropriately firm bed is crucial to spinal health and preventing body stiffness. If you've been sleeping on the same mattress for over 10 years and it's much softer than it used to be, it's unlikely a new topper will solve the problem for very long; it may be past time to buy a new mattress entirely.

Where can you get a firm mattress topper?

Many stores that sell mattresses also sell firm mattress toppers.

Dormeo is one such well-known mattress brand in Europe with countless offerings, including mattresses and firm memory foam mattress toppers. This company revolutionized the mattress industry with their Octaspring coil, which provides targeted support, pressure relief, and all-night cooling for sleepers.

Dormeo's premium mattress topper is made with high-density memory foam and a layer of Octaspring coils, measuring in at 3 inches thick. Together, the inner layers cradle the body and give you long-lasting support through the night, resulting in an excellent night's sleep.

Which is the firmest mattress topper? What is the hardest mattress topper?

Dormeo's Premium Mattress Topper is a 3-inch topper made of several layers of innovative sleep technology, including a breathable layer of memory foam for complete cradling comfort. It also features Dormeo's patented Octaspring Aerospace technology, which promises to turn an old mattress into one of the most comfortable beds you've ever slept on.

The Octaspring Aerospace technology by Dormeo adapts to your body, creating the best possible support and alignment for your shoulders, back, and hips. It's one of the firmest yet most comfortable mattress toppers you can find. Side sleepers, back sleepers, and stomach sleepers all report feeling more restful after spending the night on a Dormeo mattress topper.

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