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Best Memory Foam Mattress

Logan Foley

Written by

Logan Foley, Certified Sleep Coach

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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 - $1,199
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
  • Memory foam surface provides excellent motion isolation
  • 365-night sleep trial and lifetime warranty
Nectar Mattress

$599 off! $100 off + $499 in free accessories included.

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. The mattress is encased in a cover made from a blend of polyester, nylon, and polyethylene.

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.”

Cocoon Chill

Best Value

Cocoon Chill

Cocoon Chill
Price Range: $769 - $1,539
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:
  • Couples
  • Back and stomach sleepers over 130 pounds
  • People seeking a foam bed that retains less heat
Highlights:
  • Phase change material combats heat retention
  • Memory foam cradles the body for pressure relief
  • Mixed-foam design excels at motion isolation
Cocoon Chill

Save 35% on a Cocoon Chill Mattress and get free pillows and sheets with this code: SLEEPFOUND35

Memory foam mattresses are notorious for trapping heat, but the Cocoon Chill Mattress is an all-foam bed designed to combat some of that heat retention. The model should appeal to hot sleepers who enjoy foam beds but typically sweat or overheat in them.

What It’s Made of

The mattress has a knit cover infused with phase change material, which is engineered to keep the surface from getting too hot or too cold. The top layer is composed of plush memory foam that hugs the body closely, followed by a polyfoam layer that conforms to the body but also has a moderately firm feel. This firmness helps support the body while also keeping you from sinking into the bed. The support core is composed of high-density polyfoam that gives the bed a strong, durable base.

How It Performed

Like most foam beds, the Cocoon Chill stands out for its pressure relief. The foam layers cushion the body and help minimize aches and pains associated with excessive pressure buildup. That said, the bed is thinner than some competing foam beds, so sleepers who weigh more than 130 pounds are the most likely to receive this pressure relief. Back and stomach sleepers under 130 pounds may still find the bed comfortable, but side sleepers in this weight category will probably receive insufficient cradling for the shoulders and hips.

While the thinner comfort layer may relieve pressure less effectively than other foam beds, it does help minimize heat retention on the surface – since it doesn’t cradle the body as closely. The phase change material also helps offset heat retention, making this a good option for hot sleepers.

Cocoon ships free to the contiguous U.S. Customers receive a 100-night sleep trial and 10-year warranty with their purchase.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought

“Foam beds will always trap some heat, but the Cocoon Chill does a nice job at reducing heat retention. If you’re looking for a cooler foam bed, the Chill is worth a try.”

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:
  • Couples or sleepers who are easily disturbed
  • People with back, hip, and/or shoulder pain
  • Hot sleepers
Highlights:
  • Foam comfort system provides exceptional pressure relief and motion isolation
  • Breathable Tencel cover and open-cell foam keeps the mattress cool
  • Choice of three firmness levels
WinkBeds GravityLux

Get $300 off all mattresses

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). Regardless of firmness level, the bed is designed to optimize comfort for many different body types and sleep positions.

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.”

Saatva Modern Foam

Best Luxury

Saatva Modern Foam

Saatva Modern Foam
Price Range: $795 - $2,190
Mattress Type: Foam
Firmness: Medium (5)
Trial length: 365 Nights ($99 Return Fee)
Trial length: 365 Nights ($99 Return Fee)
Warranty: Lifetime, Limited
Warranty: Lifetime, Limited
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King, Split King
Who it's best for:
  • Side sleepers
  • Those who experience painful pressure buildup during sleep
  • Shoppers who would like someone to set up their mattress
Highlights:
  • Mixed-foam design excels at pressure relief
  • Thin latex pad and zoned polyfoam layer enhance support to the midsection
  • Free White Glove delivery
Saatva Modern Foam

Buy more, save more. Get up to $450 off.

The Saatva Modern Foam is a medium (5) mattress that offers the deep contouring that all-foam beds are known for, but also stands out from competing foam models thanks to a thin latex layer that offers lumbar support. This model provides excellent pressure relief and should appeal to shoppers seeking a durable luxury option.

What It’s Made of

The mattress features an organic cotton cover quilted with a thin layer of polyfoam, which has a zoned design to support your midsection. Beneath the cover is a latex pad placed under your midsection for added reinforcement. Next is a layer of convoluted polyfoam, followed by a layer of memory foam infused with cooling gel. Rounding out the construction is a thick base layer of high-density foam, which stabilizes the bed and promotes longevity.

How It Performed

The Saatva Modern Foam conforms closely to your body. The deep contouring is a great asset when it comes to relieving pressure in the shoulders, hips, and spine. Meanwhile the zoned polyfoam and the latex pad offer some firmness and buoyancy to combat excessive sinkage, which is a common problem for foam beds.

