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Getting a great night's sleep depends on oodles of factors from external elements such as bedroom temperature to internal stuff like your stress level. That said, an essential ingredient in catching some quality Z's is a comfortable mattress.
For the ultimate in body-hugging comfort, you can't go wrong with a memory foam bed. Compared to traditional ones, memory foam options offer superior pressure relief for aching backs, shoulders, and hips. If you're up all night because of your partner’s tossing and turning, a memory foam mattress will dramatically slash motion transfer. Suffer from allergies? Memory foam mattresses are relatively dust mite-resistant.
Here, the best memory foam mattresses on the market.
Casper is one of the most reputable brands in the bedding industry, so it probably comes as no surprise that the Casper Sleep Memory Foam 10-inch Mattress is highly recommended by bedding experts and hundreds of reviewers alike. The Casper Memory Foam boasts four layers of foam for the perfect balance of softness and support, as well as open-cell hypoallergenic latex to help keep you cool and comfy throughout the night. For your peace of mind, Casper offers both a 10-year warranty and a 100-night trial to try out their memory foam mattress—if you decide you’re not a fan, they’ll give you a full refund.
Users report that the Casper Sleep Memory Foam is a winning combo of plush firmness and soft support, and many say that they are now sleeping cooler. It’s also easy to set up: once you take the mattress out of its box, it expands and is ready to sleep on within minutes.
For budget-savvy shoppers on the hunt for the perfect memory foam, the Signature Sleep Memoir offers balanced support in the form of ultra-cozy, CertiPUR-US-certified foam. Crafted without harmful PBDEs, ozone depleters, mercury, and lead, the Signature Sleep Memoir is both eco-friendly and comfortable. A 4-inch layer of memory foam is followed by eight inches of high-density foam, which helps the mattress mold to your body’s natural shape, minimize pressure, and distribute weight as evenly as possible. The mattress also comes with a soft cover made of breathable knit fabric.
Consumers who’ve purchased the Signature Sleep Memoir report that it’s on the firm end of the spectrum when it comes to memory foam, so this particular mattress may be better for back or stomach sleepers. Note that it may take a few days for the corners of the Signature Sleep Memoir to fill out completely.
Crafted from three layers of top-quality LSA200 foam, the Leesa Universal Adaptive Feel Memory Foam Cooling Mattress is fantastic for sleepers whose body temperatures run hot. That’s because the foam’s microcell structure technology successfully promotes airflow, so you sleep much cooler than you normally would. The Leesa also adapts to your specific body type, which means you’ll experience enhanced pressure relief—this mattress is great for athletes, or anyone who’s active and would benefit from muscle tension release. The Leesa memory foam is made in the U.S., and the company donates one mattress for every 10 that they sell, so sustainability-minded shoppers may prefer this mattress.
Users report that, though it takes a few days to adjust to the feel of the Leesa Memory Foam Cooling Mattress, once you do, it provides an “indescribable plushness” and the perfect level of firmness.
"In our experience, back sleepers found it more comfortable than stomach or side sleepers—the latter who generally need softer support around the curve of their hips and shoulders. However, our lone stomach sleeper thought it did prevent their back from bowing, which often happens with memory foam mattresses."—Stacey L. Nash, Product Tester
If you’re looking for a mattress topper that’s on the thicker side, look no further than LUCID’s 4-inch Memory Foam Mattress Topper. Made from high-grade, 4-inch-thick memory foam and infused with an effective cooling gel, this topper is also great for diffusing body heat. The evenly-spaced ventilation channels truly do their job of regulating temperature and improving airflow—thereby helping you sleep soundly through the night. If you have neck, back, or shoulder pain, this memory foam topper can also help correctly align the spine by supporting the natural curves of your head, neck, and shoulders.
The majority of consumers have given the LUCID Memory Foam Topper a five-star rating, with many citing its resilience and durability as one of their favorite features—several people also noticed that it substantially reduced their back and neck pain.
