The best back to school sales & deals in 2021

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best back to school 2021 sales deals

  • Right now, retailers across the internet are having back to school sales with major discounts.
  • We’ve rounded up all of the best sales to shop for clothing, shoes, tech, and more.

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

While there is still time for students to soak up the summer sun, plenty of retailers are taking the opportunity to host back-to-school sales.

To save you the trouble of having to scour the internet for deals, we rounded up the best back to school sales in 2021 that are happening right now. From clothes, Apple products, and school supplies to mattresses and dorm room essentials, you’ll find everything you need for heading back to school. And, even if you’re not a student, you’ll likely find great deals on clothes, tech, and more. We’ll continue to update the best back-to-school deals here as they come up.

For more opportunities to save, check out our round-up of the best sales happening now, and the Amazon deals available.

Here are the best back to school deals available in 2021

Best back to school clothing, shoes, and accessory sales

Old Navy BTS

Adidas: Save $30 when you spend $100 using the promo code FRESH through July 23.

American Eagle: Get 30% off shorts and up to 70% off shirts, jeans, and more. 

Banana Republic: Save an extra 75% off sale styles at checkout.

JCPenney: Save up to 40% off apparel, furniture, and more. 

Kohl’s: Get 15% off your purchase using promo code TAKE15 through July 25.

Macy’s: Save on clothes, shoes, and accessories. 

Nike: Save up to 40% off shoes and apparel for men, women, and kids. 

Nordstrom: Save on hundreds of apparel and accessories for kids, women, and men during Nordstrom’s Anniversary sale.

Old Navy: Save up to 75% on sale styles now. 

The best back to school tech deals on laptops, tablets, and more

Dell sale

Apple: Apple’s year-round education pricing includes discounts on Macs and iPads, including $100 off the MacBook Air. Right now, you can get a bonus pair of AirPods with a Mac or iPad purchase.

Best Buy: Save hundreds of dollars on laptops, iPads, and accessories through Best Buy’s Student Deals. 

Dell Outlet: Save up to $250 on laptops through July 26.

HP: Get up to 47% off laptops, monitors, and more.

Lenovo: Save up to 55% on laptops and accessories. 

Office Depot: Save up to 55% off school supplies including backpacks, lunch boxes, and office supplies.

Target: Save money with office and school supplies starting at $0.25.

The best back to school deals on mattress, bedding, and dorm room essentials

Dormify 25

Avocado: Get $100 off latex mattresses now through August 9, using promo code SUMMEROFAVO.

Bed Bath & Beyond: Save 20% when you sign up as a college student. 

Casper: Get up to 50% off sale mattresses, pillows, and bedding.

Container Store: Get 15% off as a college student or parent.

Dormify: Get 20% off sitewide using promo code BACK2SCHOOL.

JCPenny: Get up to 40% off select dorm essentials using promo code 4BASICS

Macy’s: Save up to 60% on bedding. 

Mattress Firm: Save up to 50% on select mattresses.

Overstock: Save on college dorm room essentials, including decorations, bedding, and more. 

Pottery Barn Teen: Save up to 60% on all dorm essentials, including bedding, furniture, and decorations.

FAQs

When do back-to-school sales start and end?

Although students head back to school in late summer and into fall, sales usually start in July and run through late August or early September. Many retailers have student and teacher discounts year-round though, so you can find discounts around the clock. 

What’s on sale for back-to-school shopping?

Popular items for sale during back-to-school shopping include apparel, technology, school supplies, or dorm supplies for college students. Often, you can find office and school supplies cheaper than $1 during July and August. If you are unsure what you or your child may need, take a look at this back-to-school guide for shopping list inspiration.

Read more about how the Insider Reviews team evaluates deals and why you should trust us.

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17 products we swear by for staying cool when it’s hot out

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Fan blowing best products to stay cool, including a Yeti water bottle, Dyson air purifier and Eight sleep pod pro cover
  • We asked Insider Reviews reporters and editors how they stay cool during a heat wave.
  • Whether indoors or outdoors, cool down with these 17 products – from a mattress pad to a silk robe.
  • For more cooling help, check out our guides to the best portable ACs, fans, and air conditioners.

Regardless of how much you love summer, no one wants to be stuck in extreme hot and humid conditions. With heat waves starting to hit, it’s best to stay prepared with ways to stay cool – especially when the power shuts off at home or during long commutes.

We asked Insider Reviews reporters and editors for various ways that they keep cool during unbearable heat. From everyday cooling appliances to heat-resistant clothing, these options are the ultimate lifesavers to have this summer. So as the heat rolls on, try these products that can help you stay cool and have a less sweaty summer.

A mattress topper that actively cools your bed

Image of Best Cooling Mattress Topper 2021 Eight Sleep Pod Pro Mattress Cover

Eight Sleep Pod Pro Cover

Pod Pro Cover with PerfectFit (button)

When most mattress companies say their products are “cooling,” they mean that they don’t trap heat. This mattress pad by Eight Sleep actually cools your bed down — as low as 55 degrees — using an undetectable grid of water. I convinced our sleep reporter James Brains to let me be the long-term tester for this after he tested and recommended it in our guide to the best cooling mattress toppers, and wow, I don’t know how I ever survived the summers without it. Being able to chill my bed before I get in it (or while I shamelessly work from it during the day) has been a game changer. I fall asleep faster and wake up feeling cool and refreshed. It’s pricey, but the cover has made this the first summer I haven’t struggled with heat-induced insomnia. If you’re in the same boat, it may very well be worth the cost. — Lauren Savoie, senior editor

An ice cube tray that makes giant ice

The best for large cubes, the Samuelworld Jumbo Cube Tray in dark gray, with one cube it made.

Samuelworld Large Cube Tray

Large Cube Tray (button)

I talk too much about ice ever since I tested 16 trays for our guide to the best ice cube trays, but during the heatwave, my new favorite topic is super relevant. I’m using our pick for the best large cubes, the Samuelworld Jumbo Cubes Tray, almost every day to chill my drinks. Large cubes melt slower than small ones, so I’ll plop the cubes in fresh coffee that I’ve chilled to room temperature; my coffee stays cold and strong longer. The tray only holds six cubes, and at this point, I refill it almost every night. Even through this usage, the silicone has stayed firm and doesn’t have a freezer smell. — Lily Alig, junior reporter 

A luxurious and cooling linen quilt

The Parachute Linen Box Quilt on a made bed in a bedroom

Parachute Linen Box Quilt

Linen Box Quilt (Queen) (button)

I purchased this quilt a few weeks ago during Parachute’s Memorial Day sale, and it’s a much lighter and more breathable top layer than a traditional comforter. If you sleep hot, it might be right up your alley. I also suggest looking into linen sheet sets. — Ellen Hoffman, editor-in-chief service journalism 

I also bought this during Parachute’s sale and it has been a lifesaver compared to my usual all-season comforter during these hot and humid months. As someone who sleeps hot, I’ve found it to be just the right weight and nice and breathable. — Hannah Freedman, associate travel editor 

I love my Parachute linen quilt so much that I refuse to share it with my husband and we had to get a second duvet for him. — Lauren Savoie, senior editor

Really great air conditioners

LG 115V Dual Inverter Smart Window Air Conditioner Side view

LG LW1517IVSM Dual Inverter Smart Window Air Conditioner

LW1517IVSM Dual Inverter Smart Window Air Conditioner (button)

LG LP1419IVSM Dual Inverter Smart Wi-Fi Portable Air Conditioner

LP1419IVSM Dual Inverter Smart Wi-Fi Portable Air Conditioner (button)

We recently moved into an older home with no central air, so air conditioners were at the top of our list of things to buy for the summer. Insider Reviews reporter James Brains has tested countless portable ACs and window units over the last couple of years, so the first place I looked for recommendations was our buying guides. 

We bought a bunch of LG window units, in varying sizes to accommodate bigger and smaller rooms, and they do a fantastic job of cooling down the whole place. I love that I can control them with a remote too! It sounds lazy, but it’s actually really convenient when I’m on work calls and can’t get up to change the settings. — Ellen Hoffman, editor-in-chief service journalism 

I have an LG portable AC because traditional window ACs do not fit in all my windows, and it works like a charm. — Malarie Gokey, deputy editor

I’ve tested dozens of air conditioners, and the LG dual inverter ACs are what I use when I’m not testing new air conditioners. They’re energy efficient, and they do a great job without getting too loud. Also, I’m finding in the humid Michigan summers, simply using the dehumidifying function is sometimes enough to make my home comfortable. — James Brains, reporter

The quiet and powerful fan

The best fan overall Vornado 660

Vornado 660 Large Whole Room Air Circulator

660 Large Whole Room Air Circulator (button)

Now that my husband and I both work from home, our heating and cooling bills have gone through the roof. We recently purchased this fan (which is our best overall pick in our guide to the best fans) in an effort to cut back on using the ACs on milder days. I’m obsessed with this thing — it’s small, but powerful, and runs quietly so that I can use it with no issue during Zoom meetings. — Lauren Savoie, senior editor 

The Vornado works better than any fan I have ever used. I remember wondering why anyone would choose to spend so much on a fan when you can get cheap ones for $20, but the Vornado really cools rooms much more effectively and keeps the air moving. — Malarie Gokey, deputy editor

A cooling pad for your four-legged friends

Dachshund sitting on the green pet shop cooling mat

Green Pet Shop Cooling Pad

Cooling Pet Pad (Medium) (button)

Our pets struggle with the heat just as much as we do — and often more. They are wearing fur coats, after all. A few years back when I lived in a stuffy Brooklyn apartment that was difficult to cool in the summer, I bought the Green Pet Shop Cooling Pad for my frequently panting dog. It works by absorbing your pet’s body heat with a pressure-activated gel. Right out of the box, I pressed my hand into the mat and instantly felt a cooling sensation. My dog practically lived on it during the hottest summer days. Put it in your dog’s favorite spot on the floor, in their crate, or outdoors in a shaded spot. — Lisa Sabatini, editor, pets and parenting

A cool silk robe

kim + ono silk kiku kimono robe laid out on a bed the best silk womens bathrobe 2021

Kim + Ono Silk Kiku Kimono Robe

Silk Kiku Kimono Robe (button)

There’s nothing I love more on a hot day than wearing this glossy, slippery, and ultra-cool robe. Our pick for the best silk robe, it’s not only beautifully made, featuring original and hand-painted artwork, but it also feels amazing. It’s a long robe (the brand also sells short versions) with side slits and the sleeves are short and wide, letting the breeze pass through. It’s perfect for lounging inside with your AC or fan on blast. — Connie Chen, senior reporter

The most breathable mattress we’ve tested

best mattress for hot sleepers 2021 hand pressing down on the purple premier hybrid to show how much it sinks

Purple Hybrid Premier Mattress

Hybrid Premier Mattress (Queen) (button)

I have tested dozens of mattresses, and the Purple Hybrid Premier Mattress did the best at dissipating heat. That’s why it’s the best mattress for hot sleepers in our mattress guide. I use an infrared laser thermometer to measure the surface temperature of the mattress. And, the Purple built up the least amount of heat and was one of the quickest to release the heat in my tests. The biggest negative is the $2,400 price tag, but when you consider you’ll spend a third of your life for the next 10+ years on it, the price seems much more reasonable. — James Brains, reporter

