I have slept on and reviewed over 30 memory foam mattresses at this point, from the top Tempur-pedic brands to the no-name bed-in-a-box startup. Certain brands and models offer different benefits for people with certain preferences, and I’ve highlighted some models below that are a good fit for sleepers of all types.
I don’t think there is necessarily one “best” memory foam mattress, as there are a lot of great mattresses out there and certain ones that are best for certain types of people.
I suggest you use my experience as a starting point to decide which memory foam mattress is best for you.
Memory foam can be an amazing sleeping surface. The pressure relief it can provide is really unmatched by any other material. While there are some common complaints people have with memory foam (like sleeping hot), there are good reasons why this type of mattress has become so wildly popular.
My Top 6 Reviewed Memory Foam Mattresses
I’ve reviewed a number of memory foam mattresses, with the six below ranking at the top for value, luxury, budget, and comfort.
Quite simply they make a mattress that I find to be the most comfortable, with a full line to accommodate sleepers with different preferences.
Loom & Leaf
The Loom and Leaf is the most popular and best rated memory foam mattress because it has the specs of a high-end Tempur-pedic, but at a fraction of the price.
Ideal For Side Sleepers
Layla is flippable, offering two firmness options, making it very comfortable for side sleepers, and a great option for people that prefer a softer mattress.
Best For Hot Sleepers
Bear Mattress does the best job of any memory foam mattress with sleeping cool due to its celliant cover and graphite gel memory foam.
Best Low Budget Mattress
Zinus provides a good memory foam option that is comfortable, offers good support, and is relatively durable, for a very reasonable price.
Best Under $800
If you are looking for a nice memory foam feel without breaking the bank, that’s really what Nectar delivers.
Why These Six Memory Foam Mattress Brands?
Certainly, these aren’t the only four quality memory foam mattresses on the market. These are just a few of my favorite across a few categories. If you’re looking at any memory foam option, you should look for a mattress that:
- Has good comfort/support tradeoff
- Doesn’t sleep hot (a risk especially for memory foam)
- Has minimal motion transfer (especially for couples)
- Has right foam density
Best Memory Foam Mattresses Compared
Amerisleep is one of the oldest online-only memory foam mattress brands, and the experience shows. Quite simply they make a mattress that I find to be the most comfortable, with a full line to accommodate sleepers with different preferences.
Amerisleep is my top pick because they don’t cut any corners – I believe they deliver one of the best mattresses available. They’re not the cheapest on the market, but they do offer great value.
Amerisleep also offers models with cool features like foams that are better for cooling and mattresses with Celliant for athletes. Overall, I think the company takes a smaller margin on their mattresses than other companies do, giving the consumers the maximum possible value.
What Makes Amerisleep Stand Out?
- They use Celliant in their covers. Celliant can potentially give you certain health benefits and provide for a cooler, more restful sleep.
- They use partially bio-based foams. This gives their mattresses a more “green” edge.
- They have a line of models built with specific firmness levels and types of sleepers in mind. They don’t believe that there is one best mattress for everyone.
- The pressure relief is excellent with their mattresses without the feeling of getting stuck (that some memory foam mattress owners can complain of)
- Their mattresses do not sleep hot
Read the full Amerisleep mattress review
Loom & Leaf
The Loom and Leaf is the most popular and best-rated memory foam mattress because it has the specs of a high-end Tempur-pedic, but at a fraction of the price. You pay for the mattress quality, not the brand name.
The mattress has great specs, making it very comfortable and durable as well. It comes in two settings, though it runs slightly firmer than average in general at each firmness level. The mattress has a pretty cool feel where it feels slightly firm at first but then the memory foam kicks in and relieves pressure over a bit of time.
The mattress is made by Saatva, which is one of the first companies to start selling (quality) mattresses online.
What Makes Loom & Leaf Stand Out?
- They use quality materials that are more durable than many of its competitors around its price point. This makes the value of the mattress that much more compelling.
- They use bio-based foams, giving them more of a “green” edge.
- They have done an excellent job of addressing the issue of sleeping hot. Chances are you will not complain about sleeping hot with this mattress
- The mattress has great pressure relief without being too soft.
- The mattress is thicker than many mattresses around this price point, potentially making it a good match for heavier sleepers.
Learn more in my Loom & Leaf review.
Ideal For Side Sleepers
Layla is a memory foam mattress but has a few unique twists to make it stand out in the very crowded bed-in-a-box market.
It is flippable, offering two firmness options – though I found both to be quite soft (relatively). This makes the mattress very comfortable for side sleepers, and a great option for people that prefer a more lush/soft mattress.
