- Posts: 5
The Mattress Underground
quality manufacturers ~ knowledgeable retailers ~ educated consumers
Hi Pheonix, I did some research on wool toppers. Here are the best options I could find:
2 major types, stuffed vs wool fibers attached to a backing. Any thoughts??
1) “Natura” Aloe Wool Stuffed Topper ($95 best internet price at Organic Sleep Products). Top is made of 50/50 cotton and Aloe Viscuse. Filling is 18oz/yard SmartWool (tm – synthetic wool made by Natura). Bottom is 100% cotton. Queen has 4lb of wool stuffing. Claims that Aloe infusion provides extra softness and that smartwool is more moisture wicking than regular wool. Not sure if synthetic wool is better to or inferior to natural??
2) “Sleep & Beyond “ Stuffed Wool Topper ($269 best internet price at GoodNight Naturals). Cover is 300 thread count 100% organic Jaquard cotton. Filling is 30oz/yard organic merino wool. Thickness is 1.5 inches. Queen has 8lbs of wool fill.
3) “SnugFleece” : USA merino wool fibers attached to a backing
A)Snugsoft Elite wool mattress pad: 1 ½” pile height, 65oz/yard ($261 best internet price at DreamSoft Bedware). In the SnugSoft line the wool fibers are knitted through a woven polyester machine washable backing. This allows for machine washing and drying. Not sure if having the poly thread/backing will be a problem??
B)SnugFleece II wool mattress pad: 1 3/4” pile height, 60 oz/yard ($242 best internet price at DreamSoft Bedware). Have a cotton backing onto which the wool fibers are bonded. This is dry-cleanable.
C)SnugFleece Original: 1 ¾” pile height, 86oz/yard, cotton backing ($303)
I can see we've been going in parallel directions in our research and I appreciate your feedback
I've spent the last few days adding to my knowledge about what and who makes a high quality and value wool topper so I could reply to your post in a more accurate and educational way.
There is a wide range of different options including wool inside organic cotton covers and as you mentioned the fleece wool where you sleep directly on the wool itself which is backed either by polyester or organic cotton. Many of the different products use different types of wool and different densities and thicknesses of wool as well. Some use actual organic certified wool while some use equivalent quality wool without the added expense and cost of organic certification. I particularly liked that there are some very good quality and privately owned manufacturers in the industry that are very helpful and knowledgeable when you ask them some very detailed questions on the phone.
In general terms ... the fleece has a very nice "feel" but would not be as strongly resilient as wool batting that was pre-compressed and quilted or tufted. Wool that is aligned more up and down such as in a fleece material would pack down more easily than wool batting that is aligned horizontally, pre-compressed or tufted which has a stronger resilience and is more supportive (it has more "lift" but less "travel"). Because of the difference between a fleece layer and a batted wool layer ... the fleece will also not redistribute weight in the same way so the surface feel would "feel" softer but the pressure relief would be more localized. You can read a little more about how a wool topper may perform in post #8 here .
My choice would be based on how much wool I wanted to add to my sleeping system, the thickness of the topper I was looking at, the type of maintenance required, and the degree of "fine tuning" I was looking for. It would also depend on the relative value of the different types (comparing apples to apples in terms of materials and amount of wool used), the return privileges (if that is an issue), the lifespan, what was involved in replacing the topper at the end of its life. Perhaps most importantly it would depend on the type of feel and performance I was looking for and the knowledge and ability of each outlet to listen to what I was trying to achieve and their advice about which of their products would best meet my needs and why. When you are dealing with products like these that are more difficult to meaningfully compare, I place a very high value on the ability of the retailer or manufacturer to help me make the best choice for my specific circumstances. I also tend to lean towards outlets that manufacture their own products or at least deal directly with the manufacturer and are very knowledgeable in their own right.
