Best Pressure Relief Mattress Toppers & Pads in 2021

Pressure mattresses are beneficial for patients who suffer from bedsores (pressure sores), which are caused by extended durations of sitting or resting in the same position. Many of these mattresses are geared for patients who have limited movement, such as the elderly, bedridden and those with arthritis. They are also used for patients who are at risk of developing pressure sores but don’t have them yet.

As pressure mattresses are tailored to the needs of each patient, the following guidelines give an overview of what users can expect when purchasing an adjustable pressure mattress.

Why Do People Get Pressure Sores in the First Place?

A pressure sore, also called a bedsore or decubitus ulcer, is an injury to the skin and tissue, typically in areas of continuous contact with another surface.

Pressure sores are most common in people who are bedridden or wheelchair-bound due to paralysis, cerebral palsy or other physical conditions involving the lack of mobility. Chronic pressure on bony prominences can cause permanent destruction of tissue deep beneath the skin’s surface.

Pressure sores generally take 4 different forms:

  • “Stage I” – reddened area that may be warm to the touch;
  • “Stage II” – redness with blisters then red streaks that lead into deeper ulcers. The deeper the wound, the greater the risk for systemic infection and sepsis, which can be life-threatening.
  • “Stage III” – deep ulcers with edges that separate, and
  • “Stage IV” – ulcers that break through the dermis and cause tissue destruction.

The risk for developing pressure sores is largely related to the degree of pressure placed on a specific area of skin, as well as how long a person has been in contact with this pressure. Thus, the amount of time a person spends in bed or sitting down without moving can have a significant impact on their development. Immobility also results from paralysis, inability to move one’s muscles due to disease or injury or from being confined to a small space for an extended period of time.

Pressure sores should be assessed by a physician or registered nurse practitioners before treatment begins.

How Do Pressure Relief Mattresses Work?

A pressure-relieving mattress overlay is often made of open- or closed-cell foam or a viscoelastic material. These materials are typically not harmful to the skin and can help reduce friction. They also keep fluids from soaking through to the mattress surface, protect the person from sharp objects underneath, and prevent the development of pressure sores.

Few major problems can occur, depending on the type of material:

  • The topper can also make the bed higher, which can make transfers more difficult if your care receiver is still walking and doesn’t have a height-adjustable bed.
  • Some overlays have a more unstable transfer surface.

A standard hospital bed mattress may be uncomfortable for the person, especially if he or she spends a lot of time in bed. For example, he or she may find the mattress too firm and uncomfortable. Or the vinyl mattress cover may make the individual hot and sweaty. Both pressure and moisture contribute to the development of pressure sores, especially with high-risk individuals.

The pressure-relieving mattress topper can be purchased in many different thicknesses that vary from 1 inch (25mm) to 2 inches (50mm).

If the mattress cover has buttons or hooks, it may not easily attach to the upper surface of the mattress. This can make a transfer difficult or impossible.

Some manufacturers recommend the use of an adhesive film on the top to keep the overlay in place and prevent slippage. However, some people have found that this method does not work very well, especially for older patients who may be less active and more frail than younger people. It is recommended that you test a bed product before you purchase it.

Many caregivers place a special pressure relieving mattress topper or overlay on top of the existing mattress as pictured here. Or the person’s health care provider may prescribe one to treat a pressure sore. Although many types of mattress overlay materials are available, no single type is effective in all situations.

4 Main types of Pressure Relief Mattress Toppers

Below are four of the main types of toppers or overlays, each with their pros and cons. It’s vital that you talk to your healthcare professional before making a purchase, especially if the person you care for is frail, spends a lot of time in bed, or has a pressure sore.

Medicare may pay for all or part of the cost of a specialty mattress or overlay if the person meets certain coverage guidelines. Check with your healthcare provider for more information.

  1. Pressure Relieving Foam

How it Works

    • Special “open-cell” construction disperses person’s weight, reducing areas of high pressure.
    • Two main types are latex foam and visco-elastic foam (also called Memory Foam).
    • Can be effective in preventing and treating certain types of pressure sores.

Special Concerns

    • Some, but not others, find visco-elastic foam hot.
    • Some, but not others, find visco-elastic foam hard to turn over on.
    • Check bed height for transfer safety due to the change in bed height.

