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The Savvy Sleeper’s Guide to The Best Memory Foam Mattress


Within the past two decades, memory foam mattresses have skyrocketed in popularity and now account for roughly 20% of beds sold. This quick rise to household relevance is due largely in part to the pressure relief, body contouring, and deep compression support advantages that memory foam is known to possess. While these qualities may seem like obvious necessities in a mattress, it’s surprising how often the competing mattress styles overlook such comforts. And with the technologies continuing to develop every year, the popularity of memory foam mattresses will continue to grow.

Finding the perfect mattress for your personal needs and sleeping preferences can be a difficult thing, especially with the abundance of available mattress types available on the market. All it takes is a single trip to a mattress store for you to see how rarely you’re comparing apples to apples in the mattress buying process. Not only is there a wide range of mattress styles, firmness levels, compositions, and constructions, but there is also a large slew of popular brands and many more brands that have yet to rise in recognition. In addition to understanding all the types and brands of mattresses, there is an endless array of mattress ratings and websites that claim to know which memory foam mattress is the best. And this list is always being updated. Because of this, the best mattresses of 2019 are likely to be different than the best mattresses of 2018, and they will be better for different reasons. All of this can be confusing, and when it comes down to it, figuring out which mattress may or may not be best for you can be entirely overwhelming.

However, we have come together to make the task of finding your best memory foam mattress much easier. Below, you will find our list of memory foam mattresses that stand out as having the best quality in various aspects, including comfort, firmness, density, and support levels. It is important to know which brands and which mattresses are correctly suited for your personal preferences. Since each mattress, like every person, is a little different than the next, a change in any one of these aspects may be the difference between a comfortable night’s sleep and an uncomfortable next day. Remember, there is no one-size-fits-all solution among mattresses, and it’s important that you aren’t selecting a bed based on a list of attractive features, but rather that you are first considering your personal needs, and then pairing those needs with the various qualities of a perfect mattress for you. Focus on the aspects that are important to you and that will provide you with the best sleeping experience.

Further along in this article, we also provide you with key insights into memory foam mattresses and how to decide which one accommodates your unique needs. We will briefly discuss the science and the facts surrounding memory foam mattresses, that way you know you’re spending your money on a product that will give you your best night’s sleep possible.

Please note that each of the memory foam mattress reviews listed below are the result of our own analyses, and we provide these mattress reviews solely as a base understanding in your search for the best bed.

Best Memory Foam Mattress | Pick the Right One with This Wealth of Information

In This Article:

The Best Mattresses of 2019: 30-Second Summary

Our Editors’ Choice:

The Amerisleep AS3 is our editors’ choice for the best mattress of the year, as well as the best memory foam mattress. One of the best qualities of this mattress is that it’s a great fit for most people, regardless of their sleep style. It provides balanced support for back, side, and stomach sleepers — and everyone in between. You will be hard-pressed to find a more comfortable, sleep-boosting mattress at any price point. Plus Amerisleep offers free shipping and a 100-day at-home trial with free returns.

Honorable Mention

The Tempur-Pedic Tempur-Flex Supreme combines memory foam and inner springs. This mattress has especially firm edge support, which is due to coil reinforcement around all four sides.

 

Which Memory Foam Mattress Is The Best?

Best Memory Foam Mattress Infographic

We have organized our top mattress picks based on the criteria that will benefit the largest range of sleepers each mattress can accommodate. So, no matter what your sleep preferences and needs are, here is a memory foam mattress comparison list that should provide you with valuable information for picking your best memory foam bed:

We chose each of these brands for a reason, which we will explain next. Keep reading if you would also like to better understand how we made our decisions and which key aspects of memory foam are most important to keep in mind. Through reading about the various benefits of memory foam, you will be able to make more educated and appropriate decisions.

Detailed Memory Foam Mattress Reviews

Below, we have provided you with a more detailed look at our best foam mattress picks as listed above. In this section, we dive into what makes each mattress the highest quality in its specific categories, such as firmness, budget, and comfort levels.

Best Overall Mattress: Amerisleep

Best Memory Foam Mattress Overall: Amerisleep

There’s nothing worse than waking up in a sweat because simply lying on your mattress makes you overheat. Luckily, Amerisleep has found a way to combat mattresses heat retention in a variety of ways.Their Bio-Pur® foam is five times more breathable and wicks away warm air. And their HIVE® layer contains precision channels that create even more airways to let hot air out.