A weighted eye mask you can pop in the freezer

a couple in bed with a woman wearing the gravity heating and cooling eye mask

Gravity Heating/Cooling Weighted Sleep Mask

Heating/Cooling Weighted Sleep Mask (button)

When I was a kid and we didn’t have air conditioning, my mom used to dip a washcloth in water and freeze it. Draping the frozen washcloth over my head would cool me down just enough to get to sleep in the heat. This weighted eye mask works similarly — you just pop it in the freezer for a few hours before bed and then drape it over your eyes to block light and cool you down. I like that this one has a Velcro strap so you can just lay it over your face instead of having to wear it like a traditional eye mask.  — Lauren Savoie, senior editor

Breathable boxer briefs

TomboyX

TomboyX 9-inch Boxer Briefs

9-inch Boxer Briefs (button)

I love wearing these gender-inclusive boxer briefs to sleep on hot summer nights. I also wear them under dresses and skirts to prevent friction and irritation from sweat. They’re soft, breathable, and made from 95% OEKO-TEX certified cotton and 5% spandex. The 9-inch inseam is the perfect length in a world filled with short shorts. TomboyX is also featured on our guide to the best gender-inclusive clothing and a full review. — Malarie Gokey, deputy editor

Moisture-wicking polo shirts

a man wears a grey Arctic Cool Vortex Vent Cooling Polo

Arctic Cool Vortex Vent Cooling Polo

Vortex Vent Cooling Polo (button)

I’ve always been a bit wary of apparel with so-called cooling technology but there’s been some genuine innovation with cooling fabrics over the last several years — and one of the best brands to do it is Arctic Cool. Whether I’m working out in one of its crew neck tees, or casually wearing this polo, I’m able to legitimately feel cooler on warm days. The Vortex Vent Cooling Polo features moisture-wicking technology, a unique ventilation system that helps the shirt avoid feeling stuffy, and even has UPF protection. It’s a summer staple in my wardrobe. — Rick Stella, fitness, health & outdoors editor

An ultra quiet fan and air purifier

Dyson Pure Hot Cool Review

Dyson Pure Humidify + Cool

Pure Humidify + Cool (button)

I originally started using this during the winter since it’s one of my top picks for the best humidifiers. However, one of the reasons it’s so great is because of how multi-functional it is. Not only is it also an air purifier, but in the summer I’ve switched over to using its fan function and it’s worked wonders for cooling off my bedroom at night. It even has a specific “Night Mode” that ensures it’s super quiet. — Hannah Freedman, associate travel editor

A backpack for staying hydrated

camelbak hydration pack

CamelBak HydroBak Hydration Pack

HydroBak (button)

Proper hydration is one of the most vital components to keeping cool, especially while running or hiking where it’s important to have H20 at the ready whenever you need it. And therein lies the beauty of this hydration pack from CamelBak. It’s lightweight and subtle enough to not bog me down while I run or bike, and can even hold a few extras (snacks, keys, my phone, etc.) while I’m on trail. Its included water reservoir holds 50 ounces of water which typically manages to last me a few hours of use in particularly hot weather. The HydroBak is also featured in our guide to the best hydration packs— Rick Stella, fitness, health & outdoors editor

A mattress topper to help with heat dissipation

Image of Best Cooling Mattress Topper 2021 Bear Pro Mattress Topper

Bear Pro Mattress Topper

Pro Mattress Topper (button)

I recently tested 18 mattress toppers, and the Bear Pro Topper offered the best balance of comfort, affordability, and cooling. That’s why I made it our top pick in our cooling mattress topper guide. It features a cover made of Celliant, a material I’ve found helps with staying cool. In addition to offering excellent support and pressure relief, it’s made in the US of copper-infused memory foam that is CertiPUR-US certified, which means harmful chemicals aren’t used in its construction. Plus, you can try it for 100 nights risk-free. — James Brains, reporter

A heavy-duty water bottle for keeping your beverages ice cold

hydroflask wide

Hydro Flask and Yeti water bottles

Heavy-duty water bottles from Hydro Flask and Yeti are lifesavers at the beach on really hot days. I load mine with ice and they stay super cold all day long. — Ellen Hoffman, editor-in-chief service journalism

A cooling sheet set

Sleepletics Celliant Performance Sheets

Sleepletics Celliant Performance Sheet Set

Celliant Performance Sheet Set (button)

Another Celliant product I use to keep me cool is this sheet set from Sleepletics. As with the Bear Pro Topper, the Celliant material does an outstanding job of heat dissipation so I can stay cool through the night and avoid tossing and turning. It also has a comfy, soft feel that pairs well with whatever weighted blanket I might be testing at the moment. — James Brains, reporter

A sun shelter for the beach

a person sits on the sand in the shade under the Neso Beach Tent with Sand Anchor

Neso Beach Tent with Sand Anchor

Beach Tent with Sand Anchor (button)

A friend of mine recently brought this shady tent with her when we went to the beach and I was so impressed I immediately bought one for myself. It folds down so it’s easy to fit in a backpack or beach bag, takes seconds to set up simply by spreading out the corners and filling them with sand, and provides plenty of shade for a group of four. It’s also water resistant and offers UV protection. It made our beach day so much more enjoyable and relaxing. — Hannah Freedman, associate travel editor

Read the original article on Business Insider

The 5 best mattress toppers we tested in 2021

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • A good mattress topper balances comfort and support, stays put on your mattress, and keeps you cool.
  • We slept on 18 mattress toppers for several nights and consulted with two experts to find the best.
  • The Parachute Down Mattress Pad is our top pick because it’s comfortable and dissipates heat well.

Buying a new mattress is an expensive undertaking. If your mattress is less supportive than it once was or you inherited a bed that isn’t right for your sleeping style, a topper can improve your comfort until you are ready to replace your mattress. They’re also a great option for college dorm rooms or other situations where you might not have a say in the comfort of your sleep surface. Though most toppers are designed to make your bed softer, we found some models can potentially add firmness.

These thin slabs of padding can also help with body temperature regulation. And, when you go camping, a topper affords you extra padding between your sleeping bag and the hard ground.

To test mattress toppers, I slept on 18 different models for at least two nights each, and several for many more. I also spoke with Rebecca Robbins, PhD, associate scientist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School, and Randall Laurich, DC, a chiropractor practicing in South Florida for 22 years.

I have four years of experience testing sleep products professionally. In addition to honing my subjective assessments, I’ve developed several objective tests to evaluate which toppers are best for specific needs. You can find details about how I test mattress toppers in our methodology section.

Here are the best mattress toppers you can buy in 2021

The best mattress topper overall

best mattress topper overall 2021 parachute down

The Parachute Down Mattress Pad was one of the best in every category we tested, including heat dissipation, motion isolation, comfort and support, and fit.

Pros: Excellent heat dissipation, comfortable and supportive, made in the US, attaches to your mattress like a fitted sheet, machine washable, best motion isolation

Cons: Warranty void if tag removed

The Parachute Down Mattress Pad did well in every category we tested. The only category it was just “good” in was the surface temperature immediately after getting up. Yet, two minutes after getting up, it registered cooler temps than before I laid down. It was one of only two toppers to dissipate heat this well.

Parachute recommends washing your Down Mattress Pad before you sleep on it. Fortunately, it’s machine washable, and the cleaning process was effortless. Once it’s ready, the topper goes on your mattress like a fitted sheet and has deep pockets to fit mattresses up to 18 inches thick. I liked that it stayed in place well and didn’t shift after sleeping on it for several nights.

The topper is made in the US of European white down and features a sateen cotton shell. The down of the topper kept me cool while offering plush comfort. I fell asleep quickly each night and woke up feeling refreshed in the morning. I preferred to sleep on my side while testing the Parachute topper, but it wasn’t overly soft so I felt good on my back and side as well.

The Parachute Down Mattress Pad is also a smart choice for couples with its impressive motion isolation. In fact, it did the best at dampening motion transfer in our tests.

The biggest negative has to do with the warranty. The tag on the pad states that the warranty is void if removed.

The best budget mattress topper

image of a hand pressing into the Lucid Bamboo Charcoal Memory Foam Mattress Topper, the best budget mattress topper in 2021

If you’re looking for a cheap way to make your mattress cooler and softer, consider the Lucid Bamboo Charcoal Memory Foam Mattress Topper.

Pros: Excellent cooling properties, great motion isolation, made of CertiPUR-US certified foam, stays in place, easy to set up

Cons: May be too soft for some sleeping styles and body types, plush design hinders movement

The first thing you notice when you lie down on the Lucid Bamboo Charcoal Memory Foam Mattress Topper is how much you sink in. The topper comes in two-, three-, and four-inch thicknesses. I tested the three-inch-thick model, which was a little too soft for me, and I like soft. Unless you require the softest of the soft, I’d recommend trying the two-inch style instead to ensure you are keeping your spine properly aligned.

Despite the overbearing plushness, which made sleeping on my stomach uncomfortable, I woke up feeling refreshed after each night I slept on the Lucid Bamboo Charcoal topper. 

The topper is nothing more than a slab of CertiPUR-US certified, bamboo charcoal-infused memory foam. There are several holes to help with heat dissipation, which apparently works since the Lucid topper never got very hot in my tests. When I got up from it, the heat dissipated quickly.

The thick foam also helped with motion transfer, causing this model to register one of the lowest scores on the vibration meter I use for this test. Despite not attaching to the bed, it stayed in place as I slept on it.

There weren’t any instructions for setup, and I was confused by the low-grade fabric covering that came on the topper. (I assumed it was for shipping purposes and tossed it.) The topper had a strong initial odor and was compressed, but it expanded and was odor-free by bedtime. 

The best cooling mattress topper

close up image of hexagonal pattern on the Bear Pro Mattress Topper, the best cooling mattress topper in 2021

The Bear Pro Mattress Topper is your best bet if you’re looking for a plush topper that will offer you support; pressure relief; and a cool, comfortable night’s sleep.

Pros: Excellent cooling, plush comfort, good pressure relief, made in the US of CertiPUR-US certified copper-infused foam, great motion isolation, stays in place, 100-night trial period

Cons: Had a strong initial odor that took several days to dissipate, doesn’t attach to the mattress

The Bear Pro Mattress Topper was both the best cooling and best memory foam topper we tested. It’s made in the US of CertiPUR-US certified copper-infused memory foam. I found it provided a plush feel that will appeal to all sleeping styles thanks to its ideal balance of support and pressure relief. I experienced comfy, restful sleep each night I tested it. 

The Bear Pro was one of the best at cooling in our tests. In fact, it was one of two toppers to register a lower final temperature reading than the initial reading before I laid down on it. I was surprised by this, so I reran the test and verified my findings. This topper dissipates heat well. It accomplishes this with a copper and Celliant construction, which Bear claims helps with heat regulation. We weren’t able to find any scientific studies to back this up, but based on our experience, it seems to be working.

The Bear Pro was also one of the best at motion isolation. Despite not attaching to the mattress, the topper stayed in place just fine. 

The biggest negative with the Bear Pro Mattress Topper was the strong “new bed smell” that lasted for several days. Other than that, setup took less than five minutes, and the topper expanded to full size by bedtime.

