Finding the perfect mattress can make a huge difference in the quality of sleep that you get. Studies have been done for decades on the benefits of a restful sleep on a person’s health, both physically and mentally. What can you expect by getting a good night’s sleep?
- Reduced stress
- Better performance at work
- Better performance at school
- Success with weight loss efforts
- More energy
- Less depression
- Less sickness
- More alert
- Improved memory
- Better relationships
These are just a handful of things that can be affected by sleeping well. So how do you get a good night’s sleep? Time plays a part in it, and experts say you should try to get a t least 6-7 hours of sleep per night. One of the best ways that you can accomplish this is to get an excellent memory foam mattress to sleep on.
We have researched dozens of memory foam mattresses. Below you will find the results of our research organized into rankings and side-by-side comparisons.
- Memory Foam Buyer’s Guide
Top 10 Memory Foam Mattresses
|LUCID 6 Inch Dual-Layered||4 lb||Firm|
|Best Price Mattress 6-Inch||4 lb||Medium Soft- to Medium|
|Brentwood Home Bamboo Gel 13||4.5 lbs||Medium Firm|
|LUCID 8 Inch Dual-Layered||4 lbs||Firm|
|Sleep Innovations Shea 10-inch||3 lbs||Medium Soft to Medium Firm|
|LUCID 10 Inch Dual-Layered||3.5 lbs||Medium Firm|
|Best Price Mattress 10-Inch||4 lbs||Medium firm|
|Sleep Innovations Shiloh||3 lbs||Medium soft to Medium Firm|
|Signature Sleep Memoir||4 lbs||Firm|
|LUCID 14 Inch||4 lbs||Medium firm to Firm|
Most Comfortable Memory Foam Mattress
LUCID 12 Inch Gel Memory Foam Mattress
With the benefits of silver from the silver infused cover to the construction of the support foam and gel foam, the LUCID’s 12” Gel Memory Foam Mattress is everything you could want in a memory foam mattress. Better sleep, less pain, long lasting and comfort that is unmatched…that equals an excellent value and one that you will wish you had made sooner. View the Full Review
Best Value Memory Foam Mattress
Classic Brands Cool Gel 12 Inch Memory Foam Mattress
A gel memory foam mattress with a pillow top that keeps you cool; it sounds like it would be too good to be true, but that is what Classic Brands has done with their 12” Cool Gel Memory Foam Mattress. You will love the great sleep and support you get and pan filed mornings will become a distant memory. No worries about being too hot with the cool gel layer that keeps your body cooler and allows for perfect sleep. View the Full Review
Best Firm Memory Foam Mattress
Perfect Cloud Gel-Plus 10-Inch Memory Foam Mattress
The Perfect Cloud 10” Gel Plus Memory Foam Mattress is everything you’re looking for in a mattress. You’ll get great sleep and wake up with little to no pain at all. The high quality materials that are designed with comfort in mind will make you feel like you’re sleeping on a cloud every night. View the Full Review
Memory Foam Buyer’s Guide
Memory foam was actually developed by NASA as part of a project to give the astronauts something to sleep on that would conform to the shape and exact weight of any astronaut. It was also supposed to be a help in relieving the Intense G-forces that astronauts would experience during lift off. Even though memory foam was initially created for those uses with NASA, called T-foam at that time, they had durability problems and also found that it was hard to manufacture. It never got to be used in the space programs but what did happen is that the medical industry took notice.
Memory foam was an excellent material to reduce pressure sores for those patients who had to be in bed for extended periods of time. In addition it is extremely beneficial in relieving pressure points because it spreads the pressure created by the body over a greater area. The early versions of memory foam were prone to wearing out and it would become compressed pr crack over time. Another benefit was the way memory foam responded to temperature.
Tempur-Pedic, a well known and respected company in the bedding industry, was the first to see the potential of memory foam for use in the consumer market. They created their own version of memory foam that was a lot more durable and strong but still had the excellent pressure reducing benefits that memory foam did.
This Tempur® foam as it was called was really making some major waves in many medical settings and patients were raving about sleeping better, having less back pain, and feeling refreshed when they woke up in the morning. It was this discovery that urged Tempur-Pedic to start selling these wonderful Memory Foam Mattresses and Memory Foam Mattress Toppers to the public.
