How to Choose the Best Memory Foam Mattress

This research is supported by you, our readers, through our independently chosen links, which earn us a commission with no extra cost to you. Learn More

Written by: Alex Savy
Read 27 minLast updated on March 10, 2023

Memory foam mattresses are among the most popular beds these days. 

They are favored for their unique feel and can work for different types of sleepers.

But how do you pick the best memory foam mattress? And what characteristics should you pay attention to? That’s what we are going to find out today.

A Quick Preview

Best Overall – Editor’s Choice

Read more about this mattress
The Plank Mattress
Best Firm Memory Foam Mattress

Read more about this mattress
Best Budget Memory Foam Mattress

Read more about this mattress
Amerisleep AS3
Best Memory Foam Mattress for Couples

Amerisleep AS3
Read more about this mattress

Our Review of the 4 Best Memory Foam Mattresses

Editor’s Choice – Puffy

Puffy Mattress


  • 4 inches of comfort layers ensure enough material to cradle even the sorest pressure points.
  • The breathable cover, layers, and gel memory foam work together to provide a temperature-neutral sleep.
  • The cover is removable, allowing you to zipper it off for easy washing and making your room fresh.

The Puffy is my editor’s choice for the best memory foam mattress due to its high amount of sinkage, motion-isolating layers, and removable cover. I tested Puffy, and found its 2.5 inches of sinkage cradling, body-hugging, and ability to re-distribute weight off pressure areas. This is 17.2% more cradling than the Zoma. Puffy also has good motion isolation, noted by its 1.7-second spring-back from compressions, which is slow enough to absorb motion, so you are less likely to be disturbed by a partner getting in and out of bed. 

In addition, I also found Puffy’s cover to be convenient in the case of accidental stains or spills, as it can be removed via zippers in less than 30 seconds. Then, after throwing it in the wash, the cover is clean for a fresher bedroom.

What I Don’t Like About This Mattress

One thing I don’t like about the Puffy is that, due to its high motion isolation, it may be a bit challenging to move quickly across the bed's surface to change sleeping positions easily.

Read our full Puffy mattress review for more information.

Puffy mattress edge support
Puffy Mattress On a Bed Frame

Best Firm Memory Foam Mattress – Plank

Plank Mattress


  • Minimal comfort layers ensure you’re closer to the core, which can help keep your spine and hips neutral.
  • Optional GlacioTex cover helps to draw away heat, keeping you cooler.
  • Firm core has a good response rate, making getting in and out of bed stable and manageable.

The Plank is my best memory foam mattress due to its firm core, quick response time, and high bounce rate. The Plank, from my tests, has one of the firmness cores I’ve seen, with a sinkage of only 1 inch on the Extra Firm side. Comparatively, a similar mattress (the Robin), is 70% softer than Plank. The Plank also has a quick bounce-back from compressions, where I recorded a partial recovery at only 0.15 seconds. That means you’ll feel supported, with minimal body hug and better spinal alignment. 

In addition, I also tested the Plank’s bounce, which is relatively high for an all-foam mattress, being 7.9 inches. In comparison, the Amerisleep AS3 (a similar, yet much softer all-foam mattress) has a bounce level where the Plank is more bouncy by 1.3 inches.

What I Don’t Like About This Mattress

One feature I don’t like about the Plank is that it can feel too firm if you’re a side sleeper under 130 pounds, as you don’t sink into the layers enough to have your weight re-distributed, leading to pressure build-up.

Read our full Plank mattress review for more information.

Side sleeping on the Plank mattress
Plank Mattress On a Bed Frame

Best Budget Memory Foam Mattress – Zoma

Zoma Mattress


  • The excellent price point makes this mattress a good option if you have a tight budget.
  • Reactiv™ layer foam is super responsive, helping you not feel stuck in the mattress.
  • The cover is made of AirCloth for breathable, cooler sleep.

