Mattress Guides

Memory Foam Mattress Reviews

What’s the Appeal of Memory Foam Mattresses?  

In the search for the perfect night’s sleep, memory foam is a top choice. NASA sponsored the development of memory foam (also called temper foam) in the late 60s as a material for pilot seats and crash protection material. In the 80s, NASA shares its tech and usage evolved to NFL football helmet padding, hospital bedding, supportive shoes, and, of course, mattresses.

The first memory foam mattress was the Swedish Tempur bed by Fagerdala World Foam in 1991. Since then, memory foam mattresses have exploded in the marketplace and materials evolved to incorporate newer tech to combat some of the downsides such as hot sleeping.

Best attributes of memory foam mattresses

  • Contour and conforming
  • Deep-compression support
  • Pain relief
  • Motion isolation
  • Noiseless

Our Top Memory Foam Mattress Picks

Category Winner Mattress Company Model How Much? (Queen)
Best Overall Nest Alexander Signature Series $1,199
Best Value Nectar $795
Best Luxury Casper Wave $1,995
Best Firm Novosbed $1,099
Best Cooling Loom & Leaf $1,099
Editor's Choice Luxi 3-in-1 $1,299

Memory Foam Mattress Reviews

The Best Overall – Nest Alexander Signature Series Mattress

Nest Alexander Signature Series
Construction

The Alexander Signature Series is a four-layer 10” mattress featuring two types of memory foam. The 6” base is high-resiliency foam with a firm edge and 2” layer of smart foam for support and airflow. There’s a 1” of Visco memory foam and 2.5” of gel memory foam. The cover is temperature-sensitive phase-change material for greater cooling.

Firmness

The Signature Series offers two firmness options, Medium and Luxury Firm, rate at 5 and 8 on the 1-10 (soft to firm) scale in the mattress industry. If you look at Nest’s website, it’s confusing because they rate their beds with 10 as softest and 1 as firmest making it tough to compare to other brands. Our 5 and 8 ratings are from the usual industry model.

Unique Characteristics

The Alexander Series features excellent cooling tech and phase-change fabric. All foams are CertiPUR-US certified which means no harmful chemicals, and low VOC. If the bed is too firm or soft, you can exchange it for another bed during the trial. For the life of the mattress, you can swap to another size or firmness at a 50% discount after the sleep trial expires.

Why We Chose Nest Alexander Signature Series as Our Best Overall Memory Foam Mattress

The Nest Signature series is well-crafted and provides the comfort of memory foam without the hot sleep effect. Buyers often compare it to top of the line TEMPUR-Pedic beds, but at a fraction of the cost. Nest has excellent customer service, and they’re willing to answer any questions both before and after your purchase.

Pros
  • CertiPUR certified foams with little/no off-gassing
  • Excellent pressure relief and conforming hug
  • Premium materials and luxury sleep experience
  • No motion transfer
Cons

The Best Value – Nectar Mattress

Nectar Mattress
Construction

The Nectar is a mattress designed in four layers with three types of memory foam. A polyfoam base is under a layer of responsive recovery memory foam for bounce. Next is gel memory foam and a layer of quilted gel memory foam. All four layers are wrapped in a Tencel® cover that circulates air, wicks moisture, and helps cool the mattress.

Firmness

Nectar rates the mattress in the middle of the 1-10 firmness scale at 5.5-7.5. However, firmness is subjective. Buyers rate the bed closer to a 6 which is medium. Nectar’s firmness makes it optimal for side sleepers that need more pressure relief. Back sleepers may also like the medium-firmness, but it may not be firm enough for stomach sleepers.

Unique Characteristics

One interesting aspect is their 365-night sleep trial. Most online bed sellers offer 100-120 nights to try out a bed. Nectar gives a full year to evaluate the bed and still get a 100% refund if you feel it’s not performing well for you. The company says they have a less than 3% return rate, but that’s not independently verified.