Side sleepers are prone to uncomfortable pressure buildup in the shoulders and hips during sleep, so the Saatva Modern Foam is a great candidate for these sleepers. Back sleepers up to 230 pounds may also find the bed comfortable. This model will retain some heat, as foam beds are known to do. However the convoluted design of the polyfoam layer promotes some ventilation, and the gel infusion is meant to reduce heat retention in the memory foam.

Saatva offers a 365-night sleep trial with this bed. Shipping is free to the contiguous U.S. and includes White Glove delivery, which means the bed will be delivered and set up in the room of your choice. This service also includes free removal of your old mattress and box spring. The Modern Foam is backed by a lifetime warranty.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought

“Speaking as a side sleeper, the Saatva Modern Foam has everything I look for in a mattress. There’s plenty of contouring to cradle my shoulders, but it also has that extra lumbar support to keep my midsection from sinking too low.”

Nectar Premier Copper

Best for Couples

Nectar Premier Copper

Nectar Premier Copper
Price Range: $1,149 - $2,348
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, Split King
Who it's best for:
  • Side sleepers
  • People who experience uncomfortable pressure buildup during sleep
  • Couples
Highlights:
  • Thick memory foam layer provides exceptional pressure relief
  • Mixed-foam design offers above-average motion isolation
  • 365-night sleep trial
Nectar Premier Copper

$599 off! $100 off + $499 in free accessories included.

The Nectar Premier Copper is an all-foam bed with an exceptionally thick memory foam layer on top. The well-cushioned surface excels at absorbing motion, which might appeal to couples trying to minimize sleep disruptions at night.

What It’s Made of

The mattress has a polyester blend cover infused with copper fibers. The 4-inch comfort layer is composed of plush memory foam, which provides the deep-body hug that memory foam is known for. Below is a thinner layer of polyfoam with a firmer feel. The polyfoam prevents the body from sinking too deep into the support core, which is composed of high-density polyfoam. At 9 inches tall, this layer is thicker than average, making the bed firmer and more durable than competing foam beds.

How It Performed

One of the biggest strengths of the Nectar Premier Copper is its pressure relief. The plush comfort layer cradles the body closely, so the surface reduces pressure buildup in heavier parts of the body. This is especially helpful for side sleepers, who put a lot of pressure on their shoulders and hips. Back sleepers may benefit from the cushioning, as well, though those who weigh above 230 pounds may find the medium firm (6) feel too soft to properly support the lumbar area.

The Nectar Premier Copper tends to retain heat, like most all-foam beds. That said, it stays cooler than the average foam bed thanks to the phase change material and cooling gel infused into the comfort layer. The copper fibers are also intended to reduce heat retention on the surface.

Nectar offers a 365-night sleep trial for customers to try out the mattress at home, as well as a lifetime warranty for those who keep the bed. Shipping to addresses in the contiguous U.S. is free.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought

“While most foam beds are known for their cushioned surfaces, the Nectar Premier Copper stands apart from the crowd with an exceptionally plush surface. We highly recommend this bed for pressure relief.”

Leesa Original

Best for Back Pain

Leesa Original

Leesa Original
Price Range: $799 - $1,299
Mattress Type: Foam
Firmness: Medium (5)
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
  • Sleepers who frequently experience back pain
  • Couples who value motion isolation
Highlights:
  • Thick foam comfort system closely contours to the body to relieve pressure buildup
  • All-foam construction absorbs most motion transfer
  • 100-night sleep trial
Leesa Original

Up to $500 off mattresses + 2 free down alternative pillows

The Leesa Original has a medium (5) feel and a thick comfort system that may appeal to people who are prone to back pain. A combination of adaptive and responsive foams evenly balances pressure relief and support to help prevent aches and pains.

What It’s Made of

Underneath the soft and stretchy polyester-blend cover is a layer of responsive polyfoam that gently cradles the body. Next is a layer of memory foam that closely contours to the body to alleviate pressure buildup in the joints. Both of these layers help evenly distribute your weight across the mattress, promoting spinal alignment. The support core is composed of high-density polyfoam that provides enough pushback to support the midsection and limit sagging.

How It Performed

Our testers found the Leesa’s mid-range feel and all-foam construction made it an excellent choice for side sleepers who weigh up to 230 pounds. Back-sleeping testers who weigh under 130 pounds also found the mattress comfortable.

