If you’ve been thinking about buying a Panda mattress topper, you might want to hear about the latest updates to this popular sleeping surface...
Made up of three 3rd generation foam layers, including a layer of gel-based hydro-foam, this 5cm thick topper has a density of 5lb per sq ft. Densities range from 1.5-8lb, putting this one towards the denser end of the scale, which means it should prove more supportive and long-lasting. The cover is removable and washable, at 30 degrees (prepare to work up a sweat getting it back on), which is really useful in terms of keeping your sleeping surroundings hygienically clean.
You'll be pleased to know, no pandas starved to make this excellent, eco-friendly Panda mattress topper and your back will thank you for investing. It is not better than buying a whole new mattress, but it will definitely dial up the dreaminess levels of your current sleeping scenario, without blowing the budget.
There are others out there though, so go, find the best mattress topper for your needs in our guide to the top picks — but don't miss our deep review first.
TLDR: What we thought of the Panda hybrid topper
This is the best mattress topper I have tested, and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to anyone who is unsatisfied with their current mattress but that isn’t ready for a full replacement. Equally, this topper would be brilliant for bumping up the luxe feel of a guest mattress, for less, if you want to be the host with the most. PS: Avoid if you don’t enjoy hosting, your guests will never want to leave! The improvements Panda has made may be small, but are worthwhile and, thankfully, Panda has not bumped up the price tag — it still represents the same great value for money.
Alongside a very reassuring 10-year warranty, the Panda topper comes with a 30-night sleep trial, and they’ll pay the postage if you are not happy and decide to return it (UK only). This isn’t typical for a topper, and many sleep trials incur hefty courier bills should you dare to return, which is only mentioned in the very small print. Bravo Panda.
Testing the Panda hybrid mattress topper
Linda is a freelance reviewer at Real Homes, and more often than not she's sleeping on a mattress or a topper for us.
I was first introduced to the Panda brand in 2019, when I reviewed the company’s original topper, and I loved it (you can read my Panda mattress topper review too). So I was excited to try out this new edition, launched in the summer of 2022, which I have been sleeping (deeply) on for six weeks.
While it was hard to give up the first Panda topper I tried, there was one thing that bugged me enough to let it go. It did not stay in place and, being heavy, it was a struggle to hoist it back in position when I made the bed each morning. Read on to find out if Panda has solved this minor but annoying bug-bear, and what other improvements make it worthy of our five-star rating.
The techy stuff
- Type: Memory foam topper
- Material: Hydro foam and bamboo
- Sizes: UK Single, small double, UK double, UK king, super king, EU single, EU double, EU king, emperor
- Cost: £99.95– £199.95
- Care: Washable removable cover
Unboxing and first impressions
Standard UK delivery is free and will arrive within five days of ordering. Tracking details are sent via text and you get a one-hour window on the day of delivery. You can also stump up £4.99 for express delivery (1-2 days) or £6.99 to request delivery on Saturday and Sunday.
The topper arrives in a rather large box (made from 100% recycled craft paper), inside which it is vacuum-packed in a thick plastic bag. I’d recommend getting the topper onto your bed before (carefully) cutting the bag open to release the pressure. Panda recommends allowing 12-16 hours for the foam to fully expand but I put it on the bed at about 4 pm and it was ready to sleep on by 10 pm. Compared to many other toppers I've tried, this was quite impressive to me!
What's the Panda mattress topper like to sleep on?
My new lease of life was almost certainly down to Panda’s trademarked Hydro-Foam, which is gel-infused and molds to your body, relieving pressure. It’s worth noting that Panda has increased the gel-to-foam ratio by five percent in its new topper and I could really tell the difference, compared to the original design. Surprisingly, given 5% isn’t a huge figure but the topper is only 5cm thick so that could account for it.
