Best Memory Foam Mattress Reviews
Memory foam beds are a newer type of mattress that have gained popularity for their “customized” feel. Originally created by NASA researchers in the 1970s to provide crash protection for airline pilots and passengers, memory foam is now used in pillows, mattress toppers, and as a comfort layer for multiple types of mattresses. The viscoelastic foam reacts to pressure and heat, changing shape to fit the sleeper’s body and becoming softer from body heat. As a result, memory foam mattresses deliver a signature feeling of “hug” that many sleepers appreciate.
This guide will first dive into our selections of the best memory foam mattresses and then walk you through everything you need to know when shopping for one.
What are the best memory foam mattresses?
Memory foam has become such a common material in mattresses that there are a head-spinning number of options that you can buy either in-store or online. While the popularity of this material is well-deserved, not all memory foam mattresses are worth your hard-earned dollars.
To help guide you to a great choice, we’ve selected our top 5 best memory foam mattresses. A quick introduction to these mattresses -- listed in no particular order -- is in the table below.
We figure that you may be the type of shopper who wants to have a lot more detail before making a decision, especially for a significant purchase like a mattress. Below you can read more about the construction and benefits of our top picks.
Why we like it:
- Sleeps Cool for a Memory Foam Mattress
- Excellent Contouring and Spinal Alignment
- Very Affordable
Though it is the lowest-priced mattress on our list, the Nectar mattress delivers a fantastic sleeping experience that provides the kind of responsiveness and comfort that sleepers have come to expect from memory foam.
This medium-firm mattress (6-7 on the typical firmness scale) has four foam layers. The top layer is 1” of gel-infused memory foam with a density of 4 PCF. The second layer is 3” of memory foam with 3.5 PCF density. The third layer is a transition foam with a thickness of 1.75”, and the bottom is 5.25” of support foam that has a density of 2.2 PCF. The two memory foam top layers allow the mattress to contour to the body and keep the spine and neck in alignment. At the same time, the use of gel in the top layer can decrease heat retention and reduce the risk of sleeping hot.
Two other factors make the Nectar mattress especially appealing: its price tag and its sleep trial. This mattress can be purchased for $670 for a Queen, which is significantly less than the other mattresses on this list. In addition, it comes with a 365-night sleep trial, which gives you a full year to test out the mattress and determine if it is the right fit for you. With these extra benefits that differentiate it from many other memory foam options, the Nectar mattress rounds out our list of the top 5 best memory foam mattresses.
Loom & Leaf
Why we like it:
- Provides adequate support for sleepers of all weights
- High-density foams provide highly-conforming "hug" feeling
- Lower price-point than mattresses of similar quality
The Loom & Leaf mattress is manufactured by Saatva, which also produces high-quality innerspring and latex mattresses. These mattresses include thick comfort layers and high-density foams that make them a clear best bet among memory foam mattresses.
The Loom & Leaf mattress is offered in two models -- Relaxed Firm (5.5 firmness) and Firm (8). The Relaxed Firm (5.5 firmness). Both models have the same interior design and construction with a top layer of 2.5” of gel-infused memory foam with a density of 5 PCF. The second layer is 2” of 4 PCF density memory foam. A 2” transition layer (1.6 PCF) makes up the third layer while 5.5” of support polyfoam (1.8 PCF) is the bottom layer. These layers are covered by a quilted organic cotton cover.
The thickness and density of the topmost foam layers make the Loom & Leaf an extremely durable and supportive mattress even for sleepers who weigh more than average or side sleepers who have very sharp pressure points. The memory foam can tailor to the body’s support needs to help maintain spinal alignment without overheating, thanks to the gel-infused foam and the fact that the foams are firm enough to prevent sinking too deeply into the mattress.
The Saatva company offers free installation of this mattress and haul-away of an old mattress and has a widely-recognized reputation for customer satisfaction and service. At a price of $1,499, this is a tremendous value given the quality of the company and the materials.
Why we like it:
- Flippable, dual-sided design featuring two firmness options in one
- Copper-infused foam makes it sleep cooler than most memory foam beds
- Affordable price with a lifetime warranty
Layla offers a flippable memory foam mattress that includes two firmness options in one. This dual-sided design provides two different sleeping experiences, making this a great option for those torn between a soft and firm memory foam mattress.
