Best Memory Foam Mattress Reviews, According To A 25 Year Mattress Industry Pro
I’ve designed dozens of memory foam mattress options after spending 25 years as a mattress manufacturer. Now that I’m strictly testing and reviewing them, I quickly narrowed down dozens of online options to just a handful of companies I’d recommend. Whether you are new to memory foam, want relief for pressure and pain, or simply want to sleep longer and better, I’ll help you find a mattress.
Memory foam, technically known as visco-elastic foam, has been hugely popular since its meteoric rise in the 1990’s, and is still included as a key ingredient in the most comfortable mattresses you can find.
Not other component is better than relieving pressure, and, if you choose carefully, you can own a bed that supports your back, feels inviting, sumptuous, and as soft as a panda’s belly.
We’ll discuss a little back story about memory foam, how it works, our suggested list of internet dealers, and how to avoid junk memory foam mattresses that mash down and even crack and split over time. If you want to see who I recommend for best memory foam mattresses, here are links to the best options I’ve reviewed. For much more detailed information, click on orange button to jump down.
The most popular memory foam mattresses sold on the web include at least a 2” layer of memory foam in their formulations, which is often paired with a layer of latex foam as well, adding a little bounce to the “melting in” sensation offered by a good quality slice of memory foam.
If you’ve heard about memory foam, you may wonder if it can improve the quality of your sleep, reduce pain and inflammation, and even help with spine alignment. If you’d like to cut to the chase, here are the top five memory foam mattresses I have tested and reviewed in no particular order:
Top Memory Foam Mattresses I’ve Tested And Reviewed
Why Is Memory Foam So Popular?
Some people will sleep on nothing else, others are a tad less enthusiastic. Its most loyal followers, though, by memory foam pillows, slippers, automobile seat cushions, and office chairs with memory foam built in.
So, what exactly is memory foam? And what are its features and benefits, and what could be the downside. Here’s information to help you decide whether a memory foam mattress is worth it.
So, what exactly is memory foam? And what are its features and benefits, and what could be the downside. Here’s information to help you decide whether a memory foam mattress is worth it.
Some people can sleep on nothing else, others are a tad less enthusiastic. Its most loyal followers, though, by memory foam pillows, slippers, automobile seat cushions, and office chairs with memory foam built in.
If you want to learn even more about memory foam, you can also visit our in depth Memory Foam page, too.
If you like, you can jump down to our curated list of the best memory foam mattresses on the web. We’ve throughly vetted these retailers and the models they sell. We look for quality of materials used, including density and thickness (and also where these retailers source their memory foam as inferior imported material will split and crack if mishandled during shipment) their price points, warranties, trial periods, and even actual owner feedback.
What Is Memory Foam?
First created in the mid-1960s for NASA fighter jet seats, memory foam is made from a urethane based extruded foam called visco-elastic material. It is both highly energy absorbent and soft, feels strangely like holding a wad of cotton candy, as it compresses easily, and then only slowly resumes its original shape and volume.
When I first held a piece in my hand way back in 1994, I was literally freaked out by it, and then immediately thought how amazing it would feel if I were lying down on it.
What’s really cool about it is that memory foam responds to changes in temperature, which actually is both good and bad. On extremely freezing cold nights, memory foam can be rock hard, and requires some body heat to warm it up to make it soft again.
On a hot summers night, it’s exceedingly soft and squishy, which some people absolutely love, especially if you like a mattress that hugs you and molds up around your body in an embracing fashion.
Memory foam molds to the body in response to pressure as well, evenly distributing body weight and pushing pressure to the sides, as if you were pushing on a pizza pan, moving the dough to the side. It then returns to its original shape once you remove the pressure. Many hardcore memory foam fans describe it as feeling like a “panda’s belly”, soft, inviting, infinitely pleasing.
Memory foam was quickly developed for use in mattresses in the early 1990’s, largely by company called Tempur-Pedic. Today, hundreds of different formulations dominate the bedding marketplace.
In addition to protecting against impact in a fighter jet, these characteristics make memory foam very comfortable and thus the perfect material for wither the top “comfort layers” of a mattress, or even as the entire thing, depending upon the density.