Comfort vs support
For aches and pains: After a few nights sleeping on the Panda topper, I also realized it was quietly ironing out my usual aches and pains. The combination of being bent over a keyboard for eight-plus hours a day, and running a minimum of 20 miles a week, means I often wake feeling a good decade older than my 45 years. I’m not going to claim I sprang out of bed like a nubile 20-year-old, but I certainly noticed that I could just get up and go about my day, without having to stretch, and groan, for several minutes first. Another win.
Hot sleepers: testing the temperature control
Temperature regulation: Testing for hotness is always tricky as it depends on the ambient temperature in the room, individual body temperatures and bedding. We keep our bedroom between 16-18 degrees, and I am experiencing perimenopausal night sweats (TMI, sorry) so keep the lightest summer duvet on year-round, poor husband. I can’t say the Panda topper completely prevented that horrible 3am ‘wake-up in a muck sweat’ experience but it happened far less than before I began testing the Panda topper (I keep a sleep diary for my GP, and it was clear to see the ‘before and after’ difference). Panda says the topper’s cooling powers are down to its open-cell, gel-infused foam in combo with the natural temperature-regulating prowess of bamboo, all I can say is it worked for me, and it might work for you. Oh, and if you are a cold fish, you can safely use an electric blanket with this topper.
In short, nobody has a bad word to say about bamboo as a textile, and, of course, Panda is careful not to use the same bamboo that real pandas eat for dinner. For this upgraded Topper, Panda has increased the percentage of bamboo fibre to 40% (and 60% polyester) but do note we’re only talking about the cover. The gel foam inside is not bamboo.
What are the benefits of bamboo?
With a brand name like Panda, the use of bamboo is one of the company’s main selling points, and now plenty of other bedding manufacturers have cottoned on to the benefits of bamboo fibers, too. But what’s it all about? The main benefit is sustainability. Bamboo is fast-growing and regenerates, plus it requires a lot less water to grow (compared to cotton). Bamboo is also breathable, absorbs sweat and boasts antimicrobial properties, which helps keep bacteria at bay. Happy days, or rather nights, for allergy sufferers.
How does it compare to the previous memory-foam topper?
As mentioned in the intro, the only thing that prevented the original Panda topper from achieving five-star status in my last review was the fact it slipped down our mattress during the night. This was mainly due to the straps pinging off overnight. Presumably, I am not the only person to mention this, as the new version has adjustable elastic straps, which enable a much better fit. It also means the topper is now suitable for a wider range of mattress depths, from skinny to extra-deep. The underside of the topper also still has silicone dots to improve slip resistance, and I am happy to report that it didn’t budge an inch during its six-week stay on our mattress.
Is the Panda hybrid topper for you?
If you are a memory foam newbie, you will love, love, love the plush feel of the Panda, which delivers really decent squishiness but is somehow also supportive. You will not feel trapped, and unable to move, while sleeping on this topper, which is a common complaint about foam mattresses. My husband really likes our firm, pocket-sprung mattress, and while I can sleep perfectly well on it, the Panda topper felt like a really luxurious upgrade. I was delighted, and he didn’t complain (which I took as a win).
As with all mattress toppers, the Panda Topper is a great way to elongate the life of a tired mattress. This memory foam-filled mattress topper is thicker than most and so delivers exceptional support, which is ideal if you have niggling back, hip, or neck pain. The memory foam curious could also use it as a ‘gateway drug’ to a full memory foam mattress — using it to test out foam tolerance before stumping up for a new foam mattress! It can also help counteract sweaty sleeping and is a commendable choice for allergy sufferers.
Real Homes review process
Linda Clayton has been writing about homes and interior design for more than 20 years, working for publications such as Homes & Gardens, Country Homes & Interiors, Real Homes, Ideal Home, Livingetc and Woman & Home. Linda and her husband spent six weeks testing the Panda mattress topper. Panda did not pay for this review but, for hygiene reasons, did not require the product to be returned. Find her on Twitter at @lindaclaytonand @lindaclaytonwrites on Insta.
Find out more about how we review mattress toppers at Real Homes.