Best Memory Foam Mattress for 2021 [+Buyer’s Guide]

Author’s avatar OptimumSleep

Since it was originally developed for the aerospace industry in the 1970s, memory foam has been utilized for thousands of uses across multiple industries.

And that use extends to the bedroom, where memory foam mattresses have cemented themselves as a popular choice thanks to its unique characteristics that make it a dream to sleep on — for some.

illustration of a memory foam mattress Whether you’re a fan of sleeping on memory foam already or considering a memory foam bed for the first time, we’ve put together a list of our top picks for the best memory foam mattresses. We’ll also cover helpful information on memory foam — the different types, its properties, who it’s best suited to, etc.

Let’s start with an overview of the current best memory foam mattresses that we recommend.

4 Best Memory Foam Mattresses: A Quick View

Best Memory Foam Mattress Overall
Firmness6, 7.5

12” thick · 5 layers · 15-year warranty · Made in USA · 2 firmness options · Great pressure relief · Durable materials

Starting from $899

Best For Side Sleepers
TypeMemory Foam

11” thick · 5 layers · Lifetime warranty · Great for back pain · Good value for money · Excellent motion isolation

Starting from $499

Best Value For Money
Firmness4.5, 7

10” thick · 6 layers · Lifetime warranty · Made in USA · Dual firmness · ThermoGEL cover · Copper memory foam

Starting from $649

Best For Back Sleepers
TypeMemory Foam

10” thick · 4 layers · Lifetime warranty · Made in USA · Affordable prices · Open-cell, cooling-gel infused foam

Starting from $495

Why We Chose These Mattresses as the Best?

First of all, it’s important to note that the mattresses included in this list are based on our subjective assessment and opinion.

While we’re confident just about anybody would find a great match from among our list, everybody’s preferences vary and are subjective, so at the very least, consider this guide as a starting point for finding the right memory foam mattress for you.

It was important that we chose a range of mattresses that would cater to a wide range of preferences and that are made using good-quality memory foam. It is important to note, too, that not all memory foam feels the same or has the same properties — we’ll get into that in a later section.

illustration representing mattress recommendations

The 4 Best Memory Foam Mattresses Reviewed

Best Memory Foam Mattress Overall: Loom & Leaf

The Loom & Leaf mattress

Prices starting from $899

Review Summary:

The Loom & Leaf by Saatva is a great quality all-foam mattress available in both medium-firm and firm. It is constructed with organic and eco-friendly materials, in line with the values of its parent company, Saatva.

The Loom & Leaf provides great support, pressure relief, motion isolation, back pain relief, and temperature regulation. It’s a mattress that represents excellent value for money and is backed by a company with a reputation for customer service and satisfaction.

The premium 5lb-memory-foam comfort layer is eco-friendly and does not off-gas, so it is odor-free and naturally cooling.

With its two firmness options, it is going to be an excellent fit for most sleepers, regardless of sleeping position or bodyweight. Its high quality at a modest price tag means it represents a great investment, especially given its durability and long expected lifespan that is covered by a generous 15-year warranty.

Read Loom & Leaf’s full review

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Recommended For:

  • Those who suffer from back pain
  • Those who need high levels of pressure relief
  • Side sleepers
  • Heavier-than-average sleepers (Firm version)
  • Eco-conscious consumers
  • Those who sleep hot
  • Those who want a good value investment

Not Recommended For:

  • Those who like a bouncy mattress
  • Those who like a highly responsive mattress
  • Strict stomach sleepers (Relaxed Firm)
  • Those who prefer a soft mattress
  • Those who prefer a hybrid or spring mattress feel


  • Available in both Relaxed Firm (medium-firm) and Firm versions
  • Temperature neutral, thanks to cooling gel, breathable foam, and cotton cover
  • Has a good edge support for an all-foam mattress
  • Superb levels of comfort, support, and pressure relief
  • The comfort layer includes extra lumbar support
  • Represents a great investment considering its high quality and durability
  • Eco-friendly and utilizes organic materials
  • Little to no off-gassing


  • Might not be soft enough for some people (only medium-firm and firm options)
  • Not very bouncy or responsive
  • Relatively high price for an all-foam mattress

Ratings by Point of Concern for the 

Ratings by Sleeping Position or Body Frame for the 

Best Memory Foam Mattress For Side Sleepers: Nectar

The Nectar mattress

Prices starting from $499

Review Summary:

The Nectar is an all-foam mattress with a medium-firm feel that is an all-rounder with broad appeal. It offers excellent comfort, support, and pressure relief, making it suited to all sleeping positions. It’s an especially good option for side and combination sleepers.