Is a Memory Foam Mattress or Topper for You?
There are two different ways that you can reap the benefits of memory foam when it comes to beds. You can get a memory Foam Mattress or a Memory Foam Mattress Topper. One major thing to consider when starting on this journey is the condition of your existing mattress. If you have a good quality regular mattress, getting a quality Memory Foam Mattress Topper will be an excellent addition to your bed that will give you all the benefits memory foam offers.
If your mattress is old and lumpy, getting a good topper isn’t going to do much good and will actually take away from the benefits that you can get from sleeping on them. If your mattress has seen better days, getting a memory foam mattress would be an excellent investment in your health and the quality of your sleep. How do you know that memory foam is the right type of mattress or topper for you? These questions are very easy and the answer is in how you feel each day health wise.
Many consumers that look at the different types of foam mattresses and toppers are having some type of pain that they are trying to minimize. Does any of the following sound like you or a family member?
- Do you have backaches every morning when you get up?
- Is your neck stiff after sleeping?
- Do your arms go numb while you sleep?
- Do you have a hard time getting comfortable in your bed?
- Did you get a new mattress and it feels TOO firm?
- Are you suffering from back pain and/or arthritis?
- Do you toss and turn a lot or wake up throughout the night?
- Are you still tired when you wake up in the morning?
- Do doctors tell you that you need more sleep?
If any of the above sounds like you or a family member, you will benefit from a memory foam mattress or mattress topper in many ways. How do you know what the best memory foam mattress or the best memory foam mattress topper is? Keep reading to learn more about the kinds of foam toppers and mattresses that are available and see which ones appeals to you.
Types of Memory Foam
There are three main types of memory foam that you can find on the market: Traditional, Gel and Plant based. Each one has properties that make them different from each other. We have outlined each type below.
Traditional Memory Foam Mattress or Topper
Traditional memory foam is the first to come on the scene. It is the foam that was inspired by NASA and taken even further by the well known company Tempur-Pedic. They are probably the best known company when it comes to this traditional memory foam. It is made of a petroleum-based polyurethane that is created and developed to react to warmth by softening up which allows it to contour to the sleepers’ individual bodies. Another feature of traditional memory foam is that is distributes your weight across the surface of the bed which gives a pressure free sensation. Anyone who has slept on inner spring mattresses know how uncomfortable it can be to have the springs pressing into your body in certain places depending on what sleep position you’re in. Traditional memory foam tends to get the best ratings for comfort and customer satisfaction, but this will vary according to your own preferences and needs.
Pros of Traditional Memory Foam
- Prevents pressure point discomfort
- Contours to each individual’s body
- Prevents one person from being affected by the other’s movement
Cons of Traditional Memory Foam
- Can be very hot to sleep on because of heat retention
- Is Petroleum based
- Some types can contain VOCs and Chemical Fire Retardants
- Can feel uncomfortable due to lasting impression of body in the foam
- Bad Odor is possible
- Can vary greatly in quality with off brands
Gel Memory Foam Mattress or Topper
Gel memory foam is new to the scene and is generating a lot of attention for itself. There are a few different ways that gel memory foam is made. In one method, gel is added to regular memory foam by tiny little beads of gel. It can also be added as a liquid during the manufacturing process. Other manufacturers use pockets filled with gel or layers of gel on the surface. Because it is relatively new, there is not a whole lot of data that has been released yet, so studies are still being conducted that will provide more information as time goes on.
Pros of Gel Memory Foam
- Relief from pressure point pain
- Is cooler initially
- One person’s movements don’t affect the other user
- Contours to each individual’s body
Cons of Gel Memory Foam
- Some types can contain VOCs and Chemical Fire Retardants
- Petroleum Based
- Can retain heat
- Can have a bad odor
Plant Based Memory Foam Mattress or Topper
This type of memory foam is also known as “green” memory foam due to its environmentally friendly properties. It’s also turning out to be much more people friendly as well. The properties of plant based memory foam can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. There are some manufacturers that are using the plant-based BioPur memory foam that has ZERO emissions and ZERO toxic VOCs. This is a big plus for the plant based memory foam.
