Memory Foam Mattress Reviews
Memory foam beds have become popular in recent years, thanks to their unparalleled ability to contour to the sleeper’s body in a way that feels customized.
Below we’ve listed our top three recommendations for memory foam beds, but we encourage you to read the entire guide to determine whether a memory foam mattress is a good fit for you.
|Loom & Leaf
||Organic cotton cover, 2” cooling gel foam, 2.5” visco-elastic memory foam, 2” foam, 5.5” high-density foam||Medium Firm, Firm||$1,099|
||Stretch-knit cover, 2” gel or memory foam, 2 or 3” memory foam, 6 or 7” high-density foam||Soft, Medium, Firm||$999|
|Nest Bedding Alexander Signature Series
||1” quilted stretch fabric cover, 1” gel memory foam, 1.5” viscoelastic memory foam, 2” memory foam, 7” high-density foam||Soft, Medium, Firm||$1,199|
What is Memory Foam?
History of Memory Foam
Memory foam is the colloquial term for viscoelastic polyurethane foam. This special foam was originally created by NASA in the 1970s to protect airline passengers during a crash. It has since been used in a variety of products in the health care and sleep industries, including mattresses, toppers and pillows.
Pros of Memory Foam
The viscoelastic properties in the foam react to pressure and heat from the sleeper’s body, softening and allowing the sleeper to sink in deeper at pressure points. This is why these beds are so popular for pain relief: they keep the sleeper’s spine aligned, allowing them to sink in deeper at pressure points and alleviating aches and pains. Once the sleeper gets out of bed, the heat and pressure source is removed, so the foam returns to its original shape.
This response to heat and pressure gives memory foam its characteristic “hug” that envelops sleepers and feels custom-fit to their body. It also gives the mattress its superior motion isolation. The density of the foam keeps the bed quiet and still, so one sleeper is not disturbed by the movements of another in the bed.
Memory foam mattresses are also easy to ship. When purchased online, they typically arrive compressed and rolled into a box, so you can unpack them at your convenience instead of having to schedule a delivery date.
Cons of Memory Foam
Unfortunately, the unique benefits of memory foam also cause its downsides. The two main complaints people have with memory foam are its tendency to retain heat and its slowness in recovering its original shape.
Because memory foam conforms to the body, it sinks the sleeper into the mattress, trapping their body heat. This is especially problematic for sleepers who already sleep hot.
Memory foam also takes time to recover its shape once the sleeper gets out of bed. While this slow responsiveness is what makes it so good at contouring to your body, some people dislike it. It makes it more difficult to maneuver on the bed, making sex less enjoyable than on a bouncier mattress like an innerspring.
Depending on the foam contents, some memory foam beds also present an initial off gassing odor upon unwrapping them. This odor is a completely harmless byproduct of the manufacturing process, and it should go away within a few hours to a few days.
Types of Memory Foam
There are four main types of memory foams. Some memory foam mattresses use one or more of these within the same bed for different layers.
Traditional Memory Foam
Traditional memory foam is the most common type of foam you’ll come across. This is the standard viscoelastic foam that responds to heat and pressure, so it sleeps hot, but it’s excellent at providing pressure point relief.
Gel-Infused Memory Foam
To address the common complaint of heat retention, many memory foam mattress manufacturers now include a cooling gel foam comfort layer. The foam in this layer is infused with cooling gel in either liquid or bead foam, and features a wave-like design to promote breathability.
Copper-Infused Memory Foam
Copper-infused memory foam is an alternative to cooling gel. Copper gel is encased in tiny beads throughout the foam to help regulate the temperature. Copper also comes with the benefit of facilitating blood circulation, making these beds popular among joint pain sufferers.
Open-Cell Memory Foam
Open-cell memory foam attempts to address the heat retention problem through design, rather than additional materials. Open-cell memory foam feels like traditional foam but has small air pockets to reduce heat and response time.
