Best Memory Foam Mattresses of 2023
Jan 9th, 2023 •
Memory foam mattresses are known for support, pressure relief, and body-hugging comfort, but which one will help you get your best night’s sleep? We’ve tested some of the best memory foam mattresses on the market and selected our top 10 list—best for side sleepers, hot sleepers, sleepers with lower back pain, and more.
Find out how the contenders for best memory foam mattress performed in our 14-point testing process, pick up some tips in our buyer’s guide, and get one step closer to enjoying your best rest every night.
Our Picks for Best Memory Foam Mattress
- Best Firm Mattress – WinkBeds GravityLux
- Best Mattress for Back Sleepers – Helix Midnight
- Best Organic Mattress – Loom & Leaf
- Best Mattress for the Money – Nectar
- Best Hybrid Mattress – DreamCloud
- Best Mattress for Side Sleepers – Leesa
- Best Mattress for Softness – Puffy Lux Hybrid
- Best Mattress for Lower Back Pain – Dreamfoam Essential
- Best Mattress for Stomach Sleepers – Layla
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When we evaluate memory foam mattresses, we expand our review process to put additional emphasis on testing categories related to three of memory foam’s signature qualities:
- Pressure Relief: How well the mattress cradles pressure-sensitive areas in the shoulders, hips, and lower back
- Spine Alignment: How well the mattress promotes healthy sleep posture with the spine in a neutral alignment
- Motion Transfer: How well the mattress keeps motion contained rather than letting it ripple across the surface
See our recap to find out how our featured mattresses stack up against these criteria.
Best Firm Mattress
- People who change sleep positions
- Stomach sleepers
Soft, medium, and firm options
Coming in three firmness levels, we found the GravityLux’s 7/10 Firm option to be particularly friendly to the stomach sleepers who tend to prefer that level. However, this mattress performs well for back sleepers and combination sleepers.
Related: Best Firm Mattresses
The GravityLux’s edge support is flawless, scoring 10/10 in our mattress testing lab for that category. This makes it perfect for sleepers who like to use the entire mattress surface. This product is also top-notch for couples thanks to its superior motion transfer.
It’s hard to find something not to love about this mattress, but the price might give you pause, starting at over $1,000 for a twin size mattress. Also, there have been complaints about noisiness on this mattress, particularly when getting in and out of bed.
Read our full WinkBeds GravityLux mattress review.
Best Mattress for Back Sleepers
- People who sleep on their back
- Those with back pain
Back sleepers (and even some stomach sleepers) will appreciate the medium firmness of this foam/innerspring hybrid, along with the pressure relief provided by the memory foam Comfort Layer.
Related: Best Mattresses for Back Sleepers
The Helix Midnight is built to relieve pressure at the pain points, and its medium firmness provides a balanced feel around the hips and shoulders. For those who suffer from back pain or sleep on their sides, the upper foam layers will cradle the body and fill in the lower back.
Despite the innerspring coil layer, the Midnight doesn’t have a particularly great score for cooling (8/10). Its 100-night sleep trial and 10-year limited warranty don’t surpass the industry standard.
Read our full Helix Midnight mattress review.
Loom & Leaf
Best Organic Mattress
- Eco-conscious shoppers
- Free white-glove delivery
- Multiple firmness options
Relaxed firm: 6/10; Firm: 8/10
Each foam comfort layer used in the construction of the Loom & Leaf mattress is CertiPUR-US® certified, and the cover around the bed is made with quilted organic cotton. The Loom & Leaf mattresses also use natural thistle as a flame retardant.
Related: Best Natural Organic Mattresses
The Loom & Leaf offers outstanding spine alignment (9/10 Mattress Advisor score), a good sign for back and stomach sleepers who choose the Firm option. It also comes with free white glove delivery and mattress removal, so you don’t have to lift a finger when it comes to setup.
The Loom & Leaf’s 7/10 Mattress Advisor score for pressure relief could be a red flag for side sleepers. Also, the Loom & Leaf is quite a bit more expensive than the typical memory foam mattress.
Read our full Loom & Leaf mattress review.
Best Mattress for the Money
- Budget shoppers
- Couples and co-sleepers
- Warranty and sleep trial
The main things that set Nectar apart from many of its competitors are affordable pricing, a lifetime warranty, and a 365-night sleep trial. A queen-size Nectar currently goes for $999 (not counting sales or discounts), making this memory foam bed a great option for mattress shoppers with a budget under $1,000.
Related: Best Mattresses for the Money
Nectar’s gel memory foam does a good job of limiting motion transfer (8.5/10 Mattress Advisor score), which is great for couples and people who share a bed with their kids or pets. The mattress cover is specifically designed to promote additional airflow and, as a bonus, it also keeps out dust mites.
