Best Mattress Topper for College – 5 Options for Dorm Room Mattresses

Last Updated:November 15, 2020

College is one of the best years of a teenager’s life and it can be made even better with a comfortable living space. Arguably more important than a sturdy desk or swivel chair is a plush, supportive place to sleep on every night. Sadly, it’s hard to feel comfy on a rigid, worn out dorm mattress. Shopping around for good deals on a mattress topper will refresh an old bed so it feels brand new. Here are some things to consider when looking for the best mattress topper for college.

Things to Consider Before Buying A Dorm Room Mattress Topper

What is a mattress topper?

A mattress topper enhances the comfort of a mattress, serving as an additional cushion. Toppers are thicker than mattress pads. As the name implies, a mattress topper sits on top of the mattress and sometimes are affixed using straps. They form a barrier between your beddings and mattress. A mattress topper can keep spills, stains, dust, mildew, and allergens from latching on to your mattress.

Mattress Topper Benefits

Here are some reasons why you need a mattress topper when you’re going away to college.

Hygiene

Your dorm mattress is a breeding ground for bacteria and dust mites. Sweat, dead skin cells, and dirt can go through your sheets and settle into the mattress. A mattress topper serves as a thick layer of protection, especially if it’s antibacterial and hypoallergenic.

Comfort

Let’s face it: the mattress in your college dorm room has probably taken a beating. It’s likely that it’s flattened and sagged from years of use. A mattress topper makes any mattress more comfortable so you get better sleep, something all students need.

Even Sleep Surface

A mattress topper creates a supportive surface to sleep on so your body stays in alignment as you sleep without sinking or dipping.

Pressure Relief

A good mattress topper will conform to the body, cupping pressure points in the neck, shoulders, hips, and back.

Customization

If you have particular preferences about the firmness of your mattress, a mattress topper can help. It can toughen up a quicksand-like foam or add plushness to a brick-hard bed.

How to choose the best mattress topper for college

Size

Before buying a mattress topper, measure the mattress in the dorm room you’ll be moving into. These are usually Twin, Full, or Twin XL-sized but it never hurts to be sure so you get the right mattress topper size.

Thickness

You should also check how deep the dorm room mattress is so you can decide if the mattress topper is adequate for your size and sleeping style. For example, if you have a wafer-thin mattress, you can compensate for that by buying a thicker mattress topper. If the mattress offers enough depth, you can get away with a thinner mattress topper.

Type

Here are some mattress topper materials and their advantages over other types. You may find that your sleeping needs and dorm room mattress are more suited for one type of topper material.

Latex

Latex mattress toppers can be made from natural or synthetic latex. Natural latex is of higher quality than synthetic. Latex mattress toppers are the best pick if you’re looking for maximum support and durability. These feel firmer than foam and are naturally springy.

Foam Egg Crate

Mattress toppers made of an egg crate-like surface are affordable options for a student on a budget. They have a ventilated design so they feel cooling. Egg crate mattress toppers distribute weight evenly and relieve pressure points.

Memory Foam

A memory foam mattress topper is best for people who want a close conforming pad that feels soft. It’s comfortable and will cushion the sorest pressure points. Memory foam is a good mattress topper for a very firm mattress that’s starting to show its age.

Down and Feathers

Down and feathers feel like the height of luxury and add plushness to any sleeping surface. Though they are soft, you will need to fluff up these mattress toppers regularly because the feathers tend to compress when bearing weight.

Cotton and Wool

Mattress toppers made of cotton and wool are lightweight, so they’re transportable, which can be handy if you’re going to be moving dorm rooms and don’t want to lug around a chunky mattress topper. Wool and cotton are breathable textiles that wick away moisture, too, so you’ll sleep well even on humid nights.

Polyester Blends

Fiberfill or polyester blend mattress toppers are a good alternative to down. They are soft and economical materials that won’t trigger allergies like feathers can. However, like feathers and down, fiberfill flattens and gets lumpy after prolonged use.

Cost

You don’t have to spend a fortune to get a good mattress topper but a more expensive option usually lasts longer than a dorm room topper with lower-quality materials. For example, a fiberfill mattress topper will compress quicker than high-density foam mattress toppers.

Care

A mattress topper needs to be cleaned regularly, especially in a filthy dorm room that you’ll share with other people. It should therefore be easy to maintain. Washable mattress toppers are even better but the ability to easily spot clean or vacuum it is sufficient.