The best mattress topper for back pain

image of Tempur Pedic Topper Supreme, the best mattress topper for back pain in 2021, showing foam core with cover unzipped

If you suffer from chronic lower back pain, you’ll appreciate the body-contouring foam of the Tempur-Pedic Topper Supreme Mattress Topper.

Pros: Made of supportive and pressure-relieving memory foam, good heat dissipation, removable and machine-washable cover, 10-year warranty, easy to set up

Cons: No trial period, shifted significantly in the night, hard to put the cover back on after washing it

While testing the Tempur-Pedic Topper Supreme Mattress Topper, I was getting back into running and weightlifting after an injury sidelined me. I suffer from chronic lower back pain that’s aggravated by both these activities. I went to bed with my body exhausted and awoke feeling refreshed and ready to run and lift again, and I think the Tempur-Topper Supreme had a lot to do with the fast recovery.

I’ve long appreciated the supportive feel of Tempur-Pedic’s proprietary memory foam, which slowly adjusts to the contours of your body and keeps your spine aligned no matter what position you’re sleeping in. 

The pad features a cover made mostly of polyester that zips off so you can throw it in the washing machine. Removing the cover and washing it was easy, but putting it back on was a different story. It took me about 10 minutes to slide the cover on the floppy pad. I recommend just putting a mattress protector over it (and your mattress) to save the hassle.

Setting up the Tempur-Topper Supreme was intuitive, and there was minimal initial odor, which completely dissipated by bedtime. The topper also did a good job of staying cool, and when I got up from it, the heat dissipated quickly.

There are a few negatives with this model, though. First, you can’t return the topper once you receive it. Fortunately, there is an impressive 10-year warranty so if there are manufacturing defects, you can get a replacement. 

Another negative is the pad shifted by several inches over the course of the night as I slept on it, and there are no straps to keep it in place. Lastly, the motion isolation was just average.

The best latex mattress topper

Product image of best mattress topper overall in 2021, the avocado organic latex mattress topper

The Avocado Organic Latex Mattress Topper is designed for all sleeping styles and body types, and it’s made of eco-friendly materials and comes with a one-year trial period.

Pros: Made in the US with organic materials and natural latex, comfortable and supportive, great motion isolation, one-year risk-free trial period, 10-year warranty

Cons: Sleeps hot, shifts a bit, expensive

I’m a big fan of natural latex as a sustainable, responsive material to sleep on. The soft rubber-like foam offers cushioning around the hips and shoulders while supporting your lower back and neck. You don’t sink in like with memory foam; instead, there’s more bounce.

The Avocado Organic Latex Mattress Topper is great because it’s made of high-quality materials, including GOLS organic certified latex rubber foam. The topper as a whole is Made Safe and Greenguard Gold certified and handmade in California. The quality translates to a hefty price ($449 for a Queen), but Avocado also offers a one-year risk-free trial period and 10-year warranty; both are the best of any of the toppers we tested. 

When it comes to support and pressure relief, the Avocado Organic Latex was one of the most comfortable toppers I slept on. Whether I was on my stomach, side, or back, I felt great, and I woke up feeling refreshed in the morning. I tested the plush topper, which was slightly softer than average, but it’s also available in firm. 

Unfortunately, it slept quite hot. It did an okay job of dissipating the heat once I got up, but when I was on the topper, it reached surface temperatures over 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Another negative is it doesn’t attach to the mattress, which might have prevented it from shifting at night. 

On the plus side, the motion-dampening properties were great. I was able to set up the topper in under five minutes. While there was an initial odor, by bedtime, it dissipated.

The best firm mattress topper

close up image of airweave mattress topper, the best firm mattress topper in 2021

The Airweave Mattress Topper is ideal for back and stomach sleepers who are looking to add firm support to their mattress.

Pros: Firm support that may appeal to back and stomach sleepers, completely washable, 100-night risk-free trial period, easy setup, good bounce and easy to move around on

Cons: Poor heat dissipation, poor motion isolation, shifts on the mattress, not recommended for side sleepers

For the most part, mattress toppers are designed to help give a softer feel to a mattress that is maybe too firm for your sleeping style. The Airweave Mattress Topper, on the other hand, does the opposite.

It’s made of firm, interwoven strands of polyethylene that the brand claims allow for better airflow and heat dissipation (though in my tests, the topper was among the hottest and didn’t dissipate the heat well once I got up). 

I primarily sleep on my side, but the Airweave topper felt a little too firm for me to sleep in that position. Instead, I gravitated to my stomach and back, and the supportive feel left my body pain-free in the morning. 

The Airweave Mattress Topper came tri-folded in a large, 62-inch by 30-inch by 9-inch box and was easy to set up. It didn’t have an initial odor, and I liked how easy the topper was to clean. It’s the only model I tested that is completely washable. The polyester/cotton blend cover is machine washable, and you can wash the core with mild soap and cool water. 

The topper doesn’t attach to your mattress, which might have been helpful since it shifted as I slept on it. Another negative was the poor motion isolation. It was the worst at dampening motion transfer. But the Airweave topper has a lot of bounce, which makes it easy to move around and could help facilitate intimate activities.

What else tested

Stack of mattress toppers awaiting testing for the best mattress topper in 2021

We tested 18 mattress toppers for this guide. These are the ones that missed the cut. 

What else we recommend and why:

$150 and under

Allswell 4-Inch Memory Foam: This CertiPUR-US certified copper gel-infused memory foam topper was in the middle of the pack in every test, which makes it a solid product, but nothing sets it apart. It was easy to install, affordable, and stayed in place on the bed. Unfortunately, it doesn’t come with a warranty.

SensorPedic Bamboo Charcoal Infused Memory Foam:If our budget pick isn’t available, we strongly recommend picking this topper up, especially if you suffer from back pain. When I started testing, my back pain was flaring up, but after two nights on this, I was feeling great. It didn’t make our guide because it wasn’t particularly good at cooling, and there’s no trial period.

Helix Ultra-Cool Pad: If you’re looking for just a subtle addition of plushness to your mattress, this is a good option. The pad is only about an inch thick and goes on your mattress like a fitted sheet. (It’s also machine washable.) Yet it didn’t do as good of a job cooling as its name would suggest, and it didn’t add much support or pressure relief compared to just sleeping on the mattress alone.

Under $500

Nest Bedding Cooling: This topper didn’t live up to its name as it held onto heat once I got up from it and also had poor motion isolation. However, it was comfortable to sleep on, is made in the US with CertiPUR-US certified foam, and didn’t move on the bed. It’s on the softer side, so it may be a good option for side sleepers who prefer a more pillow top feel.

Slumber Cloud Core: This pad did at least okay in every test we put it through. It goes on your mattress like a fitted sheet, which kept it in place, and it’s easy to clean. It was also comfortable and supportive. The Core mattress pad also offered impressive motion isolation. The biggest negative is the relatively short 180-day warranty. Also, it was just in the middle of the pack at cooling and heat dissipation.

Tempur-Pedic Tempur-Adapt + Cooling: Though this model shares the same product page as our best topper for back pain, it didn’t perform as well in our tests. It was also inferior at cooling despite its name and $80 more than the other Tempur-Pedic topper. However, it was comfortable to sleep on, has a removable, machine-washable cover, and is backed by a 10-year warranty. 

Saatva Graphite: We almost included this topper in our guide, but it just wasn’t the best in any of our categories. Its average firmness was comfortable and supportive to sleep on no matter what position I was in. It did a good job of dissipating heat and features straps to secure it to your bed. However, it still shifted and the topper has poor motion isolation.

Birch by Helix Plush Organic: The Birch topper is similar to our best overall pick. Both are handmade in the US using organic latex, cotton, and wool with all sorts of eco-friendly certifications. However, though the Birch was comfortable, I enjoyed the Avocado more. If the Avocado isn’t available, this is a worthy substitute.

Over $1,000

Eight Sleep Pod Pro Cover with PerfectFit: The cool thing about the Eight Sleep topper is it makes your bed as hot or as cold as you want. It pumps water between 55 and 110 degrees Fahrenheit through the topper to keep you cool or warm you up. The app (available for iOS and Android) tracks your sleep, and you can adjust the temp to help you stay asleep through the night and wake up in the morning. However, it took an hour to set up, has poor motion isolation, and wasn’t as pressure-relieving as I would have liked.

What we don’t recommend and why:

Lucid Gel Memory Foam: Similar to the topper above, the Lucid Gel Memory Foam Topper is way too soft. But, since it’s made of memory foam, you sink in, which makes it hard to change positions in the night or get up in the morning. Go with our budget pick instead.

PlushBeds Natural Wool: The PlushBeds topper was the only model we tested that had wool fill. It’s handmade in the US and is chemical-free. However, it smelled awful and the odor didn’t go away. It also trapped heat and was way too soft for comfort. 

Sleep Number DualTemp Individual Layer: The Sleep Number mattress and AirFit pillow are among my favorites, and I had high hopes for the topper but was disappointed. It pumps air through the topper to warm or cool based on your preferences. I found it didn’t do very well at cooling and wasn’t comfortable to sleep on. I expected more at this price point.

Our testing methodology

image of a rolled up mattress topper on a bare mattress as part of testing for the best mattress topper in 2021

I personally tested all of the mattress toppers in this guide. In addition to sleeping on them, there are several objective tests I put each one through. The most important factors to consider when picking a topper are comfort, bed fit, and heat dissipation. I used the same Queen size mattress with each topper for consistency.

Here are the main attributes we looked for and how we tested them:

Setup: I timed how long it took me to unbox each mattress topper and if there were any unusual or unintuitive steps. Aside from the Sleep Number and Eight Sleep toppers, each model took less than five minutes to set up. I noted if the topper came vacuum-sealed, if it had an initial odor, and if any smell dissipated by bedtime.

Fit: Once fully expanded, I measured each topper to see if it covered an 80-inch-by-60-inch Queen mattress. After sleeping on the topper, I noted whether it stayed in place or shifted and if a fitted sheet with 13-inch-deep pockets was able to cover the topper and our 10-inch-thick test mattress. The fitted sheet stayed on through the night with all models we tested.

Heat dissipation: I used an infrared thermometer to measure the surface temperature of the part of the bed where my torso would be before laying on it for at least an hour, right after getting up, and two minutes after getting up. I compared the temperatures to determine which models were best at heat dissipation. I performed these tests several times until I felt confident in the measurements.

Support: This is a subjective test based on my four years of testing sleep products. Each morning, I would record any soreness I felt, how comfortable the topper felt the previous night, and I’d look at my sleep stats collected using the Garmin Forerunner 945 Smart Watch. I’d also note which positions I felt most comfortable in.

Motion isolation: I placed my phone with the Vibration Meter app open on the bed approximately 12 inches from the right side. Next, I lifted a 15-pound bowling ball above my head and dropped it onto the topper so that it landed approximately 12 inches from the left side of the bed (and 36 inches from the phone). I performed this test five times and kept the median score.

Trial and warranty: It’s important that you be able to return a topper if it’s not right for your body type and sleeping style. I looked at the return policy/trial period for each topper and looked for any loopholes, like shipping costs. The median trial period for the models we tested was 30 nights, and I docked points if a topper didn’t have a trial period. Also, since you want your topper to last, we looked at the warranties. The median warranty length is three years.