The Nectar’s testing score in spine alignment (7.5/10) makes it less than ideal for sleepers with back pain, shoulder pain, or hip pain. People who sleep hot should also take note of its 7.5/10 score in cooling, which keeps Nectar out of the top ranks of cooling mattresses.
Read our full Nectar mattress review.
Best Hybrid Mattress
- People who overheat at night
- A balanced feel
- Spine alignment
The DreamCloud is a hybrid mattress, so it incorporates the slow-moving memory foam we all know and love with sturdy coils. The addition of the pocketed coil support layer results in an “on top of” feel and increased durability (9/10).
Related: Best Hybrid Mattresses
This mattress scored very well for spine alignment and (9/10) and pressure relief (9/10), making it a strong candidate for the sleeper with back pain, the side sleeper, and the back sleeper.
As a company, DreamCloud doesn’t have the best social impact score (6/10). Also, it has a motion transfer score of 8.5/10, so couples might feel each other moving around a bit on this bed.
Read our full DreamCloud mattress review.
Best Mattress for Side Sleepers
- Side/combination sleepers
- Restless sleepers
Side sleepers wanting one of the best memory foam options should try the Leesa; it scores an 8.5/10 for pressure relief. The polyfoam comfort layer and memory foam transition layer should contour pressure points around the hips and shoulders.
Related: Best Mattresses for Side Sleepers
The Leesa mattress received a nearly perfect score on motion transfer (9/10) in our testing, which means that couples are less likely to be disturbed by their partner’s movements during the night. A 9.5/10 score for responsiveness is good news for restless sleepers and combination sleepers.
The Leesa scores 8.5/10 for cooling—not low, but not exactly knocking it out of the park. Because it’s a memory foam mattress, a mild chemical smell after unboxing will take a few days or so to fade away.
Read our full Leesa mattress review.
Puffy Lux Hybrid
Best Mattress for Softness
- People who prefer soft memory foam layers
- Side, back and combination sleep positions
- People who need pressure relief
Medium-Firm - 6/10
If you read Puffy Lux Hybrid reviews, you’ll probably notice the word “soft” showing up a lot. This hybrid model features multiple memory foam layers and a coil base that are both designed to contour and adapt to your shape.
Related: Best Soft Mattresses
With three memory foam layers topping a Contour-Adapt Coil Base, this mattress offers a balance of softness and support. The Lux Hybrid also uses memory foam that promotes cooling and breathability. A lifetime warranty, 101-night sleep trial, and free shipping and returns provide a solid foundation for customer satisfaction.
Side sleepers and combination sleepers might not find the pressure relief they need to get their most comfortable night’s sleep. Since the hybrid design isn’t entirely foam, it doesn’t have the same overall feel as an all-memory foam mattress. The price of the Puffy Lux Hybrid could be a turn-off for budget shoppers.
Read our full Puffy Lux Hybrid mattress review.
Best Mattress for Lower Back Pain
- People with back pain
- Side sleepers
Medium-Soft to Firm
Lower back pain can make it difficult to sleep, especially if your mattress doesn’t support you in the proper ways. The Dreamfoam Essential scored very highly (9.5/10) on our spine alignment test, meaning when you sleep on it your spine will rest in its natural curve, resulting in less strain and less pain.
Related: Best Mattresses for Back Pain
In addition to great spine alignment, the Dreamfoam Essential also offers couples a high score in motion isolation (8.5/10)—which means you’re less likely to be disturbed by your partner’s movements. Plus, the pressure-relieving qualities should reduce aches in your shoulders and hips. Dreamfoam is also one of relatively few brands to offer RV mattress sizes.
The Dreamfoam Essential doesn’t perform all that well for hot sleepers. Another thing to be aware of is the thickness options: 6, 8, 10, 12, and 14 inches. Although the thinner options are less expensive, average-weight sleepers might not get adequate support with anything below 10 inches thick.
Read our full Dreamfoam Essential mattress review.
Best Mattress for Stomach Sleepers
- People who sleep on their stomach
- Multiple firmness options
- Pressure relief
Soft side: 4-5/10; Firm side: 7/10
If you’re a stomach sleeper, you may find more comfort on the flippable Layla’s firm side to help reduce stress on the spine and lower back. If you think you may like a firm mattress but don’t want to go too firm, a flippable mattress like the Layla that offers multiple options is a great choice.
Related: Best Mattresses for Stomach Sleepers
Layla’s copper properties are also great for pressure and pain relief—making your sleeping hours even more restful and restorative. We also love that Layla offers a lifetime warranty for as long as you own the mattress.