Amerisleep also offers five models with different firmness levels so you can pick the perfect amount of comfort and support for your sleep needs. What really sets Amerisleep apart is the advanced tech they use throughout each mattress layer. Their Bio-Pur® layer guarantees a cool and responsive sleep, the HIVE® layer provides you with targeted pressure relief, and the Celliant® cover promotes increased comfort and a more restful night’s sleep according to the FDA1. Why is Amerisleep our overall best-recommended mattress? If you’re looking for an affordable yet high-performance mattress that will give you a cool night’s sleep while also allowing for wonderful pressure relief, our editors think the Amerisleep AS3 could easily be the best bed for you.

Best Budget Mattress: Nectar

Best Budget Mattress: Nectar

The Nectar mattress is an excellent option for anyone looking for a well-rounded, high-quality gel memory foam mattress at a competitive price. This mattress boasts several layers of foam to provide pressure relief. These extra layers of foam evenly support and contour to your individual body, alleviating specific points of pressure commonly found when using spring mattresses. The Nectar mattress also sleeps cooler than a lot of other memory foam mattresses. This is because its design features a layer of gel memory foam, which keeps your body cool, even while you sleep in just one position. If you are looking for an affordable, comfortable gel foam mattress, this one is worth a look.

Best Firm Mattress: Novosbed

Best Firm Mattress: Novosbed

We picked the Novosbed mattress because of how comfortably firm it is. The Novosbed is a medium-firm mattress, allowing you to sleep without feeling stuck. This firmness level provides lots of support and you won’t find yourself sinking into an uncomfortable sagging position. Additionally, Novosbed offers its Comfort+ Kit, which is an extra foam layer customers can request to adjust to their preferred firmness level. A mattress is such a large and important purchase for anyone looking to invest in a good night’s sleep, so having the ability to continuously control your firmness level goes a long way in easing the stress of a final decision.

Best Soft Mattress: Layla

Best Soft Mattress: Layla

Not only does the Layla mattress provide you with a competitive price, but it also allows you to choose between two levels of firmness. This foam mattress has a flippable design, which means that, depending on which side you have faced up, you will have a different sleep experience. This is a highly attractive quality, since choosing a ‘soft’ mattress can cover a wide range of firmness levels. The firmer foam side provides excellent pressure relief, but it is the softer side of the mattress that makes this brand stand out. It is the perfect level of soft that allows full body comfort without making you feel like you are perpetually sinking into the mattress. This bed is worth a chance if you are looking for the best of both worlds or potentially an in-between solution that allows you to alternate as desired.

Best Medium Mattress: Bear

Best Medium Mattress: Bear

This is a graphite gel-infused memory foam mattress that has four distinct layers to help with durability and support. Bear made this mattress for sleepers that live active lives on a daily basis. The comfortable medium firmness level is an excellent choice for anyone who wants pressure relief without feeling like they are sleeping on traditionally soft or hard surfaces. This mattress isn’t too hard and isn’t too soft. Additionally, this mattress features a Celliant® cover, which the FDA determined promotes more restful sleep.

Best Durable Mattress: Nest Bedding Alexander Signature

Best Durable Mattress: Nest Bedding Alexander Signature

The Nest Bedding Alexander Signature mattress is made of four distinct foam layers. The top layer is a gel memory foam, which allows for flowing breathability and soft nightly comfort. The two middle layers are there to reduce the amount of compressing the mattress undergoes over time. These are highly important as they promote a long lifespan and durability that resists sinking and deforming of the mattress over time. The bottom layer is a high-density foam for optimal support. Think of this final layer as a strong and stable foundation upon which the other layers fit. This bed also features a lifetime warranty.

Best Edge Support Mattress: Tempur-Pedic Tempur-Flex Supreme

Best Edge Support Mattress: Tempur-Pedic Tempur-Flex Supreme

The Tempur-Pedic Tempur-Flex Supreme mattress is the only hybrid bed that is on this list. Hybrid mattresses combine memory foam and inner springs. This bed is also the only one on this list from a long-established name brand. What makes this particular bed unique? This mattress has especially firm edge support, which is due to coil reinforcement around all four sides. That way, it’s easy to get in and out of, which is an important factor to many mattress shoppers.

Best Plant-Based Mattress: Loom & Leaf

Best Plant-Based Mattress: Loom & Leaf

The Loom & Leaf mattress has a variety of unique, but important features. To start, this mattress is flame retardant due to a natural thistle they work into the foam. Secondly, the mattress covers are only made using organic cotton that has been obtained through sustainable sources. Finally, the foams used to create this mattress are only received from companies that have reduced their emissions. So not only do they manufacture environmentally friendly materials, but they promote and support other companies that also make a commitment to minimizing their carbon footprint. This cyclical consciousness lends itself to the care and meticulous standards Loom & Leaf set.