One side is rated as medium-soft (4 on the firmness scale) while the other side is firm (7). The medium-soft side features a comfort layer consisting of a 3" layer of copper-infused memory foam and a 2" layer of convoluted polyfoam, while the firm side's comfort layer is simply 1" of the copper-infused memory foam. In between these two comfort layers is a support core of 4 1/2" of polyfoam, making for a 10" mattress overall. Additionally, the Layla is wrapped in a soft cover made from a polyester blend.
Regardless of which side you sleep on, this mattress will provide the traditional conforming properties of memory foam, making for excellent pressure relief and spinal alignment. Plus, the copper that's infused within the memory foam helps the mattress breath, making it sleep cooler than traditional memory foam mattresses.
At $899, the Layla mattress is one of the most affordable memory foam mattresses on the market. Additionally, Layla offers a 120-night sleep trial and a lifetime warranty.
Why we like it:
- Pressure Relief and Celliant cover makes it great for athletes and active people
- Motion isolation and minimal noise; good for couples
- Free shipping, 100 day sleep trial and a 10 year warranty
The Bear Mattress is a mixed-foam mattress that's distinguished by its conforming surface and celliaint fiber cover. Particularly good for athletes and active people, this bed has been shown to increase muscle tissue recovery.
This bed is constructed with a 'Medium Firm' feel, which falls at a 6.5 on the firmness scale. It features a comfort layer consisting of 1" of memory foam on top of 2" of responsive polyfoam. Its 2-layer support core is composed of a 2" layer of adaptive polyfoam and a 5" of high-density support foam. Finally, the Bear has a cover made of Celliant fabric, a patented fiber made from 13 natural minerals mixed with PET and polyester resin.
The mixed foam comfort layer of the Bear mattress provides the conforming necessary to provide very good pain and pressure relief, a quality especially attractive to athletes and active people. Like most memory foam mattresses, the Bear also features great motion isolation and minimal noise, making it good for couples. Finally, the celliant fiber cover helps has been proven to promote muscle recovery, further strengthing this mattress as an option for people who work out regularly.
At $1,390 for a queen, the Bear sells at an average price-point for an all-foam mattress. Bear offers free shipping, a 100 day sleep trial and a 10 year limited warranty.
Why we like it:
- High-density memory foam provides excellent conforming
- Motion isolation and minimal noise makes it great for couples
- Proven to be a very durable mattress
The Tempur-Adapt mattress is an all-foam mattress with that classic high-density memory foam feel that we've come to expect from Tempur-Pedic. A true classic, this bed embodies the memory foam sleeping experience.
Tempur-Pedic does not disclose the density or layer depth of their foam. Nonetheless, we've seen for ourselves that the Tempur-Adapt features a comfort layer of around 4 inches containing very high-density memory foam on top of a polyfoam support core of around 7". This mattress also has a polyester cover.
As a result of its high-density memory foam comfort layer, this bed features extremely high conforming, giving sleepers the feeling that they are being "hugged" and promoting excellent pressure relief and spinal alignment. Additionally it holds the classic memory foam tropes of providing excellent motion isolation and minimal noise, making it great for couples. Since this mattress has been around for a long time, we can safely say that it is a very durable mattress that should preform for at least 7 years.
At $2,199, the Tempur-Adapt isn't necessarily for those on a tight budget. That being said, it's a high quality mattress that will last a long time, so it may be worth it. Tempur-Pedic offers a 90 day sleep trial and a 10 year limited warranty on this mattress.
Memory foam mattress construction
Types of memory foam mattresses
You’ll come across a few different versions of memory foam mattresses as you shop. Here are the most common labels used and what they mean:
- Traditional memory foam mattresses are made of viscoelastic foam, a polyfoam that’s polyurethane-based. They’re the most popular option available.
- Plant-based memory foam mattresses combine petrochemicals and botanical ingredients. They tend to be cooler to sleep on than traditional memory foam, due to the breathable open-cell configuration of the foam.
- Gel-infused memory foam mattresses are a less common option, albeit a popular one among hot sleepers. Cooling gel is added to the mattress to help reduce heat.