This mattress receives only a 7.5/10 for its cooling capabilities. If you have a tendency to sleep super hot, the Layla mattress may not be the best choice. You might want to turn to an innerspring or innerspring hybrid instead.
Read our full Layla mattress review.
Best Bed in a Box Mattress
- People who sleep on their side
- Pressure relief
When compressing and boxing mattresses for easy delivery first started to catch on, Casper caught the wave early. Years later, its original model remains one of the top bed-in-a-box mattresses on the market.
Related: Best Bed in a Box Mattresses
The Casper’s Zoned Support layer is the key to its 9.5/10 performance in spine alignment. It’s designed to provide targeted support in different areas called ergonomic zones: softer for the shoulders and firmer for the lower back, waist and hips.
While the Casper is designed to sleep cool, it still faces challenges as a memory foam mattress. We gave it a 7/10 score for cooling. Also, the 100-night sleep trial is easily beaten by its competitors.
Read our full Casper mattress review.
Buyer’s Guide to Memory Foam Mattresses
Memory foam has been used to make mattresses since the 1990s. While traditional innerspring mattresses remain the most popular type, memory foam mattresses (and hybrid designs that mix memory foam layers with innerspring and latex layers) have their own devoted fans.
In this guide, we’ll shed some light on the qualities that make memory foam such a popular building block for modern mattresses. We’ll also look at the pros and cons and share some advice on picking a top-rated memory foam mattress that best fits your sleep profile.
- The Basics of Memory Foam
- Is a Memory Foam Mattress Right for My Sleeping Position?
- Memory Foam vs Spring, Latex, and Hybrid
- How to Choose the Best Memory Foam Mattress for You
The Basics of Memory Foam
First things first: What is memory foam? It dates back to the 1960s when NASA scientists developed a shock-absorbing material for aircraft cushions to alleviate the intense pressure of high-speed acceleration and deceleration. The name memory foam refers to the properties that help the material contour to the outlines of your body and gradually revert to its original shape after you get up.
Memory foam is used in a lot more than mattresses and aircraft seats these days. You can also find it in a wide range of products including pillows, furniture, and shoes.
What’s Memory Foam Made of?
As in the early days of NASA, the most commonly used material in today’s memory foam mattresses is a synthetic substance called polyurethane. It’s known for its viscoelastic properties, having an almost gummy consistency and the ability to return to its original shape.
While polyurethane is derived from petroleum, some mattress brands have developed organic alternatives made from plant-based materials such as soy.
What Does It Feel Like?
Memory foam mattresses are known for creating the sensation of softly sinking into the bed, and early models had a reputation for being too soft. Today’s advanced memory foam is able to spring back to its original shape more quickly, allowing you to easily move around and get comfortable in any position.
Open-cell construction and gel infusion have helped address another longstanding issue, that memory foam has a tendency to trap body heat and “sleep hot.”
What Does ILD Mean?
ILD stands for Indentation Load-Deflection, an advanced method of measuring the firmness of a memory foam mattress. Most memory foam mattresses score between 8 and 20 for ILD, with 8 being the softest and 20 the firmest. A score in the 11-15 range is generally seen as the sweet spot for most sleepers—below a 10 and you’ll sink into the foam, but above 15 the mattress won’t have enough contouring effect to feel comfortable.
What does ILD mean to you as a consumer? Not all mattresses advertise their ILD ratings, so don’t feel shortchanged if you don’t see it listed in the specifications. You can always just look at the firmness rating to get a general idea.
Who Should Buy a Memory Foam Mattress?
Many people can benefit from sleeping on memory foam, but the following groups tend to see particularly positive results:
- Side sleepers and combination sleepers. Memory foam’s capacity for pressure relief matches up well with side sleepers, whose sleeping position puts more strain on the shoulders, hips, and lower back. Responsiveness benefits combination sleepers by making it easier to change positions during the night.
- Couples and co-sleepers. Most memory foam mattresses have outstanding motion transfer performance, much better than innerspring coils. By keeping motion isolated to one area of the mattress, memory foam can help couples (and people whose children or pets like to curl up with them) sleep easier.
- People who don’t overheat. If you don’t have a problem with night sweats, traditional memory foam’s tendency to sleep hotter than other materials shouldn’t be an issue. At the same time, innovations like gel-infused foam often improve cooling performance.
- People with back pain, hip pain, or shoulder pain. Pressure relief is a key factor here, since the back, hips, and shoulders are particularly pressure-sensitive. A pressure-relieving foam mattress that also offers excellent spine alignment has even more potential to prevent aches and soreness in these areas.