Effective pressure relief depends on the thickness and density of the overlay. A 3-inch height with a density of 4 to 5 lbs (pounds) is generally recommended, though factors like “response time” complicate how soft or hard a mattress feels.

2. Australian Medical Genuine Sheepskin Wool 

How it Works

• Thick, soft, springy wool fibers distribute body weight and pressure points over a large area.
• Wicks away moisture from the skin.
• Sheepskin absorbs over 30% of fiber weight in moisture.
• Smooth pile reduces friction & skin tearing.
• Good for people who complain of heat; remains cool in summer and warm in winter.

Special Concerns

• Sheepskin is placed on top of the bottom fitted sheet (person sleeps on the sheepskin).
• Safety-Wise! Not all sheepskin is the same. Choose sheepskin with an optimum therapeutic wool pile that meets the Australian Standard 4480.1 for Australian Medical Sheepskins.
• Buy a single size for localized relief from pressure sores.
• Buy a double size for full-body relief.
• Green sheepskin is specially tanned to be urine resistant.
• Machine washable and dryable but may take two drying cycles. Although pricey, consider buying two so you can wash one.

3. Alternating Air Pressure with Pump

How it Works

• Rows of air cells inflate/deflate alternately so the pressure on any given point changes continually.
• Plastic air tubes deliver air from the electric motor to the mattress.
• The mattress is covered by a sheet.

Special Concerns

• Person may become agitated at the motor noise and constantly changing pressure and movement of the mattress.
• Person may find the plastic cover too hot or too comfortable (our testers did)
• Person must be able to tolerate pressure in certain areas.
• Talk to a health care provider before purchasing – there may be better alternatives.

4. Gel & Foam

How it Works

• Gel sections sandwiched in-between top and a bottom foam layer, distribute a person’s weight more evenly to relieve pressure around bony prominences.
• May have a convoluted, high-density polyurethane foam topper.
• Has non-shear/low friction surface

Special Concerns

• Some may find it hot; look for a breathable cover.
• Check bed height for safety due to change in bed height.

Advantages of Using Pressure Relief Mattresses

When you’re immobilized and confined to one place, the risk of pressure sores on your skin increases. People with atrophied muscles or those who can’t move around due to illness or injury might be more prone to developing this condition, but we all need to take preventive measures.

There are several advantages to using pressure relief mattresses, including:

  • Relief for your hips and shoulder joints : This is especially important if you spend long hours sitting at a desk or driving for long distances in your car. If you suffer from numbness in these areas, a pressure relief mattresses can really help.
  • Reduced pressure on your spine: Using a pressure relief mattress allows your spine to breathe.
  • Better sleep: Pressure relief mattresses help reduce the pressure on your joints and spine, which can lead to better sleep.
  • Better circulation: Using a pressure relief mattress allows air to flow through the mattress, which aids in circulation and a healthy blood flow.

Here are 15 our recommendations-

1. BEDSTORY 3-Inch Memory Foam Mattress Topper

BEDSTORY is a 3-inch-thick memory foam mattress that has 2 inches infused with cooling gel capsules. The tiny capsules are dispersed throughout the mattress, regulating your sleeping temperature by keeping you cool throughout the night and preventing overheating. This mattress features anti-slip elastic straps for both safety and convenience – they’ll keep your fitted sheets securely in place, reducing any risk of slipping or rolling off the edge of the bed. The luxurious layer of comfort also offers relief for those with back pain or joint pain – particularly arthritis or fibromyalgia sufferers.

This is an affordable and comfortable memory foam mattress. The purpose of the cooling gel is to regulate the temperature of the mattress by absorbing heat. Depending on your body temperature, the capsules will absorb or release heat, cooling you down or warming you up. This mattress is a twin size of 38″ x 74″.

When you lie on a memory foam mattress, you sink into the mattress and push out some of the air above the surface of the bed. The mattress conforms to your natural shape, cushioning the pressure on your body. Pressure points are distributed evenly across the surface of the mattress. The cover is removable and machine-washable.

BEDSTORY mattress is CertiPUR-US certified. This isn’t just another certification. It’s an independent organization that verifies the quality standards of the materials used in memory foam mattresses and other products, such as adhesives, foams, textile fibers and so on. Memory foam mattresses are known for their pressure relieving capabilities, which help in reducing pain caused by pressure points.