What we’re testing next

We’re always testing new mattress toppers and retesting our top picks to determine the best models. Here’s what we’re looking forward to testing for potential inclusion in this guide:

Wavy: I’ve had this memory foam topper for about a month and am waiting for it to be available to the public before testing. Wavy still hasn’t announced a release date, but once it’s available, I’ll put it through its paces and let you know what I think.

Sleep Innovations Dual Layer Gel Memory Foam: This topper is wildly popular on Amazon with almost 10,000 five-star reviews, and I had one prior to my product reviewer days and appreciated how cool it was. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get a review unit to put through our objective tests and plan to rectify that soon.

FAQs

Why should I buy a mattress topper?

There are several reasons why you might want a mattress topper. Many people like to have one around to use as a pad under their sleeping bag when camping, or in a pinch, it can serve as a guest bed.

The most common reason people turn to mattress toppers is to make their otherwise uncomfortable mattress more comfortable. “Let’s say you bought a mattress a couple of years ago, and you’re not quite satisfied with it, but you want to extend the life a little bit,” said  Rebecca Robbins, PhD, associate scientist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School. Maybe you got a second-hand mattress that doesn’t match your sleep style. “Then, that’s a perfect situation to consider a mattress topper,” she said.

“A mattress topper customizes the foundation and the mattress to your personal preference because we’re all different,” added Robbins. “We all vary in our preference for firm versus plush. Some people really want something that’s just super cozy. They want to sink in, whereas others actually prefer a firmer mattress.” 

Randall Laurich, DC, a chiropractor in South Florida, agrees. “I always like to say that everyone’s different, and everyone responds differently to certain things,” said Laurich. “I would say the main benefits are if the mattress is too firm, a mattress topper would actually make it softer and more contouring to the spine. And then, in turn, the benefits become less stress on the spine.”

However, Laurich said to consider that some mattress toppers can be too soft and unsupportive. “I have had patients that have attempted to use mattress toppers and have actually had some negative side effects from it,” said Laurich. “Not having enough firmness can sometimes cause the spine to reduce its curvature. So, it won’t contour to the spine because it is so soft. A softer, thicker topper can sometimes have adverse effects, while a smaller, thinner topper could have more positive benefits overall.”


Should you buy a new mattress or a mattress topper?

A mattress topper can provide all of the benefits listed above, but if your mattress is starting to exhibit sagging and providing less support, it might be time for a new one. First, check your mattress’s warranty. Most warranties cover your bed for at least 10 years, and some last for a lifetime. If your mattress is still covered under warranty, you may be able to get a replacement or repair for free or for a nominal fee.

If your mattress has reached the end of its life and you can’t afford to replace it yet, a mattress topper is a good stopgap that can help you squeeze an extra year or two out of your mattress while you scrape together the funds for a replacement.

Sometimes, our bodies or sleeping styles change, and this can cause our mattress to become less comfortable. This isn’t covered by warranty, and you probably don’t want to throw out a perfectly good mattress that still has plenty of years left in it. This is where a topper can help.

Lastly, mattress toppers can help couples with different sleep preferences. “If you want to sleep together though, you might put a topper under the fitted sheet on one side of the bed for somebody who prefers a plusher experience,” Robbins said.

If you go this route, a Twin XL is your best bet. It’s the same length as King and Queen size mattresses and half the width of a King.


How do you clean a mattress topper?

This will vary depending on the mattress topper. For the most accurate directions, consult the topper’s user manual or tags or the manufacturer’s website. Most mattress toppers are not machine washable. For instance, you should avoid getting latex and memory foam wet since they’re hard to dry. In most cases, you will want to spot clean any messes with a mild detergent and a damp towel. Then, allow it to dry completely before covering or sleeping on it.

Whether you have a mattress topper or not, we strongly recommend using a mattress protector on your bed. The best ones are waterproof and machine-washable and cost as little as $20. Check out our guide to the best mattress protectors for more info.


Which mattress topper is right for your sleeping style?

There are three main sleeping styles: back, stomach, and side. Laurich recommends starting your mattress topper search with a firmness that is best for your style. “A stomach sleeper should have something a little less firm,” said Laurich. “Because when you’re lying on your stomach and have a bit of a belly or abdominal dissension or anything like that, it’s uncomfortable to be on something that’s extremely firm. If you are a back sleeper, it’s better for you to have something firmer that contours better to your spine.”

“If you’re a side sleeper, it’s better for you to have a softer mattress topper,” added Laurich. “But side sleepers get different issues or ailments. For instance, you can get hip issues from being on one side for so long. You can get other issues from positioning your shoulders in different ways. So, it’s really tough to say exactly what the best mattress topper would be based on sleeping style, but these generalizations serve as a good starting point.”

If you’re unsure about your comfort preferences, we strongly recommend choosing a mattress topper that comes with a long trial period so you can return it if it’s not right for you.

Check out our other mattress and bedding guides

Best pillows
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I’ve tested dozens of mattresses and the Leesa Hybrid is one of the most comfortable – it’s also 20% off with our exclusive discount

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Sapira

  • The Leesa Hybrid is the best mattress for back pain in our guide, and one of the most comfortable I’ve tested.
  • It combines innerspring and memory foam to provide a ton of support while containing motion transfer.
  • You can take 20% off any size of the Leesa Hybrid with our exclusive code “INSIDER”.

Hybrid Mattress (Queen) (small)Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

By some estimates, there are currently more than a hundred brands that deliver compressed memory foam beds to your door. These “bed-in-a-box” companies are taking on traditional high-pressure mattress showrooms with low-stakes e-commerce, lengthy risk-free trials, and easy delivery and returns.

One of the biggest names in the industry is Leesa. We’ve tested almost all of its mattresses (which you can read about here) as well as many of its bedding accessories, and have always had positive experiences with them. One of my favorite Leesa mattresses is the Hybrid.

Review of the Leesa Hybrid mattress

lees hybrid mattress review

The Leesa Hybrid mattress arrived in a box, which is a beast so I encourage you to tip your delivery person generously. The King-sized mattress I tested weighs 142 pounds, so you may want to have a couple of friends help you with. My wife and I were able to carry it up a winding staircase to our second-floor bedroom, but it took at least a few breaks and several curse words.

Since the mattress is heavy, don’t plan on moving it after it’s been opened. In other words, open it where you plan on keeping it. With this in mind, I opened the box alongside my foundation.

I like to try to do as much of an assembly/installation as I can on my own so I can give a full report on what needs to be done. I unboxed the mattress, put it on the foundation, and removed the plastic without help but I don’t recommend anyone do this on their own if they can help it because the mattress is large and heavy. The unboxing and positioning of the mattress took me about 15 minutes.

I was surprised by how odor-free the mattress was right out of the packaging. Since I was in the process of renovating my home when the mattress arrived, it sat in the box for over a month. Longer storage times usually worsen the memory foam odors, commonly called “off-gassing.” You should allow the mattress to air out for a couple of hours or even days before sleeping on it.

The Leesa Hybrid Mattress features individually wrapped coils and layers of foam. The 11-inch-thick Leesa Hybrid has five layers: the cooling foam top layer, contouring memory foam, and a 6″ pocket coil system sandwiched between two layers of core support foam.

The feature that stood out to me most was the pocket spring coil system. You can feel the springs along the sides of the Leesa Hybrid mattress. Why does this matter? When you have springs that go right up to the edge, you can count on excellent edge support, which allows you to make the most of the entire area of your bed without feeling like you’re going to fall off. And, in my experience, the Leesa Hybrid did provide superior edge support.

Since I could feel the coils, I thought I might as well count them. There were 46 along the width and 50 along the length for an estimated grand total of 2,300. All factors being the same, the more coils there are, the more support and durability you can expect. The better innerspring mattresses have 600 to 1,000 coils.

The individually wrapped coils also kept motion transfer to a minimum and offered firm support. I’m a light sleeper, however, if my wife had to get up early or our four-year-old jumped into bed with us, I would rarely wake up. To put the motion transfer to the test, I dropped a 20-pound weight from 3 feet above the bed approximately 12 inches away from a can of sparkling water. I did this several times, and the can didn’t move at all.

Before the Leesa Hybrid, I slept on a medium-firm mattress that would be about a 7 on the firmness scale and was just a little too firm for my tastes. The Leesa Hybrid is closer to a 6.5, which provided the balance of comfort and support that I need as a side sleeper, as well as someone who moonlights as a roller derby player, cyclist, and runner. Often after roller derby bouts, I can’t sleep because of the pain but I have not had any trouble falling asleep on the Leesa Hybrid. My wife has had a similar experience. It’s this soothing comfort that led us to name this mattress “the best for back pain” in our guide. Of course, if you do suffer from back pain, I highly recommend you have someone else set up this hefty mattress for you.

I didn’t find that the Leesa Hybrid trapped heat, a common problem for memory foam. I’m a hot sleeper, and we were using the mattress during the height of summer heat. Regardless, I did not experience night sweats, which are an occasional problem for me.

Cons to consider

The Leesa Hybrid is outstanding and finding flaws was difficult.

Though I think it is worth it, the Leesa Hybrid mattress is more expensive than the vast majority of online mattresses. However, it is a hybrid bed, which tends to be more expensive than ones with just innerspring or foam. When you consider that the mattress can last you for more than a decade, the expense is reasonable, but it’s still an expensive investment.

Another concern is how incredibly heavy and unwieldy the mattress is. Fortunately, we just bought our first home, and hopefully (knock on wood) won’t have to move any time soon. But, if you are someone who moves frequently, you may want to enlist the help of professionals when it comes time to move this massive mattress.

Trial period and warranty

Leesa offers a 100-night risk-free trial period and they suggest that buyers try their mattress for at least 30 nights. If you aren’t satisfied, they will coordinate the pick-up of the mattress or foundation. You don’t have to worry about attempting the impossible task of fitting everything back into the box. There is no fee for returns unless you’re in Alaska or Hawaii, in which case it will cost $100.

There is also a 10-year mattress warranty. The warranty is limited to physical flaws in the cover or mattress craftsmanship and mattress deterioration that results in an indentation of more than an inch. The warranty covers the full replacement of the mattress, but the buyer has to pay for shipping.

Leesa offers a “white glove” delivery service in select locations. For an extra $100, a two-person team will deliver your mattress and foundation, unbox it, set it up, and remove the packaging. And, for $50 more, they will remove your old mattress and box spring, which is helpful since most municipalities charge extra for disposing of mattresses. I chose not to go with the white glove service because I wanted to get the full buying experience.

Alternatives to consider

There is no one-size-fits-all mattress. Depending on your sleep style and preferences, you may want a firmer, softer, or adjustable mattress. We’ve outlined mattress picks for every type of sleeper in our guide to the best mattresses.

The bottom line

Thanks to my job, I have the opportunity to test more than a dozen different bed-in-a-box mattresses but for more than a year, I chose the Leesa Hybrid as my main bed.

The edge support is outstanding. There is very little motion transfer if my wife decides to get up early, which isn’t really much of an issue because she rarely wants to leave the comforts of the bed before me. I haven’t had any trouble falling asleep and staying asleep, and it’s by far, one of the most comfortable bed-in-a-box I’ve tested.