- Copper-infused memory foam places copper wire in beads throughout the foam to cool the mattress. Copper also helps blood circulation, making these mattresses popular among sleepers with joint pain.
What are the components of a memory foam mattress?
Memory foam is very soft, so mattresses are not made entirely of memory foam, despite their name. Typically the memory foam comfort layer makes up 25 to 40 percent of the mattress to provide the sleeper with a comfortable sense of “hug” and contour to the body. The support core is made from high-density polyfoam to create a sturdier base that prevents the sleeper from sinking too far into the mattress.
The firmness of a memory foam bed depends on the ILD. ILD (indentation load deflection) indicates how much pressure is required to make a four-inch indentation on the mattress surface. The higher the ILD, the firmer the mattress. Conversely, the lower the ILD, the more you will sink into the mattress.
Memory foam mattresses may have a ILD range because environmental factors like room and body temperature can affect the ILD. A quality memory foam mattress will have an ILD of 10 or more, although you’ll see comfort layers ranging from 8 to 20. As a general rule, ILDs of 10 or less are extremely soft, 11 to 15 are very soft, and 16 to 21 are soft. A higher ILD will still contour to the body, but not as much as a lower ILD. Higher ILDs will provide less pressure point relief for lighter weight sleepers, but will offer better support for heavier weight sleepers.
Density is another thing to look for as you shop for a mattress. Density indicates how well the mattress will support you, and is measured in pounds per cubic foot. The density of memory foam comfort layers range from 2.5 to 8 pounds per cubic foot.
With memory foam beds, density also indicates how quickly the mattress will retain its shape after you get up from the mattress. The higher the density, the more slowly it will retain its shape, but the better it will be at contour and motion isolation. Lower-density foams will retain their shape quickly, but offer less motion isolation and contour ability.
What do they feel like to sleep on?
Memory foam mattresses are popular because their superior contour ability makes the mattress feel customized to the sleeper’s body.
Memory foam reacts to the pressure and heat of your body, so regardless of your sleeping position or body weight, it will keep your spine aligned by sinking deeper at pressure points like your hips and shoulders and less so in other places like your stomach. This reactive contouring makes memory foam beds excellent at reducing back pain, especially for side sleepers. Memory foam compresses according to the amount of pressure on it, providing that quintessential responsive feel that lets you sink into the mattress and feel “hugged” by it.
Pros and cons
Memory foam mattresses come with pros and cons that are more or less important to different sleepers. Review the following to determine whether a memory foam mattress is a good fit for you based on your sleep preferences.
|Pros of memory foam mattresses||Cons of memory foam mattresses|
|Excellent contour ability|
Comfortable, supportive sleeping surface
Superior motion isolation
Easy to ship
Sinking feeling disliked by some sleepers
Lack of bounce unsuitable for sex
Initial offgassing odor
Excellent contour ability
Memory foam beds are the best mattress at providing contour, bar none. As the softest foam available, they conform to the body and provide a feeling of hug that feels customized to you.
Comfortable, supportive sleeping surface
Memory foam mattresses provide excellent pressure point relief. They react according to the pressure exerted on them, allowing them to evenly distribute your weight and keep your spine aligned and supported while asleep.
Superior motion isolation
Memory foam mattresses are a popular option for couples and light sleepers, because weight and movement on one part of the mattress does not affect others. This allows for a quiet sleep surface that isn’t interrupted by a person or pet moving elsewhere in the bed.
Easy to ship
Memory foam beds are easily compressed to ship, so they can be packed and shipped in a box that delivers straight to the shopper’s door. There’s no need to schedule an in-home delivery with a memory foam bed, and they’re widely available in stores and online. Once unpacked, the mattress will expand and recover to its shape and be ready to sleep on within a day or two.
How much do they cost?
The average price for a quality queen-size memory foam mattress is between $800 to $1,000.
Memory foam mattresses range in price depending on size, foam density, layer thickness, and types of foams. The larger the mattress, the more expensive it will be. Same goes for foam density and thickness of the comfort layers – the higher density and more layers, the more expensive. Visco-elastic memory foam mattress are often the cheapest, while plant-based, gel- and copper-infused models are more expensive.