If you prefer your mattress to be on the firmer side, the Tuft & Needle King Mattress is an ideal choice. Designed specifically for the purpose of absorbing pressure and accommodating bodily curves, this T&N mattress offers proper weight distribution and the utmost in comfort and alignment. It’s made of specialized T&N adaptive foam, which sleeps cool (thanks to the cooling gel and graphite) and provides a bouncy yet supportive feel—if you’re looking for a “sinking in” sensation, this isn’t the memory foam for you. Conveniently, Tuft & Needle has a 100-Night Sleep Trial and a 10-year warranty. Note that it usually takes up to 72 hours for this mattress to fully expand and for any potential odors to go away.
Thousands of consumers have given the Tuft & Needle Mattress a glowing five-star review, with many saying it’s their favorite mattress because of its firm yet comfortable feel. Customers also note that it holds its shape well over time.
The Lucid 12-inch Gel-Infused Memory Foam Mattress is ideal for sleepers who need a decent level of support, or for those who have a partner with different sleep habits or schedules—this top-selling mattress boasts three inches of gel-infused memory foam that provides a medium-firm feel (not too hard or too soft) and isolated motion transfer, so you and your partner can sleep comfortably and with minimal movement. The base layer of foam also offers deep, structural support and spine alignment, while the ventilated top layer and TENCEL blend help to wick away heat and ensure breathability. The removable cover is naturally hypoallergenic and antimicrobial.
Reviews for the Lucid 12-inch Gel-Infused Memory Foam Mattress are glowing. Dozens of consumers have written that this mattress is better than most at adjusting to the various pressure points in your body, which is typical of a gel foam mattress.
Struggling with back pain? You’re not alone—and the Zinus Memory Foam 10-inch Green Tea Mattress may be exactly what you need. This mattress has three different layers of foam (memory foam, comfort foam, and high-density support foam) which put it a notch above the rest. Regardless of sleep position, the memory foam core is able to conform to your body and alleviate pressure in key areas like your back, neck, and shoulders. With this mattress, you can expect a better night's sleep and reduced back pain over time. The foam is also CertiPUR-US Certified and infused with green tea extract and castor seed oil to help stave off bacteria and unseemly odors.
Consumers love the Zinus Memory Foam 10-inch Green Tea Mattress for its effectiveness at reducing bodily aches and pains, especially considering the reasonable price point. Note that this mattress is definitely firmer than most memory foam mattresses, so make sure this is what you’re looking for before purchasing.
If you’re a consistent side sleeper, the Allswell Luxe Hybrid is for you. Side sleepers will appreciate the medium-firm feel that will conform to their body but not sink in too much. Individually wrapped coils give you firm support (and a springy feel), while the top layer of performance memory foam provides pressure relief and supreme comfort. Plus, you’ll get more even support along your side, which is essential for proper spine alignment. The Luxe Hybrid is also designed to feel cool to the touch and is CertiPUR-US certified, which means it’s free of harmful chemicals like lead, mercury, and phthalates.
Reviewers praise the Allswell Luxe Hybrid for its innovative foam-coil technology and ability to conform to the body's curves. Customers that have trouble sleeping or finding the right position were surprised at how comfortable this mattress is and how well they slept on it. For your convenience, Allswell offers a 100-night, risk-free trial.
For a soft and supportive mattress that most people will love, we recommend the Casper Sleep Memory Foam Mattress (view at Amazon). The four layers of foam provide a balanced sleeping surface that’s highly breathable. If you prefer a firmer mattress, the Tuft & Needle Adaptive Foam Mattress (view at Amazon) is a great option that will retain its shape and accommodate all sleeping positions.
Everything You Need to Know About Buying a Memory Foam Mattress
Believe it or not, memory foam was originally developed as seat padding for astronauts. The material was able to absorb the intense pressure of gravitational force on their bodies as ships took off and landed. Today, memory foam is a popular mattress material, as it contours to the body, providing excellent spinal support while relieving pressure on sensitive areas. Many people say this helps to relieve back and joint pain—both common woes for mattress shoppers.
What makes memory foam so special? Traditional memory foam mattresses are made of viscoelastic foam—a polyurethane-based synthetic material that has several beneficial properties. This type of foam responds to heat and pressure, molding to your body and evenly distributing body weight. This superior weight distribution takes pressure off key areas such as your hips and shoulders as you sleep. Plus, once pressure is removed from memory foam, it returns to its original shape, so you don’t end up sleeping in a crater.
