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Memory foam, also known as viscoelastic polyfoam, is a material that softens when it comes into contact with body heat and then retains its original shape once it cools. Memory foam mattresses are typically constructed with at least one layer of memory foam in the comfort system; the support core is almost always made of high-density polyfoam.
Memory foam mattresses conform closer than other mattress types. This results in better spinal alignment and more pressure relief throughout the body. Memory foam also isolates motion transfer and produces little to no noise when bearing weight. These two qualities make memory foam beds suitable for couples, particularly if one or both of the sleepers awaken easily due to motion or noise.
Read on to review our choices for the top memory foam mattresses sold today. Each pick is based on verified customer and owner experiences, as well as intensive product analysis.
In terms of support and pressure-relief, The Loom & Leaf by Saatva is one of the best memory foam mattresses on the market. Fit for sleepers of different firmness preferences, the bed is available in two firmness options, Medium (5.5) and Firm (8).
The Loom & Leaf is constructed with both high-density gel memory foam and standard memory foam in the comfort layers, as well as a luxurious foam-quilted cover made of organic cotton. This two-layer comfort system provides close conforming for excellent spinal alignment and pain relief. Meanwhile, the high-density polyfoam base layer ensures an even, supportive sleep surface. This all comes together to provide that traditional memory foam “hug” feel.
As a Saatva brand, Loom and Leaf also offers free White Glove Delivery in the contiguous U.S. This includes in-home mattress assembly and old mattress removal.
The Nectar Mattress is a high-quality, affordable foam mattress that offers close conforming and great pressure relief. This bed comes in Medium Firm, or 6 on the 1-10 firmness scale, which is one of the most popular firmness options among all sleepers.
The Nectar’s comfort system features two layers of gel memory foam and standard memory foam, providing close conforming with some extra cushioning. Additionally, the two-layer polyfoam support core helps maintain a flat surface for sleepers and has been shown to reduce aches and pains throughout their bodies. At such great value, the Nectar Mattress is almost unmatched in quality.
Nectar Sleep offers White Glove delivery and old mattress removal at an extra charge. Further, the company’s 365-night sleep trial is one of the longest in the business.
For years, Winkbeds mattresses have exemplified luxury and exceptional quality in the innerspring and hybrid types and this MemoryLux is no exception. Given that history and the quality of this new memory foam offering, we’ve chosen the MemoryLux as the ‘Best Luxury’ pick for memory foam mattresses sold today. The MemoryLux is a 12″ bed available in multiple firmness options and is an all-foam bed with a memory foam comfort layer and a high-density foam support core; available in ‘Medium Soft’ (4), ‘Medium’ (5), and ‘Firm’ (7) settings. This selection ensures most sleepers will find a mattress that aligns with their firmness and conforming preferences.
Temperature neutrality is another key strength. Between the breathable cover components and the use of more breathable engineered foams in its comfort layers, the MemoryLux doesn’t trap quite as much body heat as a traditional memory foam mattress. Other benefits include great motion isolation and no noise when bearing weight.
Though it comes with a slightly higher price tag, the MemoryLux is not as expensive as similarly constructed mattresses which can retail for more than double. Winkbeds offers White Glove delivery for a small fee – including in-home assembly and old mattress removal – and also stands by the MemoryLux with a 120-night sleep trial and lifetime warranty.
Most lightweight sleepers prefer mattresses with softer surface feels. Excessively firm beds usually don’t conform closely enough to their bodies, resulting in less pain/pressure relief. We’ve selected The Casper as our Best for Lightweight Sleepers pick because of its Medium feel, which offers close body conforming without too much sagging. This results in fewer aches and pains, as well as better spinal alignment for side sleepers.
The bed ‘s 4.5-inch comfort system consists of a memory foam layer sandwiched between polyfoam layers. These components not only cushion the sleeper’s body, but also absorb and isolate motion transfer to certain areas of the bed. This makes The Casper ideal for couples who experience movement-related sleep disruptions. The mattress is virtually silent when bearing weight, as well, and it retains less body heat to sleep cooler than many competing all-foam models.
Casper offers free shipping anywhere in the contiguous U.S., along with most of Canada. The mattress is backed by a 100-night sleep trial and a 10-year warranty.