In addition to this, the plant based foam is not dependent on body heat to conform to the individual’s body, which means it transitions much faster when you move around on it or roll over. Yet another plus involves the open-cell design that gives the memory foam a lot of breathability.
This means that it is much cooler than gel and traditional memory foam to sleep on. A good thing when heat retention is the number one complaint that consumers report. With the plant based memory foam, sleepers will be 25% cooler than gel memory foam sleepers. It also boasts 10xfaster heat dissipation than regular memory foam provides.
Pros of Plant Based Memory Foam
- Relief from pressure point pain
- Cooler sleep
- No VOCs
- No bad odor
- Quick transition time when sleepers move
- Contours to each individual’s body
- One person’s movements don’t affect another’s
Cons of Plant Based Memory Foam
- May be hard to find locally
How Do You Choose?
So now that you’ve learned a little bit about the different types of memory foam, how do you know which one to choose? This is actually going to vary according to your own preferences and needs as well as your budget. You need to list the factors that are important to you when it comes to sleeping comfort and figure out just how much you have to spend on a new memory foam mattress or topper. Once you do that, you should be able to narrow it down some. Organizing what your priorities are will be very helpful in comparing the different types available and selecting the one that you will be the happiest with. Our goal with this guide is to provide you with as much information as you need to make an informed decision and not have to rely on guesswork.
What You Should Know Before Shopping
There are a few things that you need to know before you start your comparison shopping for the best memory foam mattress. These factors are important in choosing the right bed for your needs. When you’re shopping for a memory foam mattress or memory foam mattress topper, you don’t want to worry about purchasing a product that doesn’t do a thing for your sleep or pain.
It’s easy to get caught up in the ads a manufacturer might place, that promise the world but deliver actually very little. When you know the jargon and know what to look for, it becomes very difficult to be tricked or misled. The steps we’ve outlined below will help you get the most memory foam bed or topper you can for the money you have to spend.
What size bed do you have or want? – If you’re getting a memory foam mattress topper you will need to measure your existing bed so you know what size topper to look for. If you are going to get a memory foam mattress brand new, knowing the traditional sizes is also important so you get the one you want.
- Twin – 38” x 74”
- Twin XL – 38” x 80”
- Full - 54” x 75”
- Queen – 60” x 80”
- King – 76” x 80”
- King – 72” x 84”
You need to be aware that sometimes manufacturers will create the toppers a few inches smaller than the standard bed types. Not all manufacturers do this, but if you are expecting a perfect fit based on the type (twin full, queen, etc) you will be frustrated. The toppers are still comfortable they just won’t come to the edges of the existing mattress which may or may not be a problem for you. Check the measurements of the memory foam toppers you are looking at to compare with the traditional bed sizes so you know exactly what you’re getting.
What is the right size for certain situations? – There are several different sizes of memory foam mattresses and memory foam mattress toppers available on the market. Making sure that you match the size to the right situation will help you get the right bed and not spend more than you need to.
- A child’s room – For a child’s room, a twin size memory foam mattress is perfect. Children don’t need huge beds, and a twin size fits them just right. If they have a good mattress you can get a twin memory foam mattress topper and put that over the top of their existing twin sized mattress.
- Guest Room – If you have a guest room in your home, why not get a Queen Size memory foam mattress or if the bed is in great shape you can get a queen size memory foam mattress topper to enhance your guests’ sleeping experiences when they are visiting your home.
- Master Bedroom – Many couples love the room that a King sized bed offers. A king size memory foam mattress will not only provide a lot of comfort but you can still enjoy the room it affords as well. If your king sized bed is in good shape, don’t toss it out, just get a king size memory foam mattress topper instead. It’ll do the same thing as long as the mattress below is in good condition and you get a good quality topper.
What is Your Budget? - Budget is always important so you know how much memory foam mattress or topper you can get. The best course of action for this is to set a budget and then stick to it. If you find that you can’t get the mattress or topper that fits the criteria you listed as important to you, you may find that you will need to take another look at your budget or decide which points you are willing to forgo to stay within the initial budget.
Be Informed – Knowing the jargon (density, etc) and knowing how memory foam beds get their firmness or softness will help you a lot when it comes to choosing the one that will help your sleep. The more you know, the more informed your choices are.