How long does a memory foam mattress last?
On average, a quality memory foam mattresses should last around 7 years.
Factors that impact the bed’s durability include the types of foam used and the density of the foam. Polyfoams are cheaper and less durable, so take care to check how many are used in the comfort layer and support core vs other higher-quality foams. Low-grade density foam provides the softest sleeping experience and recovers its shape quickly, but it also tends to have the least longevity the worst motion transfer. High-grade density foam, on the other hand, will last longer and provide the best contouring and motion isolation, but will recover its shape the slowest.
Shoppers should also review the warranty terms before purchasing. Make sure you understand how long it lasts and what’s covered, especially in regards to indentation and the type of platform required for the bed.
What type of sleeper is best suited to a memory foam mattress?
Certain qualities make a memory foam bed a better option for some sleepers over others.
- Lightweight sleepers especially benefit from the contouring abilities of a memory foam mattress. Because the foam is so soft, they can sink deeper into the mattress and enjoy a more comfortable sleeping experience than they would a traditional medium-firm innerspring bed.
- Light sleepers who share the bed with a partner or pet and wake easily from the other sleeper’s movements will appreciate the superior motion transfer offered by memory foam mattresses.
- Side sleepers in particular benefit from the contour abilities of a memory foam mattress, which allows them to sink in at the hips and shoulders and keep their spine aligned.
Some sleepers who may not enjoy a memory foam bed include hot sleepers and overweight sleepers. Memory foam is notorious for retaining heat, and heavier weight sleepers may find the softness of the foam allows them to sink too far into the mattress. Sleepers who weigh 230 pounds or more will want to look for a high-grade density foam mattress with a high ILD rating, or consider another mattress type to receive the best support.
Memory Foam vs. Other Mattress Types
Memory Foam vs. Latex
Both memory foam and latex are responsive materials that can properly cushion the body’s pressure points, although memory foam tends to hug or contour more to the body. One of the biggest differences has to do with resilience. Memory foam slowly regains its original form while latex rapidly springs back. This makes latex feel bouncier and makes it less likely to feel like you are sinking into the material. Because of the nature of the material, memory foam has a greater tendency to retain heat and to in some cases inhibit motion (including sex) on top of the mattress. Latex is typically heavier and more expensive than memory foam.
Memory Foam vs. Innerspring
Innerspring mattresses are made with a support core of metal coils and are the most traditional style of mattress. Memory foam mattresses tend to get higher customer satisfaction ratings than innersprings. For many consumers, this is because memory foam mattresses are much better at contouring to the body than innersprings and as a result are usually better at relieving pressure points. Innerspring mattresses have more bounce and have fewer issues with sleeping hot or with offgassing. Innerspring mattresses are usually less expensive, but many have weaker materials that are likely to be less durable than a well-made, high-density memory foam mattress.
Memory Foam vs. Hybrid
Like an innerspring mattress, a hybrid has a support core that is made up on metal coils, but a hybrid has a thicker (greater than 3”) comfort layer above those coils. In some cases, the comfort layer in a hybrid is in fact made with memory foam. The performance of a hybrid is more variable than with a memory foam mattress precisely because there is more diversity in their design and construction. In general, though, a hybrid will offer more bounce and often more edge support than an all-foam mattress with memory foam. Depending on the thickness of the comfort layer, a memory foam mattress may offer a greater level of contouring.
Memory Foam vs. Gel Foam
Gel-infused foam, or gel foam, means that there are either beads or swirls of a gel material interspersed within the foam. Most of the time, these are actually memory foams with the gel, but in some cases there are also gel-infused polyfoams. The goal of the gel is to help prevent heat from building up in the foam overnight, but there is no consensus on how much this gel helps in this regard.
Memory foam mattress FAQ checklist
The following checklist of questions may be helpful to you as you shop for a memory foam mattress:
- How thick is the comfort layer?
- What types of foams are used in the mattress?
- What is the density and ILD rating?
- What is the lifespan of the mattress?
- Is this mattress a good fit, based on my body weight and sleep position?
- Should I expect an offgassing smell with this mattress?
- Is there a trial period and what is the return policy?
- How long is the warranty and what is covered?