Why We Chose Nectar as Our Best Value Memory Foam Mattress

The Nectar has the lowest price point on our best memory foam mattress list at less than $800. What’s even more amazing is the generous trial and warranty for this bargain bed. Plus, the foams are all CertiPUR-US certified which is amazing considering how affordable it is, making it the obvious choice for the best value memory foam mattress.

Pros
  • Excellent price point
  • 365-night sleep trial and "forever" warranty
  • Quality materials and certified foams
  • Meets wide array of needs
Cons

The Best Luxury – Casper Wave Mattres

Casper Wave
Construction

The Casper Wave is 11.5” thick with five layers. The base is 5.5” of high-density polyfoam. A 1.5” layer of high-resiliency foam is next then 1.5” of memory foam under 1.5” of latex. At the top is 1” of plusher proprietary Flo foam that’s cool to the touch with a thick, yet breathable cover of polyester and rayon which can be removed for cleaning.

Firmness

The Casper Wave has only one firmness level of medium firm rated about 5.5-6 on the industry’s 1-10 scale. The bed has a plusher feel but with supplementary support. The base has support bands with built-in contours in a zoned design to keep shoulders and hips supported. In the transition later, polymer support runs across the center of the bed.

Unique Characteristics

The Wave’s thoughtful design results in a luxury sleep experience. The high-resiliency polyfoam in the base and transition layers are zoned for optimal support while the upper memory foam allows slight sink-in. The latex comfort layer adds surprising bounce (and a premium sleep sensation) that’s uncommon for a memory foam bed.

Why We Chose Casper Wave as Our Best Luxury Memory Foam Mattress

The Casper Wave is extremely comfortable, and all foams are CertiPUR-US certified for low VOCs. The layering of high-quality supportive foam, memory foam, and latex hugs and relieves pressure for all sleep positions. The Wave is both supportive and soft which is a rare find and the best luxury memory foam mattress we’ve found.

Pros
  • Designed for support and luxury sleep
  • Used three materials for optimal performance
  • Made for all sleep positions
  • Sleeps surprisingly cool
Cons

The Best Firm – Novosbed Mattress

Novosbed
Construction

Novosbed is an 11” thick memory foam mattress arranged differently based on the firmness option you choose. All have a high-density foam support core and then a transition layer of memory foam and a comfort layer of airflow gel memory foam, both high-density and excellent quality. Densities of layers vary based on the firmness you prefer.

Firmness

You can choose from 3, 5, and 7 firmness on the 1-10 industry rating. The softest Novosbed is typically preferred by side sleepers and lightweight people. The medium is the most popular and works for side and back sleepers. Stomach sleepers usually do better on the firmest. Heavy and hot sleepers should also consider the firmest for optimal comfort.

Unique Characteristics

Founded almost a decade ago, Novosbed is one of the few online brands with a significant track record. Plus, they offer a unique program called Comfort+. After you break-in your Novosbed for 30 nights, if it’s too firm or soft, they send you free additional layers to modify your sleep experience. If the bed still doesn’t work for you, they issue a refund.

Why We Chose Novosbed As Our Best Firm Memory Foam Mattress

Novosbed is well-loved by buyers as reflected in reams of positive reviews. Their memory foam sleeps cooler than most and the adjustable firmness options mean most people can find good sleep on the mattress. All foams are CertiPUR-US certified for low VOC’s and no toxic chemicals, and their customer service is fantastic.

Pros
  • Perfect Firmness Guarantee for great sleep
  • Many firmness options
  • Lengthy and positive track record
  • Excellent durability
Cons

The Best Cooling – Loom & Leaf Mattress

Loom and Leaf
Construction

Loom & Leaf is a 12” memory foam mattress in four layers. The support core is 5.5” of high-density foam with channels for airflow and cooling. A 2” layer of transition foam is under two comfort layers. One is 2.5” premium memory foam, and the other 2” gel-swirl memory foam for enhanced cooling. At the top is a thin cool gel layer and the cover is organic cotton.

