There are various types of beds out there, but some are just better than others. Countless reviews and ratings proved that the best memory foam mattresses garnered the highest customer satisfaction rating of 81%. However, once you are decided on the type of the mattress, it’s definitely not that easy to choose the right memory foam bed among the hundreds of models and brands on the market.
The fundamental factors to consider in making an informed buying decision include layer height, the overall thickness, and density of the mattress, Indentation Load Deflection (ILD) rating, mattress pressure, motion transfer, and temperature sensitivity. Don’t forget to read memory foam mattress reviews. Our memory foam mattress buying guide and reviews serve as your ultimate navigation with a summary of every important detail you need to know to choose the right memory foam mattress in today’s market.
Top 10 Memory Foam Mattresses of 2017
How to choose the Best Memory Foam Mattress
NASA originally designed memory foam as a way to deal with the G-force felt by astronauts during the lift-off. The foam softens when it comes into contact with heat, and this allows it to conform to the shape of the body and gives even support. Memory foam is extensively used in medical applications, and this is the main reason why the mattresses were quite expensive initially. Today, technology has advanced lowering manufacturing costs making memory foam mattresses affordable to most of the consumers.
To end up with right mattresses, you need to keep the following key points in mind when you are out shopping for a memory foam mattress.
Memory Foam Layers
Memory foam is made up of 3 different layers that play distinct roles in the overall quality, design, and performance of the mattress. The first and topmost level is called “Comfort Layer” which is created from select materials that provide a cushion to the body through following the body’s contour, giving you a soft and plush surface. The second level is the “Support Layer” which is a more rigid platform that retains the overall shape of the memory foam mattress, offering a base support for the thinner and plusher comfort layer. The last layer is the “Base Layer” which is located at the bottom and serves as the foundation of the two upper levels, making it the most formidable and thickest of the three layers.
Traditional best memory foam mattresses come in different shapes and sizes, and the type of foam you choose influences its overall quality and performance, starting with the viscoelastic foam mattress. The mattress type utilized polyurethane petroleum-based foam and was created for NASA, however, it was eventually released as commercial bedding. Viscoelastic foams are also known as Traditional Polyurethane, Standard, or Petroleum-Based. One of the main issues with viscoelastic foams is the toxic off-gassing as well as heat retention or trapping, making you sleep hot and sweat.
Gel-infused memory foam mattresses are the most recent addition to the type of foam mattress in this category although it is essentially a traditional viscoelastic foam version. The only difference is that the foam is blended with millions of gel beads, as the infusion technology is designed to release the heat from the mattress. Gel-infused memory foams have better technology that avoids heat-trapping through the gel that quickly dissipates heat at a much faster rate, leading to quicker response times to movement and minimal motion transfer for uninterrupted sleep. Memory foams with gel-infused design also have VOCs and off-gassing issues, however, this will not last for several days. Edge support for gel-infused foams is not that reliable, especially for heavy, large, or overweight individuals.
Natural or eco memory foam mattresses are the third type of foam with plant-based contents and are considered the most preferred and best-rated mattress options among consumers. Unlike the other two foam types in the memory foam niche, the plant-based solution is the replacement of the petroleum or gel contents, making the natural element the main filling of the mattress. Some plant-based extracts that are potentially used include tea or Bamboo, Aloe Vera, and Soya. Plant-based or natural memory foam mattresses are far more superior concerning motion transfer and isolation compared to its viscoelastic and gel-infused counterparts. Natural memory foams are better equipped with the open-cell technology that allows it to dissipate heat 10 times faster than petroleum-based and gel-infused mattresses, making you sleep cooler and more comfortably, giving credit to the foam’s zero heat retention design. Plant-based mattresses are made from natural and safe materials; thus they are ideal for persons with sensitive skin and allergies, with an eco-friendly innovation that totally eliminates off-gassing or toxic VOC emissions. The organic memory foam bed offers more durable and stronger edge support especially with thicker and multi-layered mattress beds, however, one of the major letdowns of this model is its quite expensive price tag and the rarity of finding it in local showrooms.
Mattress Firmness and Foams Density
Mattress firmness is the initial feel the moment you lie on the bed surface and firmness is not equivalent to mattress support. The best way to test the firmness of the mattress is basically through lying down on the surface and feeling how the foam reacts as some mattresses immediately push back giving you that hard stiff-like feel while others are fluffy and soft and gives you that quicksand and hugging effect. The last type of mattress firmness strikes a balanced level of contour, hug, and push-back.
It’s hard to determine with absolute sureness the firmness level of memory foam since it is a biased metric. People have different definitions and takes on how firm or soft the mattress feels. Some sleepers have their own unique comfort needs based on their age, body type, gender, weight, and sleeping positions.
Another significant firmness level for most memory foam mattresses is called universal comfort which is designed to fit the comfort needs of most sleepers, preferably the medium-feel level or between the firmness range of 5 and 7 out of 10. There are memory foam mattresses with a universal comfort level that offers a comfortable feel from all angles, and these mattress types usually come in multiple foam layers to better handle varied body types and weights.