Layla also has infused copper, which helped the mattress sleep cool (infused copper is used in other types of products, but very few mattresses to date). Speaking subjectively, I simply found the mattress to be one of the most comfortable ones I’ve ever slept on.
What Makes Layla Stand Out?
- It is one of the most comfortable mattresses I’ve ever slept on. It has amazing pressure relief that just feels really great to sleep on.
- It has two firmness levels in one, maximizing the chances that you will get the right firmness level for you
- It is infused with copper, which can potentially have certain health benefits.
- At its price point, it’s hard to find a mattress that represents a better value
Learn more in my full Layla mattress review.
Best For Hot Sleepers
The Bear mattress is incredibly comfortable and uses high-quality materials that you only typically see at a much higher price point.
What I like the most about Bear is I think it perhaps does the best job of any memory foam mattress with sleeping cool. This is because of the special Celliant cover it uses and the fact that they use a graphite gel memory foam.
The result is a mattress that has significantly higher airflow than other memory foam mattresses. If you are worried about sleeping hot, then the Bear mattress should be one you consider.
What Makes The Bear Mattress Stand Out?
- It uses a Celliant cover (similar to Amerisleep’s), which can have certain health benefits and provide a cooler, more restful sleeping experience.
- Out of every memory foam mattress I’ve tested, the Bear does perhaps the best job at addressing the issue of sleeping hot
- It is a really good value that is hard to rival.
Read our Bear Mattress Review
Best Low Budget Mattress
The previous three mattresses are some of the best memory foam mattresses that can be made – but that’s not necessarily what everyone wants.
Zinus provides a good memory foam option that is comfortable, offers good support, and is relatively durable, for a very reasonable price.
This mattress is popular and sold through many online outlets like Amazon, but I’d check out their line on their site for the best deals.
What Makes Zinus Stand Out?
- Their mattresses are excellent options for people who are on a budget.
- The mattresses are really comfortable, even though they are priced at a low price point.
Learn more about their mattresses in my Zinus mattress review.
Best Under $800
Nectar is a very good value. Depending on the current deal running, you can get a Queen for less than $700. That is quite a deal given that the mattress itself is very solid. At this price point, Nectar might just be the best value you are going to find.
If you are looking for a nice memory foam feel without breaking the bank, that’s really what Nectar delivers. They had delivery issues in the past (getting mattresses shipped out quickly), but that was mainly a result of their initial popularity since launching. I believe those issues are fixed now.
What Makes Nectar Stand Out?
- At under $700 for a Queen, this might be the best value out there in the market
- The mattress is very comfortable and is a good fit for people sleeping in any position
Check out our full Nectar mattress review.
Best For Back/Stomach Sleepers
Back and stomach sleepers need more support than they do pressure relief. This typically means they want something that is a little bit firmer. You don’t want your hips to sink into the mattress too much when you are on your back or stomach, because they can potentially cause back pain. You want a mattress that allows your body to sink in a little bit but then is supportive enough to hold you up.
We think the Amerisleep AS2 is ideal for back and stomach sleepers. In fact, the company designed the mattress specifically for back and stomach sleepers. There’s isn’t too much memory foam where you will sink in more than you should. It is definitely firmer than average. Overall, it’s a very well thought out mattress that we think has a lot of great things going for it. I would strongly recommend that you check out this mattress if you sleep mainly on your stomach or back. We highly recommend the company overall because we like their philosophy that there is no one best mattress for everyone.
Best For Heavier/Bigger People
If you are heavier or just a bigger person in general, you will have different needs from smaller people. With mattresses, this typically means you will want something a little bit thicker and more supportive. You should look at things like the density of the foams used to make sure the mattress will hold up over time.
We think the Loom & Leaf is a great fit for heavier people. Overall, it has a thicker profile than many of the other mattresses in this category. The “comfort” part of the mattress is also thicker, making it more appropriate for heavier people. It is a little firmer than average, which is typically ideal for more heavy people. The memory foam that the company uses in this mattress is high-density, meaning it will be more supportive and will typically last longer than lower-density foam. Overall, it’s a great value and something you should definitely check out if you are a heavier person.
Best For Couples
If you sleep with a partner, you will have additional things you’ll want to consider when purchasing a mattress. First, you’ll want to make sure you can find a mattress that generally fits the preferences and needs of both you and your partner. Assuming you can do that, then you will want to make sure you find a mattress with good motion isolation. Basically what that means is if your partner moves around in the bed, you want to know if your mattress will do a good job of isolating that motion so you don’t get disturbed.
