- Sleep Help
- Sleep Guides
- How Sleep Works
- Sleep Resources
People love memory foam mattresses for their characteristic, pressure-relieving “hug.” These mattresses conform closer to the body than other mattress types, resulting in better spinal alignment and more pressure point relief. It’s no surprise these mattresses are a favorite among those with chronic pain. 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.
Whether this is your first time buying a memory foam mattress or your fifth, we share everything you need to know about the distinct feel these mattresses offer sleepers. We review our top picks for the best memory foam mattresses sold today, based on verified customer and owner experiences, as well as intensive product analysis. Then, in our Buyer’s Guide, we give you all the insider information on how to evaluate and find the best memory foam mattress for you.
Hop down to our Buyer’s Guide for a crash course on finding the best memory foam mattress.
We’ve selected The Casper as our Editor’s Pick because of its quality construction, universal comfort, and 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 nearly all 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.
With pressure-relieving foams, a cooler-than-average sleep surface, and a true ‘Medium’ firmness, The Casper offers sleepers that quintessential memory foam feel in a bed with universal appeal.
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.
The Nectar’s quality construction delivers everything memory foam aficionados expect from their mattress, with extra perks like a year-long sleep trial, lifetime warranty, and free shipping.
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? all-foam bed with a memory foam comfort layer and a high-density foam support core. It’s available in three firmness settings: ‘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.
It’s rare to experience this kind of pressure-relieving comfort, and still enjoy a relatively cool sleep surface. For those who want to experience memory foam without the heat, the MemoryLux price tag is well worth it.
Sleepers in the light weight group (under 130 pounds) tend to prefer mattresses that balance a high degree of body-cushioning comfort and a bit of 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.
With a Medium firmness rating and three layers of foam, The Leesa offers lightweight sleepers the perfect balance of plush comfort with stable support.
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 excels particularly with sleepers in between 130 and 230 pounds.
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.
Whether they prefer a true medium or firmer sleep surface, the Loom & Leaf offers sleepers of average weight the ideal amount of support and contour.
Sleepers with a higher body weight are often cautioned against memory foam mattresses because they can sink too deeply into the mattress and and in a way that can threaten spinal alignment. The Plank Mattress from Brooklyn Bedding is an exception to the rule. It provides plenty of firmness while still cushioning pressure points for these sleepers.
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.
Both heavyweight sleepers and those who tend to sleep hot can enjoy a supportive memory foam mattress, thanks to the Plank’s firmer feel and use of temperature-regulating materials.
Below, we share everything sleepers need to consider when buying a memory foam mattress, along with our best tips for buying a new mattress.
Initially developed by NASA researchers in the 1970s, memory foam is one of the most popular comfort layer materials on the market today. In addition to mattresses, memory foam is also commonly found in pillows and mattress toppers.
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 causes 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.
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.
The popularity of memory foam is largely due to its ‘customized’ feel. Let’s explore some key qualities of memory foam mattresses:
Memory foam mattresses are ideal for certain types of sleepers, especially side sleepers, those with chronic pain, and couples.
There are a lot of quality memory foam mattresses on the market today. To find the foam mattress that’s uniquely right for you, you’ll have a few questions to answer. What firmness setting do you prefer? How enveloped do you want to feel by your mattress? Do you tend to sleep hot or cool?
To answer these questions, you need to know the density and ILD ratings of the foams used in your mattress. Let’s start by understanding what these terms mean.
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 (abbreviated as PCF). 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|
You may have noticed a trend in the table above. The higher the density, the slower the foam recovers its original shape. Thanks to this quality, higher-density foams excel at providing support and conform to the body very closely. However, this also means they have a higher tendency to trap heat, which can be an issue for hot sleepers.
Lower-density foams, on the other hand, recover their shape quickly and are less likely to retain heat. Because they’re so responsive, however, lower-density foams don’t isolate motion as well as higher-density foams. They are also less durable than high-density foams and provide less support.
Generally, memory foam mattresses contain a mix of both foams, as they each have their pros and cons.
How do you use this knowledge to your advantage? Think about what’s most important to you as a mattress shopper. If staying cool is of paramount importance, you may prefer a mattress with medium- or low-density foams. If you are most concerned with support and durability, you’ll want to look for a mattress with a higher ratio of high-density foams. A mattress made of more high-density foams also tends to isolate motion better, so couples may prefer these mattresses.
While density measures the supportiveness of memory foam, ILD is used to gauge the firmness of a mattress. ILD (indentation load-deflection) 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, you’ll want to look for memory foam mattresses with an ILD of at least 10 to ensure adequate support. 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|
In addition to the ILD range for the bed, a mattress manufacturer may share the ILD ratings for the individual memory foam comfort layers. 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.
Finally, a mattress will have a firmness rating that’s separate from these ILD ratings. Firmness descriptions vary from Soft to Very Firm, and typically correlate with a 1-to-10 scale. When selecting your mattress firmness level, your goal is to find whichever firmness setting supports good spinal alignment while you sleep. To do this, you’ll want to keep your body weight and sleep position in mind.
