Top Memory Foam Mattress Technologies and Brands Compared

Top Memory Foam Mattress Technologies and Brands Compared

When it comes to purchasing a memory foam mattress, there are a number of options to choose from, each aiming to tailor their beds to diverse sleepers. For consumers, the decision should be weighed using factors such as personal preference, needs, and sensitivities. While each memory foam mattress type has it benefits, there are also disadvantages that shoppers should be aware of when shopping for a new mattress. Here, we will take a look at the various core types of memory foam so that consumers may make the most knowledgeable choice about which is the best for their needs.

Core Memory Foam Mattress Technologies

When it comes to memory foam mattresses there are three primary types: traditional, gel-infused, and plant-based. For anybody who is new to the market, it may be difficult to distinguish which one is the best or what the advantages that one has over the other. Below, you will find an outline of each core type explaining what they are, what each offers, and how they compare to the other types.

Traditional Memory Foam

Many consumers are more acquainted with traditional memory foam mattresses simply because this particular core type is where it all started.  The traditional type is created with NASA-inspired foam, ala Tempurpedic, that has proven to be very beneficial for sleepers. A number of consumers have appreciated how the bed contours to the natural shape of their body providing ultimate support and comfort.

However for some, this type of mattress sleeps hot because it surrounds the body and raises natural temperatures. The foam reacts to heat by softening, which can also create a stuck feeling making it difficult to move and change position. These properties are also what gives memory foam a less than stellar reputation for “night time activities”.

Another downside to this mattress is that it is chemical-based which has led to a number of complaints by consumers. Because the bed is created with chemicals it produces an off-gassing odor. For some, the odor is not too bothersome, while others have had allergic reactions, headaches, and difficulty sleeping because of it. Some consumers do not appreciate the environmental impact this particular bed type has since it depletes natural resources.

Traditional memory foam provides consumers with the comfort and support they need to reduce aching backs and provide a more restful sleep, however; it is a chemical-laden mattress that can produce harsh side effects.

Gel-Infused

The gel memory foam mattress is  the latest craze in the bedding sector, comprising a blend of traditional memory foam and gel. The gel is infused via beads, bored holes, or by pouring it on top of the foam. This mattress is known for providing all of the benefits of the typical memory foam mattress, but the gel-infusion is said to allow the bed to sleep cooler.

Some reviews have indicated that the initial cooling sensation does not last as the material eventually takes on ambient/body temperatures. The leading brand of gel, Serta’s iComfort recently agreed to stop making claims that it’s foam slept cooler than Tempurpedic after the NAD’s report which stated their claims and advertising appeared somewhat misleading and not entirely scientific.

While the gel mattress has a number of the same benefits of traditional, it also has a number of the same disadvantages such as odor and heaviness. Gel memory foam is still new to the market so it may take time to see how it fairs with consumers over time. Other concerns with gel question its longevity; some suspect the gel added as beads may cause structurally weaker foam and that beads fall out or sink. Gel that is poured will likely eventually settle, and all gel may lose its purported properties well before the average 5-7 year minimum lifespan people expect for mattresses.

Plant-Based

There are a number of consumers who appreciate the concept of memory foam, but are unable to sleep on it because of the chemical impacts on their health and the environment.  Plant-based memory foam could offer an answer to these potential issues. Sleepers can still feel the comforts of the memory foam mattress without the harsh chemical odors or the depletion of natural resources.

Plant-based foams used naturally sourced polyols for a portion of foam production, reducing unsustainable materials and chemical impact. Some manufacturers like Amerisleep go a step further and ban all harmful VOCs and create foams in zero-emissions chambers. When combined with safe fire barriers and natural covers, this type of memory foam offers the healthiest and most environmentally friendly solution.

There is mounting support for this type in studies as well. Cargill recently announced the conclusion of an extensive comparison of plant based and gel materials which showed plant-based foam sleeping 25% cooler than gel. Foamex’s Aerus shows 8 times greater airflow sleep than traditional. Amerisleep.com adds to that, bolstering Foamex’s claim and adding that plant based foam is 10 times more responsive, creating a bed that adjusts to sleepers quicker and makes movement easier.

Comparing Memory Foam Mattress Technologies

BrandTypeHeat DissapationOff GassingResponse TimeDurabilityPrice
TempurpedicTraditionalCCCAD
AmerisleepPlant BasedAAAAA
Serta iComfortGelBBBBB

The above chart summarizes the top three types, via popular brands. Originally developed by BestMattress-Brand.org to compare memory foams, the simple A-F rating scale is based on consumer reports from reviews and brand assessments.

In today’s mattress market shoppers have more options to make their sleeping experience the absolute best for their lifestyle. Memory foam mattresses have been able to stay true to its premise of pressure-free comfort and spinal support while including alternatives for the people who are bothered by some of the side effects of chemical-based memory foam that sleeps hot and smells bad. Plant-based memory foam mattress technology seems to be making a big impression recently, tackling all the major complaints like heat, chemicals, responsiveness to achieve some of the highest ranking and reviews in the industry.

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