Zinus ultra cool gel mattress topper review

Back sleepers — the Zinus ultra cool gel mattress topper is for you

Zinus Ultra Cool Gel Memory Foam Mattress Topper hero image
(Image credit: Future / Zinus)
Real Homes Verdict

Too-hard mattress interfering with your beauty sleep? The Zinus Ultra Cool Gel Memory Foam Mattress Topper will make your bed feel as plush as a pillow-top—without breaking the bank. Its soft feel is incredibly cozy for back sleepers, and don’t worry if you tend to be a furnace during the night — the gel memory foam stops you from overheating. However, while some sleep positions will find this mattress topper to be a dream, it’s definitely too plush for anyone who likes a more supportive sleep surface.

Reasons to buy
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    Affordable price point

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    Ideal for softening firm mattresses

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    Cozy for back sleepers

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    Doesn’t get hot like most memory foam

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    No off-gassing smells

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    Washable cover

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Not the most supportive

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    Too plush for side sleepers

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    Shifts around on mattress

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Zinus Ultra Cool Gel Mattress Topper Review: Quick Menu

Why am I testing the Zinus Ultra Cool Gel Mattress Topper? Well, when it comes to mattresses, you can call me Goldilocks. I’m really particular about what I like, and many beds are too soft or too hard for my discerning tastes. I’m still on the hunt for that just right sleep surface, and I’ve found that toppers are the perfect way to adjust the feel of my bed without draining my bank account. 

My current wishlist for a mattress topper includes a comfortable surface that’s supportive enough for side sleeping and won’t make me hot at night, and the Zinus Ultra Cool Gel Memory Foam Mattress Topper seemed like it might check all the boxes. It’s made from CertiPUR-US gel-infused memory foam that’s supposed to be supportive for all sleep positions and ideal for temperature regulation, and the topper is available in both 2-inch and 3-inch thicknesses.

However, you can never really know what to expect from mattress toppers until you try them out for yourself. To help you find the best mattress topper for your bedroom, I tested out the Zinus Ultra Cool for a month, and while it definitely wasn’t the product for me, it will be really appealing to certain types of sleepers. 

TLDR: What I thought of the Zinus ultra cool gel mattress Topper

After several weeks of testing, my partner and I agreed to disagree about the Zinus mattress topper. As a back sleeper with an affinity for all things soft and cozy, he couldn’t get enough of the topper’s super-soft, sink-in plushness, and he said it was the best sleep he’s had in months. Me, on the other hand? I found the topper was nowhere near supportive enough to accommodate my side-sleeping habits and struggled to get comfortable most nights. All that to say: It’s definitely a subjective experience. 

Personal preferences aside, the Zinus Mattress Topper does have a lot of great attributes. I tend to sleep warm but I didn’t overheat at night, likely thanks to the topper’s gel memory foam, which is designed for temperature regulation. The topper didn’t produce any weird chemical smells when I set it up, and since I have several pets, I love that the cover can be removed and machine-washed for easy maintenance. 

The only major downside that I found during testing is that the topper shifts around on the mattress, especially if you toss and turn at night. It doesn’t have any straps to hold it in place, and it will definitely migrate around your bed, often taking the fitted sheet with it. 

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Zinus ultra cool gel mattress topper test results
ComfortSubjective. Our reviewer and her partner had differing opinions on the comfortability of this mattress topper.★★★★
BreathabilityCooler than regular memory foam.★★★★
PackagingFairly large, but lightweight box; topper is wrapped in lots of plastic packaging.★★★
PriceStarts from $99.★★★★★

Testing the Zinus Ultra Cool Mattress Topper

Head shot of Camryn Rabideau
Camryn Rabideau

I’m Camryn Rabideau, a freelance writer and product tester for Real Homes, and one of my areas of expertise is bedding. I’ve tested hundreds of sleep products over the past few years, including all sorts of sheets, blankets, pillows, mattresses, and more. (Tough job, right?)

I tested this mattress topper over the course of a month, and because I sleep with my partner, Nathan, you’re getting two reviews for the price of one. We have notably different sleep habits, so we were able to evaluate the topper from two unique points of view. 

Camryn's sleep stats: • Sleep position: Side • Insomnia: Occasionally • Sleep problems: Hot sleeper • Average sleep time: 7–8 hours

Nathan’s sleep stats: • Sleep position: Back • Insomnia: No Sleep problems: Cold at night • Average sleep time: 8–9 hours

The important stuff

  • Type: Gel memory foam
  • Sizes: Twin, full, queen, king
  • Thickness: 2 or 3 inches
  • Cover: Nylon-polyester blend
  • Certifications: CertiPUR-US
  • Cleaning: Machine-washable cover
  • Cost: $99+
  • Warranty: 5-year limited

Unboxing the Zinus ultra cool gel mattress topper

Zinus Ultra Cool Gel Memory Foam Mattress Topper in plastic packaging

(Image credit: Future / Camryn Rabideau)

The Zinus Mattress Topper arrived in a long, skinny box, and when I stood it up, the package came up to around my waist. While it was fairly large, the box was light enough for me to carry upstairs by myself, and I unpacked it right in my bedroom for the sake of convenience. 

The box says not to open it with a knife, but frankly, I’m not sure how else you’d cut through the packing tape. I opted to cut it open very carefully, being sure to only slice through the tape and not the cardboard. 

The topper was rolled up into a log shape using lots of plastic, and I had to unroll it and cut open the vacuum-sealed bag to get it out. The box also included a strap system that you can use to roll up and store the topper if needed. 

