New Mattress vs Mattress Topper [Guide on what to choose]

mattress topper being laid on a regular mattress

Your current mattress has seen better days and you’re contemplating shelling out on a new model. Just as you’re drawing a budget and looking at how to free up the funds for it, the idea of getting a mattress topper instead pops up.

Confusion sets in as the new mattress vs mattress topper debate rumbles on in your mind for days, with each side of the argument seemingly sounding attractive.

So, is it better to get a mattress topper instead of a complete mattress? Well, it depends. There are scenarios where you’re better off taking the plunge and investing in a new mattress. At other times, ordering a mattress topper may be the smartest choice especially when your budget is tight.

Types of Mattresses

Before we look at the positives of each side of the debate, it is critical to know that there are several types of mattresses on the market. The most popular ones include:

  • Latex
  • Memory Foam
  • Innerspring
  • Hybrid 
  • Inflatable Mattresses

Types of Mattress Toppers

Mattress toppers come in different types and are usually named after the main component material. The most popular varieties of toppers include:

  • Memory Foam
  • Latex
  • Wool
  • Feathers
  • Polyester Blends

When should you Buy a New Mattress?

Buying a new mattress can be a sizable investment and ideally, we’d all like to spend as little as possible. However, the quality of your sleep cannot be overemphasized. Since a good mattress is vital to a memorable night’s rest, you should shell out on a new mattress if you’re in any of the situations below:

Old and Sagging Mattress

The average lifespan of a mattress is 8-10 years according to the experts. However, your mattress can only achieve that level of longevity when it features the right components.

In reality, many people are forced to change their mattresses much more frequently due to the quality of components as well as consumer lifestyle choices and environmental factors.

If your current mattress is 5 years or older and beginning to show signs of sagging and indentations, it is time to get a new one.

Sure, you can choose to go with a topper due to their cheaper price tags. However, the sagging spots could become more prominent in the topper within a few weeks or months.

And this only takes you back to square one.

Sagging is a sign of significant wear and tear in your mattress. Unfortunately, there are no cheap ways out so it is time to start mattress shopping.

Dirty and Smelly Mattress 

old mattress on a wooden bed in an abandoned bedroom

Is your mattress smelly and dirty to the point where no amount of cleaning is helping? It is time to order a new one. Whether you’ve been handed down an old mattress from a family member or friend or you bought a second-hand model on Craigslist, nobody deserves to sleep on a smelly or dirty mattress.

In some situations, deep cleaning can make an old mattress look and smell fresh again. Unfortunately, the staining and stench can get so bad in some situations that there’s no other choice than to get a new one.

This is usually common in mattresses that have been placed in enclosed spaces for years. Long-term urine stains, bacteria, and dustmite-infections can also make mattresses too dirty and smelly for sleeping even after deep cleaning by professionals.

Thus, placing a topper on an old smelly mattress may not make much of a difference as the pungent stench may still linger afterward.

Click here to read the article we wrote on how to clean a used mattress to look like new again. It is a must-read that can be eye-opening.

You’ve Gained a Lot of Weight

All mattresses come with maximum weight support limits. If you’ve gained a considerable amount of weight within a quick period, a new mattress may make a lot of sense.

Also, if you’ve started sleeping with an overweight partner then you may have to shop for a new mattress.

But, how do you know that your mattress is suffering under the current weight? Well, this becomes evident when every spot you sleep on begins to sink in without recovering when you move away from there. You realize that it is only a matter of time before that spot sinks to the point where lying down there leads to discomfort when you wake up.

The good news is that many mattress models stipulate their maximum weight support. Thus, making sure the brand new mattress you order has what it takes to support you and your partner’s weight should be easy.

If in doubt, contact the brand’s customer support department to verify the maximum weight support before your order. Remember, memory foam mattresses sink into your body immediately you lie down. But they recover as soon as you move or wake up.

Check out the article we wrote on the best mattresses for overweight folks. It can help you find the right one for you and your partner’s needs.

Mattress Sleeps Too Hot

Waking up to profuse sweating in the middle of the night can be very uncomfortable. If this happens frequently, it could be a sign that your mattress sleeps too hot. This is especially true when you enjoy cozy sleeping immediately after switching to another mattress or sofa in the home.

Getting a mattress topper may seem like a good idea to solve the issue of a hot-sleeping mattress. But the opposite may be true in reality since the absence of airways is usually the reason behind the hot sleeping in the first place.

Thus, buying a new, more breathable mattress is the best way to solve night sweats, hot flashes, and other issues caused by excessive heat.

Menopausal women, in particular, can enjoy lifesaving benefits from getting mattresses with optimum breathability. 

