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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.
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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 all side sleepers 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.
Use this SleepFoundation.org link for the most current discount on Silk & Snow mattresses
The Silk & Snow Mattress’ mixed-foam design balances cushioning and support, creating a surface many of our testers found comfortable. We recommend this pick to anyone with sharp pressure points who need significant contouring without sinking too deeply.
A layer of gel-infused memory foam begins the comfort system. This layer adapts to the body to relieve pressure points, while the gel infusion is meant to combat heat retention. Underneath is a polyfoam transitional layer that ensures your weight is evenly distributed across the mattress surface. High-density polyfoam makes up the support core, offering pushback to the midsection and shoulders to prevent uncomfortable sagging. A stretchy, breathable cover made from a polyester and spandex blend encases the mattress. This cover is infused with silver fibers engineered to keep the surface cool.
The Silk & Snow falls at a 5 on our 10-point firmness scale, earning high marks from our team’s side sleepers. Those who frequently use this position benefit from a plusher surface that can relieve pressure in sore shoulders and hips. Our back and stomach sleepers who weigh less than 130 pounds found it comfortable as well, but most other sleepers who use these positions will find they sink too deeply.
We highly recommend the mattress to couples thanks to its high rating in our motion isolation tests. Our testers found little to no motion transfer or noise when moving across the mattress. The mattress also retains less heat than other foam models we’ve tested. This is likely thanks to the breathable cover and cooling technology.
Silk & Snow ships free to customers living in the contiguous U.S. and provincial Canada. It also offers a 100-night sleep trial, during which you can test the mattress and return it for a full refund after a 30-night break-in period. The Silk & Snow Mattress is backed by a 15-year warranty.
Best for Couples
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Thanks to its all-foam construction, the Siena Memory Foam Mattress excelled during our motion isolation tests. This means you and your partner should be able to sleep soundly when the other person changes positions in bed or gets up during the night.
The mattress is constructed with three foam layers designed to feel progressively denser and more supportive as your body sinks into the surface. A top memory foam layer contours closely, the transitional polyfoam adds extra cushioning while keeping your body on an even plane, and the high-density foam base stabilizes the entire mattress. The result is a medium firm (6) feel with even conforming and minimal sinkage.
During our tests, the Siena was a hit across different sleeper types. The mattress earned particularly favorable reviews from side sleepers weighing 130 to 230 pounds, and back and stomach sleepers weighing less than 130 pounds, but most testers received a comfortable balance of cushioning and support.
In addition to its affordable pricing, the Siena Memory Foam Mattress ships free of charge to customers in the contiguous U.S. Each order comes with a generous 180-night sleep trial, giving you plenty of time to sleep on the mattress and decide whether it’s right for you. Those who keep their Siena also receive a 10-year manufacturer’s warranty that covers structural and material defects.
Best for Kids
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Many mattresses are suitable for children to use, but the Helix Kids is one of the only models on the market with a design that targets specific age groups. A flippable hybrid, the Kids features a distinct firmness level on each side. The medium firm (6) surface provides great overall support to aid the proper development of children between the ages of 3 and 7, while the medium soft (4) side cushions the body to alleviate pressure in growing kids between the ages of 8 and 12.
The firm side features a dense polyfoam comfort layer that conforms to the body without sinking too much. The opposite surface is constructed with gel-infused memory foam that adapts more closely without trapping too much heat. A shared support core of individually pocketed coils is found between the foam layers. These coils are reinforced along the perimeter to prevent excessive sinkage when your child sleeps close to the edges of the mattress. The coils also promote airflow to help the mattress stay cool.
As an added precaution, each side also contains a fire barrier. The cover is treated with a non-toxic water-repellent solution, so the mattress won’t be damaged if the child wets the bed. An antimicrobial shield applied to the cover is intended to combat odor and keep the mattress smelling fresh.
Twin and full sizes are available, so the Kids is compatible with bunk beds. In addition to a 10-year manufacturer’s warranty that covers structural defects as long as your child needs to use the mattress, you can also opt for accidental damage coverage. Shipping is free for orders to all 50 states, and each purchase is backed by a 100-night sleep trial.
Best for Side Sleepers
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Side sleepers tend to experience pressure buildup in their shoulders and hips due to putting all of their weight on one side or the other. A mattress with close contouring to relieve this pressure while maintaining even support can help reduce aches and pains in the morning. The Layla Mattress has a flippable design with two firmness levels – medium soft (4) and firm (7) – both of which offer excellent pressure relief for those who frequently use this position.
The Layla’s comfort system differs slightly depending on the side you choose. The softer side starts with a thick layer of memory foam that adapts to the body to relieve pressure. This layer is also infused with copper gel engineered to conduct and dissipate heat away from the body. Underneath is a zoned polyfoam transitional layer that prevents the midsection from sinking too deeply into the mattress. Meanwhile, the firmer side’s comfort system features one thin layer of copper gel-infused memory foam for light cushioning. High-density polyfoam makes up the shared support core to keep your body on an even plane.
Our testing found varying performance between the two firmness levels. Our side sleepers thoroughly enjoyed the soft side’s deep contouring, especially those weighing less than 130 pounds. However, most back and stomach sleepers who weigh at least 130 pounds will find the firmer side more supportive.