After being used by NASA to eliminate G-forces during flight, memory foam started showing up in a variety of applications. For example, it was used as cushioning in sports helmets, inserts for shoes, even as an underlayment for high end carpeting.
The medical community incorporated it into prosthetics and products to prevent pressure bed sores such as seating pads for people who are severely disabled and confined to wheelchairs or bedding for long periods of time.
Once it started being used in medical bedding, it didn’t take long for the mattress industry to understand the commercial appeal- a frenzy- about just how cool memory foam was in a residential mattress design.
What Are the Features and Benefits of Memory Foam?
Many popular bed in a box mattress brands use memory foam as the core ingredient in their mattress lineups, and even sleep specialists and chiropractors report that their patients who use a memory foam mattress find both pain relief and deeper, more restful sleep.
Because memory foam immerses ever so slightly, it’s good for restless sleepers, and is highly effective at motion dampening effects. People who toss and turn often have to move to separate bedrooms from their partners, and memory foam can often help with that issue.
Kathy R. Gromer, MD, a sleep specialist with the Minnesota Sleep Institute in Minneapolis, states that memory foam may improve sleep. “It can, if it relieves painful pressure points,” she says. But Gromer adds that memory foam doesn’t do anything for sleep apnea or other sleep-breathing disorders.
”When you lie on the memory foam, the heat from your body softens it in appropriate points,” Arand says, “so this helps to support your body along the curves and natural lines of the body.” Some memory foam manufacturers claim this helps relieve pain and thereby promotes more restful sleep.
And, though consumers often believe that very firm mattresses are best, more “giving” mattresses like these may lead to better sleep in people with back pain, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
One other factor to consider with memory foam is that not all memory foam is the same, and depending upon the brand and the quality of the memory foam they build into each model, sleeping hot can come along with the pressure relieving and body cradling benefits as well.
The key is to make sure you are buying a memory foam mattress made with open cell memory foam, because hot air can be squeezed and ventilated away from your body. In closed cell memory foam (the old school technology), sealed off air bubbles can’t escape and the mattress can actually accumulate heat, causing you to sleep hot.
Benefits Of Memory Foam: Bullet Points
Offers body hugging comfort
Ideal for all sleeping positions, especially good for sidesteppers as memory foam will fill void areas and relieve pressure at shoulders and hips where weight is concentrated
Limited motion transfer is another key advantage of today’s memory foam beds. The ability to absorb energy and minimize the effects of movement make memory foam an excellent choice for couples. When one partner rolls over or flops around, the other doesn’t feel a thing.
Less back and neck pain as memory foam promotes a neutral spinal alignment, which in turn encourages you to sleep in a position that is both comfortable and supportive. This ultimately helps reduce problems with chronic neck pain and back pain.
Hypo-allergenic components since polyurethane foams repel mold, mildew and is resistant to dust mites and pet dander. And when combined with latex in a memory foam mattress, this effect is even further amplified.
Excellent pressure relief
Customized support: advanced models improve airflow, sleep cooler at night and offer a customized level of support.
Sag free and no sink factor. Unlike conventional foam layers or heavily layered cotton or wool quilted toppers, memory foam pushes weight sideways, not downwards.
The latest generation of memory foam beds are made from high-grade adaptive materials that offer just the right blend of “not too soft and not too firm.”
You can rest assured there will be no sagging for the life of the mattress, thanks to its open cell design. To achieve the open cell design that allows air to move slowly from cell to cell, foam chemists had to create specialized techniques to form these unique signature “bubbles”.
I’ve included a handful of memory foam mattresses that I’ve reviewed thoroughly- from studying the components used in their designs, to customer reviews and comments, where the mattresses are made, warranties, trial periods, and my overall impression of the company. I also factor in innovation and design- whether the company is thinking outside the box.
Recommendations For Best Memory Foam Mattresses 2023
1. Saatva Memory Foam Hybrid Mattress
The Saatva Memory Foam Hybrid Mattress is my #1 choice for best in class memory foam mattress for a few reasons.
It’s made with a much better memory foam material, employing a 5lb. density material rather than the conventionally used 3lb, found in most bed in the box memory foam mattresses.
This means that you won’t have compression, ruts, and indentations occurring in this option two years down the road, often the chief complaint for poorly performing memory foam mattresses.
It’s also designed with a quilted top which has specialized cooling gel foam, using phase change technology to cool your body right up top. Cooling foams are often buried deep inside typical bed in a box options.
It’s a bit more in cost than lower end memory foam options, at $1,495, but- you do get free in home setup, removal of your existing mattress, and a 365 day trial- something not offered by any other online mattress company I’ve reviewed.
Another unique feature about The Saatva Memory Foam Hybrid Mattress is that they do not roll, compress, mash, or fold their mattress products, and deliver them to your home in the same condition they were manufactured and bench built.
The company operates using a network of using 15 strategically located plants in the U.S., and teams of highly trained technicians to setup your mattress.
I’d say this mattress registers about 6/10 on a firmness scale, leaving some plushness with firmer, underlying lift so you don’t collapse into the middle, having to dig your way out.
The pocketed coil system keeps your spine aligned so it is straight and level, even when on your side. Because the coils are zoned to push up a bit more firmly at areas like hips and shoulder, your body is counter-supported from underneath.
This permits muscles and connective tissues to rest and reduces lactic acid build-up during the night, allowing you to wakeup pain free.
I have regular shoulder and back pain and found that this mattress design (with quilting and gel foam built into the top) is highly effective at reducing inflammation as well.
After reviewing and testing The Saatva Memory Foam Hybrid Mattress, I decided to give it my 5 out of 5 star review for comfort, support, pressure relief- and the shipping and delivery system the company uses.
Is it worth the $1495 cost? Yes, I would say that because your mattress is made to order, not rolled and mashed in a warehouse collecting dust waiting for you to order it, there is huge value in that fact.
Saatva has been around a long time, bench building their product, including the textiles and fabrics, American made foams and coil systems, and the company’s philosophy about customer service too.
Features And Benefits I loved about this mattress, that are difficult to find with other brands, even comparable in price:
- A luxury feel due to design with channel quilt top, breathable memory foam and pocket coils.
- Additional edge support with firm side walls that allow sitting and easy in and out.
- Full 365 day trial, lifetime warranty, easy returns if you don’t love it like I did. See who I am.
- Side sleeper lovability at hips and shoulders, great for couples, and larger folks
- No pain or pressure at hips, shoulders, head- due to balanced components and design
- Has antimicrobial properties due to Guardin® botanical antimicrobial treatment
- Ideal for hot sleepers- gets you to sleep faster and keeps you there.
2. nolah 10” original memory foam mattress
Though Nolah does not like to refer to their proprietary “Air Foam” layer which behaves much like memory foam, it is super comfortable, distributes pressure, reduces pain, and is beloved by many thousands of loyal owners who rate it a consistent 4.7 out of 5 stars for comfort, and for the company’s warranty and customer service.
Nolah offers another mattress called their Signature 12” Mattress, which is reversible, offering you the option to flip from a softer side to the reverse, firmer side.
The Nolah 10” Original Mattress is even voted #1 side sleeper mattress by other prominent mattress review sites.
At just $899 in queen, it might be the best value for a memory foam mattress I’ve seen. It’s not very firm, and has a sumptuous, inviting, cloud like feel.
I also like the fact that this mattress is made entirely in the USA, and you get a 120 night no questions asked free trial period, and a lifetime warranty agains manufacturers defects or failure.
What sets this mattress apart? I like the feel of their proprietary AirFoam, which is a specialized memory foam that floats your body so that you don’t sink to the bottom of it. A damn good option for anyone with back pain, especially in the lumbar area as it fills in those void areas.
3. the ghostbed classic memory foam and latex mattress: $907 in queen
Obviously there are dozens of memory foam mattress options that you can buy online for $500, even less. I’ve tested and reviewed almost all of them and wouldn’t recommend most because of of the poor quality of both memory foam layers and the underlying substrate high density foam.
I recommend only a handful of memory foam mattresses, and the Ghostbed Classic Memory Foam mattress is a little different, both in component quality, and the fact that you get not only memory foam, but also a layer of natural latex foam as well.
