First developed by NASA in the 1970s and later popularized by bedding company Tempur-Pedic in the early 90s, memory foam has since become one of the most popular mattress materials on the market today. Soft, pressure-relieving, and characterized by a cushiony “hug,” the foam is seen in everything from beds to seat cushions and offers a gentle alternative to firm and supportive innerspring technology. However, not all memory foam is created equal, and just because a product claims to feature it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to feel the way memory foam should. But never fear, Sleepopolis is here! Below, we’re going to introduce you to a few mattresses that more than hit the memory foam mark, ranging from the luxuriously soft to the budget friendly. Plus, we’ll share some secrets for discerning between truly excellent memory foam and the stuff that’s better left on the shelf.
If you like memory foam, but don’t want to overheat while you sleep, the Lucid 10” Gel Memory Foam mattress might be the bed for you. Here, thick layers of gel-infused, ventilated memory foam produce a supremely gentle structure, which also happens to dissipate body heat with ease.
- The cooling properties in this mattress are the big selling points for me, ranging from the breathable Tencel cover to the ventilated and gel-infused memory foam layers.
- Given the thick layers of memory foam, I’d say this bed would also be great for side sleepers looking for deep pressure relief at the shoulders and hips.
- Additionally, the Lucid could be a solid pick for couples, as the memory foam does a lot to absorb and dampen movement across the structure.
- If you’re on the prowl for a bouncy bed, you’ll likely need to keep on looking, because there’s not a lot of lift to this mattress.
- Back and stomach sleepers may also find that the structure’s a tad too soft for their needs i.e. firm support at the hips and lower back.
The Lucid mattress features great gel memory foam and is a great value!
Though memory foam mattresses can get a little pricey, that doesn’t mean all beds featuring the material are going to be out of your budget. For example, take a look at the 12” Green Tea Memory Foam mattress from Zinus, which combines all the positive benefits of memory foam with a price that can’t be beat.
- First and foremost, I think the Zinus is a fantastic value buy. It has the feel of a luxury mattress at a price that’s not likely to break the bank.
- I’m also intrigued by the green tea infusion, which works to mitigate some of memory foam’s stuffier tendencies.
- The thick top layers of memory foam could also do a lot for side sleepers or any other folks who need to alleviate tension at the shoulders and hips.
- If you like to feel more “on top” of your mattress than “in” it, this Zinus mattress may not be the one for you.
- I’d also say that the bed sleeps a little hot, so may not be the best cooling memory foam mattress on the market.
The 12” Green Tea Memory Foam mattress from Zinus provides all the positive benefits of memory foam at a great price!
Best Soft Feel
Best Price Mattress
A defining characteristic of memory foam is its softness, and no bed better epitomizes this than the 10” memory foam mattress from Best Price, which complements its memory foam comfort layer with a second layer of super soft foam.
- With 3” of gentle memory foam overlaying a 2” section of the brand’s Super Soft foam, this bed sleeps like a cloud.
- That being said, if you really like to sink into your mattress, this could be the one for you!
- I’d also say that the bed is competitively priced, so isn’t likely to make too large of a dent in your bedroom budget.
- The softness here will work wonders for some sleepers, but could leave back and stomach sleepers feeling unsupported at the hips and lumbar region.
- There’s also no bounce to this structure, which could prove problematic for folks who need to move around and change positions in the night.
The Best Price mattress combines memory foam and super soft materials to comfort sleepers throughout the night.
Best for Side Sleepers
If you’re a strict side sleeper looking for a bed built with a ton of memory foam, the Nectar mattress may be the model for you. Outfitted with nearly 5” of the cushiony material, this bed is ideal for those after deep pressure relief.
- Where other mattresses feature memory foam, the Nectar is unique in that it makes the material the star, so could be a nice pick for memory foam lovers.
- Side sleepers in particular will enjoy the deep sink they’ll get from this bed, which should alleviate tension at the shoulders and hips.
- It’s also affordably priced, especially when considering its placement in the luxury memory foam category.
- If you need to change positions easily, this may not be the bed for you, as the thick memory foam limits mobility.