2. VIVE Alternating Pressure Sore Mattress Pad

The VIVE alternating pressure sore mattress pad is a flexible and inflatable mat. This is a premium vinyl mattress that fits on most beds and frames. It is made of 130 air cells, all heat-sealed so they won’t leak. The variable pressure pump will inflate and deflate the pads at multiple levels of pressure and has an ultra-quiet design so it won’t disrupt your sleep.

This mattress also includes air hoses for constant air flow so as to not cause hot spots that could lead to skin maceration. This pad is large enough to properly fit on most beds and frames, with dimensions of 78” (long) x 36” (wide), and it is waterproof. The vinyl cover is easy to clean by simply wiping it down with a damp towel.

This alternating pressure sore mattress cover can provide relief from bed sores and ulcers and it promotes increased circulation and helps manage skin maceration. It evenly distributes weight and supports up to 300 pounds.

The VIVE alternating pressure sore mattress pad is a uniquely designed and engineered, patented product that alleviates bed sores in patients in all stages of care, from diagnosis to the most advanced cases with multiple wounds in vulnerable areas. It has been especially designed for use on therapeutic mattresses and frames.

3. SUBRTEX Ventilated Gel Infused Bed Foam Topper

The SUBRTEX mattress topper can help you get a good night’s sleep! The foam topper is designed to fit any sleeping position and body type while also reducing pain in the back. The gel-infused memory foam relieves back pressure for a better night’s sleep. And, with 3.5 pounds of density, this mattress topper offers an optimal level of cushioning. Not only will you feel better while sleeping but you’ll also wake up feeling fully rested thanks to these features that promote air flow and better sleep habits.

The memory foam in the topper is ergonomically designed so you can sleep however you want while still maintaining cushioned support for your spine. With a proper sleeping position, you’re resting your neck, head, and shoulders instead of your back. This prevents pressure from being placed on the vertebrate in the lower spine that can cause back pain.

The memory foam is non-toxic, flame retardant, and highly breathable, three factors that make it an ideal bedding option. The SUBRTEX mattress topper is great for those who have difficulty sleeping through the entire night due to extreme heat or discomforting pressure points.

This foam topper helps with the airflow, creating a cooler and more comfortable sleeping environment. It is well ventilated and comes in 6 different sizes: twin 39” x 75”, twin XL 39” x 80”, full 54 x 75”, queen 60″ x 80″, king 76″ x 80″, cal-king 72″ x 84″.

4. VAUNN MEDICAL Cloud Air Pressure Mattress Topper

The VAUNN MEDICAL cloud air pressure mattress topper, has been designed for people who need to lie down for lengthy periods of time such as those who are bedridden or hospitalized due to sickness or injury. Features include:

  • Advanced sleep wave treatment – this mattress topper safely and gently adjusts height at pre-programmed intervals during the night, so that you can achieve a more comfortable sleeping position while preventing skin maceration.
  • It also relaxes muscles and relieves pressure spots.
  • This mattress topper is perfect for an extended stay in bed because it improves circulation and promotes blood circulation.
  • It is the ideal tool for people who suffer from joint problems, rheumatism, arthritis, osteoporosis and other inflammatory conditions.
  • The Cloud Air Pressure Mattress Topper assists in the treatment of bedsores.
  • It is designed with an array of 130 pre-programmed air cells that are strategically distributed over the mattress to lessen the pressure exerted on specific parts of your body.
  • The mattress topper inflates and deflates easily with a powerful air pump that comes included with the purchase of this product. You can also use your own air pump if you want to inflate or deflate it manually.

The VAUNN MEDICAL topper is made of vinyl, so it is waterproof and easy to clean. It is also pre-treated and heat-sealed so that you can use it for extended periods of time without worrying about leaks. It comes in a 36″ x 78″ x 3″ size. The topper can support up to 300 lbs. It features the quietest pressure pump for your comfort even when you are sleeping. You can customize the controls to suit your needs and preferences perfectly.

5. MILLIARD Egg Crate Gel Memory Foam Mattress Topper

The MILLIARD mattress refreshes memory foam to retain its ideal comfort over time, relieving pressure points in the body and helps to reduce joint pain and muscle pain in any sleeping position. It is CertiPUR-US certified which means it is the finest quality and has no harmful substances like flame retardants or toxic chemicals.

