The Best Memory Foam Mattress 2021Updated on January 20, 2021 While all product recommendations are chosen independently, we may receive compensation for purchases made through our site. Learn more about our affiliate program here.
First created in the 1970s, memory foam is a remarkable material. It was originally invented by NASA researchers who needed a material with specialized performance that could be used as padding for astronauts on shuttle missions. Now, this material has wide commercial applications including in mattresses, pillows, mattress toppers, and more.
The defining characteristic of memory foam, also known as viscoelastic foam, is its responsiveness. Its shape compresses to fit the person who is on it, hugging the body according to how weight is applied to the foam. In mattresses, this has allowed memory foam to gain tremendous popularity for its comfort and its ability to properly cushion the body’s main pressure points.
As memory foam has become more and more popular as a mattress material, the number of options on the market using memory foam has exploded. For many shoppers, this can make the process of choosing a mattress intimidating or overwhelming.
In this guide, we make the process simple. We’ve gone through the reviews and mattress specifications to identify the top five memory foam mattresses available today. We’ll introduce those mattresses and discuss why they made our list. In the second part of the guide, we’ll go into detail about the different types of memory foam, the components of a memory foam mattress, and other useful information that can empower you to find the best mattress for your bedroom.
What Are the Best Memory Foam Mattresses?
Memory foam has become such a common material in mattresses that there are a head-spinning number of options that you can find either in-store or online. While the popularity of this material is well-deserved, not all memory foam mattresses are worth your hard-earned dollars.
To help guide you to a great choice, we’ve selected our top 5 best memory foam mattresses. A quick introduction to these mattresses — listed in no particular order — is in the table below.
|Nectar||Medium Firm (6)||$799|
|Loom & Leaf||2 Choices: Relaxed Firm (5-6) or Firm (8)||$1,699|
|MemoryLux||3 choices: Soft (4), Medium (5.5), Firm (7)||$1,599|
|Leesa||Relaxed Firm (6)||$999|
|Plank||Firm (7) on one side; Extra Firm (9) on the other||$999|
|Layla||2 Sides: Medium (4-5) and Firm (7-8)||$999|
Why we like it:
- Excellent contouring and support for spinal alignment
- Minimal heat retention
- Affordable price point
- 365-night sleep trial and lifetime warranty
Though it is among the lowest-priced mattresses on our list, the Nectar delivers a fantastic sleeping experience that provides the kind of conforming and comfort that sleepers have come to expect from memory foam.
This Medium Firm mattress (a 6 on the typical firmness scale) has four foam layers. The top layer is 1 inch of memory foam that is quilted into the cover. The second layer is 3 inches of high-density, gel-infused memory foam. The third layer is a transition foam with a thickness of 1.75 inches, and the bottom is 5.25 inches of support polyfoam.
The two memory foam layers that make up the comfort system allow the mattress to contour to the body and keep the spine and neck in alignment. At the same time, the use of gel-infused foam and a breathable cover made with Tencel fabric decrease heat retention and reduce the risk of sleeping hot.
Two other factors make the Nectar mattress especially appealing: its price tag and its sleep trial. This mattress can be purchased for $799 for a Queen, which is significantly less than other top memory foam mattresses. In addition, it comes with a 365-night sleep trial that gives you a full year to test out the mattress and determine if it is the right fit for you. With these extra benefits that differentiate it from many other memory foam options, the Nectar stands out as one of the top 5 best memory foam mattresses.
Loom & Leaf
Why we like it:
- 4.5” of combined memory foam delivers excellent hug and pressure relief
- High-density foams offer long-term durability
- Choice of two firmness options
- Various features promote ventilation and fight heat buildup
- Eco-friendly foams
The Loom & Leaf mattress, manufactured by the reputable Saatva brand, deploys two separate layers of high-density memory foam to offer high-end performance and long-term durability.
The Loom & Leaf mattress is offered in two models — Relaxed Firm (5.5 on the firmness scale) and Firm (8). Both models have the same interior design and construction. The top layer is 2.5 inches of zoned, gel-infused memory foam with a density of 4 pounds per cubic foot (PCF). The zoned design gives extra padding to heavier parts of the body.
Beneath this top layer is another 2 inches of memory foam that has a density of 5 PCF. Combined, these 4.5 inches of memory foam provide superb contouring to give each part of the body the amount of cushioning that it needs, allowing your spine to stay aligned through the night. A 2-inch polyfoam transition layer and 5.5-inch support core of high-density polyfoam make up the bottom two layers of the mattress.
