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Choosing which mattress to buy can be challenging, with seemingly endless types, sizes, and price categories available.

Yet, finding the right one can be integral to a good night’s sleep — just like picking the wrong one could leave you tossing and turning uncomfortably all night.

This article compares memory foam and gel memory foam mattresses to help you decide if either of these options could be a good fit for you.

Our memory foam mattress picks:

Our gel memory foam mattress picks:

Both memory foam and gel memory foam are made of a type of elastic and viscous polyurethane foam.

Both foam types take a long time to change shape under pressure. This means that mattresses made with these materials slowly mold themselves to the body to distribute weight evenly and relieve pressure points while you sleep.

In other words, by conforming to the curves and angles of your body, these mattresses offer a hugging, cushioning feeling and comfort.

Unlike memory foam, gel memory foam is infused with cooling gels or gel beads. This helps offset the heat trapping that can occur with traditional memory foam. By removing body heat, gel memory foam may allow for a more comfortable night’s sleep.

In addition, cooler gel memory foam mattresses often retain their shape better throughout the night. On the other hand, traditional heat-trapping polyurethane foam may tend to change its shape and become softer as it warms under your body during sleep.

We used the following criteria to round up the best memory foam and gel memory foam mattresses:

  • Customer reviews. We prioritized mattresses with positive customer feedback across multiple sites.
  • Company reputation. We chose products from manufacturers with a reputation for quality products and transparent business practices.
  • Company policies. We pulled from companies with customer-centric policies, such as those with warranty programs and in-home trials.
  • Variety of firmness and materials. This list reflects a wide variety of options for firmness and materials to meet the wide variety of sleepers’ needs. We also looked out for certifications that indicate the quality of materials.

A note on price

The mattresses on this list range from under $500 to over $2,000. The prices listed are for queen-size mattresses.

We have indicated the cost as follows:

  • $ = under $800
  • $$ = $800–$1,600
  • $$$ = over $1,600

Most affordable memory foam mattress

Sealy Memory Foam Mattress

  • Price: $
  • Materials: adaptive and conventional memory foam
  • Mattress height: 8 inches (20.3 centimeters)

This memory foam mattress from Sealy delivers affordability with a good reputation for quality materials.

The mattress is made from CertiPUR-US certified foam, ensuring a low chemical content. It features 2 inches (5.1 centimeters) of adaptive memory foam on top of 6 inches (15.2 centimeters) of conventional foam.

It has a medium-firm feel that’s suitable for a variety of sleeping positions.

On Amazon, over 500 customers give the Sealy memory foam mattress an average rating of 4.6, praising it for its conforming yet supportive feel. Still, a few reviewers report that the bed is too firm for their liking.

Sealy mattresses come with a 10-year limited warranty and a 100-night risk-free trial.

Buy the Sealy Memory Foam Mattress online.

Most versatile memory foam mattress

Saatva Zenhaven Latex Mattress

  • Price: $$$
  • Materials: latex foam
  • Mattress height: 10 inches (25.4 centimeters)

This natural Talalay latex mattress from Saatva is flippable, giving you two distinct firmness options.

Saatva says the Luxury Plush side offers a medium firmness and is more contouring, suiting a variety of sleepers. Meanwhile, the Gentle Firm side may be best for stomach and back sleepers or those who prefer a firmer feel.

Talalay latex is known for its pressure-relieving characteristics, as well as its hypoallergenic, antimicrobial, and dust mite-resistant properties.

The mattress also features a layer of New Zealand wool certified by the Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS) — the industry standard for organic fiber certification. The wool adds extra breathability.

Reviewers like the quality and feel of the materials used, though some people report that the many layers make for a heavy mattress that is difficult to move.

Saatva has an impressive 20-year warranty and a 180-night free trial.

Buy the Saatva Zenhaven Latex Mattress online.

Best memory foam mattress for stomach sleepers

Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR-Adapt

  • Price: $$$
  • Materials: adaptive foam
  • Mattress height: 11 inches (27.9 centimeters)

Tempur-Pedic was the first memory foam mattress maker on the block.

The TEMPUR-Adapt is one of their firmer options, great for stomach sleepers who require a more supportive surface.

It combines a support layer with a comfort layer, both of which use CertiPUR-US certified foam.

The company has a long-standing reputation for quality and innovation, with a list price to match. Most reviewers, especially those who already like memory foam beds, praise the comfort of this mattress. Tempur-Pedic offers a 10-year warranty and a 90-night risk-free trial.

Buy the Tempur-Pedic TEMPUR-Adapt online.

Best memory foam mattress for back and side sleepers

Helix Midnight

  • Price: $$
  • Materials: memory foam and coils
  • Mattress height: 12 inches (30.5 centimeters)

The Helix Midnight has a medium feel that can be described as not too hard and not too soft. Thus, it’s excellent for back, side, and combination sleepers.

The mattress is a hybrid type, featuring different layers of foam and coils designed for pressure relief.

It’s CertiPUR-US and OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certified, ensuring it isn’t made with harmful chemicals.

While most reviews describe a comfortable mattress with high quality materials, a few reviews note off-gassing odors. Others report that the bed broke down sooner than expected.

Each mattress is covered by a 10-year warranty, and customers are extended a 100-night sleep trial.

Buy the Helix Midnight online.

Most eco-friendly alternative to a memory foam mattress

Avocado Green Mattress

  • Price: $$
  • Materials: latex
  • Mattress height: 11 inches (27.9 centimeters)

This organic latex mattress boasts a long list of certifications, highlighting its environmentally conscious manufacturing. So, although latex isn’t technically a type of memory foam, this mattress is a good eco-friendly alternative.

It’s Global Organic Latex Standard (GOLS) certified, ensuring it contains organic raw latex, and GOTS certified, ensuring it uses organic cotton. It also meets the standards for OEKO-TEX and Greenguard Gold certification, as it’s made with latex harvested without pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers.

Note that this particular mattress is not vegan because it’s made with wool. If that’s your preference, Avocado also makes a vegan hybrid coil mattress.

Customers have a choice of standard or pillow top for a feel that is either medium firm or gentle firm.

Most customers report a great night’s sleep on their Avocado mattresses. Most negative reviews are related to poor customer service practices rather than the product itself.

The company offers a 25-year limited warranty and a 1-year sleep trial.

Buy the Avocado Green Mattress online.

Most affordable gel memory foam mattress

Tuft & Needle Original Mattress

  • Price: $$
  • Materials: open-cell memory foam
  • Mattress height: 10 inches (25.4 centimeters)

The original Tuft & Needle mattress uses a lineup of materials designed to keep your bed cool at night, including heat-absorbing graphite, cooling gel beads, open-cell support foam, and soft-knit fabric.

The mattress offers a medium-firm feel that some reviewers describe as a bit too firm for their liking. Most reviewers offer positive feedback on the mattress quality and customer service, especially considering its modest price point.

They offer a 10-year limited warranty and a 100-night sleep trial.

Buy the Tuft & Needle Original Mattress online.

Most versatile gel memory foam mattress

Layla Memory Foam Mattress

  • Price: $$
  • Materials: copper foam
  • Mattress height: 10 inches (25.4 centimeters)

Layla uses copper-infused gel foam to make this mattress — a material that helps carry heat away from your body.

The mattress is flippable, offering both a soft and firm side. This enables sleepers to try multiple options at home and decide which one feels better to them.

Layla describes the soft as a 4 out of 10 and the firm as a 7 out of 10. A few reviewers report that even the soft side is a bit too firm for their liking, but most are pleased with the supportive feel of both sides.

Layla offers a 120-night trial and a lifetime warranty. This covers issues like sagging of more than 1 inch (2.5 centimeters), loss of shape, splitting or cracking of the foam, and loss of mattress height.

Buy the Layla Memory Foam Mattress online.

Best gel memory foam mattress for stomach sleepers

Saatva Loom & Leaf Mattress

  • Price: $$$
  • Materials: adaptive foam
  • Mattress height: 12 inches (30.5 centimeters)

Saatva offers CertiPUR-US certified high density memory foam. The foam is gel-infused to keep you cool and provide extra support. The result is a mattress with a firmer feel, great for those who sleep on their stomachs.

This mattress comes in two different firmness options: relaxed firm for combination sleepers, or firm for stomach sleepers.

Most reviewers report less tossing and turning with the supported feel. A handful of reviewers have issues with the durability of the mattress.