This mattress has a 2-inch luxurious memory foam with an open cell technology and is designed with 100% gel memory foam with an egg crate texture, which provides effective air circulation and prevents body heat buildup. It keeps you cool and comfortable throughout the night.

The dense memory foam provides maximum support for your back, providing firmness without any gaps or sagging. This mattress has a strong resilience that makes it highly durable and also gives it its contoured, breathable design which allows air to pass through as you lie on it.

The gel beads infused in this mattress provides pressure relief and evenly distributes body weight thus relieving pain from joints and muscles. This mattress is available in a twin size of 73” x 37”.

6. LAURALAND Memory Foam Mattress Pad

The LAURALAND mattress is made with gel-infused premium memory foam that will make you feel far more comfortable. It is best suited for people who want to sleep on their backs and stomachs because it has a universal level of comfort that feels great in all sleeping positions. The cover comes with zipper, adjustable elastic straps, and fits a depth of up to 20”.

This mattress has a bamboo cover that is absorbent and breathable so you will feel more comfortable sleeping on it. It also has an elastic strap that will help you adjust the mattress to fit your bed properly and securely. It is easy to remove and is machine-washable.

This mattress is CertiPUR US certified so you know it’s super safe. It is hypoallergenic, skin-friendly, and cool for a healthy sleep. This mattress is also well-ventilated for optimal breathability. The benefits of this product are its amazing quality, perfect support, and unparalleled comfort.

This mattress is best suited for people who want to sleep on their backs and stomachs because it has a universal level of comfort that feels great to all sleeping positions. It has height options of 2”, 4” and 6” and has size options are Twin, Full, Full XL, Queen, RV Queen, King, Cal King.

7. SERENELIFE SLAIRMATR45 Pressure Mattress Air Bubble Pad

The SERENELIFE SLAIRMATR45 is the best choice for those with conditions such as arthritis or diabetes, as well as those who are overweight. In addition to being able to withstand up to 330 pounds of weight pressure without buckling, this high-quality mattress also has micro air circulation holes that prevent sweat from accumulating on one spot and offer full back support during prolonged sitting or lying down.

The mattress can be used for more than just sleeping – it is the ideal solution for relief from back pain and acute circulatory problems that result from prolonged sitting or lying down. Since its surface is made of high-quality PVC and is puncture resistant, it offers a good night’s sleep even for those suffering from osteoarthritis or the effects of diabetes.

Additionally, it has a safe, puncture-proof electric air pump that is capable of inflating and deflating the mattress within minutes and comes with many added benefits, including an integrated sleep timer and an easy-to-use control. With its 30mm thickness and 2.76 inch height, this mattress is also perfect for those who prefer to sleep on their stomachs, backs, or sides.

Whether you have back pain or just want to sleep better without being disturbed by uncomfortable lumps, this air mattress is the perfect solution thanks to its ability to offer support to the back and relieve pain resulting from vascular compression. In addition, it can be used for several purposes other than sleeping. It has size 78.74″ x 35.43″ x 2.76″ when inflated.

8. SUBRTEX Gel-Infused Memory Foam Bed Mattress Topper

If you’re looking for a mattress topper that will help relieve pressure on your body, sore muscles or joints, SUBRTEX is the perfect solution. Its 3″ gel-infused memory foam provides optimum comfort with a ventilated design. Its features include:

  • Limiting motion transfer, and heat-trapping, it will keep you cool and comfortable all night long – without disrupting your partner’s sleep. It has the perfect temperature level of 78℉, certified by CertiPUR-US and OEKO-TEX.
  • This mattress topper is designed with a bamboo rayon cover that will keep you cool during the warm nights of summer.
  • Its breathable knitted fabric prevents it from sliding off your mattress.
  • It also comes with adjustable elastic straps to fit mattress depths of up to 12″.
  • The premium metal zipper makes it easy for you to remove and wash.
  • It’s available in 6 sizes: Twin (39″ x 79″), Twin XL (39″ x 80″), Full (54″ x 75″), Queen (60″ x 80″), King (76″ x 80″), Cal King (72″ x 84″).
  • It will keep you comfortable throughout the night.
  • The memory foam contains no formaldehyde, harmful phthalates or heavy metals.

