3 Inch vs. 4 Inch Mattress Topper—Which Is Best?

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So, you’ve decided to add a topper to your mattress, but you’re not sure which size is best. Read on to learn if a 3 inch or a 4 inch mattress topper is right for you.

With so many mattress accessories out there, it can be hard to tell which are worth buying. Today, we’re covering mattress toppers, specifically whether a 3” or 4” topper is best for your sleeping needs.

What Is a Mattress Topper?

Not to be confused with a mattress pad, a mattress topper is a thick layer of extra cushioning (usually 1”– 4” thick) that sits on top of your bed and can change both the firmness and height of it. Specifically, the best mattress toppers can make a noticeable difference by making your mattress feel either soft or firmer.

In terms of materials, the two most common kinds of mattress toppers out there are made from latex and foam, or a mixture of both. In general, latex mattress toppers are known for making mattresses feel more supportive without compromising too much on softness. 

On the other hand, foam mattress toppers generally have a more “sinking” soft feel. Finally, while there are a variety of mattress toppers materials and thicknesses to choose from, any topper over 4” thick would be considered a small mattress in itself.

Tempur topper compression
Tempur topper compression

3 Inch vs. 4 Inch Mattress Topper: Similarities

But, before we jump into the differences, let’s run through some of the similarities of 3 inch and 4 inch mattress toppers. 

  • First off, both of these thicknesses are on the taller end of the mattress topper size spectrum, a 3” and 4” topper will definitely feel more similar to each other than a 1” and a 3” topper. 
  • Overall, toppers at this thickness add noticeable height to your mattress, and can seriously change how they feel. 
  • Plus, for sleepers with older or more worn mattresses, 3” and 4” toppers are both great ways to add more support and durability.

3 Inch vs. 4 Inch Mattress Topper: Differences

  • Since 4” toppers are thicker, they do offer more durability and can change the feel of a mattress the most. 
  • Compared to thinner 3” toppers, they’re more supportive for heavier sleepers or sleepers who like to sink down into their mattresses. 
  • On the other hand, 3” toppers add more firmness or softness to your mattress without totally changing the feel of it. 
  • And, while they’re generally more firm, they also don’t have as much “sink” as thicker toppers.

3 Inch Mattress Topper Pros and Cons

Let’s go into a little more detail about 3” mattress toppers specifically, and their pros and cons.


  • More firmness—If you’re a stomach sleeper or anyone who likes a more solid, lifted bed, a 3” topper may be the better choice for you. This is because 4” toppers are the thickest available, and they border on feeling like a separate soft mattress.
  • Customizable mattress feel—Like we touched on above, if you want to tweak the feel of your mattress (make it softer or firmer), a 3” topper or thinner is the way to go. However, if you just want to totally change how your bed feels (without buying a new mattress), then a 4” might be better for you.
  • Better temperature control—This is especially true for foam mattress toppers, but the thicker they are, the more body heat they hold. So, if you want to keep cool and not sink into your topper, then a thinner one is probably best for you.


  • Less cushioning—While thinner toppers are generally cooler, they also come up short in cushioning. So, if you’re a side sleeper or anyone who prioritizes a soft bed, you’ll probably sleep better on a thicker topper.
  • Less durable—Like with mattresses, thinner tends to correlate to less durable. This is because, over time, thinner mattress toppers will warp to your body shape and offer less resistance. This is especially true for softer toppers. 
  • Less supportive—It may sound counterintuitive, but, while thinner mattress toppers feel firmer, they’re actually less supportive. If you’re a sleeper wanting more pressure relief from your mattress, you’ll likely want to go with a thicker and softer topper.

4 Inch Mattress Topper Pros and Cons

Now, let’s move onto 4” mattress toppers and how they compare.


  • Better pressure relief—The extra inch of cushioning makes a world of difference for sleepers wanting pressure relief. This is because a thicker mattress topper gives you more material to sink down into, taking weight off of your hips and shoulders.
  • More softness—Sleepers with an older or overly firm bed will want to take notice here. By adding a thicker mattress topper to your bed, you can more or less rewind years of use and regain much needed softness.
  • Better for heavyweight sleepers—Another advantage of a thicker mattress topper is that it offers more support for heavier sleepers. This makes it so that heavier sleepers don’t sink through and lose the softness of their mattress topper.


  • Bulkier—As you could’ve guessed, a 4” mattress topper is going to be thicker and more bulkier than a 3” mattress topper. For sleepers who aren’t looking to add much height to their beds, this can definitely pose an issue. Also, if you’re putting your topper under a fitted sheet, you have issues fitting it.
  • Less firmness—A thicker mattress topper doesn’t mean a firmer bed. In fact, if you’re looking to add more firmness to your mattress, a thinner topper will keep it from feeling too plush or soft.
  • Worse for stomach sleepers—Since 4” mattress toppers have more give or softness, they aren’t an ideal choice for stomach sleepers. This is because stomach sleepers tend to need the most firmness out of any kind of sleeper.

TLDR: Is a 3 Inch or 4 Inch Mattress Topper Best For You?

3 Inch Mattress Toppers Are Best For

  • Hot sleepers—If you tend to overheat at night, a thinner 3” mattress topper will keep you more lifted off your bed and cooler.
  • Budget shoppers—Generally, thinner mattress toppers tend to be less expensive, making them a good choice for sleepers wanting to save.
  • Firm mattress fans—Less cushioning means a more firm sleeping experience, so, if you’re looking to keep the firmness of your mattress, a thinner topper may be best.

4 Inch Mattress Toppers Are Best For

  • Sleepers with aches and pains—4” toppers allow for more cushioning and support. If you’re a sleeper looking to minimize any pressure, a thicker topper is the right choice for you.
  • Side sleepers—Like sleepers with aches and pains, side sleepers can also benefit from more pressure relief. This is because side sleepers need the most softness out of any kind of sleeper type. So, to keep weight off of your hips and shoulders, we recommend going with a thicker 4” topper.
  • Heavyweight sleepers—A thicker topper will feel more substantial and supportive, which can be a bonus for heavyweight sleepers. Without proper support, sleepers can develop back or side pain. By going with a 4” topper, you’re giving your mattress more lift, which keeps you from sinking down too far.

3 Inch vs. 4 Inch Mattress Topper FAQ

What’s the Difference Between Mattress Protectors and Toppers?

A mattress protector is a sheet-like layer that protects your bed from allergens and spills. In general, protectors don’t change the actual feel of your mattress at all. On the other hand, toppers offer less in the way of protection but allow you to change your bed’s firmness.

Can You Put a Fitted Sheet Over a Mattress Topper?

Yes. And, for some mattress toppers that are made with synthetic materials, it’s actually recommended that you don’t sleep directly on the topper. Other than that, keeping your topper under a fitted sheet can help keep it from shifting around or clumping during the night.

Which Mattress Topper Density Is Best?

This depends on your firmness preference and sleeper type. Generally, denser toppers will be firmer. If you’re a heavyweight sleeper, or if you’re a stomach sleeper, it’s worth looking into a denser topper to get ideal support. But, if you’re a lightweight sleeper, a less dense topper may be better.