Remember the last time you had a truly sound night’s sleep? If not, you may wish to step up to a memory foam mattress! These best bedding bets have become popular thanks to the unique level of comfort and support they provide. When pressure is applied to memory foam—as in, your body on a mattress—it forms around your shape, and then, when you get up, it returns to its original shape.
Viscoelastic polyurethane foam—the technical term for this material—was originally designed by NASA and then used in airline seats. Most memory foam mattresses, however, include other materials as well. Before purchasing a memory foam mattress, take the time to understand the features, benefits, and available options, and take personal preferences such as material, firmness, and cost into account as well. Follow this guide to find the best memory foam mattress for you no matter if you’re a side, back, or stomach sleeper.
- BEST OVERALL: The Nectar Memory Foam Mattress
- RUNNER UP: TUFT & NEEDLE Original Mattress
- UPGRADE PICK: Puffy Lux Mattress
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Best Price Mattress 12” Memory Foam Mattress
- COOLING PICK: Classic Brands Cool 2.0 Ultimate Gel Memory Foam
- ORGANIC PICK: Zinus 12 Inch Green Tea Memory Foam Mattress
- BEST FOR BACK PAIN: Leesa Original Mattress
- BEST FOR STOMACH SLEEPERS: Helix Dusk Luxe Mattress
- BEST FOR SIDE SLEEPERS: Cocoon Chill Mattress
- BEST FOR BACK SLEEPERS: AS2 by Amerisleep
Types of Memory Foam Mattresses
Discover the main differences between the types of memory foam mattresses.
Traditional memory foam mattresses are designed to conform to your body while you sleep. This helps create a comfortable night of rest by increasing circulation and alleviating pressure on your joints. Unlike conventional spring mattresses, traditional memory foam mattresses are antimicrobial to help defer dust mites and other allergens. This type of mattress tends to suit couples or anyone who shares a bed because it reduces motion transfer, leading to fewer disruptions no matter how many times you or your partner wakes during the night.
Made of the same elements as traditional memory foam but with a different internal structure, open-cell mattresses evenly distribute body heat for a cooler night’s sleep. This unique type of air cool memory foam responds quickly to rising body heat and helps cool down the bed by activating airflow and spreading out that warmth. Open-cell memory foam mattresses are often less dense than traditional memory foam mattresses.
These are similar to traditional memory foam mattresses with the added benefit of a supportive gel, like the kind found in athletic shoes and sports equipment. This type of mattress is especially helpful for those with minor aches and pains or poor sleeping posture. The added support from the gel creates a firmer feel than a traditional memory foam mattress, and these models are also more durable, which can mean better manufacturer warranties.
Plant-Based (a.k.a. Eco Foam)
Eco foam is a newer type of memory foam mattress partially made out of plant-based materials like soy. While there is debate as to how “green” these mattresses truly are, since they aren’t made of 100 percent sustainable materials, eco foam mattresses are more breathable than regular memory foam mattresses because of their open-celled structure. They also have quicker response times, meaning they bounce back when reacting to your body weight, which prevents the feeling of sinking into your bed.
Some mattress manufacturers have their own proprietary foam layers that are unique to their brands. These exclusive types of foam often have a combination of added benefits such as cooling functions, extra support, or pressure relief. When shopping for a new mattress, evaluate the different proprietary foam options and associated benefits.
What to Consider When Buying a Memory Foam Mattress
Here are some important shopping considerations for memory foam mattresses. Choose the best memory foam mattress for your sleep preferences, comfort needs, and budget.
There are different memory foam mattress recommendations to accommodate various sleeping styles—side, back, or belly.
Side sleepers: Soft, plush memory foam suits side sleepers because they require a mattress that cradles them while they sleep. Since sleeping on your side exposes more recessed areas, greater support is needed to avoid waking up sore.
Back sleepers: Those who tend to sleep on their backs don’t require as thick of a mattress because the only area of the body that’s strained during sleep is the lumbar—more commonly referred to as the lower back area. It is important, however, to make sure the mattress has comfort layers that conform to the shape of your body and alleviate pressure points.
Stomach sleepers: If you generally sleep on your belly, opt for a firmer mattress, which will provide a flat sleeping surface without overextending the lumbar area. The optimal level of firmness depends on your body weight. Heavier adults that sleep on their stomachs will enjoy the most comfort with a firm mattress that supports their weight. Smaller adults can rest comfortably on a medium-firm mattress.
The typical material for memory foam mattresses is polyurethane foam, commonly referred to as viscoelastic polyurethane foam. But many memory foam mattresses are composed of multiple materials including a mixture of traditional memory foam along with gel, eco, or proprietary foam. The material of memory foam can affect the feel, cost, and even smell of the mattress.