Extra-heavy (250lb +) individuals may find support a bit lacking, but overall it is suitable for all weight ranges. Strict stomach sleepers may experience excessive sinking around the hips, causing pressure buildup and spine misalignment.

Ease of movement, edge support, and motion isolation are all good, meaning the Nectar is a worthy choice for couples. However, those who prefer the bounce and fast responsiveness of a hybrid or spring mattress may find it not the best suited for sex.

The overall quality of The Nectar for the price makes it great value for money. And with a full 365-night risk-free trial period and a lifetime warranty that’s the best in the industry, The Nectar is one purchase that can be made with complete confidence.

Read Nectar’s full review

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Recommended For:

  • Those who love all-foam & memory foam mattresses
  • Those who suffer from back pain
  • Side or combination sleepers
  • Light to average sleepers (130-230lb) weight range

Not Recommended For:

  • Those who prefer the feel of a hybrid or spring mattress
  • Those who like a highly responsive mattress
  • Those who like a mattress with some bounce
  • Those who tend to sleep hot
  • Strict stomach sleepers
  • Significantly heavier-than-average sleepers (>230lb)


  • High level of support and pressure relief
  • Excellent motion isolation
  • Great for back pain
  • Good value for money


  • Potentially not the best for sex
  • Not the best option for stomach sleepers
  • Only one firmness option

Ratings by Point of Concern

Ratings by Sleeping Position or Body Frame

Best Value For Money Memory Foam Mattress: Layla

Prices starting from $649

Review Summary:

The Layla is an affordable all-foam mattress that is flippable and has dual firmness. The first thing you’ll notice is its striking two-tone hexagonal-patterned cover. The different colors on the cover signify different firmnesses.

The dual firmness of the Layla means sleepers have the option of the more cushioned and plush softer side that comes in at a medium-firm feel or the opposite side that sits at a medium-firm to true firm feel.

The cooling-gel-infused cover and copper-gel-infused memory foam means the Layla may be a good choice for those who typically find memory foam mattresses sleep too hot.

One important thing to note is that the Layla foam mattress is not designed for heavyweight people — it is relatively thin at just 10 inches high, and neither side is designed to support weights of around 230lb or more.

But, for lighter to average-weight sleepers, the Layla represents a mattress that, thanks to its versatility, will be a great match for a wide range of sleepers regardless of their sleeping position or preferences.

To top it off, its quality of materials and construction give it a decent expected lifespan, and an affordable price means it represents superb value for money.

Read Layla’s full review

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Recommended For:

  • Light to average in weight (<130-230lb)
  • Those who prefer a thin mattress
  • Back pain sufferers
  • Those who like the slow response and melting-into-the-mattress feeling of memory foam
  • Those who like to have the option of variable firmness
  • Budget-conscious shoppers

Not Recommended For:

  • Heavy sleepers (>230lb)
  • Those who sleep hot
  • Those who like to sleep near the edge or sit on the edge of the bed a lot
  • Those who prefer a highly responsive mattress
  • Those who prefer a mattress with a lot of bounce


  • Dual firmness; Flippable with a soft side and a firm side
  • Has built-in cooling properties; ThermoGEL cover and copper memory foam
  • Versatile; accommodating for all sleeping positions and most preferences.
  • Good for aches & pains, including back pain
  • Durable and affordable, representing great value for money
  • Minimal smell and off-gassing
  • Has a traditional memory foam feel


  • Not built to accommodate heavy individuals
  • Is relatively thin — only 10”
  • Average edge support
  • May be too firm or too soft for those who prefer a medium to medium-firm mattress
  • Very low bounce — may not suit some couples for sex

Ratings by Point of Concern for the 

Ratings by Sleeping Position or Body Frame for the 

Best Memory Foam Mattress For Back Sleepers: Puffy

Prices starting from $495

Review Summary:

The Puffy Mattress is an all-foam mattress with a medium feel.

It consists of 3 foam layers; on the bottom is a firm, high-density polyfoam support layer, on top of which lies a proprietary “ClimateComfort” polyfoam transition layer, and topped off with a proprietary gel-infused “CoolingCloud” memory foam comfort layer.