The manufacturers that I am particularly impressed with (at this point) in terms of quality, value, and the level of knowledge and information they provide if you call them are ...
www.surroundewe.com/ Wool Bed Company. They use high wool densities, have more wool in the center of the pad (which supports the most weight), tuft the wool to pre-compress it and keep it lofted, and have an exchange program that allows customers to replace their topper at half price if their needs change or they wish to renew their topper when the wool has compressed (probably in the 4-6 year range but this will depend of course on useage and maintenance). They are very helpful and knowledgeable about their product and will give you a clear sense of the benefits of using them. Unlike many wool toppers ... these can provide pressure relief over a larger area or even over the whole body because of their pre-compression and the way they are tufted and manufactured. They make toppers that have 14, 20, and 25 lbs of wool (queen size)
www.woolenmill.com/ St. Peter Woolen Mill. They are a manufacturer that is over 100 years old and is in it's 4th generation of manufacturing high quality wool products. They use the highest quality wool and cotton and pay attention to the fine details like the micron size of the wool and the length and coil of the wool fiber to get the resilience, performance, and resiliency that is consistent. They also use higher densities of wool filling which is tufted to maintain the loft and offer their customer the chance to re-card their wool and have it re-covered to save money when it comes time to replace it. While wool will initially compress ... once it is compressed it will remains resilient without further compression and the main reason to replace the topper would be for aesthetic reasons and to regain the original loft and freshness of the wool. This would typically be in 5-7 years. They are another high quality and value option that provides great information about their products if you take the time to call them. The recommended protection is a stretch knit cotton protector which will protect the topper from body oils and dirt without interfering with the breathability and performance of the wool. like other wool mattress pads, they can be carefully washed by hand but this will reduce the loft of the wool. They make mattress pads/toppers that use 6 3/4 or 10 1/8 lbs of wool (queen)
www.thewoolenmill.com/ Frankenmuth Woolen Mill. This woolen mill has been in operation for almost a century but doesn't show up easily on google searches. Along with many other wool products and wool mill services, they make a mattress pad/topper that uses 6 lbs of wool and is batted and hand tied to help maintain loft and wool shifting and covered with high quality muslin. Like all good quality wool toppers/pads ... they will last for a long time (5-10 years or more was their estimate of "normal") and when it's time to replace it they offer the ability to send in your old one in and have it re-carded and re-covered. They are also a distributor for SnugFleece. They make a mattress pad/topper with 6 lbs of wool but can also make custom orders.
www.sleepandbeyond.com/ Manufacturer that makes a mattress pad/topper produced in the Kyrgyz republic in central Asia using locally raised Merino wool and quilted in an organic cotton jacquard. They sell their products direct but their retailers generally have a better price than is listed on their website (a fairly common practice for manufacturers who also sell through retail outlets). Good quality and value although they only make one model. They use 8 lbs of wool (queen size). NOTE: they have now added some new products that use Shropshire wool ... see post #20 here .
shepherdsdream.com/ They own and run the Woolgatherer Carding Mill which produces the Ecowool you will see in many wool products. I talked at length with Sarah (Eliana the founders daughter) and she is a wealth of information. Even so ... her husband Nathan is considered the "expert" and is an amazing resource. The wool is medium density which would be a little courser than the fine Merino but more resilient and more suitable for a wool topper. They have a 3 stage cleaner which removes all the organic residue and it's not carbonized. High quality products. They make a 1.5" and a 3" topper.
www.sugarloafwool.com/ A woolen mill in Hall, MT that also buys wool from local farmers and makes a range of wool products including wool mattress pads with either 2 or 3 bats of wool (typically about 2.5" thick") woolen pillows and blankets. they don't use any harsh chemicals to scour their wool. They are also washable following the care instructions (and of course they will also benefit from putting them out inthe sun) and they said their mattress pads would typically last 10 years or longer. Also knowledgeable about wool in general and they will also recard wool and supply other raw wool materials as well.
www.cottoncloudfutons.com/onlinefutonstore.01/ They own their own woolen mill and use eco-valley wool that is raised in the pacific northwest on farms that use organic farming methods. They have their own brand called Sleepy Sheep Organics and make wool toppers, mattress pads, and custom orders along with their other products using cotton and wellspring PET fiber. I talked with Bronwyn and they are also very knowledgeable about wool and the products they make and will provide good information about their products on the phone. They can also custom manufacture.
www.soaringheart.com/ They are a member here and I have had several conversations with Jason here and he is also amazingly knowledgeable about wool. He works closely with Nathan at the Wool Gatherers Carding Mill and was also instrumental in its founding and they are almost like "sister" companies. His wool toppers are either 4" compressed to 2" or @6" compressed to 4" and are very well constructed. To say he is passionate about wool and good construction (such as cross layering) would be an understatement and carefully selects the breed of wool which he uses to fine tune his toppers. Also high quality products.