Know How Firm You Want Your Bed - Most sleepers have an idea of whether they like a bed to be firm or soft. You will need to know this ahead of time to determine which type of memory foam you want. Medium to medium firm memory foam mattresses seem to be the most commonly used by sleepers but it really will depend on the manufacturer.
Firm memory foam feels different than a firm innerspring mattress. Before you order online (where the best deals are) you could consider going to a mattress showroom and do some test “laying” to see what you like in terms of firmness. Don’t let them pressure you, as you will undoubtedly find better deals online than in a storefront.
Research and Compare – there are many things you can do to research your purchase before you actually make the purchase final. Checking out memory foam mattress reviews and memory foam mattress topper reviews and guides like this one you’re reading now are invaluable for helping you learn the ins and outs of a particular product.
Check the Warranties – You should never purchase a memory foam mattress that does not offer you at least a 10 year warranty. That shows that the company stands behind their product and its quality.
Trial Times are Important - If the manufacturer that you are looking at purchasing a bed from does not give you at the very least, 30 days to try out the bed, you should pass and move on to another company. If you don’t like the bed you will have to ship it back at your own experience, so it is very important to do all of the above research beforehand and feel relatively certain on what you’re buying BEFORE you buy it.
The Importance of Density
Density is one of the most important things to look at when shopping for the right memory foam mattress or memory foam mattress topper. Density doesn’t measure the firmness of the memory foam but it does measure the quality. The most common density levels are from 2-5. There are some that are in the 6-8 range but they are not as common as the 2-5 range. Typically the more dense the memory foam is the heavier it is and also the higher the cost.
One of the things you will need to take into consideration when it comes to foam density is the weight of the sleepers. The more the sleeper weighs the more density the foam needs to be. Densities of less than 3.0 pounds are much less durable and anything less than 3.0 pounds is not suited for bedding as they don’t support a person’s body enough. With different densities sleepers will notice different feelings in cushioning.
One of the common complaints that consumers have about memory foam is that they can end up feeling like they are sleeping in an indentation. Another problem is when they roll over they might feel that their previous position is locked in. Memory foam is designed to conform to the body and weight of the sleeper. However, in the 3-5 pound memory foams you will not have these same issues. The memory foam gently moves with you rather than remaining rigid. Many people report feeling like they are floating and that is the feeling that enables you to have a great night’s sleep.
Out of the three preferable memory foam densities, 4 pounds seems to be the optimum choice. 3 pound density is firmer because it has a little less memory foam there and doesn’t give as much. On the other hand, a 5 pound memory foam is more dense and the higher t he density the firmer it will be. It gives a slower recovery time for the foam to move back into the new shape. 4 pounds seems to be the perfect density that provides the correct amount of give, recovery time, and softness.
What about Foam Height?
When you buy a memory foam mattress, the entire product is not made of memory foam. Even if a mattress says it is 10” – 14” thick, it is not all memory foam that makes up that height. A memory foam mattress or topper does not ever need to be more than 4” thick. If you are heavier weight wise, you will want to stick with the 4” memory foam, but 3” will work well also. It is not advised to go below 3” since a lot of the support is lost under that height.
Your memory foam mattress will have layers that make up its thickness. It will sometimes be made of poly-urethane foam, latex foam or some other type of dense support foam. The actual memory foam portion will be the top 2-4” of the mattress itself. While there is a difference between the 3” and 4” foam heights, there is virtually no difference in feel between 4” and 5”.
Recommendations for Weights over 250 pounds
Memory foam mattresses don’t always work for everyone. They are not a recommended choice for sleepers who weigh more than 250 pounds. The foam will break down very quickly and there will be no support for the person and that can lead to increased pain and discomfort. There are other options for heavier weights that include latex and poly-urethane foam. These are extremely dense and can offer the kind of support that is good for those at heavier weights.
Another option that someone over 250 pounds can choose to do is to use a memory foam mattress topper over a latex topper. Because the latex topper is so dense, it will provide the right amount of support, while the memory foam mattress topper can offer more softness and comfort. In the event that people over 250 pounds are using the memory foam, it will need to be replaced every year to give the user the benefits that memory foam offers.
