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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.
Best Memory Foam Mattresses
Editor’s Choice – Loom & Leaf
Best Value – Nectar
Best Luxury – TEMPUR-Cloud Collection
Best for Side Sleepers – Nest Bedding Alexander Signature
Best for Back and Stomach Sleepers – Layla
The Loom & Leaf by Saatva is a supportive, pressure-relieving memory foam mattress that is available in two firmness options, Medium (5.5) and Firm (8).
The mattress is constructed with gel memory foam and standard memory foam in the comfort layers, as well as foam-quilted cover made of organic cotton. The comfort system provides close conforming for improved spinal alignment and great pain relief. A high-density polyfoam base layer ensures an even, supportive sleep surface.
Loom & Leaf also minimizes a significant amount of motion transfer and is virtually silent when bearing weight. This makes the mattress optimal for couples, particularly if one or both of the sleepers awakens easily due to movement or noise.
Because the Loom & Leaf is manufactured by Saatva, customers in the contiguous U.S. qualify for free White Glove Delivery. This includes in-home mattress assembly and old mattress removal.
The Nectar Mattress from Nectar Sleep cushions sleepers with four foam layers that offer close conforming and good pressure relief.
The Nectar Mattress is a Medium Firm, or 6 on the 1-10 firmness scale, which is one of the most popular firmness options among all sleepers. The comfort system features layers of gel memory foam and standard memory foam, which provide extra cushioning. The two-layer polyfoam support core helps maintain a flat surface for sleepers and reduce aches and pains throughout their bodies.
Nectar Mattresses also isolate a good amount of motion transfer and produce no noise. And because the mattress weighs no more than 89 pounds, it is light and easy to move even by memory foam model standards.
Nectar Sleep offers White Glove delivery and old mattress removal at an extra charge. The company’s 365-night sleep trial is one of the longest in the business.
The TEMPUR-Cloud memory foam mattress series includes five individual models, which range from 10″ to 13 1/2″ in thickness and are available in Soft (3), Medium Soft (4), or Medium (5) settings.
TEMPUR-Cloud mattresses offer strong pain and pressure relief due to their closely conforming memory foam comfort layers and sturdy support cores made of high-density polyfoam. These mattresses also have longer lifespans compared to other memory foam models; most perform for at least seven years before they need to be replaced.
Other benefits of TEMPUR-Cloud mattresses include great motion isolation and no noise, which help cut down on nighttime sleep disruptions for couples. Each mattress is backed by a 10-year warranty. For a one-time fee of $25, customers receive White Glove delivery that includes in-home mattress assembly and old mattress removal.
Price-points vary by individual model. The least expensive, the Cloud Prima, costs $1,799 in a Queen size; the most expensive, the TEMPUR-Cloud Luxe Breeze, costs $4,799 in a Queen size.
The Alexander Signature from Nest Bedding offers a comfortable, pressure-relieving sleep experience in two firmness options: Medium (5.5) or Luxury Firm (7.5).
Regardless of firmness choice, the mattress is constructed with a thick comfort system featuring gel memory foam and standard memory foam. Reinforced by high-density polyfoam base layers, the mattress cushions sleepers’ bodies and alleviates pressure while maintaining a supportive surface.
The Alexander Signature also provides great motion isolation and produces no noise, making it ideal for couples. The mattress is also fairly lightweight, and easy to move and maneuver for most.
Nest Bedding offers a lifetime comfort guarantee for the Alexander Signature, meaning customers can return it at any point; free returns in exchange for full refunds are available within 100 nights. The mattress also comes with a nonprorated lifetime warranty, which can save owners a significant amount of money if a defect ever develops.
The Layla Mattress from Layla Sleep is a flippable memory foam mattress. One side is Medium Soft (4), and the other side is Firm (7). Owners can adjust the firmness at any time by turning over the bed.
Both sides of the mattress feature copper-infused memory foam comfort layers. In addition to conforming closely and providing pressure relief, the copper helps the mattress sleep cooler and can improve circulation in sleepers. The softer side also features a layer of convoluted polyfoam for added cushioning, while the shared support core is made of high-density polyfoam.
Motion isolation is a key strength of the Layla Mattress. The mattress is also virtually silent, and is lightweight enough in all sizes for most owners to move and maneuver fairly easily.
Those who purchase the Layla Mattress will qualify for a 120-night sleep trial, as well as a nonprorated lifetime warranty. A Queen-size model costs $899, which is well below the average price-point for a memory foam 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 2018 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: