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Gel Mattress Topper vs Memory Foam: Which Comes Out on Top?

June 14, 2023

Are you tired of waking up feeling stiff and sore on your regular memory foam mattress? Do you struggle to get a good night's sleep because your gel foam mattress is uncomfortable? If so, it might be time to invest in a gel memory foam mattress topper. But with so many options on the market, how do you know which one is right for your gel memory foam bed?

Gel memory foam toppers, infused with cooling gels, are specifically designed to help regulate your body temperature while you sleep. These toppers are perfect for hot sleepers who struggle with heat retention. On the other hand, memory foam mattress toppers are known for their ability to contour to your body and provide pressure relief.

So which one is better? Is a gel memory foam mattress topper worth the investment? What exactly is a gel memory foam mattress topper anyway? We'll answer these questions and more as we dive into the world of gel and memory foam mattresses, sleep trials, and Casper gels.

Material Comparison: Memory Foam V Gel Mattress Topper

Memory Foam Mattress Toppers

Memory foam mattress toppers are a popular product made of viscoelastic foam material, which was first developed by NASA in the 1960s. This type of foam has unique properties that allow it to conform to the shape of your body when lying down on mattresses, providing even weight distribution and reducing pressure points in areas such as your shoulders, hips, and back. Some memory foam products now include liquid gel or gel pods, which can enhance the cooling effect and provide additional support for a more comfortable night's sleep.

Memory foam mattress toppers come in different densities ranging from low-density (3 lbs/ft³) to high-density (7 lbs/ft³). A higher density means that the mattress topper will be firmer and more supportive, while a lower density will provide a softer feel. However, memory foam mattresses have a reputation for retaining heat, which can make it uncomfortable for some people who tend to sleep hot. To address this issue, some memory foam mattress toppers now incorporate gel material or gel pods in a top layer for added cooling comfort.

Gel Mattress Toppers

Gel mattress toppers, like those offered by Casper, are designed to provide extra comfort to your mattresses. They are typically made of gel-infused foam or gel beads mixed with traditional memory foam material, which helps regulate body heat and keep you cool throughout the night. This makes them an excellent choice for those who live in warmer climates or tend to sleep hot.

Gel mattress toppers, like traditional memory foam mattress toppers, offer pressure relief and support. However, they have a more responsive feel due to their gel infusion or beads mixed with traditional memory foam materials. If you prefer a bouncier feel than traditional memory foam provides, then you may prefer a gel mattress topper. Gel mattress toppers are also great for providing comfort and regulating heat. For example, the Casper gel mattress topper is a popular choice for those who want to stay cool and comfortable while sleeping.

Similarities between Memory Foam and Gel Mattress Toppers

Both memory foam and gel mattress toppers offer pressure relief for mattresses by conforming closely around your body's curves when you lie down on them. They both have similar thickness options ranging from 2-4 inches thick depending on what you are looking for. They both also come in different densities, so you can choose the firmness level that works best for your sleeping preferences. If heat is an issue for you, consider a gel topper as it provides better cooling properties. For those who prefer hybrid mattresses, Casper offers a memory foam and spring hybrid topper that combines the benefits of both materials.

Differences between Memory Foam and Gel Mattress Toppers

The main difference between memory foam and gel mattress toppers is their feel and look. Memory foam has a dense, slow-response feel, while gel toppers have a more responsive, bouncy feel. If you prefer a plush or sinking-in feeling when lying on your bed, then traditional memory foam mattresses may be the better choice. However, if you want a slightly firmer and more supportive feel with some bounce-back effect when you move around on your bed, then gel mattress toppers might be the way to go. If you tend to sleep hot, consider a hybrid mattress like Casper that combines the benefits of memory foam and innerspring coils for better airflow and heat dissipation.

Another significant difference between these two types of mattress toppers is temperature regulation. Memory foam mattresses tend to retain heat and can become uncomfortably warm over time. In contrast, gel-infused memory foam or gel beads mixed with traditional memory foam materials help regulate temperature by drawing heat away from your body. Casper hybrid mattresses also utilize this technology to provide a cooler sleeping experience.

Cost Comparison: Memory Foam vs Gel Memory Foam Mattress Pads

The Price Tag of a Gel Mattress Topper

The cost of gel memory foam mattresses can vary depending on the brand and size. On average, a twin-size gel memory foam pad can range from $50 to $150, while a king-size pad can cost between $150 and $400. However, there are some high-end brands like Casper that offer gel mattresses for over $500. Gel mattress toppers are also a great option to combat heat and can be found at similar price points.

One of the main factors that affect the price of a gel mattress topper is its thickness. Thicker pads tend to be more expensive than thinner ones. Some manufacturers add extra features like cooling technology or hypoallergenic properties that can also increase the price. If you have a memory foam bed, you may want to consider a gel topper as it can help regulate heat better than regular memory foam mattresses. Viscoelastic foam is another material commonly used in gel toppers, which contours to your body for added comfort.

