So you’re looking to buy a new mattress, and you’ve decided that memory foam is the way to go. But with so many options to choose from, how can you know which one will sleep the most comfortably?
Over a year ago, we conducted an in-depth analysis of several memory foam brands to uncover which beds earned the best reviews from consumers. Since that time, many brands have revamped collections and rolled out new lines, so we thought we’d revisit this popular topic for 2020.
Keep reading to see which mattresses currently outperform the competition in owner satisfaction, why they are leading the way, and how to compare beds to find your perfect match.
The Top Rated Mattress of 2020: Amerisleep AS3
Our favorite bed for 2020 isn’t from a big name in mattresses, but rather a growing online brand. Amerisleep’s AS3 is beloved by customers.
Just how much do people love it? The AS3 has received a 4.7 out of 5 from hundreds of verified reviewers. Coming in at the top of the mattresses we looked at in the medium to high-end ranges, the Amerisleep AS3 reviews outperform the competition selling their bed at more than twice the AS3’s price point.
The Rest of 2020’s Best Memory Foam Mattress Ratings
Previously, we compared brands as a whole to see who had the best overall ratings for their lines. This time around, we looked at individual mattress models for a more specific comparison of the best memory foam mattress reviews. This year’s group of top-rated mattresses includes both smaller, niche brands and big name brands.
You might assume that well-known manufacturers would be the best mattress brands for 2020. But overall, brand name or prestige did not appear to be a major predictor of satisfaction. We found major, well-known brands that perform average or worse, and lesser-known brands that offered good values.
But if brand name isn’t a big predictor of satisfaction, what is? It turns out that the factors that appeared to most influence people’s reviews include:
- Initial comfort.
- Service experience.
- How the mattress met expectations.
- Perceptions of value.
- Heat and odor.
The reviews were drawn from retailer and brand websites, third-party review websites like Reseller Ratings, consumer review sites like Sleep Like The Dead and Consumer Reports, and other sources like blogs and forums. Specification data and pricing was current as of article publication date.
Overall, we looked at about 20 different brands including the big names, medium companies, up and coming brands, online sellers, and discount options.
After combing through all those reviews, we narrowed the field down to the four memory foam mattresses that consumers seemed to love the most. Here’s a quick look at how they stacked up against each other:
The Best-Rated Memory Foam Mattresses of 2020: A Closer Look
You’ve taken a look at the basics. But that information alone might not be enough to help you make a decision. So let’s dive into the nitty gritty.
Here’s a more detailed description of each bed. They are listed in order of lowest price to highest (not necessarily ranked).
$1199 – Amerisleep AS3 Mattress
The Amerisleep AS3 mattress has a three-inch layer of 4.0 lb, medium density memory foam, and the core is high-density 1.65 lb foam. Unlike most memory foams, which are derived from petroleum, the A2 is made from BioPur, a plant-based foam derived from soybeans. This mattress is in the medium-firm range according to descriptions and reviews. The cover is made from a soft, breathable fabric that is designed to keep air moving throughout the mattress.
Overall, this mattress rates well with a 4.7 out of 5-star average on the Amerisleep website’s verified reviews. Popular points of praise in reviews include support, comfort, durability, and value.
Reports of both heat and odor issues are below average for this category and among the lowest of the mattresses we reviewed here. There are also very few reports of sagging or durability issues, and lifespan is expected to be average to above average. The brand has been around for about 10 years, which is long enough to determine any potential quality trends or issues.
Warranty coverage extends for 20 years, with 10 years of full-replacement coverage. Amerisleep offers a 100-day return policy for their mattresses.
$2,074 – Serta iComfort Prodigy III
The third-generation of the iComfort Prodigy by Serta has 3″ of gel memory foam, 2″ of traditional memory foam along with 1″ of regular foam for the comfort layers. Serta doesn’t specify their densities, but it’s estimated to be around 4 lbs. The core is six inches and the mattress rates a medium in firmness.
The Serta iComfort line has a 74% owner satisfaction rate according to SleepLikeTheDead.com. Customers rate the line well for motion isolation, edge support and conformability.
About one in four iComfort customers report a loss of support and significant body impressions forming within only a few years. However, they recently updated their entire iComfort collection, so things could change for better (or worse) with the new models. Serta doesn’t provide extensive details on the layers of their beds or the densities of the foams they contain. This can make it harder for customers to make an informed decision.
The warranty is 10 years non-prorated. The return policy is 120 days, but the mattress must be kept for 30 days.
How do this year’s crop of beds stack up to the ones reviewed in previous years? As it turns out, things have changed quite a bit.
Compared to our previous survey, the only repeat appearances were Amerisleep, who’s reviews remained fairly consistent.
Who Didn’t Make the Cut & Why
Only a select group of four beds made the cut for this year’s survey. So what happened to the others?
Many just didn’t have positive enough reviews. Some of the lower quality beds were omitted because they ranked poorly with customers, with satisfaction rates in the sixtieth percentile. That sort of ranking is slightly better compared to traditional spring mattresses. But it’s below average for memory foam in general. Memory foam mattresses that scored this low in satisfaction tended to perform poorly in categories like durability, lack of transparency, and value perception of buyers.
Poor reviews weren’t the only factor. Some brands and beds didn’t make the cut because there simply wasn’t enough review data available online. Others had questionable review sources, very limited sales data, and other issues that prevented accurate analysis and comparison.
How to Compare Memory Foam Mattresses
We’ve done a few guides geared towards memory foam mattress shopping previously. But if you’re just diving in or want a quick refresher, here are the most important details to keep in mind when shopping and comparing different brands. These are the factors that will help you compare beds to each other to determine whether they’re a good value, as well as identify which is best for your needs.
Density is a concept that can be tricky to understand. But it’s one of the most important features to check out before splurging on a new bed.
Polyurethane foams are classified by their density, which is a measure comprised of weight divided by volume. It is usually expressed as pounds per cubic foot. For example, a 4 lbs/ft density means that a piece of foam measuring 12” x 12” 12” weighs four pounds.
With memory foam, densities can be sorted into three groups. All receive similar overall owner satisfaction scores, but there are a few important differences that can help you decide which is ideal for your needs.
Regular polyurethane foam (used in core/support layers in padding layers in some mattresses) has different classifications. Higher density is generally considered better, as the core will be more resistant to impressions and softening over time. Most mattresses use High Density foam in the cores, ranging between 1.5 lb to 2.5 lb. Most beds on the market vary between 1.4 and 1.8 lb for poly foam. Low density foams are the least expensive and are less likely to have strong off-gassing odors or trap heat, however they also provide less pressure relief, support and longevity. High density foams excel at pressure relief, contouring and durability, but are more likely to have strong odors and trap heat, and the viscous feel of the foam can be difficult for some people to move on.
High density memory foam often has potential for both strong positives and strong negatives. Low density memory foam, by contrast, often performs evenly without strong positives or strong negatives. And medium density often performs in between.
Some cheaper mattresses may use “regular” poly foams under 1.4 lb which is seen as non-durable for long term use and may lack support for most adults. High Resilience foams have densities over 2.5 lb and are the most durable, but not commonly used in mattresses due to higher costs (be aware that some manufacturers may mislabel their HD foams as HR). They can also be more odorous, and contribute to heat retention.
What’s the takeaway? Lower density foams are cheaper to produce than higher density foams, because they require less material. They’ll typically cost less—but they tend to be less durable and provide less support.
Types of Memory Foam
There are about three different “types” of memory foam that you will see promoted across different brands. Here’s what you should know about each one.
Traditional memory foam
This is the regular, temperature-sensitive material that molds to sleepers’ shapes via their body heat. This type provides good contouring and pressure relief in medium and high densities, but not everyone likes the slow recovery rate of the foam as it can make changing positions and moving on the bed difficult. (This type of foam typically takes about a minute to recover its shape.) Sleeping hot is also more common with this type, particularly in higher densities.
Gel memory foam
Gel memory foam is becoming very common recently, involving gel particles or liquid gel mixed into the foam with the idea of a cooler sensation. The idea is that the room-temperature gel will absorb body heat, in a mechanism that’s similar to ice packs.
Do they actually sleep cooler? There is not a ton of scientific proof for the claims of gel foam mattresses. And in fact, many manufacturers use little gel or put it beneath other materials, where it would be less effective. Consumer Reports has said in their mattress tests that they find little difference in breathability between gel and non-gel beds. Sleep Like The Dead says there is a small difference (2%), but primarily only for beds with 2”+ of gel foam at the surface of the bed.
Plant-based memory foam
Used by a handful of small brands, this type uses botanical ingredients to replace a portion of petroleum-based products found in traditional and gel memory foam beds.
These types of foams have slightly different properties, primarily stemming from their temperature-neutral nature. Plant-based foams use pressure to contour rather than heat, and the material feels consistent in a normal room temperature. It also recovers shape very quickly. (Some, like Amerisleep’s AS3, have been shown to recover in about four seconds.) One manufacturer, Cargill, conducted a laboratory study demonstrating plant-based foams to sleep cooler than gel foams.
We’ve talked a bit about density and foam type. But there’s a third factor that’s important to consider when shopping for a foam mattress: How the bed is layered. Here’s what you should pay attention to.
