First developed by NASA in the 1970s for use on spacecraft, memory foam is now one of the most popular mattress materials around. And for good reason! It’s plush, gentle, pressure-relieving, and super cozy, working to alleviate tension across the body and keep the sleeper cradled in a cushiony embrace.
These days, the material’s incorporated into a ton of different mattresses, but is it the right material for your new mattress? Stick around for my round-up of the best memory foam mattresses of 2021 to find out!
Keep reading below for a full breakdown of my favorite memory foam mattresses. At the end, I’ll also go into the material’s biggest draws (and drawbacks) and provide you with some helpful information for finding the kind of memory foam mattress that’s going to be perfect for your specific sleep needs.
Best Memory Foam Mattresses
- Best Luxury Memory Foam – Loom & Leaf
- Best Cheap Memory Foam Mattress – Nectar
- Best Gel Memory Foam Mattress – GhostBed
- Best Mattress in a Box – Helix Midnight
- Best Memory Foam Mattress for Side Sleepers – WinkBeds MemoryLux
- Best Hybrid Memory Foam – DreamCloud Original
- Best Cooling Memory Foam Mattress – Layla
- Best for Back Sleepers – Bear
- Best Memory Foam Alternative – Nolah
- Best Memory Foam for Back Pain – Casper
How I Picked These Mattresses
Before I dive into my selections, I just want to acknowledge that all of these picks are based on my personal preference. Everybody and every body is different, so I suggest using these as a starting off point for your own search! The feel of a memory foam mattress will vary a lot depending on your body type and preferences.
I will say that I endeavored to only include options that feature high-quality memory foam, which, in my opinion, is dense, thick, and usually modified with either a cooling infusion or open-cell structure. These modifications are important because they help to mitigate the overheating tendencies of traditional memory foam, which can cause some sleepers discomfort at night.
But enough chat! Let’s get on with the picks.
Best Luxury Memory Foam Mattress
Loom & Leaf
When compared to other popular mattress materials, memory foam is known for its plush, luxurious feel. So, if you’re in the market for a true luxury memory foam mattress, I’d recommend checking out the Loom & Leaf.
I think folks after a slightly more luxurious vibe might dig this bed for a few reasons. Number one, the construction kicks off with two thick layers of memory foam, which provide ample space for deep body-contouring and pressure relief. Number two, the top section of memory foam is infused with gel, which helps to actively cool the sleeper. And number three, the Loom & Leaf is fairly firm, which means there’s consistent support from the center all the way to the sides of the mattress. Long story short, this is a high-quality mattress sure to satisfy all your luxury sleeping needs.
For more on this bed, visit my full Loom & Leaf mattress review.
Enjoy the cozy comfort of this ultra-plush mattress!
Best Cheap Memory Foam Mattress
Though memory foam can be slightly expensive, budget-conscious shoppers will be pleased to know that not every memory foam mattress has to break the bank. The Nectar, for example, is an excellent value option that epitomizes the best aspects of the material without costing a fortune.
Here, you’ll find a whopping 5” of memory foam up top, which sets an irresistibly soft tone for the structure. Most sleepers will sink deeply into these memory foam comfort layers, experiencing plenty of pressure relief at the shoulders and hips. Therefore, I normally recommend the Nectar for strict side sleepers or those in need of cushiony support at sensitive spots along the body. But overall, if you’re looking for a great deal on a classic memory foam feel, you can’t beat the Nectar mattress.
Get all the details at my full Nectar mattress review!
Sleepers will sink deep into the Nectar mattress for some soothing pressure relief, something that side sleepers will particularly appreciate! Click here to get $399 of free accessories with every mattress purchase!
Best Gel Memory Foam
The GhostBed is a great gel memory foam option for hot sleepers. This mattress actually puts a layer of aerated latex above a layer of gel memory foam, which means it won’t trap much body heat at all. If you tend to overheat at night but are looking for some pressure relief this mattress is a great option for you.
The GhostBed is also a great pick for combination sleepers. Combination sleepers can be wary of a memory foam mattress because people oftentimes think of being more “in the mattress” than “on top of a mattress. The Ghostbed is an exception to this fear. While it still has the pressure-relieving qualities and the soft feel that people love about memory foam, I found that it still is firm enough to move around on. I found that the predominant feeling was one of support and bounce, making it great for combination sleepers.