We think the Layla mattress is an excellent option for couples. Aside from being a great mattress in general, the mattress does excel in the category of motion isolation.
Instead of just talking about how well it does at isolating motion, check out the video below, which shows how it performs in action.
Best For The Money
When purchasing a mattress, you definitely want to know that you are getting a great value. Some companies have certain advantages over others and are able to price their products at lower levels to maximize the value that the consumer can get. That is certainly the case with memory foam mattresses.
We think the Nectar mattress just might be the best value for the money. They have created a very quality memory foam mattress where you can get a Queen for under $700. Given the materials and the thoughtful construction, to be able to get this mattress for under $700 is an amazing deal and something that really makes this mattress stand out. You can certainly get a more luxurious mattress, but if you are in the $600-800 price budget range, then you will probably want to take a serious look at this mattress.
Best For Cheap
If you are on a low budget or you think you just want to get a mattress for a couple of years, then there are still some good options out there for cheap. It’s hard to get something that is cheap and made in America, but if you are willing to get a product that is produced from outside the United States, you can find some pretty good deals.
We think Zinus produces the best cheaper mattresses in the memory foam category. They have a selection of a few different types of mattresses, including one with gel memory foam. All the mattresses are going to be less than $500 for a King. That’s a pretty strong deal considering that the mattresses are still pretty solid quality. What’s more, you get to choose how thick you want your mattress to be, as well as the firmness level you would like. Having that kind of flexibility and choice is refreshing to find, especially at this price range. Definitely give Zinus a look if you are looking to get a great deal at a lower price point.
Best On Amazon
Amazon is becoming a bigger and bigger player in the mattress industry. Most companies will make their mattresses available on Amazon, even when it’s just easier to sell through their own website. Having said that, there are some pretty great deals on Amazon if you want to get that route.
We find that eLuxurySupply’s mattress is a great deal on Amazon. If you look at their listing, you’ll see that they have great customer reviews. What stands out to me the most is how good of a deal it is. You get a 10-inch mattress with 3 inches of gel memory foam. You can get a Queen for less than $700. While you can certainly get a better/more luxurious mattress if you are willing to spend more money, I think at that price range it’s hard to beat that deal.
Best Memory Foam Mattress Hybrid
Some people have expressed interest to me in getting a memory foam hybrid mattress. While hybrid can mean a lot of different things, in this particular case I think most people mean a mattress that combines memory foam with springs. There are more and more of these types of mattresses coming out into the market because hybrids can potentially have the benefits of memory foam without some of the drawbacks.
I am a big fan of the Tomorrow Sleep hybrid mattress. It aims to provide the pressure relief of memory foam with the support of springs. Overall, it feels like a memory foam mattress, but it is nice to know you have the support and durability of pocketed steel coils. I felt that the mattress did a good job of addressing the issue of sleeping hot and of not having too much of the slow, sinking-in feel. To me, it really did feel like a hybrid mattress and I think a lot of people are going to really like this mattress. If you are looking to get a hybrid mattress, then the Tomorrow Sleep mattress is a great place to start.
What Type Of Person Is A Good Fit For Memory Foam?
- People who want extra pressure relief may find memory foam to be a great fit. Of all the types of mattresses out there, memory foam consistently stands above the rest in relieving pressure. This may make this type of material a great choice for side sleepers.
- People with pain issues may find that they really like memory foam. If you have pain issues with your hips, shoulders, or back, memory foam can do a great job of combatting the pain. This is because the pressure relief is so good with memory foam and it conforms to the curves of your body better than any other material, meaning it promotes solid spinal alignment.
- People who like the feeling of slowly sinking into their mattress will find memory foam to be the perfect match (as compared to the feeling of sleeping on top of your mattress).
- People who want a mattress that makes no noise will find memory foam to be a great fit.
What Type Of Person May Not Be A Good Fit For Memory Foam?
- People who are overly concerned about sleeping hot may want to look elsewhere. There are new types of memory foam that are more breathable, but if you’re number one issue with mattresses is concern about sleeping hot, you may want to look at other mattress types. Spring and latex mattress, for example, may do a better job with breathability.
- People who like the feeling of sleeping on top of their mattress rather than slowly sinking into it may want to look at other mattress types.
- People who want a bouncy sleeping surface will want to look elsewhere. Memory foam has very little bounce to it.
What Exactly Does Memory Foam Feel Like?
If you pushed your hand into memory foam and then quickly removed your hand, the foam would take several seconds to return to its initial form. The feel is very similar to quicksand where the foam slowly adjusts to your body. You will feel that you are slowly sinking into your mattress. There is almost no bounce at all and it is harder to move around and switch positions in bed. Some people absolutely love this feel, while others don’t like it at all. From my experience, the feel is pretty polarizing.
