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Best Memory Foam Mattress

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Written by

Logan Foley

author

Viscoelastic polyurethane foam – better known as memory foam – was first developed by NASA engineers. One of memory foam’s defining traits is slow response. The material becomes softer and more adaptive when exposed to body heat, allowing it to mold around the unique contours of your body. As it cools, the foam returns to its original shape.

Today, memory foam is one of the most popular mattress materials. Due to the wide selection of memory foam mattresses on the market, choosing our top picks was no easy task. Each mattress below exemplifies the qualities people love most about memory foam, such as even contouring and weight distribution, pressure relief along the spine, and superior motion isolation. Our testing team also singled out particular models based on how well they perform for certain types of people, such as side sleepers and those who run hot in bed.

Cut to the Chase – What’s the Best Memory Foam Mattress

Our top pick offers the even contouring, pressure relief, and excellent motion isolation of many competing memory foam mattresses, but its firmer feel provides more support for people who weigh more than 130 pounds and cooling components help offset the foam’s heat-trapping tendencies. If you want to take our word for it and bypass the full list of best memory foam mattress picks, check out the Nectar Mattress.

The Best Memory Foam Mattresses

Our top picks represent mattresses that excel in a range of categories that might appeal to those shopping for memory foam beds. After checking out our list of picks, you can learn more about memory foam beds with our in-depth guide. We will cover who should buy a memory foam bed, what to look for in a memory foam bed, and other details you may want to know about this type of mattress.

Product Details

Nectar Mattress

Best Overall

Nectar Mattress

Nectar Mattress
Price Range: $499 - $1,099
Mattress Type: Foam
Firmness: Medium Firm (6)
Trial length: 365 nights
Trial length: 365 nights
Warranty: Lifetime, Limited
Warranty: Lifetime, Limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
Who it's best for:
  • Side sleepers
  • Budget-conscious shoppers
  • Couples
Highlights:
  • All-foam construction balances contouring and support
  • Excellent motion isolation
  • 365-night sleep trial and lifetime warranty
Nectar Mattress

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Fans of memory foam mattresses have plenty of options to choose from when shopping for a new bed, but the Nectar Mattress stands apart from the competition for its balance of support and contouring, quality construction, and approachable price-point.

What It’s Made of

The 12-inch mattress begins with a comfort layer made of memory foam that contours closely with the body. With a medium firm (6) feel, the mattress is still firm enough to offer support to sleepers who don’t want to sink too deep. Beneath is a transitional layer of firmer polyfoam that further prevents excessive sinkage, followed by a support core of firm high-density polyfoam.

How It Performed

One of the bed’s most noteworthy performance features is the excellent pressure relief. Side sleepers will likely find this mattress to be a good fit, since the contouring surface provides ample cushion for the shoulders and hips, where pressure typically builds up for these sleepers during the night. The foam surface also absorbs motion with great efficiency, making this bed a strong choice for sleep partners who don’t want to disrupt each other’s sleep with nighttime movement.

Nectar offers a generous 365-night sleep trial as well as a lifetime warranty with this mattress. The bed also comes with free shipping and returns throughout the contiguous U.S.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought

“The Nectar was firmer than some of the other memory foam models we tested. It had enough give under my hips that I wasn’t sore after sleeping on my side, but it was also firm enough that I didn’t sink into the mattress too much.”

Zoma Mattress

Best Value

Zoma Mattress

Zoma Mattress
Price Range: $649 - $1348
Mattress Type: Foam
Firmness: Medium (5)
Trial length: 100 nights (30-night requirement)
Trial length: 100 nights (30-night requirement)
Warranty: 10 Year
Warranty: 10 Year
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King, Split King
Who it's best for:
  • People who frequently experience pressure points during sleep
  • Side and back sleepers under 230 pounds
  • Hot sleepers who enjoy the feel of memory foam
Highlights:
  • Zoned memory foam
  • Medium (5) firmness
  • Strong balance of contouring and support
Zoma Mattress

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While all memory foam mattresses offer some degree of pressure relief, the Zoma Mattress is specifically engineered to offer enhanced pressure relief to sleepers with active lifestyles.

