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Mattress Ratings > Memory Foam Bed Reviews
Based on 7,148 Owner Experiences Gathered From 814 Sources
THE GOOD: Memory foam mattresses overall rate at least as well as other mattress types in owner satisfaction. Conforming ability and motion isolation are often well above average. Many highly rated brands / models are under $1000.
THE BAD: Top owner complaints include initial off gassing odor, heat retention, lack of bounce, restricted movement, extended break-in, and poor longevity.
THE MATTRESSES: Memory foam mattresses often consist of 1.5 to 6 inches of memory foam over support / base foam. Several firmness, thickness and density options are available. Memory foam is made from polyurethane with additional chemicals added to increase density.
THE COMPETITION: See how memory foam compares to other mattress types.
Memory Foam Mattress Ratings: As a Group
Brand Ratings and Comparison
What Is Memory Foam?
What Makes Memory Foam Different
Memory Foam vs Other Mattress Types
Lifespan / Durability
Initial Off Gassing Odor
Sleeping Hot / Heat Retention
Reasons For Price Differences
Suitability for Sex
Break-in Period Length
Mold / Mildew Development
Electric Blanket / Pad Use
Mattress Protector Use
Memory Foam vs Regular Foam Mattresses
Memory Foam Mattresses vs Toppers
Memory Foam Density
Memory Foam Vs Latex
Proper Memory Foam Bed Foundation & Frame
Our ratings and research findings are based on at least 7,100 memory foam bed consumer reviews / experiences gathered using an unbiased, accurate methodology.
The ratings show how memory foam mattresses compare against the average mattress based on consumer experiences. For ratings on specific brands, see the following section.
|Owner satisfaction||b||Memory foam mattresses as a group have 81% owner satisfaction. The various brands and models rate mostly similar.|
|Lifespan / durability||b-||Longevity can vary, but memory foam mattresses have on average about a 7-year lifespan. See lifespan analysis.|
|Price||C+||Prices vary greatly – $155 to $4000+ (queen) – for several reasons. The average queen is $1370. Paying more does not necessarily result in higher satisfaction as it tends to be similar across the price range.|
|Value||B||High owner satisfaction combined with prices overall being no higher than average often results in the mattresses receiving "bang for the buck" praise from owners. Tempur-Pedic is the most notable exception as it tends to receive fair to poor value ratings.|
|Reduced (back) pain||b||Pain relief – including relief of back pain – is reported by at least 20% of owners. About 10% of owners, however, complain that their bed causes pain, often due to excessive firmness or lack of support. (See mattresses and pain relief for general analysis.)|
|Conforming ability||A-||Memory foam tends to significantly mold and contour to a person's body resulting in generally even distribution of a person's weight. This often minimizes pressure points. Learn more.|
|General support||C+||Other mattress types – namely air, latex, and innerspring – may provide somewhat better support.|
|Edge support||C-||For many foam mattresses, support near the edges may be inadequate for sleeping or sitting, especially for larger people.|
|Firmness variety||c+||The mattresses tend to be medium to firm, but soft is available. 12%+ of owners report excessive firmness even after break in.|
|Dual firmness||D||Mattresses with dual firmness are couple friendly as they have different firmness for each side. With few exceptions, such as Bed In A Box Natural Silk Comfort Adjust, foam beds do not provide this feature.|
|Motion isolation||A-||The mattresses tend to isolate movement allowing a person to move on and get up off the bed without causing much if any disturbance to their partner. Learn more.|
|No initial off gassing odor||d||12%+ of owners report significant off gassing odor, especially owners of high-density models. Analysis: memory foam off gassing.|
|No sleeping hot||D+||About 9% of owners report a significant problem with their mattress retaining heat. See memory foam & heat retention for details.|
|Easy to move on / get up off||D+||Higher-density memory foam especially tends to resist a person's movement at least somewhat due to its conforming properties. Getting up or changing positions may require some extra effort. Weak, elderly, sick and disabled people may want to avoid higher-density foam.|