Being a relatively thin all-foam bed, the Puffy Mattress is best suited to individuals in the light to heavy-side-of-average weight range (~130lb - 250lb). It is well suited to side sleepers, back sleepers, and combination sleepers.

The Puffy provides enough edge support and motion isolation to make it a good choice for couples. However, when it comes to sex, some might find its lack of bounce and potential difficulty moving around on the mattress a drawback.

For those who like the contouring hug, pressure relief, and support of a memory foam mattress, The Puffy should represent good value for money, especially when you take into account the regular discounts and specials Puffy runs.

Thanks to its cooling gel foam, The Puffy may even be a good temperature-neutral choice for individuals who typically find memory foam too hot.

When you add in the small bonus features like a stain-resistant removable and machine-washable cover, a lifetime warranty, free delivery, good customer service, and a risk-free 101-night trial, The Puffy is an entry-level foam mattress that is well worth considering.

Read Puffy’s full review

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Recommended For:

  • Those who like the “hug” of a memory foam mattress
  • Light to average weight sleepers
  • Those who are easily disturbed by their partner’s movement
  • Side, back, or combination sleepers

Not Recommended For:

  • Those who prefer a mattress with good bounce
  • Those who prefer to feel ‘on top’ of a mattress rather than ‘in’ it
  • Those who sleep hot
  • Heavy sleepers (>250lb)
  • Strict stomach sleeper


  • Airy, open-cell foam and cooling-gel infused foam for temperature neutrality
  • Stain-resistant, removable, and machine-washable cover
  • Balanced comfort, support, and pressure relief with a traditional memory foam feel
  • Suitable for back, side, and combo sleepers
  • Good motion isolation and quiet


  • Not very responsive nor bouncy — ease of movement and suitability for sex may not be the best for some
  • May still sleep too hot for some
  • Average edge support
  • Not suitable for very heavy people
  • May not be suitable for strict stomach sleepers, especially heavier ones

Ratings by Point of Concern

Ratings by Sleeping Position or Body Frame

Memory Foam’s Origin

Memory foam was developed in the early 1970s under a NASA contract through its Ames Research Center, the aim of which was to improve the cushioning and crash safety of aircraft seats.

Once memory foam was released into the public domain in the early 1980s, Swedish company Fagerdala World Foams began working on perfecting it for consumer use.

In 1991, they released the first Tempur-Pedic mattress, leading to the creation of Tempur World Inc., the parent company of Tempur-Pedic and Tempur Sealy International.

Memory foam soon began to see more widespread use, both in medical and domestic/consumer settings. More companies began developing their own memory foam, and it became much cheaper, paving the way for its widespread use.

Who Should Consider a Memory Foam Mattress?

Memory foam isn’t for everyone. It has very unique characteristics such as slow response, lack of bounce, and heat retention, which means it can be somewhat polarizing.

But there are certain types of sleepers that, providing memory foam matches their personal preferences, will benefit the most from a memory foam mattress:

  1. Side and back sleepers. Side and back sleepers will find ample support and pressure relief, especially under problem areas like the hips, shoulders, and lumbar spine. The contouring and support help maintain proper spine alignment.

  2. People with back or joint pain. The cradling support and pressure relief of memory foam mean weight and pressure is taken off painful joints, allowing for relief and pain-free sleep.

  3. Individuals who are heavy and/or curvy. Heavy and curvy individuals need a mattress that is going to offer adequate support and pressure relief. The relative density and contouring properties of memory foam mean heavy and curvy people are going to have every part of their body cradled, supported, and relieved of pressure.

Who Should Avoid a Memory Foam Mattress?

  1. Naturally hot sleepers. Some people’s natural thermostat just naturally seems to be set to “high.” People who naturally sleep hot, especially if they are in a warm climate, may want to avoid memory foam due to its tendency to hold heat.

    A mattress with gel, copper, or graphite infused memory foam may be an option, although some people who naturally sleep hot still find these infused mattresses too warm. Some would consider them “temperature neutral” rather than actively cooling.
  2. Stomach sleepers. The problem for many stomach sleepers when it comes to memory foam is that while it offers good support and pressure relief, it can allow too much sinkage.

    This is a particular problem for stomach sleepers as it does not take much sinking of the hips when lying on your stomach for the spine to become misaligned. This sinking of the hips can cause significant discomfort and pressure on the lumbar spine and can potentially lead to back problems.