Once I removed the packaging, I spread the topper out on my bed, with the grippy side facing down. It was a bit deflated at first, but the memory foam puffed up to its intended size in around two hours. I was happy to find that the topper didn’t have a weird chemical smell — a common issue with new memory foam products — but it was a few inches smaller than my mattress, so it didn’t fully cover the surface. 

Is the Zinus ultra cool gel mattress topper comfortable?

Zinus Ultra Cool Gel Memory Foam Mattress Topper on bed

(Image credit: Future / Camryn Rabideau)

It may seem like a simple question, but the answer is that it depends. After sleeping on this mattress topper for a month, my partner and I had opposite opinions about its comfort. Nate absolutely loved the plush memory foam surface, which he thought was delightfully cozy. He said it felt like being wrapped up in a hug when he laid down, and he consistently got a great night’s sleep on it. 

My experience wasn’t quite as positive. I solely sleep on my side, and the topper didn’t offer me nearly enough support at my pressure points. I always felt like my shoulder was sinking way too far down, and I often found myself trying to prop myself up in the middle of the night. It felt like trying to climb out of a quicksand hole! 

Because I was wiggling around so much at night, the mattress topper also shifted quite a bit—there aren’t any straps holding it in place—and this generally meant the sheets and topper had to be rearranged each morning. Between the added maintenance and my general discomfort sleeping on it, I couldn’t wait to get the topper off our bed after the testing period was over. 

Motion transfer
Because it’s made from memory foam, the Zinus Mattress Topper is great at minimizing motion transfer during the night. Nate often comes to bed after me, and I never felt him climbing into bed or shifting around as he got comfortable. I was also able to get out of bed most mornings without disturbing him. 

Edge support
The Zinus Mattress Topper doesn’t offer much in terms of additional edge support. If you sit on the edge of it, the memory foam sinks down quickly. Our mattress has good edge support thanks to its hybrid construction, so this wasn’t a problem for us, but if you’re hoping to improve the edge support of your bed, this topper isn’t going to be an effective solution. 

Is the Zinus ultra cool gel memory foam mattress topper breathable and cool?

The Zinus Ultra Cool Mattress Topper isn’t necessarily “cooling,” but it does help with temperature regulation at night. The memory foam feels like, well, regular ol’ memory foam when you lay down on it — it’s not going to provide any type of cooling sensation on warm summer nights, if that’s what you’re looking for. 

However, as someone who sleeps hot, I did find that the topper does a good job regulating body temperature during the night. Regular memory foam tends to get quite toasty when you lay on it for a long time, but the Ultra Cool Topper doesn’t retain as much warmth. I felt comfortable sleeping on it during the summer, and I never woke up in a puddle of my own sweat (which has 100% happened on other memory foam products). 

Is the Zinus ultra cool gel mattress topper right for you?

Removing cover on Zinus Ultra Cool Gel Memory Foam Mattress Topper

(Image credit: Future / Camryn Rabideau)

The Zinus Ultra Cool Gel Memory Foam Mattress Topper isn’t going to be everyone’s cup of tea. The memory foam construction is more plush than it is supportive, which makes it best suited for back sleepers. It may also be a good option if you have a brick-like mattress and are looking for a way to make your sleep surface a little softer. 

This mattress topper is also a solid choice for anyone who sleeps warm. Because it’s infused with gel, the memory foam is more breathable and doesn’t retain body heat during the night. This helps you stay at a comfortable temperature, even on warm summer nights.

The memory foam is wrapped in a removable cover that’s machine-washable, and the whole thing is quite affordable, costing less than $200 for a queen-size model. 

The biggest caveat we have about the Zinus Ultra Cool Gel Memory Foam Mattress Topper is it’s not attached to the mattress in any way. If you toss and turn at night, the topper will shift around underneath you, and this often pulls my fitted sheet off the mattress, forcing me to remake the bed most mornings. However, you might be able to anchor the topper in place using a mattress pad.

Invest in this mattress if:

You love sinking into your bed at the end of a long day: This topper will relieve the tension of a stressful working day.

You mostly sleep on your back: This topper suits someone with this sleep preference

You want to make a firm mattress feel more plush: Harder mattresses tend to feel cheap, so this will give it a luxe touch

You tend to sleep hot: The cooling gel will drop your basal body temperature

You don’t want to splurge on a pricey topper: These start from under $100

Avoid this mattress topper if:

You sleep on your side or stomach: It's best you choose another mattress from our buying guide

You want a supportive mattress topper: This bedding accessory is on the buttery side of the scale.

You toss and turn at night: As mentioned, you'll be taking it with you if you shuffle about constantly.

If that's what you're after, or you think there might be a better topper out there for you, here are a few options we've also tested:

Real Homes' mattress topper review process

 There's much more to how we test mattresses (and toppers) in case you were wondering, but for a brief overview, our mattress topper testers are all required to sleep on their bed with the new product for a minimum of three to four weeks before reaching their verdict, testing the topper according to a strict brief. This allows Real Homes to compare and contrast their mattress topper experiences to find the best product.

During the review, we will pay close attention to comfort, support, cost, and how it lives up to claims. We will also choose a reviewer depending on how they sleep, and we will ensure that this matches the type of topper we give them. 

Camryn Rabideau
Contributing Reviews Editor

Camryn Rabideau is a writer and product reviewer specializing in home and kitchen products. In her five years as a product tester, she's tested hundreds of items first-hand, including many, many kitchen appliances for Real Homes, and also works on our sister brand, Homes & Gardens. Camryn does her product testing from her small homestead in beautiful Rhode Island. Her work appears in publications such as Forbes, USA Today, The Spruce, Food52, and more. When she’s not tinkering around with the latest home gadgets, she spends her time tending to her animals, working in her garden, or crafting.