Hybrid Mattress (Queen) (small)

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The best mattress sales happening in July 2021 – including deals on DreamCloud, Leesa, and Casper

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mattress deals 9

Purchasing a mattress is a tough process. Doing so while balancing a budget can make things even more difficult.

Mattress companies are no strangers to discounts – popular brands like Casper, Helix, Leesa, and Purple are offering price cuts that are hard to pass up, along with freebies to seal the deal. The summer months are some of the best times to shop for mattresses as brands offer big discounts.

The Fourth of July is another great opportunity for extensive mattress discounts. Throughout the holiday weekend, many retailers are offering competitive discounts across mattresses.

We’ve also arranged exclusive discounts for readers with several retailers, including Leesa, Casper, and Tempur-Pedic. We put together a list of some of the biggest bargains currently available and included links to relevant mattress reviews.

Exclusive mattress sales for Insider readers:

  • Casper: Use code INSIDER to save $100 on the Original mattress or $200 on the Nova or Wave mattresses
  • Cocoon by Sealy: Use code INSIDER36 for 36% off sitewide
  • DreamCloud: Get $200 off a mattress and $399 in free accessories with code INSIDER
  • Leesa: Save an additional 20% off Hybrid and Legend mattresses with code INSIDER
  • Nectar: Use code INSIDER to save (discount increases with mattress size)
  • Tempur-Pedic: Use code BI30 to get 30% off Tempur-Cloud mattresses

The best mattress sales happening right now:

  • Allswell: 15% off mattresses with code JULY4TH
  • Avocado: Save $250 on the Organic Luxury Plush Mattress with code LIBERTY, Save $100 on Latex Mattresses with code SLEEPFREE, save $100 on Green and Vegan Hybrid Mattresses with code SLEEPFREE
  • Awara: $300 off mattresses + $499 in free accessories
  • Bear: 25% off sitewide and $250 free gift set with code CHILL
  • Big Fig Mattress:$300 off The Big Fig Mattress with code JULY4
  • Birch: Up to $400 off mattresses + 2 free pillows with code JULY400
  • Brooklyn Bedding: 25% off sitewide with code INDEPENDENCE25
  • Casper: Up to 30% off mattress bundles, 15% off mattresses, pillows, and sheets
  • Cocoon by Sealy: 35% off chill mattresses + free pillows and sheets with every purchase
  • DreamCloud: $200 off mattresses + $399 in free accessories
  • Eight Sleep: $200 off the Pod mattress
  • Emma: Up to 45% off all mattresses
  • GhostBed: 30% of mattresses + 2 free pillows
  • Helix: Save $200 on orders of $1,750 or more with code JULY4200, $150 off orders of $1,250 or more with code JULY4150, or $100 off orders of $600 or more with code JULY4100, + 2 free pillows
  • Leesa: Up to $500 off mattresses + 2 free pillows
  • Nectar: $399 of accessories with every mattress purchase
  • Nolah: Up to $800 off mattresses + 2 free pillows
  • Purple: Up to $350 off mattress bundles
  • Saatva: $200 off mattress purchases of $985 or more
  • Sleep Number: Save up to $1,000 on select Sleep Number 360 smart beds
  • Tempur-Pedic: Save $500 on TEMPUR-breeze mattresses, save 30% on the TEMPUR-cloud mattress
  • Tuft & Needle: Up to 20% off sitewide
  • Wayfair: Mattresses starting at $130 with sales on big names like Sealy, Casper, Serta, and Simmons

The best sales on mattresses we recommend:

Save up to $200 of DreamCloud Premier Hybrid: Our pick for best mattress overall

Premier Hybrid Mattress (small)

The DreamCloud Premier Hybrid is highly recommended for all sleepers in our guide to the best mattresses due to its strong support, average firmness, and its fair price point. DreamCloud also offers an impressive lifetime warranty on all mattresses and a 365-night sleep trial period. 

Save $360 on the Leesa Hybrid Mattress: Our pick for best mattress for back pain

Hybrid Mattress (Queen) (small, Preferred: Leesa)

If you suffer from back pain due to an uncomfortable mattress, the Leesa Hybrid Mattress will likely solve your problems. The mattress offers five layers of foam and coil support, motion isolation if you’re sharing the bed with a partner, and gentle pressure relief. In our review of the Leesa Hybrid mattress, we also noted its comfortability and other special features. It also takes home the title of “best for back pain” in our best mattress and best mattress for side sleepers guides.

Save $200 on the Casper Nova Hybrid Mattress: Our pick for best mattress for side sleepers

Nova Hybrid Mattress (Queen) (small)

For those of us that prefer to sleep on our side, the Casper Nova Hybrid mattress is our top pick for side sleepers. It took home the aforementioned title in our guide to the best mattresses, and also was named “best overall” in our side-sleeper specific guide. The mattress stood out when compared to other Casper mattresses for its softness, heat dissipation, and edge support.

Save up to $400 on the Sleep Number 360 i8 Smart Bed: Our pick for best adjustable mattress

360 i8 Smart Bed (Queen) (small)

If you’re looking for a mattress that allows you to customize and adjust your sleep every night, the Sleep Number 360 i8 Smart Bed should be your top choice. In our review of the mattress, we noted its standout features which include, multiple firmness levels, and an adjustable air feature that adjusts to your sleeping position while you sleep. We also named it the best adjustable option in our guides to the best mattress and best mattress for side sleepers.

Save up to $700 on the Tempur-Pedic Cloud Mattress: Our pick for best foam mattress

Cloud Mattress (Queen) (small)

Our well-seasoned home and kitchen reporter James Brains called the Tempur-Pedic Cloud Mattress the most comfortable he’d ever slept on in his review of the mattress, and also named it the best foam mattress in our guides to the best mattress and best mattress for side sleepers. The Cloud Mattress contours to your body’s shape, making it a great option regardless of your preferred sleeping position. The mattress also has outstanding motion isolation, a layered foam design, and relaxing pressure relief.

Save $200 on the Birch Mattress by Helix: Our pick for best latex mattress and best mattress for heavy people

Natural Mattress (Queen) (small, Preferred: Birch)

The Birch Mattress by Helix is our best pick for heavier individuals as it offers firm support and great motion isolation. If you typically sink into your mattress instead of sitting on top of it, The Birch Mattress will offer you supportive relief.

Save $300 on Awara Organic Luxury Hybrid Mattress: Our pick for best latex mattress for stomach sleepers

Organic Luxury Hybrid Mattress (small)

Eco-concious brand Awara’s Organic Luxury Hybrid mattress took home the spot of “best mattress for stomach sleepers” in our guide. It’s soft, yet supportive and made of eco-friendly materials. We don’t often see discounts on this brand, so this is a rare deal. 

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The best RV mattresses of 2021 for long road trips

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GettyImages 997023506

  • A comfortable mattress makes a world of difference when you’re on the road and sleeping in an RV.
  • But not any regular mattress will do as you’ll want to make sure the one you buy fits the rig you’re driving.
  • The most important features to consider when buying an RV mattress are its weight, size, and materials.

As people start to plan summer vacations, many are still wary of the safety of flying. Because of that, alternative forms of travel, like renting RVs, are experiencing a massive boom. Take the Airbnb-style RV rental marketplace, Outdoorsy.com, for instance. Between March 2020 and July 2020, bookings on its platform rose by a staggering 4,500%. That’s no minor blip – hitting the open road in a mobile house on wheels is very in.

But it’s important to note that there’s still no guarantee of safety right now when it comes to travel, even while RVing. We always recommend following guidelines from the CDC, practicing safe social distancing, and washing your hands frequently.

That said, there are many elements to consider if you are planning an RV trip, such as where to park for the night, how many supplies to pack, and what accessories to bring. But for a peaceful night’s rest, a good RV mattress may be the most important factor.

According to Paige Bouma, Vice President of RV Trader, a marketplace for RV sales and rentals, “some of the most important things to consider when purchasing an RV mattress is deciding on the type of mattress, setting your budget, and determining the size, length, and weight needed for your RV.”

For more detailed info on what to consider when buying an RV mattress, read to the bottom of this article.

Here are the best RV mattresses:

Brooklyn Bedding Aurora Hybrid

brooklyn aurora mattress

No matter if your travel plans take you to a warm or cool destination, having an RV mattress that adapts well in different climates is essential. This mattress is made with gel beads that liquify once temperatures rise to cool you down and then resolidify once temperatures dip.

The Tuft & Needle Original Mattress

tufts and needle original mattress

The Original Mattress for Tuft & Needle is a great choice for RV and camper use since at 10 inches tall, it’s a bit shorter than the brand’s other mattresses. This helps it fit into small spaces more easily and adds a little less weight to the RV.

However, this model is larger than many other RV-specific mattresses, so it’s best for vehicles that have more room for a standard-sized mattress.

Avocado Green Mattress

avocado green mattress

The handmade Avocado Green Mattress is 11-inches thick and delivers firm support with the use of sustainable latex and organic cotton and wool material. This brand sets the standard for affordable eco-luxury.

While this is best for larger RVs with enough space for a traditional-sized mattress, leaving the pillowtop option off saves you two inches on the depth. The sturdy handles on the sides also make the mattress easy to hoist into the RV.

Dynasty Mattress 10 Inch Cool Breeze Gel Memory Foam

dynasty mattress RV

The Dynasty Mattress has a gel interior to help regulate your body temperature when you sleep. This memory foam mattress is medium-firm and comes in King RV, Queen RV, and Short King RV sizes depending on the specs you need.

The Queen size weighs around 55 pounds. On Amazon, some reviewers noted how the mattress helps eliminate night sweats, while others say it allows them to sleep just as well as they would on their premium mattresses at home.

Haven Premier

haven premier mattress

A luxury mattress option for RVs that welcome standard sizes, the Haven Premier has a 12-layer memory foam construction. The foam features five layers of cooling gel and is ideal for tighter sleep situations or for the sleeper who runs hot.

The 12-inch thick mattress is described by user feedback on the website as comfy and sturdy.

Idle Gel Foam

idle gel foam mattress

Idle’s 12-inch gel foam mattress rapidly returns to form when you move around at night. As an added bonus, there’s a removable, washable quilted cover that makes keeping your mattress clean super easy, even while on the road. 

This mattress is on the firmer side and is an especially good option for back sleepers.

Live and Sleep Ultra RV Mattress, Short Queen Gel Memory Foam Mattress

live and sleep rv mattress

The 60-pound Short Queen mattress by Live and Sleep is made from a gel foam material. The medium-firm mattress comes with a soft linen cover for extra comfort. Eco-conscious travelers will like that this mattress is made from environmentally friendly ingredients, too. The CertiPUR-US certification means that the mattress was made without ozone depleters, mercury, or lead.

Casper Nova

casper nova mattress

After a long day spent hiking outdoors or driving, collapsing into this hybrid mattress is just the ticket, since it offers both comfort and breathability. The Nova mattress is made with foam and springs for increased airflow, making it great for hot sleepers. There are also seven support zones built in to help align your spine while you sleep.

Bonus: Each mattress cover is made from approximately 70 recycled bottles.