Firmness

There are two Loom & Leaf firmness options at 6.5 and 8 on the 1-10 industry scale. The brand calls these Relaxed Firm and Firm. Side and back sleepers will likely prefer the Relaxed Firm while stomach sleepers and those that are heavier should consider the Firm option.

Unique Characteristics

Loom & Leaf invests in eco-friendly green tech. Their foams contain sustainable plant-based oils and are CertiPUR-US and Guardin certified and the cover is organic cotton. No memory foam is organic or all-natural, but Loom & Leaf stands out for being more green and eco-friendly than other brands and are members of the Sustainable Furnishings Council.

Why We Chose Loom & Leaf as Our Best Cooling Memory Foam Mattress

The thin cooling layer at the top of Loom & Leaf is medical grade used for burn patients, so it’s high-tech for optimal cooling. The foams are high quality and durable providing an excellent sleep experience that’s cooler than other memory foam mattresses. This mattress sleeps like one that costs four times as much and is a great choice.

Pros
  • Almost no off-gassing due to green materials
  • Sleeps like much costlier Tempur-Pedic bed
  • Cooler than other memory foam mattresses
  • Eco-friendly manufacturing
Cons

The Editor's Choice – Luxi 3-in-1 Mattress

Luxi Mattress
Construction

Luxi’s 3-in-1 is four layers that are adjustable to your specifications. The base is open-cell foam for breathability. There’s a Luxitex layer under transition foam that’s adaptive for better support. The support balancing layer is unique to Luxi. It’s foam pedestals built for compression and contour. The cover is quilted memory foam for added contour and hug.

Firmness

The bed is adjustable from soft to firm. The initial configuration is medium, but you can rearrange at home for a softer or firmer sleep experience. If you sleep with a partner and they have a different sleep profile, you can order a split design where each side of the bed is customizable. This option is only for queen, king, and California king.

Unique Characteristics

The customizable aspect is one of the two most intriguing factors of this bed. That you can change it on the fly as your preferences and needs change is one. Second is the pedestal comfort layer. The pedestals contour to your body and have deep channels for optimal airflow. It is excellent for pressure relief, minimizing motion transfer, and spinal alignment.

Why We Chose Luxi 3-in-1 As Our Editor’s Choice Memory Foam Mattress

Luxi offers a 1,000-night pledge for optimal comfort on their adjustable mattress. The standard 3-in-1 is not made for very heavy sleepers, but if you contact Luxi, they will customize with extra support for those with high BMI. The company is invested in providing satisfaction and works with buyers to achieve the best sleep experience.

Pros
  • Customizable in-home to varied firmness
  • Split design great for couples
  • Excellent airflow and breathability
Cons

Benefits of a Memory Foam Mattress

Memory foam mattresses have die-hard supporters that refuse to sleep on any other material with good reason. If you’ve never tried a memory foam bed, here are some of the benefits to consider:

  • Contour and conforming: The sensation of a mattress material adapting to your body is a primary benefit of memory foam. This is the feeling of contour and conformity to your body shape that gives a nice hug while you sleep.
  • Deep-compression support: When you exert pressure on a mattress if you’re a larger person, you need deep-compression support. Memory foam pushes back and reinforces even when the material is compacted and condensed.  
  • Pain relief: Traditional memory foam gets softer with body heat, so the areas where you press deeper into the bed (shoulders, hips, etc.) are cushioned. It can ease aches and pains common where the body is heaviest.
  • Motion isolation: When you adjust while sleeping, the energy can move the bed and disturb your partner. Memory foam is excellent for motion isolation to keep you snoozing peacefully. The denser the foam, the better the isolation.
  • Noiseless: A quality memory foam mattress is noiseless when you shift around unlike other mattress materials. The only sound you may experience is from the foundation, headboard, footboard, etc.

