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Best mattress topper for dorm beds –certified for great sleep on campus

When you invest in the best mattress topper for dorm beds, you can transform the feel of your bed to get better sleep this semester

One of the best mattress topper for dorm beds on a bed.
(Image credit: Tempur)
Best mattress topper for dorm beds 2024: Jump Menu

One of the best mattress toppers, the Avocado Organic Latex Topper

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1. The list in brief ↴
2. Best overall: Viscosoft Active Cooling Memory Foam
3. Best firm: Nolah Mattress Topper
4. Best foam: Sleep Innovations 4 Inch Memory Foam
5. Best eco: Earthfoam Mattress Topper
6. Best cooling: Lucid 3 Inch Memory Foam
7. Best luxury: Puffy Deluxe Mattress Topper
8. How we test
9. Meet the team
10. Best mattress topper for dorm beds FAQs

The best mattress topper for dorm beds could transform your sleep on campus. A memory foam mattress topper should soften up an old innerspring, while a firmer topper could save you from sinking into a soft, sagging mattress. 

I still remember my first night in a college dorm. I was staying the night before an admissions interview, and the college had put me up in one of their student rooms. I woke up with a stiff neck and an aching back, cursing that firm, inflexible mattress. I swore to my mom that, if I ever got into that school, the first thing we were buying was a mattress topper. 

A few months later, I moved into that same dorm room, armed with the best mattress topper I could afford. I carried that mattress topper across campus every time I moved, and it saved my sleep. These days, I'm H&G's resident sleep writer, and I understand what makes the best mattress topper for dorm beds: sustainable materials, quality craftsmanship, and a reasonable price point.

Best mattress topper for dorm beds 2024

You can trust Homes & Gardens. Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing the latest products, helping you choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

To help you compare and contrast, I've ranked each of the best mattress toppers for dorm beds against the same criteria: comfort; quality of construction; cooling properties; and the all-important price. 

The quick list

If you've already got your eye on a mattress topper, you can skip straight to that section using the jump menu. If you'd prefer to take stock of your options, browse the best mattress toppers for dorm beds below. 

The best mattress topper for dorm beds

ViscoSoft Select High Density Mattress Topper against a blue background.H&G silver badge

(Image credit: Amazon)

1. ViscoSoft Select High Density Mattress Topper

Best mattress topper for dorm beds

Specifications

Type: Memory Foam
Firmness : Medium
Thickness: 3"
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King

Reasons to buy

+
Cooling
+
Machine-washable cover
+
Reasonable RRP

Reasons to avoid

-
Less suitable for thicker mattresses
Buy it if

✅ You want to soften up a firm mattress: this memory foam mattress topper offers plush comfort.
✅ You're a hot sleeper: this mattress topper is infused with cooling copper.
✅ You suffer from neck or back pain: memory foam is made to absorb pressure.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You want to firm up a sagging mattress: you'll find this mattress topper too soft.
❌ You have a thicker mattress: the straps of this topper struggle to stretch over deep mattresses.
❌ You struggle to lift heavy weights: you might not want to carry this heavy topper across campus.

The bottom line

🔎 I wish I'd known about the ViscoSoft Select High Density Mattress Topper when I was in college.

This top-quality topper should solve all the common problems with dorm beds. The ViscoSoft Select High-Density Mattress Topper is plush enough to soften up firm mattresses and sufficiently supportive to minimize motion transfer. 

This mattress topper is filled with high-density foam to cushion your neck and shoulders while lifting your lower back to promote proper spinal alignment. It's suitable for all sleepers, whether you lie on your front, back, or side. 

Forget everything you think you know about foam: this mattress topper is infused with a cooling gel to dissipate heat and wick moisture. It's ideal for hot sleepers, warmer weather, and anyone whose dorm room tends to trap heat. 

The ViscoSoft Select High-Density Mattress Topper isn't perfect. It comes with straps to ensure a secure fit, but those straps aren't sufficiently supple to stretch over deep mattresses: not that you're likely to find a plush mattress in your dorm room. When all is said and done, this is the mattress topper I'd buy if I were going back to school.

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Test results
AttributesNotesRating
ComfortAlleviates back, neck, and joint pain★★★★★
Quality of constructionSuitable for all sleep positions★★★★★
Cooling propertiesInfused with cooling gel★★★★
PriceReasonable RRP★★★

The best firm mattress topper for dorm beds

Corner of a Nolah Mattress Topper on a bed.

