The Best Memory Foam Mattress
As determined by our top rated mattress reviews, expert advice,
Here are some the key points needed to determine which memory foam mattress is best:
Firmness - ILD is the term used to measure of how firm the memory foam is, but what about the total firmness of the mattress? A memory foam mattress these days could be as hard as a rock or as soft as a feather overall. The "hard as a rock" is usually how a lighter individual will respond to top layer firmness. More interestingly, the memory foam mattress could be soft at first, but then firm underneath in the next layer below. Therefore, it would stand to reason that heavier individuals should be aware that this type of configuration may bottom out on them. On the other hand, too soft of a lower layer and the heavier individual will lose support and wind up in a hammock type of position that certainly won't be properly aligning their spine. Additionally, side sleepers have often reported more pressure points than back sleepers with mattresses that are too firm, so the position you sleep in should be considered when you decide how firm you want your memory foam mattress to be. At Beds.org, we included a 1-10 firmness level meter and asked each reviewer to rate the firmness of their mattress, while also including a rating of firmness that the manufacturer conveyed about their mattress, so our viewers can compare the two and help make the proper firmness estimation.
Weight - Density is the weight of the memory foam that is often associated with the memory foam strength and longevity. Densities can start at as low as a 1 pound per square foot and go to as high as 7 pounds per square foot. 5 pounds per square foot is most commonly known to be the standard for durability, but mattress companies are now offering greater warranties on lower density products. So, the question is, "Did the foam technology get better enough to allow lower density foam (also usually lower in cost) to become good enough to be used in their top rated memory foam mattresses? Or are they just upping their warranties on lower cost foam to compete with one another?" Unfortunately, only time will tell, but keep an eye on the purchase date we require with each of the mattress reviews and ratings on our Beds.org site.
Bounce Back - Resilience is the measure of how foam springs back. These days, there are hybrid mattresses that might sink through the first layer and then spring you back in the second layer. The Tempurpedic weightless is one such example of a mattress that employs this newer type of memory foam technology.
Airflow - Many of the heavier weight memory foam materials offer a more closed cell technology that prevents good airflow and consequently, users report that the mattress will get hot for them. Some mattress companies have proposed a gel infused solution into the memory foam to allow the foam to retain the coolness from the air. However, critics of this technology note that gel conducts the coolness only for a short time and then will become warmer than traditional memory foam once the body heats up the mattress. The Serta iComfort gel-infused mattresses have also proposed more of an open cell airflow memory foam in addition to the gel technology. The Tempur-Pedic Cloud and Tempur-pedic Rhapsody breeze mattresses offer a cover system that is both gel infused and, reportedly, more breathable to help combat those that are concerned about heat issues (they have stated that there is an approximate 3 degree drop in body temperature, according to a study they performed). The Tempflow mattress employs a patented airflow transfer system that shows many small ventilated holes communicating with air channels underneath, to avoid the necessity of using a lower density memory foam to increase airflow. Sealy's Embody mattress offers a Polartech fleece type cover that they state will allow more air to circulate around the users body. Whether any of these technologies will truly offer a solution to heat build-up is best left in the hands of the mattress reviewers, as proof is often in the pudding!
Off-gassing Odor and Eco-friendly Foam - When choosing a memory foam mattress, it is important to be aware that some memory foam mattresses have been known to have a chemical odor that can seem harsh to some users. However, it seems as though some companies have solutions for this and some go so far to say that their mattresses are eco-friendly and off-gas little to no odors. There are certainly ways that a mattress can be more eco-friendly and low odor, but to avoid any "green washing" we encourage you to look at VOC (volatile organic compounds) off-gassing and chemical levels of a mattress objectively through results of certified laboratory testing by 3rd party organizations such as GreenGuard, Certipur-US, and Oeko-tex. Some memory foam mattress companies are now showing that they are using Certipur-US certified memory foam. The Tempflow mattress company has even gone so far as to post the actual V.O.C., Phthalate and Formaldehyde level results of the laboratory testing of their trademarked Biogreen memory foam, as performed by the GreenGuard organization. As to the smell/odor of the foam, that will be best determined by the mattress reviews, which provide us with the feedback of the customer's experience with receiving the mattress when it was first new, as well as for the duration that the customer has slept on the mattress.
Layers - As discussed previously in the firmness topic, many memory foam mattresses are made up of two or more layers. Each layer may accomplish a different task and certainly, the more layers, the less chance of the mattress bottoming out. However, too many soft layers will still equal a lack of support, just as too many firm layers will still make a mattress too firm or bottom out on the user.
Warranty - As discussed previously in the weight of the foam topic, higher density mattresses may offer more longevity, but the quality and resilience of the foam will also determine this. The fact that a reputable mattress company will back a longer warranty is a good sign, but we encourage you to look at the fine print, as some may cover more sag than others and some may require you to jump through more hoops or are more strict about what they cover in general.