|Good for sex||c-||Opinions vary but memory foam has the most complaints on this issue among all mattress types. See sex and mattresses.|
|Heavy person friendly||b||Given the weight sensitivity of the foam, people 240+ lbs tend to benefit the most from the foam's conforming ability. However, people large around their middle in proportion to the rest of their body may bow into the mattress somewhat – a problem namely for side and stomach sleep. And models less than 9" thick may not provide enough cushion.|
|Light person friendly||c-||People 115 lbs or less may not exert enough pressure on the mattress to benefit from the foam's conforming ability, especially if the mattress is firm and or high density; excessive pressure points can result.|
|No noise||a||Memory foam mattresses are often totally silent under all conditions unlike most other mattress types. Learn more.|
|Short break in period||D+||Break-in – especially for higher-density models – appears to be about 20% longer than that of the average mattress. Side sleepers tend to report the most break-in related discomfort. Some owners use a soft topper until mattress breaks in.|
|Easy to maintain||C+||Nearly all models are no-flip. Rotating the mattress (head to foot) one to three times yearly may help maintain comfort and support.|
|Easy to handle, lift, move||c||Weight ranges 30-200+ lbs depending on model / size with average being about 98 lbs. Thicker, higher-density memory foam beds weigh more than thinner, lower-density ones. Handles are not common.|
|Warranties||b-||Warranties can vary significantly but overall tend to be superior to those of other mattress types. Get the details.|
|Return policies||c+||Most retailers give 30-100 days for return / exchange. Most give money back, but fees may apply. (See returning a mattress: what to know.)|
|Availability||A-||Memory foam mattresses are common both in stores and online. Several popular brands, however, are available mostly or only online. Learn about the pros and cons of buying a mattress online.|
The table below includes many popular memory foam beds arranged alphabetically. Select a mattress for a full ratings report based on consumer experiences.
||Number of Models
|Memory Foam Thick-
|Memory Foam Density (lbs/ft)
||Distinctive Advantage or Trait||SLTD Com- pany Rating
||In Stores and or Online
||Return Policy Length/Fees
|BED IN A BOX||86%
|6||9-15"||3", 6"||3||med-firm to soft||strong reputation||A-||mostly online||120 max, 60 min / no||20 yrs|
|4||6-14"||2", 4"||4.5*||med-firm or firm||New England only||C||stores, online||60 max, 30 min / yes||5-20 yrs|
|$500- $950||1||10"||1.5"||4||med-firm||latex top layer||B-||mostly online||100 max, 0 min / no||10 yrs|
|2+||11", 14"||4", 6"||2.5, 3, 4||med or firm||at Overstock .com||no rating||online||no returns||5 yrs|
|1||13"||5"||4, 5||med-soft||low priced for being soft||B-||amazon||30 max, 0 min / yes||20 yrs|
|$1000- $1700||1||10"||4"||4, 5||med-firm||strong return policy||B-||online||365 max, 0 min / yes||10 yrs|
|2||10", 12"||2.5", 4"||3*||med-firm or firm||2 all-foam eco models||B-||online, stores||90 max, 30 min / yes||12 yrs|
|$450- $990||1||10"||2"||3||med-firm||latex-like top layer||B-||online||100 max, 0 min / no||10 yrs|
|LOOM & LEAF||83%
|$700- $1400||2||12"||4.5"||4, 5||med-firm or firm||plant oil for 30% petrol.||B-||online||75 days, 0 min / yes||15 yrs|
|3||11"||4-5"||3.7-5||soft to med-firm||convenient exchanges||B+||online||120 max, 60 min / no||15 yrs|
|5||10-13"||3-6"||4*||med-soft to firm||top to bottom gel foam||C+||stores, online||varies by retailer||10 yrs|
|3, 4, 5*||med-soft to firm||TempurPedic competitor||C+||stores, online||120 max, 30 min / varies||10 yrs|
|4+||6-12"||1.5-4"||3*||med-firm||value||C+||online||30-90 max, 0 min / yes||1 yr|
|8+||8-14"||1.5-3"||3 - 3.5||mostly med-firm||good war- ranty for $||B-||mostly online||varies by retailer||5-20 yrs|
|6+||8-14.5"||3-6.6"||3, 5, 7||med or med-firm||at Costco.com||B+||mostly online||90+ max, 0 min / no||20 yrs|
|12||10-15"||3-7.2"||3-7*||x-soft to x-firm||widely available||C||stores, online||often 90+ max, 30 min / yes||10 yrs|
|6+||6-14"||1-3.5"||3||med or med-firm||ultra value||B-||mostly online||varies by retailer||10-15 yrs|
Memory foam is made from polyurethane with additional chemicals added to increase density. In technical terms, it is often referred to as visco-elastic polyurethane foam. The foam is made up of millions of spherical shaped, open cells. Learn more about memory foam.