(Image credit: Nolah)

2. Nolah Mattress Topper

Best firm mattress topper

Specifications

Type : Airfoam
Thickness : 2"
Firmness : Luxury firm
Sizes : Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King

Reasons to buy

+
Pressure-relieving
+
Excellent motion isolation
+
Great edge support

Reasons to avoid

-
Strong smell from off-gassing
Buy it if

✅ You want to firm up a soft, sagging mattress: that's exactly what this topper is designed to do.
✅ You're a hot sleeper: this mattress topper offers the feel of memory foam without the heat retention.
✅ You have a thick mattress: the Nolah Mattress Topper straps can stretch over mattresses up to 15 inches deep.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You want to soften up a firm mattress: you'll find this topper insufficiently soft.
❌ You want a thick topper: the Nolah Mattress Topper is just two inches thick.
❌ You're on a tight budget: you could definitely pick up a decent mattress topper for less.

The bottom line

🔎 The Nolah Mattress Topper is ideal for hot sleepers looking to firm up a sagging mattress.

Unless your dorm room is recently renovated, and you've got a brand new bed, you're likely to find an older mattress that's softened with age and action and might be starting to sag. A firm topper, like this one from Nolah, should lend more support to your mattress. The good news: it comes with stretchy straps to accommodate thicker mattresses.

If you tend to sleep on your back or stomach, then you need a firmer surface to keep from sinking in and maintain the natural alignment of your spine, especially after spending long hours hunched over your desk. A firm mattress topper should set you straight, though it might not have enough give for side sleepers. 

The Nolah Mattress Topper is filled with AirFoam. It feels a lot like memory foam, only it's more breathable, so it's better suited for hot sleepers and warmer weather. It comes wrapped in a cooling cotton cover to regulate temperature and wick moisture.

There isn't much I don't like about the Nolah Mattress Topper. It's just one thing: the smell of the off-gassing. When you unbox the mattress topper and fold it out onto your bed, you'll notice a strong chemical smell emanating from the foam. Our expert tester found it took a day or two for the smell to fade: hopefully, your roommate won't mind. 

You can find more details in our Nolah Mattress Topper review.

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Test results
AttributesNotesRating
ComfortFirms up softer mattresses★★★★
Quality of constructionStretchy straps★★★★★
Cooling propertiesAirFoam boosts breathability★★★★
PriceOn the more expensive side★★★

Best memory foam mattress topper for dorm beds

Sleep Innovations 4 Inch Memory Foam Mattress Topper on a bed.

(Image credit: Amazon)

3. Sleep Innovations Dual Layer 4 Inch Memory Foam Mattress Topper

The best memory foam mattress topper

Specifications

Type: Memory foam
Firmness: Plush
Thickness: 4 inches
Sizes: Twin, Full, Queen, King, California King

Reasons to buy

+
Soft yet supportive
+
Infused with cooling gel
+
Reasonable RRP

Reasons to avoid

-
Might be too thick
Buy it if

✅ You want to soften up a firm mattress: that's exactly what this topper is designed to do.
✅ You're on a budget: this is one of the most affordable mattress toppers on this list.
✅ You're a hot sleeper: this mattress topper is infused with cooling gel.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You want to firm up a soft mattress: you should seek out something more supportive, such as rubber or latex.
❌ You have a Twin XL mattress: that's the only size that Sleep Innovations doesn't stock.
❌ You don't want a thick topper: the Sleep Innovations Mattress Topper is a whopping four inches thick.

The bottom line

🔎The Sleep Innovations Dual Layer 4 Inch Memory Foam Mattress Topper is soft yet supportive. 

The Sleep Innovations Dual Layer 4-Inch Memory Foam Mattress Topper boasts tens of thousands of five-star ratings on Amazon, praising its plush comfort and pressure-relieving properties.

If you're sleeping on a firm mattress in your dorm room, and you wake up aching every day, you might feel tempted to throw it out and replace it with the best mattress you can afford. Unfortunately, most universities don't allow you to replace your mattress: even if they did, you'd struggle to find somewhere to store your old mattress in your dorm. A plush mattress topper could transform your sleep for less. 

The Sleep Innovations Mattress Topper comprises two layers: three inches of thick memory foam, as well as an inch-thick pillow top for plush comfort, which is machine-washable for convenient cleaning.

One thing about memory foam: it's known to trap heat. That's the downside of all that dense foam: there simply aren't enough air pockets to dissipate heat and wick moisture. To their credit, Sleep Innovations infuses this mattress topper with a cooling gel, but I still wouldn't recommend it for hot sleepers.

