Oh, memory foam – it really is the best – from the top of the line Tempur-Pedic mattresses to the more value options, I have slept on so many. Just surfing the web, there are so many fantastic memory foam mattresses out there; it seems like it would take months to just find the right one.
Don’t worry because it doesn’t have to take months! I’ve compiled a list of my absolute favorite memory foam mattresses – there is no perfect memory foam mattress for everyone, but these mattresses should be a good match for a wide variety of sleepers.
There’s something for everyone in our best memory foam mattress round-up; read on to find out more about the most soothing, comfortable memory foam mattresses on the market!
Our Top Picks
The best memory foam mattresses are:
- Nectar – Best Rated Memory Foam Mattress
- Layla – Best Mattress for Comfort
- Bear – Best Gel Memory Foam Mattress
- Amerisleep AS2 – Best Memory Foam Mattress for Back Pain
- Helix Midnight – Best Memory Foam Hybrid Mattress
- WinkBeds MemoryLux – Best Mattress for Combination Sleepers
- Leesa – Best Mattress for Side Sleepers
- Casper Original – Best Memory Foam Mattress for Back Sleepers
I’ve reviewed a number of memory foam mattresses, and these eight rank at the top for value, luxury, budget, and comfort. Make sure to take note of the superlatives beside each mattress selection to help you narrow down to which memory foam mattress is the best fit for you.
Don’t see what you’re looking for? For further tailored mattress recommendations, check out our mattress quiz.
Best Rated Memory Foam Mattress
The Nectar is a mattress that features that classic memory foam feel; lying on the mattress, sleepers will feel like they are slowly sinking in. The mattress also contains some high-quality, durable memory foam.
Considering its design and comfort, I would expect the Nectar to cost much more; however, it is around $700 for a Queen-size mattress – that is a real steal for a mattress like the Nectar. Even at such a low price, the Nectar comes highly praised by customers. Only 3% of customers end up returning their mattress during the 365-night sleep trial!
Back sleepers and side sleepers are both going to like what they find with the Nectar; back sleepers should experience exceptional contouring and side sleepers should feel little pressure on their shoulders and hips.
Those who are seeking a great value memory foam mattress are going to appreciate the Nectar.
What Makes Nectar Stand Out?
- The Nectar features very soft memory foam that really lets people sink in.
- The memory foam should be a good match for both back and side sleepers.
- The Nectar’s soft memory foam makes it one of the best mattresses for hip pain.
- Customers love the Nectar and rarely return their mattress during the generous trial period.
- The Nectar costs less than $700 and is a very good value.
Check out our full Nectar mattress review.
Nectar is a very comfortable memory foam mattress that happens to also be an amazing value, and customers can get the best deal on the Nectar plus two premium pillows by clicking the link below.
Best Mattress For Comfort
Right off the bat, those mattress customers who are looking for a particularly comfortable mattress are going to want to take a look at the Layla mattress – it features soft memory foam that is just extremely pressure-relieving.
What’s more, the Layla is flippable and provides two firmness options in one bed-in-a-box mattress – one side is soft and is a fantastic option for side sleepers and one side is firmer and a better match for back sleepers.
In addition, the Layla’s memory foam is infused with copper, which has two benefits – it is cooling and will assist with heat dissipation, and it is also anti-microbial and will keep the mattress free of mildew and mold.
In the end, the Layla is simply one of the most comfortable mattresses I have ever slept on; fans of soothing memory foam are going to love it!
What Makes The Layla Stand Out?
- The Layla is fantastically comfortable and offers that soft, classic memory foam feel.
- The mattress is flippable and offers two firmnesses in one mattress; it should be a good match for both side and back sleepers.
- The Layla should not sleep particularly hot; it features copper in its memory foam as well as a Thermogel cover to keep sleepers cool at night.
- The copper infusion is also anti-microbial and should keep the Layla from growing mold and mildew.
Learn more in my full Layla mattress review.
Layla is an innovative mattress that happens to be one of the most comfortable mattresses I've ever slept on. You can get $160 off the Layla mattress (plus two free pillows!) by clicking the link below and then using code MCLARITY.