Two characteristics most distinguish memory foam mattresses from other mattress types: conforming ability and motion isolation.
Memory foam – often significantly more so than other mattress types – molds and contours to a sleeper's body, reducing or eliminating gaps between the person and the mattress. This conforming ability has positive and negative consequences, including:
It should be noted that not all memory foam mattresses have the same conforming ability. Higher-density models tend to conform more strongly than lower-density models. Also, know that using a mattress protector may significantly reduce conforming ability.
Virtually all memory foam mattresses perform significantly better than the average mattress in regard to motion isolation. A mattress with good motion isolation absorbs the movement (tossing, turning, getting in and out of bed) of one person so that another person on the bed is not disturbed.
A possible downside of good motion isolation is that it often means that the mattress has little if any bounce. For some people, this negatively affects a bed's sex suitability.
Memory foam mattresses compare favorably to other mattress types.
Innerspring beds are the main competitor to memory foam beds due mainly to their wide availability and consumer familiarity. Among 209 consumers included in our research who have owned both types and stated their preference, memory foam is often preferred. As the chart below shows, 48% of these consumers prefer memory foam, 29% prefer innerspring, and 23% have no preference.
See the mattress type comparison for more on how memory foam compares to innerspring beds as well as the other mattress types.
The lifespan of a memory foam mattress is on average about seven years with everyday use.
Length of Time Owners Keep Their Memory Foam Mattress
Memory foam gets its name from its ability to "remember" its original form and slowly return to it after being compressed. As the foam ages and wears, it will lose at least some of this resiliency or "memory." This can result in sagging and body impression development which are capable of undermining support and comfort, say owners.
Owner experience data shows, however, that memory foam mattresses overall have fewer sagging / body impression complaints than most other mattress types, especially innerspring mattresses. In fact, memory foam beds as a group are at least 30% less likely to lose their shape than innerspring beds.
* estimated to be at least 1.5" depth
Owner experience data shows that memory foam mattresses may become softer as they age and wear. Excessive softening can cause both a lack of support and comfort. By contrast, most other mattress types, especially innerspring beds, tend to become compacted and firmer as they age and wear. Also, softening is often not well covered by memory foam mattress warranties (see next section).
Memory foam mattress lifespan somewhat correlates with price. However, as the chart below shows, for every additional $1000 spent there is only an increase in lifespan on average of about 1.5 years.
Warranties for memory foam mattresses often have lengths of 5, 10 or 20 years. The more expensive memory foam mattresses do not necessarily come with longer / better warranties than the less expensive memory foam mattresses.
Owner experience data shows that with regular everyday use, mattresses generally do not last the length of their warranties. (See mattress warranties: what you should know.)
Non-prorated means there is no cost to the consumer to repair or replace a defective mattress, not including transport cost. For 5- and 10-year warranties, the entire period is often non-prorated, while the 20-year warranties often have only the first 10 years non-prorated.
"Sagging depth" refers to how much (in inches) a mattress must compress / sag before warranty coverage engages; the smaller the number, the better the coverage. Most memory foam beds have similar sagging coverage. In addition, sagging coverage for memory foam beds is often better than the sagging coverage for innerspring beds.
As memory foam mattresses age and wear, they will tend to soften to some degree. This is considered normal and is not covered under warranty. Memory foam mattress warranties, however, may cover an abnormal increase in softening. But unlike sagging, such softening is not defined in the warranty which appears to result in few claims related to softening being approved. This is a potential weakness of the warranties as softening can be just as common and problematic as sagging.
Prices for memory foam mattresses can range from $155 to $4000+ (queen). Below are the main reasons why memory foam mattresses can vary widely in price.
– Overall Mattress Thickness: On average, high-priced memory foam mattresses are at least 75% thicker than low-priced ones. Thicker mattresses are often for people who prefer a tall mattress profile or for people of above-average weight; a mattress that is too thin for a person's weight may bottom out and be excessively firm.
– Memory Foam Layer Thickness: Memory foam beds are not made entirely of memory foam. They consist of 20-50% memory foam; this memory foam lies over one or more base / support layer of regular foam. High-priced memory foam beds tend to have at least two times more memory foam than those low-priced. More memory foam tends to provide somewhat increased comfort, contouring support and, perhaps, mattress longevity.
– Base Layer Thickness / Density: The base layer of a memory foam bed consists of relatively inexpensive foam which often makes up 50-80% of overall mattress thickness. The base layer of low-priced memory foam beds tends to make up a greater portion of overall mattress thickness compared to high-priced memory foam beds. Also, the base foam of lower-priced beds may have lower density compared to higher-priced beds. Low density base foam may result in less support, comfort and durability especially for larger people.
|Overall Mattress Thickness||Memory Foam Layer Thickness||Base Layer Thickness|
|High Priced ($2500+)||12-15"||4-7"||6-9"|
The table shows what tends to be true; a particular mattress model may go against these findings somewhat.
– Other Factors: In addition to the above reasons, other factors affecting price include:
Memory foam mattresses (or any mattress that contains a significant amount of memory foam) tend to off gas more often and more strongly than other mattress types. Off gassing (or out gassing) refers to a chemical-like odor or gas that a mattress may give off when it is new due to its composition and packaging.
About 12% of memory foam mattress owners report significant off gassing. And as many as 2% of owners return their mattress due to off gassing odor concerns. Overall, however, memory foam off gassing is a problem that is becoming less common.
Off Gassing Odor Reported by Memory Foam Mattress Owners
Length of Off Gassing Period Reported by Memory Foam Mattress Owners
Some owners report walking (safely) on their new memory foam bed to speed up the off gassing process (as well as the break-in process).
Off gassing is usually just an annoying odor to those who notice it.
Some owners, however, report feeling ill from it. Reports of headaches, nausea, eye and throat irritation, sweating, sleeplessness and asthma resulting from off gassing occur in about 1.5% of owner experiences. The illness diminishes when the off gassing diminishes or when the person avoids being in the same room with the mattress during the off gassing period.
People sometimes deal with off gassing odor by putting the bed in a well-ventilated room, spare room, covered patio or garage until the odor has mostly diminished.
In regard to off gassing being a long-term health threat, such as a cancer risk, there is currently no credible study or evidence showing this to be the case.
Mattresses that have at least two inches of memory foam are more likely to off gas than those with two inches or less of the material.
Many consumers believe that American-made memory foam off gasses less (and is therefore safer / healthier) than imported foam, namely foam from China. Our research based on actual consumer experiences shows the opposite: Domestically made memory foam has more off gassing reports than foreign-made foam.
The fact that U.S. made memory foam has more off gassing reports than foreign-made foam may possibly be explained, at least in part, by foam density. Higher density foam usually off gasses more than less dense foam. And higher density foam tends to be produced domestically, while less dense foam is often foreign made.
About 9% of memory foam bed owners say that their bed significantly retains heat and, as a result, sleeps hot. This problem can result in sweating, restlessness and poor sleep quality. An additional 15% of owners report that their mattress sleeps warm, but usually not to an uncomfortable extent. Put positively, most memory foam bed owners most of the time experience no heat-related problems.
It is increasingly common for memory foam mattresses to have at least one layer of gel memory foam – foam that is infused with tiny gel beads. This material is touted to sleep cool longer than regular memory foam of similar density. And based on our collected consumer experience data it does reduce sleeping hot complaints by about one-third. Some consumers, however, report no meaningful heat relief from gel foam.
The amount of gel foam in a mattress also seems to be a factor. Beds with two inches or more of gel foam, especially at the top of the mattress, tend to sleep cool longer than those beds with less than two inches.
Density can and often does differ by memory foam mattress brand or model. Those with higher density foam tend to have at least twice the number of sleeping hot complaints than those with lower-density foam.
High foam density may restrict air circulation due to its higher density which can cause the mattress to heat trap. Also, higher density foam is often more sensitive to temperature and weight than is lower density foam. This can mean that a person sinks somewhat more into higher density foam resulting in less air circulation around one's body.
Memory foam mattresses with soft firmness tend to be more likely to sleep hot than firmer varieties. This appears to be due to the fact that a person sinks in more to a soft mattress and therefore has less air circulation to cool them.
Memory foam mattresses – especially those that are high density such as several Tempur-Pedic models – may have a longer-than-average break-in period.