Combining natural latex and memory foam gives you firmer comfort and support that effectively distributes weight horizontally rather than downward, which caused pinpoint pain and is terrible for back, shoulders and hips. Sleeping on latex and memory foam when combined increases the buoyancy and pressure relief tremendously.
First off, I’d like to say that The Ghostbed Classic Memory Foam Mattress is made in the USA using higher grade components that are also sourced in the USA- an important consideration to keep in mind.
Because of the way that it’s made, GhostBed’s high-density foam core, contouring gel memory foam and aerated latex (breathable and non-allergenic) top layer, you get a super-relaxing blend of support and bounce
Check this out: this mattress is one of the most heavily reviewed mattress on the web, with over 12,500 Google reviews, garnishing a 4.7 out of 5 star rating.
I’m not going to sugarcoat this mattress with plushy panda tummy descriptions: it’s firmer, about 7 out of 10, 10 being very firm, with little or immersion.
It feels comfortably supportive, and you will not sink deeply into the mattress. Being firmer, turning is easier, and so is getting in and out of bed, too.
From the top down, you will get a breathable plush-knit cover (durable and the fabric feels nice- not coarse), a latex layer that is ventilated and will not sleep hot,
GhostBed’s proprietary gel memory foam that cradles and gently supports.
I felt that though the mattress is firmer, up top you get the soothing and nest like feel that everyone wants, without crashing through it. At 11″ tall, The Ghostbed Classic Memory Foam Mattress doesn’t skimp on thickness and quality.
4. The BEAR PRO HYBRID MATTRESS: $844 in queen
The Bear Pro Hybrid Mattress is one of my favorite memory foam mattresses because it offers multiple layers of gel/memory foam and supportive layers that keep you above the mattress rather than stuck inside.
You get copper infused foam which keeps your mattress free of bacteria and viral load, and when on your side, you feel pressure relief at shoulders and hips.
It’s priced fairly, you get some freebies including pillows, a 120 night trial period, a really good warranty, and I find the customer service to be top notch. You can also read about it on my Best Mattress For Side Sleepers page, too.
A memory foam mattress that offers a medium firm level of support. Well thought about, and better quality memory foam and supportive foam layers that feel inviting, buoyant, and supportive.
Marc’s comments: High tech infrared reflecting outer fabric, carbon infused foam, sleeps cool and cozy. Excellent edge support and resilient base layer.
Most mattresses use cheaper 3lb. density memory foam, whereas Bear uses a 4 lb. density, which costs a little bit more, but it’s much more durable over spans of time. The site offers several other options, too, but I found the Bear Pro Mattress offers more support than other leading brands. This keeps you from feeling like you have to dig your way out of the mattress.
The pocket coils are not stiff, and I noticed excellent pressure reduction and an easy feeling when I turned from side to side, which I do a lot during the night. The gel foam layer is situated very close to your body and provides a gentle nestling in experience, too. For the money at $844 in queen, and $1,007 in king, it’s a good value. The complimentary pair of Cloud pillows were inviting and provided pretty decent head and neck support.
5. THE NECTAR MATTRESS
A memory foam mattress that employs several innovative gel and memory foam technologies. The result is sumptuous, supportive, yet yielding sleep without deep sinking. 11” finished height, 365 night period, lifetime warranty, $699 for a queen.
Free shipping. Marc’s comments: A warranty that lasts forever? Right, it’s true, and they get away with it by using components that last. One of the most popular mattresses in the industry.
And, it’s one of the most popular brands on the web, with thousands of reliable reviews.
The mattress has a firmness of 6.5, which means it has a medium-firm feel. However, at just 11 inches high, the Nectar Mattress may not be suitable for larger sleepers.
Heavier people, especially those who also prefer a softer feel, often benefit from a mattress that has thicker comfort layers. Opt out if you are over 225 lbs.
6. the NOVOS BED: a whopping 4” of premium memory foam and $999 in queen
The Novos Bed is a gel and memory foam hybrid mattress that offers a medium to medium firm level of support. 11” finished height, 120 night trial period, 15 year warranty, $999 for a queen. Free shipping.