Best Gel Memory Foam Mattress
Memory foam is fantastic, but it has one major drawback – it can sleep particularly hot. However, this should not be an issue with the Bear mattress; it features memory foam that is infused with graphite and gel, both materials that are known for their heat-dissipating qualities.
In addition, the mattress features a Celliant cover which will also assist with cooling as well as promote blood flow and circulation, speeding up recovery.
The Bear is also a very comfortable mattress that should provide the requisite amount of pressure relief for side sleeping; at the same time, back sleepers should get the support they need on the Bear mattress.
In the end, those who want a cooling mattress but still want to sleep on a memory foam mattress should like the Bear.
What Makes Bear Stand Out?
- The mattress contains multiple cooling infusions and a Celliant cover, so it should not sleep hot.
- The Celliant cover makes the Bear great for athletes, helping active individuals recover more quickly.. It also improves circulation.
- The Bear mattress should be a particularly good match for both back and side sleeping.
Read our Bear Mattress Review
The Bear mattress is a memory foam mattress that sleeps cool and is quite comfortable. Mattress customers can get 20% off the Bear mattress by clicking the link below and using code CLARITY20 at checkout.
Best Memory Foam Mattress for Back Pain
Those people who are looking for options are going to want to check out the Amerisleep mattress – the company offers five mattresses in varying firmnesses. They are actually some of the best customizable mattresses. The Amerisleep AS1 is their firmest option and, on the other end of the spectrum, the AS5 is their softest mattress.
The Amerisleep AS2 is a great choice for sleepers with back pain because it is has a great balance of comfort and support. Sleepers should get the comfort and support needed to keep their spine aligned all night for pain-free sleep.
The Amerisleep AS2 is also going to sleep cool; the mattress contains open-celled foams, a Celliant cover, and air channels to promote airflow throughout the mattress.
What Makes The Amerisleep AS2 Stand Out?
- The AS2 is just a bit firmer-than-average and offers a balance of comfort and support for those with back pain.
- The Amerisleep AS2 mattress should dissipate heat, making for a cooler night of sleep.
- The Celliant cover can also improve blood circulation and can speed up recovery for active people and athletes.
Read the full Amerisleep mattress review
Amerisleep is a perfect choice if you want a memory foam mattress but also want to sleep cool. You can get 30% off Amerisleep mattresses simply by clicking the link below and using code MC30.
Best Memory Foam Hybrid Mattress
Helix is all about offering customers options – they have numerous mattress models to choose from with a wide range of designs and firmnesses. The Helix Midnight is their most popular mattress and for good reason; it is one of the best memory foam hybrids on the market.
The Helix Midnight features a thick layer of Memory Plus Foam right on top. This is proprietary to Helix and provides nice pressure relief. In the support layer, there are individually-wrapped coils that provide a great deal of support.
With this design, the Helix Midnight really offers an excellent balance of comfort and support. This makes it ideal for side sleepers who need pressure relief and back sleepers who need both contouring and support.
Given that it is a hybrid, the Helix Midnight will sleep cooler than many other memory foam mattresses! The coils will promote airflow through the mattress, keeping it from trapping too much heat.
Need something firmer or softer – take a look at the other great mattresses Helix has to offer!
What Makes Helix Midnight Stand Out?
- The Helix Midnight offers an excellent balance of comfort and support.
- The mattress is a great fit for both side sleepers and back sleepers.
- The Helix Midnight should be a cooler-sleeping mattress.
Learn more in our Helix Midnight mattress review.
The Helix Midnight is a memory foam hybrid mattress that offers a great balance of comfort and support. Click the button for the save up to $200.
Best Mattress For Combination Sleepers
I have been a fan of the WinkBeds mattresses ever since I slept on their WinkBeds Luxury Firm mattress; since then, I have also tried out their WinkBeds WinkBeds Plus model as well as their all-foam WinkBeds MemoryLux mattress.
The WinkBeds GravityLux features a zoned construction where the center is firmer than the rest of the mattress; this makes it feel softer when side sleeping and firmer when back sleeping and stomach sleeping.
The GravityLux also contains a proprietary AirCell memory foam that is more responsive than standard memory foam – it should be easy for combination sleepers to move around at night. Also, the AirCell foam should dissipate heat better than other memory foams and could be a better match for hot sleepers.