Even with its thick memory foam comfort system, the Loom & Leaf is resistant to overheating. The top foam layer is both gel-infused and convoluted, meaning that it has passageways for air to move through. A breathable organic cotton cover adds an extra cooling element to the mattress.
The use of high-density foams help make the Loom & Leaf durable over the long-haul, and these layers also make this bed more effective for sleepers over 230 pounds. The eco-friendly foams, made with a higher percentage of renewable plant oils than most memory foams, are effective at motion isolation as well, which is a huge plus for people who share a mattress.
The Saatva company offers free installation and haul-away of an old mattress and has a widely-recognized reputation for excellent customer service. Your purchase is protected by a 100-night sleep trial, although there is a $99 return shipping charge if you decide not to keep the bed.
Although its price tag is not the lowest of all memory foam beds, the Loom & Leaf is still a serious value given the quality of the company and the mattress materials.
Why we like it:
- Multiple firmness options
- Superior motion isolation
- Open-cell foam helps disperse body heat
- Zoned foam for enhanced support to hips and shoulders
The MemoryLux from WinkBeds is a standout memory foam mattress for several reasons. The bed is designed with three comfort layers. A top layer of gel-infused memory foam and a second layer of open-cell memory foam help regulate surface temperatures, allowing the MemoryLux to sleep cooler than most competing memory foam models. A third layer of zoned polyfoam provides targeted support to different areas of the sleeper’s body, resulting in consistent pressure relief and even weight distribution.
Customers can choose from medium-soft (4), medium (5), and firm (7) settings. This range ensures most sleepers will find a suitable model regardless of their weight or preferred position. The bed also isolates motion transfer very well and doesn’t produce any noise when bearing weight, making it an ideal choice for couples.
WinkBeds will ship the MemoryLux for free anywhere in the contiguous U.S., and full-service White Glove delivery is available for $99. The mattress is backed by a lifetime warranty that includes the ‘Any Reason’ option, which allows owners to exchange their mattress for a different firmness level at a 50% discount after the sleep trial has ended.
Why we like it:
- Good balance of body conforming and support
- Isolates motion transfer for couples
- Affordably priced
- 100-night sleep trial
The Leesa memory foam mattress is a great choice for sleepers who prefer middle-of-the-road firmness settings. With a medium (5) feel, the bed conforms closely and evenly distributes the sleeper’s weight without sagging. This results in pain and pressure relief in sensitive areas of the body, as well as better spinal alignment for side sleepers. The bed is also suitable for back and stomach sleepers weighing 230 pounds or less, thanks to its highly supportive structure.
The bed is constructed with comfort layers of polyfoam and memory foam that isolate motion transfer very well, making the Leesa a good option for couples who experience noise-related sleep disruptions. It is also silent when bearing weight, which can be beneficial for noise-sensitive sleepers.
The Leesa has a very low price-point, even by all-foam mattress standards, and the company offers free shipping to customers in all 50 states. The bed is also backed by a 100-night sleep trial and nonprorated 10-year warranty.
Plank by Brooklyn Bedding
Why we like it:
- Flippable with 2 firmness settings
- Durable construction
- Isolates motion very well
- 120-night trial
Sleepers whose firmness preferences vary from night to night often prefer flippable mattresses. These beds are designed with two surfaces, each with a different firmness setting. The Plank by Brooklyn Bedding is one of the newest flippable models available, as well as one of the firmest. One side is firm (7) and the other is extra-firm (9), making the Plank a great option for heavier back and stomach sleepers who normally don’t feel comfortable on softer beds.
Both sides of the bed have comfort layers made of quilted polyfoam that conforms moderately and consistently, resulting in pain/pressure relief and even weight distribution. The shared support core of high-density polyfoam reinforces each side to prevent excessive sagging in the sleep surface and minimize sinkage along the edges where people tend to sit. Like other all-foam beds, the Plank also isolates motion very well and does not make any noise when bearing weight.
The Plank has a price-point that is slightly below-average compared to other all-foam mattresses. Brooklyn Bedding offers free shipping in the contiguous U.S., along with a 120-night sleep trial and a 10-year warranty.
Why we like it:
- Flippable design features two firmness options in one
- Unique features from copper-infused memory foam
- Budget-friendly price point
- Lifetime warranty
Layla offers a flippable memory foam mattress that includes two firmness options in one. This dual-sided design provides two distinct sleeping experiences, making this a great option for those torn between a soft and firm memory foam mattress.