Marc’s comments: One of few memory foam bed with a generous 4” of gel/memory foam. If you love that melt in sensation, and need to be cuddled, reviewers claims it “makes love to you”. Go for it. Definitely not firm, offers “hugged” sensation.
The Novos Bed is made in Canada and the USA, and I recommend it because it is one of few memory foam mattresses that is built with multiple layers of memory foam that are not glued together. Most brands will glue two layers together, which often tightens the memory foam material, making it less responsive and less pressure relieving.
I was personally involved years ago with a memory foam mattress company who glued multiple layers of memory foam together in all of their models.
They felt excessively firm, customers often complained of cracks and splits in the memory foam layers, and there was no body enveloping sensation, which really is the hallmark of memory foam and the reason it was developed for use in mattresses.
The Novos Bed is built using a formula that goes the extra mile and delivers a well thought out mattress designed to relieve pressure.
It might cost a tad more than promotional brands, but it gets a five star rating from me. Here’s a description of how the Novos Bed is manufactured and why it is a cut above the Brand X competition:
The ultra-soft, eco-conscious, and machine-washable Tencel® top cover draws moisture away from your body for a cool, dry night. You can unzip the outer cover and keep it free of dust mites, dust mite egg casings, dead skin cells, sweat, and minor liquid spills.
Next-generation memory foam for reliable coolness and comfort. Advanced air circulation disperses heat, and refined cushioning provides fine-tuned comfort. Multiple layers of different kinds of memory foam create a cooler surface, better body enveloping without sinking and digging your ay out in the morning.
Transitional memory foam that provides body contouring, pressure point relief, and isolates motion between sleepers for a restorative and restful sleep. This reduces motion transfer even when you are farily close to your partner.
Premium support foam that evenly distributes body weight and provides balanced support. Durably designed for a consistent, reliable, and supportive mattress. The high density foam base that Novos Bed uses is not excessively firm either, and and works with the layers above it to distribute body weight to the side of the mattress rather than down.
Through the years, I’ve designed dozens of my own mattresses for my online e-commerce platforms, or for clients developing their own line of mattresses. You often build 5-6 variations using different densities, thicknesses, and combinations with other materials, and send them out as samples to test subjects.
Not surprisingly, most people respond really well to the pressure relieving qualities of memory foam, but I found that when you combine memory foam with other layers of flexible materials, you can amplify the pressure relieving benefits even more. I’ve used softer, gel foams and polyurethane foams, and even latex to make a memory foam mattress super comfortable.
In fact, the overwhelming response I received in prototypes that I developed using both memory foam and latex was a driving force in creating a variety of memory foam and latex combinations.
Since latex is bouncier, and has a lively, buoyant, uplifting yet yielding sensation without much sinking, it responds instantly when you turn or change position. You’ll get excellent pressure relief and a floating sensation at the same time. The combination of memory foam and latex is what I would say the closest experience you’ll have to a levitating sensation on a mattress.
Of course, it also depends upon the support foam underneath, though most manufacturers, like this we feature below, use a high density polyurethane foam base that has some flex while supporting and cradling your body minimize any trapped feeling.
Below, you will find some more options from my curated list of the best memory foam mattresses on the web. All of the dealers I recommend offer a great mattress option with superior ingredients that I’ve checked out, hefty no questions asked trial periods, decent warranties, and fair pricing.
I’ve included some details about these additional brands in the description and why they are big sellers on the web.
Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Memory Foam
If you are looking for a mattress, it’s highly likely that you’ve either shopped for a memory foam mattress, or you’ve read about the unique pressure relieving qualities that they offer.
Memory foam mattresses are widely accepted as being the most popular kind of mattresses in the industry, being ideal for people from all walks of life, medical conditions, ages, and body types.
I’ve personally worked with memory foam mattresses for over 25 years, both designing and manufacturing them, and consulting with companies around the world using the material in the bedding industry.
Since the 1970’s, when memory foam was first developed by NASA and then ultimately used by the bedding industry because of its body conforming and embracing, body hugging sensation.
Memory foam also has the unique ability to soften when your body comes in contact with it, offering a melting in sensation. At first, mattress companies had a hard time figuring out the ideal cake recipe that would keep sleepers from sinking to the bottom.