Combination sleepers who still want the feeling of memory foam without sleeping hot are going to like the GravityLux.
What Makes WinkBeds GravityLux Stand Out?
- The mattress features a zoned construction that makes it ideal for combination sleepers.
- The AirCell foam is responsive, making it very easy to move around on the mattress.
- This WinkBeds GravityLux contains open-celled foams, a gel layer, and a breathable cover; it should be a good match for hot sleepers.
Read the full WinkBeds GravityLux mattress review
The WinkBeds GravityLux is a very comfortable all-foam mattress. It should be a good match for back, side, and combo sleepers. You can get $200 off the GravityLux mattress by clicking the link below and using code MC200 at checkout.
Best Mattress For Side Sleepers
Memory foam has many benefits, such as its superior comfort and pressure relief, but it does have its drawbacks as well. Namely, it is known for trapping heat and for making people feel stuck in the mattress.
Those who want a mattress that features memory foam but want to avoid these issues should consider the Leesa as an option. While it does feature memory foam in its second layer, it has a proprietary foam called LSA200 right on top. LSA200 is a more responsive alternative to memory foam that, when combined with the second layer of memory foam, provides the Leesa with a balanced foam feel.
This balanced foam feel makes it very easy to reposition and move around on the Leesa mattress but, at the same time, one gets a little bit of that classic memory foam feel from deep in the mattress. In addition, although the Leesa is the best mattress for side sleepers on this list, back sleepers should also experience a great balance of comfort and support.
What Makes The Leesa Stand Out?
- The mattress contains both memory foam and proprietary memory foam alternative.
- The LSA200 foam is more responsive and breathable than most memory foams.
- The Leesa should be an excellent match for back sleepers and side sleepers.
Read the full Leesa mattress review
Best Memory Foam Mattress For Back Sleepers
On the outside, the Casper might look like a simple memory foam mattress. However, nothing could be further from the truth! Right in the middle of the mattress, there is a layer of Zoned Support.
What is Zoned Support exactly? Well, it is a layer of memory foam that is firmer toward the center and softer toward the head and foot of the mattress. This means that the mattress will feel firmer or softer depending on ones sleeping position.
The Zoned Support also offers some of the best, well, support under the lumbar area. This makes it ideal for back sleepers. They will feel their hips and shoulders sink in, but that center zone will really press up into their lumbar area.
What Makes The Casper Original Stand Out?
- The Casper Original features a Zoned Support layer that provides a great balance of comfort and support.
- The mattress offers extra lumbar support for people who sleep on their backs. It is the best mattress for back sleepers on this list.
- A layer of Airscape foam on top of the mattress keeps it from trapping too much heat.
Take a look at our full Casper Original mattress review.
Casper is a great value that is also a great fit for all three sleeping positions. You can get $100 Off a Casper mattress simply by clicking the link below and using code MATTRESSCLARITY.
Who Is A Memory Foam Mattress Good For?
- People who want extra pressure relief should find memory foam to be an excellent option – of all the types of mattresses out there, memory foam consistently stands above the rest in relieving pressure, which usually makes this type of material a great choice for side sleepers.
- People with pain issues should find that they like memory foam because of the great pressure relief and contouring abilities; for those who have pain issues with their 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 the body better than any other material, meaning it promotes solid spinal alignment.
- More specifically, memory foam mattresses can be some of the best for lower back pain and sciatica.
- 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 their mattress).
- People who want a mattress that makes no noise will find memory foam to be a great fit.
Who Is A Memory Foam Mattress Not Good For?
- People who are overly concerned about sleeping hot may want to look elsewhere because of the propensity for memory foam to trap heat. There are new types of memory foam that are more breathable, but those who sleep hot should focus on a spring or latex mattress. See our list of the best latex mattresses for some of the most breathable mattresses out there.
- People who like the feeling of sleeping on top of their mattress rather than slowly sinking into it may want to look at another type of mattress.
- People who want a bouncy sleeping surface will want to look elsewhere, because memory foam has very little bounce to it.
What Does Memory Foam Feel Like?
If someone pushes their hand into memory foam and then quickly removes it, 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 the sleeper’s body.
Lying on a memory foam mattress, people will feel that they are slowly sinking into the surface. 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.