The Zoma is my best budget memory foam mattress due to its competitive price, quick response time, and breathable technology. The Zoma is my second-most competitively marked mattress on this list, being $700 cheaper than Puffy, and $700 cheaper than the Amerisleep AS3, while still offering everything a memory foam mattress should have, such as comfort layers, cooling gel memory foam, and a strong foam base. Along with this, the Zoma has a quick response time due to its Reactiv™ layer, which I measured from my tests at around 0.8 seconds for a full bounce-back. This is faster than the Puffy by more than 2 times, which is ideal if you prefer a bit less pressure relief for better ease of movement on the bed.

Another feature I reviewed and enjoyed regarding the Zoma is its cover. The cover is made of AirCloth, which is breathable and moisture-wicking, helping draw heat and moisture away. This enables you to experience fewer night sweats and sleep cooler.

What I Don’t Like About This Mattress

One feature I don’t like about the Zoma is its soft responsiveness may not be adequate enough to support heavier sleepers over 230 pounds.

Read our full Zoma mattress review for more information.

Zoma Mattress Layers
Zoma Mattress On a Bed Frame

Best Memory Foam Mattress for Couples – Amerisleep AS3

Amerisleep AS3


  • Bio-Pur® foam is cooling and breathable, keeping your temperature lower than traditional memory foam.
  • HIVE® technology offers targeted pressure relief for ergonomic support of the hips and spine.
  • Slow-adaptive comfort layers ensure you feel fewer movements from partners who toss and turn.

The Amerisleep AS3 is my best memory foam mattress for couples due to its slow-responding 5 inches of comfort layers, excellent sinkage, and unique HIVE® technology. The Amerisleep AS3, from my tests, has a slow response time of about 0.9 seconds to recover from compressions, meaning it feels body-hugging and can isolate most motion from a partner. It’s not as slow-adaptive as the Puffy, being more than 2 times faster, but it does offer fair sinkage, which I recorded at 2.1 inches. 

Another feature I tested regarding the Amerisleep AS3 was its unique HIVE® technology, which gives more softness to the hips and shoulders while keeping the back and lumbar supported, enabling you to sleep with better spinal alignment and comfort.

What I Don’t Like About This Mattress

One feature I don’t like about the Amerisleep AS3 is that the cover feels a bit slippery, which, along with an edge support of 5.4 inches (which is more than I like to see), may make the edges unstable.

Read our full Amerisleep AS3 mattress review for more information.

Side Sleeping on the Amerisleep Mattress
Amerisleep AS3 on a bed frame

Our Methodology - Why I Picked These Mattresses

The best memory foam mattresses usually have thick comfort layers of at least 2-3 inches, and have a high density (slow bounce-back speed), as these two features work together to cradle the body and re-distribute weight more effectively for tension-free sleep. However, in the case of lumbar support, less thick comfort material is preferable (as with the Plank).

When choosing my mattresses for this list, I based my selection on including only mattresses with comfort materials of at least 2 inches (with the expectation being the Plank). I also chose mattresses with slow bounce-back speeds of at least 0.5 seconds (except for the Plank). When reviewing my mattresses, I also looked for other criteria, such as how cooling the mattress was, how much bounce the mattress had (memory foam mattresses typically have moderate bounce, not as high as hybrids), and how motion isolating the foam layers was. I share more methodology tips in the article so you can better choose the right memory foam mattress for your home.

What Is Memory Foam?

To tell the truth, there’s no magic behind memory foam. It’s simply a form of polyurethane foam with added visco-elastic chemicals and compounds for increased flexibility (1). It was developed by NASA in the 1970s and later was shared with the public.

The visco-elastic components make memory foam change its properties when affected by temperature. When it’s cool, the foam remains firm and more springy. However, when the heat is applied, it becomes more flexible and soft (2). That’s what makes foam mattresses conform closely to a sleeper’s body.

Thanks to such characteristics, memory foam mattresses remain among the most popular bed types in North America.

Diagram for best memory foam mattress


Types of Memory Foam

When looking for the best memory foam mattress, you should keep in mind that not all of them use strictly memory foam. The types and layer combinations may vary, which results in different mattress properties.

Now, here are the most commonly used types of memory foam: 

  • Traditional. Made from petroleum-based materials, traditional memory foam hasn’t changed much since it appeared in the 1970s. As the manufacturing process remains the same, traditional memory foam is considered the cheapest one among all the types. This material has a rather slow response, which so many sleepers appreciate. 
  • Plant-based. Plant-based foam uses soy, coconut, and other plant oils to replace a portion of petroleum used during the manufacturing process. And yes, keep in mind that typically plant-based materials replace only a part of petroleum, which means the rest would still remain traditional memory foam. This type has a bit faster response and slightly higher breathability than traditional foam. It’s also considered more eco-friendly.
  • Gel-infused. Many manufacturers use cooling gel to give memory foam the cooling properties. The way it works is rather simple: gel particles (that are blended with foam) absorb the heat of your body, preventing the foam from retaining it and making you sweat. Of course, this usually works only to a certain extent because the gel will absorb a limited amount of heat. Nonetheless, gel-infused foam mattresses are considered to be very effective when it comes to supporting a neutral body temperature.
  • Open-cell. The open-cell technology allows manufacturers to produce foam that has micro airways, which work as air tunnels and allow for good air circulation (3). So, when you lie on a mattress, the weight of your body forces the air through the tunnels. This prevents heat build-up during the night and can make hot sleepers feel more comfortable. Soft vs. Firm. Having a soft or firm memory foam can significantly impact how you feel while sleeping. Softer foams with more sinkage work well for side sleepers, while firmer foams work better for back and stomach sleepers. By its firmness rating and density, you can tell if a mattress uses soft or firm foam.
  • Copper-infused. Thanks to copper’s conductive properties, copper-infused foam has the ability to absorb heat (similarly to gel). That’s why you can come across this material when searching for the best memory foam mattress. Copper is also naturally antimicrobial  and can help your mattress stay “fresh” longer.

Some mattresses also use charcoal-infused memory foam for better thermoregulation. However, this type is not as popular as gel or copper-infused models.

Who Is a Memory Foam Mattress Good For?

Facts about memory foam mattresses


To some, a memory foam bed may feel like a perfect, heavenly comfortable sleeping spot. To others, even the best memory foam mattress may become a huge disappointment.

Here’s the deal:

Your feeling of comfort depends on your personal preferences and body needs. 

And although research proving certain benefits of memory foam mattresses is lacking (4), based on user reviews, it is possible to say that the following categories of sleepers enjoy this type of mattresses the most:

  • Light sleepers. Due to its slow response, memory foam shows great results in motion absorption. So, if you and your partner don’t want to disturb each other by tossing and turning, a memory foam bed would be ideal in this case.
  • Owners of adjustable bed frames. Because memory foam is able to mold to different shapes, such a mattress would be ideal for an adjustable bed. Keep in mind that this way, your mattress might have a slightly shorter lifespan (due to extra compression in certain parts)
  • People who want good pressure relief. Memory foam is famous for its close conforming. This material adapts to the shape of your body very precisely, hugs the pressure points, and fills in the curves. As a result, you get to enjoy proper spinal alignment, even weight distribution, and reduced tension in your muscles and joints. 
  • Chronic pain sufferers. The excellent pressure relief that memory foam offers can also help alleviate pain. Of course, this isn’t applicable to cases of severe health issues. But if you deal with chronic back, hip, or neck pain, for example, a good memory foam mattress may reduce the pressure and relieve that pain. 
  • Athletes. Since memory foam gently cradles the body, it can ensure faster muscle recovery after work-outs and may benefit physically active individuals.
  • People with sensitive joints. As memory foam doesn’t typically apply pressure on painful points in one’s body (as long as the firmness is suitable for your sleep position), it works great for people with sensitive joints. 
  • Users who don’t tend to sleep hot. If you do, you may want to pick a mattress that has gel-infused foam layers. Traditional memory foam may trap heat, especially if you are a heavier individual and sink deeper into your bed.

A quick note: because memory foam mattresses typically have weak edges, you might not get as much space as you need. So, if you require more legroom (or you and your partner want more space), consider getting a larger memory foam mattress than you’re used to.

Also, keep in mind that high-density foams are significantly more durable than low-density ones.

Potential Issues of Memory Foam

No matter how comfortable memory foam mattresses may feel, they may still come with certain disadvantages. 

But forewarned is forearmed. So, here are the most common potential issues you might face when getting a new memory foam mattress:

  • Quicksand feeling. Due to its ability to conform closely to one’s body, memory foam can make you feel stuck in your mattress. Not everyone appreciates that hugging feel and some people prefer sleeping “on” their mattress rather than “in” it.
  • Sleeping hot. Memory foam, when not infused with cooling components, tends to trap body heat. This can become a problem for overweight sleepers or someone living in a hot climate. If you are one of them, you may want to consider hybrids or latex mattresses.
  • Potential off-gassing upon arrival. Because of the visco-elastic chemicals added, memory foam often has a strong chemical odor when you unpack it. This is common for many products that are manufactured using plastic, foam, or adhesives. Usually, the off-gassing disappears within the first couple of days if you leave the mattress to air out. But this can still be an issue for people who are sensitive to smell or have respiratory problems.
  • Mediocre edge support. This issue is common for all memory foam mattresses. So, if you tend to sleep near the edges, a memory foam mattress might not provide enough support for you in that area. In this case, you may want to opt for a bigger size so that you (and your loved one) have enough room to move.

How to Choose a Memory Foam Mattress That Will Work for You?

To choose a memory foam mattress that will work for you, it’s essential to keep these factors in mind:

  • The size of the mattress.
  • The firmness of the mattress.
  • The mattress density.
  • The mattress thickness.
  • The comfort and support of the mattress.
  • The mattress cooling technology.
  • The mattress price.
  • The mattress warranty and return policy.
  • The mattress brand reputation. 

The Size of the Mattress

These days, the most popular mattress size is Queen. It is large enough to accommodate two adults while providing enough legroom. However, you may enjoy using other sizes too. For instance, a King mattress will provide more room on both sides, as it is wider than the Queen size. California King is wider but shorter than the standard King and would be ideal for people who need more legroom or tend to toss and turn a lot during the night. If you don’t need that much space, you can also consider Twin or Full mattresses.

The Firmness of the Mattress 

Now, typically, the firmness of a memory foam mattress is rated from 1 to 10, with 10 being the firmest. However, you may also come across ILD, or the Indentation Load Deflection. The higher the ILD, the firmer your mattress will feel (5). Manufacturers normally use layers with different ILD ratings, with softer layers on top (10-20 ILD) and firmer memory foam for the support core (20 and more ILD). Keep in mind that strict stomach sleepers require a firm mattress. Back sleepers typically feel more comfortable sleeping on a medium-to-firm mattress. And side sleepers are recommended to buy soft to medium memory foam mattresses.

The Density of the Mattress

Memory foam density is measured in PCF, or pounds per cubic foot. The higher the number, the more supportive your mattress would be. High-quality memory foam usually has a density of around 4 to 5 PCF. 

The Thickness of the Mattress

Memory foam mattresses typically range between 6 and 14 inches. As a general rule, thicker mattresses provide more padding and have a softer feel. But note that overly tall (or, vice versa, overly low) beds can make it difficult to get in or out of them. The ideal bed height should allow you to touch the floor with your feet when sitting on the edge of the mattress, with your knees bent at 90 degrees. Considering that the average bed is around 25 inches high (6), you can calculate the suitable mattress height by subtracting the height of your bed frame from 25 or any other number you feel comfortable with.

The Comfort and Support of the Mattress

When choosing a memory foam mattress that will work for you, you have to look at its comfort and support and choose a mattress with balanced comfort layers and support. A good balance is between 3-5 inches of comfort layers, and a durable core, typically made of high-density memory foam. This ensures you have enough materials to sink into without bending your spine out of alignment.

The Mattress Cooling Technology

The cooling technology of the mattress is also important when choosing a memory foam mattress that will work for you, such as the Amerisleep AS3’s Bio-Pur® open-cell foam, or the Plank’s AirCloth. Cooling technology helps counterbalance memory foam’s tendency to trap heat, helping you sleep in a temperature-neutral environment.

The Mattress Price

The price of the mattress should also be considered when choosing the best memory foam mattress, such as the Plank (which is cheaper than the Amerisleep AS3 by $774). A cheaper mattress may mean sleeping on a firmer surface, or forgoing unique technology like Amerisleep AS3’s HIVE® technology; however, you can still sleep comfortably with a competitively-priced mattress, as long as it delivers what you need.

