Best Memory Foam Mattresses

Updated August 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
Bottom Line
Pros
Cons
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

75 Models Considered
900 Hours Researched
25 Experts Interviewed
500 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
We may earn a commission if you purchase a product through our links.

Buying guide for the best memory foam mattresses

Last Updated August 2019

Step aside traditional innerspring mattresses, there’s a new kid on the block. Well, memory foam mattresses are not necessarily new but this type of mattress, which has been growing in popularity over the years, is taking the mattress industry by storm. While innerspring mattresses are the golden oldies of the sleep industry, memory foam mattresses are the future.

Believe it or not, memory foam was first invented by NASA in the 1970s to improve the safety and crash protection of aircraft cushions for pilots and passengers. Nearly 50 years later, memory foam serves a wide variety of commercial purposes—most notably in the mattresses we sleep on every night.

For a long time, memory foam received a bad rap for sleeping too hot and creating a “sinking” feeling. However, huge improvements have been made to the production of memory foam with product engineers seeking to eradicate the criticism memory foam faced for so many years. As a matter of fact, it’s rare this type of mattress will be made with pure memory foam these days. Rather, many foam mattresses in the category are made of proprietary foam blends that resolve the issues that sparked complaints of this material in the past.

It’s safe to say the industry has finally mastered the art of the memory foam mattress.

EXPERT TIP

Firmness and support are not the same. A soft, contouring memory foam mattress can be just as supportive as a firmer bed. Take a look at the construction and foams used to make your mattress to evaluate support, not the firmness


Staff  | BestReviews

Benefits of sleeping on a memory foam mattress

A mattress that lasts

The average lifespan of a mattress is seven to 10 years. Memory foam mattresses fall on the longer end of the lifespan spectrum. They hold their shape better over time – meaning you won’t see as much sagging or drooping as you might with an innerspring or coil mattress. They’re also constructed with a more durable base layer of foam that adds support and strength.

The most affordable type of mattress

The average cost of a quality memory foam mattress sold online is around $1,000, whereas latex and hybrid mattresses cost closer to $2,000 on average. This does not make memory foam mattresses lower quality than the other types on the market. Rather, the cost of sourcing natural latex is higher and hybrid mattresses require more materials (i.e. pocket coils in addition to foam or latex). With the emergence of the bed in a box industry, you no longer need to spend $4,000 for a high quality mattress. Online companies sell directly to their customers eliminating middleman markup fees.

Key considerations


Materials and construction
Most memory foam mattresses are made with viscoelastic polyurethane foam. In the past, this type of foam was pegged for being made with harmful chemicals called petrochemicals that are derived from petroleum. However, in 2008, the CertiPUR-US® program was developed to ensure foams manufactured in the United States are held to the most rigorous standards and are rid of harmful chemicals that are banned in the U.S. When shopping for a memory foam mattress, make sure to look for the CertiPUR-US certification. CertiPUR-US certified foam means the foam:

  • Is made without ozone depleters
  • Contains no flame retardants, mercury, lead, formaldehyde, or phthalates
  • Does not emit VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) into the air


After evaluating the quality of the foam, consider the construction of the mattress. Most memory foam mattresses are constructed with a comfort foam layer on top that contours to the body and a high-density foam base layer that supports the entire structure and prevents sagging or sinking.

Motion transfer

When you think of memory foam you most likely envision a person jumping on a bed with a glass of wine on the other side. That’s because memory foam mattresses are most commonly known for being exceptional at absorbing motion (and a good memory foam mattress should be).

Motion transfer is important if you sleep with a partner (or pet, for that matter). No one likes being woken up by their partner tossing and turning in their sleep or getting up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. Compared to innerspring mattresses that typically feel “shaky” when one partner is moving around, memory foam does a better at minimizing any movement felt. If you don’t sleep alone, you should seriously consider a memory foam mattress.

Responsiveness

Memory foam is also known for its responsive surface. The reason this material conforms to the shape of your body is because it softens when it comes in contact with body heat and then retains its shape once it cools. This property is what makes a memory foam mattress so desirable to sleepers—it offers premier comfort.