While gel memory foam toppers may seem expensive at first glance, they are often more affordable than buying an entirely new mattress. Plus, they offer many benefits such as pressure relief and temperature regulation that can improve your quality of sleep. Adding a gel memory foam top layer to your Casper mattress can also provide these benefits without having to purchase a new mattress.

Budget-Friendly Memory Foam Mattress Pads

Memory foam mattress pads are another popular option for those looking to enhance their existing mattresses without breaking the bank. On average, a twin-size memory foam pad costs between $20 and $100, while a king-size pad ranges from $80 to $200. Gel toppers, which are made of gel material and feature gel pods, are also available for those who prefer a cooler sleep experience.

The price of memory foam pads and gel mattress toppers depends on several factors such as thickness, density, and the type of mattress they are intended for. Higher density foam tends to be more durable but also more expensive than lower density options, making it a good choice for those looking to extend the life of their new mattress or latex mattress.

One thing to keep in mind when shopping for budget-friendly memory foam pads is that they may not last as long as higher-priced options. Cheaper materials may wear out faster or lose their shape over time, leading to discomfort and reduced support. If you're looking for a new mattress, consider adding a gel mattress topper or latex mattress for added comfort.

Is Gel Memory Foam Worth the Extra Cost?

While both gel memory foam and traditional memory foam offer similar benefits such as pressure relief and motion isolation, gel memory foam has one distinct advantage: temperature regulation. This makes it a great option for mattresses and mattress toppers, especially for those who sleep hot. For example, the Casper Wave Hybrid Mattress features gel memory foam to help regulate temperature throughout the night.

Gel-infused memory foam can be found in mattresses and mattress toppers, including the Casper Wave Hybrid Mattress. The tiny gel beads help to dissipate heat, keeping you cool and comfortable throughout the night. This can be especially beneficial for those who tend to sleep hot or live in warm climates.

However, the added cooling technology of a gel topper does come with a higher price tag. If you're on a tight budget, traditional mattresses or memory foam may be a more practical option. Alternatively, a hybrid mattress that combines both memory foam and gel technology could be a good compromise.

Cost is an important factor to consider when purchasing mattresses or a mattress topper. While gel memory foam offers superior temperature regulation, it also comes with a higher price tag compared to hybrid mattresses.

Ultimately, the decision comes down to your personal preferences and budget. Both regular memory foam and gel memory foam mattresses can provide improved comfort and support for your existing mattress. However, if you're looking for a more cost-effective option, a gel memory foam topper may be a better choice than investing in a full gel foam mattress.

Firmness, Sleeping Position, and Support of Gel and Memory Foam Toppers

Gel mattress toppers: the cool and firm option

Gel mattress toppers are known for their cooling properties, making them an excellent choice for those who tend to overheat at night. The gel-infused foam helps regulate body temperature by drawing heat away from the body. This feature is particularly beneficial for people who live in warm climates or experience hot flashes. Gel mattresses are a popular option for those seeking a cooler sleep surface.

In terms of firmness, gel toppers are generally firmer than memory foam toppers. They provide a supportive sleeping surface that can help alleviate back pain and promote healthy spinal alignment. If you prefer a firmer bed, then a gel mattress topper may be the perfect solution for your mattresses.

However, if you're looking for a plush cushioning feel that molds perfectly with your body's curves, then a memory foam topper may be more suitable. A hybrid mattress can also provide the perfect balance between support and comfort, while mattresses come in a variety of materials to suit your preferences.

Memory foam toppers: soft support

Memory foam is famous for its ability to contour around your body's shape while providing ample support. This feature makes it ideal for side sleepers as it offers pressure relief on the shoulders and hips. If you have an old or worn-out mattress that's causing you discomfort, adding a memory foam topper can make all the difference in improving the comfort of your mattresses.

Memory foam mattresses also excel at reducing motion transfer between partners during sleep. So if you're sharing your bed with someone who tosses and turns throughout the night, investing in a hybrid mattress or adding a gel mattress topper to your memory foam mattress could lead to even more restful nights.

Choosing between gel and memory foam

When choosing between gel and memory foam pads for your mattress or hybrid mattress, there are several factors you need to consider, including the use of a mattress topper.

  • Sleeping position: Side sleepers will benefit most from memory foam's cushioning effect on pressure points like shoulders and hips.
  • Firmness level: If you prefer sleeping on firmer surfaces, then gel pads may be better suited for your needs.
  • Neck support: If you're experiencing neck pain, memory foam's ability to contour around your head and neck can provide extra support.
  • Cooling properties: Gel pads are generally cooler than memory foam, making them a better choice for those who tend to overheat at night.

It's also worth noting that both gel and memory foam pads come in different densities, making them suitable for use as a mattress topper. High-density foam is more durable and provides more support, while low-density foam is softer and less firm. When shopping for a mattress or mattress topper pad, make sure to check the density rating to ensure you're getting the right level of support for your needs.