Sleepers in the average weight group (130 to 230 pounds) tend to prefer mattresses that balance body-cushioning comfort and stable support. If the bed is too soft they will likely experience too much sagging, while overly firm surfaces tend to create more aches and pains.
Our memory foam mattress pick for sleepers in this weight group is the Leesa, which offers a ‘Medium’ feel that conforms and alleviates pressure without sinking excessively.
The Leesa is also a good option for couples. Three foam comfort layers – including a middle memory foam layer – isolate motion transfer very well, and the bed does not make any noise when bearing weight. The mattress is suitable for all sleep positions, as well. Side sleepers enjoy cushioning beneath their shoulders and hips, which can improve spinal alignment, while most back and stomach sleepers find the bed provides great support.
The Leesa’s price-point is fairly low compared to other memory foam beds. Leesa also offers free shipping to all 50 states, and backs the mattress with a 100-night sleep trial and a 10-year warranty.
Sleepers with a higher body weight are often cautioned against memory foam mattresses because they can sink too deeply into the mattress and in a way that can threaten spinal alignment. The Plank Mattress from Brooklyn Bedding is an exception to the rule as it provides plenty of firmness while still cushioning pressure points.
In fact, the firmness of the Plank is a two-sided affair. On one side, it has a Firm feel that is around a 7 on the 1-10 firmness scale. On the other side, it has an Extra Firm feel around an 8.5 to 9. Adjusting the feel of the mattress only requires turning the mattress over, and this gives heavyweight sleepers more liberty to find the right fit for them.
The construction of the mattress includes a quilted top on either side. On the firm side, there is 1.5” of quilted material that includes 1” of gel-infused memory foam. This ensures that even though this side is firm, it can provide padding where the body needs it most. Underneath this foam layer is 7” of high-density polyfoam that acts as the support core. On the other side of this polyfoam is 2” of TitanFlex foam, a gel-infused polyfoam that has moderate contouring and bounce. The quilted cover on the extra firm side is .75” thick and covers the TitanFlex layer.
The Plank tends to stay cool thanks to gel-infused foams, and for hot sleepers, there is an option to add a cooling panel made with a phase change material (PCM) that helps to further dissipate heat.
Brooklyn Bedding has over two decades in the mattress industry and offers free standard shipping, a 120-night sleep trial, and a 10-year warranty for the Plank mattress.
Initially developed by NASA researchers in the 1970s, memory foam is today one of the most popular comfort layer materials on the market. Memory foam is also commonly known as ‘viscoelastic polyurethane foam’ or ‘low-resilience polyurethane foam (LRPu)’. However, it’s important to note that not all memory foam mattresses are strictly polyurethane-based (see next section for more details). In addition to mattresses, memory foam is also commonly found in pillows and mattress toppers.
Memory foam bridges the gap for mattress comfort layers. It combines the low cost and shape retention of traditional polyfoam with the superior support and body-contouring of a latex comfort layer. An important characteristic of memory foam is that it is viscoelastic, meaning that it changes shape when pressure is applied, and then returns to its original form once the pressure is released. Memory foam is also designed to respond to temperature. When you are lying on memory foam, your body heat will cause the foam to become softer, which allows the material to conform to your figure. After you get up, the memory foam will cool down and return to its original, firmer shape.
Memory foam mattresses are ideal for certain types of sleepers. Side sleepers, for instance, benefit from an exceptionally soft comfort layer because it allows their hips and shoulders to sink into the mattress properly. Side sleeping on a mattress that is too firm can lead to aches and pains caused by spinal misalignment. Memory foam can also help sleepers with chronic back or shoulder pain. The material is designed to conform to your figure and alleviate pressure points, leading to a comfortable, relatively painless night’s sleep. Additionally, memory foam is engineered for low motion transfer — and may be ideal for light sleepers who easily awaken when their partner moves or shifts positions. For those requiring a firmer feel, hybrid memory foam mattresses are constructed with a memory foam comfort layer and an innerspring support core.
Read on to learn more about memory foam. You can visit our 2019 mattress reviews and comparisons to learn about memory foam mattresses with the highest customer satisfaction rates, or scroll down to check out our detailed consumer guide.
You’ll find several varieties of memory foam mattress available on the market. Some of the most popular models include:
The popularity of memory foam is largely due to its ‘customized’ feel. Let’s explore some key qualities of memory foam mattresses:
Two important considerations regarding memory foam mattresses are density and indentation load-deflection (ILD).