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 mattress contains a thick layer of memory foam on top, 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 as well as more durable.
- 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 polyfoam, it will probably be a more expensive mattress
How Much Memory Foam Should Be In A Mattress?
It should be noted that not all mattresses are created equal, as some mattresses will have just an inch or two of memory foam, while others will have four to six inches. Customers should take note of how much of this material is actually in the mattresses they are considering:
- Stomach Sleepers – Stomach sleepers don’t want to have too much memory foam because they don’t need quite so much pressure relief and need to prevent their hips from sinking in too much. For this reason, stomach sleepers will only want one or two inches of memory foam in their mattress.
- Back Sleepers – Back sleepers want their hips to sink in a little bit so that the foam can conform well to the curves of the body and their lumbar area can be properly supported. People don’t need that much pressure relief when they are on their side, so just two or three inches of memory foam is probably ideal for back sleepers.
- Side Sleepers – When sleeping on the side, pressure relief is the name of the game – this means people need more “comfort” material, especially if they are a heavier sleeper. For this reason, they may need three to five inches of memory foam to get the best sleeping experience.
Memory Foam Vs. Spring Mattresses
- From my experience, memory foam generally provides better pressure relief than spring mattresses do, and they also conform better to the curves of the body, potentially helping to promote better spinal alignment. This can make memory foam significantly better for people with pain issues.
- Spring mattresses do tend to sleep cooler because the coils can promote airflow through the mattress, while the chemical nature of memory foam makes those mattresses potentially trap heat more easily.
- Spring mattresses have more bounce overall; depending on each person’s preferences this could be a positive or a negative.
Read More: Memory Foam Vs Innerspring Mattresses
Memory Foam Vs. Latex Mattresses
- Memory foam will have better pressure relief than latex mattresses do, and they will also be better at conforming to the curves of the body.
- In general, latex mattresses will sleep cooler than memory foam because of the chemical makeup of latex (it is more open-celled).
- Latex mattresses will be much bouncier than memory foam mattresses; whether this is a good thing is really just up to someone’s personal preference.
- Memory foam is slow-reacting and quicksand-like, while Latex is immediately responsive.
Read More: Memory Foam Vs Latex Mattresses
Memory Foam Vs. 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 polyfoam) in the base. This usually means there will be a few notable differences between the two types.
- Hybrid mattresses should be more expensive on average because the coils are more pricey to make than polyfoam.
- Hybrid mattresses should have a little more bounce than standard memory foam mattresses.
- Hybrid mattresses will be a little bit more breathable because the coils leave so much space for air to flow.
Read More: Memory Foam Vs Hybrid Mattresses
What Are The Different Types Of Memory Foam?
- Standard Memory Foam – This refers to memory foam that does not feature additional formulations or infusions – the density range can be 2.5 to 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, which 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 to 30% plant-based; bio-based foam can also be more breathable.
- Copper-Infused Memory Foam – Copper is a natural heat conductor and features excellent moisture-wicking capabilities. It will help draw heat and moisture away from sleepers and help them sleep cooler at night. In addition, it is anti-microbial and will help keep the mattress free of mold, mildew, and odors.
- 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.
- Fast-Response Memory Foam – Recent innovations in memory foam has allowed for memory foam that is faster to respond than standard memory foam; this prevents the feeling of getting stuck that some people complain about with memory foam.
Do Memory Foam 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 their body. If someone feels that the mattress is a bit stiff at first, I wouldn’t worry; it should soften over time.
How can someone break in a mattress more quickly? They can walk on their mattress and increase the temperature in the room for a period of time. Other than that, they just need to sleep on it for a while and it will happen naturally.
Memory Foam Density Level And Firmness
When reading memory foam mattress reviews, customers will come across density levels quite a bit. 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 one can expect to pay more for high-density memory foam.
- 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 one will experience; those who sleep with a partner should consider a mattress with high-density memory foam.
- More Support/Pain Relief – More density means more support; higher-density foam does a better job of contouring to the body so, if someone has back pain, they will want a higher-density memory 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 to 4 lbs. range. “Low-density” will be anything 3 lbs. or less.
