sleep foundation sleep foundation

We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Learn more here.

author

Written by

Bill Fish

We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Learn more here.

When it comes to deep contouring for spinal support, few materials can match up with viscoelastic foam, more widely known as memory foam. Originally engineered by NASA, it’s now found in a variety of products, most notably in mattresses.

While luxury brands like Tempur-Pedic helped kick off the popularity of memory foam mattresses, you don’t have to shell out a small fortune to get the benefits of this pressure-relieving material. Quality memory foam mattresses are available at accessible prices, but it’s important to shop wisely to make sure that you really get your money’s worth.

We’ve selected the five best cheap memory foam mattresses for people who are shopping on a budget. Though these models aren’t laden with souped-up features, they are dependable and allow sleepers to take advantage of the comfort and support of memory foam.

Beyond our top picks, we review the benefits of memory foam mattresses, how to choose one, and key buying logistics, including how to find the best deal on a new bed.

The Best Cheap Memory Foam Mattresses

Product Details

Zinus 6" Green Tea

Zinus 6
Mattress Type:
Foam
Firmness:
Medium (5)
Zinus 6
Highlights:

Infused with odor-reducing green tea, the Zinus Green Tea Pressure Relief mattress deploys a straightforward design to cultivate a plush feel that cushions the joints and promotes proper spinal alignment.

Who it's best for:
  • Side sleepers under 230 lbs
  • Shoppers who want an odor-reducing foam
  • People who prefer a plusher mattress

The Zinus brand is built around offering simple-yet-effective bedroom furniture at extremely competitive prices, and the Green Tea Pressure Relief Mattress is one of their most popular products. It employs a mix of foams, including memory foam, to support the spine and promote overall comfort.

There are four models of the Green Tea mattress that vary in height and are 6, 8, 10, or 12 inches tall. While all include a memory foam comfort layer and are affordable options, we find that the 10-inch version suits most people looking for a low-cost memory foam bed.

In the 10-inch model, there are three foam layers. The top layer is 2.5 inches of memory foam that has been produced with green tea to reduce buildup of odors. This foam cradles the body significantly, helping to lighten impact at pressure points while also decreasing motion transfer.

The second layer is two inches of a firmer transition polyfoam that limits excess sinking into the bed. The bottom layer is the support core, which is 5.5 inches of high-density polyfoam.

The mattress has a Medium Soft (4) feel that matches best with the needs of side sleepers, especially those who weigh under 230 pounds. A knitted cover of cotton and polyester adds a touch of extra plushness.

Zinus offers a 100-night sleep trial to test out the bed, and a 10-year warranty covers defects in materials and manufacturing.

Nectar

Nectar
Mattress Type:
Foam
Firmness:
Medium Firm (6)
Nectar
Highlights:

Three memory foam layers make up a thick comfort system that give the Nectar mattress excellent properties of motion isolation and pressure point relief at an accessible price.

Who it's best for:
  • Side sleepers over 130 pounds
  • Back and stomach sleepers under 230 pounds
  • Shoppers who want a 365-night sleep trial

The Nectar is one of our top choices for finding a top-notch value on an online mattress. Featuring multiple layers of memory foam with a combined height of five inches, the Nectar delivers serious pressure relief at a competitive price.

Three different memory foam layers form the Nectar’s comfort system. Each of the top two layers are one inch, with the top one snugly quilted into the bed’s breathable Tencel cover. These two layers include gel-infused foam to combat heat buildup in the part of the mattress closest to the body. The third layer is three inches of Adaptive Hi Core memory foam developed by Nectar.

The total of five inches of memory foam gives this mattress ample ability to cushion even the sharpest pressure points. As a result, it encourages a healthy spinal alignment, and at the same time, cuts down on motion transfer from a bed partner tossing and turning. A high-density polyfoam support core stops the mattress from sinking or sagging too deeply.

With a Medium Firm (6) feel, the Nectar has wide appeal for sleepers in different positions. In particular, it works well for side sleepers who weigh over 130 pounds and for back and stomach sleepers who weigh under 230 pounds.

On top of the solid price and performance, Nectar sweetens the pot with free shipping, an industry-leading 365-night sleep trial, and a lifetime warranty that has you covered for as long as you own the mattress.