Thanks to the thick memory foam comfort layer, the Leesa scored high marks in pressure relief. This layer has an adaptive feel that can help reduce pain in pressure-prone areas. The comfort layers also absorb most motion transfer and noise, so couples and co-sleepers should notice very few sleep disturbances when their partner changes positions at night.

The Leesa Original comes at an affordable price, and the company ships free to customers in all 50 states. Purchases come with a 100-night sleep trial, where you can return the mattress after the 30-night break-in period. Leesa backs the mattress with a 10-year warranty.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought

“The Leesa Original has a medium (5) feel and thick comfort layers that balance cushion and support for sleepers with back pain. Our testing team found this combination best suited for side and back sleepers.”

Nolah Signature 12

Best Pressure Relief

Nolah Signature 12

Nolah Signature 12
Price Range: $849 - $1,499
Mattress Type: Foam
Firmness: Medium (5)
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:
  • Side sleepers
  • Co-sleepers
  • People who feel pain or pressure points along the spine
Highlights:
  • Proprietary AirFoam intended to cushion the body without trapping heat
  • Foam layers provide very good motion isolation and pressure relief
  • Buyers can save money by opting out of the sleep trial
Nolah Signature 12

Get an additional $20 off the Nolah Signature Mattress for total savings of $320 with code: SF320

The Nolah Signature 12 is a bit different from the other entries on this list. The mattress contains layers of adaptive polyfoam, rather than traditional memory foam. This ensures comparable levels of pressure relief without the deep sinkage or excessive heat retention many people dislike about memory foam. This combination makes the Signature 12 a strong choice for side sleepers and those who tend to sleep hot.

What It’s Made of

The Signature 12’s top layer consists of AirFoam, a proprietary open-cell material designed to contour evenly without trapping too much heat. A second comfort layer of high-resilience polyfoam cushions the body and prevents you from sinking too deeply. This is followed by a denser AirFoam layer for added support. The support core is composed of high-density polyfoam, and an organic cotton cover encases the entire mattress.

How It Performed

Since the Signature 12 has a medium (5) feel and thick comfort system, we found it best suited to side sleepers – particularly those who weigh up to 230 pounds. Back and stomach sleepers under 130 pounds may also feel adequately supported. The foam layers contour closely enough to cradle the spine and alleviate pressure caused by uneven alignment. These layers also absorb motion well to help reduce sleep disruptions for people who share their bed with a partner.

We noticed very little heat buildup on the surface. The AirFoam’s open-cell design, coupled with a breathable cover, should make the Signature 12 a good option for people who typically sleep hot on traditional memory foam mattresses.

All customers in the contiguous U.S. qualify for free ground shipping with their Signature 12 order. Nolah offers a 120-night sleep trial, but you may opt out of the return period and save some money on your purchase. The mattress is also backed by a lifetime manufacturer’s warranty.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought

“I noticed some plushness on the Signature 12 as I settled into the mattress, but the secondary layers did a good job of keeping my body on an even plane. Compared to a traditional memory foam bed, sinkage and heat absorption were minimal.”

Layla Mattress

Best for Side Sleepers

Layla Mattress

Layla Mattress
Price Range: $749 - $1,249
Mattress Type: Foam
Firmness: 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 whose firmness needs change over time
  • Customers who prefer foam with cooling properties
  • Value-minded shoppers
Highlights:
  • Flippable design offers 2-in-1 firmness
  • Copper-infused foams conform closely and should stay cooler than conventional foam
  • 120-night sleep trial and lifetime warranty
Layla Mattress

Get $160 off a Layla Memory Foam Mattress + 2 free memory foam pillows with code: SLEEPFOUNDATION

The Layla Mattress has an innovative flippable design, quality construction, and competitive price-point compared to other foam beds on the market. The two-sided construction offers a medium (4 out of 10) firmness on one side and a firm (7) feel on the other. The bed, especially on the softer side, is a good fit for side sleepers who need ample pressure relief for sensitive joints.

What It’s Made of

The Layla has a copper-infused memory foam comfort layer on each side. These layers conform closely to the body to relieve pressure — this is especially true of the softer side, which has a thicker memory foam layer than the firmer side. The softer surface also has an additional foam layer to enhance cushioning. Both sides share a support core of high-density polyfoam. The cover is composed of a polyester and viscose blend fabric infused with a cooling gel, and the copper infusion in the memory foam is designed to prevent excessive heat retention.

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 couples and those with pain issues.

Layla guarantees their mattress with a 120-night sleep trial and a lifetime warranty. The bed ships free to the contiguous U.S.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought

“The side sleepers on our team found a lot to like about the Layla Mattress. The bed was also easier to flip than other reversible models since it weighs a bit less than average.”