    Firmness, along with support, is key for stomach sleepers, so while memory foam is not a non-viable option for all stomach sleepers, firmer usually equals better, especially for heavier stomach sleepers.

What Makes the Best Memory Foam?

What Makes the Best Memory Foam?

1Foam Density

Memory foam density is a measure of mass per unit of volume, e.g., pounds per cubic foot. The higher the density, the heavier the foam.

Density generally correlates to firmness, too. Low-density foams, due to there being fewer cells per given area, will naturally tend to be plusher and more yielding.

In contrast, high-density foams will be by their nature firmer, support more weight, and be more durable and less prone to developing sagging and indentations over time.

Low-density foam is classed as having a density of 3 pounds or less per cubic foot. Low-density foam is cheaper, lower quality, and not as durable or long-lasting as higher density foam.

Low-density memory foam is generally used in cheap, lower-quality mattresses that should not be expected to have a long life.

Medium-density foam falls into the 4-5 pounds per cubic foot range. This is generally considered ‘Goldilocks’ foam — not too hard, nor too soft, but just right.

Medium-density memory foam will have the broadest appeal in terms of firmness and should offer support and pressure relief to all but very heavy individuals.

High-density foam is 6 pounds per cubic foot and above. High-density memory foam is the way to go if you prefer a firm mattress or you are very heavy.

With high-density foam, you’re physically getting more foam for your money, so be prepared — high-density memory foam mattresses are the most expensive.

Often mattresses will combine layers of memory foam of differing densities in order to get a particular feel or firmness.

illustration representing mattress firmness


To get the full range of benefits of a memory foam comfort layer, it needs to be thick enough to allow it to fully adapt to and support your body while at the same time acting as to transition and ease the body into the firmer layers below.

Often, memory foams of different densities and firmnesses will be layered to create a particular feel or overall firmness level.

But in order to get the beneficial effects of memory foam and prevent full compression of the comfort layer, which will result in the body coming to rest on the firmer transition or support layer below, any memory foam layer should be at least 4 inches thick.

illustration representing mattress thickness
illustration of a blue mattress

The Different Types of Memory Foam

1Traditional Memory Foam

When most people think of memory foam, this is the stuff that usually comes to mind — very slow response, with plenty of sinkage and a deep, contouring “hug.”

It is also relatively dense, typically between 4-6 pounds per cubic foot, and is prone to overheating.

2Infused Memory Foam

Infused memory foams are foam with the addition of certain compounds designed to help with cooling:

  1. Gel-infused Memory Foam. Gel, in the form of a liquid film or layer of tiny beads, is a common addition to memory foam mattresses nowadays.

    During manufacturing, a thin layer is spread evenly across the surface of the foam. The gel acts to counter the heat retention properties of the memory foam — absorbing and then dispersing it as opposed to allowing it to build up.
  2. Copper & Graphite-infused Memory Foam. Some manufacturers utilize copper and graphite either mixed into the foam or suspended in a gel coating for cooling. Both these elements have very good heat conducting properties and absorb and dissipate body heat instead of allowing it to build up within the foam.

    One bonus of graphite and copper is they also have antimicrobial and antibacterial properties, which help make a cleaner, healthier, and cooler mattress.

3Open-cell Memory Foam

Open-cell memory foam is much more prevalent these days — think of it as a kind of “new generation” of memory foam. It has a very similar feel and properties to traditional memory foam but is designed to be cooler.

Open-cell refers to the fact that it is manufactured with tiny air pockets, giving the foam a more “open” structure and allowing greater airflow. This makes the foam more breathable and allows heat to dissipate easier.

The open-cell structure of this foam also gives it faster responsiveness, meaning it will spring back into place quicker than traditional memory foam.

The Characteristics and Benefits of Memory Foam

1Adaptability & Contouring

Probably the most notable feature of memory foam is its adaptability. It responds to pressure and heat and has a very unique feel — the response is slow and does not happen instantly. The more heat it absorbs, the more soft and pliable it becomes.

It is this adaptability that gives memory foam its ‘enveloping’ feeling — it allows you to sink into the mattress while molding itself to your body — conforming to its unique shape and curves, which is known as contouring.