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Test results
AttributesNotesRating
ComfortSoftens up firm mattresses★★★★
Quality of constructionCertiPUR-US certified★★★★
Cooling propertiesInfused with cooling gel★★★★
PriceReasonable RRP★★★★

Best eco-friendly mattress topper for dorm beds

Earthfoam mattress topper on mattress on pink background

(Image credit: Earth Foam)

4. Earthfoam Mattress Topper

Best eco-friendly mattress topper

Specifications

Type : Foam rubber
Thickness : 2"
Firmness : Firm
Sizes : Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King

Reasons to buy

+
Made from eco-friendly fabrics 
+
Firm for added support 
+
Great edge support 

Reasons to avoid

-
Couldn't soften up a firm mattress
Buy it if

✅ You want to firm up a soft, sagging mattress: that's exactly what this topper is designed to do.
✅ You want to shop sustainably: the Earthfoam Mattress Topper is made from natural rubber, organic wool + cotton.
✅ You're a hot sleeper: this mattress topper is naturally breathable and thermoregulating.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You want to soften up a firm mattress: you might be better off with memory foam.
❌ You're on a budget: you could definitely pick up a decent mattress topper for less.
❌ You sleep on your side: you might find that this mattress topper doesn't have enough give.

The bottom line

🔎The Earthfoam Mattress Topper is a great option for eco-conscious shoppers, as well as front and back sleepers.

Memory foam is widely held to be this miracle material, designed to contour to the curves of your body and relieve pressure from your joints, but it isn't perfect. If you prefer the feel of foam, but you'd like to sleep cool and shop sustainably, you should consider the Earthfoam Mattress Topper. 

Filled with thick layers of responsive rubber, the Earthfoam Mattress Topper is made to cushion your neck and shoulders and ease any pain from your pressure points. It comes wrapped in organic wool for breathability and quilted in cotton for enhanced durability.

Earthfoam advertises this as a plush topper, but I've slept on it much softer. I wouldn't rely on the Earthfoam Mattress Topper to soften up a firm mattress. If you're struggling to sleep while stainless steel coils dig into your skin, I'd recommend you pick up a memory foam mattress topper, instead. 

Out of all the mattress toppers on this list, the Earthfoam is one of the most expensive. I might not have been able to afford it on a student budget, but I'd have loved to receive it as a gift before I went up to college.

You can find more details in our Earthfoam Mattress Topper review

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Test results
AttributesNotesRating
ComfortMedium-soft support★★★★
Quality of constructionSustainably sourced organic materials★★★★★
Cooling propertiesNaturally breathable fabrics★★★
PriceOne of the most expensive mattress toppers on this list★★

The best cooling mattress topper for dorm beds

5. Lucid 3 Inch Memory Foam Mattress Topper

The best cooling mattress topper for dorm rooms

Specifications

Type: Memory foam
Firmness: Medium-soft
Thickness: 3 Inch
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King

Reasons to buy

+
Soft yet supportive
+
Cooling gel
+
Reasonable RRP

Reasons to avoid

-
Couldn't firm up a soft, sagging mattress
Buy it if

✅ You want to soften up a firm mattress: that's exactly what this topper is designed to do.
✅ You're on a budget: this is one of the most affordable mattress toppers on the market.
✅ You suffer from back and neck pain: memory foam is made to relieve pressure.

Don't buy it if:

❌ You want to firm up a soft mattress: you should consider alternative materials, such as rubber and latex.
❌ You're a super hot sleeper: you might want to avoid memory foam altogether.
❌ You want a secure fit: this mattress topper comes without straps.

The bottom line

🔎 The Lucid 3 Inch Memory Foam Mattress Topper can keep you cool for less.

For custom comfort, take a look at the Lucid Memory Foam Mattress Topper. Lucid stocks the widest range of sizes of any mattress manufacturer I've seen, including a Full XL option to fit those awkwardly sized beds you find in some dorms. 

You can also select the thickness of your topper: two inches will enhance support; four inches will lend plush comfort; and three inches might just be the sweet spot.

This is one of the more breathable memory foam mattress toppers on the market. The Lucid Memory Foam Mattress Topper is ventilated for superior airflow and thermoregulation. It should be suitable for hot sleepers and warm climates, especially when you factor in the cooling gel infusion.

I wouldn't suggest the Lucid Memory Foam Mattress Topper to toughen up a soft, sagging mattress, but I'd recommend it for almost every other situation, whatever your sleep style and bed size.

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Test results
AttributesNotesRating
ComfortDesigned to soften up old mattreses★★★★
Quality of constructionNo straps★★
Cooling propertiesInfused with cooling gel★★★★
PriceHighly affordable★★★★★

The best luxury mattress topper for dorm beds

6. Puffy Deluxe Mattress Topper

The best luxury mattress topper for dorm beds

Specifications

Type: Memory foam
Firmness: Firm or soft options
Thickness: 2.5"
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King

Reasons to buy

+
Custom comfort
+
Pressure-relieving
+
Reasonable RRP

Reasons to avoid

-
Too plush for some
Buy it if

✅ You're working with a firm OR soft mattress: Puffy produces soft and firm toppers to counteract the issue.
✅ You want luxury for less: for a premium mattress topper, the Puffy comes seriously cheap.
✅ You suffer from aches and pains: memory foam is designed to relieve pressure.

