Best Memory Foam Mattress

We have an affiliate relationship with some companies where we get a percentage of sales if you click over from our site. Also, Casper provided financial support to allow JAKK Media (our company) to acquire Sleepopolis. See our full disclosures here.

Best Memory Foam Mattress: Which Is Right for You?

Memory foam was first created in the 1970s by NASA. However, it wasn’t until the 1990s that memory foam mattresses began to grow in popularity. Memory foam is known for its deep compression support, pressure relief, and body-contouring properties. Today, memory foam mattresses come in many varieties, constructions, and feels. Many include several layers and different types and combinations of foam, which I’ll go into a little more at the bottom of this article.

It can be tough to find the right fit for you in a market with many solid options. Don’t worry, because Sleepopolis has outlined our top memory foam mattress picks below, with options for almost every sleeping preference. I want to note that the information below is comprised of my opinions, reflecting my own preferences and biases, so use it as a starting point.

Continue reading to get the full breakdown of the best memory foam mattress, or click here to skip ahead to the summary where we’ve got our full list of memory foam mattress reviews for all of the top choices.

And make sure to check out our full mattress review series to find the best models for all types of sleepers.

What Is the Best Memory Foam Mattress?

Like any other top picks, these top-quality memory foam mattress picks are reflective of my own personal preferences, so just use them as a starting point! Some include multiple types of foam and can even use hybrid mattress construction. I’ve broken down my picks based on criteria I hope will be helpful in your own mattress search. Now, on to my top 10 memory foam mattresses for a variety of sleepers:

Type of MattressModelMaterialsReviews
Budget OptionNectar MattressTencel Cooling Cover, Quilted Gel Memory Foam, Gel Memory Foam, Adaptive Hi Core Memory Foam, Breathable Base LayerNectar Mattress Details and Reviews
Soft FeelLayla Mattress3″ Copper-Infused Memory Foam, 2″ Convoluted Support Foam, 4.5″ Base Support Foam, 1″ Copper-Infused Memory FoamLayla Mattress Details and Reviews
Firm FeelNovosbed Mattress2.0″ Ultra-Dense Memory Foam (x2), 7.0″ Support FoamNovosbed Mattress Details and Reviews
Sleeps CoolAmerisleep MattressActive Flex Foam, Affinity Layers, Celliant Cover, Bio-CoreAmerisleep Mattress Details and Reviews
DurableNest Bedding Alexander Signature Mattress1″ Quilted Cool Stretch Fabric, 2.5″ Gel Memory Foam, 1″ Visco Memory Foam, 2″ SmartFlow Foam, 6″ Solid Edge Support Base FoamAlex Signature Mattress Details and Reviews
Great Edge SupportTempurpedic Tempur-Flex Supreme MattressCooling Cover, Comfort Layer, Response Layer, Dynamic Support Layer, Base LayerTempurpedic Mattress Details and Reviews
Medium FirmnessBear MattressCelliant Woven Cover, Graphite Gel Memory Foam, Transition Foam, High-Density Support FoamBear Mattress Details and Reviews
Plant-BasedLoom & Leaf MattressGel Foam, Viscoelastic Memory Foam, Polyfoam, High-Density Polyfoam BaseLoom and Leaf Mattress Details and Reviews
Luxury OptionWright MattressGel-Infused Memory Foam, Polymer-Reinforced Zero G Foam (x2), Base FoamWright Bedding Mattress Details and Reviews

Read on for why I chose these mattress brands! Toward the bottom, I’ve also included more in-depth information on what I look for when reviewing memory foam mattresses. These bottom sections will aim to explain the benefits of memory foam and some of the different types of memory foam used in mattress construction.

Best Memory Foam Mattresses: Top Choices Detailed

Below, I have listed my favorite memory foam mattresses based on different factors and criteria, as well as my personal experiences and thoughts. I’ll continue to update this list as I test and review new mattresses.

Budget Option: Nectar Mattress

Angled view of the Nectar mattress
Angled view of the Nectar mattress

The Nectar Mattress is an all-around great-quality memory foam mattress for a very competitive price. It gives sleepers what I tend to call a “true” memory foam feel, using multiple layers of foam and an inch of foam quilted right into the cover. It performs well on pressure relief and also features a layer of gel memory foam to help keep the sleeper cool. This is a good feature and is definitely something to keep in mind when shopping for a memory foam mattress, as memory foam has a reputation for sleeping hot, though manufacturers like Nectar use several techniques to regulate temperature.

Read our full Nectar Mattress Review here.