One side is rated as Medium (4-5 on the firmness scale) while the other side is Firm (7-8). The Medium side features a comfort layer consisting of a 3-inch layer of copper-infused memory foam and a 2-inch transition layer of convoluted polyfoam. The Firm side has a comfort layer of 1 inch of copper-infused memory foam that sits directly on top of the support core of 4.5 inches of high-density polyfoam. The total height of the Layla is 10 inches, and the cover is a polyester blend infused with ThermoGel cooling fabric.
On either side of the mattress, the Layla provides conforming from the memory foam, although the amount of hug and sink will be more pronounced on the Medium side. Regardless of your firmness preference, the comfort system on each side can relieve pressure and support a healthy spinal position. The copper infusion works to resist heat buildup, fight the growth of bacteria, and may enhance bodily recovery.
The Layla mattress comes with a 120-night sleep trial and a lifetime warranty that protects against any defects in materials or manufacturing. Combined with an affordable price point of $999, the Layla’s innovative design makes it a top pick among memory foam mattresses.
Memory Foam Mattress Buying Guide
While you can choose a great memory foam bed by selecting one of our top picks, we know that many of our readers want to know the details about memory foam and make an informed choice about whether it’s the right material for their bed. In the following sections, we’ll go in-depth about memory foam mattresses, describing their components, benefits, downsides, and how they compare to other mattress types.
What is Memory Foam?
Memory foam is the name given to a specific material called viscoelastic foam. First produced by NASA, the material was invented to provide proportional cushioning for astronauts in high-stress environments.
Two key features are common to viscoelastic foam. The first is that it is highly responsive, which means that it compresses more in places where more weight is applied. When the weight is removed, it slowly retakes its original shape, giving the sense that it “remembers” the impression left by the body.
A second feature is that the mattress becomes softer when it gets warmer. This means that when foam takes on heat from the body, it can conform even more, offering even deeper hug.
Not all viscoelastic foam is exactly like the foam that was originally developed for NASA. Over time, memory foam formulations have been tweaked to fit specific consumer applications and needs, including in mattresses.
What Are the Types of Memory Foam?
New modifications and innovations have come to the production of memory foam, and you may find a reference to some of these distinct types of memory foam as you shop for a new mattress. These are the most common names for these subtypes of memory foam and what they mean:
- Traditional memory foam has the fewest differences from the type that has been on the market for decades. It has lots of conforming and motion isolation.
- Open-cell memory foam follows the same basic idea as traditional memory foam but with a more airy structure to permit greater ventilation.
- Plant-based memory foam replaces some of the petrochemicals used in making traditional memory foam with plant-based oils. In terms of performance, the plant-based foams are quite similar to traditional and open-cell memory foams.
- Gel-infused memory foam infuses a gel material into the foam to reduce heat retention. The gel may be swirled throughout the foam or may be placed inside beads that are interspersed in the foam. The gel may use heat-resistant materials like graphite in its composition.
- Copper-infused memory foam places small amounts of copper material into beads that are spread throughout the foam. Copper can help decrease heat retention and may have positive effects on the body as well.
What is Memory Foam Density and ILD?
Another way that memory foam is described is based on its density and its ILD.
Density is a straightforward measurement of how much a cubic foot of the foam weighs in pounds. The denser the foam, the heavier it is. Higher density tends to equate to a more robust and durable foam. In the comfort system, we usually look for a memory foam to have a density of 3.5 PCF or higher.
Keep in mind, though, that different types of foam will naturally have different density. For example, polyfoam can be durable with a lower PCF than memory foam. As a result, most support cores are made with polyfoam with a density around 1.8 PCF. This is considered high-density for this type of foam, but for memory foam it would be low-density.
Indentation load deflection (ILD) is a measurement of the amount of pressure required to create a specific depth of indentation in a mattress. The higher the ILD, the firmer the mattress.
While ILD can give a rough idea of the firmness of a mattress, remember that it is affected by how thick the memory foam is and the temperature of the foam. For most memory foams, an ILD of 10-12 is soft, 13-15 is medium, and 16 or higher is firm. Keep in mind that the ILD is for one layer, but the feel of the mattress as a whole is determined by the way that the various layers work in conjunction with one another.
What Are the Components of a Memory Foam Mattress?