What Makes A Memory Foam Mattress More/Less Expensive?
There are typically a few factors that might make a mattress with memory foam in it more or less expensive.
- If the thickness of memory foam is higher, then the mattress will more than likely be more expensive.
- If the memory foam used in the mattress is higher density, that typically means the mattress will be more expensive.
- If the memory foam has been chemically formulated to sleep cool/be more breathable, the mattress will probably be more expensive.
- If the mattress uses coils as the support system instead of poly foam, it will probably be a more expensive mattress
How Much Memory Foam Should Be In Your Mattress?
It should be noted that not all mattresses are created equally. Some mattresses will have just an inch or two of memory foam, while others will have 4-6 inches. You should take note of how much of this material is actually in the mattresses you are taking a look at.
- Stomach Sleepers– You won’t want to have too much memory foam because your pressure relief needs aren’t high and you need the mattress to prevent your hips from sinking in too much. For this reason, you should only have 1-2 inches of memory foam.
- Back Sleepers– You want your hips to sink in a little bit so that the foam can conform well to the curves of your body and your lumbar area can be properly supported. However, you don’t really need that much pressure relief when you are on your side, so just 2-3 inches of memory foam is probably ideal for back sleepers.
- Side Sleepers– When sleeping on your side, pressure relief is the name of the game. This means you need more “comfort” material, especially if you are a heavier sleeper. For this reason, you may need 3-5 inches of memory foam to get the best sleeping experience.
How Does Memory Foam Compare To Traditional Spring Mattresses?
- From my experience, memory foam provides better pressure relief than spring mattresses do. They also conform better to the curves of your body, potentially helping create better spinal alignment. This can make memory foam better for people with pain issues.
- Spring mattresses do tend to sleep cooler. This is because of the air space between the coils that allows heat to escape more easily. The chemical nature of memory foam makes those mattresses potentially trap heat more easily.
- Spring mattresses have more bounce to them. This is a personal preference type of thing, so it doesn’t necessarily make the mattresses better or worse.
How Does Memory Foam Compare To Latex Mattresses?
- Memory foam will have better pressure relief than latex mattresses do. They will also be better at conforming to the curves of your body.
- In general, latex mattresses will sleep cooler than memory foam because of the chemical makeup of latex (more open-celled)
- Latex mattresses will be much bouncier than memory foam mattresses. Whether this is a good thing is really just up to your personal preference.
- Memory foam is slow-reacting, while Latex is immediately responsive
How Does Memory Foam Compare To Hybrid Mattresses?
Hybrid mattresses, in this case, refer to mattresses that combined memory foam in the comfort part of the mattress with support coils (instead of poly foam). This usually means there will be a few notable mattresses between the two types.
- Hybrid mattresses should be more expensive on average because the coils are more expensive to make than poly foam.
- Hybrid mattresses should have a little more bounce than standard memory foam mattresses will
- Hybrid mattresses will be a little bit more breathable because the coils have so much space for air to flow
What Are The Different Types Of Memory Foam?
- Standard Memory Foam– This means memory foam that has not had any additional special formulations. The density range can be 2.5-7 lbs. Standard memory foam will have a slower response and is more likely to trap heat than specialty memory foam.
- Gel Memory Foam– One of the big innovations in the market has been to infuse gel beads into memory foam. The gel will act as a conductor to draw heat away. This helps make for a cooler sleeping surface. Some studies show that this can be a fairly effective way to prevent the foam from overheating, but the effect may be limited.
- Plant-Based Memory Foam– Some memory foam has a portion of it replaced with bio-based foam (typically from soy). This makes the foam a little more “green,” even if it is only 25-30% plant-based. Bio-based foam can also be more breathable.
- Open-Celled Memory Foam – Some memory foam is more “open-celled,” which simply means the chemical nature of the foam has been altered to be more breathable. More open-celled foam can allow more air to pass through it more easily.
- Fast-Response Memory Foam– Recent innovations in memory foam has allowed for memory foam that is faster to respond to pressure than standard memory foam. This prevents the feeling of getting stuck that some people complain about.
Do These Mattresses Soften Over Time?
Typically memory foam mattresses will soften over time. There is definitely a break-in period where the memory foam gets adjusted to pressure and your body. If you feel that the mattress is a bit stiff at first, I wouldn’t worry. It should soften over time.
How can you break it in more quickly? You can walk on your mattress and increase the temperature in the room for a period of time. Other than that, you just need to sleep on it for a while and it will happen naturally.