Opinions vary, but most memory foam mattress owners say their bed is at least acceptable for romance. On this issue, comfort is the reported top advantage of memory foam, while a lack of bounce is the main disadvantage. Learn more: sex and mattresses comparison.
Mold and mildew development on memory foam mattresses is an issue that receives significant publicity. Our collected owner experience data shows, however, that no more than .3% of memory foam mattress owners report a mold / mildew problem.
It should be noted that mold / mildew does not always make its presence easily known. Consequently, a number of owners may unknowingly have a mattress with mold / mildew.
Mold / mildew development is more likely to occur in high humidity climates. Owner experience data suggests that development often takes place underneath the mattress especially if a foundation is used that provides limited ventilation, such as a platform. A slat foundation, by contrast, allows more airflow which perhaps reduces potential for development. In addition, a waterproof mattress protector is effective at keeping the mattress dry and mold / mildew free.
Using an electric blanket or electric mattress pad with a memory foam bed can reduce the bed's comfort and pain-relief potential. Due to the temperature sensitivity of memory foam, having a heat source on the bed other than your body can undermine the foam's ability to react to your body and conform to its shape.
If an electric blanket or heating pad are used, then heating should be limited to when you first get into bed. And the setting should be on low or medium heat, not high.
There are some claims that the heat produced by electric blankets and electric pads can damage memory foam. We have found no owner experience data to confirm this.
A mattress protector can protect a memory foam mattress against dust mites, bacteria, sweat, urine and fluids. Using a protector can be wise because the dirtying or soiling of a mattress will often void its warranty or its eligibility to be returned.
The use of a protector, however, can reduce the conforming- and molding-to-the-body properties of memory foam.
An increasing but relatively small number of mattresses consist entirely of regular foam, that is, they contain no memory foam. ("Regular foam" may not be a fair description as the foam is often fairly sophisticated.) Examples of regular foam mattresses include Tuft & Needle, Yogabed, and Marriott Bed.
The table shows important similarities and differences between these two mattress types.
|Memory Foam Mattresses||Regular Foam Mattresses|
|Heat Trap Potential||medium to high||low to medium|
|Off Gassing Potential||medium to high||low to medium|
|Easy To Move On||mostly fair to poor||fair to good|
|Firmness Options||soft, medium, firm||medium and firm|
|Motion Isolation||high||medium to high|
|Price||low to high||low to medium|
|Weight||mostly medium to high||medium|
|Temperature Sensitivity*||mostly medium to high||low|
|Conforming Ability||medium to high||medium|
|Pain Reduction Potential||medium to high||medium|
* Memory foam tends to have a more cradling, sinking in feel due to its temperature sensitivity whereas regular foam tends to feel more conventional.
A memory foam topper placed on an existing mattress can provide some of the benefits and downsides of a memory foam mattress. See memory foam topper ratings based on 48,000+ consumer experiences.
|Memory Foam Mattresses||Memory Foam Toppers|
|Price||medium to high||low to medium|
|Motion Isolation||high||low to medium|
|Conforming Ability||medium to high||medium|
|Heat Trap Potential||medium to high||medium|
|Off Gassing Potential||medium to high||medium|
|Easy To Move On||mostly fair to poor||fair|
Memory foam is available in different densities. Foam density often determines many mattress characteristics. See memory foam density: higher vs lower for a complete analysis and comparison based on actual consumer experiences.
Memory foam and latex have important similarities and differences. See memory foam vs latex mattresses for a detailed comparison based on over 8,000 consumer experiences.
Owner experience data suggests that the use of a proper foundation and frame can make a significant difference in both the comfort and lifespan of memory foam mattresses. Also, be aware of the foundation and frame requirements of the specific memory foam mattress you purchase because an improper foundation and or frame can void the mattress warranty.
Foundation: Most memory foam mattresses, including Tempur-Pedic, are designed to work on a firm, solid-surface, non-spring foundation with no irregularities. Owner experience data suggests that a box spring (springs contained in a box-like frame) may not properly support the mattress and thus undermine the contouring and molding ability of the foam. A medium-density fiberboard (MDF) foundation, platform bed, or slat foundation is often preferred.
Frame: A proper bed frame should provide sturdy support for both the mattress and foundation. It should have a center support and six or more legs.
Ratings are based on 7,100+ memory foam mattress bed consumer experiences that were gathered from a combination of online message boards, retailer websites and product review websites. Learn more about our research methodology.
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