Drawbacks of a Memory Foam Mattress

With memory foam beds, there are advantages and disadvantages. Opting for the latest innovations in the material combats some of the drawbacks of memory foam including:

  • Heat retention: One of the chief complaints with memory foam is hot sleep. Traditional foam is the likeliest for hot sleep. New memory foam tech (gel, copper, and charcoal infusions) sleeps cooler than standard memory foam.
  • Movement across surface: Because memory foam conforms and hugs closely, it can be difficult to move across the surface of the bed and can leave you feeling “stuck” particularly if you’re heavier or a larger person in general.
  • Lack of bounce: One mattress consideration is the feeling of bounce which important for sexual activity. Memory foam is not very bouncy, so take this into account when choosing a bed. Shifting to the edge or changing positions may help.
  • Off-gassing: Memory foam is synthetic, so there are chemicals used in its manufacture. After unrolling a compressed bed, gasses release as foams expand. It usually dissipates rapidly but low-VOC materials and CertiPUR-US certified beds have less off-gassing.
  • Break-in period: A memory foam bed feels different on night one versus night 30. Foams get softer over time and break-in varies by brand. To speed up the process, try standing and walking around on it.

Types of Memory Foam

When memory foam mattresses first came on the market, there was one option. Now there are many iterations. Memory foam evolution minimized the negatives to offer increasingly restful sleep experiences. Here’s a look at the types of memory foams on the market.

Traditional memory foam:

Both polyfoam and memory foam are chemically similar, but memory foam has extra chemicals and processing to increase density and viscosity. It is Visco-Elastic foam but known by consumers simply as memory foam. Traditional memory foam is comfortable but sleeps hotter than other materials.

Open cell memory foam:

Also called air-cooled, this memory foam has billions of small cells that circulate air. It is more durable than traditional (closed cell) memory foam. Over time, closed cells break down while open cell memory foams sleep cooler, are more durable, and don’t have as deep a “sinking in” sensation.

Gel memory foam:

This evolution of memory foam contains gel microbeads that increase density and better regulates temperature. Gel microbeads can be either thermally conductive gel that’s cool to the touch or phase-change which stores and releases heat adjusting to your needs while you sleep.

Others memory foams:

  • Copper – Infusing copper in memory foam makes for cooler sleep, is antimicrobial, antibacterial, and is said to improve circulation and reduce joint pain.
  • Charcoal – Some makers infuse memory foams with bamboo charcoal which is hypoallergenic, cools, wicks moisture, and eliminates odors.
  • Plant-based – Some memory foams use plant-derived oils in their memory foams, but as of now, there is no 100% natural, plant-based memory foam.
  • Graphite – This natural mineral cools and lowers friction. When infused in memory foam, it disperses heat and improves breathability due to thermal conductivity.

Is a Memory Foam Mattress Right for You?

For those that have never tried memory foam, it’s worth considering. Here’s the profiles of those that will best benefit and who may want to avoid memory foam.

Who is suited to a memory foam bed?

  • Lighter weight people: Those that are not heavy may do well on a memory foam bed if it’s not too firm. Thinner people may appreciate the hug and contour that lets them sink into the bed.
  • Cool sleepers: If you run cold at night, memory foam can insulate and warm you. There are also cooling memory foams, but you may want to avoid these if you sleep cool.
  • Side sleepers: Sleeping on your side presses your shoulders and hips into the bed and requires cushioning on pressure points. Memory foam relieves pressure and comforts side sleepers.
  • Back sleepers: Memory foam can be good for back sleepers but firmer is often preferred. Back sleepers need more support for spinal alignment and to keep hips from sinking into the bed.
  • Painful sleepers: Those with aches and pains from injury, chronic illness, or arthritis may benefit from memory foam. The contour cushions without excessive pressure for pain relief.

Who is not suited to a memory foam bed?

  • Hot sleepers: For those that run very hot, memory foam may not be a good choice. Newer memory foams sleep cooler, but might still be too warm for hot sleepers.  
  • Heavy sleepers: Those with excess weight and high BMI might find memory foam has too much sink-in. Heavy sleepers also tend to run hot. Look at firmer with advanced cooling.
  • Stomach sleepers: Stomach sleepers benefit from firmer materials that sink in too much. Face down, you need support to keep weight from pressing your hips into the sleep surface.