Read Our Full Nectar Mattress Review

Signature Sleep 12" Mem Foam

Signature Sleep 12
Mattress Type:
Foam
Firmness:
Signature Sleep 12
Highlights:

With a four-inch layer of memory foam, the Signature Sleep Memoir mattress provides robust pressure relief with a Firm feel that suits most back and stomach sleepers.

Who it's best for:
  • Stomach and back sleepers
  • Shoppers looking for a mattress with a thick memory foam layer
  • Amazon aficionados and Prime members

The Signature Sleep Memoir 12-inch memory foam mattress is a great match for budget shoppers who want a robust memory foam mattress without excess contouring or sink.

The Memoir has a no-frills design with two interior layers. The top layer is the comfort system made with four inches of memory foam. The second layer is eight inches of dense base polyfoam.

Unlike some cheap memory foam beds, the Signature Sleep contains a thick memory foam layer. This deep comfort system provides moderate contouring, compressing to meet the body’s weight without sagging or giving way. It is virtually noise-free and reduces most motion transfer to decrease the risk of disruptions from a partner shifting around on the other side of the bed.

With a Firm (7) feel, the Signature Sleep Memoir has more firmness than many memory foam beds. This makes it more appealing to stomach and back sleepers who want light cradling of the body but without an extra-plush feel.

Signature Sleep does not sell this mattress directly through their website; instead, it is offered by third-party retailers like Amazon. Other versions of this mattress with a different height and firmness feel are available from these sellers as well.

When purchased via Amazon, the Signature Sleep Memoir is available with Prime shipping and is backed by Amazon’s 30-day return window. A prorated 10-year warranty from Signature Sleep provides coverage for defects in materials and manufacturing.

Dynasty CoolBreeze

Dynasty CoolBreeze
Mattress Type:
All-Foam
Firmness:
Medium Firm (6)
Dynasty CoolBreeze
Highlights:

Offering multiple layers of memory foam and a slate of special sizes, the Dynasty Cool Breeze is a popular pick for shoppers who want good value on a memory foam mattress for their home bedroom or their RV.

Who it's best for:
  • Sleepers who want multiple memory foam layers
  • People shopping for an RV mattress
  • Most side sleepers

The Dynasty Cool Breeze mattress harnesses the power of three memory foam layers in order to create a comfortable and contouring sleep surface. With special sizes rarely offered by other manufacturers, this brand fills a particular need for people who need an RV mattress.

The 12-inch mattress has four total layers. The top layer is three inches of a gel-infused memory foam. The next two layers are each two inches of memory foam, and the bottom layer, the support core, is five inches of base polyfoam. The cover is stretchy and made with soft polyester.

By using a grand total of seven inches of memory foam in its comfort system, the Dynasty Cool Breeze has notable conforming, making it appealing to people who have significant pressure points. The memory foam layers each chip in to achieve above-average motion isolation, adding to the bed’s benefits for couples. The layer closest to the body is gel-infused to mitigate heat buildup at night.

The Dynasty Cool Breeze has a Medium Firm (6) feel that best serves side sleepers as well as some lighter-weight back and stomach sleepers. Special sizes, including an RV Queen and RV King, have helped make this mattress a hit with people who don’t want to sacrifice their sleep when cruising America’s highways and byways.

The mattress comes with a 120-night sleep trial, but customers are responsible for return shipping, which can eat into the refund. The mattress warranty lasts for 10 years.

DreamFoam Arctic Dreams

DreamFoam Arctic Dreams
Mattress Type:
Foam
Firmness:
Medium (5)
DreamFoam Arctic Dreams
Highlights:

The budget-friendly Dreamfoam Arctic Dreams mattress from Brooklyn Bedding uses responsive Energex foam with a special gel treatment to foster a sleeping surface that is bouncier and cooler than most traditional memory foam options.

Who it's best for:
  • Customers who want more bounce in their mattress
  • Hot sleepers
  • People who value a manufacturer with decades of experience

Dreamfoam is a wallet-friendly brand produced by Brooklyn Bedding, a well-known mattress company with over two decades in the industry, and the Arctic Dreams mattress is a high-performing all-foam option with a compelling blend of contouring and bounce.

This mattress has three components. The cover is made with polyester that is quilted to have a tufted and inviting feel. The top interior layer is 2.5 inches of Energex polyfoam that has been treated with a gel material on its surface. Energex provides moderate contouring that can feel like memory foam but with considerably more responsiveness. This bouncier feel makes it easier to move on the bed, avoid feeling stuck, and engage in intimate activities. The gel treatment helps keep the comfort system from trapping heat, making the Arctic Dreams mattress a good choice for hot sleepers. The last component of the mattress is 7.5 inches of polyfoam that serves as the support core and contributes to the overall sturdiness of the bed.

With a Medium (5) firmness level, the Dreamfoam Arctic Dreams bed is a hit with most side sleepers, especially those under 230 pounds. It can also work well for some back and stomach sleepers under 130 pounds. With some special RV-friendly sizes, this mattress also fits the needs of people who are outfitting their RV.

Brooklyn Bedding allows customers to try out the mattress for 120 nights as part of a sleep trial and includes a 10-year warranty that protects against defects in materials and manufacturing.

How to Choose a Cheap Memory Foam Mattress

To get the best value on a low-cost memory foam mattress, you need to know what to look for and what to ignore. Keeping your focus sharp will help avoid winding up with a poorly built mattress that causes your sleep to suffer.

What to Look for in a Mattress

It’s not uncommon to come across some bold — and even confusing or misleading — marketing hype in the mattress industry. Unfortunately, for some customers, this can draw their attention away from the most important factors to consider.

To keep this from happening to you, when researching different mattresses, consider which of the following key issues are most critical for you and how the options you’re researching stack up in those areas.

  • Price: If you’re looking for a cheap memory foam mattress, obviously price is an essential consideration. You can rule out the high-end, luxury mattresses and focus on those with a more accessible price. It also helps to be on the lookout for promotions and discounts.
  • Quality Materials: As you might expect, some budget mattresses cut corners when it comes to the quality of their components. Look for beds with a solid design, well-built components, and a track record of success as this will bode well for the bed’s durability and performance.
  • Firmness Level: Firmness is fundamental to mattress comfort and satisfaction, so you want to pick a bed with the right feel. On the 1-10 firmness scale, with 10 being the firmest, most people prefer a mattress between Medium Soft (4) and Firm (7). Stomach and back sleepers normally do best with firmer options than side sleepers.
  • Pressure Relief: The ability to cushion the body’s sharpest pressure points is a standout feature of most foams and especially memory foam. However, you want to make sure the comfort system, including the memory foam component, is thick and robust enough to accommodate your body.
  • Edge Support: If you often find yourself sitting or sleeping near the edge of the bed, then solid edge support is important. Unfortunately, because of the way foam compresses, memory foam beds can be weak in this area. A dense support core or transition foam layer can help improve edge support.
  • Contouring: Contouring refers to the way a mattress can adjust to the body with a hug-like feel. Some sleepers like deep contouring, especially if they have major pressure points, while others prefer more limited hug. As a general rule, memory foam has well above-average contouring.
  • Temperature Regulation: Sleeping hot can be a real issue for some people, and the problem can be pronounced on memory foam. This can happen because of how the foam fits tightly to the body, gets softer as it warms up, and is limited in ventilation. While this material typically sleeps warm, features like open-cell or gel-infused memory foams may modestly reduce heat retention.
  • Ease of Movement: If you can’t move on a bed, it may feel like lying on quicksand, which can be especially troublesome for combination sleepers and people with an active sex life. The best way to maintain ease of movement is to have bounce and more moderate hug, which is why some memory foam beds are not strong performers in this category.
  • Motion Isolation: When one person stirs in bed, it can be disruptive to their bed partner and may jar them awake. Motion isolation can help prevent this by decreasing how much movement is felt across the mattress. This is a strength of most memory foam beds, which makes them popular with many couples.

Types of Memory Foam

A number of formulations of memory foam are used in mattresses. While there isn’t a standardized nomenclature, there are some terms that can be useful to know.

Traditional memory foam refers to the classic form of this material that is usually quite soft with deep contouring, top-notch motion isolation, little-to-no bounce, and considerable heat retention.

Updates to the traditional memory foam can take different forms. Open-cell foam creates more room for air to pass through the foam itself and may slightly cut down on heat buildup. Infused foams have other materials mixed into the foam. The most common are gel-infused foams, but there are also copper-infused and graphite-infused materials. The primary purpose of these infusions is to decrease heat retention.