The gel-infused material makes it both breathable and skin-friendly. The memory foam has a 3.5 lb density which provides optimal comfort while conforming to your body shape for superior spine alignment and proper body support. It is recommended to use this mattress topper with a soft natural latex mattress.

9. BRACE DIRECTS Alternating Air Pressure Pad

The BRACE DIRECTS, an air pressure bed pad that reduces swelling, treats and prevents bedsores and ulcers, is cooler and more comfortable than air mattress pads or memory foam – perfect for those who are recovering from surgery (particularly hip replacement surgery) or orthopedic related injuries. The best thing about this pad is how it provides what your body needs – alternating air pressure directs airflow underneath to act as an insulator for cooler comfort during sleep.

The innovative design also promotes circulation by pushing a low volume of air at a slower rate, which is perfect for people who have restricted mobility or sore backs. It not only helps with healing but also promotes comfort. And because it uses low volume airflow, it is quiet. This makes it perfect to use in the home or in a healthcare facility.

With this pad, you can finally get better sleep and treat bedsores and ulcers at the same time. The pad helps relieve the pressure you feel when lying down on a regular mattress – whether flat or on your side. This pad can be used to reduce pressure on, and prevent skin breakdown in bony areas of the body that are at risk.

BRACE DIRECTS is made of medical-grade PVC which does not contain plasticizers, phthalates or allergens. The PVC pad has 130 cells that alternate between pressurization and depressurization so that they can provide both cooling relief through airflow underneath the pad when it is pressurized, and also heat relief when it is in its non-pressurized state.

10. PERLECARE Gel Memory Foam Mattress Topper

PERLECARE is a mattress topper made of high-quality gel memory foam, helping you to get the best night’s sleep. It will not only help keep your bed clean and fresh without changing its feel, but it will also provide an extra layer of comfort and support for you to enjoy while sleeping or sitting on it.

This mattress topper is made of 30% medium molecular PE + 70% polyester fabric, the perfect combination of the two materials guarantees excellent breathability and ventilation, keeping you cool and dry throughout the night. It also has a non-slip mesh cloth on its surface to prevent your body from slipping off. It will provide that extra layer of comfort that lets you savor a good night’s sleep!

The product comes with adjustable straps for securing it to your mattress. All you have to do is adjust them to your comfort and then enjoy your mattress topper. It’s is made of high-quality materials, and it does not absorb any body fluids, making it very easy to clean. This topper is available in 5 sizes, Twin 74” x 38” x 3”, Twin-XL 79” x 38” x 3”, Full 74” x 53” x 3”, Queen 79” x 59” x 3”, King 79” x 75” x 3”.

PERLECARE gel memory foam mattress topper can help solve a lot of problems by providing a layer of support that will make your bed soft but firm. Its ventilated structure is designed to help control temperature and disperse pressure points, allowing you to have a better night’s sleep without feeling too hot or too cold.

11. APEX Medical Domus 1 Alternating Pressure Pads

The APEX Alternating Pressure Pad is composed of 130 medical-grade PVC air bubbles, each 3″ high and designed to inflate and deflate alternatively. This alternating movement causes consistent airflow through individual cells, creating even pressure on the surface of the pad which reduces strain on the body by better-distributing weight into large circular pools that distribute evenly over a larger area.

The product is constructed of 2.5″ diameter air bubbles that are attached to the surface of a flat removable molded foam overlay. The foam overlay can be removed and washed when needed. These pressure pads are designed for use where individuals are confined to bed for extended periods of time, typically used in care facilities such as hospitals, hospices, rehabilitation centers and nursing homes.

Apex is a very comfortable and sturdy mattress pad. This product is also easy to clean. It’s made from durable materials and includes a 10 minute cycle time with inflation and deflation settings.

This product also comes with a quiet air pump and consistent airflow. The alternating pressure pads offer you a smooth and comfortable sleeping surface no matter what position you sleep in. This product is also renowned for its long-lasting comfort and durability. With easy installation and maintenance, this product is definitely worth your money.

12. VISCOSOFT Memory Foam Mattress Topper

The VISCOSOFT memory foam mattress topper is custom-designed to provide superior comfort. This high-density 3-inch bed topper is made from memory foam infused with gel and features a breathable and ventilated design that helps optimize airflow. Designed for all types of mattresses, this memory foam topper will help relieve common pressure points and prevent your body from sinking into the mattress.

Not only will this product help relieve your pain, but it also promotes sounder sleep by distributing your body heat evenly throughout the surface of the bed. This breathable memory foam mattress topper may be used in place of a sleeping pad or mattress pad when sleeping on a bed that is too firm or too soft.

This amazing topper will help relieve your pain, provide restful sleep and improve overall health and well-being. These memory foam mattress toppers are designed to provide additional comfort when sleeping on an existing memory foam mattress. The ViscoSoft Memory Foam Mattress Topper is a great choice if you want to improve your sleeping experience.

The bamboo-rayon cover is also hypoallergenic and soft on your skin, while the slip-resistant mesh will keep you secure all night long. This topper is machine washable and adjustable, allowing for various levels of firmness that suit your personal needs. At 74 x 53 x 3 inches in size, it also easily fits standard queen mattresses.

13. MOLBLLY Egg Crate Memory Foam Mattress Topper

The MOLBLLY is the ultimate mattress topper that captures and dissipates heat, preventing overheating. It’s made of 100% polyurethane gel memory foam that distributes weight evenly, making it one of the best choices for people who suffer from restless leg syndrome or chronic back pain.

This 2″ cooling gel pad is CertiPUR-US certified without any of the harmful substances used in cheaper air mattresses, including formaldehyde and mercury. With a cool feel and refreshing breathability, this egg crate design will make restful sleeping effortless. It fits all mattresses, sized at 54″ x 75″ x 2″.

The egg crate design of this mattress topper distributes weight evenly, making it one of the best choices for people who suffer from restless leg syndrome or chronic back pain. The cool gel dissipates heat instead of trapping it beneath the surface as regular memory foam does. The breathability of the pad allows for better airflow, which reduces sweat.

The cooling gel pad allows for a closer and more comfortable sleep and is ideal for those who live in humid and hot climates. Compared to regular memory foam and regular pillow top mattress pads, the MOLBLLY pad provides a more comfortable feel due to its breathability and cooling gel.

14. BEDSTORY Cooling Gel-Infused Mattress Pad

The BEDSTORY Cooling Gel-Infused Memory Foam is the ultimate mattress topper. It is a 2″-thick, gel-infused, memory foam that is topped with a 1″ high-density support foam. The combination offers an amazing cloud-like feeling that contours and cradles your body for relieving pressure points and pain relief.

The double-sided usable design of this mattress pad allows you to choose which side is right for you: one side features bamboo charcoal fabric on both sides of the padding, while the other has a 4D mesh fabric. This mattress pad also features a breathable, hypoallergenic bamboo charcoal fabric that is machine washable.

It is CertiPUR-US certified, meaning that it does not contain any harmful chemicals or toxins. You can also use this mattress pad as a topper for your sofa bed, tatami, guest room, dorm room and more. The bamboo charcoal fabric used in this mattress pad absorbs moisture and filters out odor and helps keep the environment clean and healthy.

The combination of bamboo charcoal and organic cotton batting makes this mattress pad mildew-free and inhibits bacterial growth. This mattress pad is hypoallergenic and durable. It helps provide enough body support for people with back problems, joint pain, sciatica, fibromyalgia and other spinal disorders.

15. MERIDIAN Alternating Pressure Mattress

The MERIDIAN is an alternating pressure mattress that has 130 individual bubble cells in it which inflate and deflate in order to provide optimal comfort and support for your back and spine. The best part is that the air cells never shrink, so your body will always be in perfect alignment. This product also features head and foot flaps that securely wrap around the mattress so they can’t slip out of place when they’re inflated or deflated.

It comes equipped with a built-in pump that inflates and deflates the air cells in order to provide optimal comfort and support for your back and spine. The pump is quiet, so it won’t be a distraction when you’re trying to sleep.

Another great thing about this mattress, aside from its amazing features, is that it has built-in brackets which allow you to attach it easily to any type of bed. And since this product is made from a premium vinyl material, it’s durable, will last a long time and can handle up to 300 lbs. Its dimensions are 110″ L x 35″ W x 2.5″ H.

It’s also worth mentioning that MERIDIAN is leak-resistant and the cells are constructed using high-quality material. This ensures you won’t have to worry about irritation because leaks can cause rashes and other painful conditions. All in all, this is a top-notch mattress that provides optimal comfort and support for your back and spine while you sleep.