Read my full GhostBed Mattress review to learn more.
- Sleeps cool
- Medium firmness
- Good value
Best Mattress in a Box
Helix has a line of hybrid mattresses that arrive at your door in a box, as many online mattresses do these days. They have 13 models available, and the Helix Midnight is their most popular. It is so popular because it is a good option for a very wide variety of sleepers. There is really only one group of people I wouldn’t recommend this mattress for, and that is heavier sleepers. They just may not find this has enough support for them.
The memory foam layer on this mattress makes it a great option for couples, because the thick foam will absorb most of the movements, and the coils at the base give is a nice bounce which gives you ease of movement.
Learn more in my full Helix Midnight mattress review.
The Helix Midnight has a medium support level that will appeal to a wide range of sleep preferences!
Best Memory Foam Mattress for Side Sleepers
If you’re a side sleeper in need of pressure relief at the shoulders and hips, you may want to consider the WinkBed GravityLux mattress. This luxurious bed is built with thick top layers of memory foam, which provide ample space for deep body-contouring and sinkage.
Though this much memory foam would normally result in a major overheating problem, WinkBeds has managed to mitigate the worst of these effects by infusing its memory foam with gel. The bed is also wrapped in a cover of Tencel, an eco-friendly material that’s exceedingly breathable. All in all, a fantastic pick for folks looking to take advantage of the pressure-relieving capabilities of this classic mattress material.
The WinkBedsGravityLux has thick layers of memory foam to provide great pressure relief and the classic contouring feel of sinking into bed.
Best Hybrid Memory Foam
If you are a back sleeper looking for the perfect memory foam mattress, the DreamCloud Original may just be the mattress your dreams are made of. I love this bed for back sleepers, the cold at the base of the mattress provides great support to keep the hips in line with the shoulders, all while cradling the sensitive areas like the lower back and neck.
The DreamCloud mattress is also great for couples since it sleeps pretty cool and isolates motion fairly well. If feeling no movement from your partner is your #1 priority, you may want to check out some of the all memory foam options, since the coils in this mattress do give it a little bit of a bounce.
Read more about this hybrid mattress in my full DreamCloud Original mattress review.
Below is our exclusive Sleepopolis discount, which will get you free accessories when you purchase a DreamCloud mattress. Get $200 off a DreamCloud mattress plus free pillows, a mattress protector and a set of luxury sheets ($399 value) with your purchase!
Best Cooling Memory Foam Mattress
Memory foam is perhaps best known for its body-contouring capabilities, which allow sleepers to sink into the material for pressure relief at the shoulders and hips. While this deep sinkage can do wonders for aches and pains, it can also pose a pesky problem — overheating. But not all memory foam mattresses sleep hot! In fact, some, like the all-foam Layla mattress, sleep unbelievably cool.
Layla manages to beat the heat by infusing its memory foam with copper, a material that works to actively dissipate body heat throughout the structure. Another neat feature of this mattress is that’s flippable with both a Firm and Soft side. Personally, I like the Firm side for back sleepers and the Soft side for side sleepers, but I suggest trying out both to see which one works best for you. No matter which side you choose, you’ll enjoy plenty of cushiony (and cool!) copper-infused memory foam.
Read more about the Layla at my full Layla mattress review!
A flippable design makes the Layla mattress a truly customizable bedroom accessory.
Best Memory Foam Mattress for Back Sleepers
If you’re a back sleeper looking to snag a memory foam mattress that’ll alleviate tension at your lumbar region, I highly recommend checking out the Bear mattress. Unlike other memory foam models you’ll see on the market, this bed is actually quite supportive, working to align the spine all the way from the shoulders to the hips.
Bear pulls this off by bolstering its gentle memory foam top layer with firmer sections of high-density poly foam, striking a satisfying balance between pressure relief and support. I should also mention that the memory foam is infused with graphite for extra cooling and that the whole structure is wrapped in a Celliant cover, which some studies suggest could help with athletic recovery. All in all, a fantastic pick for those looking to soothe aches and pains in the night.
The cover of the Bear mattress uses celliant, which some studies suggest may help those with active lifestyles recover faster!
Best Memory Foam Alternative
Though memory foam has many wonderful attributes (such as cuddly sinkage, body-contouring, and deep pressure relief), it does have one major drawback: overheating. So, if you like the idea of memory foam, but don’t want to deal with that pesky problem, you may want to consider a memory foam alternative like the Nolah mattress.