Soft Feel: Layla Mattress

Close up of the Layla mattress

The Layla Mattress is one of several on the market that features a flipable design, meaning you can experience two different feels and firmnesses by simply flipping the mattress over. The softer side of the Layla mattress does a great job of contouring to the body. This lets the sleeper “sink in” just slightly in basically every sleeping position. The firmer side of the Layla mattress also exhibits great pressure relief.

Check out our Layla Mattress Review here.

Firm Feel: Novosbed Mattress

Novosbed Mattress Edge Support
Showing the Novosbed mattress edge support

The Novosbed Mattress might be considered on the medium-firm side of memory foam mattresses. While all of their firmness levels keep sleepers from sinking too far into the mattress, there was another thing I especially liked about the Novosbed: The Comfort+ Kit. This is a special series of foam inserts that fit under the cover of the Novosbed to customize firmness to your preferences. The Comfort+ Kit comes at no extra charge to Novosbed customers and allows you to customize the mattress to become basically however firm you need.

Read our full Novosbed Mattress review here.

Sleeps Cool: Amerisleep Mattress

Amerisleep Comparison Sitting On Bed
Sitting on an Amerisleep mattress

Amerisleep Mattresses come in five firmness levels, all of which feature cooling Celliant® and Bio-Pur™ foam technology. These design elements help facilitate air flow through the mattress and also transfer heat away from the cover, where body heat can sometimes accumulate during sleep. I found Amerisleep mattresses to provide excellent pressure relief without trapping heat like some memory foam models tend to do.

Read our review of all Amerisleep models here.

Durable: Nest Bedding Alexander Signature Mattress

Nest - Alexander Series Mattress Front
Front view of the Alexander Signature Series

Nest Bedding’s Alexander Signature Mattress is built with comfort and durability in mind. It features four layers of foam, with a luxurious 4-inch layer of gel memory foam at the top and high-density poly foam on the bottom. Two transition layers in the center promote comfort and help add durability so the mattress will resist compressing over time. Its construction should hold up well to nightly use, even for couples, and Nest also offers a lifetime warranty on all of their mattresses.

Read our full review of Nest Bedding’s Alexander Mattress here.

Great Edge Support: Tempurpedic Tempur-Flex Supreme Mattress

TEMPURFlex Corner View
Corner view of the TEMPUR-Flex Supreme

The Tempurpedic Tempur-Flex Supreme Mattress is a relatively recent offering from memory foam giant Tempurpedic. The Tempur-Flex Supreme is actually a hybrid mattress, meaning it combines memory foam with innerspring construction. I found this mattress to have fantastic edge support due to the hybrid construction and special poly foam edge support, which surrounds the coils and reinforces the bed at the sides.

Read our full review of the Tempur-Flex Supreme here.

Medium Firmness: Bear Mattress

Bear Mattress Review
Queen size Bear mattress

The Bear Mattress is specifically marketed toward individuals with active lifestyles. I found it to be a solid choice for sleepers who prefer a medium level of firmness and also want a memory foam mattress. Bear uses graphite-gel-infused memory foam, a breathable Celliant cover, two middle polyfoam layers, and a high-density polyfoam base to give a mid-range level of support I think many people will like. For sleepers who want a medium feel with a touch of memory foam pressure relief, this could be a very good choice.

Read our full review of the Bear Mattress here.

Plant-Based: Loom & Leaf Mattress

Pressing into the Loom & Leaf

The Loom & Leaf Mattress is manufactured by Saatva, one of the most successful online mattress companies in the United States. Loom & Leaf mattresses are manufactured with an eye toward a smaller environmental footprint, and the foams used are from suppliers that have reduced greenhouse gas emissions. Loom & Leaf covers are made using organic cotton, and natural thistle is used as a flame retardant.

Read our full review of the Loom & Leaf Mattress here.

Luxury Option: Wright Mattress

Wright Mattress Hand Push
The Wright has a very plush feel due to thick comfort layer

The Wright Mattress aims to provide a luxury bed in a box foam mattress targeted toward the luxury consumer. It has a breathable, multi-layer construction where layers start out very soft and transition to firmer foams down below. I found the Wright Mattress to be on the slightly softer side, and its thick comfort layer gives it a plush feel in multiple sleeping positions. The Wright Mattress also performs very well when it comes to reducing motion transfer.

Read our full Wright Mattress Review here.

Memory Foam Feel

A memory foam mattress starts out like many other comparative foam mattresses, with a thick layer of support poly foam. This establishes the solid foundation for all of the other top foam and comfort layers.

The specific type of memory foam on top of the poly foam can vary, but one characteristic remains consistent: viscoelasticity.