Density and Firmness
The density and firmness of memory foam mattresses are related. These two measures together impact the overall feel of the mattress. Firmness is determined by calculating the force in pounds required to make a 25 percent indentation in a 4-inch-thick foam square. This is referred to as the Indentation Force Deflection (IFD).
Density level also impacts how soft a mattress will be. Usually, the higher the density, the softer the mattress. However, mattresses with low IFDs can still feel relatively firm. The density of most high-quality memory foam mattresses is at least 4 or 5 pounds but can go as high as 7 pounds.
Memory foam tends to reduce aches and pains by hugging the body’s pressure points and reducing any potential strain that could occur during sleep. Some mattresses are designed with special foam layers that help maximize pressure relief by targeting certain areas and cushioning the body at the right places.
Traditional memory foam mattresses warm up quickly when responding to the heat of your body. The same technology that makes memory foam conform to your body can make it difficult for the heat to escape. If you want maximum temperature regulation, consider an open cell memory foam mattress. The cool air technology helps evenly distribute heat to ultimately keep your body temperature down. This feature is especially beneficial on a hot summer night.
Sleep Trial Period
Lying on a bed for a few minutes in a showroom is not always the best way to choose, so some mattress manufacturers offer a sleep trial period: You purchase the mattress and sleep on it at home; if not completely satisfied after a set number of days (typically 100), you can return it for a refund. Most manufacturers will pay for the return shipping and some will even pick up the mattress and donate it. This special incentive is nice when making a large purchase like a new mattress, but these trial periods vary by brand so be sure to read the fine print carefully.
Many memory foam mattresses come with limited warranties that cover manufacturer defects and physical flaws that arise despite normal usage and proper handling. Some brands offer coverage for a set number of years and others have lifetime warranties. Before choosing a memory foam mattress, carefully review each manufacturer’s warranty policy to see what’s covered and for how long.
Memory foam mattresses start in the hundreds of dollars and go all the way up to the thousands; some brands even offer financing options. Figure out how much you can spend before mattress shopping and stick to options you can afford.
Our Top Picks
Start your memory foam mattress search here and discover top picks in a variety of categories.
Nectar’s Memory Foam Mattress boasts five layers of premium foam for ultimate comfort. These layers include a quilted memory foam mattress cover, gel memory foam to distribute weight and regulate body temperature, Adaptive Hi Core memory foam to prevent stickiness, a base layer for maximum support, and a bottom mattress cover to prevent slippage.
This mattress has the right combination of softness, firmness, and support to help relieve pressure while sleeping and promote better spinal alignment. It’s suitable for any type of bed frame and comes with some nice perks, such as an impressive 365-night home trial, forever warranty, and free shipping and returns.
The Tuft & Needle Original Mattress is a crowd-pleaser designed for all sleeping positions. The proprietary T&N adaptive foam provides optimal pressure relief by adjusting to your body as you sleep. This mattress has cooling graphite and gel beads that pull heat away from you, and a breathable plush cover to keep you cool. Tuft & Needle mattresses are free of harmful chemicals and are GREENGUARD Gold and CertiPUR-US certified for extra peace of mind, and you can test it out with a 100-night sleep trial.
The Puffy Lux mattress offers maximum comfort and spinal support, making it a great option for all sleeper types. Its Cooling Cloud technology is designed to regulate body temperature, while the Body Adapting Dual Cloud Foam, exclusive to Lux, works together with the Cooling Cloud to reduce strain on pressure points. Another unique feature is the ClimateComfort™ layer that provides a subtle cooling effect in the summer and warming effect in the winter.
This made-in-the-USA memory foam mattress is compatible with any frame or surface and comes with a stain-resistant cover for quick and easy clean-up. Puffy Lux offers a lifetime warranty and a 101-night, full-refund sleep trial.
This Best Price Mattress memory foam mattress molds itself to your shape and evenly distributes weight to relieve pressure points and prevent disruptions. The breathable open-cell foam layer helps optimize airflow for cool, comfortable slumber—and you won’t lose any sleep over the affordable price. This mattress is composed of CertiPUR-US certified foams with multiple layers including memory foam top, super-soft foam, high-density base support layer, and a poly jacquard fabric cover. Best Price Mattress offers a 10-year warranty.
Anyone who “sleeps hot” will appreciate the Classic Brands Cool 2.0 Ultimate Gel Memory Foam Mattress, which combines premium memory foam with high-density aerated cool gel memory foam for a relaxing, comfortable slumber. This ultra-plush mattress has a gel-infused ventilated memory foam surface and firm high-density base foam for added support. The Cool Gel technology draws heat away from your body to regulate body temperature all through the night. This memory foam mattress has a 10-year warranty and includes two standard memory foam pillows.