Instead of memory foam, Nolah employs a proprietary AirFoam™ material in its comfort layers. This material has a similar feel to memory foam in that it’s deeply pressure-relieving and soft, but is also denser and altogether more breathable. Therefore, it sleeps cooler than traditional memory foam would, which could be a great sign for hot sleepers. Additionally, the density of the AirFoam™ material allows it to absorb and dissipate motion exceedingly well, which means you shouldn’t be too disturbed by your bed mate’s movements in the night.
For more on this bed, take a peek at my full Nolah mattress review.
A soft, supportive construction makes the Nolah mattress especially good for back sleepers.
Best for Back Pain
The Casper mattress is made with three layers of foam that work together to cushion where needed and support where necessary, making it an excellent option for those with back pains concerns. It is between medium-firm and firm on the scale (7/10) so it is soft enough to keep most sleeper’s spines aligned throughout the night.
If you do suffer from back pain, I definitely recommend sleeping on your back, a position which the Casper excels at supporting. If you prefer another sleeping position it depends on where you spend most of your time. Combination sleepers should be fine on this bed because it is easy to get comfortable in for a short period of time, but strict side sleepers will start to feel a lot of pressure in the hips and shoulders.
See my full Casper review to learn more.
- Great for combo sleepers
- Zoned support
- Balanced foam feel
How it Feels to Sleep on Memory Foam
Now that we’ve gone over all my favorite memory foam mattresses on the market, let’s take a second to recap the material’s most striking characteristics.
As you likely gathered from my descriptions above, body-conforming is a big selling point of the material. But what does this term actually mean? For me, it describes the sensation I experience as memory foam molds and is conforming to the unique curves of my body. That contouring feel is not only comfortable, but also helps to alleviate tension at sensitive spots such as the shoulders, hips, and lower back.
Another hallmark characteristic of memory foam is its deep sinkage, which allows sleepers to feel as though they’re beingenveloped in a cushioning embrace. While sinkage amounts vary from bed to bed, a true memory foam mattress will typically feature its fair share of the stuff.
Though some may say this results in a “stuck-in-the-bed” feel that makes it difficult to move around, others will find the sinkage helps to soothe achy joint pain.
And finally, memory foam is a very adaptive material, often described as viscoelastic. Viscoelastic foams have a very unique and recognizable feel — the more pressure that’s applied to the foam, the deeper compression and hug you feel. This type of compression doesn’t happen in an instant, but over the course of several seconds (the duration depends on the specific foam). At this time, the mattress will respond to the weight of your body and adjust density accordingly.
FAQQ: What is memory foam used for? A: This cushiony material is used predominantly in mattresses, but can also be spotted in pillows, seat cushions, blankets, and even shoe insoles!
Memory Foam Complaints
But of course, no material is without its drawbacks, so let’s go ahead and explore a few of memory foam’s most notable pitfalls.
As we discussed, memory foam has a bit of a reputation for overheating at night, mostly becausethe material is so dense that it has a tendency to trap any and all body heat. This can be highly uncomfortable for some sleepers, particularly those who already run hot.
Thankfully, many brands nowadays mitigate this annoying attribute by either infusing their memory foam layers with a cooling agent (usually a gel, sometimes copper, or graphite) or employing an open-cell design that promotes airflow throughout the mattress.
Though memory foam’s slow response to pressure can be a big plus for some sleepers, it can be a real drag for others, especially those who like to move around and change positions at night.Any material that has a slow response to pressure is going to produce a quasi-stuck feeling, which limits a sleeper’s overall mobility.
You can avoid this problem by snagging a memory foam mattress that also utilizes latex, a much bouncier material known for lifting sleepers up and out of bed.
FAQQ: Who is a memory foam mattress best for? A:
Memory foam mattresses can be great products for those in search of gentle pressure relief. Side sleepers usually like a memory foam mattress, because it has enough give for the hips and shoulders. However, they may not be the best fit for those who like to change positions in the night or stomach and back sleepers who need a more firm mattress.
What Makes the Best Memory Foam?
The density of a foam is a measure of its weight. Essentially, it’s how much actual foam material is built into the layer. >It’s important to remember that foam thickness is not an indication of density. A 3-inch layer of memory foam can range widely in density.