Don't buy it if:

❌You're a really hot sleeper: you might want to avoid memory foam altogether.
❌ You don't like the feel of memory foam: you might prefer a rubber or latex topper.
❌ You're on a tight budget: you could definitely pick up a decent topper for less.

The bottom line

🔎 The Puffy Deluxe Mattress Topper would make a great gift for a struggling sleeper who doesn't want to spend on themselves.

At some colleges, you stay in the same dorm bed throughout your whole four years. If you know you're going to spend a lot of time in one room, then it makes sense to splurge on a mattress topper. 

The Puffy Deluxe Mattress Topper comes in every size, from Twin to California King, and has two comfort levels to suit your sleep needs. You could go firm to spruce up a sagging mattress or opt for soft to ease the pressure on your joints. 

Filled with two and a half inches of memory foam, the Puffy Deluxe Mattress Topper is thick enough to transform the feel of your mattress, but not so thick that your mattress will dramatically increase in height and leave you cramped up against the ceiling. 

The Puffy Deluxe Mattress Topper is wrapped in a unique blend of polyester and bamboo rayon to enhance flexibility and boost breathability, then reinforced with elasticated corners. This topper is suitable for hot sleepers and anyone who tosses and turns: not bad for less than $200.

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Test results
AttributesNotesRating
ComfortChoose between firm and soft options★★★★★
Quality of constructionReinforced elastic★★★★★
Cooling propertiesBamboo boosts breathability★★★★
PriceReasonable RRP★★★★

How we test mattress toppers

A hand resting on the Helix Plush Mattress Topper.

(Image credit: Future / Alex Temblador)

We put a lot of thought into how we test mattress toppers. It's more than a matter of sleeping on the job. 

We like to test toppers across several weeks, if not months, to monitor their performance over time. The best mattress topper should feel comfortable, keep cool, and fit snugly over your mattress and beneath your sheets. A mattress topper doesn't need to be ultra-plush to earn my sleep editor seal of approval. You might only want to slightly soften your mattress, or you could even be looking to firm up a softer surface. 

Meet the team

Headshot of Jamie Davis Smith.
Jamie Davis Smith

Jamie is a freelance product reviewer who’s been testing all types of bedding and sleep products for over ten years. As a working mother of four, Jamie values a good night’s sleep above all else. For this article, Jamie tested the Nolah mattress topper.

A headshot of eCommerce Editor Emilia Hitching
Emilia Hitching

Emilia is our resident sleep writer at H&G. She spends her days tracking down the lowest prices on the hottest products and spends her nights testing out the best bedding in her own bedroom.

How to choose a mattress topper for your dorm room

Mattress topper on bed secured with straps and styled with pillows

(Image credit: Amazon)

As you're shopping for a mattress topper, here are a few key considerations to keep in mind.

Size: It sounds obvious but you should make sure your mattress topper matches the size of your mattress. If you're yet to move to college and are buying a topper as part of your back-to-school checklist, then it's worth getting in touch with your school to find out the size of your bed. Most college beds will be a Twin or Twin XL, depending on the size of your room and how many you're saving. Not all mattress toppers are available in these single sizes, so you should check if you can buy the right size in stock. 

Budget: As a student, you're likely working with a small budget. As the mattress world is, toppers can be expensive, especially from some of the top-rated brands like Saatva or Plushbeds. Yes, you can get some cheap toppers from Amazon, but they're unlikely to transform an uncomfortable bed if you're paying below $100. You should look at spending around $200-300 for a middle-of-the-range mattress topper. 

Firmness: Most college beds are likely to be old and sagging, which means they're lacking in support. If your bed is dipping or you can feel the springs as you sleep, you should look to add firmness. A mattress topper made of high-density foam will be best for support and comfort, and if given the option, we recommend choosing a firm or even extra firm option. 

Best mattress topper for dorm rooms FAQs

How thick should a mattress topper for college be? 

You're looking for a mattress topper between two and three inches thick. That's just enough to soften up an old mattress and soothe your aches and pains. A thinner mattress topper is easier to store between semesters and transport from home to campus.

You don't want anything too thick, especially if your dorm room has bunk beds or low ceilings: adding too thick a mattress topper will only make the space feel smaller. Plus, you'll have to pick up deeper-pocket sheets, too.

What size mattress topper should I get for my dorm? 

The vast majority of dorm room beds are made to fit Twin XL mattresses, so you should look for a Twin XL mattress topper. If you're still not sure, you could always double-check with your RA or a member of the accommodation staff before you purchase.

Final thoughts

Once you've invested in the best mattress topper for dorm beds, it's to upgrade the rest of your college bedroom. A set of the best affordable bed sheets should stay soft, keep cool, and wash well on a student's budget.