ILD, also known as Indentation Load Deflection is, simply put, a measure of how firm the memory foam is in a mattress. More specifically, it is a measure of how much weight or force must be put on the memory foam to compress it by 25%. The higher the number, the more weight has to be applied to compress that memory foam.
So, that means, the higher the ILD, the firmer the memory foam. A mattress with an ILD of 10-12 is going to be softer than one that has an ILD of 18-20.
Do Memory Foam Mattresses Sleep Hot?
One of the most common complaints I hear about memory foam mattresses is that they often sleep hot; this means that the mattress absorbs and retains heat, making the sleeping surface hot, especially later on in the night after someone has been sleeping for several hours.
So, how do 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. 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 machine. They will charge customers 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 more expensive models.
Off-Gassing Memory Foam Mattresses
Memory foam is made from petrochemicals. No matter the brand, know that a memory foam mattress will possess chemicals (no matter how eco-friendly the company claims to be). Even foam that companies claim is “plant-based” is only actually about 25 to 30% bio-based, and the rest made from petroleum.
New memory foam mattresses typically give off a chemical smell when they are unboxed, and 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. This isn’t a major concern, but just make sure to open a window and give the memory foam mattress time to off-gas.
Resiliency/Getting Stuck In The Mattress
Higher quality memory foam mattresses have a more resilient feel to them; many 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. If this isn’t what someone is looking for, a latex mattress could be a good alternative; latex has many similar properties to memory foam but has more “spring” to it. A popular construction is latex over memory foam, and many bed-in-a-box companies (like Casper or Ghost Bed) are trying to provide the benefits of both materials in one mattress.
Getting The Best Value Memory Foam Mattress
The best way to get a deal on a memory foam mattress is to order online unless a retail store is having an incredible sale. Since the mattress is all foam, it can be compressed and shipped from a factory to the customer’s 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.
Those who are buying through a retail store should wait for a sale – Labor Day and President’s Day are big days for mattress sales, where customers will see up to 70% off some of the big name brands.
My final note on getting a deal – higher quality mattresses will last much longer than lower quality ones. If someone purchases a cheap low-quality mattress, they may save money in the short term but may find themselves shopping for a replacement sooner than they had planned.
Here’s a summary of our top picks for the best memory foam mattresses:
|Nectar||Best Rated Memory Foam Mattress|
|Layla||Best Mattress for Comfort|
|Bear||Best Gel Memory Foam Mattress|
|Amerisleep AS2||Best Memory Foam Mattress for Back Pain|
|Helix Midnight||Best Memory Foam Hybrid Mattress|
|WinkBeds MemoryLux||Best Mattress for Combination Sleepers|
|Leesa||Best Mattress for Side Sleepers|
|Casper Original||Best Memory Foam Mattress for Back Sleepers|
There are so many fantastic memory foam mattresses out there, it might be difficult to choose – fear not, this round-up is a great place to start. Consider one of these eight mattresses or use the advice above to find your next mattress!
What are the pros and cons of memory foam mattresses?
When it comes to pros, memory foam mattresses are very comfortable and can relieve pressure especially well; they can also help relieve hip and back pain.
When it comes to cons, memory foam mattresses are sometimes known for sleeping hot and they can also make it more difficult to change positions at night.
What is the best inexpensive memory foam mattress?
Those who are seeking an inexpensive memory foam mattress should consider the Zinus and Nectar mattresses.
The Nectar is a very comfortable memory foam mattress that costs less than $700 for a Queen-size mattress. Zinus offers numerous memory foam mattresses that cost under $500; I personally like the Zinus 12” Cooling Gel Mattress which costs under $350 for a Queen-size.
What is the best memory foam mattress for side sleepers?
Side sleepers are going to want to find a mattress that is softer-than-average; we recommend the Layla and Amerisleep AS4 mattresses.
Both mattresses are softer-than-average and should relieve most pressure on the shoulders and hips; the Layla and Amerisleep AS4 also performed very well on our pressure map test.
What is the best memory foam mattress for back pain?
People with back pain should be looking for a mattress that is close to medium-firm and conforms to the curves of the body.
The Amerisleep AS2 is just a tad firmer-than-average, but it does offer fantastic contouring; the Loom and Leaf should also offer great support while taking the shape of each sleeper’s body.
Featured Image: Hans.P/Shutterstock
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.