Like many other foam mattresses, the Layla earned stellar ratings in our motion isolation tests. This was especially true for the soft side, which absorbed most movement transfer and noise. Couples looking for a more even surface and better edge support for sex will prefer the firmer side. Both sides earned above-average marks in our temperature control tests, but the firmer side had slightly less heat buildup than the softer one.
Layla ships free to customers living in the contiguous U.S. Mattress purchases come with 120-night sleep trials to test the mattress. If you decide to keep the Layla Mattress, it is backed by a lifetime warranty against structural defects.
Best Pressure Relief
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Memory foam mattresses are popular with sleepers who have sharp pressure points because of their close, even contouring. The Emma Original Mattress’ balanced, medium (5) feel and adaptive all-foam design ensures plenty of padding for these sleepers without too much sink.
The Emma Original’s topmost layer is composed of memory foam for a plush surface feel when you get into bed. The three underlying polyfoam layers are progressively denser, which helps maintain an even surface as your body settles into the mattress. At 12 inches thick, the mattress is considered a high-profile model. A breathable polyester-blend cover encases all of the foam layers. You can remove and machine wash the cover to keep your sleep surface clean and hygienic.
In addition to side sleepers, our tests show the Emma Original provides adequate support for back and stomach sleepers up to 230 pounds. The mattress also performed well for motion isolation — an important factor for couples. Our testers noticed little to no motion transfer when lying side by side on the mattress, and this is due to the memory foam’s slow response to movement. We recommend the mattress to anyone who loses sleep over their partner’s position changes during the night.
In addition to its affordable pricing, the Emma Original qualifies for free ground shipping throughout the contiguous U.S. California residents also receive free haulaway of their old mattress upon request. Emma’s generous sleep trial allows you to test the mattress for up to 365 nights. Should you decide to keep it, you’ll also receive a 10-year warranty against structural defects.
Save 35% on a Cocoon Chill Mattress and get free pillows and sheets with this code: SLEEPFOUND35
Memory foam mattresses have a tendency to sleep hot, but the Cocoon Chill lives up to its name thanks to phase change material (PCM) infused into the cover. PCM draws heat away from your body and releases it to ensure the surface stays cool regardless of how warm you feel or the ambient temperature.
The Cocoon Chill has a medium firm (6) feel, making it ideal for sleepers who weigh 130 to 230 pounds. Side sleepers receive ample cushioning, which can improve their spinal alignment and alleviate pressure in the shoulders, hips, and other sensitive areas. Back and stomach sleepers in this weight range should also be able to rest comfortably without sinking too much. Like other memory foam mattresses, the Chill excels at motion isolation and does not produce any noise. This means you can sleep soundly without disturbances whenever your partner changes positions or gets in and out of bed.
The mattress has a price-point that’s in line with the average memory foam model and ground shipping is free for all orders in the contiguous U.S. Your purchase will include a sleep trial that allows you to test out the mattress for up to 100 nights.
Use this SleepFoundation.org link for the most current discount on Allswell mattresses
Allswell is a relatively new sleep company that currently offers three mattresses: the Allswell, the Allswell Luxe, and the Allswell Supreme. All three have accessible price-points, but the Allswell is the most budget-friendly model.
The 10-inch-thick Allswell is a hybrid design that utilizes both memory foam and pocket coils. This combination creates a balanced feel and will appeal to a variety of sleeping styles. The top 2-inch comfort layer consists of memory foam with charcoal and copper gel infusions to dissipate heat. As such, the Allswell helps you stay cool at night and is great for people who have avoided traditional memory foam mattresses, which tend to retain heat.
Following the comfort layer is a .5-inch transitional layer of firmer memory foam, which helps your body adjust to the coil system and provides extra support. The Allswell’s support core comprises a 7-inch pocketed coil system, with thicker coils along the edges. This construction reinforces the edges and prevents sagging, which increases usable surface area and makes it easier to get in and out of bed.
When compared to other hybrid or memory foam models, the Allswell model is very inexpensive. The mattress does have a thinner comfort layer section, which partly explains its lower cost. The Allswell comes in all six standard mattress sizes, but each size is one inch shorter than the standard mattress measurement.
The Allswell Mattress ships free to the contiguous U.S., with the option to add White Glove service and/or expedited shipping. Allswell offers a 100-night sleep trial and is backed by a 10-year limited warranty.
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.
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.
Memory foam has won over a huge number of sleepers thanks to its unique feel and multiple advantages.
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.
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.
For most memory foam mattresses bought online, shipping is fast and free. Boxed memory foam mattresses are compressed in plastic packaging and sent to your doorstep in a manageably sized “mattress in a box” 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 a queen size mattress 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.
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.
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 ideal warranty is at least 10 years long, non-prorated, and stipulates that the manufacturer covers all shipping fees.
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:
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.
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.
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.
If you’re shopping in-between major holidays or sale days, there are still a number of ways to save.
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At SleepFoundation.org, we conduct extensive first-person experience tests on all but a select few products. This hands-on approach allows us to provide accurate, data-driven recommendations for mattresses, pillows, sheets, and other sleep essentials.
Guidelines for our testing methodology are as follows: