Sleepfoundation.org is reader-supported. We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Learn more about our process here

Home / Best Mattress of 2021 / Best Memory Foam Mattress

Written by

Logan Foley

author

Memory foam, first developed by NASA and technically known as viscoelastic foam, has become one of the most popular components in mattresses. For many people, memory foam is synonymous with comfort.

This material has earned a loyal following because of its unique characteristics; it compresses in proportion to the weight applied to it and then slowly retakes its full size. As a result, it hugs the body with tailored cushioning, contributing to significant pressure relief.

Thanks to its contouring, memory foam excels at motion isolation and doesn’t make any noise, reducing the chances that you’ll be woken up by a partner getting in and out of bed. Nonetheless, memory foam mattresses aren’t for everyone, as they have potential downsides as well.

Utilizing in-house testing and customer experience data, we’ve made a list of the best memory foam mattresses of 2021. Additionally, we’ve written an in-depth buyers guide to help you figure out a memory foam mattress is right for you

Choose memory foam if:

  • You want deep contouring and hug from a mattress
  • You share a bed and are easily disurbed by someone else’s movement
  • You are a side sleeper or have sharp pressure point

Skip memory foam if:

  • You tend to sleep hot
  • You don’t like to feel like you’re sinking into a mattress
  • You prioritize moving on top of the bed, including for sex

More and more mattresses have come on the market using memory foam layers, which has left many shoppers unsure of what distinguishes the best from the rest. We’ve simplified the process and identified the top memory foam mattresses.

The Best Memory Foam Mattresses

Product Details

Winkbeds GravityLux

Best Overall

Winkbeds GravityLux

Winkbeds GravityLux
Price Range: $1,099 - $1,799
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

Take $300 off a WinkBeds Mattress. Use Code: SF300

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).

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.

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.

Layla Mattress

Best Value

Layla Mattress

Layla Mattress
Price Range: $649 - $1,149
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

Get $200 off a Layla Hybrid Mattress and 2 free pillows.

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.

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.

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.

Loom & Leaf

Best Luxury

Loom & Leaf

Loom & Leaf
Price Range: $899 - $2,476
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:
  • People over 230 pounds who want a durable, supportive mattress
  • Side sleepers who need serious pressure relief
  • Customers who want free installation and old-mattress removal
Highlights:
  • Breathable, organic cotton cover
  • Gel-infused memory foam sleeps cool
  • Durable, high-density foams are built to last
Loom & Leaf

SleepFoundation readers get the best price on Saatva Mattresses.

The Loom & Leaf is the memory foam mattress offered by the well-regarded Saatva company. With high-density memory foam in its comfort system and two firmness options to choose from, the Loom & Leaf is a leading choice for people who want to experience the key features of this material.

Part of the appeal of the Loom & Leaf is its quality materials. The cover is made with breathable and plush organic cotton. Quilted into this cover is a little over half-an-inch of polyfoam.

Underneath the cover are two layers of gel-infused memory foam that achieve a total combined thickness of three inches. The density of those layers is five and four pounds per cubic foot (PCF). Combined with the quilted cover, these layers provide the conforming needed to proportionately cushion each part of the body.

A two-inch layer of transition polyfoam helps hold the line against any excess sink, and a six-inch foam support core rounds out the mattress construction. As a whole, these materials promote excellent motion isolation in addition to contouring.

Customers can choose between a Medium and a Firm option, with the Firm being an especially good fit for stomach and back sleepers and people over 230 pounds.

The Loom & Leaf is delivered with free white-glove service, ensuring a stress-free installation and removal of an old mattress. There’s a 180-night sleep trial with each mattress, but $99 is deducted from any refund to cover the cost of pickup and return shipping. Long-term protection against defects comes from a 15-year warranty.

Puffy Original

Best for Side Sleepers

Puffy Original

Puffy Original
Price Range: $795 - $1,350
Mattress Type: Foam
Firmness: Medium (5)
Trial length: 101 nights
Trial length: 101 nights
Warranty: Lifetime
Warranty: Lifetime
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
Who it's best for:
  • Back and stomach sleepers who weigh 130 pounds or less
  • Side sleepers who weigh under 230 pounds
  • Customers who want a robust lifetime warranty
Highlights:
  • Medium feel is well suited for side sleepers
  • Contouring foams soften pressure on the hips and shoulders
  • Lifetime warranty
Puffy Original

Get $300 off a Puffy Mattress and a free pillow.