Contouring means you have maximum contact with the mattress, which results in even weight distribution, pressure relief, and support.

illustration representing the contouring properties of memory foam

2Spine Alignment

The contouring support of memory foam makes it so good for people with back pain — because it contours to the body and supports it. It allows the sleeper to settle into a position of natural spine alignment.

This is, of course, partly a function of the overall supportiveness of the mattress and the thickness and density of the memory foam, which should cradle the heavy areas of the body (like the hips and shoulder) while not allowing them to sink too much, which would put the spine in misalignment.


Deep sinkage is one of the classic characteristics of memory foam. It’s what gives it that enveloping feeling, what people who don’t like memory foam would call that “stuck in the bed” feeling.

It can make moving around and changing position a bit difficult for some, but it’s this sinkage that allows the easing of joint pains, as the whole body is enveloped, supported, and relieved of pressure.

The density and firmness of the memory foam will dictate how deep the sinkage is — softer or less-dense foam layers should be thicker to allow for an extra sink, especially for heavy people, who may prefer denser or firmer memory foam.

4Pressure Relief

Memory foam is one of the best pressure-relieving mattress materials there is. Thanks to its previously-mentioned properties of adaptability, contouring, sinkage, and support, memory foam will allow your body to sink into the mattress, mold to the shape of your body, and support every part it is in contact with while evenly distributing weight.

It’s this support and even distribution of bodyweight that results in pressure relief. When the whole body is evenly supported, there are no points where body weight is concentrated in a small area, such as the hips, shoulders, knees, or ankles.

It is having weight concentrated in this way that causes uncomfortable pressure points to develop.

5Motion Isolation

One of the big pluses for couples when it comes to memory foam is its motion damping and isolation properties. It does not easily transfer movement from one side of the mattress to the other.

The inherent properties of memory foam, including its density, lack of bounce, and slow response to pressure, means vibrations and disturbances attenuated, or dampened, rather than traveling unimpeded from edge to edge.

While the lack of bounce significantly contributes to cutting out motion transfer, which can be a great feature for couples, it can also be a drawback when it comes to sexual activity, which will be not so good for a lot of couples.

A hybrid or innerspring mattress rather than an all-foam mattress should provide some bounce but may come with a trade-off in the form of slightly increased motion transfer.

The Drawbacks of Memory Foam


One of the main characteristic properties of memory foam is also one of its biggest drawbacks for many people — heat retention.

Memory foam absorbs and retains body heat. It is the absorption of heat that causes the foam to soften, but because it also tends to retain the heat it absorbs, it can build to levels where it becomes uncomfortably hot to sleep on.

Some modern versions of memory foam are made to mitigate this heat retention somewhat, either through the addition of gels or other additives to aid cooling or by manufacturing foam with an open-cell composition. We’ll go over these shortly.

illustration of an overheated mattress

2Slow Response to Pressure

It’s the slow response to pressure that gives memory foam that “stuck” in the mattress feeling, and that can make it difficult for some people to move around on.

Memory foam is what’s known as a visco-elastic material, meaning it exhibits both viscous and elastic properties. It is elastic, which is why it can be compressed and change shape, and its viscosity is why it is slow to respond and why it does not spring back instantly once the pressure is removed.

This is why trying to roll over or move on memory foam can sometimes feel like you’re trying to roll out of a hole or depression — because the foam is not springing back instantly and providing pushback and assistance with movement.

A mattress that combines memory foam with latex, which is naturally much more bouncy and responsive, or with springs, may be an option for people who find moving on memory foam requires effort.

illustration of memory foam responding to pressure


Unfortunately for those with sensitive noses or sensitivities to chemicals, one of the biggest complaints with memory foam is the chemical smell caused by what is known as off-gassing.

For a short period after being manufactured, chemical-based foams go through a “breathing” process where they release volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Off-gassing is usually a relatively short process, and any smell will usually dissipate fairly quickly. Still, it can be highly unpleasant, even meaning a new mattress may not be able to be slept on for up to a few days until the smell is gone.

While off-gassing is almost an inevitability for any mattresses containing foam, look for mattresses with Certi-PUR certification, which ensures low levels of harmful VOCs.


The popularity of memory foam, along with the ever-growing number of online mattress-in-a-box manufacturers and retailers, means there’s a lot of variety to choose from when it comes to memory foam mattresses.

We’ve done our best to cover mattresses with a range of features that will appeal to a wide range of sleepers, and our list should at least serve as a good starting point on your mattress shopping journey.