On top of the mattress firmness, you must also know and understand other salient factors that affect the overall quality of the best memory foam mattresses including mattress pressure, ILD, and foam density.
Before choosing the best memory foam mattress, it is important to know the memory foam density, which unfortunately to some, would equate it to how the foam feels. Foam density has a closer link to the durability of the mattress rather than how the mattress feels to the touch since memory foam density is basically measured in pounds per cubic foot. To simply explain it, foam density determines the firmness level, support, resilience, and price of the mattress. The most common density is 2 to 5lbs, with those that have a density of more than 5lbs are mainly referred to as high-quality options.
Low-density memory foams are softer with that sinking feel while medium-density foams have a balanced combination of durability, support, and comfort. High-density memory foams offer outstanding durability and firmer support which makes it the ideal option for back pain and pressure point relief. Some higher-density memory foams are designed to react to body temperature, making it acclimate and mold to the body temperature in a matter of minutes.
The best memory foam mattresses on the market also have multiple layers with different corresponding mmHg or the unit of measurement that gauges the reaction of the foam against mattress pressure. Memory foams with 32mmHg or lower offer pressure relief and better blood circulation that minimizes pressure points, therefore, lesser tossing and turning.
The Indentation Load Deflection or ILD rating of a memory foam mattress usually ranges between 10 and 16 ILD. In simple terms, the ILD is a test method that determines how soft or hard the memory foam and a measurement of the load bearing capacity of the mattress through calculating how many pounds of pressure the foam can take. The ideal ILD for the memory foam depends on how soft or firm you want your mattress to be as the higher the number or ILD rating, the stiffer the foam is. The best combination could be a 13 to 15 ILD rating for 4-6lb density memory foam.
For academic data, you might want to read the article by Polyurethane Foam Association – The difference between Density and ILD and how it relates to comfort.
Heat-Trapping Motion Transfer, Edge Support, Off-Gassing
The different foam types have their distinct designs that highlight particular features and qualities for sleeping cool, motion transfer, and edge support. Most traditional memory foams also have minimal to no edge support thus you just might experience downward sag when you sit on the corners or edges of the bed. Another problem with memory foam mattress is the above average off-gassing which comes from PU foam.
To test the motion transfer, try lying on the mattress and place a Styrofoam cup or anything that quickly tumbles when you move and roll over the middle area or towards the opposite side and see if the object budges when you move, then the motion transfer is not that satisfactory.
To gauge the edge support, put some weight on one of the edges of the bed and see how the layers of the mattress respond to it since the memory foam layers work together as one unit to support and respond to the weight that the bed is subjected to. You can also test the heat-trapping of the memory foam by pressing the surface with your hand, hold for a couple of minutes, and feel your palm specifically on how cool or hot it got while pushing the mattress.
One of the things to remember when testing the comfort level of the mattress is the importance of being able to lie down on the mattress and personally feel how firm or soft the surface is. This is quite a challenge for people who are buying online because it would be impossible to do the comfort test on a virtual scale. The remedy to this dilemma is to pay attention to the trial period and return policy so that you’ll know how long you have to test the memory foam mattress and decide whether it is the best match for you or not.
Memory foams have varying comfort levels that are ideal for different types of sleeping positions, where softer and plusher beds provide the ultimate convenience for side sleepers and lightweight individuals. Those who sleep on the back and stomach require a much firmer sleep surface to protect pressure points and avoid any discomforts and body pains when waking up the following morning.
Memory foam mattresses are not created equal, and so are their prices. However, these mattress types range from affordable to hi-range in the price scale. Natural or plant-based memory foams are significantly expensive than viscoelastic and gel-infused models due to the quality of its contents and because this type is quite difficult to find in brick-and-mortar stores and showrooms. You will have to order them online if you are willing to pay extra cash for the mattress. Nonetheless, the price is definitely worth it because the mattress offers the best features from the other two memory foam types.
Different memory foam brands have their corresponding price rates but the reasonably priced and affordable ones include LUCID, Zinus, Eve Mattress, Leesa Mattress, Dynasty Mattress, DreamFoam Bedding Ultimate Dreams, Best Price, Sleep Innovations, and Brentwood Home.
The chart below shows mattress diversity in given price range.
Median Prices for Twin, Full, Queen, King, Cal. King
Warranty and Trial Days
The best memory foam mattresses have different warranty and trial days ranging from 10 to 30 Years Limited Warranty with different coverage and protection from the manufacturer. Memory foam mattresses are designed to cater to various needs of the user and the 30 to 120 days trial period gives you the chance to test the mattress and decide whether you stick to it or return the mattress and look for other models and brands.
Quality sleep comes from numerous factors and the type of bed you sleep on each and every night is one of the key elements of a good night’s rest. The best memory foam mattresses are popular choices for those that want to experience comfort, support, and durability, nevertheless, choosing the right memory foam bed is not a piece of cake. Consider some of the most important factors such as the mattress firmness, mattress type, ILD, foam density, motion transfer, edge support, and heat trapping properties of the memory foam to make an informed buying decision. There’s always a model or brand of memory foam mattress that suits your sleep position, weight, and budget.