Best Luxury Mattress: Wright W1.27 MATTRESS

Best Luxury Mattress: Wright W1.27 MATTRESS

If you’re looking for a luxury, high-end bed, Wright might be just for you. Part of what makes this bed so desirable is it’s advanced motion transfer abilities. Especially noticeable when you are sleeping with a partner, this bed supports your weight and contains movement to your immediate area. This goes a long way when the person sleeping next to you might have a different sleep schedule or routine. This feature allows you to get up, adjust, or move around without the risk of disturbing the other person’s rest. Additionally, this bed features a breathable foam that provides a softer feel while also being supportive. The only downside? This mattress can be somewhat pricier than a lot of competitors. And so, if you’re looking to drop some money on a mattress, this is a very soft and comfortable choice.

 

How Memory Foam Feels

Most foam mattresses, memory foam included, have a relatively similar composition and structure. The first layer of most any foam mattress is a thick poly foam for creating a solid, high-density foundation for the other foam layers. While there is a wide range of foams that may be placed on top of the initial polyurethane foam layer, their viscoelasticity will always remain the same.

Visco-elastic memory foam is easy to identify because of its unique composition and feel. It is the foam you sink into when you lie down on it. Visco-elastic memory foam provides a compression that slowly increases with the more pressure you apply. During the time that you place pressure on the visco-elastic foam, the mattress is adjusting its density in relation to your body weight.

This foam gives you a unique sleeping experience in which every part of your body is being conformed to by the mattress, which traditional coil, or even a latex mattress, cannot provide. This type of mattress is excellent for allowing pressure relief and support for your body. It distributes weight evenly, providing consistent support that surrounds your entire body.

Since we have talked about two types of foam, poly foam and memory foam, it is crucial to remember that all foam is a polyurethane foam, but not all polyurethane foam is memory foam. This is because polyurethane foam does not have be visco-elastic, and visco-elastic qualities are what define memory foam. Therefore, polyurethane foam is not memory foam when it lacks visco-elastic properties.

Issues With Memory Foam: Heat Retention and Slow Responsiveness

Not every mattress is going to be perfect, and this goes for memory foam as well. Slow responsiveness and high heat retention are two aspects of many memory foams that are often considered negatives. However, there are some memory foams that handle this better than others, such as many of the mattresses that we listed above. Regardless, it is important to know the potential drawbacks of any product, so here is an explanation of heat retention and responsiveness.

The technology that goes into producing memory foam mattresses has greatly improved heat retention qualities in recent years, and what we now consider to be an issue is nothing compared to what these mattresses were like 20 years ago.

Because of its composition, you will find that latex and innerspring mattresses are generally cooler to sleep on than memory foam. However, don’t let this deter you from considering a memory foam mattress. Since the invention of higher quality covers, gel-infused memory foam, and open-cell structures, memory foam mattresses have greatly improved their ability to release heat and allow for breathable airflow without compromising the support that is so crucial to a memory foam mattress.

The second issue to discuss is the responsiveness of a mattress. The responsiveness of memory foam can be visibly tested by pushing down on the mattress and then releasing to see how quickly the foam adapts to specific changes in movement. While different memory foams vary in responsiveness, the innate visco-elastic qualities of a memory foam mattress mean that it will always have relatively slow responsiveness. It’s a good idea to remember that the slow responsiveness of a memory foam mattress is the very thing that allows for the contouring that provides a firm and consistent support.

In fact, while slow memory foam responsiveness is considered a negative by some people, there are also many sleepers that choose memory foam mattresses for this very reason. All this goes to say that, while it may not be what you’re used to, memory foam can be exactly what a restless sleeper may need. However, like any individualized product, if you are new to memory foam, it is a good idea to test it out before you dedicate to the purchase.

 

How The Best Memory Foam Is Made

How The Best Memory Foam Is Made

We have so far discussed how you can tell if a memory foam mattress has certain positive or negative characteristics. Below, we will discuss the technical aspects of what makes a great memory foam bed.

Foam Density

The more density something has, the more weight there is within a given amount of that material. Therefore, the more foam material that is built into a layer of a mattress, the denser it will be. Note that the thickness of a foam layer does not correlate with its density. A layer that is three-inches thick is capable of having a wide range of densities. And so, it is possible that a four-inch layer of foam has more density than a one-inch layer of foam and vice versa. So, when shopping for a mattress, don’t judge by the thicknesses of foam. Instead, check the density and feel of each mattress to fully understand what you’re looking at.