Tempurpedic Cloud Supreme Breeze mattress layers (top to bottom) - 2" memory foam, 2" memory foam, 4" polyurethane foam, 3.5" polyurethane foam
Tempurpedic Cloud Supreme Breeze mattress layers (top to bottom) – 2″ memory foam, 2″ memory foam, 4″ polyurethane foam, 3.5″ polyurethane foam

Viscoelastic foams have a very unique and recognizable feel. The more pressure that is 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). In this time, the mattress will respond to the weight of your body and adjust density accordingly.

Perhaps the most notable attribute of memory foam is the way it contours and hugs your body. The viscoelastic properties of memory foam allow your body to sink into the material, with the foam slowly contouring to your unique shape. This type of action creates excellent pressure relief and support. It cradles sleepers in a way that coil or latex mattresses cannot.

One important clarifying note regarding memory foam vs. poly foam: All memory foam is poly foam, but not all poly foam is memory foam. It is the viscoelastic properties that make a memory foam. Polyurethane foam without viscoelastic properties is not a memory foam.

Memory Foam Drawbacks: Cooling and Responsiveness

There are two primary negatives that can impact many memory foams: Slow responsiveness and heat retention.

A memory foam’s level of response means how quickly it is able to adapt to your changes in movement. The very nature of memory foam’s viscoelastic properties means that it generally takes several seconds for a memory foam to fully change its molded contour when pressures on the foam change. However, it is this type of contour and hug that also makes memory foam so desirable for many people.

Gel memory foam - response and contour example
Gel memory foam – response and contour example

The slow responsiveness is seen as a negative by many sleepers, but there are just as many who enjoy that type of a feel. If you haven’t tried a memory foam mattress before, it may be a good idea to try a friend’s or go test a few mattresses in store. This will help to ensure that you’re comfortable with a slower-responding foam.

Next, we have heat retention. The earliest versions of memory foam were especially plagued by hot spots and heat retention in the mattress. However, over the course of the past 30 years, memory foam has made great strides in this area.

Most memory foam is still going to be warmer than latex, coil, or hybrid mattresses, but they aren’t the heat traps that they were originally. Advanced foam design, improvements in manufacturing, special covers, gel, open-cell structure, and other advancements have helped reduce the heat retention issues. That said, if you are the type of sleeper who sleeps very warm, memory foam might not be the right choice for you.

What Makes the Best Memory Foam?

We’ve talked quite a bit about the feel characteristics of memory foam above, but now, let’s get into some of the important technical differences. What is it that actually makes a memory foam better or worse?

Density

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 a foam, the greater lifespan that foam is likely to have. However, the higher the density of a 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.

Thickness

The thickness of a memory foam layer (or any foam layer, for that matter) will play an important role. This has more to do with the mattress as a whole.

Memory foam works best when there is at least 4 inches of comfort memory foams. Bear in mind that this can be split into multiple layers. Varying densities and firmnesses are often layered together to create the right comfort and support dynamic.

Memory foam mattress example - 6.5" memory foam, 5.5" support foam
Memory foam mattress example – 6.5″ memory foam, 5.5″ support foam

Having at least 4 inches ensures a smooth transitional support. Having a comfort layer that is less than 4 inches can increase the likelihood of encountering a “support wall” type of feel and/or minimize the memory foam feel, especially if combined with a poly foam, latex, or other non-memory foam.

What Is the Difference Between a Gel and Memory Foam Mattress?

Gel foam is only one type of memory foam. When many people hear the phrase “memory foam,” they tend to think in terms of a single material, but that could not be further from the truth. Memory foam is a category of foam: polyurethane foam with viscoelastic properties.

There are numerous types of memory foam. Companies put their own twist on memory foam through different formulations that can change the foams’ responsiveness, contour, hug, cooling, firmness, sinkage, durability, and other factors. Memory foams can include gel, open-cell designs, cooling pads, special layer designs, aeration holes, and other enhancements that can improve the performance in one or more ways. For example, if you like the feel of memory foam but want something with a little more response, a more open-cell memory foam will create faster response.

What Are the Different Types of Memory Foam?

Below, we’ll look at a few of the most notable derivations of memory foam. However, it’s important to note that these are just a handful of the potential types of memory foam you will see used in various mattresses.

Traditional Memory Foam

When people think of “memory foam,” this is usually what they envision. A more classic or traditional type of memory foam is usually going to be less responsive (taking several seconds to adapt to your changes in movement) and offer a deeper and more pronounced hug and contour. The more traditional memory foam also usually has a high density.