FAQs

Should I get a mattress topper for college?

I highly recommend buying a mattress topper to supplement your sleeping conditions, especially since dorm rooms aren’t exactly known for high-quality mattresses. This will pay dividends over the course of your college career by providing you with a comfy place to sleep on. When you get better rest, the effects radiate to your schoolwork, social life, and general wellbeing.

How can I make my college mattress more comfortable?

Aside from getting the right mattress topper for your bed, another way to improve your dorm sleeping environment is to get high-quality beddings, like sheets and duvets with a cool, airy fabric for extra air circulation in cramped rooms. You should also invest in a pillow or two that suits your sleeping style. Personally, I think college students will make a lot of use out of light-blocking eye masks since you may be sleeping next to someone pulling an all-nighter or who likes to leave the lights on.

How thick of a mattress topper do I need for college?

It depends on how firm the mattress is but generally, the best topper will be at least 3 inches thick. This depth will give you enough comfort and support, especially if your mattress is sagging, firm, or lumpy.

The Top 5 Mattress Toppers for Dorm Rooms: Toppers to For A Good Night’s Sleep Away From Home

LINENSPA 2 Inch Gel Infused Memory Foam Mattress Topper

I love memory foam toppers like this with gel infusions to combat sweltering conditions in dorm rooms or tight spaces. This is the 2-inch variant available in sizes Twin, Twin XL, Full and Full XL, as well as larger options, so it has every mattress size covered.

This is an affordable mattress topper made of very soft 100 percent polyurethane memory foam that contours closely to the body and helps keep proper spine alignment so it covers both comfort and support.

The 2-inch dorm bed topper is filled with gel beads which keep you cool by dispersing body heat into the air. The memory foam topper won’t feel as hot as regular memory foam does, so it’s best for warm sleepers who want a memory foam feel.

I like this 2-inch thick dorm mattress topper because it relieves pressure points well by molding close to the body where you need it, such as in achy hips, lower back, shoulders, and neck. It’s pillowy soft, just what a firm mattress needs to make it feel comfier.

The memory foam is CertiPUR-US certified so it’s expert-tested for durability and safety. That said, I wish this mattress topper was more durable because it tears up when you try to roll it. I don’t recommend this if you need a mattress that can be folded up for easy storage.

I also think you need a good cover for this mattress topper as it needs a bit more TLC than other mattress toppers. For the price, though, it’s a steal.

Pros
Cons

LUCID 2 Inch 5 Zone Lavender Memory Foam Mattress Topper

Lucid is an online mattress company that offers a slew of mattress toppers at an affordable price and great value. This mattress topper is 2 inches thick, composed of CertiPUR-US certified lavender-scented memory foam. The smell of lavender relaxes the senses, thus preparing the body for sleep. The fragrance is strong when unpacked so if you’re sensitive, you may need to air it out first in a ventilated area before using.

The mattress topper has five zoned support, which is great to see at this price point. That means the five areas of the mattress have different firmness or support, customized to the head, shoulders, back, hips, and legs. The design helps relieve achy joints, back pain or pressure points that may disrupt the much-needed sleep of a college student.

The memory foam provides a plush layer to a too firm mattress. Though it lacks gel infusions, it’s temperature neutral.

The mattress topper is available in Twin, Twin XL, Full and Full XL sizes, as well as Queen, King and California King, which should be enough for most dorm rooms. It’s also backed by a 3-year warranty, which is three-quarters of your college stay, giving you peace of mind in case of defects or tearing.

Since this is a thinner memory foam topper, it can be prone to tearing when mishandled. You should take care not to pull the sides and edges and ensure your sheets are a good fit for the mattress and the mattress topper.

Pros
Cons

ViscoSoft 4 Inch Pillow Top Memory Foam Mattress Topper

This 4-inch thick mattress topper dramatically alters the feel of any old mattress, making it perfect for dorm rooms with less than stellar mattresses. You can sleep on a comfortable surface without spending a fortune.

It’s made of 2.5 inches of gel-infused memory foam topped by 1.5 inches of a soft down alternative pearl fiber pillow top, making for 4 inches of support and comfort for a good night’s sleep.