Having a high-density foam mattress carries two important implications: if a mattress has a higher density it is more likely to have a longer lifespan, but it is also going to generally retain more heat. Therefore, these dense foam mattresses will likely result in a warmer night’s sleep. What is considered a reasonable middle ground between the longevity of the bed and its heat retention lies somewhere between 3 to 5 pounds per cubic foot. This range is the sweet spot of mattress densities. If you find a mattress within this range of density, it shouldn’t be too hot while sleeping. It should also still last a very long time before needing replacement.

Thickness

The best memory foam mattresses generally have a minimum of four inches of comfort memory foams. This amount does not have to be placed all in one spot. Each layer of a mattress tends to have a specific thickness for a reason, and they all come together to create the desired comfort and support combination.

Four inches of comfort foam is ideal because, without that amount, it is much more common to feel like you are not sleeping on memory foam. As discussed above, the quality that defines a memory foam mattress is its visco-elastic properties. That “sink-in” feeling and the feeling of having your body conformed to the mattress is the traditional memory foam feel. Having less than four inches of comfort foam can detract from this desired effect. If the memory foam is being combined with non-memory foam or latex foams, it will not have that same traditional feel.

 

The Difference Between Gel And Memory Foam Mattresses

When people think about memory foam, it is often assumed that there is only one variation, and this is very far from the truth. It is important to remember that memory foam is a poly foam defined by its visco-elastic properties, and it is simply one category of foam. And so, within this category, there are many different types of memory foam. Gel foam is a good example of this. Companies change the composition of foams to get the exact desired product, and the gel is one of the more common advances in foam used today. Here is a small list of possible components that come together to make a memory foam unique:

  • Gel
  • Open-cell design
  • Cooling pads
  • Layer designs
  • Aeration holes

Depending on the type of bed a company wants to produce, they will work with different combinations of these foams through the different layers of the mattress to create the desired effect. These effects will generally have something to do with these aspects of a bed’s sleep experience:

  • Responsiveness
  • Cooling (Heat Retention)
  • Firmness
  • Durability
  • Sinkage
  • Contour
  • Edge Support

 

The Various Types Of Memory Foam

Because there are so many various types of memory foam mattresses, it is important to understand the characteristics of the popular variations. Please note that the types of memory foam we cover below is not an all-inclusive list. There are many different types of memory foam out there, and these are here to give you the initial foundation for the category as a whole.

 

Traditional Memory Foam Characteristics

This is the variation of memory foam that people usually think of when they think “memory foam.” The basic characteristic of traditional memory foam is a high density, normally somewhere between 4 and 7 pounds per cubic foot (PFC). Remember, this is a measure of the foam’s weight, and the higher the weight, the longer the life expectancy should be. This feature gives memory foam that structured and firm feel upon initial contact before sinking into the body of the mattress. Additionally, the traditional memory foam mattress will provide you with a more pronounced contour, as they are traditionally less responsive than other foams.

Open-Cell Memory Foam Characteristics

The reason traditional memory foam has a higher density and a lower responsiveness is that it uses a closed-cell manufacturing process. Using a closed-cell manufacturing process means that very few air bubbles are formed in the production of a traditional memory foam mattress. The negative output of a higher density foam is higher heat retention, which many sleepers find uncomfortable.

With an open-cell memory foam, small air pockets are injected while going through the manufacturing process. This gives the mattress a traditional memory foam feel, while also allowing it to have a much higher responsiveness. The result of this is better circulation, and sleepers will generally feel cooler than while sleeping on a traditional memory foam, which is closed-cell.

Gel Memory Foam Characteristics

Gel memory foams and gel-infused memory foams are two of the more popular types of memory foam you will find on the market. However, there is one big difference between traditional memory foams and the gel memory foams: gel memory foam sleeps cooler than most traditional memory foams. This is a highly attractive quality for many mattress shoppers.

As we discussed above, companies often arrange different types of foam throughout the various layers of a mattress. It is no different for gel memory foam. One method of incorporating gel into a memory foam mattress is to fill a layer of the bed with small gel beads that disperse evenly during the manufacturing process. Another similar effect is to introduce the gel as a liquid at the beginning of manufacturing, which also causes it to disperse evenly across the layer. Either approach leads to a cooler and more breathable final product.

It is the gel’s composition that primarily causes the foam to circulate more efficiently. The gel is designed to absorb heat, and it then redistributes it throughout the foam. The gel is infused into a polyurethane material, which is the reason behind heat retention within foam mattresses. Once within the foam, the gel is able to redistribute the polyurethane material itself, causing the foam to innately retains less heat. This subsequently provides you with a cooler night’s sleep.