Pros and Cons of Memory Foam Mattresses
- Contouring: Memory foam contours to the shape of your body, providing a comfortable “hug and cradle” sensation.
- Pressure relief and spine alignment: Memory foam does an excellent job at evenly distributing your body weight on the surface to provide pressure relief in sensitive areas (including the hips and shoulders) and promote healthy spine alignment.
- Price: Generally, memory foam mattresses are priced lower than innersprings, hybrids, and latex mattresses.
- Motion transfer: Because memory foam reduces motion transfer, you won’t feel your partner’s movements from the other side of the bed as much as you would with other materials.
- Heat: Compared with other materials, memory foam tends to sleep hot. Advanced models infused with gel or copper, or a hybrid bed that combines memory foam with innerspring coils for better airflow, will be more ideal for hot sleepers.
- Less firmness: Unless the foam is high-density, a memory foam mattress probably doesn’t offer the kind of firmness that you’ll see with the typical innerspring or innerspring hybrid mattress.
- Off-gassing: You’ll notice a slightly unpleasant odor when you open a memory foam mattress (known as off-gassing). With proper airing, it typically goes away within a few hours.
- Support: Stomach sleepers and people over 230 lbs may find that memory foam doesn’t offer the kind of sturdy support they need to sleep comfortably.
Is a Memory Foam Mattress Right for My Sleeping Position?
Generally speaking, a high-quality memory foam mattress can provide a good fit for any sleeping position. However, some individual sleepers might get better results than others. Here’s a general overview:
- Side Sleepers—Yes. Memory foam’s pressure-relieving qualities match up very well with the side sleeping position, which puts pressure on sensitive areas like the shoulder, hips and lower back.
- Combination Sleepers—Yes. The responsiveness of memory foam makes it a good fit for many combination sleepers. They need a mattress that feels like it’s moving with them rather than pushing against them as they alternate sleeping positions during the night.
- Back Sleepers—Probably. A memory foam mattress can accommodate many back sleepers, but be aware that you’ll probably need one that rates as medium-firm (6/10) or firmer on the mattress firmness scale.
- Stomach Sleepers—Maybe Not. An all-memory foam mattress might not provide the kind of firm support stomach sleepers need. The best option could be a “best of both worlds” foam-innerspring hybrid or foam-latex hybrid with a firmness of around 7/10.
Wondering how memory foam beds stack up against other options? We’ve compared memory foam to innerspring, latex, and hybrid mattresses in seven key categories. In the chart below, we note which type we consider the best for each category (“Tie” means they’re roughly equal).
|Memory Foam vs Spring||Memory Foam vs Latex||Memory Foam vs Hybrid|
|Affordability||Memory Foam||Memory Foam||Memory Foam|
|Body contouring||Memory Foam||Memory Foam||Tie|
|Spine Alignment||Memory Foam||Memory Foam||Memory Foam|
|Pressure Relief||Memory Foam||Memory Foam||Memory Foam|
|Motion Transfer||Memory Foam||Memory Foam||Memory Foam|
This comparison is a general overview of how these types of mattresses usually differ. Keep in mind that different brands and models may focus on enhancing specific factors. For example, latex mattresses that use wool insulation might not perform as well for cooling, and hybrid mattresses that use memory foam instead of latex foam could provide better motion isolation.
How to Choose the Best Memory Foam Mattress for You
When you’re shopping for a memory foam mattress, keep four things in mind: material, density (or firmness), cooling, and thickness. Here’s how each one factors into making the best decision on which mattress to buy.
The type of foam used in the mattress can affect everything from feel to temperature to smell. Types of memory foam include:
- Traditional (or viscoelastic): Polyurethane is the key chemical ingredient in what we think of as traditional memory foam. Polyurethane helps give memory foam its signature contouring feel and the ability to retain its shape. In addition to mattresses, it’s used in furniture, shoes, and many other everyday products.
- Gel-infused: Some mattress companies inject beads of semi-liquid gel into memory foam to improve temperature regulation and keep you cooler. Gel-infused foam retains the benefits of regular memory foam while providing better breathability than a solid foam block.
- Copper-infused: The use of semi-liquid copper beads is a variation on gel-infused foam. The main purpose is to promote cooling, but copper also has antimicrobial properties and is believed to help relieve joint pain and inflammation.
- Plant-based: Some memory foam is made from plants like coconut and soy instead of chemicals derived from petroleum. These beds are more breathable and bouncy and lack the “new mattress smell” associated with chemical foam.
Many mattress brands have developed and trademarked their own versions of memory foam, with unique names and properties. However, the variations derive from the original memory foam concept: a cushioning material that contours to the outline of the body while retaining its original shape over time.