Most memory foam mattresses are not made entirely of this material. Instead, the memory foam forms one important component of the mattress as a whole. Overall, these mattresses are made up of several parts.
The comfort system is the component that most directly influences your perception of the comfort and support provided by the mattress. The comfort system can be just one layer or may be composed of multiple layers that work in concert.
In a memory foam mattress, memory foam is a principal material in the comfort system. This allows the mattress to take advantage of the responsiveness, pressure relief, and motion isolation of memory foam.
Not all memory foam mattresses will have a transition layer; however, many include it to add a degree of bounce to the bed. A transition layer, usually made with polyfoam, can, as the name implies, help smooth out the difference in feel between the softer comfort system and sturdier support core.
The support core is the base of the mattress. It normally constitutes around half to two-thirds of the mattress and creates a level of stability and sturdiness for the whole bed. In almost all memory foam mattresses, the support core is made with a high-density polyfoam. This polyfoam has very little contouring, so it provides a backstop against too much sinking of the layers above it.
The cover goes around the exterior of the mattress. Most mattresses have a uniform cover, but some have a different material on the top than on the sides or bottom. Many covers are selected for being breathable materials including cotton, wool, rayon, and certain types of polyester.
What Does it Feel Like to Sleep on a Memory Foam Mattress?
Memory foam mattresses are popular because their superior contour ability makes the mattress feel customized to the sleeper’s body.
Memory foam reacts to the pressure and heat of your body, so regardless of your sleeping position or body weight, it can cushion the body in proportion with how your weight is distributed on the sleeping surface. This helps to keep your spine aligned by offering more support to pressure points and heavier areas of the body.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Memory Foam Mattresses?
Memory foam mattresses come with pros and cons, and knowing these can help you determine whether a memory foam mattress is a good fit for you. Pros Cons Pros
Excellent contour ability
Memory foam beds are the best mattresses at providing deep contouring. They are highly responsive and conform to the body, providing a feeling of hug that feels customized to you.
Comfortable, supportive sleeping surface
Memory foam mattresses provide excellent pressure point relief. They react according to the pressure exerted on them, allowing them to evenly distribute your weight and keep your spine aligned and supported while asleep.
Superior motion isolation
For couples and people who are easily disturbed when sleeping, memory foam offers excellent motion isolation. Virtually no movement on another part of the mattress is transferred to other parts of the bed.
Memory foam beds are virtually noiseless and won’t have the squeaks associated with traditional innerspring mattresses.
One of the biggest complaints about memory foam mattresses is their propensity for heat retention. The flip side of their excellent contour ability is that they also wrap and envelop your body, trapping your body heat and blocking airflow that could cool you down. The foam itself builds up heat as well, and as it does so, it gets even softer, hugging the body even more. As a result, people who tend to sleep hot can have significant problems with memory foam beds.
Temperature regulation problems are most significant with traditional memory foam. Open-cell, gel-infused, and copper-infused memory foams all attempt to reduce heat retention through modifications in how the foam is produced. In most cases, these do help to reduce overheating, but some hot sleepers may still find these beds to be too warm.
Too much hug / feeling stuck in the mattress
While the sinking feeling is beloved by memory foam bed aficionados, it can be a drawback for some sleepers. Some people feel as though they are sleeping “in” the mattress or that they are stuck in one place. People with higher body weight (over 230 pounds) tend to find this to be especially problematic, particularly if the mattress is less firm overall. If you want only minimal conforming to the body, a memory foam mattress may not be a good fit.
Lack of bounce can be unsuitable for sex
Memory foam slowly retakes its shape when weight is removed from it, and compared to latex or innerspring mattresses, memory foam beds have minimal bounce. This can have the effect of making it hard to move on top of the mattress, which can pose a barrier to sexual activity.
Initial off-gassing odor
The foam manufacturing process creates volatile organic compound (VOC) particles that get released when the mattress is unwrapped. These are harmless but have a strong odor that many people find unpleasant. Fortunately, this odor goes away within a few hours to a few days. Memory foam mattresses with thick comfort layers have the strongest smell, while plant-based foam beds usually have the least.
Limited edge support
The nature of memory foam and the way it compresses makes these mattresses susceptible to problems with edge support. Foams will always compress the most around the exterior, so with some memory foams, it can feel unstable when sitting or sleeping near the edge of the bed.
How Much Does a Memory Foam Mattress Cost?