The Zinus memory foam mattress is infused with green tea and ActivCharcoal—this proprietary blend of natural ingredients helps keep your mattress fresh while blocking moisture. The pressure-relieving memory foam also helps minimize aches and pains.
The CertiPUR US seal ensures the mattress has met specific criteria for physical performance, indoor emissions, and environmental stewardship. The foam layers include 3-inch body-conforming memory foam, 2-inch soft comfort foam that enhances airflow, and 7-inch high-density base support foam. The Zinus Green Tea Memory Foam mattress expands into its original shape within 72 hours of removing it from the box and comes with a 10-year limited warranty.
The Leesa Original Mattress is designed with medium firmness and pressure-relieving support for all body types. This all-foam mattress includes a breathable cover and exclusive 2-inch top layer with cooling effects. The 2-inch contouring memory foam hugs the body to provide back, hip, and shoulder support. The 6-inch core support foam base offers a solid and durable foundation suitable for all sleeping preferences.
Leesa mattresses are CertiPUR-US ®-Certified and free of harmful chemicals. They’re also B-Corp certified, which means they meet the highest environmental and social standards—in fact, Leesa donates one bed to a child in need for every 10 sold. The gray twill four-stripe fabric cover will add a bit of style to your bedroom, and Leesa offers a 100-night trial, 10-year limited warranty, free shipping, and easy returns.
Designed out of proprietary Helix Dynamic Foam, this mattress reacts to your body’s shape for optimal give and take. The supportive top and middle layers are designed to optimize stomach and back support, making it a great choice for stomach and back sleepers or couples with varying sleep styles.
The Memory Foam Plus transition layer has a medium IFD and provides extra support and pressure relief. The body shape layer has individually wrapped coils that hug your body and minimize motion transfer along with a reinforced perimeter that provides best-in-class edge support. The base layer is made of DuraDense foam for increased support and durability.
The breathable Soft Touch Design cover helps regulate temperature and cool down the mattress by increasing airflow. Free from harmful chemicals, this memory foam mattress is CertiPUR-US® and OEKO-TEX® Standard 100 Certified. Other features include free shipping, a 10-year warranty, and a 100-day sleep trial.
The Cocoon Chill mattress by Sealy is a great option for side sleepers because of its cushioned yet supportive feel. This medium-soft plush memory foam mattress gives the feeling of being “in the bed” but it also comes in an extra-firm version if you prefer an “on the bed” feeling. The support layers are made of heavier, more durable foam than the comfort layers for a solid foundation. The stretch knit cover has a proprietary phase change material that absorbs and dissipates heat, resulting in a cool surface.
You’ll enjoy free shipping and a 10-year warranty, but if you’re not satisfied after 100 nights, you’ll get a full refund; Sealy will pick up the mattress for free, and donate it to a local charity.
Constructed out of a plant-based Bio-Pur® material with an open-cell design, the AS2 is more breathable than traditional memory foam mattresses and keeps you cool throughout the night. This unique type of foam relieves pressure points while bouncing back quickly so you won’t feel “stuck” in your mattress, an especially important feature for back sleepers.
The HIVE® transition layer provides targeted support to help you sleep in perfect alignment and the durable base foam layer prevents sagging and sinkage. Test it out risk-free with a 100-night trial, free shipping, and free returns. This mattress is made in the USA and comes with a 20-year warranty.
The Advantages of Owning a Memory Foam Mattress
Memory foam mattresses offer many benefits that conventional mattresses lack. They help maximize comfort, minimize aches and pains, and reduce disruptions. Some key advantages:
- Memory foam mattresses alleviate pain by contouring around the body’s pressure points.
- Memory foam mattresses are resistant to movement, which minimizes disruptions during the night—helpful if you sleep with a partner.
- Memory foam mattresses reduce negative allergy impacts because there are fewer areas for dust to infiltrate.
FAQs About Your New Best Memory Foam Mattresses
Here are answers to some common questions people have about memory foam mattresses.
What is a memory foam mattress?
A memory foam mattress is made out of viscoelastic polyurethane foam and other types of foam. It softens when pressure and heat are applied, which creates the feeling of being gently hugged while you sleep.
Are memory foam mattresses better than hybrid?
A hybrid mattress contains one or more layers of memory foam with an innerspring system to give you the softness and body-conforming feel of memory foam with the support and firmness of a conventional spring mattress. While only your personal sleeping preferences can determine what’s better for you, hybrid mattresses generally offer more benefits, such as better airflow, more direct pressure-point relief, reduced motion transfer, and solid support.
How long does a memory foam mattress last?
Memory foam mattresses typically last eight to 10 years depending on overall care and maintenance.