Its encasement is 100 percent cotton sateen with a high thread count, making your bed more comfortable. It promotes better air circulation and has moisture-wicking properties. It also comes with a stretchy skirt to make sure it latches on to a mattress securely. Plus, it comes with straps for the best fit.

What I like most about this is the removable and washable cover pad. This is an underrated feature that makes cleaning the mattress topper as easy as chucking it into the wash.

Like other memory foam toppers, this has a close cradling feel that will hug pressure points. Its slow response means it can really follow the contours of the body as you sleep so you don’t wake up with aches and pains.

If you like the feeling of sinking into your mattress, you will love this pillow top mattress topper. I think it’s one of the best mattress toppers for college students who like sleeping on their side. They need to make sure there’s extra cushioning in the hips and shoulders as they sleep, especially if their dorm mattress is too firm.

The memory mattress topper is temperature neutral and I can easily recommend it to hot sleepers. Its aesthetic will give a sleek look to any dorm toom that needs some sprucing up. It looks and feels comfortable and inviting.

This memory foam mattress topper also comes with a 60-day money-back guarantee and an ample 3-year warranty for peace of mind. That said, this carries a higher price tag. The softness makes it a poor fit for stomach sleepers or college students who need more support.

Pros
Cons

Classic Brands 3-Inch Cool Cloud Gel Memory Foam Mattress Topper

This 3-inch mattress topper is made of ultra soft gel memory foam that carries a CertiPUR-US certification, ensuring you get the highest quality with your purchase.

The ridged egg crate and floral indentations on the surface helps ease pressure points for a comfortable sleep. The ventilated design promotes air circulation so you don’t sleep hot, perfect for balmy nights.

The 3-inch foam is encased in a machine washable zippered mesh cover for easy cleaning. It also comes with an anti-slip cover to help it stay in place as you sleep.

The 3-inch mattress topper gives you an even surface to lay on for proper spinal alignment to help the muscles release into a sweet slumber. The memory foam will stay fresh for years because it has antimicrobial and allergen-resistant properties.

It’s available in Twin, Twin XL and Full sizes so it will suit any dorm room mattress. Backed by a 3-year warranty, the dorm mattress topper is guaranteed to last your college years and beyond.

If you want to soften up a rigid dorm mattress, this is one of the top mattress topper picks for you. A small caveat is the mattress topper does tend to shift throughout the night since it doesn’t come with straps. You may have to adjust it every now and then or alternately, get a stabilizer pad or straps for it.

Pros
Cons

AmazonBasics Hypoallergenic Quilted Mattress Topper Pad Cover

This is a lightweight, easy to clean mattress topper that shields your mattress from spills and stains while adding cushioning. It’s more of a pad than a topper so it’s best for a mattress that’s medium to soft.

The quilted design feels luxurious while the polycotton cover allows air to circulate freely. The mattress topper is stuffed with hypoallergenic fiber fill that keeps allergies at bay. The quilting keeps the fluff evenly distributed.

The mattress topper is thoughtfully constructed with knitted fabric sides that can fit mattresses up to 18 inches. That means it will stay put even if you toss and turn as you sleep.

Cleaning the mattress topper is easy because it’s completely machine washable and dryer safe. It fits most dorm rooms too because it’s available in Twin, Twin XL and Full. It meets the OEKO-TEX Standard 100 criteria so the textiles are safe and environmentally-friendly.

This mattress topper is best for allergy sufferers and those allergic to memory foam offgassing as it’s made of hypoallergenic fiberfill. It’s also low-maintenance, making it an attractive option for busy college students. The mattress pad is not thick, so it’s not suitable for firm mattresses.

Pros
Cons

Conclusion

That ends this roundup of the best mattress toppers for college dorm mattresses. The clear winner of this list is the ViscoSoft Pillow Top Memory Foam Mattress Topper. Memory foam is a treat for sore muscles and will ease pressure points that tend to build up when sleeping on a firm mattress. It will feel like sleeping on a cloud.

The mattress topper is 4-inch thick, ideal for supporting students and dorm mattresses of all sizes. It’s easy to clean as it comes with a machine washable cover. As a bonus, it has a skirt and straps that help the topper latch on to a mattress so it doesn’t slide around and disrupt your sleep.

It costs a pretty penny but it’s made of high quality materials that will last you more than four years. It’s definitely the best memory foam mattress topper that will make any dorm bed feel more homey and comfy.