Memory foam, also called visco elastic foam, has been around since the mid-70s and made a big splash in the mattress industry over the past couple decades. In recent years, memory foam mattresses have become ubiquitous with the online mattress movement with brands like Casper and Tempur-Pedic making big impacts in the industry.
But what is memory foam exactly? It is a blend of polyurethane foam, which is a synthetic polymer, that is slow response and soft to the touch. There are a variety of foam manufacturers around the United States and abroad that supply mattress makers. Some mattress companies also create their own special blend of foam for their specific feel. For example, Tempur-Pedic has its own proprietary blend called Tempur® foam.
Over the years, memory foam and other polyurethane foams have become increasingly cheap to make. This has led to the advent of cheaply made mattresses, by brands large and small that have caused toxicity concerns. However, there are a few independent organizations that certify low emission foam, such as the CertiPUR-US standard. If you are sensitive to chemicals, make sure to check the certifications!
The best memory foam mattresses aren't purely memory foam. Their top layer is generally soft to the touch, but their middle and bottom layers are higher density and firmer to provide better support than memory foam alone. The most comfortable foam mattresses are medium to medium firm so they don't swallow you, but provide a gentle contouring to keep you confortable. Tomorrow, Nolah and Nectar do a great job at this!
Memory foam tends to sleep hot both because of the materials used and because it hugs more surface area of your body, which is why it is so important to find a mattress that sleeps cool. Bear mattress has a Celliant® cover that diffuses heat into infrared light. Its design ensures that you'll stay cool through the night!
Choosing a memory foam can be tough, which is why we've made sure our top picks have generous return policies on the off-chance that you don't like what you pick.
Slumber Search is supported by readers. Some links on Slumber Search are referral links. If you use one of these and buy something, Slumber Search may make a small amount of money. More info.
Tomorrow is an innovative factory-direct sleep company offering a variety of sleep products like an impressive sleep tracker, adjustable base, pillows, sheets, comforters, and more. Their extremely comfortable hybrid and all-foam mattress is built with generations of expertise and data from Serta Simmons and has higher value materials at a lower price than many competitors in the market. With impeccable customer satisfaction scores, a Sleep Bundle with foundation and protector for under $1000 for a queen after discount, this brand is a market leader to love!
Bear mattress offers two extremely interesting mattresses. Although its memory foam version has won awards among athletes, they have won acclaim from everyone. Some of their differentiators include a Celliant® cover that is an FDA approved medical device, diffusing heat and facilitating deeper sleep while helping with pain and muscle recovery. Also, their mattresses are designed to alleviate pressure points and straighten your spine (perfect for both sore athletes and people with chronic back pain). Because of these factors and their all-inclusive and low priced Bear Bundle that includes pillows and mattress protector, folks love this bed.
Nectar had a big launch in 2017 and made a large impact across the online mattress community surrounding their memory foam mattress. They have a few interesting differentiators - their memory foam mattress is softer than most others. It is a medium feel for most sleepers rather than a medium-firm. Also, they offer a full year trial and a 'forever' warranty, which is really generous compared to other brands. The largest complaint is that they have a long wait for delivery, but with CertiPUR-US foams that don't offgas nasty toxins and a competitive pricepoint, this is definitely a brand to consider.
Don't know which brand really makes quality? Well look no further! Brooklyn Bedding is a trend-setter in both the retail and mattress-in-a-box industry. They make all of their mattresses end to end in their own factory. This means much more comfort for a lower cost to you. Over the past year, they have launched some really exciting new mattresses -- such as their Brooklyn Bedding Aurora and their newest Brooklyn Bowery budget mattress. With many rave reviews from customers on the high quality for the cost, #BestMattressEver is definitely one to consider.
The Eight Mattress was first known for its smart mattress cover and tracker. With its initial success, Eight was one of the first companies to launch a 'smart mattress.' Their integrated tech offers bed warming, smart alarm (that wakes you at your lightest sleep level), an integrated mobile app and sleep assistant, and further customizations with your smart home. With mattresses at different pricepoints and firmness preferences, this is a great brand to consider!
Nolah is a 2016 mattress entrant with a new response to the memory foam mattress. Nolah crafted its very own foam, called Nolah AirFoam™. It's innovation is that it retains less heat than other memory foam or common 'visco elastic' foams. It also has less pressure than even high end memory foam, meaning that it is easier on the hips and shoulders. Nolah's testers say it is also more durable and great for side sleepers. With 7% of profits going to wildlife adoption, Nolah is a brand anyone can feel good about!
Leesa is a popular foam 'mattress in a box' company that makes its flagship Leesa mattress with three layers of foam -- one layer of avena curved foam, one memory foam, and a last support foam layer. Their mattress is well loved by many customers and they have a positive company mission, donating 1 out of 10 mattresses to non-profits who help the disadvantaged. As one of the first brands riding on the mattress-in-a-box wave, Leesa has made a big name for itself with lots of sales and rave customer reviews. Are they the right mattress for you?
Loom and Leaf has a lot to offer -- standing at just about 12 inches thick, it has many layers of high-end foam that help alleviate pressure points but also properly cradle the spine. If you are frustrated by mattresses that don't properly support your back and spine, Loom and Leaf can definitely help. It has a medium firm option that is approved by chiropractors and other spine gurus. Also, its multiple layers mean that your spine alignment is never an issue. This is a luxury bed.
Cocoon by Sealy is Sealy's answer to the disruptive mattress in a box brands that have been so popular over the past two years. They offer two mattresses, both a variety of memory foams, a 'Chill' version and a regular version with a soft and a firm version. With massive brand awareness and extremely competitive prices, Cocoon is an exciting entry into the mattress-in-a-box space. One that's sure to continue to innovate!
Cariloha is famous for its innovative bamboo mattress that is cooler and cleaner than many other mattress varieties. With its innovative blends of foam that relieve pressure points and focus on airflow, there is a lot going for the bamboo mattress. Learn more about this sleep innovation and if it is right for you.