The Allswell

the allswell mattress

A budget-friendly mattress that fits most standard-size RVs, The Allswell has charcoal and copper gel-infused memory foam that absorbs heat away from the body to cool you down at night.

Most sleepers rate this mattress as a medium-firm feel and say it is supportive and supremely comfortable.

What to consider when buying an RV mattress

Weight

While you may not usually think about the weight when it comes to choosing mattresses, it’s incredibly important when it comes to RV mattresses since every last ounce is precious.

“In an RV, weight and size matter for all components, since the load weight is critical when towing a travel trailer or driveable RV,” says Bouma. “Most RV mattresses weigh between 50 to 75 pounds, but this can increase depending on the size and type of mattress selected,” she notes.

You’ll want to keep weight in mind when choosing both size and type of material. “For example, a king-sized premium memory foam option will weigh more than a polyurethane foam queen size mattress,” Bouma explains.

Size

Almost all RVs have a space for a bed, but some spaces are smaller or shorter than a standard size mattress and have a lower profile. The most common RV mattress measurements are 60 inches by 75 inches by 80 inches, which doesn’t match standard measurements for home mattresses.

After measuring your space, you will see that it may measure somewhere between a Queen and King size. If this is the case, you’ll want to look for an RV-specific option with specialized measurements. However, there are also some RV models that have room for standard-sized mattresses.

Budget

Prices vary depending on a variety of factors, including quality, size, materials, and customization. Additionally, if you’re in the market for your first RV purchase and there is an opportunity to buy an RV with an already-upgraded mattress, it may be a better value to pay a little more upfront, rather than paying to swap out the mattress later. 

Materials

Standard-sized mattresses and RV mattresses come in a wide variety of materials. “Low-cost polyurethane foam mattresses are the most common and most firm style. They usually come standard with an off-the-lot RV,” says Bouma.

“However, if you’re going to spend a lot of time in your RV or if great sleep is important to you, it is worth splurging on a different, more supportive material. Some of these materials include gel, memory foam, innerspring, and natural latex,” she notes. “If you’re planning to do most of your RVing in hot climates, though, consider a gel mattress. This material is also more supportive than polyurethane foam and provides the additional benefit of a cooling effect.”

Innerspring mattresses contain many coils and thus are often more supportive, while memory foam mattresses help distribute weight evenly, which can be important depending on the type of sleeper you are. Additionally, natural latex is similar to memory foam, but more durable and has a longer lifespan due to a rubber material component.

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Casper pioneered the bed in a box format, and its Original mattress is just as good as ever

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  • A high-quality mattress is ideal for a broad range of sleeping styles and body types.
  • I like Casper’s Original Mattress because it sleeps cool, offers impressive motion isolation, and keeps my spine aligned.
  • It comes with a 10-year limited warranty and is available to try risk-free for 100 nights.
  • You can save up to 30% off bundles, 15% off mattresses and pillows, 10% off everything else until July 5th.

A Casper mattress in a dark bedroom

Table of Contents: Masthead StickyOriginal Mattress (Queen) (small)

Casper remains one of our favorite bed-in-a-box brands, even as the industry continues to attract new competitors. Over the past few years, Casper has continued to up its game by improving the construction of its flagship mattress, introducing new models, and even adding bed frames, pillows, and accessories to its repertoire.

While Casper now makes a host of hybrid mattresses, its OG foam mattress is still around, and better than ever. A bit ago, Casper updated its best-selling all-foam Original Mattress with a more eco-friendly (yet comfortable) cover. The company also combined foam layers for a simpler construction that still offers all of the same pressure-relieving and heat-dissipating benefits. Casper sent me the updated Original Mattress to test for free. Here is my experience with it.

Design

Graphic of Casper all-foam original mattress showing layers of foam

The Casper Original Mattress is a 2020 update to the company’s flagship bed. The price remains the same, but the main difference is that the new mattress has three layers of foam (versus the four layers of the previous model). The new layers are:

  • “Airscape” perforated breathable foam – This top layer is designed to increase airflow for a cooler sleep and offer pressure relief.
  • Zoned support memory foam – The middle layer provides more relief and helps align your spine with three ergonomic zones that are softer under the shoulders and firmer around the lower back, waist, and hips.
  • Durable base foam – The thickest layer offers support by preventing sagging and sinking.

The mattress also has a more modern cover made of recycled polyester, recycled bottles, and upcycled cotton, rayon, and lycra. Appearance-wise, the covers are fairly consistent across Casper models.

Setup process

A casper mattress on a grey bed frame with a Casper box in the foreground

The Casper Original Mattress arrives at your door in a box that’s maybe a little larger than a mini-fridge and – in the case of the Queen – weighs about 85 pounds. Unless you run a CrossFit gym, you’ll want to get a friend to help you move it around. I had my teenager, who’s always looking to show off how strong he is, drag it up to our third-floor test bedroom. Casper also offers in-home setup for a fee.

The unboxing process is simple and intuitive. You open the box, remove the wrapped mattress, place it on your bed foundation, unwrap the outer plastic layer, carefully tear or cut open the inner layer of plastic, and give the bed time to expand.

The mattress is meant to work on just about any foundation, though since it’s an all-foam mattress, you’ll want to make sure it has as much direct support under it as possible. I slept on the same Zinus frame I use for all of my testings.

The mattress has the usual “new bed smell” so I’d recommend unboxing it in the morning and allowing it to air out before you put sheets on it. This will also give the mattress time to expand.

What makes the mattress stand out

woman sleeping on a Casper mattress that shows the interior layers

Sleeping on a mattress is the only way to find out for sure that it’s right for you. That’s why Casper offers a 100-night, risk-free trial. If you try the mattress and find it isn’t right for you, contact Casper, and they will work to have a local charity or recycling center pick it up. You then get your refund within two weeks, and there are no shipping fees or hidden restocking fees removed from the refund.

The new Casper Original is closer to average firmness than the previous model, which was on the firmer side. Though I preferred to sleep on my stomach to take pressure off my back, this mattress was also comfortable when I was on my side, and my back-sleeping wife found it suited her style.

Like its first incarnation, the 2020 Casper Original stays nice and cool through the night. This was a relief since I tend to be a hot sleeper and memory foam usually traps heat. The breathable top layer allowed for good airflow.

As with the previous Casper Original, the motion isolation is great. The mattress passed my motion transfer test with flying colors. I placed a 12-ounce soda can in the center of the bed and dropped a 15-pound bowling ball so it landing 12 inches away. The can stayed upright each time. A good approximation of what it might be like to have a partner in bed tossing and turning. You’re unlikely to be disturbed with this mattress.

The Casper Original is backed by a 10-year limited warranty that covers major indentations, manufacturing defects, physical flaws, and deterioration that may occur despite using a supportive foundation, proper handling, and normal usage.

Cons to consider

A woman's hand pressing into a Casper mattress

The edge support of the updated Casper Original is not as good as the previous version. When I sat on the edge of the bed, it sagged significantly. And, when I rolled onto the very edge of the bed, I quickly fell off.

One morning while testing the mattress, I woke up with back pain despite feeling fine when I went to bed. This is an intermittent problem for me, and I’m hesitant to blame the mattress. My back gradually improved as I continued to sleep on the mattress. That said, the mattress probably isn’t perfect for back pain sufferers.

What are your alternatives?

Aside from the ultra-soft Nova Hybrid and the over-priced Wave Hybrid, the other Casper mattresses are fairly similar. So, if you are looking to save money, you might consider the low-end Casper Element. The pressure relief isn’t as impressive as the Original, but unless you have specific aches and pains, you may not notice the difference.

If Casper doesn’t interest you, take a look at our guide to the best mattresses, which features my favorite mattresses based on the rigorous testing of dozens of models.

The bottom line

Overall, I enjoy the Casper Original Mattress. My favorite parts are the average firmness that works for my sleeping positions as well as the breathable, open-cell memory foam that kept me cool at night.

You’ll have a hard time finding a better all-foam mattress than the Casper Original. It works for a broad range of sleepers and is designed to offer supportive pressure relief. Though several mattress brands are more affordable, Casper has the benefit of being a juggernaut in the industry. This means that they will likely be around to honor the 10-year warranty that comes with the mattress.

Taking all of these factors into consideration, we recommend buying the Casper Original if you’re looking for an excellent, reliable mattress that will last you for a decade or more.

Pros: Works well for a broad range of sleeping styles, made of eco-friendly materials, excellent airflow for a cool sleep, great motion isolation, 100-night sleep trial

Cons: Poor edge support

Original Mattress (Queen) (button)

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Brooklinen is having a 15% off sitewide sale right now as more retailers jump on the Prime Day bandwagon

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orange and white sheets from Brooklinen cover two pillows and a mattress

Brooklinen, an Insider Reviews-favorite place to buy bedding, towels, and loungewear online, is currently holding a surprise sales event to compete with Amazon Prime Day.

While Prime Day features two days of deals, Brooklinen’s sale runs for four days from June 20 through June 23. Right now, you can save 15% across the entire site (except for the Spaces collection).

Amazon offers tons of deals on various bed and bath products, but none are so highly vetted and loved by our team as Brooklinen’s.

We love its smooth Luxe sateen sheets, which are the brand’s original claim to fame and one of the best sheet sets we tested.

But many of Brooklinen’s other offerings are worth the buy, especially now that they’re 15% off. Brooklinen takes the top spots in several of our bed and bath guides, including the best down pillow, best weighted blanket, best comforter, and best bath mat. We also enjoy its fluffy bath towels and cozy loungewear and robes.

In short, you can’t really go wrong with any of the highly durable and comfortable products. If you’re having trouble deciding what to get, here are our recs:

The best Brooklinen deals to buy from the competing sale

Luxe Hardcore Sheet Bundle (Queen) (medium)Down Pillow (medium)Weighted Comforter (15 lb) (medium)All-Season Down Comforter (Queen) (medium)Bath Mat (medium)Ultralight Bath Towel (2-Pack) (medium)Bleecker Short (medium)

Shop all bed and bath deals at Brooklinen through June 23

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The best mattress sales happening in June 2021 – including deals on DreamCloud, Leesa, and Casper

If you buy through our links, we may earn money from affiliate partners. Learn more.

mattress deals 9

Purchasing a mattress is a tough process. Doing so while balancing a budget can make things even more difficult.

Mattress companies are no strangers to discounts – popular brands like Casper, Helix, Leesa, and Purple are offering price cuts that are hard to pass up, along with freebies to seal the deal. The summer months are some of the best times to shop for mattresses as brands offer big discounts.

Amazon’s Prime Day is running from June 21-22 and is another great opportunity for extensive mattress discounts. During Prime Day many retailers offer competitive discounts across mattresses. Check out our guide to the best Amazon Prime Day mattress sales to keep up with the best discounts.

We’ve also arranged exclusive discounts for readers with several retailers, including Leesa, Casper, and Tempur-Pedic. We put together a list of some of the biggest bargains currently available and included links to relevant mattress reviews.