Difference Between Gel Infused vs Gel Swirl Mattress Toppers

Gel Swirl Toppers Offer Better Airflow and Cooling

Gel swirl mattress toppers have a unique pattern of swirls that provide better airflow and cooling than gel-infused toppers. The swirls allow for more air to circulate, which can help regulate body temperature during sleep. This is especially beneficial for those who tend to sleep hot or live in warmer climates. The gel swirl technology also offers a plush feel that can be incredibly comfortable for some people. These toppers can be an excellent addition to memory foam mattresses.

One of the main benefits of gel swirl mattress toppers is their ability to keep your mattresses cool while you sleep. This is because the swirls in the foam create pockets of air that allow heat to escape from your body. As a result, you'll feel cooler and more comfortable throughout the night. Many people find that the plush feel of gel swirl mattress toppers is incredibly comfortable.

Gel Infused Toppers Provide More Support and Contouring

On the other hand, gel-infused mattress toppers are more responsive and contour to the body, while gel swirl toppers offer a plush feel with less support. If you're looking for a mattress topper that will provide additional support, then a gel-infused option might be best for you. These types of mattress toppers conform closely to your body, providing extra support where it's needed most, especially for memory foam mattresses.

Gel-infused mattress toppers are made by infusing memory foam with tiny beads of cooling gel. This allows them to contour closely around your body while still providing plenty of support where it's needed most. They're also great at reducing motion transfer, making them a perfect addition to your mattresses if you share your bed with someone else.

What Are Gel Foam Mattress Toppers?

Gel foam mattress toppers are like a big cushion that goes on top of your mattress. They are made of a special kind of foam that has gel mixed into it. This gel mixed foam makes the mattress topper feel cool and comfortable when you lay on it.

Which One Should You Choose?

When deciding between a gel-infused vs gel swirl mattress pad or topper for your memory foam mattresses, there are several factors you should consider before making your final decision. If you're someone who tends to sleep hot, then a gel swirl mattress pad or topper might be the best option for you. These types of pads are designed to keep you cool throughout the night, which can help improve your overall sleep quality.

On the other hand, if you're someone who needs more support while sleeping, then a memory foam mattress topper might be the better choice. These toppers contour closely around your body and provide extra support where it's needed most. They're also great at reducing motion transfer, so if you share your bed with someone else, this type of topper could be an excellent choice. If you want even more support, consider a gel-infused mattress pad on top of your memory foam mattress.

What Type of Mattress is Best For Me?

After comparing the material, cost, firmness, sleeping position, and support of gel mattress toppers and memory foam mattress pads, you may still be wondering which type of mattress is best for you.

Ultimately, the decision comes down to your personal preferences and needs. Consider factors such as your sleeping position, any back pain or other physical conditions you may have, your budget, and how much heat you tend to generate while sleeping. If you're looking for added comfort and support, memory foam mattresses or gel foam mattresses may be worth considering. Alternatively, if you want to enhance the comfort of your existing mattress, gel foam mattress toppers or a gel memory foam topper could be a great option.

To help guide your decision-making process further, here are some frequently asked questions about gel mattress toppers vs memory foam:


Which is better for side sleepers - gel or memory foam?

Both gel and memory foam can provide good support for side sleepers. However, if you have shoulder pain or pressure points in your hips or knees when sleeping on your side, a memory foam topper may be more beneficial as it contours closely to your body.

Do gel mattress toppers sleep cooler than memory foam?

Yes! Gel-infused mattress toppers generally sleep cooler than traditional memory foam due to their ability to dissipate heat away from the body.

Can I use a heated blanket with a gel or memory foam mattress pad?

While it's not recommended to use an electric blanket with a traditional memory foam pad due to the risk of overheating and damage to the material, many newer models are designed with cooling technology that allows them to safely be used with heated blankets. Always check the manufacturer's recommendations before using any additional bedding accessories, including mattress toppers.

How long do gel and memory foam mattress pads typically last?

The lifespan of both types of mattress pads and toppers can vary depending on factors such as usage frequency and weight distribution. On average, however, a high-quality gel or memory foam pad or topper should last between three and five years.

Are there any concerns regarding the safety of gel or memory foam mattress toppers?

As long as you purchase a product from a reputable manufacturer and follow all care instructions, there should be no safety concerns with either type of mattress pad. However, if you are using memory foam mattresses or gel foam mattresses, adding a gel memory foam topper can enhance the comfort level of your bed. Some individuals may experience allergies or sensitivities to certain materials used in these products, so it's always important to check for any warning labels or consult with your doctor if you have any concerns.

Can I use a gel or memory foam mattress pad on an adjustable bed frame?

Yes! Both memory foam and gel foam mattress pads, as well as gel memory foam toppers, are compatible with adjustable bed frames and can help provide additional comfort and support while sleeping in various positions

By considering these factors and answering these frequently asked questions, you'll be better equipped to make an informed decision about which type of mattress pad or topper is best for your memory foam or gel foam mattresses. Happy shopping!


Melissa Madden

I have a passion for helping others achieve optimal rest and relaxation, I am  a sleep enthusiast who is dedicated to providing honest and informative reviews to help readers make informed purchasing decisions about sleep products is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to
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