Finding The Right Density Level
When reading memory foam mattress reviews, you’ll come across density level a lot. While it can be a bit confusing, I’ll try to keep things as simple as possible, outlining general trends, but note that exceptions will exist within certain brands and models. Typically, I have found (and studies show) that the higher the density, the following is true:
- Pricier– More materials go into a higher density foam, so almost always you can expect a positive correlation of density level and price.
- More Durable– Generally, the higher the density, the longer the mattress will last.
- Less Motion Transfer– The higher the density of the foam, the less motion transfer you will feel. If you sleep with a partner, a higher density foam is more desirable, so you don’t get disturbed if they happen to move around.
- More Support / Pain Relief– More density means more support. Higher density foam does a better job of contouring to your body. If you have back pain, you will want a higher density foam mattress.
What is considered a good density? Well, again it depends. Typically something that is considered “high-density” will be higher than 4 lbs. A “medium density” will be in the 3.5-4 lbs. range. “Low density” will be anything 3 lbs. or less.
Memory Foam And Sleeping Hot
One of the most common complaints I hear about memory foam mattresses (a complaint that I share personally as well) is that this type of mattress often sleeps hot. This means that the mattress absorbs and retains heat, making the sleeping surface hot, especially later on in the night after you’ve been sleeping for several hours.
What are the ways companies try to keep memory foam sleeping cool? Using plant-based foam has been shown to be very effective, and so has laminating a layer of gel onto the foam. Some companies use “gel-infused” memory foam, but in most cases that is more marketing rather than based in reality. Companies can also use new “open-celled” foam, which does allow more to pass freely through it. That type of foam is newer and can be effective in helping a mattress be more breathable.
When it comes to gel, mattress companies really turn on the marketing. They will charge you thousands of dollars more for certain types of gels that aren’t actually more effective (though they do sound amazing). This is one of my primary complaints with Tempur-pedic and similar traditional brands, and why I recommend the Tempur-pedic Contour Rhapsody Luxe rather than one of their even more expensive models
Off-Gassing and Chemicals
Memory foam is made from petrochemicals. No matter the brand, know that your memory foam mattress will possess chemicals (no matter how eco-friendly they claim to be). Even foam that companies claim is “plant-based” is only actually about 25-30% bio-based and the rest made from petroleum.
New memory foam mattresses typically give off a chemical smell when they are unboxed. This is called “off-gassing.” It’s not a concern for the long-term, but the smell can potentially last as long as a week, depending on the mattress brand. With some mattresses, the smell is very faint and completely goes away within 24 hours. I wouldn’t be concerned about this if I were you. You can open some windows to help the smell dissipate faster if you are worried about it.
Resiliency / Getting Stuck
Higher quality memory foam mattresses have a more resilient feel to them. Lots of people complain that they feel that they “get stuck” in memory foam and have a hard time moving around or getting out of bed.
Memory foam typically takes a while to react to movement. This isn’t optimal for some people’s preferences, and if this is is a big concern for you, I would consider a latex mattress as an alternative. Latex has many similar properties to memory foam, but has more “spring” to it. A new popular construction is latex over memory foam, with a lot of the new startups (like Casper or Ghost Bed) trying to get the benefits of both materials in one mattress.
Getting The Best Value
The best way to get a deal on a memory foam mattress is to order online. Since the mattress is all foam, it can be compressed and shipped from a factory to your door, cutting out the middlemen and providing savings for the consumer.
There a lot of online-only brands, as well as mattresses sold through large online e-commerce sites like Amazon and Walmart (like Signature Sleep Memoir 12″).
If you are buying through a retail store, I suggest waiting for a sale. Labor Day and President’s Day are big days for mattress sales, where you will see up to 70% off some of the big name brands.
Final note on getting a deal – higher quality mattresses will last much longer than lower quality ones. If you purchase a cheap low-quality mattress, you may save money in the short term, but you may find yourself shopping for a replacement sooner than you had hoped.
Take a look at my recommendations, and understand the WHY behind the recommendation. Whatever memory foam mattress brand you end up going with, make sure you consider the points outlined above and consider your own sleeping preferences in the process.
Joe Auer is the editor of Mattress Clarity. He mainly focuses on mattress reviews and oversees the content across the site.
He likes things simple and take a straightforward, objective approach to his reviews. Joe has personally tested nearly 250 mattresses and always recommends people do their research before buying a new bed. He has been testing mattresses for over 5 years now, so he knows a thing or two when it comes to mattress selection. He has been cited as an authority in the industry by a number of large publications.
Joe has an undergraduate degree from Wake Forest University and an MBA from Columbia University.
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