Exclusive mattress sales for Insider readers:

  • Casper: Use code INSIDER to save $100 on the Original mattress or $200 on the Nova or Wave mattresses
  • Cocoon by Sealy: Use code INSIDER36 for 36% off sitewide
  • DreamCloud: Get $200 off a mattress and $399 in free accessories with code INSIDER
  • Leesa: Save an additional 20% off Hybrid and Legend mattresses with code INSIDER
  • Nectar: Use code INSIDER to save (discount increases with mattress size)
  • Tempur-Pedic: Use code BI30 to get 30% off Tempur-Cloud mattresses

The best mattress sales happening right now:

  • Avocado: Save $250 on the Organic Luxury Plush Mattress with code LIBERTY, Save $100 on Latex Mattresses with code SLEEPFREE, save $100 on Green and Vegan Hybrid Mattresses with code SLEEPFREE
  • Awara: $300 off mattresses + $499 in free accessories
  • Bear: 20% off all mattresses + $250 free gift set with code SUMMER
  • Big Fig Mattress: $200 off The Big Fig Mattress with code DADSDAY
  • Birch: $200 off mattresses + 2 free pillows with code MEMORIALDAY200
  • Brooklyn Bedding: 20% off mattresses with code SUMMER20
  • Casper: Up to 40% off select mattresses
  • Cocoon by Sealy: 35% off chill mattresses + free pillows and sheets with every purchase
  • DreamCloud: $200 off mattresses + $399 in free accessories
  • Eight Sleep: $100 off the Pod mattress
  • Emma: Up to 35% off all mattresses
  • GhostBed: 30% of mattresses + 2 free pillows
  • Helix: Save $200 off on orders of $1,750 or more with code MEMORIALDAY200, $150 off orders of $1,250 or more with code MEMORIALDAY150, or $100 off orders of $600 or more with code MEMORIALDAY100, + 2 free pillows
  • Leesa: Up to $400 off mattresses
  • Nectar: $399 of accessories with every mattress purchase
  • Nolah: Up to $800 off mattresses + 2 free pillows
  • Purple: Free sheets + pillow with select mattress purchases
  • Saatva: $200 off mattress purchases of $1000 or more
  • Sleep Number: Save up to $500 on select Sleep Number 360 smart beds,
  • Tempur-Pedic: $300 in free accessories with a mattress set purchase
  • Tuft & Needle: Up to 20% off sitewide
  • Wayfair: Mattresses starting at $130 with sales on big names like Sealy, Casper, Serta, and Simmons

The best sales on mattresses we recommend:

Save up to $200 of DreamCloud Premier Hybrid: Our pick for best mattress overall

Premier Hybrid Mattress (small)

The DreamCloud Premier Hybrid is highly recommended for all sleepers in our guide to the best mattresses due to its strong support, average firmness, and its fair price point. DreamCloud also offers an impressive lifetime warranty on all mattresses and a 365-night sleep trial period. 

Save $360 on the Leesa Hybrid Mattress: Our pick for best mattress for back pain

Hybrid Mattress (Queen) (small)

If you suffer from back pain due to an uncomfortable mattress, the Leesa Hybrid Mattress will likely solve your problems. The mattress offers five layers of foam and coil support, motion isolation if you’re sharing the bed with a partner, and gentle pressure relief. In our review of the Leesa Hybrid mattress, we also noted its comfortability and other special features. It also takes home the title of “best for back pain” in our best mattress and best mattress for side sleepers guides.

Save $300 on the Casper Nova Hybrid Mattress: Our pick for best mattress for side sleepers

Nova Hybrid Mattress (Queen) (small)

For those of us that prefer to sleep on our side, the Casper Nova Hybrid mattress is our top pick for side sleepers. It took home the aforementioned title in our guide to the best mattresses, and also was named “best overall” in our side-sleeper specific guide. The mattress stood out when compared to other Casper mattresses for its softness, heat dissipation, and edge support.

Save up to $400 on the Sleep Number 360 i8 Smart Bed: Our pick for best adjustable mattress

360 i8 Smart Bed (Queen) (small)

If you’re looking for a mattress that allows you to customize and adjust your sleep every night, the Sleep Number 360 i8 Smart Bed should be your top choice. In our review of the mattress, we noted its standout features which include, multiple firmness levels, and an adjustable air feature that adjusts to your sleeping position while you sleep. We also named it the best adjustable option in our guides to the best mattress and best mattress for side sleepers.

Save up to $700 on the Tempur-Pedic Cloud Mattress: Our pick for best foam mattress

Cloud Mattress (Queen) (small)

Our well-seasoned home and kitchen reporter James Brains called the Tempur-Pedic Cloud Mattress the most comfortable he’d ever slept on in his review of the mattress, and also named it the best foam mattress in our guides to the best mattress and best mattress for side sleepers. The Cloud Mattress contours to your body’s shape, making it a great option regardless of your preferred sleeping position. The mattress also has outstanding motion isolation, a layered foam design, and relaxing pressure relief.

Save $200 on the Birch Mattress by Helix: Our pick for best latex mattress and best mattress for heavy people

Natural Mattress (Queen) (small)

The Birch Mattress by Helix is our best pick for heavier individuals as it offers firm support and great motion isolation. If you typically sink into your mattress instead of sitting on top of it, The Birch Mattress will offer you supportive relief.

Save $300 on Awara Organic Luxury Hybrid Mattress: Our pick for best latex mattress for stomach sleepers

Organic Luxury Hybrid Mattress (small)

Eco-concious brand Awara’s Organic Luxury Hybrid mattress took home the spot of “best mattress for stomach sleepers” in our guide. It’s soft, yet supportive and made of eco-friendly materials. We don’t often see discounts on this brand, so this is a rare deal. 

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The 4 best mattress protectors we tested in 2021

Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky

  • A good mattress protector fits well, is comfy to sleep on, and protects your bed from accidents.
  • We tested 11 models and consulted with an expert to find the best mattress protectors.
  • The Purple Mattress Protector is our top pick; it passed our leak tests and dissipates heat well.

In my many years of mattress testing, I’ve noticed that paying extra for a high-quality bed can go a long way in improving your quality of life. But, in order to get the most out of your investment, you need to protect your mattress from everyday wear and tear. This is where mattress protectors are useful.

Most mattress protectors keep spills and other accidents from seeping through to your mattress. They are also helpful in keeping dust mites and other allergens from taking up residence in your bed and irritating you. If you’re concerned about bed bugs, mattress encasements offer total coverage of your investment.

For this guide, I tested 11 mattress protectors and encasements and consulted with Rebecca Robbins, PhD, associate scientist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School.

I have been testing sleep products professionally for four years. And, while there is a level of subjectivity to mattress protector preferences, I have developed numerous objective tests to determine which models are best for specific needs. You can find details about how I test mattress protectors here. Each protector I tested was for a Queen mattress, which is the most popular size.

In addition to our top picks, we list other models we recommend, what we look forward to testing, and common FAQs and terms worth knowing at the end of the guide.

Here are the best mattress protectors in 2021

The best mattress protector overall

best mattress protector overall 2021 Purple

If you’re looking for a comfortable mattress protector that can keep your bed safe from spills and other accidents, the Purple Mattress Protector is your best bet with its five-sided coverage.

Pros: Passed our leakage tests before and after washing, absorbs most of the liquid spilled on it, the most comfortable model we slept on, great heat dissipation, 10-year warranty, features head/foot label, protection extends to the sides

Cons: Strong initial odor, the protector got hot after a night of sleeping on it (but the heat dissipated quickly)

When I first unboxed the Purple Mattress Protector, I thought it was too thin and felt too nice to protect my mattress from anything. But, after testing it, my initial assumptions were just plain wrong. Both before and after washing the protector five times, no liquids leaked through. It was one of two models we tested that absorbed more than 75% of the liquids we poured on it, which may be helpful for containing accidents.

Due to its thin construction, I found the Purple was one of the most comfortable mattress protectors to sleep on. I hardly noticed it was there. It made minor rustling noises, but they weren’t disconcerting as I shifted in the night. After laying on the Purple protector overnight, it registered one of the hottest temperatures the next morning, but it also appeared to cool down quickly, suggesting it has great heat dissipation.

Whereas many mattress protectors only have a polyurethane protective backing on the portion that covers the top of your mattress, the Purple’s construction is uniform throughout, offering true five-sided protection on the top and sides of the mattress.

Putting on the protector was effortless thanks to the stretchy spandex in the design and the helpful label that tells you which side goes at the head/foot of the bed; the only protector we tested to include such a label.

The biggest negative with the Purple Mattress Protector is the strong initial odor it had out of the box. Fortunately, it dissipated by bedtime.

The best budget mattress protector

best budget mattress protector 2021 SafeRest Premium

The SafeRest Premium Mattress Protector is an outstanding option when you want a cheap way to protect your mattress from liquids, dust mites, and other harmful elements.

Pros: Passed our leakage tests, fits mattresses up to 18 inches, didn’t shrink after five washings, doesn’t get very hot and dissipates heat well, 10-year warranty

Cons: One of the least comfortable models we tested, makes significant crackling sounds as you move around on it, only offers protection to the top of your mattress

We tested four mattress protectors that cost less than $30. Of those, the SafeRest Premium Mattress Protector performed the best. In addition to remaining leak free in our tests, it was one of the best at staying cool and dissipating heat. 

The SafeRest protector can fit a broad range of mattresses up to 18 inches thick. As with many protectors, the part that rests on top of your mattress is made of a different material than the skirt that goes around the sides. The top is waterproof, while the sides are not. Fortunately, I found the top fit the mattress well and covered it to the edges, even after putting it through the washer and dryer five times. 

The surface is terry cloth, which I didn’t find particularly comfortable. As I moved in the night, it made a lot of crackling noises and my fitted sheet didn’t shift smoothly on the terry cloth; however, neither issue affected my sleep. 

If you find you don’t like the SafeRest Premium Mattress Protector, you can return it within 30 days for a full refund. And, if you keep it, it’s covered by a 10-year warranty.

The best cooling mattress protector

best cooling mattress protector 2021 Helix

You don’t have to sacrifice comfort when you choose the cooling Helix Mattress Protector to protect your mattress.

Pros: Great heat dissipation, quiet when you move around on it, passed our leakage tests, didn’t shrink in the wash, 100-night trial period

Cons: One-year warranty, only waterproof on top and not sides

When researching this guide, one of the complaints we heard about mattress protectors is that they can trap heat and cause sleepers to overheat. So, we looked at how hot the mattress protectors get after sleeping on them and how quickly the heat dissipates. The Helix Mattress Protector was one of the best at staying cool and dissipating heat quickly. In fact, within two minutes of getting up from the bed, the surface temperature plunged more than 14 degrees.

The Helix didn’t perform poorly in any of the categories we evaluated. It passed the leakage tests with flying colors both before and after putting it through five washing and drying cycles. The protector also didn’t show any shrinkage after the washings, which is important since the waterproof TPU backing is only on the part of the protector that covers the mattress top and not on the skirting. 

I found the Helix Mattress Protector was comfortable to sleep on with its soft surface. I tend to overheat at night, but I didn’t experience any issues while on the Helix. It was also one of the quietest protectors in our tests. I didn’t notice any crackling or rustling as I shifted in the night.

At 100 nights, the Helix protector has one of the longest trial periods of any of the models we tested, but it also has one of the shortest warranties — just one year.

