The time has finally come: Your old, lumpy bed is on its last legs, and you need to buy a new one. You’ve already decided that you’d like to get the best memory foam mattress, but how can you find the most comfortable one to meet your needs?
Best Memory Foam Mattresses of 2020
- The Amerisleep AS3 uses supportive, pressure-relieving plant-based memory foam to top our list. Plus, it features a back support technology clinically proven to reduce pressure points by nearly 50%. Add in a cover that uses FDA-determined Celliant® technology to improve blood flow1 to help promote more restful sleep, a risk-free 100-night trial, and the best warranty in the business, and it’s no wonder over 6,000 verified customer reviews rate it 4.7 out of 5 stars.
- Zoma Mattress uses gel-infused memory foam with a zoned support system. This helps keep you cool and comfortable. Because the memory foam is high-quality, Zoma puts 2-inches right at the top so you can reap the pressure-relieving benefits. Zoma backs its Sports Mattress with a 100-night sleep trial and a 10-year warranty.
Memory foam’s ability to conform to your body’s unique shape makes it one of the most comfortable sleep surfaces for the majority of sleepers, especially those who suffer from chronic aches and discomfort. Regardless of your sleep position, it can relieve, and even help prevent, back pain, pressure points, muscle soreness, and more.
Best Memory Foam Mattresses of 2019
|Amerisleep AS3||Plant-based memory foam that supports you and the environment.||$1199|
|Zoma Sports Mattress||Gel-infused memory foam with zoned support.||$750|
Our recommended memory foam mattress is Amerisleep’s AS3. We are fans of Amerisleep and all of their mattresses because they are each tailored towards different sleep styles, but their AS3 is the most versatile and adaptable, so it’s comfortable for a lot of different sleepers.
Let’s break down the state-of-the-art technology Amerisleep uses in their top-rated bed.
The cover of every Amerisleep mattress is Celliant® fabric. Celliant® is FDA-determined to promote more restful sleep by helping to keep your temperature regulated, which is important for people who tend to sleep hot.
Next, every Amerisleep mattress uses Bio-Pur®. Bio-Pur® is Amerisleep’s proprietary plant-based memory foam. Bio-Pur® has an advanced open-cell structure which helps it retain its shape and bounce back ten times faster than traditional memory foam. The AS3 has three inches of Bio-Pur® as the comfort layer, allowing it to provide immediate pressure relief and comfort.
Beneath the AS3’s layer of Bio-Pur® is Amerisleep’s HIVE® technology. HIVE® technology uses 5 sections of zoned support, providing you with comfort where you want it and support where you need it. HIVE® has been clinically proven to reduce pressure points up to nearly 49%. The last layer of their mattress is Bio-Core® foam. Bio-Core® is designed to provide a stable foundation for the first two layers of the mattress.
When you shop with Amerisleep, your bed comes with a 100-night sleep trial and a 20-year warranty.
The second bed on our list is the top-rated Zoma Sports Mattress. Zoma uses gel-infused memory foam as its top layer to provide pressure relief benefits while reducing the risk of sleeping hot.
The first layer also uses Triangulex™ material. Triangulex™ is made of triangle-shaped cutouts that provide cushion and support to pressure-sensitive areas such as your shoulders.
Plus, the midsection of the layer is firmer, helping keep your spine in proper alignment.
Beneath the Triangulex™ material, Zoma uses a layer of responsive foam called Reactiv™. Reactiv™ can be described as “latex-like”, where it is contouring and bouncy.
These two layers combined give Zoma a soft but supportive feel.
The third and final layer of Zoma is a 7-inch support core, which gives Zoma its durability and longevity.
Zoma says its mattress is great for those who live an active lifestyle or are looking for a great recovery. The layers above combine to help you sleep and the better you sleep, the more you recover.
The Zoma Sports mattress comes with free shipping, a 100-night trial, and a 10-year warranty.
What Is Memory Foam?
Sometimes referred to as viscoelastic polyurethane foam, memory foam is a type of foam that adapts to your weight and shape and temperature. It molds to you, retaining a “memory” of your body impression. The time it takes for the foam to retain its shape after removing your weight is referred to as response time. Memory foam with slower response times can lead to a “sinking in” feeling and could also lead to an increased risk of sleeping hot.
Keep in mind the mattress you choose is unlikely to be entirely memory foam. Memory foam is more expensive to make and is best used near the top of the mattress, where it can provide pressure relief and comfort. The core of a mattress will almost always be sturdier foam, such as polyurethane foam (polyfoam), or another material such as innerspring coils.
As for what it’s made of? That depends on the type of mattress you buy. Usually, these sleep surfaces are made of viscoelastic polyurethane foam, a type that’s dense, viscous, and highly cushiony.