Your sleep position is the next thing to consider after body weight. Side sleepers often find softer mattresses to be more comfortable, as these allow their pressure points (like the hips and shoulders) to sink deeper into the mattress surface and keep their spine aligned. Stomach sleepers need a firmer mattress, in order to avoid the pelvis from sinking out of alignment with the rest of the spine. Back sleepers also tend to be more comfortable on firmer mattresses.
|Weight Group||Below-average (less than 130 lbs.)||Average (130 to 230 lbs.)||Above-average (more than 230 lbs.)|
|Ideal Firmness for Side Sleeping||3 (Soft) to 4.5 (Medium Soft)||5 (Medium) to 6.5 (Medium Firm)||6.5 (Medium Firm) to 8 (Firm)|
|Ideal Firmness for Back Sleeping||4 (Medium Soft) to 5.5 (Medium)||5 (Medium) to 6.5 (Medium Firm)||6 (Medium Firm) to 8 (Firm)|
|Ideal Firmness for Stomach Sleeping||3 (Soft) to 4.5 (Medium Soft)||4 (Medium Soft) to 5.5 (Medium)||6 (Medium Firm) to 7.5 (Firm)|
The name “memory foam mattress” is a bit of a misnomer. Because memory foam is so soft, mattresses are never made entirely from memory foam. If they were, the mattress wouldn’t be able to provide support! Typically, memory foam mattresses are constructed with at least one layer of memory foam in the comfort system; the support core is almost always made of high-density polyfoam.
Today’s memory foam models feature several varieties of memory foam. Some of the most popular materials include:
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.
Due to the contouring effects of memory foam, many people find that these mattresses sleep warm to the point of discomfort. Cooling components (like the gel and copper-infused foams mentioned above) are designed to reduce this effect. The Nectar, the Loom & Leaf, and the Plank Mattress all incorporate gel-infused foams in their comfort layers, but the Plank takes it a step further with its optional temperature-regulating PCM cover (available for an additional price).
Also, pay attention to the thickness of the mattress cover, as well as the material used to make it. Covers that are thicker or constructed from less breathable materials may cause you to sleep hot, and also may affect the responsiveness of the memory layer.
Memory foam mattresses offer varying amounts of thickness in their comfort layers. A thicker top layer may provide added support for certain sleepers, such as heavier people who feel they need extra cushioning and support.
Depending on your sleep position, you may want more or less cushion from your comfort layers. Side sleepers can benefit from several inches of memory foam, in order to allow maximum pressure relief. Stomach sleepers may find thinner comfort layers preferable, as these don’t provide too much sinkage. Back sleepers need varying extents of cushioning in different areas of their body. Mattresses featuring zoned polyfoams in the transitional layers, like The Casper and MemoryLux mattresses, can be especially comfortable for these sleepers.
Memory foam provides some of the best relief for sleepers with chronic pain. However, it’s important to pick a mattress that can reliably provide this relief for some time, without sagging. Lower-quality foams break down faster, so look for mattresses made from higher-density foams. From our picks, the Nectar, Leesa, and Loom & Leaf mattresses all rate well among sleepers with chronic pain.
Ready to buy a memory foam mattress? Use this shopping checklist to find the best memory foam mattress you can.
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.
Any memory foam mattress of quality will come 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.
Because there’s nothing quite like trying your mattress at home, most mattresses come with a sleep trial. Sleep trials for mattresses bought in-store typically run about 30 nights, while online mattresses offer significantly longer sleep trials, usually 100 nights or more. All of the best memory foam mattresses we’ve reviewed here offer sleep trials of at least 100 nights, although the Nectar stands out for offering an extensive 365 nights.
Memory foam mattresses will vary considerably 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.
Often, when people purchase a new mattress, it’s common for their old pillows to no longer provide the support they need. Pillows work in tandem with your mattress to provide a comfortable night’s sleep, ensuring proper spinal alignment all the way through the neck and head.
The traditional advice for pillows is simple: you should buy your pillow based on your sleep position. Side sleepers need pillows with the highest lofts. Ideally, the loft matches the distance between the tip of the shoulder and the nape of the neck. Back sleepers find mid- or high-loft pillows most comfortable, while stomach sleepers sleep best with low-loft pillows, or no pillow at all.
When buying a pillow for your memory foam mattress, remember that you’ll sink more than you may have with your former mattress (this is especially true if this is your first memory foam mattress). So, you’ll need to adjust the traditional pillow buying advice accordingly. Typically, this simply means that you’ll need a slightly lower loft than before. Stomach sleepers, for example, may be able to go without a pillow at all, since the mattress surface itself is so conforming.
Your comfort preferences may change. If this happens before your mattress reaches its lifespan, you’ll be happy to hear you can easily adjust the firmness using a mattress topper. Mattress toppers can soften the surface of a firmer mattress, or increase the support of an older mattress. They can also be a good option for couples with different comfort needs. Learn more in our Guide to Mattress Toppers.
Finally, 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:
Some of the biggest Presidents Day discounts are still running! Click below!