What It’s Made of

The mattress is made with three layers of foam. The comfort system begins with a layer of memory foam that conforms closely to the body. The memory foam features a zoned design that offers enhanced relief to common pressure points, such as the shoulders and hips, and firmer support to areas like the lumbar region. Beneath is a layer of polyfoam, which provides support and prevents the body from sinking in too deep. The support core is made of high-density polyfoam.

How It Performed

With a medium (5) firmness, the Zoma is an optimal choice for sleepers who weigh under 230 pounds. It’s especially well-suited for side and back sleepers, since these sleep positions tend to produce more pressure points. While memory foam generally traps more heat than latex and hybrid beds, this model has a cooling design that may appeal to hot sleepers who enjoy the feel of all-foam beds. The memory foam is infused with a cooling gel, and the bed is encased in a breathable polyester and spandex fabric.

Zoma offers free shipping within the contiguous U.S. The bed comes with a 10-year warranty and 100-night sleep trial. Shoppers receive a full refund on beds returned within this period, minus a $99 early processing fee if the bed is returned before the end of a 30-day break-in period.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought

“Our team found that the Zoma Mattress hits the sweet spot between pressure relief and support for side and back sleepers under 230 pounds. The added lumbar support also makes it worth a look for people with back pain.”

WinkBeds GravityLux

Most Comfortable

WinkBeds GravityLux

WinkBeds GravityLux
Price Range: $1,199 - $1,999
Mattress Type: Foam
Firmness: Medium Soft (4), Medium (5), Firm (7)
Trial length: 120 nights (30 night requirement)
Trial length: 120 nights (30 night requirement)
Warranty: Lifetime, Limited
Warranty: Lifetime, Limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
Who it's best for:
  • All sleep positions and weights
  • Couples or sleepers who are easily disturbed
  • People with back, hip, and/or shoulder pain
  • Hot sleepers
Highlights:
  • Exceptional pressure relief and motion isolation
  • Breathable Tencel cover and open-cell foam keeps the mattress cool
  • Choice of three firmness levels
WinkBeds GravityLux

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The GravityLux by WinkBeds is a memory foam mattress that comes in three firmness levels: medium soft (4 out of 10), medium (5), and firm (8).

What It’s Made of

The mattress has a cover made of Tencel, which is a eucalyptus-derived fabric known for it’s breathability and durability. Its comfort layers consist of layers of polyfoam and their proprietary AirCell memory foam, which is open-celled to prevent it from trapping as much body heat throughout the night. Under this is a zoned transition layer that supports the midsection while conforming to the shoulder and hips. Finally, this all sits on top of a high-density polyfoam support core.

How It Performed

The memory-foam construction results in excellent performance in the categories of pressure relief and motion isolation, making it great for people who experience back, shoulder, or hip pain, as well as couples and light sleepers. Since it’s available in three different firmness options, sleepers of all weights and sleeping positions should be able to find a model that works for them. While all-foam mattresses inevitably will sleep somewhat hot at night, the open-celled foam technology makes the GravityLux more temperature neutral than the average memory foam bed.

As a luxury option, the GravityLux comes at a slightly higher price point than the average all-foam mattress but it also stands out due to its quality construction and materials. WinkBeds offers a 120 night sleep trial, lifetime warranty, and ships free within the contiguous US.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought

“The GravityLux has enough firmness options to give most sleepers something to love. The zoned support system kept my back in a comfortable position, even when I tested the softest model.”

GhostBed Classic

Best Cooling

GhostBed Classic

GhostBed Classic
Price Range: $845 - $1,990
Mattress Type: Foam
Firmness: Medium Firm (6)
Trial length: 101 Nights (30-Night Requirement)
Trial length: 101 Nights (30-Night Requirement)
Warranty: 20 Year, Limited
Warranty: 20 Year, Limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King, Split King
Who it's best for:
  • Side and back sleepers
  • Budget-conscious shoppers
  • Couples
Highlights:
  • Strong pressure relief
  • Cooling features
  • Excellent motion isolation
GhostBed Classic

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GhostBed offers a lineup of mattresses with varying features and designs. The Classic is the brand’s flagship bed as well as its most affordable model. Close contouring from the memory foam and latex construction makes it an ideal fit for side sleepers who require a bed with strong pressure relief.

What It’s Made of

The mattress has an 11-inch profile and begins with a layer of responsive, perforated latex that helps air circulate on the surface. This is followed by a 2-inch layer of memory foam that conforms closely to the body, providing ample relief for areas of the body that may experience pressure buildup during sleep. Since side sleepers put a lot of pressure on the shoulders and hips at night, these types of sleepers may find this bed a good fit for alleviating discomfort in these areas. A base layer made of high-density foam offers support and durability, providing a level of firmness that should satisfy some back sleepers.

How It Performed

While foam beds typically retain a lot of body heat, the latex layer on the Classic helps offset some of the heat retention that may occur. The memory foam is also infused with cooling gel and designed with larger cells, both with the intention of drawing heat away from your body.

GhostBed mattresses come with free shipping within the contiguous U.S. Customers receive a 101-night sleep trial and 20-year warranty with the bed.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought

“The latex comfort system helps the GhostBed sleep cooler than some of the other strictly memory foam mattresses we tested. It also gives the mattress a bit more bounce and resilience than a lot of its all-foam counterparts.”

Puffy Mattress

Best for Back Pain

Puffy Mattress

Puffy Mattress
Price Range: $899 - $1,449
Mattress Type: Foam
Firmness: Medium (5)
Trial length: 101 Nights
Trial length: 101 Nights
Warranty: Lifetime, Limited
Warranty: Lifetime, Limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
Who it's best for:
  • Side sleepers
  • Couples
  • Those who want a mattress that’s relatively easy to keep clean
Highlights:
  • Deep contouring creates a cloud-like feel on the surface
  • Excellent motion isolation even for a memory foam model
  • Stain-resistant cover can be laundered in household machines
Puffy Mattress

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If you enjoy the slow response and deep cradling of softer memory foam beds, then you’ll likely feel comfortable on the Puffy Mattress. The foam layers contours the body very closely.

What It’s Made of

A 2-inch memory foam comfort layer relieves pressure, while the transitional layer provides additional cushioning for the shoulders and hips. The plush feel of this mattress is best suited to side sleepers, since this position often demands extra padding around these areas to keep the spine aligned.

How It Performed

The top foam layers absorb movement and practically eliminate motion transfer across the surface. This can greatly benefit anyone who frequently wakes up when their sleep partner moves around in bed. The cover is also notable because – unlike the covers on many competing mattresses – this one is removable and machine-washable. The fabric is also designed to resist stains and protect the inner layers from liquid damage.

Puffy offers free ground shipping anywhere in the contiguous U.S. The Puffy Mattress is backed by a 100-night sleep trial, as well as a lifetime warranty against structural and workmanship defects.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought“In all of our testing, very few mattresses have come closer to the cloud-like feel of the Puffy. Your body sinks into the surface and the foam contours deeply. Most of our side sleepers felt quite comfortable.”

Layla Mattress

Best for Side Sleepers

Layla Mattress

Layla Mattress
Price Range: $749 - $1,249
Mattress Type: Foam
Firmness: Reversible: Medium Soft (4), Firm (7)
Trial length: 120 nights
Trial length: 120 nights
Warranty: Lifetime, Limited
Warranty: Lifetime, Limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
Who it's best for:
  • People who want a 2-in-1 firmness design
  • Customers who prefer copper-infused foam
  • Value-minded shoppers
Highlights:
  • Flippable design offers 2-in-1 firmness options
  • Copper-infused foams conform closely and stay cool
  • Premium performance at a wallet-friendly price
Layla Mattress

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The Layla’s innovative flippable design, quality construction and competitive price point distinguishes it as one of the best memory foam mattresses. The Layla is two-sided, with a medium (5 out of 10) firmness on one side and a firm (7) feel on the other.

What It’s Made of

The Layla has two copper-infused memory foam comfort layers on each side. These layers conform closely to the body to relieve pressure — this is especially true of the soft side. The copper infusion is designed to prevent the foam from trapping as much body heat, making the mattress sleep cooler. In between these layers is a support core of high-density polyfoam.