But many new-generation models are made from plant-based foams, which are derived from ingredients like soybeans. They tend to be just as comfortable, and they come with some other big perks— more about those in a bit.
What Sleeping Positions are Best for Memory Foam?
Whether you tend to sleep on your stomach, back, or side, memory foam can be comfortable for you. The reason being is that it can conform to most body types in most sleeping positions. The key to finding a supportive memory foam bed for your sleep style is to focus on the firmness level of the mattress. Most beds are available in different firmness options because different sleep styles require different levels of support.
Back sleepers tend to sleep most comfortably on firm or medium-firm mattresses. A firm feel memory foam mattress cushions your body to relieve pressure but is strong enough to keep you lifted on top of the mattress, maintaining your spine’s neutral alignment.
Side sleepers do better on a medium or medium-soft mattress because they cushion the shoulders and hips, relieving pressure points, while still offering adequate spinal support.
Stomach sleeping is the unhealthiest sleep style because of the strain it puts on your spine. If you sleep on your stomach, we recommend trying to switch sleep styles to prevent chronic pains from developing later on down the line. Stomach sleepers require a firm mattress to prevent their torso from sinking in the bed and maintain healthy spinal alignment.
Pros and Cons of Memory Foam
Memory foam mattresses have become more and more popular in recent years due to the sleep-promoting benefits they bring to the table. However, people do still have concerns with memory foam. Let’s talk about the good and the bad of this material.
Pros of Memory Foam
Memory foam offers a variety of sleep-promoting benefits, including:
- It relieves pressure points. Laying in the same position for hours can leave you pretty uncomfortable. The pressure of downward-pulling gravity and upward resistance in bedding materials can impact your circulation and cause damage to soft tissues. Conforming to your shape means minimizing this discomfort by easing pressure on your body.
- It keeps your back and spine aligned. Unlike spring models, these beds don’t sag. Instead, they distribute your weight across the bed evenly to contour to your body’s natural curves. This helps your back and spine stay in a neutral position while you sleep, so it doesn’t contort and make you uncomfortable.
- It works for any sleeping position. Because it’s moldable, it can cradle and support every part of your body while you snooze. That’s true whether you sleep on your back, side, stomach, or a combination of all three.
- Motion doesn’t matter. Beds made from this special material limit motion transfer. If your partner shifts positions or gets out of bed, you are less likely to notice their movement. You can’t say that about a spring mattress.
- It’s hypoallergenic. If you suffer from allergies foam may be the right choice for you. The materials and density help minimize the formation of dust mites, which are the leading cause of indoor allergies. That same density can also help repel other common allergens like mold and pet dander.
- It’s a great fit for adjustable beds. Some of the best adjustable beds have been growing in popularity over the past few years, and memory foam mattresses remain one of their most compatible partners. That’s because they readily flex with the adjustable base and contour to the base’s different positions without compromising durability. You’ll be comfortably supported whether you sleep flat or at an angle.
- Upkeep is easy. Because it isn’t prone to sagging or lumpy spots, there’s no need to bother with rotating or flipping your mattress every month to keep it uniformly comfortable. It’s nice to have one less chore to check off your list, isn’t it?
- It’ll last longer. Because they absorb less mold, dust mites, and other gunk, a foam-based model can last longer when compared to an innerspring model. High-quality foam mattresses can stay comfortable for 10 years or more.
- Offers exceptional pain relief.
Because memory foam can mold to your body, it relieves pressure and tension in your joints and spine— this can alleviate and prevent chronic pain.
Cons of Memory Foam
- Heat retention.
Because memory foam can retain body heat, they can cause you to wake up uncomfortably warm— this is especially prevalent amongst hot sleepers. Mattress companies combat this and prevent you from overheating by integrating plant-based foams and cooling technologies into their beds.
To make memory foam, a variety of chemicals are needed. As a result, some memory foam mattresses have a chemical-like smell when you first unpackage them— this is referred to as off-gassing. Most high-quality mattresses will not off-gas at all, or will slightly, but the scent should dissipate within a few hours. If the chemical-like smell does not go away, it’s a good indicator the bed is made with low-quality foams.
Is Memory Foam Toxic?
When deciding on memory foam versus other types of mattresses, many people run across concerns that the manufacturing process involved in creating this type of foam soaks toxic chemicals into the item, which leads to a chemical smell in new mattresses and may be hazardous. Rumors are that memory foam is made with dangerous flame-retardant chemicals, and formaldehyde or other toxic glue may be used to hold layers of foam together.
While it is possible your new foam mattress has some odor, you can guarantee that the chemicals used in the process are safe if the mattress features a certification from CertiPUR-US®. Mattresses that have been approved by this organization do not contain ozone-depleting chemicals, mercury, lead, heavy metals, or formaldehyde, so you do not have to worry about inhaling or absorbing toxic substances while you sleep.
If you are still concerned about off-gassing of toxic chemicals from your new mattress, the Sleep Products Safety Council (SPSC) recommends allowing the new mattress to air out for a full 24 hours before you sleep on it. Your body heat helps the mattress conform to your body, but that may also change some of the chemicals on the mattress, leading to the emission of strange chemical odors. By airing the mattress out, any remaining chemical smell will waft away.
To date, there’s no evidence showing traditional memory foam models are unsafe. The Polyurethane Foam Association, an industry group, as well as the Environmental Protection Agency, say finished material is inert and does not represent a health hazard.
Different Types of Memory Foam
Now that you know more about why so many people think these types of beds are superior, it’s time to dive a bit deeper. In all, there are three different types that you’ll find on the market. Here are the details about each one.
Traditional memory foam was developed by NASA in the 1970s and made from viscoelastic polyurethane foam— the conventional, temperature-sensitive material that uses heat to mold to your body’s shape. Traditional memory foam is known for providing good contouring and pressure relief, especially at medium and high densities.
The term “viscoelasticity” refers to materials that behave, in some instances, like fluids, but that are technically solids. The cause of this property is long, flexible fiber-like particles. Because of their shape, these particles can temporarily connect, creating a solid surface, but in other instances, they are very flexible and can slide along each other, simulating fluid-like properties.
Viscoelastic polyurethane foam then is a type of synthetic foam that has a mix of fluid and solid properties. The foam conforms to objects or people who put pressure on the surface and returns to its original shape very slowly after the pressure or weight has been removed. This gradual recovery has lent memory foam an alternate nickname: slow recovery foam.
This type of foam is also renowned for its ability to dampen vibrations and absorb shocks, meaning that you and your partner can comfortably sleep on a memory foam mattress, and your movements in the night will not wake each other up. Performance tests have long shown this to be a property of viscoelastic polyurethane foam. In a ball bounce test, there was 20% less ball rebound, or bounce, in viscoelastic foam compared to other surfaces. Some types of traditional memory foam can even absorb 90% of movements.
However, there are also some downsides to consider. Traditional memory foam tends to trap heat more efficiently, so some people find it sleeps too hot for their comfort. It also recovers its shape at a slower rate, making changing positions in the middle of the night difficult.
Introduced in 2011, the original gel memory foam mattress was designed to retain less body heat. The first gel memory foam mattresses used a layer of gel to disperse body heat. More modern approaches to memory foam include a top gel layer, a layer beneath other upholstery or memory foam padding, or gel mixed into the memory foam itself.
If you’re concerned a traditional model would sleep too hot, consider gel foam. It involves gel particles or liquid gel mixed into the foam to create a cooler sensation. Because the gel stays room temperature, the idea is that it absorbs body heat to help you feel more comfortable, sort of like ice packs.
Unfortunately, there’s not much scientific evidence showing that gel mattresses sleep cooler than their traditional counterparts. Independent tests and reviews suggest that they might not live up to their claims. Tests conducted by Consumer Reports have found that gel and non-gel beds don’t differ much concerning breathability. Sleep Like The Dead says there is a small difference (2%), but primarily only for beds with more than 2 inches of gel foam at the surface of the bed.
You won’t often find this type in your average big-box mattress store, but it may still be worth seeking out for a number of reasons.
Plant-based foams rely on botanical ingredients like soybeans and castor oil to replace a portion of the petroleum-based ones found in both traditional and gel models. For many shoppers, that eases any safety concerns they might have about the material. The manufacturing process is less toxic, and the mattress itself will outgas fewer chemical vapors. Most plant-based foam mattresses are certified free from chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), formaldehyde, phthalates, polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs), and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
But that’s not the only benefit. Plant-based options tend to be temperature neutral because they are lighter than traditional or gem memory foams, so they’re more breathable. Instead of relying on body heat to mold to your body’s shape, plant-based types rely more on pressure. As a result, there’s a good chance that you’ll sleep cooler and more comfortable.
One of the most popular plant-based materials for foam mattresses is latex. Although there are synthetic versions of latex, it is becoming easier and less expensive to get a mattress made from natural latex. These mattresses may feature all-natural cotton or wool upholstery for added comfort, but it is not necessary.
They are also naturally hypoallergenic, repelling bacteria, mold, fungus, and dust mites. There are few chemicals used in the manufacturing process, so you can feel good about how the mattress was created.
The Qualities of the Best Memory Foam Mattress
How a mattress is constructed, and the specifications of the foam used, are the two things to look for when judging the quality of a memory foam mattress.
What is Foam Density?
Density is one of the most important things to consider before you shell out for a new mattress.
