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Best mattress topper for back pain 2024: Get the support you need with our top picks

Banish backache and sleep soundly with our pick of the best mattress toppers

The best mattress toppers for back pain can help alleviate stiffness, allowing you to sleep better and move more freely when morning comes. Unfortunately, buying a topper to tackle back pain isn’t as straightforward as you might like it to be. Depending on how you sleep, or how heavy you are, a topper that might help with one person’s back pain could make another’s significantly worse.

All mattress toppers featured in our round-up below have been carefully selected after battling it out in our rigorous tests or as a result of some extensive research. Our testing process involves a thorough analysis of key features such as comfort, durability, the type of filling and value for money, while our research entails trawling through everything from manufacturer websites and data sheets to online user reviews.

To give you an idea of what you should consider before making your purchase, jump straight to our buying guide. However, if you’re good to go and well-versed on all mattress topper-related matters, head directly to our round-up of the best mattress toppers for back pain.

READ NEXT: Best mattresses toppers overall

Best mattress topper for back pain: At a glance

Best Xiaomi phonePanda Mattress Topper (~From £100)Check price at Panda
Best cheap mattress topperSilentnight Airmax mattress topper (~From £32)Check price at Silentnight
Best for breathabilityDormeo Octasmart Deluxe (~From £459)Check price at Dormeo

The best mattress toppers to buy for back pain in 2024

1. Panda Memory Foam Mattress Topper: Best all-round memory foam topper

Price when reviewed: From £100 (single) | Check price at Panda

  • Great for… comfort, value for money
  • Not so great for… those who don’t get along with memory foam

Panda’s memory foam mattress topper costs £160 for a king size, making it one of the best-value foam toppers we’ve tested. It’s really only able to be beaten on price by the Silentnight Impress (£105 for a king size) but, if you have the budget, we’d definitely recommend plumping for the Panda: it’s very comfortable, regardless of your sleeping position, but isn’t so spongy that you feel like you’re sinking through it. Instead, it offers ample support while still accommodating your body’s curves and relieving pressure.

The topper’s cover is made from bamboo, a naturally breathable fabric that has hypoallergenic and antibacterial properties. Bamboo is also widely considered to be sustainable and eco-friendly and, while this claim is sometimes overstated, Panda ensures its bamboo is ethically sourced, grown free from pesticides, and free from harsh chemicals.

Not only is this a great-value mattress topper, but it also comes with a 30-night home trial period. If you’re looking to make your first foam topper purchase, it’s a fantastic choice.

Read our full Panda Memory Foam Mattress Topper review

Key features – Filling: Memory foam; Machine washable? Cover only; Thickness: 5cm; Sizes: Single to super king, plus EU sizes; Warranty: Ten-year guarantee, plus 30-night home trial

Check price at Panda

2. Silentnight Airmax mattress topper: Best cheap mattress topper

Price when reviewed: From £32 (single) | Check price at Silentnight

  • Great for… those on a budget
  • Not so great for… upgrading a lumpy or sagging mattress

Silentnight’s Airmax topper is our favourite budget option and, at just over £40 for the king size, it’s the most affordable mattress topper in this roundup by far. It’s also the only non-foam option, but the polyester hollowfibre filling still adds a decent layer of cushioning on top of a hard mattress.

The Airmax design features mesh sides for improved breathability so you won’t get too hot at night. The whole thing is machine washable and has elasticated straps to secure it in place on your mattress.

Key features – Filling: Polyester; Thickness: 8cm; Machine washable? Yes; Sizes: Single to super king; Warranty: 2 years

Check price at Silentnight

3. Dormeo Octasmart Deluxe Mattress Topper: Best mattress topper for breathability

Price when reviewed: From £459 (single) | Check price at Dormeoo

  • Great for… those who can afford to splurge
  • Not so great for… some still found it a bit too firm

As far as memory foam mattress toppers go, Dormeo’s Octasmart Deluxe is rather unique: this 7cm-deep topper contains a layer of 4cm foam springs sandwiched between two layers of open cell memory foam. These springs are designed to provide even support throughout your whole body, with each individual spring responding and adapting to your weight.

Dormeo also claims that its “Octavent” system makes the Octasmart Deluxe eight times more breathable than traditional memory foam. It’s a bold claim but, while we were testing the topper, it did make for a comfortably cool night’s sleep.

Key features – Filling: Memory foam Octasprings, open cell memory foam; Thickness: 7cm; Sizes: Single to super king; Machine washable? Cover only; Warranty: 8-year warranty, plus 60-night home trial

Check price at Dormeo

How to buy the best mattress topper for back pain

What type of mattress topper is best for back pain?

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to finding the right mattress topper for back pain. Indeed, there are a number of different things that could be at the root of your back pain. We spoke to Gary Jones, clinic director at PHYSIO 206, and he told us that, when you lay flat on your back, pressure should be spread out evenly between key pressure points. These include the back of your head, between your shoulder blades, the back of your elbows, the base of your bottom and at your heels.

Crucially, a mattress topper will only really be helpful in cases when your mattress is too hard, as a topper won’t ever add support. This makes a mattress topper best suited to those with “lumbar lordosis”, which describes a condition where an individual has a more pronounced curve in their lower back. As Jones explains in our best mattress for a bad back roundup, these people benefit from a softer mattress as a firm bed can exaggerate the curve. If, on the other hand, you have a flat back or “swayback” posture, you’re better off looking for a new, firmer mattress.

Of course, how you sleep can also be an important factor in which mattress topper, or mattress, is best for you. For example, if you sleep on your side (a very common sleeping position, with 41% of us lying in the foetal position), adding a thicker comfort layer will make your mattress better able to accommodate your hips, relieving pressure and helping to align your spine.

There are a range of topper types available, made from synthetic materials such as memory foam or microfibre as well as natural ones such as wool, down or silk. The important thing to remember is that, regardless of what type you choose, a topper will only make your mattress feel softer.

So what if I need something firmer?

If you’re on the heavier side and you’re suffering from back pain, it might be that you’re sinking too deep into your mattress and not getting enough support. If this is the case, slapping on a mattress topper will only make matters worse. Ultimately, you’ll need to buy a new mattress, perhaps something that’s a bit firmer and more supportive than your current one.

READ NEXT: Best mattresses for a bad back

How much should I spend?

As with mattresses, the price of a mattress topper can vary significantly. A basic synthetic topper, such as the Silentnight Airmax, might only set you back around £50 for a king size.

On the other hand, a memory foam topper will inevitably cost a fair bit more, and you could find yourself spending anywhere between £150 and £1,000 for a king-size topper. However, unless you really want a luxury foam mattress topper from the likes of Tempur, there’s no need to fork out a grand and, in fact, we’d sooner recommend buying a whole new mattress instead. Particularly when there are plenty of more affordable topper options available, including the Panda at £160 in king size.

Anything else I need to consider?

While a mattress topper can help to alleviate your back pain and put some life into an old mattress, it’s not always going to be a quick fix. You should make sure you’ve got a decent mattress and bed frame, not to mention pillows.

Many of the mattress toppers you can read about in our roundup come with trial periods, allowing you to return your topper for a full refund if it’s not the right one for your needs. This certainly takes off some of the pressure of buying a new topper by letting you try it out before committing to it.

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