How It Performed

The Layla’s two-sided design gives more versatility among sleepers of different body types and sleeping positions. We recommend the soft side for side sleepers and some back sleepers who weigh less than 230 pounds. The firm side will likely suit back and stomach sleepers over 230 pounds. This mattress performed very well when tested for pressure relief, motion isolation, and durability, making it a good long-lasting option for those with pain issues and couples.

The Layla’s price point is on the low side of average for an all-foam mattress. Layla guarantees their mattress with a 120 night sleep trial and a 10 year warranty — and ships free to the contiguous US.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought

“Side sleepers may get the most out the Layla Mattress, but just make sure to pick the side that best fits your bodyweight. I also found this mattress easier to flip than other reversible models since it weighs a bit less than average.”

Loom & Leaf

Best Luxury

Loom & Leaf

Loom & Leaf
Price Range: $999 - $2,676
Mattress Type: Foam
Firmness: Medium Firm (6), Firm (8)
Trial length: 180 nights ($99 return fee)
Trial length: 180 nights ($99 return fee)
Warranty: 15 Year
Warranty: 15 Year
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King, Split King, Split California King
Who it's best for:
  • Sleepers who feel sharp pressure points along the spine
  • Couples
  • Shoppers who need assistance assembling their new mattress
Highlights:
  • Constructed from dense, long-lasting memory foam that conforms evenly to the body
  • Available in two firmness levels to accommodate different sleepers
  • Free White Glove delivery and 180-night sleep trial
Loom & Leaf

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The Loom & Leaf from Saatva edges out many competing memory foam mattresses. This is thanks to a thoughtful design and durable materials.

What It’s Made of

The comfort layer is ventilated and infused with cooling gel to reduce heat buildup on the surface and help you sleep cool, while a transitional layer of high-density memory foam provides excellent reinforcement and prevents excessive sinkage. A base layer of dense foam rounds out the luxurious design, stabilizing the entire mattress to keep your body on an even plane.

How It Performed

You can choose between two firmness levels, medium soft (4) and firm (7), each of which is best suited to certain types of sleepers. The latter offers more support and responsiveness, making it an ideal feel for people who weigh at least 130 pounds – particularly those who sleep on their backs or stomachs. The medium soft feel delivers closer body-contouring and should alleviate pressure along the spine for side sleepers weighing up to 230 pounds. Saatva’s 180-night sleep trial includes exchange options, so you can trade in the mattress if you aren’t happy with the initial selection.

The Loom & Leaf’s all-foam design ensures excellent motion isolation for couples. Both memory foam layers absorb movement and nearly eliminate transfer across the surface, allowing you and your partner to sleep soundly when the other person changes positions or gets in and out of bed. The entire mattress is encased in a cover made of GOTS-certified organic cotton that enhances the cooling gel in the top layer and promotes breathability on the surface.

Unlike most online mattress brands that ship their beds via ground delivery, Saatva offers free White Glove services for all customers in the contiguous U.S. This includes a scheduled delivery date, full assembly in a room of your choice, and removal of your old mattress and/or box spring upon request. The company’s sleep trial is also longer than average, and you’ll receive a 15-year warranty should you decide to keep your Loom & Leaf after the return period expires.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought

“Since there are two Loom & Leaf firmness options, the team found it key to pick the right model for each of our body types. One thing we all agreed on – between the two firmness levels, it relieved pressure really well regardless of sleeper position and weight.”

Why You Should Trust Us

The team of sleep product experts at Sleep Foundation has tested hundreds of mattresses over the years. Our testing team includes side, back, stomach, and combination sleepers with a variety of body types. This range in our testing group helps us determine who will benefit the most from every mattress we review. Our sleep lab puts each memory foam model to the test in order to determine its performance in a number of categories as well as who will find it most comfortable.

The Sleep Foundation team tests each mattress by lying on it, changing positions, and evaluating its support. We also use technology such as body mapping to measure pressure relief as well as thermal cameras that determine heat retention. All of these metrics are important to consider when shopping for a memory foam mattress.

Who Should Buy a Memory Foam Mattress?