What is it exactly? In scientific terms, density is weight divided by volume — in other words, how heavy an object is relative to how much space it takes up. A small object that’s heavy, like a rock, is very dense, but a large object that’s light, like a roll of bubble wrap, is not.
Memory foam is grouped into low-density, medium-density, and high-density models. All three types serve a purpose.
High-Density foams tend to be considered the highest quality. Higher density equals more support. It also means that your bed may last longer than one of a lower density.
High-density options have their drawbacks. They tend to be considerably more expensive since they require more material to produce. Plus, a higher density may also mean more heat retention because air circulation and breathability are reduced.
Body weight plays a role in determining the ideal density of foam layers. Plus-size sleepers should look for beds with higher density foams to offer additional support and prevent the bed from sagging or breaking down.
On the other end of the spectrum is low density. As you might’ve guessed, low-density options use less material. It provides a lighter level of support and isn’t as durable as their high-density counterparts.
On the upside, they tend to be less expensive and also sleep cooler. Petite sleepers and sleepers of average weight should look for beds with low or medium density to offer moderate support and prevent deterioration.
Medium-density models tend to fall somewhere in the middle. They offer a moderate amount of support and pressure relief, and they tend to rate satisfactory with regards to both heat retention and odor. Moreover, they’re priced to match, being less expensive than high-density options but more expensive than low-density options.
Memory foam is renowned for its ability to conform to your body’s curves and support your pressure points. It’s a key feature, but it can come at a cost.
That cost is the bounce-back rate or the amount of time it takes for the foam to regain its original shape. Remember, traditional models rely on body heat to conform to a sleeper’s curves, but these surfaces also tend to retain warmth. Even after you roll over or change positions, the residual heat stays in the foam, so the mattress stays molded. Once the heat dissipates, it goes back to a flat shape. In other words, it bounces back.
In traditional foams, this whole process takes about a minute. In the meantime, whatever impression you left in your mattress before you changed positions will still be there. That can cause some users to feel like they’re sinking or rolling back into the impression.
Not all models bounce back so slowly. Plant-based ones tend to regain their shape much faster — within just a couple of seconds. That’s because plant-based options rely more on pressure rather than heat to conform around you. Once you remove the pressure by changing positions or rolling over, the surface bounces back quickly since it’s not retaining any heat.
EDITORS’ CHOICE FOR SOFTEST MEMORY FOAM MATTRESS: Amerisleep AS5
When looking for a soft but supportive mattress, one of the best options out there is Amerisleep AS5. Plus, engineered with open-cell technology and a Celliant®-infused mattress cover, the AS5 excels at keeping heat and sweat at bay, helping you sleep throughout the night.
There may be other factors that are worth considering, too. As you weigh your options, you’ll also want to ask yourself these questions:
Is Your Potential New Bed a Good Value?
Don’t automatically opt for the cheapest bed you can find or discount one because it’s at the top of your price range. Instead, think about value. Will the bed deliver superior comfort for the money? Does it seem like it will last for a long time? More expensive mattresses aren’t always the best option but sometimes paying a little bit more can be worth it.
What Do the Reviews Say?
Reviews can be valuable, especially when you’re buying online. But they’re only helpful if they come from legitimate sources. For a brand’s review to be trustworthy, they should come from a verified third-party reviewer/verified buyer system. Steer clear of cherry-picked “testimonial” reviews. Often, these only highlight the most positive reviews and don’t give you a balanced view of the product.
What’s the Warranty Agreement?
A high-quality memory foam mattresses will likely be backed by a generous warranty agreement. On the other hand, lower-quality models may have warranty policies that are stingy or even nonexistent. If a manufacturer believes that their product is legit, they’ll be willing to stand by it and make things right if you aren’t satisfied.
Ideally, you should look for at least 10 years of full replacement coverage. Also, check the manufacturer’s return policy, especially if you plan to buy online. It can take at least a few weeks to get a feel for how comfortable (or uncomfortable) a mattress is. That’s why it’s in your best interest to buy from a store or manufacturer that offers a trial period of 90 days or longer.
Are You Ready to Buy Your Next Bed?
You’ve armed yourself with all of the facts you need to make an informed purchase that you’ll love. Now, it’s time to make your pick. Of course, you’ll need to consider the factors that are the most important to you—including your sleep style and budget. If you’re short on budget, don’t miss out on the best Black Friday mattress deals.
The reviews suggest you can’t go wrong with Amerisleep’s AS3, which has breathable, plant-based material and offers a medium firmness that’s suitable for most sleeping styles. And if you’d prefer something softer, Amerisleep’s AS4 is another solid choice worth considering. Both meet all the criteria for a great memory foam mattress and have a track record of delivering solid, long-lasting comfort.