Bear Original

Best Cooling

Bear Original

Bear Original
Price Range: $748 - $1,248
Mattress Type: Foam
Firmness: Firm (7)
Trial length: 120 nights (30-night break-in period)
Trial length: 120 nights (30-night break-in period)
Warranty: Lifetime warranty
Warranty: Lifetime warranty
Sizes: Twin, Twin XL, Full, Queen, King, California King
Who it's best for:
  • Value seekers
  • Back sleepers
  • Sleepers with sharp pressure points
Highlights:
  • Graphite and gel-infused foams designed to keep you cool
  • All-foam design with a firm (7) feel provides light contouring
  • 120-night trial period and lifetime warranty
Bear Original

30% off sitewide, plus 2 free Cloud Pillows with mattress purchase

The Bear Original offers proprietary cooling technology and high-quality performance at an affordable price-point. This model has a distinctly firm feel that is somewhat rare for an all-foam mattress. Back and stomach sleepers and those who prefer a more supportive mattress may want to consider this pick.

What It’s Made of

A breathable cover made from a Celliant and polyester blend encases the mattress. The top comfort layer is made from memory foam that evenly contours to the body to relieve pressure-prone areas. The graphite and gel infusions in this layer are meant to conduct heat away from the body and dissipate it to keep you cool. Underneath is a layer of responsive polyfoam that evenly distributes weight and keeps the spine aligned. The support core features high-density polyfoam, which provides stability and limits excessive sinkage.

How It Performed

We found the Bear’s firmer feel and foam design made it a strong choice for back sleepers who weigh at least 130 pounds. Side sleepers over 230 pounds and stomach sleepers under 130 pounds also appreciated this combination.

Thanks to the thick memory foam comfort layer, this bed excels in pressure relief. Sleepers who frequently experience pressure-induced pain in their joints may appreciate the close contouring. These foam layers are also excellent at isolating motion. Co-sleepers who are frequently disturbed by a partner’s movement should notice very few sleep interruptions.

Bear ships free to the contiguous U.S. Mattress purchases come with a 120-night sleep trial where you can return the mattress after the 30-night break-in period. The company backs the mattress with a lifetime warranty, covering structural defects.

Lab Notes – What Our Testers Thought

“The Bear Original is a balanced mattress at an affordable price. The back sleepers on our testing team found firm feel extremely supportive, while the foam layers evenly contoured the body.”

Why You Can 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 various 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 to determine its performance in a number of categories.

How We Evaluated These Mattresses

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.

Learn more about our product research methodology below:

  • Motion Isolation: Memory foam beds typically excel in motion isolation, which is the criteria we use to determine how much motion transfers across the surface when a sleeper moves. Anyone who co-sleeps with a person or pet may prefer strong motion isolation.
  • Temperature Control: In addition to performing temperature tests, we incorporate hands-on feedback from testers who run hot at night. We also evaluate cooling components in the bed’s design, such as phase change material and cooling gels.
  • Pressure Relief: We use pressure map testing and hands-on feedback from in-house testers to measure the amount of relief a mattress provides to areas of high pressure buildup. Mattresses that offer deep contouring typically perform well in this category.
  • Off-Gassing: It’s not uncommon for mattresses to emit a strong off-gassing odor after they’ve been taken out of their packaging. This smell can be unpleasant for sleepers but typically wears off within a few days.
  • Ease of Movement: This criteria evaluates how well a bed facilitates easy movement across the surface, based on responsiveness tests and body tests performed in-house. Foam beds tend to inhibit movement more than latex and innerspring models.
  • Edge Support: Our testers sit and lie on the bed’s perimeter to determine how much the edges sag under body weight. Beds with strong edge support will have minimal sag.
  • Sex: Although this criteria is subjective, beds with a bouncy or responsive feel are generally considered more conducive to sexual activity. Our testers measure both these qualities when evaluating a mattress.
  • Body Weight: Personal body weight and body type play a major role in mattress compatibility. For this reason, our testing team factors body weight into the evaluation process for each and every 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 is Pressure Relief? – Video

Memory foam beds are great at relieving pressure from areas like your shoulders and hips. But what exactly is pressure relief? Watch the video below for an in-depth explanation from our Sleep Foundation Lab.

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, microcoils, 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.

    Thickness of the foam layers plays a role in the overall mattress 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.

How Much Does a Mattress Cost? – Video

Check out our video below to find out how much a memory foam mattress costs compared to other mattress types.

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 to 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 to 12 ILD: Soft
  • 12 to 14 ILD: Medium
  • 14 to 16 ILD: Medium-firm
  • 16 to 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 6 to 8 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 to 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 the best 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?

    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.