Plant-Based Memory Foam
Traditional memory foam is made from polyurethane combined with other petrochemicals. Plant-based foams incorporate a higher percentage of natural ingredients like Aloe Vera or bamboo to please eco-minded consumers. These foams also feature an open-cell configuration that promotes a cooler sleeping surface.
How Can You Judge the Quality of a Memory Foam Mattress?
A quality queen-size memory foam mattress costs on average between $800 to $1,000, but the range can be as wide as $300 to $5,000+. Here are a few things to look for to assess the quality of a memory foam mattress.
Memory foam mattresses measure firmness using ILD (indentation load deflection). This measurement refers to how much pressure is required to make a 4-inch indent on the surface of the bed. A higher ILD indicates a firmer mattress, and vice versa.
Different foams will have different ILDs, depending on their purpose. Support layers typically have a higher ILD to provide adequate support, while a comfort layer will have a lower ILD to allow the sleeper to comfortably sink deeper into the bed.
ILD can vary based on the sleeper’s weight and body temperature, too. Higher ILDs provide better support for heavier sleepers, but may not provide enough give for those of lighter weight.
For a quality memory foam mattress, look for ILDs of 10 or higher.
Density is another measurement used to gauge the quality of the foam. Density is measured in pounds per cubic foot (PCF), and ranges from 2.5 to 8 pcf.
Higher density mattresses are denser and more durable, ensuring a longer lifespan for your mattress. However, they also tend to be the worst at trapping heat. To find a comfortable middle ground and ensure you’re buying a quality mattress that will support you for the long-term, look for a mattress with density in the middle of that range.
Because memory foam is so soft, mattresses are never made entirely of memory foam. Typically, a mattress will combine a support core of innerspring or high-density polyfoam with comfort layers of memory foam that comprise 25 to 40% of the bed. A quality mattress is at least 10 inches in height.
Lifespan and Warranty
A quality memory foam bed should last around 7 years. The main factors that determine the lifespan of a memory foam bed are the types of foams used and their density. For example, poly foams tend to be less durable, which is why they’re cheaper.
Look for a mattress that offers a warranty of 10 to 20 years. Make sure before purchasing that you understand the length and terms of the warranty. Most warranties will specify how much indentation is required to be considered a defect, as well as whether you need to use a specific type of platform for the mattress.
Is a Memory Foam Mattress a Good Fit for You?
While it all comes down to your personal preferences, memory foam mattresses tend to perform best with certain types of sleepers over others.
Best Sleepers for a Memory Foam Mattress
- Side sleepers: A memory foam mattress provides perfect pressure point relief for side sleepers, sinking in at the hips and shoulders, while keeping the spine aligned.
- Light sleepers: Thanks to memory foam’s motion isolation, light sleepers won’t be disturbed by the movements or noises of a sleeping partner or pet.
- Sleepers with back pain: Memory foam mattresses were made for sleepers with back or joint pain. This bed offers the best pressure point relief of all the mattress types.
- Lightweight sleepers: The softness of memory foam provides more give and contour that lightweight sleepers may have a tougher time finding with other mattress types.
Worst Sleepers for a Memory Foam Mattress
- Stomach sleepers: A memory foam mattress will allow a stomach sleeper to sink too deeply into the mattress, taking their neck and spine out of alignment and potentially causing pain.
- Hot sleepers: Even with advancements like cooling gel and copper-infused foams, memory foam beds still retain heat. Sleepers who run hot, experience night sweats, or are in menopause should avoid a memory foam bed.
- Very overweight sleepers: Unless they get a high-density foam with a high ILD, most memory foam mattresses will ultimately be too soft to provide heavier sleepers weighing 230+ pounds with adequate support.
Best Memory Foam Mattress Reviews
Ready to buy a memory foam mattress? Check out our top recommendations below.