The best mattress encasement

best mattress encasement 2021 Utopia Bedding Zippered

The Utopia Bedding Zippered Mattress Encasement is the best way to protect your mattress from liquids, bed bugs, and dust mites.

Pros: Protects against bed bugs, passed our leakage tests, quiet to sleep on, doesn’t get too hot, zips up to completely encase your mattress

Cons: A pain to put on, no warranty 

One of the worst experiences of my life was dealing with a bed bug infestation. These blood-sucking critters cost hundreds of dollars to get rid of, and even then, there’s no guarantee they won’t come back. We dealt with them for two years before we moved cross-country, but I still get a rush of anxiety when I see a piece of lint or other tiny debris on a mattress. 

In my experience, it’s worth the $20 investment to cover your mattress with a full encasement. The best encasement we tested is the Utopia Bedding Zippered Mattress Encasement.

It passed the leakage tests before and after washing, and most of the liquid pooled on the surface of the encasement. It was one of the quietest protectors, and never got very hot when I was sleeping on it. 

The biggest pain with any encasement is putting it on. Fortunately, the Utopia Bedding encasement has a wide zippered opening that makes it easier to slide over your mattress as you hold it up vertically. Once zipped, there’s a velcro flap that keeps the slider body and pull tab in place and ensures there aren’t any holes for bed bugs to sneak through.

The Utopia Bedding encasement was comfortable to sleep on. The thin material was barely noticeable under the fitted sheet. The only major negative is that it doesn’t come with a warranty. 

Lastly, it’s worth noting that no encasement protects you from getting bed bugs. Instead, it protects your mattress, an expensive investment, from harboring bed bugs that can destroy it over time. If a mattress is already riddled with bed bugs, an encasement can also trap those buggers in. But, you need to keep the encasement on for at least 12 months to kill all the bugs, and you’ll still need to treat your home.

What else we tested

best mattress protector 2021 what else

We tested 11 mattress protectors and encasements for this guide. These are the ones that missed the cut.

What else we recommend and why:

Bear Protector: There’s a lot to like about the Bear Protector, but it just wasn’t the best in any of our categories. It was one of the quietest, and in addition to being leak-free, it also absorbed more liquid than any of the other models. The biggest negative was that it seemed to hold onto heat. Still, if you want a mattress protector that will absorb any spills rather than pooling, this is a great option.

Tuft & Needle: We like that this protector comes with a 100-night risk-free trial period and is made of OEKO-TEX certified materials, which means it’s an eco-friendly alternative. It also passed our leak tests, but it only fits mattresses up to 14 inches thick, and it was one of the worst at dissipating heat.

Lucid Premium Terry Top: This is the most affordable protector we tested, has the longest warranty (15 years), and can fit the thickest mattress sizes (up to 22 inches), but it was one of the noisiest and got pretty hot while lying on it. Still, if our budget pick is sold out, this is a worthy backup.

What we don’t recommend and why:

Casper Waterproof: In general, I’m a fan of Casper products. Its sheets are among the most cozy I’ve slept on, and its Nova Hybrid is one of the most comfortable mattresses I’ve tested. But, the company’s mattress protectors get a hard pass from me. While the Casper Waterproof lives up to its name by passing our leakage tests, it was the hardest one to put on because of its small elastic ring. I worked up a sweat each time I wrestled it on. Plus, it comes with a minimal one-year warranty. 

Linenspa Encasement: We were hoping this would be a good alternative if the Utopia Bedding encasement isn’t available, but we can’t recommend it. It passed the leakage tests, protects against bed bugs, and has a nice 10-year warranty. But, it only fits mattresses up to 12 inches thick, made loud rustling sounds when moving on it, and it trapped heat.

Casper Breathable: This protector is water resistant, not waterproof. Consequently, it was the only protector we tested that failed the leakage tests, both before and after we washed it five times. It also appeared to shrink in the wash so there were portions of the mattress that weren’t covered by the top section of the protector. The Casper Breathable protector only has a one-year warranty. It was cooler and quieter than most of the other models, but at $149, it needs to protect your mattress better.

PlushBeds Organic Cotton: The two priciest protectors we tested were two of the worst. This PlushBeds mattress protector passed the leakage tests, but that was about the only bright spot. It was one of the loudest models we tested, and after washing, it no longer covered the top of the mattress properly. Also, it never failed to get tangled up in the dryer, making it a pain to clean.

Our testing methodology

best mattress protector 2021 methodology

I personally tested all of the mattress protectors in this guide. In addition to sleeping on each protector, there are many objective tests I put each model through. The most important factors to consider when choosing a mattress protector are comfort, protection, and fit.

Here are the main attributes we look for and how we test them:

Comfort: I slept on each of the mattress protectors (with a fitted sheet in place) and rated how comfortable they felt on a scale of 1 to 5. Most of the protectors were barely noticeable and none scored below a 3.5. I also used a laser thermometer to compare the temperatures before lying on the protector, after lying on it for at least an hour, and two minutes after getting up. This told me how well the protector dissipated heat. To control the variables that might affect comfort, I used the same mattress and sheets to test each model. 

Protection: I placed a sheet of paper towel in a plastic tray and set it beneath the center of each mattress protector. Next, I poured eight ounces of blue water on top of each protector. Then, I placed a two-pound weight on the liquid to simulate someone laying on it. I let the water sit for two hours before checking to see if it leaked through. I then washed and dried each of the protectors five times and performed the test again. Though I wasn’t able to test for them, I also noted if the protectors are designed to protect against dust mites and bed bugs.

Fit: I put each protector on a variety of mattresses ranging in thickness from 10 inches to 14 inches and noted how difficult it was to put it on, if the protector bunched up, if the protective top covered the whole mattress top, and whether it stayed put or creeped up the corners over the course of the night. Next, I washed and dried the protector five times and performed the test again. 

Noise: The polyurethane used to waterproof most mattress protectors sometimes makes a crackling sound as you move in the night. This sound has the potential to lead to restless sleep, so I compared all of the protectors head-to-head to see how loud they are. I crinkled each one in my hands. As I did this, I put the protectors in order from quietest to loudest. I kept doing this until I was confident my order was accurate.

Trial and Warranty: The most foolproof way to know if a mattress protector is comfortable for you is to sleep on it for an extended period, so a long trial is a must. I looked at how long the trial period is (30 nights was the median of the protectors I tested) and if there are hidden return fees. I also looked at the warranty length (five years was the median of the models I tested).

What we’re testing next

We’re constantly testing new mattress protectors and retesting our top picks to determine the best ones. Here’s what we’re looking forward to testing for potential inclusion in this guide:

The Company Store Waterproof Cotton Mattress Pad: This is a pad and protector in one keeping your mattress protected from spills and adding a soft layer to your bed. We like that it fits mattresses up to 22 inches deep and comes in Crib size.

Protect-A-Bed AllerZip Smooth Mattress Encasement: In order to beef up our encasement recommendations, we’re looking forward to trying this Protect-A-Bed model, which is designed to protect against liquids, dust mites, bed bugs, and allergens while remaining comfortable.

Hospitology Products Zippered Mattress Encasement: Another polyester encasement option that protects against bed bugs, liquids, and other substances. We’re curious to see how it compares to the Utopia Bedding encasement.

FAQs

best mattress protector 2021 FAQs

Why do you need a mattress protector?

Rebecca Robbins, PhD, associate scientist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and instructor in medicine at Harvard Medical School, stresses the importance of using a mattress protector to keep your bed free of dust mites and spills.

“It sounds gross, but dust mites accumulate in the bedroom environment for a couple of reasons,” said Robbins. “When you spend seven to eight hours in a single place like your bed, a lot of your natural skin exfoliation is going to happen there. So unfortunately, over the course of gentle movements during sleep, you shed hair and skin. We are shedding particles that attract dust mites. So whether you have allergies or not, it is a great idea to use a hypoallergenic mattress protector.”

Unfortunately, “hypoallergenic” is a nebulous term that isn’t regulated by any governing body so any manufacturer can claim its protector is hypoallergenic, and many do. The key to protecting your mattress from dust mites is choosing a material that is impermeable, such as polyurethane, which is found in all of the waterproof protectors in our guide.

“A lot of the mattress covers have a waterproofing component on the top layer,” said Robbins.  “So if there are any liquids in the bed or if someone has a bed-wetting accident, it ensures your mattress is protected. And a mattress protector can also help extend the general life of your mattress and reduce the overall wear and tear. So it’s always a good idea to make sure that when you’re buying a new mattress, you’re coupling it with a mattress protector.”


How often should you wash a mattress protector?

You can wash a mattress protector as often as you’d like, but how often you should wash it depends on why you are using a protector in the first place. If you suffer from allergies and want to keep dust mite buildup to a minimum, we recommend washing your protector every two to four weeks.

If your main concern is protecting your mattress from spills, we recommend washing much less often — anywhere from once every two to six months. However, if you have an accident, you should wash the protector immediately. To extend the life of your protector, you want to keep washing to a minimum because the waterproof polyurethane layer can wear away leaving the protector susceptible to leaks. All of the waterproof protectors we tested were still waterproof after five washings.

Lastly, if you’re using a mattress encasement to keep bed bugs in, you don’t want to remove it for at least 12 months. That’s about how long it takes to ensure that all of those little vermin are annihilated.


What is the difference between a mattress protector and encasement?

There are two main types of mattress protectors: five-sided and encasement. The difference is how much of the mattress it covers. Five-sided mattress protectors cover the top of the mattress and the sides, which makes them ineffective against bed bugs, which can easily crawl to the bottom of the mattress. However, five-sided protectors are usually good for keeping liquids and dust mites from getting to your mattress.

Five-sided protectors vary in their coverage. They generally have a top section that protects the top of your mattresses. Where they vary is on the sides. Some, including our top pick, use the same protective, top-panel material on the sides. Other models have a basic polyester-blend skirt that doesn’t protect against spills or dust mites.

Mattress encasements completely “encase” the mattress. They usually have zippers that seal the mattress in and protect all six sides from liquids, dust mites, and bed bugs.


How do you put on a mattress encasement?

Unlike most mattress protectors, a mattress encasement completely envelopes your mattress. This makes putting it on difficult. However, there are a few tricks that can help. First, unzip the mattress encasement as much as possible. Next, stand your mattress up on end so either the head or the foot is on the ground. You may want to get someone to help you with this since mattresses can be unwieldy.

With the mattress standing on end, slide the mattress protector over it starting from the top. It should slide on easily unless you have a thicker mattress, in which case you may need to pull down a little at a time as you alternate sides. Once you’ve pulled the encasement all the way down, you can lay the mattress back down on your frame and zip it. Your mattress is now protected.


Can mattress protectors prevent bed bugs?

No mattress protector can prevent bed bugs. However, an encasement can keep bed bugs from getting to your mattress, a popular destination for them. Encasements can also trap bed bugs that are already in your mattress, which causes them to starve and eventually die, though this can take up to a year.

To protect your mattress from bed bugs, most mattress protectors won’t do. You need something that completely encases your mattress and zips closed so nothing can get in or out. Look for models that specifically say they protect against bed bugs. Our best mattress encasement pick checks these boxes and only costs about $20.

Check out our article on how to get rid of bed bugs for more tips. 

Check out more buying guides for mattresses and bedding

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