You should buy a memory foam mattress if you have experienced pain (either from sleeping or otherwise) , want to feel like you’re sleeping “in” rather than “on” the mattress , and/or value motion isolation to limit nighttime disruptions.

Side sleepers, who have high-impact areas at the hips and shoulders, frequently have great results with memory foam mattresses. Back and stomach sleepers, especially those under 230 pounds, appreciate these beds as well.

Memory foam is not the best fit for people who sleep hot. It may be a poor match for people who need to move easily on top of the mattress (including for sexual activity).

What to Look For in a Memory Foam Mattress

To find the best memory foam mattress, it helps to know the key things to look for so that you can keep your eye on the ball. In general, memory foam provides above-average pressure relief and motion isolation but can sleep hot and permit too much sink for some people. Manufacturers often add components to try to address the downsides, but the actual effects of those design changes are mixed.

As you review specific models, consider the following factors and how important they are for your personal decision-making

  • Price: There’s no avoiding the bottom line, and you’ll need to make sure that any mattress you’re seriously considering fits in your budget. Memory foam beds tend to cost from $800 up to $2,500, but discounts may be available with promotions or coupons.
  • Sleeping Position: Your body’s support needs will vary based on your typical sleeping position. Memory foam is a solid bet for side sleepers who have sharper pressure points. It can also work well for back and stomach sleepers if they have a lighter body weight or if the mattress is on the firmer side.
  • Contouring: Virtually all memory foam will have notable hug, but some models feature a softer foam with even more pronounced contouring. Consider how much you want to sleep “on” versus “in” the bed and then select a mattress that fits that preference.
  • Quality Materials: Excellent materials translate to more durability and top-flight  performance. All foams will wear out over time, but low-end memory foam will start to sag more quickly, reducing its support and comfort.
  • Firmness Level: Every person has their own preferred mattress firmness, and it’s critical to look for a mattress that fits that preference. As a general principle, side sleepers and people with lower body weight lean toward softer mattresses.
  • Motion Isolation: You should expect good motion isolation with memory foam, but not all of these mattresses are created in this regard. If you’re extremely sensitive to sleep disruptions, look for a bed with more contour and greater motion isolation.
  • Pressure Relief: Pressure relief is a standout feature of memory foam because it can give each part of the body the cushioning that it needs. If you have major pressure points, make sure to look for a memory foam bed with a thick enough comfort system to prevent bottoming out through the foam.
  • Ease of Movement / Sex: Memory foam has minimal bounce because of how slowly it retakes it shape. This can make it hard to move on the bed, including during sex, and can cause some people to feel stuck in the mattress. If this is a concern for you, look for a memory foam mattress with more mild contouring.
  • Edge Support: With its characteristics of compression and lack of bounce, edges tend to be a trouble area for memory foam mattresses. The foam sinks more around the edge, which can be problematic for people who want to sleep or sit near the perimeter of the mattress.
  • Temperature Regulation: When it contours to the body, memory foam can cut off airflow throughout the mattress. Further, the foam itself retains heat, making it even softer and further restricting airflow. Some mattresses have features to try to decrease heat buildup, but hot sleepers should be aware that even newer memory foams with various infusions will still tend to sleep hotter than other mattress materials.
  • Noise: A loud mattress that squeaks when you move on it can be both annoying and disruptive. All-foam mattresses are extremely quiet, making them a great choice for noise-sensitive people.

How Does it Feel to Sleep on a Memory Foam Mattress?

If you’ve never tried out a memory foam mattress, it’s natural to wonder what it feels like. While words can’t explain it perfectly, this section gives you an idea:

  • Floating on Clouds: With a more plush, cushioning feel, customers often describe memory foam as what they envision it’s like to “sleep on a cloud.”
  • A Big, Warm Hug: Memory foam conforms to the body, providing a hugging sensation that can be comfortable but can also cause heat retention.
  • Totally Unmoved: When you’re on these mattresses, you’ll be almost completely unaffected by movement that happens on the other side of the bed.
  • Under No Pressure: Pressure relief from memory foam can reduce impact at parts of the body where you might be used to feeling pain or stress.
  • In One Place: With little bounce, you may feel more settled or even stuck in one place on a memory foam mattress.

What are the Different Types of Memory Foam?