Density of foam is measured in pounds per cubic foot (PCF). It is a measure of the foam’s weight. Foams with higher density usually will yield a longer life. Most traditional memory foams will use a density of 4.0-7.0 PCF.

NovosBed mattress layers (top to bottom) - 2" ultra-dense memory foam, 2" ultra-dense memory foam, 7" support foam
Novosbed mattress layers (top to bottom) – 2″ ultra-dense memory foam, 2″ ultra-dense memory foam, 7″ support foam

Open-Cell Memory Foam

Traditional memory foam uses a closed-cell manufacturing process that creates a more dense but less responsive foam. Traditional memory foam has a slower response time, deep compression, and great pressure relief. One struggle for traditional memory foam is heat retention. Some sleepers complain about “sleeping hot” or “feeling stuck.”

Open-cell memory foam has a similar feel to traditional memory foam. During the manufacturing process, tiny air pockets are injected into the foam. This results in a foam that has a faster response time and better air circulation than traditional (closed-cell) memory foam.

Close up of the foam layers. Note the open cell structure of the top layer of memory foam.
Close up of the foam layers. Note the open cell structure of the top layer of memory foam.

Is Gel Memory Foam Cooler?

Gel memory foam mattresses and gel-infused memory foam are some of the most common variations on memory foam you’ll see. One of the biggest benefits of a gel memory foam mattress is the cooling that is lacking in traditional memory foam. A quality gel memory foam mattress will sleep cooler than a quality or low-quality traditional memory foam.

Gel can be included within a memory foam mattress in a couple of different ways. The first method incorporates the gel as tiny beads, which are evenly dispersed into the foam during fabrication. The gel can also be added to the foam in a liquid state during manufacturing. Both ways integrate the gel in the early stages of fabrication to make sure that the gel is cohesively spread throughout the foam.

Loom and Leaf mattress foam layers
Loom & Leaf mattress layers (top to bottom) – 2″ conforming gel foam, 2.5″ visco-elastic memory foam, 2″ transitional support layer, 5.5″ high-density support layer

The cooling ability of a gel-infused foam comes from two factors. One is the composition of the gel, which is designed to absorb and disperse heat. Additionally, having a gel component infused within the foam helps to further disperse the polyurethane material, which is responsible for most of the heat retention. This helps to better disperse heat from your body, preventing hot spots and heat retention.

However, the type of gel, type of memory foam, fire sock, foam density, layer design, and/or mattress covers all factor into the level of cooling that a mattress is capable of. Just because it uses gel doesn’t mean it sleeps cool. On the other hand, just because it’s traditional memory foam doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to sleep warm.

See our best cooling mattress guide for a deep dive on all things cooling-related.

Your specific cooling needs in combination with the other factors listed above will determine whether or not the mattress has the level of cooling best suited for you.

Mattress coolest materials - from most cool to least cool
Mattress coolest materials – from most cool to least cool

Gel Memory Foam Mattress Buying Guide

Use the following checklist when shopping for a gel memory foam mattress:

  1. Is the mattress made from a gel swirl/gel beads, or is it made from liquid gel that penetrates the entirety of the foam? Does it have a gel pad affixed to the top layers? Liquid gel that penetrates the entire foam layer or solid gel pads offer better cooling than gel swirl/gel beads.
  2. Does the mattress use a thin cover or a thick, quilted, and/or padded cover? Thin covers are generally able to breathe better and have better airflow.
  3. What is the density (PCF = pounds per cubic foot) of the foam? If it’s less than 3.0 PCF, it’s probably not what you want. There are a few exceptions for transitional layers, but most viscoelastic gel memory foam should be at least 3.0 PCF. Higher densities create better mattress longevity.
  4. Where was the foam poured, and who is the mattress manufacturer? This information isn’t always readily available, but knowing it can help.

Memory Foam Mattress Reviews

Memory foam is extremely popular in mattresses today, and for good reason. The deep compression, hug, contouring, and pressure relief in a memory foam mattress make it a great choice for many sleepers.

However, bear in mind that if sleeping cool is your top priority, memory foam may not be for you. Although there are cooler memory foams out there, like open-cell memory foam or gel memory foam, it is very hard to totally overcome the heat retention that these foams have historically been known for.