Specialty foams are what some manufacturers have formulated in order to make small modifications of the foam’s feel. This is typically done to try to adjust its level of responsiveness or firmness.

High-density memory foam usually has a density rating of 3.5 pounds per cubic foot (PCF) or higher. This means that the foam is heavier and normally holds up better over years of nightly use.

Benefits of a Memory Foam Mattress

Memory foam has won over a huge number of sleepers thanks to its unique feel and multiple advantages.

  • Deep Pressure Relief: For the body’s heavier areas and problem areas for pain, memory foam offers welcome relief. Its ability to compress in proportion to the weight applied to it allows the material to smoothly cushion the body in key areas.
  • Standout Motion Isolation: If your bed partner is constantly moving around, memory foam can keep bothersome ripple effects from their movement from reaching your side of the mattress.
  • Spinal Support: Keeping the spine aligned is crucial to preventing all types of back pain. With its tailored cradling of the body, memory foam works to keep the whole body in a healthy posture.
  • Silent Performance: With memory foam, you get a virtually noise-free mattress; you don’t have to worry about squeaking or other noise that can disrupt your sleep.
  • Solid Durability: Though it won’t last forever, quality memory foam should retain its structural integrity for 6-8 years or longer.

What Can Affect the Price of Memory Foam Beds?

There’s not one foolproof formula for how a mattress is priced; nevertheless, some factors are ordinarily involved in the final price of a memory foam mattress.

  • The total amount of memory foam. More memory foam thickness generally equates to a higher cost.
  • The density of the memory foam. It costs more to produce high-density foam, so it tends to raise the price.
  • Overall mattress height. Because a taller mattress involves more and/or thicker layers and a greater amount of total material, it can translate to a more expensive bed.
  • Quality of construction. Mattresses with a thoughtful design and high-end components usually cost more than those that cut corners in their construction.
  • Cooling components. The inclusion of cooling features, such as special cover materials, gel-infused foam, or copper-infused foam, may elevate the price.
  • Extra features. If a mattress has special features, such as a reversible firmness design or a proprietary material, expect those features to increase the cost of the mattress.
  • Where the mattress is manufactured. Beds made in the United States usually carry a higher price tag than those made in other countries. Mattresses made in China are frequently the least expensive.

Shipping Rates, Returns, and Warranties

As you get ready to buy a memory foam mattress online, it’s helpful to know what to expect when it comes to a number of practical issues such as shipping, returns, and warranties.

Shipping

For most memory foam mattresses bought online, shipping is fast and free. Bed-in-a-box memory foam mattresses are compressed in plastic packaging and sent to your doorstep in a box of manageable size that typically arrives within 7-10 days.

Once the mattress arrives, all you have to do to set it up is take the box to your bedroom and remove the packaging. Because of the package’s weight, it’s recommended that two people do this together, especially for mattresses that are Queen-size and larger.

The exact shipping terms can depend on the mattress and where it is purchased. If you buy from a third-party retailer like Amazon or Walmart, the cost and timeline of delivery may be different than if a mattress is bought directly from the manufacturer.

Returns

When you buy a mattress straight from the manufacturer, you are almost always offered a sleep trial. During this trial, which is usually 100 nights or longer, you can use the mattress in your own bedroom, and if you aren’t satisfied with it, you can ask for a return and a full refund. To carry out a return, most companies will either pick up the bed from your home or help find a local organization to pick it up. In some cases, you are required to keep the mattress for a few weeks as a “break-in period” before asking for a refund.

If buying from a retailer like Amazon, returns will be subject to the retailer’s policies, and any returns will need to be coordinated with them instead of the manufacturer. In general, retailers offer shorter sleep trials than manufacturers.

Warranties

Whether you buy directly from a mattress company or through a third-party, your mattress should come with a warranty that is extended by the manufacturer.

While a warranty can offer a helpful remedy if your mattress is a “lemon,” it’s important to know that there are limits to what’s covered. A mattress warranty virtually never covers normal wear-and-tear such as minor sagging. In addition, it won’t cover accidental damage from spills or pet accidents.