http://www.cozypure.com/ They are a member of this site and Cheryl the owner is another one who is passionate about natural and organic products and green manufacturing (they produce all their own power from solar, geothermal, and wind) making sure that every component they use is the highest quality and "purity" right down to the thread. They make a 1.5" and a 3" wool topper and have some good and informative videos on their site about the benefits of many of their products.
www.holylamborganics.com/mattress_tops.html#anchor200 They also make some very high quality wool toppers that use eco wool from The Wool Gatherer carding mill. They have two wool batting toppers (about 9.3 lbs and 14 lbs of wool in a queen) and a very nice wool fleece topper for those who prefer the softness and "feel" of fleece.
www.snugfleece.com/ . Their product is different from the others because it is a wool fleece or pile which is not pre-compressed and reacts and feels differently from a pre-compressed wool batting topper. While it contains high densities of wool, because the wool is not pre-compressed and is layered with vertical rather than horizontal fiber alignment, it will compress and matt down more with weight when you sleep on it. You also have direct access to the wool and it can be re-fluffed with "finger massage" or with a stiff brush when you change the bedding. It is softer than a pre-compressed wool topper but not as resilient or supportive in the "gaps" of the body so offers more of a localized pressure relief for pressure points and a different "feel" and less "full body" or "wider area" pressure relief of a pre-compressed wool topper. They also have a long lifetime of a decade or more. The less you wash it or "mess" with it (refresh it in the sun) the longer it will last. Many people use these for a decade or longer. If a protector is used with these for the sake of waterproofing (wool is already water resistant and it is not recommended) it is recommended under the topper rather than over it. The polyester backed versions would be better for use where spills or accidents are likely and the cotton backed versions are recommended for adult use where the moisture released from sleeping is the only liquid that is likely to be encountered. Their cotton backed toppers (original and SnugFleece II) are 1.5 to to 1.75" pile height and 19.9 lbs or 13.9 lbs of wool (queen) and can be can be dry cleaned, vacuumed, and spot cleaned. The Snugsoft line uses a polyester backing and can be washed. They range from 1" to 1.5" pile height and from 9.25 lbs to 15 lbs of wool (queen).
Some additional manufacturers that also make wool mattress pads or toppers that I haven't had the chance to talk with in as much detail include ...
www.vivetique.com/22_TobToppers.html Arcadia, CA. These are sold through retailers across the country. The trademarked name for their wool is Pure Grow wool.
valleyfordwoolmill.com/store/ Valley Ford, CA
www.courtneywoolenmill.com/products.asp Appleton, WI
www.purerest.com/Organic-Sheets-Pads-Top...-Blankets-Comforters San Diego, CA. Also sold through many online stores.
dashingstarfarm.com/products.html Millerton, NY
www.lismoresheepfarmwoolshop.com/wool.htm River John, NS. Canada
www.customwoolenmills.com/wool_shop/cold_country_wool_bedding Carstairs, AB. Canada
Of course the choice between these high quality/value options would be based on personal preference and on the "details" that make a difference for each person but they are all high quality and good value IMO. I would highly recommend a conversation with each manufacturer of each to get a sense of the differences between them. Some of these are factory direct and some are sold through retailers so you may need to search for the best value in some cases.
A few comments about Natura which you also mentioned ...
www.naturaworld.com/catalog/bedding/natural-toppers There is a Naturawool line, a wool fleece line, A Smartwool product (which is a New Zealand Merino wool that has been treated to make them washable, itch free and resistant to shrinking) and an organic wool line. Their wool pads/toppers are mostly either 4.17 lbs or 8.33 lbs of wool (queen) however they also have a mattress pad that is 1.4 lbs and an organic topper version that uses 16.67 lbs. and their fleece line doesn't list the amount of wool. These are typically more costly than equivalent products in the earlier list but the outlet you mentioned www.organicsleepproducts.com/wool-filled-toppers.html carries seconds at great prices.
I also appreciate the pricing research you have done and along with the retail outlets you have mentioned (which I like) there is one more I'll add to the list for now because of the high quality of information they have on their site, the variety of products they carry, their knowledge of and personal testing they do on their products, and their prices. I was impressed when I talked with them on the phone ...