However, even though gel-infused foam cuts down on heat retention, there are many other factors that influence the overall comfort level. You may buy a gel mattress and realize it still retains a lot of heat, and this would be because the foam density, layer design, type of foam, type of gel, and the mattress cover all go into deciding the final product’s coolness level. This works vice versa, though. A traditional memory foam mattress, if built well and with all of these characteristics in mind, may not retain much heat at all.

Consider the density, weight, specific cooling needs, and other qualities we have discussed so far to help you better understand what level of heat retention you desire in a memory foam mattress. A gel memory foam mattress may not be for everyone, but there is a chance that it might be exactly what you are looking for.

 

A Guide To Buying A Gel Memory Foam Mattress

Here, we have made a checklist for you to refer back to when considering the purchase of a new gel memory foam mattress:

  • What type of gel is the memory foam infused with? Is it a gel swirl, gel beads, or a gel liquid? Liquid gels and solid gel pads generally offer lower levels of heat retention in relation to gel swirls and gel beads.
  • What type of cover does your mattress have? How thick is it, and is it quilted or padded? The thinner the cover, the more likely your mattress is to have higher air flow and breathability.
  • What is the density of the memory foam? The level of coolness you want in a mattress will determine how high of density you want the foam to be. Remember, the lower the density, the cooler it is, but it is also going to have a shorter life expectancy. So, a good rule of thumb is to not go below 3 pounds per cubic foot.
  • Where was the foam manufactured, and what brand does the mattress belong to? These are obvious but important questions. While you may not always be able to easily find out where the foam was manufactured, knowing might help you make your final decision.

 

Other Types Of Foam In Relation To Memory Foam

Other Types Of Foam In Relation To Memory Foam

Latex Mattresses

Like anything else, there are pros and cons to using a latex mattress. One important benefit of a latex mattress is that it isn’t heat activated, and therefore retains less heat than most memory foam and gel memory foam mattresses. However, latex and traditional memory foam mattresses feel very different from one another. If you are wanting the memory foam experience, latex is probably not the best choice for you. It comes down to what your preference is in regard to how much you want the mattress to conform to your body and how cool of a sleep you desire. We suggest testing a latex mattress before you dedicate to a purchase.

Hybrid Mattresses

This type of mattress is generally a combination of foam layers and coil layers. The purpose of the coil layers is to provide more breathability within the mattress, allowing for a cooler night’s sleep. Much like the gel in a gel memory foam mattress, the springs within a hybrid bed cause the foam to separate and have more airflow. A hybrid mattress can offer you with a lot of comfort, support, and breathability. However, it is not always certain what is exactly “hybrid” about it. Therefore, make sure you understand how and why a hybrid is a hybrid before you make your decision. Although, this should go for any mattress purchase.

Coil Mattresses

These are the tried and true mattresses that have been around for so many years. You may know these mattresses as pocketed coil mattresses, innerspring mattresses, or simply as spring mattresses. These beds will provide the coolest sleep, but they also provide the least amount of curvature to your body and sometimes end up creating pressure points. These mattresses also tend to have the lowest customer ratings, and the tech that goes into these mattresses is relatively outdated compared to the new memory foam variants. To attempt to adjust for this, it is a common practice now for companies to put a memory foam mattress topper or a pillow top to provide a more conformed feeling when you sleep.

Advanced Memory Foam Mattresses

This type of mattress attempts to provide a high level of cooling within the mattress by using special pouring techniques when manufacturing the layers. When they pour the foam, they produce a higher level of breathability, and some of the higher end products of this mattress type are very effective.

Using this information, hopefully, you now know enough to get you started in picking the best memory foam mattress for your needs and preferences. If you need more information, check out our other posts and reviews.

 

Spend more time enjoying your bed and less time looking for the best memory foam mattress. Get more pointers from Consumer Reports:

There are many different aspects that go into picking the best memory foam mattress for your personal needs. It is, therefore, important to consider which aspects of your sleep matters the most. Are you a back sleeper or a side sleeper? Do you want to choose from different firmness levels? Do you know if you want soft, medium, or hard? How much heat retention are you comfortable with? What is your budget, and what is the size of your desired mattress? In the end, only you can decide which mattress is right for you by reading a variety of mattress reviews. Use this information to make the right decision.

Have you found the best memory foam mattress? What are the factors that matter to you? Share your thoughts about the topic in the comments section below.


[1] The FDA has determined that Celliant® products are medical devices as defined in section 201(h) of the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act and are general wellness products. Celliant® is determined by the FDA to temporarily promote increased local blood flow at the site of application in healthy individuals. Hologenix, LLC, the maker of Celliant®, states that Celliant® safely converts body heat to infrared energy. This energy penetrates into the muscle and tissue to promote a temporary increase in local blood flow and helps increase comfort and promotes restful sleep.


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