Nowadays there are a wide variety of memory foam mattresses available from an array of brands. You can pay as little as $100 for a cheap memory foam mattress or upward of $4,000 for a high-end product. There are several characteristics that account for these price differences, including the type of foam and its density, whether the foam is infused with anything, the thickness of the foam, and more.
What to Look for When Buying a Memory Foam Mattress
Different manufacturers use their own methods and materials to produce memory foam, so you should look at the following factors before determining which option is the best for your needs.
Type of Foam: While polyurethane-based viscoelastic foam is the material that makes up “traditional” memory foam, there are several other types of foam you may encounter.
For instance, plant-based memory foam mattresses are gaining popularity, and these products replace some of the petroleum products with plant-derived oils during the manufacturing process. There are several benefits of plant-based memory foam, including improved breathability and more eco-friendly manufacturing.
Further, there are also memory foam mattresses that are infused with gel or copper. These “infusions” are designed to mitigate some of the common complaints about memory foam—namely that it retains a lot of heat and can be uncomfortably warm to sleep on.
Cell Construction: As you shop for a memory foam mattress, you’ll like come across the terms open- and closed-cell foam. These refer to the microscopic construction of the foam cells, and while you may not be able to see the difference between open- and closed-cell foams, you can definitely tell the difference when sleeping on them.
Open-cell foam mattresses tend to be incredibly soft and cushy, as the construction allows air to fill empty spaces in the foam. The benefits of this are numerous: less off-gassing (discussed below), more breathability, less heat retention, and more. This construction is also less durable, however, which can result in a shorter lifespan for your mattress.
Closed-cell foam, on the other hand, doesn't allow as much air into the foam, which makes it denser. There are some benefits to closed-cell foam—a longer lifespan, prevention of mold growth, and water resistance, to name a few. As you may have guessed, however, closed-cell foam is not as breathable and, as such, is not great for temperature regulation.
Foam Density: The density of foam, measured in pounds per cubic foot, is another important characteristic to consider. The density of memory foam indicates how well it will support you, how quickly it will retain its shape, and how well it isolates motion.
High-density foams measure 6 pounds per cubic foot or more, and this type of material is the most supportive, firm, and durable. Medium-density foam is generally between 4 and 5 pounds per cubic foot and aren’t quite as firm as high-density materials. Finally, low-density foam, which is 3 pounds per cubic foot or less, is the most plush, allowing you to sink into it quickly. This type of foam is the least supportive and also the most affordable.
Indentation Load Deflection (ILD): Another key measurement related to foam density is the indentation load deflection, commonly abbreviated as ILD. This indicates how much pressure is needed to make a 4-inch indentation in the surface of the mattress.
As a consumer, you should understand that a higher ILD means a firmer mattress and a lower ILD is a softer or more plush mattress. In general, you’ll want your mattress to have an ILD of 10 or more, but the best ILD for your needs depends on what position you sleep in, as well as how much you weigh. Heavier individuals will need a higher ILD to prevent them from sinking too far into the mattress.
Sleep Position: Any time you purchase a mattress, you should take your preferred sleep position into consideration, as this will dictate how firm or soft your mattress should be in order to keep the spine in an ergonomic position.
People who sleep on their backs have the most flexibility when it comes to mattress firmness, as both plush and firm options will keep the spine in alignment.
Those who sleep on their sides should look for a medium-firm mattress, as this will allow the hips and shoulders to sink into the mattress more readily, relieving pressure points.
Stomach sleepers, on the other hand, often need a firm mattress. Otherwise, the stomach and hips may sink down, causing an unnatural alignment of the spine.
Mattress Makeup: The majority of memory foam mattresses aren’t made of 100 percent foam. Instead, they typically have a “comfort layer” of memory foam at the top and a “support layer” as the base. This support layer is generally made of a high-density foam or some type of innerspring, and its purpose is to prevent you from sinking too far into the mattress.