When shopping for a memory foam mattress be sure to find the right balance of comfort and support. While you’ll want a mattress to “hug” your body to some degree, you don’t want to sink too far into the mattress. This causes issues of low-back pain because your spine is thrown out of its natural alignment. To find a mattress that strikes the proper balance between comfort and support, take a close look at its construction. Examine the ratio of comfort layers (the top of the mattress) to the support layers (the bottom of the mattress).

The responsiveness of memory foam is also great for pain management because it cradles your joints. A proper memory foam mattress with a supportive core will evenly distribute your body weight while still molding to the areas of your body that carry the most weight. 

Body temperature regulation

As mentioned above, memory foam mattresses have a tendency to sleep hot. In the past, foam mattresses trapped body heat rather than dispersing it. Lack of airflow in memory foam mattresses was the most common complaint.

Now, most memory foam models are made with open-celled memory foam that increases airflow and breathability. This improvement to memory foam helps carry heat away from your body so you stay cool while you sleep. When shopping for a memory foam mattress look for mattresses made with “open-cell”, “gel”, or “cooling” memory foam.

The type of sleeper you are

The properties of memory foam best serve back and side sleepers best because it’s known to be an excellent material for evenly distributing weight and minimizing pain at pressure points, while also supporting the natural curve of your spine.

Size

Choosing the best mattress size is a personal preference. To select the right size mattress for your space and sleeping needs, consider the following questions:

Who do you sleep with?

This will be the most important determinant in choosing the size mattress you need. If you are going to get a good night’s sleep consistently, you are going to need your space. A queen size mattress is the most common mattress size among couples. However, if you are tall or can’t stand being touched while you sleep, you might want to upgrade to a king. At the end of the day, the size mattress you need ultimately comes down to which size will provide the most comfort for you.

What’s your price range?

Price may also play a role in what size mattress you choose. However, don’t compromise on the size mattress you need just because the largest size is out of your price range. At that point, you should look for a more affordable model. Even the best mattress in the world won’t feel great if you don’t have enough room to sleep comfortably.

How much space do you have?

Last but not least, consider how the mattress will fit in your space. Once again, it’s important you don’t settle for a smaller mattress size just because you can fit your favorite chair in the bedroom with it if that means sacrificing comfort. Your sleep is too important for you to risk sleeping on a mattress that doesn’t satisfy your physical needs and comfort preferences.

Here are the standard sizes for mattresses measured by width and length. Mattresses tend to differ most in height, but they usually range from 9” to 12”.

  • Twin: 38” x 75”
  • Twin XL: 38” x 80”
  • Full: 53” x 75”
  • Queen: 60” x 80”
  • King: 76” x 80”
  • California king: 72” x 84”

Did you know memory foam can change shape in different temperatures? This can have a negative effect on the foams’ pressure relieving abilities. Puffy’s recently launched ClimateComfort™ foam layer is resistant to contractions and expansions caused by extreme temperatures, so whether you’re in the dead of winter or heat of summer, this mattress will provide great pressure relief.

Trial period and return policy for mattresses

Rather than rolling around awkwardly on a mattress in a store for five minutes, online mattress brands allow you to try your mattress in the privacy of your own home, risk-free. Most trial periods last 100 nights, although some brands allow you to sleep on their mattress for up to one year. If at any time  during your trial run you decide the mattress is not for you, you can return it for a full refund. Simply contact customer service for that brand and they will assist you in donating or returning your unwanted mattress. Keep in mind it can take up to 30 nights to get accustomed to a new mattress.

What can you expect to spend on a memory foam mattress?

A memory foam mattress is typically the most affordable type of mattress and can range anywhere from $300 to $1,900 for a queen size. The average cost of memory foam mattresses sold online is $1,000. Here’s a glimpse of what you can expect to pay and get in return.

Budget mattresses

You can pay as low as $350 to $600 for an inexpensive queen memory foam mattress. Beware that mattresses that cost less than $500 for a queen might feel comfortable at first, but they usually won’t last long. However, budget mattresses can serve as wonderful guest bedroom mattresses since they won’t be slept on every night.

Middle of the road

You don’t have to break the bank for a good night’s sleep. A majority of memory foam mattresses purchased online will cost between $700 to $1,200 for a queen without compromising on quality.