The Mattress Warranty and Return Policy

The best memory foam mattress typically comes with an extended warranty of at least 10 years, such as Puffy’s lifetime warranty, or the Amerisleep AS3’s 20-year warranty. An extended warranty such as this means your mattress is made of durable material to withstand the warranty period and will serve you longer. Also, look at the return policy and trial period, such as Puffy’s 101-night trial period and a full refund for a successful return. A good trial period of at least 100 nights gives you peace of mind while testing your new mattress. 

The Mattress Brand Reputation

The brand reputation of the mattress manufacturer you’re considering is also essential to factor in when choosing the best memory foam mattress, as a poor reputation typically means a poor mattress. Checking customer reviews and researching can help you determine whether a mattress company is worthwhile. Also, checking websites such as Reddit can give you peer-to-peer information on how a mattress company’s product works in an average home.

What Else to Look For in a Memory Foam Bed?

Some factors may get overlooked when you’re searching for the best memory foam mattress

If you want to make the most informed decision when shopping, pay attention to these: 

  • Safety certifications. As you spend a lot of time in bed, the safety of your mattress components is crucial. When shopping, look for such third-party certifications as CertiPUR-US, GREENGUARD Gold Certification, OEKO-TEX Standard 100, and GOTS (7). Their seal of approval means that the mattress was made without using phthalates, mercury, or formaldehyde and is safe for both adults and children.
  • Suitable foundation. A good, solid frame would help your mattress provide stable support. If you aren’t sure what to get, you can browse through the best frames for memory foam mattresses here. You have lots of options including platform beds, adjustable frames, and slatted foundations (but make sure that the space between the slats is at least 3 inches). Some mattress brands also produce mattress foundations that will pair best with their mattresses.
  • Country of origin. Sometimes the quality of a mattress may depend on where it was made. Numerous buyers prefer manufacturers that base their mattress production in the US, Canada, or Europe, as these areas have higher industry standards.
  • Maintenance. Models with a removable and washable cover are much easier to clean, so that’s what you may want to look for. Investing in a mattress protector can also make maintenance rather stress-free, as it will protect your mattress from liquids, dirt, and even wear and tear.

What is the best thickness for a memory foam mattress?

For an adequate level of support, it is recommended to use a mattress that’s at least 10 inches thick.

How long does a memory foam mattress last?

A good memory foam mattress would last around 8-10 years before it may start losing its properties.

How long does it take for a memory foam mattress to inflate?

Typically, 24 hours are enough, but with some models, it may take even more than 48 hours.

How much does a memory foam mattress cost?

Quality memory foam mattresses range between $600 and $1,200. The average price for a Queen size is $900.

What density of memory foam is the best?

The medium density (4-5 PCF) is considered the most suitable for average sleepers. Heavier individuals may require 5 PCF or more.


When it comes to memory foam mattresses, we have almost countless options to pick from.

In my opinion, the Puffy is my best memory foam mattress due to its high mix of sinkage and motion isolation, making it suitable if you need better pressure relief and body-huge, and if you prefer not to feel the movements of a restless partner beside you at night.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the number of models, just remember these simple shopping guidelines. Pay attention to the foam type, as it can determine the overall feel of your mattress. Pick a suitable firmness level based on your preferred sleeping position and weight. And, of course, don’t forget about the safety certifications.


  1. Kathy Adams (n.d.). Memory Foam Explained. Retrieved from
  2. Chris Woodford (2020, April 29). Viscoelastic memory foam. Retrieved from 
  3. Casper Editorial Team (2020, March 04). What Is Memory Foam (and How Does it Work)? Retrieved from
  4. Annie Stuart (n.d.). Memory Foam: Pros and Cons. Retrieved from
  5. Sleep Foundation (n.d.). What is Memory Foam? Retrieved from
  6. Holly Meehleis (2018, December 6). The Standard Height of a Bed and Mattress From the Floor. Retrieved from 
  7. Christina Heiser (2019, September 17). 7 Health and Safety Certifications to Look for When You Buy a Mattress. Retrieved from

Leave a comment