Top Recommendations for the Best Affordable Memory Foam Mattress: Reviews and Prices

MattressBest ForMattress BrandDescriptionPrice (Queen)CouponReview
NectarBudgetNectarThe Nectar uses 3 layers of memory foam, including one quilted into the cover, to provide pressure relief and contouring to the body. The Tencel cover and gel memory foam comfort layer are meant to help with temperature regulation and cooling.$795See Current OfferRead My Review!
LaylaSoftLaylaThe Layla is an all foam mattress consisting of four different layers. It is a double sided mattress which allows the sleeper to choose between a firm or soft feel depending on their preference.$899See Current OfferRead My Review!
NovosbedFirmNovosbedThe Novosbed uses two layers of memory foam totaling 4 inches in height to allow the sleeper to sink in, providing a contoured feeling and pressure relief. The comfort layer is aeratred for improved airflow and cooling.$1,099See Current OfferRead My Review!
AmerisleepSleeps CoolAmerisleepThe Amerisleep line includes five mattresses of differing constructions. The line goes from the firmest mattress, the AS1, to the softest, the AS5. While the feels of these mattresses range quite a bit, they all have a comfort layer of Amerisleep's proprietary memory foam.$999 - $1,899*See Current OfferRead My Review!
Nest Bedding Alexander SignatureDurableNest Alexander Signature SeriesAll foam construction uses a thick gel memory foam comfort layer to provide comfort. Available in two firmness levels and will provide a contouring feeling as you sink infor pressure relief.$899See Current OfferRead My Review!
Tempurpedic Tempur-Flex SupremeEdge SupportTempur Flex SupremeA hybrid mattress construction that uses a mix of memory foam and pocketed coils for a mix of support and comfort. The Tempur-Flex Supreme also has high density poly foam edge support to allow you to sleep all the way to the side of the mattress without worrying about collapsing the side.$2,799No Current OffersRead My Review!
BearMedium FirmBear MattressThe Bear mattress uses a graphite infused gel memory foam comfort layer to provide the classic memory foam feel, while helping to dissipate body heat to help sleep a bit cooler. The mattress uses a celliant blend in its cover, which is a material that some studies suggest can help with recovery.$840See Current OfferRead My Review!
Loom and LeafPlant BasedLoom and LeafThis is the Saatva company's memory foam model. The Loom & Leaf uses an all foam construction, including a memory foam comfort layer, to provide pressure relief with the classic contouring feeling.$1,099No Current OffersRead My Review!
WrightLuxuryWright MattressThe Wright mattress uses 5 inches of memory foam to provide a soft and luxurious feel. The mattress allows you to sink deep into the layers for pressure relief, which is especially nice for side sleepers.$1,795See Current OfferRead My Review!

Memory Foam vs. Other Types of Foam

Latex Mattresses: In many cases, latex sleeps as cool or cooler than most memory foams (even gel memory foam). This is because latex is not heat-activated. It has faster response and more bounce as well. Latex has a very different feel than memory foam. For those sleepers who want the classic memory foam hug, latex probably isn’t the best fit. However, if you prefer a more balanced hug with exceptional cooling, latex can offer better performance than memory foam.

Need more information? See our comprehensive side-by-side comparison of latex vs. memory foam.

Brooklyn Bedding mattress, King size
Brooklyn Bedding mattress, King size

Hybrid Mattresses: These types of mattresses usually combine foam layers with coil layers. The coil layers are able to create better breathability than an all-memory-foam mattress. Hybrid designs that use gel, latex, or other cooling foam can offer great cooling benefits.

Nest Alexander hybrid mattress
Nest Alexander hybrid mattress

Coil Mattresses: They go by many names, including coil, pocketed coil, coil on coil, innerspring, and spring, but they are very similar from a cooling perspective. Just like with a hybrid design, the coils allow for more airflow. Some coil mattresses will incorporate foam in the top layers, similar to a hybrid design, or they may use pillow tops that are stuffed with foam (sometimes even memory foam). The combination of improved airflow from the coils and cooler foams in the top layers can result in great cooling.

Saatva mattress - King Size
Saatva mattress – King Size

Custom Foams: Just like with memory foam, other custom foams come in a wide variety of styles. These types of foams usually have a polyurethane base.

King size Leesa mattress
King size Leesa mattress

Advanced Memory Foam: Some advanced memory foams are created using special pouring techniques, which produce an extremely high level of airflow and breathability in the mattress. The most high-end memory foams can achieve an impressive level of cooling. The cooling is achieved through air circulation, aided by a well-designed mattress, mattress cover, and fire sock.

Amerisleep Liberty Mattress - King size
Amerisleep Liberty Mattress – King size
The following two tabs change content below.
Logan Block

Logan Block

Logan is the Director of Content at Sleepopolis and the main mattress man around these parts. A Buffalo native, Logan spent several years working in project management in both Boston and New York City. In his free time Logan likes walking his dog, lifting weights, and searching for the best cheeseburger in New York City.
Logan Block

Latest posts by Logan Block (see all)