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Memory foam conforms to the body, and tends to hold its shape over time

The leading name in memory foam is Tempur-Pedic (Est. $1,500 to $7,500, queen set) , which gets our Best Reviewed nod. Founded in 1992, this company, which is now owned by Sealy, pioneered the production of luxury memory foam mattresses and is generally among the top-rated brands. The line features a wide range of models, and while all conform to the body, some offer surfaces that vary in firmness and cover materials, as the brand aims to address the wide range of consumer preferences.

Tempur-Pedic gets an 81 percent owner-satisfaction rating on SleepLikeTheDead.com, based on more than 1,720 owner comments. Durability and resistance to sagging are among its chief strengths, according to site editors. Many users also find that it's great at isolating motion, so partners don't disturb one another when they change positions during the night, and some find it better than other memory-foam models at contouring to the body.

The line also gets high marks on Viewpoints.com, where more than 1,800 users give it scores of 9.2 out of 10 for comfort, and 9.1 out of 10 for durability and support. In addition, one Tempur-Pedic model, the Tempur-Simplicity, which is among the lower-priced models in the line, earns excellent marks for durability in a professional evaluation.

On the downside, some users some find that Tempur-Pedic models trap heat, which can make them uncomfortable for sleeping, and some find fault with the relatively high price.

Several lesser-known brands offer memory foam mattresses for significantly less than Tempur-Pedic. The best rated of these is Bed in a Box (Est. $950 to $2,350, queen set) . This line is sold online, and earns a satisfaction rating of 86 percent on SleepLikeTheDead.com, based on its analysis of nearly 340 owner comments. Owners give it high marks for comfort, value and customer service, but the brand scores slightly below Tempur-Pedic for durability. Users also say it gives off a bad odor when new, which is a common problem with memory foam mattresses.

A big handicap for Bed in a Box is that because the mattresses aren't sold in stores, you can't test them before making a commitment. However, the company offers a full money-back guarantee with return shipping costs covered -- provided that owners give the mattress a full 60 days to get used to it before deciding it's not right for them.

A third well-regarded memory-foam line is the Serta iComfort series (Est. $1,300 to $3,000, queen set) . This brand earns an owner-satisfaction rating of 80 percent on SleepLikeTheDead.com, based on its analysis of nearly 475 comments. Users find that it provides good comfort, relieves pain and isolates motion. However, some complain that models aren't thick enough to provide the desired level of support. Fewer than 20 users review the iComfort on Viewpoints.com, but these reviewers give it an average rating of 94 out of 100. Several say the mattress relieves neck and back pain, and isolates motion well.

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