There are many more options as well or course and as I have the chance to talk with them and/or come to know more about some of them I will add my comments to the list here for those that have comparable quality and value to these "reference points". In addition to these ... post #32 here along with post #10 here also have some additional sources for wool toppers and/or good information and may also be helpful
If there are any others that any of the members come across it would be great to list them here as well.
Thanks again for all your research and feedback
PS: There is more feedback about some of these further in the thread and in particular in post #29 here .
Among other places that a google search will bring up, you can see them here .
Phoenix wrote: Hi g1981c,
Among other places that a google search will bring up, you can see them here .
you know what's weird ? i have a similar topper that my grandma brought from Ukraine ( unfortunately it's not queen size ) it has about 4 pounds of wool ( the whole thing weighs 5 pounds ) and she only paid about $30 for it - so it cost her less than $10 per pound of wool, while everything i see on sale is $20 per pound or more.
HA ! i received the reply from snugfleece.
hi ! what is the weight of the wool in a Queen Size SnugSoft Elite ?
65 oz. per linear yd. (based on 36x80)
Qn. Elite in the pkg. weighs approx. 7.5 lbs.
so yesterday i was thinking about this snugfleece and i think it may have a real advantage over regular type of wool topper. by orienting the fibers perpendicular to the surface of the body it allows more fibers to come into contact with the surface so more of the fibers are more directly involved in wicking moisture away. whereas in a regular wool pad most of the fibers never come into contact with the surface, and the ones that do contact the surface can't effectively wick moisture away FROM the surface because both of their ends are AT the surface.
so maybe weight is not a relevant metric here.
also as i said i'm actually sleeping on a similar product right now - except it was only about $30 ( in Ukraine ). i haven't tested if it is real wool or not - my grandma says it is - and i don't really care since it was free to me ( a present ). unfortunately i can't test it's cooling properties because the bed it's on wasn't hot to begin with. also it's only about 3/4 inch pile, but quite dense - doesn't flatten much.
You will find that the wool toppers like the snugfleece will matt down and compress and lose their height faster than the layered toppers that use wool batting and are be less resilient because of the way they are made.
Having cotton around the wool also improves the moisture wicking compared to sleeping directly on the wool itself (cotton wicks moisture better than wool).
Wool is better at "storing" moisture inside the fiber than cotton while it stays dry on the outside of the fiber and gradually releases the moisture inside it into the surrounding atmosphere which is why it does such a great job at controlling humidity and temperature.
They are really very different products ... but the wool pile is much less resilient and more of a "cush" or "surface feel" layer than the wool batting types of toppers.
Hi Phoenix --
Thanks for this really helpful post. I'm trying to add a pressure point relieving layer to an otherwise good and supportive bed. For this purpose, do you think more wool density is better than less, as a general rule? The sources you mention all look really good, but frankly I'm confused by the choices and not sure how thick I need the topper to be. Thanks for any further guidance.
I'm trying to add a pressure point relieving layer to an otherwise good and supportive bed. For this purpose, do you think more wool density is better than less, as a general rule? The sources you mention all look really good, but frankly I'm confused by the choices and not sure how thick I need the topper to be. Thanks for any further guidance.
I am also looking for a wool topper. but I sometimes think about cotton.
My goal is to find the coolest topper.
can anyone help me to know which one is cooler ?
another thing is I checked all of those links
but why you didn't consider this one:
when I compare its weight I found it is the heaviest wool topper.
they use 30 lbs wool in their queen size mattress topper .
Phoenix why you didnt mention this site ? They are not a good producer ?
Is it a good choice ?
There are may factors involved with temperature regulation but in most cases and designs wool will be a better temperature regulator than cotton because it stores moisture inside the fiber and away from the surface. Keep in mind that wool regulates temperature in both directions.
Phoenix why you didnt mention this site ? They are not a good producer ?
Is it a good choice ?
Thank you Phoenix
I thought you had a specific reason that you didn't mention that site.
In fact that site is my first choice just because it is the heaviest 3 inches topper.
They don't have return policy !
I just received some real pictures of their 3 inches topper and they seem fine !
Now I have a firm Otis futon mattress
I like it, every thing is fine with that else temperature.
but I still don't know a 3 inches topper can be enough for this purpose or not.
that's why I decided to get the heaviest one. I think more wool = more temperature regulation.