The ratio of these two sections often has implications on the overall comfort of the mattress. In general, the comfort layer should be at least 25 percent of the mattress, as this will be enough foam to adequately support and cradle the body. The comfort layer shouldn’t be much more than 40 percent of the mattress makeup, though. Otherwise, you may sink too far in and feel like you’re stuck.
Temperature Regulation: One of the main complaints about memory foam mattresses is that they retain more heat than other materials. If you tend to get hot while sleeping, you may find yourself uncomfortably warm when sleeping on a traditional memory foam mattress. In this case, you’ll want to look for a mattress that has either an open-cell construction or is infused with gel or copper to promote cooling.
On the other hand, if you’re always cold during the night, you may be better off with a traditional memory foam mattress which will retain your body heat better.
Off-Gassing: The other issue associated with memory foam mattresses is the unpleasant odors they can give off when first unwrapped. This odor is caused by a chemical reaction called off-gassing.
After memory foam is manufactured, there are some volatile compounds that break off from the material. As these compounds are released into the air, they create a chemical smell that many consumers dislike. While these odors are typically not dangerous, they are most certainly unpleasant. As such, most memory foam mattress brands recommend you let your new mattress air out for several days before sleeping on it.
If you’re sensitive to odors or want to sleep on your mattress right away, you may want to consider a plant-based memory foam, as these typically give off fewer odors. Also look for foams certified by CertiPUR-US, which verifies the material is made without harmful chemicals.
What Is the Best Type of Memory Foam Mattress for Me?
The following are several of the most common types of memory foam mattresses, along with the pros and cons of each.
Traditional: As mentioned above, traditional memory foam is made from polyurethane-based viscoelastic foam. This type of mattress is great at reducing pressure on your body while still supporting your spine. Plus, it efficiently reduces motion transfer—a major plus if you have a partner who tosses and turns.
The downside of traditional memory foam is that it does retain more body heat than other types of mattresses, and depending on its density, it can also be a bit slow to react to changes in pressure, giving you the feeling that you’re sinking into quicksand.
Depending on what brand you choose, a traditional memory foam mattress can cost anywhere from $200 to several thousand.
Plant-based: Plant-based memory foam replaces some of the manufacturing chemicals with natural oils, resulting in a material that’s more eco-friendly and breathable. These mattresses have the same feel as traditional memory foam, but they won’t get as hot and the off-gassing isn’t as severe. Keep in mind that all memory foam mattresses do contain some chemicals, however.
Plant-based memory foam mattresses tend to be a little more expensive than traditional ones, starting at around $500 and ranging up to $2,000 or more.
AirCool: To reduce the heat retention problems of traditional memory foam, a new product called AirCool memory foam was created. This material has an open-cell structure that allows more air into the mattress, letting heat escape more readily. These mattresses tend to be more plush, and they also adapt to your body faster, reducing the quicksand feeling.
This type of memory foam is offered by several manufacturers, and prices can range from $100 up to over $3,000 for name-brand products.
Gel-Infused: Another solution to memory foam’s inherent heat retention issue is to infuse the foam with gel—similar to that used in shoe inserts. Gel retains less heat, which helps to keep the mattress a more consistent temperature, and it also makes the mattress feel more dense and supportive.
Again, gel memory foam mattresses are offered by many different brands. You can find inexpensive options for as little as $100 or $200, while more high-end models can cost you $3,000 or more.
Copper-Infused: A recent innovation in the world of mattresses is copper-infused memory foam. By integrating this metal into mattresses, manufacturers are aiming to combat two common mattress woes.
First, copper transfers heat, which allows your memory foam mattress to more effectively regulate its temperature. Further, the metal has antibacterial properties, which brands claim can help stop bacteria from growing in your mattress, making it more friendly to those with allergies.
Copper-infused memory foam mattresses are relatively niche, so you’ll likely pay a bit more for one of these products. These mattresses start at around $500 and go up from there.
High-Density: The density of your memory foam mattress can greatly impact its feel and durability. High-density memory foam mattresses, which weigh 6 pounds per cubic foot or more, are the most firm and supportive, making them ideal for stomach sleepers.