Density is measured in pounds per cubic foot, and is used to indicate how well the mattress will support your body weight. Most memory foam comfort layers range in density from 2.5 pounds per cubic foot to 8 pounds per cubic foot. A common industry benchmark for a high-quality memory foam mattress is a density of 4-5 pounds per cubic foot. Density is used to categorize memory foam into three grades: low, medium and high. The table below features a detailed breakdown of memory foam density.
|Grade||Density (pounds per cubic foot)||Characteristics|
|Low||2.5 to 3.9 lbs/ft3||Retains original shape very quickly; offers good motion isolation and some contouring|
|Medium||4.0 to 5.9 lbs/ft3||Retains original shape somewhat slowly; offers very good motion isolation and good contouring|
|High||5.5 lbs/ft3 and higher||Retains shape very slowly; offers excellent motion isolation and contouring|
While density measures the supportiveness of memory foam, ILD is used to gauge the firmness of a mattress. ILD indicates how much pressure is required to make a four-inch indentation on the top surface of a mattress. The higher the ILD number, the firmer the mattress. Some mattresses carry an ILD range, rather than a single number, because the firmness may be influenced by other factors, such as room temperature. Most memory foam mattresses on the market have a comfort layer with an ILD number that falls between 8 and 20; as a general rule, look for memory foam mattresses with an ILD of at least 10. The table below explores ILD numbers in-depth.
|8-10||Extremely Soft||Most sleepers experience significant sinking|
|11-15||Very Soft||Most sleepers find this to be the ideal softness/firmness level for a memory foam mattress|
|16-21||Soft||Minimal sinking, and less contouring than mattresses with lower ILD ratings|
Memory foam is also available in a wide range of ILD ratings. Exceptionally soft memory foam will conform to your body more easily, but may also create a ‘sinking’ feeling that some sleepers find uncomfortable. On the other hand, ultra-firm memory foam provides a more stable sleep surface but is not as effective at alleviating pressure points.
Because the material is so soft, a ‘memory foam mattress’ is not entirely made of memory foam. Rather, the comfort layer (usually 25% to 40% of the mattress) is made of memory foam, while the larger support core is constructed from a sturdier material — usually high-density polyfoam — to prevent you from completely sinking into the mattress.
In addition to the density, ILD number and mattress construction, there are several other factors to consider when shopping for the right memory foam mattress.
The lifespan of a memory foam mattress will depend largely on the foam’s density grade. Low-density memory foam will retain its shape quickly, but the material degrades at a faster rate and has the lowest amount of motion isolation. High-density memory foam, on the other hand, offers superior body-conforming and low motion transfer — although this material is slower to retain its shape after each sleep. Medium-density memory foam provides a compromise between low- and high-density foam in terms of cost, shape retention, motion isolation and other key factors.
Most memory foam mattresses are designed to last for at least five years of regular use. In order to maximize the lifespan of your memory foam mattress, you’ll need to look carefully at the material composition of the mattress — in particular, the ratio of memory foam to cheaper types of polyfoam in the comfort layer and the support core. Also take time to inspect other aspects of the mattress, such as the type of stitching found on the cover and seams.
Additionally, you should make sure your memory foam mattress comes with a robust warranty. Although the warranty length is key, you should also understand what the warranty covers. For example, the best memory foam mattress warranties should cover sagging, one of the most common issues associated with memory foam. The warranty should also discuss in clear terms how the manufacturer handles warranty claims, turnaround time, shipping costs and mattress replacement. For more information about warranties, please visit our guide to Understanding Mattress Warranties.
Memory foam mattresses will vary considerable when it comes to price point. Some models cost as little as $300 to $400, while high-end and luxury memory foam mattresses will cost upwards of $3,000. Foam density is one factor that affects price; low-density foam will be the cheapest, while high-density foam is usually the most expensive. Plant-based memory foam, as well as gel- and copper-infused foam, will typically cost more than standard viscoelastic memory foam mattresses.
According to our findings, the average Queen-size memory foam mattress costs $1,044.
When purchasing a memory foam mattress online or in a store, make sure to inquire about the following characteristics.
Although memory foam is a very popular mattress choice, this material may not be the best option for you. Be sure to check out the following guides on Tuck.com: