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When it comes to mattresses, material choice plays a big role in comfort, performance, and durability.

While innerspring, hybrid, and memory foam mattresses are all well-known, gel mattresses may not be on your radar. It’s a good idea to understand all of your options when mattress shopping, so we’re sharing everything you need to know about gel mattresses — including our top 10 recommendations.

Gel mattresses are made from a special kind of gel-infused memory foam. They come either as hybrid models (made of gel foam and other materials) or all-foam models (made entirely of gel foam).

They’re similar in feel to traditional memory foam, and they share memory foam’s cushioning, pressure-relieving support. But the addition of gel adds springiness — the mattress is quick to return to its original shape after you get up.

Heat retention is one of the biggest drawbacks to traditional memory foam, but some say gel can help. It’s said to be an effective temperature regulator, adding breathability and airflow for cooler sleep. Some owners of gel mattresses still report heat retention issues, so it’s important to test out a mattress before you make a commitment.

While gel mattresses are best known for their cooling properties, they also make an excellent sleeping surface. The material is supportive, contributing to proper spinal alignment and body contouring, and it’s also comfortable.

On the downside, gel memory foam mattresses often come with a higher price tag than traditional memory foam.

Another drawback is the composition of the gel itself. Just like regular memory foam, gel memory foam is a synthetic material. Keep an eye out for mattresses with certifications like CertiPUR-US or Greenguard to be sure all materials are safe.

We based our recommendations for the best gel mattresses on the following:

  • Company reputation. All the mattresses on our list are made by companies with good reputations. We looked at Better Business Bureau profiles (if available) and checked for lawsuits related to product safety.
  • Safety standards. We only included mattresses that meet federal flammability requirements, and we prioritized those with third-party material certifications.
  • In-home trials and warranties. We checked for in-home mattress trials, reasonable returns and exchanges, and good warranties.
  • Customer reviews. We carefully reviewed feedback from real customers. While comfort is a personal preference, it’s still helpful to see what others think.

Pricing guide

Prices are based off queen-size mattresses.

  • $ = under $800
  • $$ = $800–$1,500
  • $$$ = $1,501–$2,000
  • $$$$ = over $2,000

Best eco-friendly gel mattress

Saatva Loom & Leaf Mattress

  • Price: $$$
  • Type: Gel foam
  • Height: 12 inches

The Loom & Leaf mattress by Saatva is designed for cooling and supportive comfort. CertiPUR-US certified foams offer pressure relief and stability, while the gel infusions are made to keep you cool and provide additional low back support. The mattress is available in your choice of two comfort levels at no additional cost.

The mattress comes with a 15-year warranty and a 180-night sleep trial. And, instead of being compressed and delivered in a box, Saatva has free white-glove delivery. Your new mattress is delivered to your room of choice and includes free removal of your old mattress.

Hundreds of reviewers praise this mattress for its exceptional comfort.

Buy the Saatva Loom & Leaf Mattress online.

Best gel mattress for back pain

Nectar Lush Mattress

  • Price: $$$
  • Type: Gel foam
  • Height: 12 inches

This mattress is made with five layers of CertiPUR-US certified foams. It’s designed for superior support and a lofty feel.

A gel-coated memory foam top layer is said to regulate body temperature and offer superior pressure point relief.

Nectar says that, according to a recent survey of Nectar mattress owners, 90 percent of those with back pain said their Nectar mattress helped reduce pain. That sentiment is echoed in reviews.

The mattress has a 1-year sleep trial, a lifetime warranty, and free shipping.

Buy the Nectar Lush Mattress online.

Best gel hybrid mattress

DreamCloud Premier

  • Price: $$
  • Type: Gel hybrid
  • Height: 15 inches

The DreamCloud Premier mattress is designed for contouring comfort and support, which reviewers rave about. The manufacturer says the gel-infused memory foam is cool and cradling, while the pocketed innerspring coil system offers support across the entire sleeping surface.

DreamCloud has a generous 365-night sleep trial, a lifetime warranty, and free shipping and returns.

Buy the DreamCloud Premier online.

Best gel mattress for pressure point relief

Casper Wave Hybrid Mattress

  • Price: $$$$
  • Type: Gel hybrid
  • Height: 13 inches

Designed with supportive gel pods in ergonomic zones, the Casper Wave Hybrid Mattress is made to relieve aches and pains. The company says the three layers of perforated, gel-infused foam help you sleep cool, while an innerspring system offers stability and lift.

All foams used in the mattress are CertiPUR-US certified. Reviewers compare it to sleeping on a cloud.

The mattress has a 100-night sleep trial, a 10-year limited warranty, and free shipping and returns.

Buy the Casper Wave Hybrid Mattress online.

Best reviewed gel mattress

The Purple Mattress

  • Price: $$
  • Type: Gel hybrid
  • Height: 9.5 inches

The Purple Mattress has a unique gel grid system that’s designed to cradle pressure points, support the spine, and help you sleep cool. The dual-layer comfort foam is made to add durability. It’s all wrapped up in a soft, stretchy knit cover.

The Purple Mattress has a 100-night sleep trial with free shipping and returns, plus a full 10-year warranty.