Some people do find high-density foam to be a bit stiff, but it still molds to your body and relieves pressure points. Further, high-density foam is the most durable and will often last several years longer than low-density foam. As such, high-density foam is typically more expensive, and mattresses start at around $600.
Low-Density: On the other hand, low-density memory foam is significantly more plush, with a weight of 3 pounds per cubic foot or less. You’ll sink into low-density foam more quickly and they typically provide less support, making them a good choice for back sleepers. Low-density foam is the most affordable to manufacture, so you can often find these mattresses for very cheap.
Boxed Mattress: Many online memory foam mattress retailers ship their products directly to your doorstep in a box, and there are pros and cons bed-in-a-box options.
These products are quick and convenient to purchase, and they’re much easier to move into your home. Additionally, you can wait several days to unbox the mattress, if you choose, which is convenient if you’re in the middle of redecorating.
There are some significant downsides to consider as well, though. For one, you can’t try out most boxed mattresses before you buy them, as most retailers don’t have physical stores. Further, these mattresses are vacuum-sealed, so they take a little while to inflate once unwrapped. Not to mention most boxed mattresses have a significant off-gassing period.
Depending on which retailer you buy from, a boxed memory foam mattress may cost you a few hundred dollars or upward of $1,000.
There are several big-name memory foam mattress brands that you’ll likely encounter as you shop.
Tempur-Pedic: Tempur-Pedic is one of the most well-known memory foam mattress companies, and it also boasts one of the highest customer satisfaction ratings. They offer a limited number of high-end memory foam mattresses, each starting around $3,000. All of Tempur-Pedic's options are highly rated in terms of comfort and support.
Sealy: Pop in to most any mattress store and you'll be able to find Sealy's line of Conform memory foam mattresses. Sealy is an ultra-popular brand for a reason, and its memory foam mattresses all contain a layer of gel which helps with temperature regulation. Prices range from $700 up to $2,000.
Simmons Beautyrest: Simmons is another well-known mattress brand, and its high-end line of Beautyrest mattresses often have multiple layers of foam, including both high-density memory foam and AirCool foam. While highly rated, these mattresses aren’t cheap—they start around $1,000 and range upwards of $4,000.
Casper: Casper is one of the most popular bed-in-a-box brands, and its products contain layers of both memory foam and open-cell foam which increases breathability. They offer just three models, all of which are delivered in a box, starting as low as $350 and capping out at around $3,000
Amerisleep: Amerisleep mattresses are another box-delivered product, but they do have a number of stores around the US where you can test out their various models. Amerisleep uses plant-based memory foam, and as such, their products are relatively expensive, starting at around $1,000.
Trial Periods, Return Policies, and Warranties
When buying a memory foam mattress, it’s important to consider test periods, return policies, and warranties.
Many companies—especially those selling boxed mattresses—offer a 90-day (or longer) in-home trial period, allowing you to sleep on the mattress for a few months to see how you like it. Because it can take your body a few weeks to get used to sleeping on a new mattress, many companies dictate you must sleep on it for at least 30 days (or another specified time) before deciding to return it.
If, after this time, the mattress proves to be the wrong level of firmness or just plain uncomfortable, most companies accept returns. Note that some offer your money back while others will only exchange the product for another mattress. The majority will also arrange for your mattress to be removed, saving you the hassle of transporting it. Make sure you check the details of the return policy before you buy, though, as some companies offer a surprisingly short return period of just a few days.
Manufacturer warranties are another essential aspect to consider when purchasing a memory foam mattress. Warranties, whether 10 years, 20 years, or lifetime, protect your purchase if there’s some sort of manufacturing defect. This is important when buying a memory foam mattress as you'll want to be able to get a replacement if you experience any premature sagging. Most companies will replace a mattress that has more than 1.5 inches of sagging, but check the specifics on your particular purchase as many companies have specifications about what type of bed frame you use.
Keep in mind that warranties do not cover normal wear and tear, and there are numerous ways to void a warranty (many of which can be done unintentionally). For instance, removing the law tag or transferring ownership may render your warranty invalid. For this reason, it's always smart to read up on a product's warranty before pre-purchase.