All forms of memory foam have shared characteristics, but not all memory foams are the same. The feel, durability, and performance can be different depending on the composition and type of the foam as well as its quality.

Traditional Memory Foam

Traditional memory foam offers the most classic performance of this material. It has deep contouring and motion isolation along with notable heat retention and minimal bounce.

Both its benefits and drawbacks are easily detected, and as a consequence, this type of memory foam is controversial. Some people love its cloud-like hug while others complain about feeling stuck in the foam or overheating on it during the night.

With newer memory foams on the market, traditional memory foam’s use has declined slightly, but it can still often be found in the comfort system of all-foam and hybrid beds.

Plant-Based Memory Foam

The manufacturing process for memory foam involves a handful of chemicals, some of which are derived from petroleum. In a plant-based memory foam, sometimes called a “bio” foam, a certain percentage of those petrochemicals are replaced with products that come from plant matter, such as soybean oils.

Plant-based memory foam is appealing for eco-conscious customers, but it is important to note that the plant oils replace some but not all of the petrochemicals.

Because the rest of the manufacturing process is similar, the performance of plant-based memory foam is similar to other types. It may come with a slightly higher price tag than petroleum-based memory foam.

Gel-Infused Memory Foam

Gel-infused memory foam intersperses a gel material into the foam itself. The gel can be added in a swirl pattern or can be enclosed in small beads that are distributed through the foam.

The goal of infusing gel into memory foam is to try to reduce heat retention. The gels often have properties that are designed to absorb heat from the foam, keeping heat from building up near the sleeping surface and around your body.

Gel-infused foams are common and, depending on the gel used, may provide a modest decrease in heat retention. That said, even these memory foams will heat up more than other mattress materials.

Copper-Infused Memory Foam

In this type of memory foam, copper-filled beads are intermixed with the foam. These beads are intended to draw heat away from the surface of the mattress. Copper has antibacterial properties, which may help prevent odors and the deterioration of the mattress.

Many products that include copper are marketed as having health-promoting effects on circulation or muscle recovery. To date, there’s limited evidence that copper gel in a mattress has any direct positive or negative effects on individual health.

Memory Foam vs. Hybrid

A great deal of mattress shoppers find themselves deciding between a memory foam or hybrid mattress. Hybrids are built with a coil-based support core and various layers, including sometimes memory foam, layered above the coils.

The following table compares memory foam and hybrid mattresses. As you review it, keep in mind that the performance of hybrids has a wider range because of the multitude of ways that their comfort system can be built.

Memory Foam Mattresses Hybrids
Support Core High-Density Polyfoam Innerspring Coils
Comfort System Memory foam, sometimes with other supplemental layers (polyfoam, latex) One or more layers of memory foam, polyfoam, latex, micro-coils, wool, cotton, and/or polyester
Motion Isolation High Low to High
Bounce Low Medium to Hgih
Temperature Regulation Low Medium to High
Common Firmness Plush to Medium-Firm Medium to Firm
Expected Durability 6-8 years 6-8 years
Price Range $800 – $2,500 $1,400 – $2,500

How Much Does a Memory Foam Mattress Cost?

The typical price range for memory foam mattresses goes from $800 to $2,500, but there are options with price tags above and below that range. A number of factors can influence the cost of these beds:

  • Thickness of the memory foam layer: If there are more layers or thicker layers of memory foam, the mattress will likely have a higher price.
  • Density of the memory foam: Mattresses that use high-density memory foams tend to be pricier, but they also normally last longer.
  • Where it’s made: Mattresses made in the USA tend to be more expensive than those made in China or other countries.
  • Extra features: Specialty design elements or materials can push up the price of a memory foam mattress. For example, textiles to fight heat buildup or the use of organic materials can add to the cost.

Even for higher-end models, there are often discounts or promotions that can give customers significant savings from the sticker price.

Memory Foam Density and ILD

Many mattress manufacturers list the specifications of the foam employed in their mattress. Two of the most helpful specifications are density and indentation load-deflection (ILD).

Density

Density is measured in pounds per cubic foot (PCF), which is calculated by weighing a 1 foot by 1 foot by 1 foot cube of the foam. For memory foam used in a mattress comfort layer, 3.5 PCF is about average. Higher density memory foam is usually 4-5 PCF.

