Best Memory Foam Mattress
Jake Comfort | Updated: October 1, 2019
While there have been numerous innovations in the mattress industry in the last couple of decades, one of the developments with the most impact is that of latex mattresses. Latex mattresses are increasingly popular, so we’ve assembled this guide to help you understand what a latex mattress is, the benefits of using latex for mattresses, some facts and information about latex itself, and then offer a list of our favorite latex mattresses on the market today.
Read on for all the information you need to find the best latex mattress for you.
Memory Foam Qualities
Memory foam isn’t used in mattresses because the name is fun to say. It’s used because of the unique qualities that it possesses. These qualities help memory foam provide a distinct and comfortable night’s sleep, so understanding the different qualities that characterize memory foam is an essential step to making sure you select the best memory foam mattress for you.
At first, memory foam feels like any other foam mattresses. Before the advent of memory foam, foam mattresses were known for being cheap and uncomfortable. Thankfully, memory foam soon sets itself apart from previous foams.
The biggest difference, and the thing that defines memory foam no matter what type it is, is viscoelasticity. While this is a fancy word, it simply describes the quality of memory foam that causes it to sink under pressure and heat to create the hug and contour that causes so many people to fall in love with mattresses made from the material.
Just like every square is a rectangle, but every rectangle is not a square, every memory foam is a poly foam, but not every poly foam is a memory foam. There are many different types of poly foam that do not provide the same viscoelastic properties, like hug and contour, that memory foam provides.
Cooling and Response
The next things you need to know to get a better idea of the qualities of memory foam have to do with response and cooling. Response refers to how quickly the foam changes shape when the pressure on it is changed. This quality is also where memory foam gets its name from, as it looks like the foam remembers the shape of the pressure that was being applied to it.
It is this exact quality that generates the hug and contour that memory foam is so famous for. The way the material molds around your body means that your whole body is getting equal and universal support. The result is that memory foam helps keep your spine, neck, and back in alignment, and helps make the material so comfortable.
Cooling and heat retention have traditionally been something of a problem area for memory foam. In the past, memory foam was notorious for hot spots and other heat retention issues. However, modern technology and innovation has largely resolved this issue. The combination of special covers, gels, open-cell structures, and other innovations mean that memory foam does a much better job of keeping cool now.
Getting the Best Memory Foam
Now that you’ve got an understanding of the characteristics of memory foam, you should understand how to pick out the best memory foam. We’ll look at some of the physical differences between memory foams here.
The density of the foam is a measurement of how much foam is in a given volume. This understanding will help you grasp the concept that a thicker layer of memory foam doesn’t have to have more foam in it than a thinner layer. That’s why looking only to the thickness of the foam doesn’t give you as good of a guide as to how it will feel. We’ve found that the best memory foams generally have a density of 3-5 pounces per cubic foot (pcf). This ranges seems to hit a golden zone where the foam is highly durable, doesn’t have heat retention issues, and is still comfortable to lay on.
All of that’s not to say that thickness doesn’t matter at all. In fact, it’s one of the most important properties for a memory foam mattress. You’ll generally want to have at least 4” of comfort foams as the top layer(s). This ensures smooth transitional support. If the comfort layers have a thickness of less than 4”, then you risk a situation where have a support wall, where the change in foams is noticeable. This interferes with the even support people expect from memory foam, and should be avoided.
© Liberty – Amerisleep
Types of Memory Foam
There has been a plethora of innovations for memory foam in the past few decades, and as a result, there’s many different types of memory foams to pick from. Some of the most common are listed below, but keep in mind that new innovations are taking place all the time.
Standard or traditional memory foam is what people usually think of when they think about memory foam. It’s got a very slow response time, and produces a deep hug and contour. Most traditional memory foams have a density from 4-7 pcf.
Gel infusion and thin gel layers are one of the most popular types of memory foams. The gel increases the surface area of the foam, which promotes better cooling. Moreover, the gel helps to create air channels through the mattress that make it more breathable and comfortable.
Gel can take several different forms in memory foam. One method is to use a layer of gel across the top of the memory foam. Other methods swirl the gel into the foam during construction. Finally, some companies mix in a series of gel beads when making the foam. The goal is to ensure the gel is spread evenly though the foam so that you get the cooling properties across the whole mattress.
Open cell memory foam stands in contrast to traditional memory foam in that traditional memory foam uses a closed cell manufacturing process. The result of that process is a foam that is denser and less responsive. Open-cell memory foam has tiny air pockets injected into the foam during its manufacturing. These procedures results in a foam that has a faster response time, while also creating better conditions for air circulation and breathability. Increasing air circulation is one of the best ways to help the material stay cool, as the airflow can take away the excess heat.
It’s important to keep in mind that all of the different properties we’ve talked about play a role in regulating the temperature and the qualities of a particular memory foam. Keep this in mind so that you don’t find yourself lured in by the use of things like gel as a gimmick, when the foam that is being used is poor quality, low density material.
Memory Foam Reviews
|Loom & Leaf by Saatva||Balanced feeling, all-natural materials. Moderate hug/contour, different firmness levels||$1.099||Review|
|Amerisleep||Open cell foam gives modern feel with plenty of hug. Comes in multiple firmness levels||$999-$1,899||Review|
|Alexander Signature Series||Thick, quilted cover gives balanced feel with moderate hug and contour, comes in soft, medium, and firm||$1,099||Review|
|Novosbed||Slow response with lots of hug and contour, Comes in soft, medium, and firm||$999||Review|
|DreamFoam||Slow response provides lots of hug and contour, traditional memory foam feel, budget friendly||$549||Review|
|Tempurpedic||Traditional memory foam feel, slow response, high hug and contour. Most expensive option||$3,599||Review|
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