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Not getting max comfort from your mattress but don’t want to shell out for a new one or can’t swing the high end mattress of your dreams? Then a mattress topper might be for you.
Toppers come in lots of different types, like foam, wool, latex, and down. And any type can be totes great, depending on what you need. A down topper might be right for you if you want to add an extra-plush feel to your sleep surface and could use some extra warmth.
On the other hand, down is soft and pretty heat-retaining. So if you like a firm surface or you tend to sleep hot, this probs isn’t the option for you.
Nope. Far from it, actually. Mattress toppers come in a bunch of different materials:
- memory foam
- poly foam
- down alternative
Foam and latex tend to be the most common picks. They’re generally less expensive than down, but they can be just as comfortable. It all depends on what kind of feel you’re hoping to add to your mattress.
Transparency, baby. If a topper claimed to be down, we wanted to know the exact percentage of pure down plus what other materials were used.
That helped us calculate:
- Bang for your buck. Down rarely comes cheap, but we looked for options that scored high on the value scale and didn’t seem to jack up the price for no reason.
- True comfort level. Is the topper legit marshmallow-soft? Because that’s how down should be. That’s what will give you a luxe feeling plus max pressure relief.
- Breathability. You obv want warmth if you’re going with down, but it shouldn’t feel suffocating. We went for picks that felt cozy but won’t make you wake up at 2 a.m. drenched in sweat.
- Ease of movement. We looked for toppers that were cushy but not so cushy that they felt like quicksand. If a topper makes it hard to change positions throughout the night, it’s no good.
- Motion isolation. Feather fill generally isn’t the kind of material that’s gonna cause a lot of motion transfer. (YAY!) But if users complained that a topper had motion issues, we skipped it.
Toppers also had to be durable (because down = $$$). Our options made the cut if they had:
- baffling or stitching to keep the filling from bunching
- a high quality cover (think soft, smooth, and cooling)
Finally, we gave bonus points to brands that took steps to ensure animal well-being.
1. Best overall: Parachute Down Featherbed
This 3-inch pile of plush, bouncy warmth is powered by a 550 fill rating of premium white goose down.
The baffle box construction is designed to prevent comfort-killing lumps and bumps, and the sateen shell should feel cool and crisp to the touch. It’s really pretty ahhh-worthy.
2. Best bang for your buck: Puredown Goose Feather Mattress Topper
A feather mattress topper is never gonna be cheap. But replacing some of the down with more affordable fillings like polyester results in a mattress topper that’s cozy, comfortable, and budget-friendly. This one fits the bill — it’s got a luscious top layer filled with 75 percent natural white goose down.
Heads-up for sweaty sleepers: The poly filling might not be as breathable as you’d like. But on the plus side, it’s super warm!
3. Best breathable down topper: Canadian Down & Feather Company Down Perfect Feather Bed
We get it. And we think this down topper strikes the perfect balance. The Down Perfect Feather Bed has an added layer of 575 loft down on top of a mattress topper that’s mostly goose feathers. It’s got all the plushness with none of the heat-trapping drawbacks of down.
4. Most ultra-luxe: Cuddledown 700 Fill Power White Goose Down Super Featherbed
If you really want to sleep like royalty, you can’t do better than an impossibly thick, multilayered down topper. This one offers 6.5 inches of premium goose down with a whopping 700 fill power.
The cotton twill cover is Oeko-Tex (sustainable textile production) certified, and the down meets Responsible Down Standard (RDS), which verifies animal welfare and ethical supply chain practices. #winning
5. Most supportive: The Company Store Company Essentials LoftAIRE Down Alternative Mattress Pad
Full disclosure: This topper uses synthetic fill instead of goose down. But it landed on our list because the plush filler is said to be great for easing pressure points and preventing soreness. If this indeed is on par with the comfort of goose down, it seems like a plus to be able to banish that awful morning stiffness without having to take animal welfare practices into consideration.
Bonus? It’s reversible, so it’ll last twice as long.
6. Best ethical down topper: Soak&Sleep Goose Down Dual Chamber Mattress Topper
Speaking of animal welfare, the goose feathers in this topper are sourced from suppliers who follow the Responsible Down Standard (RDS).
As for the topper itself, its dual-chamber design is meant to offer deep, firm support paired with intense plushness in the final layer. A cotton cover keeps things breathable.
Note that this brand is based in the U.K., so North Americans should account for longer shipping times.
7. Best down alternative: The Company Store Legends Hotel Down Alternative Baffled Featherbed
Plush and snuggly, this made-in-the-USA down-free featherbed feels like the real thing. Four inches of baffled walls give the topper a lofty structure worth sinking into. Quilted squares keep the down alternative filling from shifting around, and a simple 200-thread-count cotton shell keeps things cool.
Here are some other common questions about mattress toppers.
How should I clean my mattress topper?
First and foremost, please read the washing instructions on the tag. Down toppers are prone to shrinking, and cleaning too often can cause the filling to break down over time.
If the topper is labeled “dry clean only,” you’ll get the best results (and extend the life of your topper) by taking it to a dry cleaner.
But if that’s not in the cards or the instructions say you can machine-wash it, wash the topper in warm water on the delicate cycle with a very mild detergent. Run two rinse cycles to make sure all the detergent is totally gone, and then dry it on the lowest setting.
FYI: Even after the dryer, you might have to hang it up to dry for another day to make sure all the moisture is really out.
Why are down mattress toppers so expensive?!
True down is made from goose feathers — specifically, ones from adult geese whose feathers have had time to mature and reach max softness. Raising geese to adulthood is expensive, esp if you’re going to do it ethically and humanely. As a result, manufacturers have to charge a premium price for those feathers.
If the price of a down topper seems too steep, try a down alternative. The fibers, which are made from cotton, rayon, or synthetic materials, are less expensive to produce but still combined in a way that mimics down’s incredible feel.
How do I keep my down mattress topper in place?
Sliding can definitely be a problem — but not if you shop smart. Toppers with anti-slip bottoms or elastic corners that can hook onto your mattress are more likely to stay in place.
If your topper doesn’t have those features (or you just want some extra insurance) you can also tuck the topper under a fitted sheet or even a mattress protector to hold things in place.
Will a down mattress topper actually help me sleep better?
Only you can answer that! Down has a reputation for being luxe and comfortable, and it might be your key to drifting happily to Dreamland and staying there all night long. That said, there’s no perfect topper for every sleeper.
If you’re on the fence, stick with a brand that has a generous at-home trial and an easy return policy. If you can send it back without a headache, there’s nothing to lose.