Luxury memory foam mattresses

As with most things, you can always upgrade. Luxury memory foam mattresses sold online can cost as much as $2,000 for a queen. But even the most expensive memory foam mattress online is still going to be significantly cheaper than buying from a mattress store. Luxury mattresses are often made with proprietary foams and come with all the “bells and whistles” (i.e. gel-infused memory foam, smart toppers, or dual-sided firmness).

EXPERT TIP

If you are sleeping hot most nights and aren’t sure if the increase in body temperature is coming from your mattress, examine your sleeping environment from a holistic point of view. Have you tried new sheets or pajamas recently? Has the season recently changed? If you are keeping your room the same temperature, wearing the same clothes to bed, and using the same sheets, then your mattress is most likely the cause.


Staff  | BestReviews

Other shopping tips

  • Be wary of memory foam mattresses manufactured outside of the U.S. They are not held to the same standards as the ones produced in the U.S. Locate where the mattress is produced and then look for the CertiPUR-US certification to ensure its materials are of the highest quality.
  • Even if you are on a strict budget, do your best to avoid memory foam mattresses that cost under $500 for a queen. These mattresses won’t last long. Even increasing your budget to $800 will significantly improve the quality of mattresses in your price range. Many brands offer financing with 0% APR. It will be worth the investment.
  • Many brands make claims about the cooling properties of their memory foam mattresses. Read verified customer reviews to confirm these claims. If what real customers are saying checks out with the brand’s claims but you are still sleeping hot on your mattress, consider all factors before pinning the problem on the mattress. What sheets are you using? What clothes are you sleeping in? What season is it? Is your bedroom cool enough? If the only change to your environment is your mattress, consider returning it within your trial period.
  • Pay close attention to the construction of the mattress model before purchasing. Examine how thick the core support foam is and what its made of so you don’t experience premature breakdown.

Other products we considered

There are a number of options to choose from when buying a memory foam mattress. The products highlighted above are what we consider to be the best of the best, but there are a few other mattresses that just missed the mark. The Brooklyn Bowery is a budget-friendly memory foam mattress made by Brooklyn Bedding. Although this mattress is offered at a lower price point, Brooklyn Bedding owns the manufacturing process from start to finish, allowing them to offer high-quality products at competitive price points. The Layla mattress is a dual-sided mattress that offers a different firmness level on each side. If you aren’t sure what level of firmness you prefer, Layla is a great option for you. Finally, the Nectar mattress is a memory foam mattress that offers one of the longest trial periods - one whole year. If you’re indecisive and need more time to see if a memory foam mattress is right for you, then Nectar may be the way to go.

EXPERT TIP

If you have previously been sleeping on an innerspring mattress, it may take up to one month to adjust to the feel of your new memory foam mattress.


Staff  | BestReviews

FAQ

Q. Which types of sleepers should consider a memory foam mattress?
A.
Memory foam mattresses are a great choice for side sleepers, combination sleepers, couples and people with back or joint pain. Memory foam serves side sleepers well because the material naturally adapts to the curvature of the hips and shoulders. Combination sleepers will also appreciate memory foam mattresses because the foam responds and adapts quickly to changes in body position. Couples will want to check out memory foam mattresses because of the superior motion absorption memory foam provides. Finally, individuals with joint pain should consider memory foam because of its ability to cradle areas that carry the most body weight.

Q. If a memory foam mattress is compressed in a box for shipping, will that impact the quality of the mattress?
A.
Not at all. In fact, compression actually helps to break in the foam. Just make sure to unbox your mattress soon after it arrives. A mattress that’s compressed for more than 30 days can affect the feel and performance of the foam.

Q. What’s the difference between a memory foam mattress and a latex mattress?
A.
While the difference between a memory foam mattress and an innerspring mattress may be obvious, how memory foam compares to latex isn’t so clear. Both memory foam and latex are great for responsiveness and pressure relief, however, you will pay much more for a latex mattress. Latex mattresses offer a more buoyant feel rather than contour. However, latex retains less heat than memory foam.

Q. How long will it take to adjust to sleeping on a memory foam mattress after sleeping on an innerspring mattress?
A.
It takes an average of 30 days to break in a new mattress. Just like you have to break in a new pair of shoes, mattresses also have a break-in period. Your body needs time to get used to the new feel of your mattress and the materials in your mattress will need time to fully settle.

The team that worked on this review
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer

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