Toppers stuffed with feathers or synthetic fill, as well as those made of wool, tend to be lighter in weight than foam toppers. They provide less support and don't isolate motion as well, but they're easier to move on and less likely to sleep hot. These mattress pads also cost less and may be more durable, but they require regular fluffing to keep them in good shape. That's why editors at SleepLikeTheDead.com describe featherbeds, fiberbeds and wool toppers as direct competitors, with foam toppers forming a category of their own.
The top-rated featherbed at SleepLikeTheDead.com is the Hollander Cluster Top Baffle Box Feather Bed ($55 - $80) , which gets 91 percent overall approval from about 250 users. Editors note that this isn't a true featherbed because it combines a bottom layer of goose down with a layer of synthetic "cluster puffs" on top, but users like that this feature keeps the pointy ends of the feathers away from their skin. Most find this featherbed very comfortable and consider it a great value for the price, but warn that it must be fluffed regularly, even daily, to keep the filling from clumping. Despite its high ratings, this topper doesn't earn our Best Reviewed pick because it's currently sold only in queen size. Walmart.com, the only retailer that sells it, can't confirm when or if other sizes will become available.
Our Best Reviewed National Sleep Products Natural 100-percent Cotton Baffle-channel Featherbed and Cover Set (Est. $105) also earns a 91 percent overall rating at SleepLikeTheDead.com, based on more than 750 reviews. Although owners say it isn't as soft as the Hollander and the filling is somewhat more likely to clump, user reviews describe this featherbed as comfortable, and most say the baffled (top-stitched) top helps it maintain its fluffiness. Like the Hollander featherbed, it requires regular fluffing to stay comfortable.
The slightly more expensive National Sleep Products Super Snooze Featherbed ($140 ) doesn't do quite as well in reviews. Owners find that it runs truer to size and is slightly better at keeping the feathers contained so they don't poke through, but the thick fabric tends to make a "crunchy" noise that many users find disruptive.
People who have allergies to feathers might consider our Best Reviewed Pinzon Basics Overfilled Ultra Soft Microplush Mattress Pad ($45-$65) sold exclusively at Amazon.com. This synthetic fiberbed gets an overall approval rating of 89 percent at SleepLikeTheDead.com, putting it slightly below the natural featherbeds. Regardless, user posts say it's very comfortable and true to size. Cleaning the topper may be a problem, however: One owner says it literally fell apart after being run through the washer and drier. Amazon.com recommends professional laundering or dry cleaning, but this could add significantly to the long-term cost of this inexpensive mattress pad.
Wool mattress toppers attract fewer user reviews than most other types. The most recommended brand in our sources is SnugFleece, which earns an 89 percent approval rating at SleepLikeTheDead.com. Made of pure lamb's wool, SnugFleece toppers are fitted with elastic straps to hold them in place on the mattress, underneath a fitted sheet. Editors at AllergyBuyersClub.com, a retail site for allergy sufferers, give 4 stars out of 5 to our Best Reviewed SnugFleece SnugSoft Imperial (Est. $145-$290) and runner-up SnugSoft Elite ($160 - $340) , saying they're naturally resistant to dust mites and great for regulating body temperature. Users at Amazon.com agree that both toppers are very comfortable, and keep them warm in winter and cool in summer, but say they require regular fluffing to maintain their loft.