Even if you don’t weigh over 250 pounds you may find that the combination of latex foam under a memory foam topper is a great combination that provides comfort, support and softness.
The Top 4 Complaints that Consumers often Make
Nothing is perfect in the manufacturing world, and not everyone who gets a memory foam mattress or a memory foam mattress topper is going to rave about it. In fact there are 4 common complaints that are most often heard. We have addressed these common complaints below and provided potential solutions that will enable consumers to enjoy their memory foam mattress without complaint.
Common complaint #1 - Sleeping on a memory foam mattress can be too hot. - This occurrence happens due to the fact that the foam molds around the sleeper as they are lying in bed. Heat from the body, which usually increases during sleep anyway, gets trapped closely around the body making things very hot and sweaty. It’s a complaint that has been heard and worked on by many memory foam manufacturers. Traditional memory foam mattresses tend to have the biggest problems with this due to the small, tightly spaced cells that pretty much eliminate the ability for the foam to transfer the heat away from the body.
Why this is a problem - When a person becomes overly hot at night, they can sweat which will be very disruptive to a good night’s sleep. Waking up sweaty and damp is not enjoyable and can even lead to rashes and other problems.
The Solutions – Manufacturers have addressed this issue in many ways. Some companies have redesigned or come up with new coverings that have air channels to increase the air circulation. Another created a special foam and cover. Gel memory foam was introduced and manufacturers expected this would work like a cooling gel, keeping consumers much cooler during sleep. While it does start off much cooler, because gel is a conductive material, it will reach body temperature and cause the same issues as the traditional memory foam.
One of the most significant improvements to being too hot with a memory foam mattress is the plant based memory foam. With its open cell technology and plat based polyols that do not respond to heat the same way the other materials were, air flow was increased and the sleeper was reported to sleep about 9x cooler than normal. If being cool during sleep is something that is a big concern for you, you may want to look at the plant based memory foam mattresses and toppers for your own bed.
Common complaint #2 – Bad odors or off gassing from the foam – all new products from cars to furniture to even clothing has an odor to them that most people call a “new” smell. This new smell is caused by a process called off-gassing which means the odors are released from the new product into the air. Most of the time, these odors are not a problem and dissipate fairly fast.
Why this is a problem – If someone has a sensitive sense of smell, off gassing can be very disruptive. In some products, the smells can be extreme and very problematic, especially for those who may have issues such as respiratory problems, allergies and other health issues. Some memory foam products can emit what are called VOCs or volatile organic compounds. It comes from being made with fire retardants, petro chemicals and other materials.
The Solutions – Off-gassing is something that many manufacturers are working to deal with. Traditional memory foam is likely to be the type that gets the most remarks for odors and that is due to the different chemicals, retardants and chemicals that are used in the manufacturing process. Looking for the memory foam products that have proof or claims that they are free from VOCs and other chemicals is one sure way to avoid these odor problems. In addition, the plant based memory foam which is a great choice if these VOCs are a problem for you, and is really good for the environmentally conscious.
Common complaint #3 – Feeling trapped in the bed – We touched on this a little earlier when we discussed density n memory foam mattresses. This is most often caused by the visco-elastic foam that molds to the body of the sleeper creating an indentation that is unique to each sleeper.
Why this is a problem – when the memory foam contours to your body and you roll over, there is already an indentation that your body has created that has to be overcome so to speak so the new position becomes comfortable. This can disrupt your sleep and either prevent you from falling asleep or wake you up because you are now sleeping in the equivalent of a different “shape” in the bed than whatever shape your new position has created.
The Solutions – Traditional memory foam is the type noted to have the least amount of give or fast recovery. Some people love this about it and it works for them, but those who have arthritis or back problems may find that waiting for the shape to gradually change can be painful as well as annoying.
Plant based memory foam has a fast recovery time of 5-7 seconds and tends to move more with Your body giving that popular touted feeling of sleeping on a cloud. A gel memory foam mattress or a gel memory form mattress topper is also faster at recovery than regular traditional memory foam. Manufacturers continue to work on the faster recovery of the foam without losing the integrity and support it provides.