The density of the foam can affect the feel, but not all high-density foams are firm. Instead, the biggest impact of density is on longevity of the mattress. Higher density usually correlates with a longer lifespan. Additionally, high-density foam generally recovers its shape slower, giving it that slow-responding feel traditionally associated with memory foam.

Indentation Load-Deflection (ILD)

ILD provides an indication of how easy it is to compress the foam. It is measured with a special device that applies force to the foam until it reaches a certain level of indentation. The higher the ILD, the firmer the foam will feel. For a broad sense of what ILD numbers mean,

  • 10-12 ILD: Soft
  • 12-14 ILD: Medium
  • 14-16 ILD: Medium-firm
  • 16-18 ILD: Firm

You can look at listed foam ILD to get a sense of how a mattress may feel, but keep in mind that a mattress is made with multiple layers, each of which plays a part in the overall feel and performance. In addition, not all companies calculate ILD in the exact same way, so ILD alone is not always a reliable way to assess mattress firmness.

How Long Will a Memory Foam Mattress Last?

Most memory foam mattresses last from six to eight years before having issues with sagging or diminished performance. This lifespan is longer than most innersprings and airbeds, similar to hybrids, and shorter than all-latex beds.

Some memory foam mattresses may last for more or less than the 6-8 year average. Issues that can affect longevity include:

  • Quality of materials: Memory foam layers that are thicker, denser, and part of a mattress made with significant attention-to-detail are far more likely to hold up for the long haul.
  • Stress placed on the mattress: More stress is placed on a mattress by couples than an individual person, by people with a higher body weight, and by children (or pets) who jump on the bed.
  • Mattress maintenance: Failure to use the mattress as intended can make it susceptible to more rapid wear-and-tear. For example, an unsupportive frame may heighten the risk of premature damage to the mattress itself. Using a mattress pad or protector helps protect the mattress against spills that could damage the foam.

Higher-end foams tend to cost more, but that investment often pays off over time. Opting for better materials and then taking care of the mattress can contribute directly to a longer useful life for your bed.

Last Things to Consider With a Memory Foam Mattress

Now that you’ve got a strong base of information about memory foam mattresses, there are only a few other issues to cover to round out your knowledge.

Off-Gassing

When a foam mattress is made, certain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are created, and those become sealed in when the mattress is compressed and prepared for shipping. As a result, when it is first installed, the mattress can “off-gas” those VOCs. There is no health risk from this, but it can cause an unpleasant odor. This smell is temporary and should fade within a few hours to a few days, especially if your bedroom is well-ventilated. This issue doesn’t affect overall satisfaction for the majority of customers, but if you’re extremely sensitive to smells or VOCs, a foam mattress may not be the best option for you.

Sleep Trial Period

A sleep trial is a way of describing the return window for a mattress, and it lets you test out the bed in your own home to make sure that it is the right fit for you. Because you can’t feel them out before buying them, most online mattresses come with a risk-free trial of 100 nights or more, and we advise buying a product that comes with this type of return policy.

Adequate Bed Support

Your mattress is just one part of your bed; another part is your bed frame. Make sure that the frame you use is in accordance with the mattress warranty. This enhances performance and keeps your warranty valid. If you don’t already have a quality frame, include the cost of a new one in your budget.

Appropriate Bedding

Bedding is another aspect of setting up your bed that is worthy of your consideration. For example, breathable sheets or a lighter comforter may be helpful if you buy a memory foam mattress and are concerned about sleeping hot. You also want a quality pillow that works in conjunction with your mattress to promote spinal alignment.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Are memory foam mattresses good?

    A memory foam mattress can be an excellent option for the right person. Memory foam has a few qualities that set it apart from other common mattress materials, two of the most notable being pressure relief and motion isolation. Side sleepers in particular may benefit from choosing a memory foam mattress. The foam contours closely to your side body, helping to evenly disperse your weight. This hugging sensation can prevent pressure build-up where most people carry their weight beneath the hips and shoulders. Those with joint pain can often find relief from memory foam, as well.