More than 26,000 reviews on the Purple website — with a 4.5 star rating overall — mention the mattress’s comfort, support, and pressure relieving properties.

Buy The Purple Mattress online.

Best plush gel mattress

Idle Sleep Idle Plush

  • Price: $$
  • Type: Gel foam
  • Height: 14 inches

The Idle Plush is designed for those who sleep best on a softer surface. The mattress has 14 inches of cooling technology, with gel in both the quilted, removable cover and the first comfort layer. Foams in the Idle Plush are CertiPUR-US certified.

The company offers a generous 18-month sleep trial, free returns, and a lifetime warranty that covers body impressions.

Buy the Idle Sleep Idle Plush online.

Best gel mattress for back sleepers

Idle Sleep The Idle

  • Price: $$
  • Type: Gel
  • Height: 12 inches

Idle made our list again with its original mattress. Designed with a medium-firm feel and five layers of gel-infused memory foam, The Idle is made to offer a balance between cooling, softness, and support. It’s a great choice for back sleepers or those who prefer a firmer sleeping surface.

Idle has the best in-home trial in the industry: a full 18 months. The company also offers a lifetime warranty, free shipping, and free returns.

Buy the Idle Sleep The Idle online.

Best gel mattress for couples

WinkBeds The WinkBed

  • Price: $$$
  • Type: Gel hybrid
  • Height: 13.5 inches

This gel hybrid mattress is designed to tick off all the boxes: cushioning comfort, dynamic support, temperature regulation, and reduced motion transfer for those who share a bed with a partner.

The mattress has four firmness levels to choose from at no extra charge, plus easy firmness exchanges.

WinkBeds offers a 120-night sleep trial, a lifetime warranty, and free shipping and returns.

Buy the WinkBeds The WinkBed online.

Best gel mattress for hot sleepers

PlushBeds The Ocean Mist

  • Price: $$$$
  • Type: Gel foam
  • Height: 9 inches

According to PlushBeds, The Ocean Mist was designed specifically for hot sleepers. A 3-inch layer of gel foam wicks away moisture and heat while offering pressure relief and comfort.

The gel memory foam mattress is Greenguard Gold certified, so it has no chemical odor or off-gassing.

Reviewers say this mattress is very comfortable, and that it really does sleep cool.

You can try it at home for 100 nights, with free shipping and returns. It also has a 25-year warranty.

Shop the PlushBeds The Ocean Mist online.

Best budget gel mattress

Classic Brands Mercer 12-Inch Hybrid Gel Memory Foam & Innerspring Mattress

  • Price: $
  • Type: Gel hybrid
  • Height: 12 inches

This budget-friendly hybrid mattress is designed with innerspring coils and gel memory foam. The combination is said to disperse body heat and offer support. Materials in this mattress meet CertiPUR-US standards, and the mattress has a 10-year warranty.

Reviews on Amazon are generally positive. However, some people note the off-gassing (new mattress smell) and found that the mattress didn’t fully decompress after being unwrapped.

We couldn’t find any information regarding a sleep trial. However, Amazon’s return policy does allow for refunds within 30 days of your mattress purchase if you’re not happy with it.

Buy the Classic Brands Mercer 12-Inch Hybrid Gel Memory Foam & Innerspring Mattress online.

Many mattress manufacturers offer recommendations to help you zero in on a gel mattress that meets your needs. But in general, here are a few things to keep in mind while shopping.

Materials

While gel foam is designed to help you sleep cool all night long, it can be combined with other materials to ease back and pressure-point pain, reduce motion transfer, or offer support for a preferred sleeping position.

Because the gel is a synthetic material, look for certifications from CertiPUR-US and Greenguard to ensure it meets important safety standards. Those certifications will also minimize the potential for unpleasant off-gassing.

Firmness and support

Many mattresses come in a variety of firmness levels. Choose a soft mattress if you tend to sleep on your side. If you sleep on your back or stomach, a firmer mattress should do the trick.

If you’re shopping for a hybrid mattress, the International Chiropractors Association recommends looking for a mattress with at least 300 coils, depending on your preferred mattress size.

Company policies

It’s also a good idea to choose a mattress with an in-home sleep trial and a simple return policy. No matter how many reviews a mattress has, there’s no better way to judge a mattress than by sleeping on it.

Keep in mind that returns may sound simple, but require a lot of legwork in practice. Be sure to review the fine print so you know what you’ll be responsible for. Some brands won’t actually take the mattress back, and may require you to provide a donation receipt before they’ll refund you.

If you like the feel of memory foam but sleeping hot is an issue, a gel foam mattress might be a great alternative. Gel foam is also used in some hybrid designs if an innerspring coil system is important to you.

Opt for gel foams that are certified by reputable third parties to ensure they’re made safely.


Jessica Timmons has been working as a freelance writer since 2007, covering everything from pregnancy and parenting to cannabis, chiropractic, stand-up paddling, fitness, martial arts, home decor, and much more. Her work has appeared in mindbodygreen, Pregnancy & Newborn, Modern Parents Messy Kids, and Coffee + Crumbs. See what she’s up to now at jessicatimmons.com.