Common complaint #4 – Not as Durable or Long lasting as Expected – Much of the durability and longevity of memory foam mattresses and memory foam mattress toppers has to do with the density of the product. Because memory foam is more expensive to buy usually, the expectation is that it will last a long time. Often times they find that they have to purchase another topper or mattress sooner than they expected. This is where buying a cheap memory foam mattress can really cause problems for you.
Why this is a problem - No one wants to have to replace their mattress every 1-2 years. Much of the problem with this particular complaint is that it tends to be buyer error that causes the problem. Personal use, weight and the care that is taken of the memory foam all play a part in how long it will retain its beneficial properties and its shape. Many times consumers don’t read up on their purchases and they get substandard products, products not suited for their needs or weight and other factors. If a consumer buys a product that is not the best choice for their personal preferences and needs, they will likely have to repurchase again sooner than if they do the research and get the information and education that is in this guide for them.
The Solutions - Know what you need. This is a crucial step in making sure that you purchase the memory foam mattress or topper that will last a long time. If you know exactly what you need and want in terms of preferences, choosing the right one for your needs becomes much easier. For example, if you want a memory foam mattress and you weigh over 250 pounds, this guide tells you what to do and what to get.
If that research is not done, you may have gone off and bought a 3 or 4 pound mattress topper or mattress and then either been frustrated that it broke down quickly, or were frustrated that it didn’t help your quality of sleep at all. Research enables consumers to make educated decisions, which means what they buy will be the right product for them and one that will last.
Taking Care of Your Memory Foam Mattress or Mattress Topper
Regardless of the type of memory foam mattress or topper you choose to get, they will all need to be cared for properly to ensure they last as long as possible. There are a few simple things that can be done to ensure the best performance and longevity of your memory foam mattress whether it is a gel memory foam mattress or a traditional memory foam topper.
- Make sure it is supported properly - Memory foam mattresses do not require a box spring. They do however need the right kind of support. The best choice would be a box style foundation that had slats in it for air circulation. The slats need to be no more than 3” apart. You need to make sure that the warranty for your mattress does not require a specific type of foundation to be used, but box springs are definitely not the way to go.
- Clean it regularly - There are all kinds of things that can end up on our mattresses including sweat, skin cells, and dust. This can draw dust mites. Pet dander can also accumulate, especially if you allow your pets to sleep on the bed. It is to your benefit and the benefit of your memory foam mattress or memory foam topper to use a dust and water resistant mattress cover on your mattress all the time.
You can also benefit from getting a good memory foam mattress pad for added protection. Every 2 weeks or so, strip ALL the bedding including dust ruffles and mattress covers and wash it all. Vacuum the surface of the bed with a vacuum attachment which helps get rid of dust, mites and other problems. This is especially helpful if the sleeper suffers from allergies.
- Rotate the mattress – Memory foam mattresses and toppers are not meant to be flipped but they can be rotated which helps it wear evenly and reduces the chance of lasting impressions especially if two people sleep in the bed. Rotating every 6 months is usually sufficient or if you have a lower density mattress, do it every 3 months. You will want to rotate it 180 degrees.
- Spills or Stains - Cleaning stains and spills off of your memory foam mattress is extremely important. If there is a spill or accident, immediately remove all the bedding, including the mattress cover. Using a good absorbent towel or good paper towels, blot up as much of the spill as possible.
Once this is done, take a few drops of dish soap to some warm water in a bucket. Using a damp washcloth dab the stain or spill from the outside of the stain, in. Try to minimize the amount of soapy water used on the mattress. Once you have removed the stain dry the area thoroughly by leaving it unmade and maybe putting a fan close by to blow on it. It could take a few hours or a few days if the mattress is that wet.
If you have any odor from the spill or stain, sprinkle baking soda on it after cleaning and vacuum it up once the stain or spill has dried. Don’t use cleaners with solvents and memory foam can’t be dry cleaned either. The chemicals will break down the foam.
Memory foam mattresses and memory foam mattress toppers can make a huge difference in the way you sleep and in how you feel when you wake up. With the information you have learned in this guide, you can compare different types of memory foam products and choose the one that fits your needs and preferences the best. You know all you need to know to avoid that frustrating “guess” mentality. You will be more confident in your purchase and will enjoy the benefits that memory foam mattresses and toppers can provide.