    Sleepers who toss and turn or those who share a bed may also appreciate a memory foam mattress. Some innerspring mattresses transfer movement from one side of the bed to the other. Memory foam mattresses absorb this motion instead, meaning you’re less likely to disturb your partner when shifting sleep positions. However, a memory foam mattress is not the best choice for all sleepers across the board. People who prioritize responsiveness and edge support may want to consider innerspring or hybrid mattress constructions.

  • What is the best memory foam mattress for side sleepers?

    Memory foam mattresses are ideal for side sleepers, but the best model is one that fulfills your unique sleep needs. Side sleepers require excellent pressure relief to avoid pressure points, and memory foam contours against the body to cushion sensitive areas and support the waist.

    All the same, there are other factors that side sleepers should consider before purchasing a new mattress. For example, side sleepers require balanced support to ensure proper spinal alignment. Your body type will help determine what firmness level you should choose, though memory foam can feel subjectively “soft” regardless of its overall firmness. Personal preferences, such as a tendency to sleep hot, should also guide your decision.

  • What is the best memory foam mattress for sleepers with back pain?

    Memory foam may soothe your back pain with its pressure-relieving qualities, but only if your mattress offers enough support at the correct firmness level for your body type. Since all foam mattresses are not always as supportive as hybrid or innerspring models, you may want to choose one with support features like ergonomic zoning.

    Standard memory foam mattresses can also offer enough support, but only if they are firm enough. While some people consider all memory foam mattresses to be soft, this is due to their pressure-relieving and contouring qualities rather than their overall firmness. A too-soft mattress prevents proper spinal alignment, while one that is too firm can compress joints and lead to tension despite offering pressure relief.

  • What is the best inexpensive memory foam mattress?

    Since memory foam mattresses are among the least expensive options on the market, even inexpensive models can be excellent choices that fulfill your sleep needs. As always with mattresses, there is no single mattress that can be described as the “best”. Consider your body type, your usual sleep position, and your personal preferences to determine what is best for you.

    Once you have decided on what you need from a mattress, you can narrow the field by reading independent reviews and discovering how different mattresses perform. It is also worth considering that you may be able to purchase a higher-priced memory foam mattress at a discount, either through online promotions or by waiting for a sale.

  • What are some of the issues with memory foam mattresses?

    Memory foam mattresses excel in pressure relief and motion isolation due to their generous contouring. However, this strong contouring can make memory foam less compatible with certain types of sleepers. Some may find that memory foam conforms excessively with the body, which can lead to a feeling of sleeping “in” the bed rather than “on” the bed. Sleepers who weigh more than 230 pounds and anyone else who needs strong support to keep the spine aligned may also find memory foam beds too soft to maintain healthy sleep posture.

    The close contouring can also trap heat around the body, which may be uncomfortable for hot sleepers. The dense composition of memory foam further enhances heat retention, though some manufacturers attempt to minimize this by infusing the foam with materials like copper and cooling gel.

    All-foam mattresses with memory foam layers also tend to sink a lot when people sit on the edges when getting in and out of bed. This can also make the mattress feel less stable when they sleep close to the edges, and can make moving across the surface somewhat difficult.

  • Do memory foam mattresses sleep hot?

    Memory foam mattresses do tend to sleep warmer than other mattress types. However, mattress manufacturers have sought to address this downside. Memory foam mattresses sleep warm for two reasons: airflow and heat retention.

    All foam beds are solid and therefore have minimal airflow through the body of the mattress. Still, memory foam worsens this problem by contouring closely to the body and preventing surface airflow as well. Breathable covers do help, but only marginally. The easier issue to address is heat retention, which occurs when the bed absorbs your body heat and feels warmer as the night goes on. Gel and copper-infused memory foam may offer modest decreases in heat retention, while open-cell foam can sleep even cooler.

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About Our Editorial Team

author
Logan Foley

Certified Sleep Coach

Logan has extensive experience testing sleep products and producing sleep content. She is also a Certified Sleep Science Coach.

About Our Editorial Team

author
Logan Foley

Certified Sleep Coach

Logan has extensive experience testing sleep products and producing sleep content. She is also a Certified Sleep Science Coach.