The top layers
Ideally, memory foam should be in the uppermost layers (as opposed to poly foam or fiber batting). Having the foam up near the top provides the most pressure relief. The retailer should be able to provide information on each layer and their respective densities so you can accurately judge comfort and compare value.
The comfort layers
The thickness of the comfort layers is important as well. Petite people and back/stomach sleepers may feel comfortable with 2” to 3” of memory foam—more than that could feel overwhelming. On the other hands, larger individuals and side sleepers may need 3” to 6” of memory foam to provide adequate cushioning for their pressure points.
The core layer
The thickness of the core layer is more related to support and durability. A quality mattress will have at least a 6” core. Larger individuals and side sleepers may want something more in the 8” to 9” range.
The cover materials
Cover materials are also important since they can affect how the mattress contours and how breathable the bed is. Stretchy fabrics are better than rigid ones since they will allow the mattress to fully contour to you. Breathable fabrics like cotton, wool and rayon are also ideal since they will allow air to flow in and out.
Guarantees can tell you a little bit about how the manufacturer perceives their product. It might not come as much surprise to learn that mattresses with little or no warranty are probably not intended by the manufacturer for everyday or long-term use (better for temporary situations).
But, long warranties don’t mean a bed is meant to last forever either.
Average and higher-end brands usually offer about 10 years of full replacement coverage, and some may have additional years of pro-rated coverage as well. The different periods will be differentiated in the warranty policy.
- “Full coverage” or “full replacement” terms are the period during which the manufacturer will replace or repair a defective bed at their cost.
- “Pro-rated” terms are the period during which the manufacturer will contribute a portion of the repair/replacement costs with the owner paying the rest.
Since impressions are what is most likely to go wrong with a mattress, the depth of coverage is important to check for. The warranty should state how deep impressions must be for the bed to be considered defective and eligible for warranty. Higher-end beds will typically cover sagging of about 0.75” deep, while others may only cover impressions over 1” or 1.5”.
The ability to return a bed can also be valuable. Even the top-rated mattress might not be ideal for everyone, which is why most retailers will allow customers to return or exchange within a certain time frame.
The average for memory foam beds is around 90 days. It may take up to a few weeks to fully adjust to a new bed, so having at least 30 days to try them out at home can be helpful.
The lesson? It’s worth checking to see the store’s return policy and any restrictions or fees before buying. That’s especially true if you’re buying a mattress online and don’t have an opportunity to test it out in person before handing over your credit card.
Best Memory Foam Mattress Reviews
The other helpful tool you can use to compare options are memory foam mattress reviews. For most brands and beds, you can find reviews online to see what other owners have to say. Retailer and brand websites are the most likely sources, though third party websites (like Reseller Ratings and Viewpoints) and blogs or forums are also sources. You could start by searching for reviews in general, or search the mattress make and model plus reviews (such as “Casper reviews”) to see more in-depth information about a particular bed.
Not all reviews can be trusted equally, though. Before considering the content of a review, the first thing to keep in mind is the source. Brands that use third-party verified reviewer/verified buyer systems typically provide a better source than brands that use cherry-picked “testimonial” type reviews.
For third party websites and blogs, consider their reputation and policies. According to a recent study out of Harvard Business School, up to 20% of Yelp reviews can be fake. Two companies that provide third-party, verified reviews are Reseller Ratings and Power Reviews.
When reading reviews, see what people say about expectations versus reality, durability, value, and other factors important to you. Individual comfort can vary quite a bit though — one person’s soft can be another’s firm — so it’s better to look at trends than one-off comments. For example, do a lot of people say the bed is firmer than expected, or do a large number report a particular issue? Not every bed will please every buyer, but comparing complaints to averages can help give you perspective.
Overall, what we learned searching for the best memory foam mattress reviews is that medium density foams seem to be most appealing to majority of shoppers, and that getting a good value is also important for satisfaction.
Most of the top-rated memory foam beds were sold online only as well, meaning that dreaded trip to the mattress store may not be so essential after all. (Especially if the seller or manufacturer offers a generous at-home trial period.)
More important? Doing your research into the brand, being honest with your partner about what you want in a bed, checking reviews, and comparing around to ensure the price is fair.
Ready to start shopping?
Now that you’ve learned about the important factors that go into finding a great bed, it’s time to find the one that’s right for you. You can dig deeper with our 10 steps to getting the best mattress. Or, keep your new bed in tip-top shape longer with these eight tips to maximize mattress lifespan.
Or, you can go with an option that’s already proven itself with customers. According to our survey, Amerisleep’s AS3 has the highest owner satisfaction rate among the 2020’s top memory foam mattresses, and is priced the most competitively.