The price of a memory foam mattress can vary significantly, but the average for a quality Queen-size memory foam mattress is between $800 and $1,200. The total price for any specific mattress will depend on the size, foam thickness, foam quality, special features, and the composition of other mattress layers.
How Long Does a Memory Foam Mattress Last?
On average, a quality memory foam mattress should last 6-8 years.
Factors that impact the bed’s durability include the types of foam used, the density of the foam, and the thickness of each layer. Higher-density foams have a longer lifespan, especially if they are in thicker layers.
Almost every memory foam mattress will come with a warranty that lasts for 10 years or more. The warranty generally will not cover minor indentations or wear-and-tear, but if the memory foam or another material is defective, there should be a remedy under the warranty.
What Type of Sleeper is Best Suited to a Memory Foam Mattress?
Certain types of sleepers find that memory find is more likely to be a fit for their needs:
- Lightweight sleepers (under 130 pounds) can benefit from the contouring abilities of a memory foam mattress and usually don’t have issues with feeling stuck in the mattress.
- Side sleepers, who have major pressure points at the hips and shoulders, tend to appreciate the responsiveness of memory foam and the way it can promote spinal alignment.
- Stomach and back sleepers can take advantage of the conforming of memory foam but usually, need a firmer comfort feel (7 or higher on the typical firmness scale).
- Couples tend to love the motion isolation and quiet performance from memory foam. This becomes even more helpful if one or more people are prone to be easily woken up during the night.
Some sleepers generally don’t find memory foam mattresses to be the best option for their needs.
- Hot sleepers frequently struggle with the way that memory foam can retain heat and reduce airflow around the body, although this problem is less pronounced with some newer types of memory foam.
- Heavier sleepers (over 230 pounds) can find memory foam to permit too much sink, but if a firmer, denser foam is used in the comfort system, these sleepers may be happy with the support offered by memory foam.
How Does Memory Foam Compare to Other Mattress Types?
To understand whether a memory foam bed is going to be the best for you, it may be helpful to think about how they compare to other types of mattresses.
Memory Foam vs. Latex
Both memory foam and latex are conforming materials that can properly cushion the body’s pressure points, although memory foam tends to have more contour. One of the biggest differences has to do with resilience. Memory foam slowly regains its original form while latex rapidly springs back. This makes latex feel bouncier and makes it less likely to feel like you are sinking into the bed. Because of the nature of the material, memory foam has a greater tendency to retain heat and to inhibit motion (including sex) on top of the mattress. Latex is typically heavier, more expensive, and transfers more motion than memory foam.
Memory Foam vs. Innerspring
Innerspring mattresses are made with a support core of metal coils and are the most traditional style of mattress. Memory foam mattresses tend to get higher customer satisfaction ratings than innersprings. For many consumers, this is because memory foam is considerably better at contouring to the body and relieving pressure points. Innerspring mattresses have more bounce and fewer issues with sleeping hot or with off-gassing, but they do transfer more motion. Innerspring mattresses are usually less expensive, but many have weaker materials that are likely to be less durable than a well-made, high-density memory foam mattress.
Memory Foam vs. Hybrid
Like an innerspring mattress, a hybrid has a support core that is made up of metal coils, but a hybrid has a thicker comfort system above those coils. In some cases, the comfort layer in a hybrid is in fact made with memory foam. The performance of a hybrid is more variable than that of a memory foam mattress precisely because there is more diversity in their design and construction. In general, though, a hybrid will offer more bounce and often more edge support than an all-foam mattress with memory foam. Depending on the thickness of the comfort layer, a memory foam mattress may offer a greater level of contouring and motion isolation.
Memory Foam Mattress FAQ Checklist
The following checklist of questions may be helpful to you as you shop for a memory foam mattress:
- How thick is the comfort system?
- What types of foams are used in the mattress?
- What is the firmness level of the mattress? Is the ILD listed?
- Are there any design features to help reduce heat retention?
- Will the amount of contouring and the firmness feel work for my body type and sleeping position?
- Is motion isolation an important feature for my situation?
- What is the lifespan of the mattress? Is the foam density listed?
- Is there a trial period and what is the return policy?
- How long is the warranty and what is covered?
- Does the brand have a good reputation for customer service?
Not sure about a memory foam mattress? Check out our guides to other mattress types:
|2||Loom & Leaf||$1,699|
|5||Plank by Brooklyn Bedding||$999|