Loom and Leaf
- Two Firmness Levels
- 12-inch Height
- Supports Heavy Sleepers
- 120-day Sleep Trial
- Made in the USA
The Loom and Leaf mattress is advertised as a similar bed to the Tempur-Pedic, but at half the cost.
It’s available in two firmness levels so sleepers can choose the best one for their needs. The Relaxed Firm is designed to support most sleepers regardless of their sleeping position, while the Firm is designed for back and stomach sleepers.
The Loom and Leaf bed is a luxurious 12-inches tall, and contains three comfort layers, one of which includes two inches of cooling gel foam, and a 5.5-inch support base of high-density foam. The plant-based foams and organic cotton cover are eco-friendly and don’t present an initial off gassing smell. The bed works with an adjustable base.
Loom and Leaf offers a generous 120-day sleep trial, which is longer than most online mattress brands.
- Three Firmness Levels
- 11-inch Height
- 120-day Sleep Trial
- Free Shipping and Returns
- Made in the USA and Canada
The Novosbed comes in three firmness levels: soft, medium, and firm. The specific makeup of the foam layers within the bed differs based on which firmness level you choose. For instance, the soft level includes an extra inch in its memory foam comfort layer and features a gel foam top layer instead of memory foam. All varieties features a support foam layer made of high-density foam.
The Novosbed offers an extended 120-day sleep trial, and returns and shipping are both free. Additionally, they offer a Perfect Firmness Guarantee and a 15 year warranty. Under their Comfort+ program, they’ll send you a Comfort+ layer that you can easily place within the mattress yourself if you find the mattress is no longer comfortable.
The company is committed to reducing its carbon footprint, using TENCEL textiles and zero-waste manufacturing. All Novos Beds are manufactured in the US and Canada.
Nest Bedding Alexander Signature Series
- Three Firmness Levels
- 12.5-inch Height
- 100-night Sleep Trial and Lifetime Warranty
- Free Shipping and Returns
- Made in the USA
The Nest Bedding Alexander Signature Series bed features five layers, many of which are designed to provide a cool sleeping surface, including the 1-inch quilted cover of cool stretch fabric, the 1-inch gel memory foam layer, and the 2-inch air flow foam layer. The base foam layer is 7 inches of high-density foam.
The Alexander Signature Series is available in three firmness levels: Soft for side sleepers, Medium for side and back sleepers, or Luxury Firm for back and stomach sleepers.
The bed works with an adjustable base.
Nest Bedding offers a limited Lifetime Warranty and a 100-night sleep trial. The Alexander Signature Series is made in the USA.
Memory Foam Versus Other Mattress Types
Not quite sure a memory foam bed is right for you? Here’s a quick overview of how it differs from the other mattress types. If you’re interested in learning more about any of these, just click on the corresponding link.
Due to their coil construction, innerspring beds are naturally bouncier and much cooler than memory foam beds. This makes them more suitable for sexual activity and better at temperature regulation. However, they do not conform to the body very well, and that bounciness comes with poor motion isolation, too, making for a noisy sleeping experience. Innerspring beds are usually cheaper than memory foam mattresses.
Learn more and read our reviews of the best innerspring mattresses.
Latex mattresses share many of the best features of innerspring and memory foam beds, without the disadvantages. They provide a rounded contour, versus the full body enveloping of a memory foam bed, so sleepers feel relief without sinking in too deeply. Since they contain latex instead of coil, they’re not noisy like innerspring beds, but they’re just as bouncy. They are also better at staying cool than a memory foam bed, but not as well as an innerspring. Latex mattresses are one of the most expensive mattress options around.
Learn more and read our reviews of the best latex mattresses.
Hybrid mattresses combine a pocketed coil support core with comfort layers made of memory foam or latex foam. Like latex beds, they contour to the body, though not as well as memory foam beds, while retaining a bounciness suitable for sex. However, they sleep cooler than both latex and memory foam mattresses. Unfortunately, they tend to have shorter lifespans despite costing more.
Learn more and read our reviews of the best hybrid mattresses.