To determine the quality of coverage provided by the warranty, look at the fine print for three things:

  • The Length of the Warranty: Also known as the warranty “term,” this states how long you are covered.
  • Whether It is Non-Prorated or Prorated: With a non-prorated warranty, the remedy for a defective mattress stays the same over the full term. With a prorated warranty, you have to pay a percentage of repair or replacement costs that increases as you’ve owned the mattress for longer.
  • Who Pays Shipping Costs: If the customer is responsible for transportation costs, going through with a warranty claim can carry considerable expense.

The ideal warranty is at least 10 years long, non-prorated, and stipulates that the manufacturer covers all shipping fees.

Additional Mattress Costs

Setting up your bedroom can involve different types of costs, so choosing an affordable mattress isn’t the only issue that will affect your bottom line. As you map out your budget, consider these potential additional costs:

  • Bed Frames and Foundations: A good frame supports both your body and the mattress, and a weak frame may cause your mattress to wear down faster. Many warranties even require that the mattress be placed on a certain type of frame. If you need to upgrade, a new frame or foundation can cost from around $50 up to hundreds of dollars.
  • Bedding: If you are switching to a new mattress size or just want fresh sheets, pillows, or blankets, build the cost of new bedding into your planning. The price range on all of these products varies substantially depending on their materials and quality.
  • Mattress Removal: If you’re replacing an old mattress, you’ll need to find a way to remove it from your home. Some organizations will pick it up at no charge or for a small fee. Other services charge $50 or considerably more, depending on your location, to pick up an old bed.
  • Expert Assembly: A memory foam mattress doesn’t usually require expert assembly, but if you buy a complex type of frame, you may need to pay for someone to set it up. Depending on the time it takes, this may cost $100 or more.

Get the Best Deal on a Mattress

No matter where you shop or what mattress you’re planning to buy, it’s natural to want to get the best deal. Knowing about the different ways to save can play a big part in getting the lowest price on a new mattress.

Mattress Sales

There are prime times for mattress sales that normally occur each year around certain major holidays. If you’re in no rush to buy a new mattress, waiting until one of these sales rolls around can mean scoring a better deal.

In-Store Sales

  • Black Friday: The Friday after Thanksgiving is a massive shopping day for virtually all products, including mattresses and bedding. Almost all mattress chains, furniture stores, and department stores will offer steep discounts and special deals for Black Friday.
  • Other Holidays: Memorial Day, Labor Day, and other big holidays frequently involve sales events, although they may not be as significant as those on Black Friday.

Online Sales

  • Cyber Monday: The sibling of Black Friday, the Monday after Thanksgiving has become a huge day for promotions for online shopping. Deals are offered directly from manufacturers and on third-party retail sites like Amazon.
  • Prime Day: This sales event for Amazon Prime members spans two days and is held every year in July. Major discounts, including many short-term “lightning deals” are offered on all types of products, and mattresses are no exception.
  • Holiday Sales: Around most major holidays, you can find promotions being offered by online mattress companies. In most cases, the discounts will be available throughout a holiday weekend and will involve a price cut and/or free extras like sheets or pillows.

Not all brands or models will have the same sales, so it can be useful to do a little advanced research starting about a week before any big holiday or sale event.

Coupons, Discounts, and Other Ways to Save

If you’re shopping in-between major holidays or sale days, there are still a number of ways to save.

  • Coupon Codes: A coupon code is entered during the online checkout process, and at that point, a discount is applied before entering payment information. The coupon code could involve a price break, freebies, and/or free shipping. Coupon codes can be found directly from manufacturers and on third-party review sites.
  • Online-Only Promotions: These promos are most often issued by companies that have both physical stores and an online presence, but the deal is not available in the physical stores.
  • Referrals: Being referred to a mattress site can translate to a lower price. The referral may come from a third-party review site or partner of the mattress maker. Referral bonuses can also sometimes come from a friend who has had a good experience with a specific mattress and gets a referral code to give to others.
  • Bundles: Bundles provide a discount on a pack of products. In most cases, this means getting a reduced price if you buy a mattress plus a frame and/or bedding. If you need multiple items, a bundle can be a great deal.
  • Negotiate the Price: Being a skilled negotiator can pay off when mattress shopping, especially in-store where markups are higher and sales people expect you to negotiate. There is less bargaining online, but you can always ask via phone or live chat if there are extra discounts or promotions available.
  • Store Closing Sales: When a store is going out of business, they’ll often clear out their inventory at cut-rate prices. Look for ads on local radio or in the newspaper with details about special store-closing sales.