2. Density (Firmness)
The density of foam in your mattress determines how well it will support you and how quickly it can revert to its original shape.
|Densities for Memory Foam|
|Low-Density||Under 3 lbs per cubic foot|
|Medium-Density||3-4.5 lbs per cubic foot|
|High-Density||4.5-5.3 lbs per cubic foot|
A high-quality memory foam mattress typically ranges in density between 4 to 6 pounds per cubic foot. Lower-density foams will quickly return to their original shape, but they won’t offer the same quality pressure relief and contouring that high-density foams do. High-density foams give great contouring comfort, but since they don’t respond to your movements as quickly, you may feel that “sinking” or trapped feeling.
Memory foam’s original design has a reputation for trapping heat, but newer models with temperature-regulating materials and open-cell structure provide better airflow. If you’re a hot sleeper but you want the contouring comfort of memory foam, look for models that use gel-infused foam to help enhance cooling.
Most memory foam mattresses range from a thickness (or height) of 6 to 14 inches. Those on the thinner end may not offer adequate support. Those on the higher end of this range will be more expensive since they use more material, and you may need deep-pocket sheets to fully encase your mattress.
Other Shopping Considerations
Durability and Lifespan
While the typical lifespan of a mattress is 5-10 years, memory foam mattresses can last anywhere between 5-15 years. However, a lot depends on the density of the foam.
Low-density foam beds tend to last 5-7 years, even with proper care. High-density foam beds typically last up to 10-15 years. To extend the life of your memory foam mattress, keep up with proper care by flipping your mattress (if it’s a flippable model) or rotating your mattress 180 degrees. Use accessories like mattress protectors, toppers, and pads for a longer lifespan as well.
Adding a memory foam mattress topper can enhance the pressure-relieving and contouring properties your mattress already has. It can also provide an extra jolt of cooling if the topper uses gel-infused foam. Other options include natural-fiber sheets for your memory foam mattress or a cooling pillow.
Compatible Mattress Foundations
Memory foam mattresses work well with nearly any foundation or bed frame. Traditional box springs work the best on innerspring mattresses, but they are compatible with memory foam beds. Slatted foundations work well because they allow for airflow beneath the bed, but make sure the slats are not too far apart. Platform foundations should be firm enough to provide proper alignment.
Trial Period and Warranty
Make sure the company offers a generous sleep trial so you have a chance to test out the mattress. Bed-in–a-box mattress brands often offer trial periods that are usually at least 90 days, and some companies even offer a full year-long trial period with a full refund in their return policy should you decide it’s not right for you.
Most brands offer a range of 10- to 15-year mattress warranties that cover many manufacturing issues. Some even provide lifetime warranties for as long as you own the bed. If a mattress company doesn’t offer a warranty, or offers a very short one, it’s worth considering whether the company really stands behind its products.
In choosing our best memory foam mattresses, we emphasize three testing categories that are especially important for this type of bed: spine alignment, pressure relief, and motion transfer. Here’s a look at how our picks performed in the Mattress Advisor Sleep Lab:
|AVERAGE SCORE (OUT OF 10) FOR SPINE ALIGNMENT, PRESSURE RELIEF, AND MOTION TRANSFER|
|Loom & Leaf||7|
|Puffy Lux Hybrid||7.3|
Note: The testing categories we focus on in this chart don’t reflect overall performance. In the key category of spine alignment, for example, the Loom & Leaf scores a 9/10 and the Puffy Lux Hybrid scores an 8/10. Depending on your needs and preferences, you might put more or less value on particular qualities.
What's the best memory foam mattress?
Although no single mattress will be best for everyone, a handful of top brands really stand out. Beds from Layla, Casper, Nectar, and Helix are some of the best memory foam mattresses available, with high ratings from Mattress Advisor and their own customers. Generally, the signs of a great memory foam mattress include solid performance in pressure relief, spine alignment, motion transfer, and responsiveness.
What are some of the issues with memory foam mattresses?
The longest-running knock against memory foam mattresses is their tendency to trap body heat and sleep hot. However, innovations such as infusing semi-liquid gel beds into the foam can improve airflow and breathability. Not everyone enjoys the “hug” sensation of contouring memory foam either, saying that they sink too far into the surface and feel trapped. Also, memory foam’s chemical properties can be an irritant for people with asthma, allergies, and other breathing problems.
What is the best inexpensive memory foam mattress?
Does a memory foam mattress offer edge support?
Yes, but usually not as much as an innerspring or innerspring-hybrid mattress. On the other hand, edge support might not be the key factor in choosing a memory foam mattress since the body-contouring and pressure-relieving qualities are often the main attractions.
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