Ideally, a really good memory foam mattress should have multiple layers of foam, starting with either a much firmer and thicker high density foam foundation layer, or with a pocketed coil core.
If the layers are calibrated just right, meaning firm on the bottom, and gradually softer as you get near the top “comfort layer” of the mattress, like memory foam, you’ll experience more of a buoyant sensation.
To experience the pressure relief you get when lying on your side or your back on a well designed memory foam mattress, it’s important to have several layers of foam between the top and the firmest layer on the bottom.
What Is Memory Foam And How Is It Made?
Everyone has probably heard of polyurethane, a polymer material that is essential in virtually every kind of product we use, from furniture cushions, to fabrics, clothing, car parts, and snow skis.
The U.S. produces over 1.5 billion pounds of the material yearly, and without it, our lives would be vastly diminished. It is a safe food contact material, and is different from other plasticine materials that bio-accumulate in small amounts in organism and in certain environments.
In fact, LetsRecycle.Com states that “…the actual environmental impact of the manufacturing of foam is minimal. There are no combustible gases produced. It is actually quite a clean process. The only significant impact on the environment is the energy required to run the foaming line”.
According to the Polyurethane Foam Association, polyurethane is harmless and inert compound created by the reaction of polyols and isocyanates, both in liquid form.
Further, the FPF industry works aggressively to elevate polyurethane foams to be even more biodegradable as time goes on, without affecting of the products during their working lifetime.
Memory foam is a kind of flexible polyurethane foam, and is made using a unique recipe and took some chemists quite some time to create it.
Two liquids are mixed together and a foam material forms as a result. There is heat produced in the reaction, and the end result after the foam solidifies is a cellular structure creating by the foaming action that allows for varying degrees of compression.
The “open celled” nature of memory foam which gives it the weird, slowly responsive, body confirming characteristics it’s known for, works by squeezing air out of cells when pressure is applied.
When pressure is released, the compressed foam sucks air back into the emptied cells, exactly like a sponge works in your kitchen, but with a lot more finesse, and with much smaller “cells”.
So when you squeeze a piece of memory foam in your hand or on the edge of your mattress, you push the air out of the small cells and it takes a few seconds for air to be drawn back into the cells.
Since different recipes can be used to create memory foam, a manufacturer can create different degrees of compressibility which make the foam, softer, firmer, denser, even more rigid and hard if necessary.
Because of its slow response time after being compressed, memory foam is ideal for absorbing impact. In fact, it was developed by NASA for just this purpose. Originally used in fighter jet seats a G-force absorbing materials, as a pilot was forced back into his seat during high-G maneuvers, he wasn’t slammed into it as much he was gently moved backwards.
It turns out that this process, called hysteresis, make the material ideal for mattresses sit slowly conforms to different areas of your body and is effective at finding its way into little nooks and crannies to support and cradle your body.
For side sleepers, as an example, memory foam will yield and cradle areas like hips and shoulders, but also fill in the area between your hips and rib area.
This also evenly distributes load and explains why memory foam is describe as the closest thing you might experience that has a kind of “zero-G” effect.
After manufacturing my own line of mattresses that contain memory foam as well as lots of memory foam mattress reviews, I became familiar with mastering just how differently they can feel.
Along with using other kinds of foam for supportive layers underneath memory foam, mattresses can be designed for all kinds of preferences, too.
One other characteristic that is beneficial is the temperature responsiveness that it offers. When the material is cooler, it actually feels stiffer. Once you are in contact with memory foam for about 10-15 minutes and warms up from your body heat, it becomes much more pliable, offering more enhance body conforming qualities.
We’ve all seen the handprint impression left by a warm had pushing into memory foam, much like soft sand on a beach. Just how popular is memory foam by the way? It’s found in over 40% of every mattress manufactured and sold in the USA.
The polyurethane foam industry which makes memory foam for use in mattresses, pillows, car and bicycle seats, and even burn unit and ICU bedding systems, is constantly creating new materials, according to a site called Bed Times Magazine.
You can also visit my enhanced page on this site which discusses memory foam applications in detail.');