- Additionally, stomach sleepers may find that the gentle top layers cause their hips to sink out of alignment with their shoulders.
The Nectar has 5" of memory foam for comfort, making it an ideal bed for those in need of pressure relief!
Best for Couples
And finally, I think the 14” Gel Memory Foam mattress from Classic Brands could be the best memory foam pick for couples. With its luxury feel and strong edge support, this bed is designed for folks who like to share the bed.
- The bed has a luxurious feel to it, which is a big plus in my opinion, especially for couples looking to invest in a new mattress.
- I also like that the memory foam layers have been infused with gel to help things nice and cool through the night.
- Back and side combo sleepers could find a lot to love in this mattress, which strikes a sweet spot between pressure relief and support.
- Strict stomach sleepers may find that the gentle memory foam layers cause their hips to dip out of line with their shoulders.
- This bed got a medium firm score from me, so may not be ideal for those after an ultra-supportive structure.
The 14” Gel Memory Foam mattress from Classic Brands has a luxury feel and strong edge support!
How We Picked
Now that we’ve gone over our top memory foam picks, let’s take a minute to chat about the methodology behind our choices by breaking down the most important things to consider when looking for a memory foam bed.
As I teased in the intro, not all materials are created equal, so it’s crucial to find a mattress built with high-quality memory foam. When we talk about quality, we want to focus on a couple characteristics, namely density and thickness.
- Density – The density of a foam is a measure of its weight. Basically, it’s how much actual foam is present within a material. So, the higher the density, the greater the lifespan of the foam. For memory foam, you’ll want to hone in on a sweet spot somewhere between 3.0-5.0 PCF (pounds per cubic foot).
- Thickness – Another important indicator of quality is thickness. A one inch thick layer of memory foam, for example, isn’t going to be nearly as comfortable (or effective) as one of two or more inches. Considering that sinkage and body-contouring are the most crucial characteristics of memory foam, it makes sense that a thicker material would better embody those properties.
As we’ve discussed throughout this article, memory foam has a tendency to sleep hot. And it makes sense — the material is incredibly dense, so readily traps and absorbs body heat. Therefore, it’s important to look out for material modifications that’ll mitigate this overheating. I’ll detail two of the most common below.
- Gel infusions – Infused memory foams take the pressure-relieving goodness of traditional memory foam and amp it up with a little added cooling. Gel-infused is the most popular variant of this type, though more and more brands are experimenting with different elements, such as graphite and copper.
- Open-cell or Ventilated – Open-cell memory foam has a similar feel to traditional memory foam, but has been manufactured with tiny air pockets for added breathability. This results in a material that has a faster response time and overall better air circulation, which helps with temperature regulation throughout the night.
Though a mattress may feature memory foam, it’s rarely (if ever) the only material at play, so it’s important to note what else is going on in the construction. If the memory foam’s paired with pocketed coils, for example, you’re not likely to get as much sinkage as you would if it were paired with memory or poly foam. Remember: Just because a bed claims to have memory foam doesn’t mean it’s necessarily going to be super soft!
Now that we’ve gone over our picks and the methodology behind them, let’s wrap up this guide with a few tips and tricks you can use to land on the 100% right memory foam mattress for you!
- Pay more attention to the inches of memory foam than the number of layers of memory foam within a mattress. The former is a solid indicator of the bed’s total memory foam power while the latter is used mostly as a selling point.
- If you want to sleep extra cool, keep an eye out for mattress designs that feature latex over memory foam. Latex is a naturally cooling material, so helps to curb the overheating tendencies of memory foam, even better than gel infusions do.
And voilà! You now know everything you need to know about memory foam mattresses, from the best picks on the market, to the most important factors to consider when searching for one of your very own.
Logan is the content director of Sleepopolis, which means he not only reviews new mattresses every week, but also curates all the comparisons, best of pages, and video guides on the site. He takes a straightforward, honest approach to his reviews and endeavors to give viewers an objective look at each new product he tries out. Logan has perfected his method by personally testing over 200 different mattresses, so he’s not only able to discern the overall vibe of a specific bed, but to contextualize its feel within the bed-in-a-box market as a whole.