As a general rule, the higher the density of the foam, the greater lifespan that foam is likely to have. However, the higher the density of the foam, the warmer it’s generally going to sleep. The sweet spot for memory foam density is in the 3.0-5.0 PCF (pounds per cubic foot) range, in my opinion. This provides enough longevity and durability without being so dense that you create serious heat-retention issues.
The thickness of a memory foam layer (or any foam layer, for that matter) will play an important role in a bed’s overall comfort level.
Memory foam works best when there are at least 4 inches of comfortable memory foam. Bear in mind that this can be split into multiple layers. Varying densities and firmness levels are often layered together to create the right comfort and support dynamic.
Having at least four inches ensures smooth transitional support. Having a comfort layer that is less than four inches can increase the likelihood of encountering a “support wall” type of feel that’ll minimize the beneficial effects of memory foam, especially if combined with polyurethane foam, latex, or other non-memory foam. This happens when sleepers hit the support layer which is significantly more firm than the top layers.
Different Types of Memory Foam
Pros and cons aside, let’s wrap up this guide by briefly touching on the most popular types of memory foam. While this isn’t an exhaustive list of all the memory foam variations available online, it does highlight the ones you’re most likely to run into.
Traditional Memory Foam
When people think of “memory foam,” this is usually what they envision.A classic or more traditional type of memory foam is usually going to be less responsive (taking several seconds to adapt to your changes in movement), thereby offering a deeper and more pronounced hug and contour.This type is also notably denser than either of the other options listed in this section and is the main culprit for the “overheating” rep memory foam often gets.
Infused / Gel Memory Foam
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.
Typically, infused memory foam is going to be slightly less dense than traditional memory foam as the infusions work to open up the tight structure of the material.
Open-Cell Memory Foam
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 not as popular as either of the aforementioned memory foams, open-cell designs are seen in a number of mattresses on the market.
FAQQ: How long does a memory foam mattress last? A: This question really comes down to the density of the material. Low-density memory foams will typically only last between 5-6 years, while high-density memory foams can last upwards of 10 years. I always recommend choosing a memory foam mattress with a generous warranty, since solid memory foam beds could wear down more quickly than other mattresses.
Well folks, that about does it for this guide! Hopefully, you found the memory foam mattress of your dreams, but if you didn’t, feel free to shoot me a message on Facebook or Twitter and I’ll help you find the bed that’s going to be 100% right for you.
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Is a memory foam mattress good?
Memory foam mattresses can be great for those in need of pressure relief! The material is well known for its body-contouring hug, which allows sleepers to sink deeply into the bed for relief at the shoulders and hips.
Do you need a boxspring with a memory foam mattress?
Totally up to you! You don’t need a box spring for any of the mattresses mentioned in this video, but if you prefer the feel of a box spring to that of a traditional bed frame, feel free to go with it.
Can you flip a memory foam mattress?
It depends on the bed. Some memory foam mattresses (like the Layla mentioned here) are flippable, so will work regardless of how you orient them. Others, however, aren’t designed to be flipped at all as they only feature memory foam on one side of the bed.
Is a memory foam mattress good for back pain?
It really depends on how you sleep! Though most memory foam mattresses will probably be too soft for strict back sleepers, side sleepers with aches and pains in the lower back may find that a memory foam mattress is able to alleviate tension along the spine.
The Best Memory Foam Mattresses of 2021
|Mattress||Best For||Price (Queen)||Coupon||Review|
|Loom & Leaf||Luxury||$1,699||See Current Offer||Read My Review!|
|Nectar||Cheap||$799||Nectar Coupon||Read Our Review!|
|GhostBed||Gel||$1,140||Ghostbed Coupon||Read Our Review!|
|Helix Midnight||in a Box||$1,099||Helix Coupon||Read Our Review!|
|WinkBeds Memory Lux||Side Sleepers||$1,599||WinkBed Coupon||Read Our Review!|
|DreamCloud||Hybrid||$1,099||DreamCloud Coupon||Read Our Review!|
|Layla||Cooling||$1,049||Layla Coupon||Read Our Review!|
|Bear||Back Sleepers||$995||Bear Coupon||Read Our Review!|
|Nolah||Foam Alternative||$1,049||See Current Offer||Read My Review!|
|Casper||Back Pain||$1,295||Casper Coupon||Read Our Review!|