Saatva offers a 120-night home trial and a 15-year warranty.

Buy the Saatva Loom & Leaf Mattress online.

Best gel memory foam mattress for back and side sleepers

Nectar Memory Foam Mattress

  • Price: $$
  • Materials: gel memory foam
  • Mattress height: 11 inches (27.9 centimeters)

Nectar memory foam is designed to relieve common pressure points beneath your shoulders, hips, and legs. This supports better spinal alignment for those who sleep on their back and sides.

This mattress from Nectar is constructed with different layers of memory foam, including adaptive, gel, and base layers.

Customers report that it sits somewhere in the middle between firm and soft, with some describing a slightly firmer feel.

Nectar offers a 365-night sleep trial and an impressive lifetime warranty that covers defects in construction, materials, and quality.

Buy the Nectar Memory Foam Mattress online.

Most eco-friendly gel memory foam mattress

WinkBed GravityLux

  • Price: $$
  • Materials: gel-infused and air-pocketed memory foam
  • Mattress height: 11 inches (27.9 centimeters)

The GravityLux mattress offers several layers of memory foam designed to support pressure points and promote airflow. The foam is constructed with small capsules of air for breathability and to reduce motion transfer.

WinkBed uses eco-friendly materials, including a Tencel mattress cover and CertiPUR-US and OEKO-TEX Standard 100 certified materials. These certifications demonstrate that the mattress is made without ozone depleters, mercury, lead, formaldehyde, and prohibited phthalates.

The mattress comes in three firmness options, so you can choose the right level for your preference and sleeping position.

Though some customers remark on the high price tag, many feel it was worth it, reporting a strong yet soft mattress with great support for a comfortable night’s sleep.

WinkBeds offers an impressive lifetime warranty and a 120-night free trial.

Buy the WinkBed GravityLux online.

Older research has found a correlation between back pain and poor sleeping surfaces.

Further, a 2015 review suggests that medium-firm mattresses — such as many options made with good quality and high density memory foam — provide a good sleeping surface for those with and without back and neck issues.

Memory foam and gel foam mattresses are especially good for people with the following conditions:

  • cervical issues affecting the bones and spinal disks in the neck
  • spine issues, such as degenerating or bulging disks
  • shoulder or hip injuries
  • restless sleep issues

You might want to avoid gel and memory foam mattresses if you:

  • sleep hot
  • are an older adult or someone who’s unable to maneuver a heavier mattress
  • prefer or are accustomed to traditional spring mattresses, as you may not be able to adjust
  • need a completely firm mattress with no give

Here are some things to look out for when shopping.

Memory foam type

There are many types of memory foam to choose from, offering varying proprietary blends, density, structure, performance, and feel.

Before making your purchase, identify the level of firmness and coolness you need for a good night’s sleep. Then, look out for these features in product descriptions and customer reviews.

For example, scan for these words that typically describe cooling materials:

  • gel
  • open-cell
  • copper-infused
  • graphite-infused

Memory foam density and quality

Higher density foam generally equates to better, suppler support.

Higher quality materials lend durability to the mattress and could mean that it will last for longer.

Your preferred sleeping position

This is a key feature to consider when identifying which mattress may be best for you.

Generally, those who sleep on their stomach need firmer, more supportive surfaces, while those who sleep on their back and sides need more support for the back, hips, and shoulders.

Firmness

Foam mattresses come in many different firmness levels. Which option is right for you will depend on your sleeping position and preference.

If you’re unsure, look for companies that offer different firmness options, flippable beds, good return policies, or generous trial periods.

Company policies

When mattress shopping, it can be especially important to try before you buy.

If you are buying online and unable to test the mattress before making a purchase, it’s important to look at the warranty policy, at-home trial options, and return process. If the website offers a live chat box or customer support email, use it to ask questions.

Learn the expected steps for deliveries and returns in case the mattress doesn’t suit your needs — and decide if you’re comfortable with that process.

Many manufacturers offer different takes on memory foam mattresses.

Each one has their own proprietary recipe for components like foam production standards, mattress layering, and materials. As such, there are seemingly endless options to choose from.

It’s important to find out as much as you can about your sleep preferences and do some research before deciding which one is right for you. If possible, it’s always best to visit a store to try before you buy.