You’re in a Lot of Pain

According to the National Sleep Foundation, 57 percent of Americans wake up with some sort of pain each morning. The majority of these folks experience this level of discomfort due to sleeping on the wrong surfaces.

If you belong to the Morning Pain Gang, it is time to take a closer look at the state of your mattress. Unfortunately, mattresses are one of the household items that receive the least bit of attention from consumers.

This is even though we spend about a third of our lives sleeping. Sometimes, the best way to get rid of pain in the morning is to get a brand new mattress. 

The good news is that the majority of mattress-in-a-box- brands give lengthy sleep trials ranging from 90-365 days to customers. Thus, you get a first-hand experience of what they have to offer before confirming payment.

If your order feels to meet expectations, you can quickly return it for a full refund.

Have you read the article we wrote on the best mattresses for back pain relief? Click here to discover how you can banish the discomfort in your back for good.

When should you buy a Mattress Topper Instead of a New Mattress?

The price tags of quality mattresses can run into several hundreds of dollars or even thousands. This means there are times when you cannot afford to shell out on a new mattress. Going down that route may even be needless in certain situations.

This is why mattress toppers have become so popular in the last decade or so. These toppers are miniature-sized mattresses placed on regular mattresses for added comfort.

A couple of scenarios where toppers win the new mattress vs mattress topper debate are below:

The mattress is Too Firm

woman feeling the firmness of a mattress

Just purchased a mattress that feels too firm for comfort? A new topper can be the right option.  Fortunately. some online mattress brands such as Novosbed offer mattress toppers free of charge for consumers who require more comfort.

If your mattress trial period is yet to expire then you can always return it for another model. However, if your current mattress has been in use for a fair amount of time with no existing trial, buying a mattress topper may be the way to go.

Many consumers with innerspring mattresses or latex models opt for memory foam toppers to add an extra layer of comfort. Memory foam toppers can also be an option for extremely firm hybrid mattress owners.

Click here to read the article we wrote on the 10 top ways to break in a mattress that is extremely firm. Who says you have to continue tossing and turning in bed?

The mattress is Too Soft

You’re now aware that a firm mattress can be softened by a much more comfortable topper. But can you add a little bit of firmness via a mattress topper when necessary as well? The answer is yes. The same principle works for softer mattresses too.

Stomach sleepers and others who prefer firmer mattresses can benefit from toppers without spending fortunes on new mattresses.

Just choose a topper with a firmer rating, place it on your extremely soft mattress, and enjoy a much comfortable sleep.

Improve Your Luxury without Breaking the Bank

Your current mattress may offer decent comfort that gives you a fair amount of sleep at night. But, a little bit of luxury can always make your life better right? Well, If you feel you could use a bit of coziness on a budget, memory foam toppers may a great idea.

These toppers are usually more affordable and offer you a considerable amount of comfort just like brand new mattresses.

Instead of shelling out $1000 on a new model, a hundred bucks or so may solve your problems for good by choosing a topper.

Are you a side sleeper? Click here to read the article we wrote on the best mattress toppers for side sleepers. We reveal the top models that can transform your old mattress to feel like new again.

Restless Partner 

Do you struggle to sleep due to the constant movements of your partner? If yes, you’re not alone. A considerable number of people suffer insomnia due to sleeping with restless partners. The situation can get so bad that many are forced to move to the guest bedroom or even switch from their beds to the sofa.

The good news is that an affordable memory foam mattress topper can sort out your issues and prevent any tensions from festering. These toppers provide localized bounce which ensures that one partner does not feel the effects of the other’s movements.

Proper Alignment For Couples

The majority of mattresses are engineered for specific sleeping positions. If you sleep with a partner whose sleeping position is different from yours, a mattress topper may be the best option. It can offer the right level of support to provide proper alignment for both bodies.

Toppers become incumbent when a mattress delivers sleep satisfaction for one partner but not the other.


Congratulations on reading up to this point. You now know when to choose what when it comes to the new mattress vs mattress topper debate.

If your mattress is fairly new and in great condition, a mattress topper is usually the best option to correct minor problems that may be interfering with your sleep or that of your partner.

However, the best way to revive your sleep when your mattress is worn out is to buy a brand new one. Make sure to choose a model that meets your needs in terms of budget, airflow, weight support, firmness, and other considerations.

Happy shopping!

Gabriel Smith

Hello, my name is Gabriel and I LOVE to sleep. Okay, you’re right, a lot of people do like sleep. But my passion is actually not sleeping. My interest lies in the “theoretical part”. What to do before bedtime. What a good night’s sleep is. etc. In short, how to sleep well. I hope you share the same interest as me, and enjoy reading everything about sleep.

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