Viscoelastic polyurethane foam – also known as memory foam – is one of the most commonly used materials in mattresses made today. Sleepers enjoy memory foam for its close contouring and even weight distribution, which can improve spinal alignment and reduce pressure in areas such as the shoulders, back, and hips. Many liken the cradling feel of memory foam to sleeping on a cloud.
Most memory foam mattresses feature one or two top layers of memory foam, followed by support layers of denser polyfoam that stabilize the mattress and prevent you from sinking too deeply. Memory foam has a tendency to trap body heat, so many mattress manufacturers use cooling agents like gel, copper, or graphite designed to help the sleep surface stay cool. Couples can also benefit from using memory foam mattresses because the material absorbs movement and prevents motion transfer that can disturb sleep.
We’ve personally tested hundreds of memory foam mattresses in our onsite lab. These tests focus on key performance categories such as durability, pressure relief, temperature control, and sleeper support. We also evaluate how the mattress feels for people with different body types and primary sleep positions.
The memory foam mattresses below represent the models that earned the highest ratings during our tests. Scroll down to read more about our best memory foam mattress picks.
Best Overall: Puffy Mattress
The Puffy Mattress is a standout memory foam model with a medium (5) feel that ensures deep contouring. Constructed with a 2-inch memory foam comfort layer over transitional and support layers of denser polyfoam, the mattress is ideal for anyone who prefers sleeping in, rather than sleeping on, their mattress.
Our tests revealed the Puffy is particularly well suited to side sleepers who weigh up to 230 pounds. The foam layers cushion the shoulders and hips, two areas where side sleepers commonly experience pressure buildup. Back sleepers under 130 pounds also awarded favorable ratings to the mattress. They were able to enjoy the foam’s close contouring without sinking too much around the midsection.
Unlike most competing mattresses, the Puffy comes equipped with a cover that can be removed and machine washed. The cover fabric is also stain-resistant to keep the sleep surface looking pristine. Puffy provides free ground shipping for orders within the contiguous U.S.
Best for Back Pain: Casper Original
In terms of design, the Casper Original is unlike many competing memory foam mattresses. The top layer consists of AirScape, a proprietary polyfoam material that cushions the body yet feels slightly bouncy when you get into bed. While the mattress has a medium (5) feel, we found the top layer is responsive enough to help sleepers move across the surface with relative ease. AirScape is also an open-cell material that shouldn’t trap as much heat as traditional memory foam.
The Casper Original also contains a memory foam transitional layer that conforms to the body as you sink into the mattress. This layer is divided into three firmness zones to create more support for the torso and hips and gentler cradling for lighter areas of the body. The support core is made of stabilizing high-density polyfoam, while the cover is a fabric blend derived from recycled plastic bottles.
During our hands-on tests, side and back sleepers between 130 and 230 pounds awarded the Casper Original its highest ratings. They noted a good balance of cushioning and support with limited sinkage, which is largely thanks to the zoned transitional layer. The mattress also earned favorable ratings for motion isolation and pressure relief. Casper ships free of charge to customers who reside in the contiguous U.S. and Canadian provinces.
Best Luxury: Loom & Leaf
The Loom & Leaf by Saatva boasts a deluxe all-foam design loaded with useful features for hot sleepers and people with back pain. The top memory foam layer is ventilated with small holes to circulate air near the surface and help you stay cool. This layer features extra padding around the midsection to reduce pain and pressure in the lower back and hips. A secondary layer of high-density memory foam provides extra cushioning while also preventing excessive sinkage. The Loom & Leaf also contains polyfoam transitional and base layers, while the cover is made of breathable organic cotton.
The mattress is available in two firmness levels. The medium firm (6) option should be ideal for side sleepers up to 230 pounds who enjoy some contouring. People who need less cushioning and more support from their mattress – such as back and stomach sleepers who weigh at least 130 pounds – will likely prefer the firm (8) model.
The Loom & Leaf is available in eight sizes, including two split options for couples who use adjustable bed bases. Saatva also sweetens the deal for shoppers with free White Glove delivery throughout the contiguous U.S. White Glove couriers will schedule a delivery date and time, fully assemble the mattress in a room of your choice, and haul away your old mattress and box spring at no extra cost.
Best Value: Nectar Mattress
The Nectar Mattress is a great example of a high-quality memory foam model with a price-point accessible to most shoppers – even those with limited budgets. The feel is a true medium firm (6), giving the Nectar an edge over many competitors in terms of overall support. The firmness level also makes the mattress suitable for sleepers with pressure points along the spine who normally sink too much on memory foam. At the same time, a 3-inch memory foam comfort layer ensures even contouring and the body-cradling feel people have come to expect from this mattress type.
Transitional and base layers of high-density polyfoam give the mattress its firmer-than-average feel and stabilize the design to keep your body on an even plane. These layers reinforce the edges to help reduce sinkage when you sleep near the perimeter or get in and out of bed, making the Nectar an appealing choice for couples who prefer to use their entire mattress surface for sleep or sex. The all-foam design also excels at motion isolation, so you and your partner should be able to sleep soundly when the other person moves in bed.
In addition to approachable pricing for this mattress, Nectar Sleep offers free ground shipping throughout the contiguous U.S. The company’s 365-night sleep trial is one of the longest available, giving you ample time to test out the mattress before deciding whether to keep it or return it.
Best for Athletes: Bear Original
Athletes, active people, and those with physically demanding jobs can all benefit from a mattress that reduces stiffness and soreness during the night. The Bear Original stands out from competitors with its firm (7) feel. Although the memory foam comfort layer contours to the body, dense polyfoam layers reinforce the sleep surface to significantly reduce sinkage. This makes the Original a great option for people who usually find memory foam beds too soft, including back sleepers who weigh 130 pounds or more.
Another feature that can benefit athletic people is the Celliant fabric cover. Celliant is an innovative textile engineered to convert body heat into infrared energy while you sleep, a process thought to promote physical recovery and help you wake up feeling well rested. The fabric also dissipates body heat, so the Bear Original should sleep reasonably cool for most people.
The Bear Original carries a sticker price that should fit most shopping budgets, and shipping is free throughout the contiguous U.S. Thanks to Bear’s year-long sleep trial, you’ll get plenty of time to test out the mattress and decide whether it’s right for you.