Although memory foam mattresses have not been around nearly as long as innerspring mattresses, which we cover elsewhere in this report, they are rapidly gaining in popularity. The leading name in memory foam is Tempur-Pedic (Est. $1,700 and up), which easily earns our Best Reviewed nod.
Founded in 1992, Tempur-Pedic, 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. While all conform to the body, some offer surfaces that vary in firmness and cover materials, as the brand aims to address a wide range of consumer preferences -- most specifically body temperature since heat retention is the main complaint we see with memory foam.
Tempur-Pedic gets an 81 percent owner-satisfaction rating on SleepLikeTheDead.com, based on more than 1,865 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.
On the downside, in addition to the heat retention issue we mention above, some find fault with the relatively high price of Tempur-Pedic mattresses. If cost is an issue, there are several lesser-known brands that offer memory foam mattresses that are significantly less expensive than Tempur-Pedic. The best rated of these is Bed in a Box (Est. $650 and up). 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. While this is a higher rating that the Tempur-Pedic brand, it's also based on far fewer reviews, and we have found that ratings tend to go down as more reviews accumulate. Still, owners give Bed in a Box mattresses 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, though that is a common complaint with all 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 one 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.
Another terrific value in memory foam mattresses is the Tuft & Needle Mattress (Est. $350 and up). It gets both a recommendation and a Best Buy nod in one professional test, earning high marks for both durability and stabilization. Owners rate the Tuft & Needle mattress very highly as well, with most saying it has transformed their sleep. However most note that it's quite firm; while those who love firm mattresses are very pleased, those who do not complain of sore joints or waking up stiff in the morning. Side sleepers seem the least happy with this mattress.
Still, we see raves for the Tuft & Needle mattress from back pain suffers. Many say they purchased this mattress after reading recommendations that back pain sufferers may be helped by a memory foam mattress, and were thrilled that it worked. Customer service, the shipping experience and ease of set up also get kudos from customers.
At an even lower price point, but with equally stellar reviews, the Signature Sleep 8-Inch Memory Foam Mattress (Est. $130 and up) gets very high ratings from thousands of satisfied customers. They cite its comfort, value and durability. Some say that it seems overly firm at first, but softens up with use and as it warms to body temperature -- not an unusual occurrence with memory foam. Some add a mattress topper, which we cover in a separate report, to adjust the firmness level or to add thickness to the mattress. If you'd really like to move into memory foam, but can't justify the high prices of the name brands, either of these two very affordable mattresses are a good place to start.
Mattresses are expensive, there's no getting around that fact, and memory foam tends to be one of the more expensive options. However, it does not have to be that way. The 12-inch Memory Foam Mattress and Frame Set (Est. $450 and up) by Best Price Mattress gets stellar reviews from hundreds of owners for its incredible value. For your $600 you get a king-sized mattress, a bed frame, and a fitted bed skirt that allows you to hide the bed frame while creating hidden, underbed storage.
While 12 inches is a fairly thin mattress, user reviews don't reflect issues with that at all; rather, they say this memory foam mattress is extremely comfortable and seems very sturdy and durable. We saw reports from owners who have had this mattress for two years or more and say it's still as good as new. It also gets very good ratings from those who say it even provides great support to heavier people without that sinking feeling that some get from memory foam.