Puffy describes the experience of their flagship mattress as sleeping on a cloud, a state of comfort and support driven by a memory foam layer in the comfort system.

That memory foam layer is two-inches thick and made with the company’s gel-infused CloudComfort foam. Customers report above-average pressure relief to assist with healthy spinal alignment, and people highlight its notable motion isolation that limits nighttime disruptions from a partner’s tossing and turning.

A second foam layer, two-inches thick and made with polyfoam, has less conforming, which keeps sleepers from sinking too far into the Puffy. A six-inch, high-density polyfoam support core creates a stable, noise-free base for the rest of the bed.

A medium (5) feel makes the Puffy a good fit for sleepers in any position who weigh under 130 pounds. It’s an excellent match for side sleepers between 130 and 230 pounds because its plush comfort level and degree of contouring can soften impact at the hips and shoulders.

Puffy’s sleep trial lets customers try out the mattress for 101 nights with the option to return it for a complete refund. For the long-term, Puffy offers a customer-friendly warranty: it is a lifetime warranty that provides for full replacement of the mattress at no cost if a defect arises in materials or craftsmanship.

Bear Pro

Best for Athletes

Bear Pro

Bear Pro
Price Range: $940 - $1,290
Mattress Type: Foam
Firmness: Medium Firm (6)
Trial length: 100 nights (30-night requirement)
Trial length: 100 nights (30-night requirement)
Warranty: 10 Year, Limited
Warranty: 10 Year, Limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
Who it's best for:
  • Side and back sleepers
  • Couples
  • Hot sleepers who want the hug of memory foam
Highlights:
  • Celliant cover regulates body temperature
  • Excels at motion isolation
  • Comfort layers create a surface that’s responsive and conforming
Bear Pro

Take 20% off your order from Bear. Use Code: SF20

The Bear Pro Mattress is a medium firm (6) mixed-foam mattress that regulates temperature using comfort layers and an innovative cover. Back sleepers and side sleepers of all sizes are likely to find good pressure relief with the Bear Pro. The mattress isolates motion well, making it a worthy choice for couples and light sleepers.

The Bear Pro has a 7-inch HD polyfoam support core, a 2.5-inch polyfoam transition layer, a 1.5-inch gel-infused memory foam comfort layer, and is topped with a 1-inch copper-infused polyfoam comfort layer. The four foams work together to create a surface that combines the hugging sensation of memory foam with enough support to avoid excessive sinkage. The Bear Pro’s price-point is within the average range for mixed-foam mattresses.

The mattress cover is made from Celliant, a material crafted with temperature regulation and recovery in mind. Celliant is designed to convert body heat into infrared energy in order to improve blood circulation and help sleepers stay cool throughout the night. The copper-infused polyfoam comfort layer also contributes to the bed’s cooling effect by offsetting heat absorption.

Bear provides free FedEx ground shipping to the contiguous U.S. while customers in Alaska, Hawaii, and Canada must pay additional shipping fees. The mattress has a 10-year limited warranty and sleepers can try it for 100 days. Bear offers free returns and full refunds for mattresses returned within that 100-night trial window.

Nectar Lush

Most Comfortable

Nectar Lush

Nectar Lush
Price Range: $1,099 - $1,799
Mattress Type: Foam
Firmness: Medium (5)
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:
  • Sleepers who weigh up to 230 pounds
  • Couples
  • Shoppers looking for a mattress with a lengthy trial period
Highlights:
  • Thick comfort layer provides deep contouring
  • Excellent pressure relief
  • Transition and support layers prevent excessive sinkage
Nectar Lush

Get $399 worth of free accessories with every mattress purchase.

Another standout mattress is the Nectar Lush, which features a 3-inch comfort layer of memory foam that contours closely for a signature “body hug” feel. The mattress has a medium (5) feel, but its transitional and support layers of high-density polyfoam prevent excessive sinkage for people who weigh up to 230 pounds. Altogether, the mattress measures 12 inches thick.

Like other memory foam beds, the Lush excels at motion isolation. The foam layers absorb movement on each side of the bed and prevent it from transferring across the surface, which can curb nighttime disruptions for couples and co-sleepers. The mattress is completely silent, as well.

Pressure relief is another strength of this mattress. Side sleepers receive plenty of cushioning for their shoulders and hips, which can improve their spinal alignment and alleviate discomfort throughout the body. Back sleepers should also be able to rest comfortably without sinking too much around the midsection.

Compared to other all-foam mattresses, the Nectar Lush’s sticker price is a bit steep., However, Nectar provides free ground delivery anywhere in the contiguous U.S. and backs the mattress with a 365-night sleep trial – one of the longest return periods in the industry. You’ll also receive a lifetime warranty with your purchase.

Amerisleep AS3

Best Cooling

Amerisleep AS3

Amerisleep AS3
Price Range: $999 - $1,898
Mattress Type: Foam
Firmness: Medium (5)
Trial length: 100 nights (30-night try-out)
Trial length: 100 nights (30-night try-out)
Warranty: 20 Year, Limited
Warranty: 20 Year, Limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King, Split King
Who it's best for:
  • Hot sleepers who want features to promote temperature regulation
  • Athletes and pain sufferers looking for enhanced recovery at night
  • Side sleepers and lighter-weight back and stomach sleepers
Highlights:
  • Open-cell, plant-based Bio-Pur material stays cool
  • Breathable cotton-blend cover promotes airflow
  • Zoned comfort system provides targeted support
Amerisleep AS3

Get 30% off + 2 free pillows with code: SF

Amerisleep has built a product line of memory foam mattresses that stand out in large part thanks to their thoughtful construction and specialty cover. The AS3 is one of their most popular models and can provide excellent sleep to most sleepers.

For the interior construction, the AS3 is made with three layers. The topmost of these is 3 inches of memory foam, creating a contouring sleeping surface with above-average motion isolation. The second layer is 2 inches of transition polyfoam using SMT technology for zoned support. The third layer is 7 inches of sturdy, high-density polyfoam.

Side sleepers usually appreciate the Medium feel of the AS3 as do many back and stomach sleepers who weigh under 130 pounds. All sleepers get 100 nights to try out the mattress with the option to return it, and over the long haul, the AS3 is covered by a 20-year warranty.

Cocoon Chill

Best Pressure Relief

Cocoon Chill

Cocoon Chill
Price Range: $730 - $1,310
Mattress Type: Foam
Firmness: Medium Firm (6)
Trial length: 100 nights (30-night requirement)
Trial length: 100 nights (30-night requirement)
Warranty: 10 Year, Limited
Warranty: 10 Year, Limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
Who it's best for:
  • Those who typically sleep hot on all-foam beds
  • Sleepers of all weights and sleep position preferences
  • Individuals who share the bed with a partner
  • Shoppers looking for a flexible return policy with no mandatory break-in period
Highlights:
  • Unique phase-change material cover prevents heat buildup
  • Excellent pressure relief and motion isolation
  • Medium firm
Cocoon Chill

Take 35% off a Cocoon Chill Mattress. Use Code: SLEEPFOUND35

Made by the trusted long-standing mattress brand, Sealy, the Cocoon Chill is available in medium firm (6). Our testing has shown that back sleepers who weigh less than 130 pounds can find comfort and support on either firmness option of the Cocoon Chill. However, sleepers who weigh more than 130 pounds tend to prefer the more robust support found in the medium firm option.

Among the bed’s unique features is its cover constructed with phase-change material (PCM). The PCM infusion into the cotton and polyester blend cover is designed to absorb heat from your body and disperse it away from the surface, with the intent of keeping the mattress cool despite the ambient temperature of the room or your body heat. This unique cover helps the Cocoon Chill sleep noticeably cooler than many competing  memory foam models.

As is typical among memory foam mattresses, the Cocoon Chill excels in pressure relief and motion isolation. This ability to isolate motion, along with the silence of the bed’s mixed-foam construction make it a great choice if you share a bed with a co-sleeper who is easily awakened by your movements, or vice versa.

Sealy offers a 100-night sleep trial for the Cocoon Chill and you can return or exchange the mattress at any time during this trial, without a mandatory break-in period. The mattress is shipped for free within the U.S. and it comes with a 10-year warranty.

Snuggle-Pedic Deluxe Memory Foam Mattress

Best for Couples

Snuggle-Pedic Deluxe Memory Foam Mattress

Snuggle-Pedic Deluxe Memory Foam Mattress
Mattress Type: Foam
Firmness: Medium Firm (6)
Trial length: 120 nights
Trial length: 120 nights
Warranty: 20 Year, Limited
Warranty: 20 Year, Limited
Sizes: 
Who it's best for:
  • Side sleepers who want support and pressure relief
  • Couples
  • Hot sleepers who like the hugging feel of memory foam
Highlights:
  • Above-average motion isolation helps prevent sleep disturbances for couples
  • Proprietary Airflow Transfer System helps improve breathability
  • The hugging feel of memory foam, without excessive heat retention
Snuggle-Pedic Deluxe Memory Foam Mattress

Use this SleepFoundation.org link for the most current discount on Snuggle-Pedic mattresses

The Snuggle-Pedic Supreme Plush Mattress is a memory foam mattress built with a unique, proprietary design that ventilates its foam layers. This ventilation system allows a strong degree of airflow through the bed, helping it to dissipate excess heat and sleep cooler than a traditional memory foam mattress. The patented Airflow Transfer System they use is claimed to significantly improve breathability. This bed’s design counters the heat retention of memory foam, making it a solid choice for individuals who typically sleep hot.

The mattress starts with a thick, 4-inch comfort layer of ventilated memory foam. The memory foam provides a deep degree of pressure relief that side sleepers often seek from their beds. Air is able to flow through pincore holes in the comfort layer down to the support core and out through the sides.

The support core consists of a 7-inch base of dense, ventilated polyfoam. Channels formed in the foam help to direct air from the comfort layer out of the mattress. The whole bed is wrapped in a breathable cover made of bamboo-derived viscose.

The mattress has a medium feel that is supportive enough for side sleepers of all sizes, particularly those who weigh more than 130 pounds, while still being soft enough for pressure point pain relief. The foam layers absorb motion very well, making the bed a viable option for sleepers who wake easily when their co-sleeper moves in the night.

The Snuggle-Pedic Supreme Plush ships free to the contiguous U.S., with paid shipping available to Alaska and Hawaii. The bed is backed by a 120-night sleep trial, which includes free customization to make your mattress softer or firmer to suit your needs. The bed comes with a 20-year semi-prorated warranty.

Emma Mattress

Best Customer Satisfaction

Emma Mattress

Emma Mattress
Price Range: $599 - $1,099
Mattress Type: Foam
Firmness: Medium Firm (6)
Trial length: 100 nights (4-week try-out request)
Trial length: 100 nights (4-week try-out request)
Warranty: 10 Year, Limited
Warranty: 10 Year, Limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
Who it's best for:
  • Side and back sleepers
  • People with pain-related issues
  • Couples
Highlights:
  • Medium firm feel is versatile for many sleep preferences
  • Open-cell polyfoam prevents the trapping of body heat
  • Deep conforming comfort layer relieves pressure
Emma Mattress

Use this SleepFoundation.org link for the most current discount on Emma mattresses

Emma is an international mattress company that makes a quality all-foam bed. This medium firm (6 out of 10 on the firmness scale) mattress provides great pressure relief and motion isolation without trapping too much body heat.

The comfort layers of the Emma mattress are made up of two different foams: open-cell polyfoam and memory foam. These layers allow the surface to conform closely to the sleeper’s body, easing pressure points in the shoulder, back, and hips. Under this is a foam support core consisting of 8 inches of high-density polyfoam, which supports the sleeper’s body and keeps their spine well-aligned.

The pressure point relief of the Emma makes it a good option for people who have pain-related issues. The bed also isolates motion well, which means co-sleepers won’t feel each other’s movements across the surface of the mattress. Medium firm memory foam mattresses tend to be great for most side and back sleepers, while being viable for stomach sleepers who weigh less than 130 pounds. Since the polyfoam making up the top layer is open-cell, the mattress won’t trap as much body heat as many all foam mattresses.

The Emma is sold at an average price-point relative to other all-foam mattresses, which are generally more affordable than most other mattress types. Emma offers a 100-night sleep trial and a 10-year warranty, shipping free to the contiguous US.

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

  • 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.

  • 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.