3 Best Foam Mattresses in 2021

There’s a reason foam mattresses are so popular. Affordablecomfortable, and pressure-relieving, foam-based beds can suit the needs of a wide range of sleepers. However, with so many choices out there, it can be hard to separate the great products from the duds.

That’s where we come in. Our top 3 picks? Bear ProTuft & Needle Original, and Layla Sleep. You can see why we chose each model in greater detail below. Finding the best foam mattress for you? It’s never been easier.

Our Top 3 Foam Mattress Picks

Bear ProTuft & Needle OriginalLayla Sleep
   
Optimized for AthletesAmazing ValueGreat for Hot Sleepers
Whether you’re a pro athlete or casual runner, you know the importance of muscle recovery. Bear mattresses are engineered with pressure relief in mind to suit the needs of active individuals.T&N has a mission: to make buying mattresses not suck. How? By simplifying the online shopping experience and providing quality products at great prices.Made with cooling copper-infused gel memory foam, Layla mattresses are flippable, with two sides of varying firmness levels. The result is a bed that can suit the needs of a wide range of sleepers.
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Bear Pro Mattress

A white mattress with two white bed pillows sitting on a gray bed frame.

Pros

  • Military & veteran discounts
  • Cooling copper technology

Cons

  • Shorter warranty & trial period
  • Price

Best For…

  • Athletes
  • Those who crave pressure relief
  • Side sleepers
Bear Pro Overview
ShippingFree
ReturnsFree
Trial Period100 Nights
Firmness Level5.9/10
Sleeper TypeGreat for Side Sleepers
Warranty10 Years
CertificationsCertiPUR-US

Athletes and active individuals need to take special care of their bodies. Without proper rest, they won’t be able to fully recover, which can not only dampen performance but may also put them at an increased risk of injury. When it comes to selecting a mattress specially designed for this demographic, there may be no better option than the 4-layer Bear Pro.

The top two layers are all about fighting the night sweats. The first layer incorporates copper-infused foam, a specialty material that evenly dissipates your body heat. Layer #2 is made of gel memory foam, which also effectively prevents heat build-up. The result? A foam bed that sleeps cool.

The last two layers of this mattress provide the pressure relief and support active bodies need. Layer #3 is made of responsive foam while the fourth layer is comprised of denser foam. Now, these layers work together to create the perfect balance of support and pressure relief.

Read the full review of the Bear Mattress here

Bear Mattress Logo 600x400

Bear offers a line of specialized mattresses perfect for athletes, side sleepers, and those with aches and pains.

The Original Tuft & Needle

The three Tuft and Needle mattress models stacked on top of each other against a blank background.

Pros

  • Great prices
  • Philanthropic work
  • Great customer service
  • Online or in-store shopping

Cons

  • Shorter sleep trial & warranty

Best For…

  • Bargain hunters
  • People concerned about safety
T&N Original Overview
ShippingFree
ReturnsFree
Trial Period100 Nights
Firmness LevelMedium-firm
Sleeper TypeGreat for Most Sleeping Positions
Warranty10 Years
CertificationsCertiPUR-US, GreenGuard Gold, Interek’s Clean Air, Parent Tested Parent Approved Seal of Approval™, Today’s Parent Approved

With only 2 layers, the 10” Original Tuft & Needle mattress sports a minimalist design. By filling their beds with smarter materials—not more—T&N can offer good products at hard-to-beat prices. Let’s break down their Original model.

T&N uses specialized foam to create a bed that’s as comfortable as it is durable and airy. It all starts with their Adaptive foam, which provides not just support, but also durability and added breathability. The other type of foam T&N uses in this model, supportive foam, has an open-cell design. The result? A layer that’s breathable yet still sturdy enough to provide the body the support it needs.

Hot sleepers will also appreciate the inclusion of cooling technology like graphite and ceramic gel beads. Now, the composition of both graphite and ceramic beads make them both great at heat-wicking. In other words, these materials can draw heat away from your body so you can sleep cooler. So, when it comes to foam-based bedding, T&N really has done a lot to combat the heat.

Read the full review of the Tuft & Needle Mattress here

Tuft & Needle Mattress Logo 600x400

Tuft & Needle is all about taking the hassle out of online shopping. That’s why they offer effective, no-nonsense mattresses to suit most sleeping preferences.

Layla Sleep

A layer by layer analysis of the dual sided Layla Sleep mattress.

Pros

  • 2 firmness levels
  • Lifetime warranty
  • Innovative cooling design

Cons

  • Online-only shopping
  • One bedding option

Best For…

  • Hot sleepers
  • Side sleepers
  • Those looking to try something new
Layla Sleep Overview
ShippingFree (Contiguous United States)
ReturnsFree (Contiguous United States)
Trial Period120 Nights
Firmness Level4.5/10 (Soft Side), 7/10 (Firm Side)
Sleeper TypeSoft Side Great for Side Sleepers, Firm Side Great for Back and Stomach Sleepers
WarrantyLifetime
CertificationsCertiPUR-US

Foam bedding that’s great for hot sleepers? You’ve got it. It’s all thanks to Layla’s innovative materials. Most notably, Layla mattresses include copper-infused gel memory foam. While it may seem odd to include copper in a bed, this material serves several useful functions. First and foremost, copper foam is great at transporting heat away from your body. So, you’ll be cooler in no time thanks to this material. But that’s not all copper-infused foam will do. 

Layla includes copper foam in its bedding not just to combat the heat, but also to optimize pressure relief. It all comes down to the unique composition of this material. Namely, the more you press on it, the more it presses back to you. The result? Your body gets extra support where it needs it most.

It’s not just the materials that make Layla so unique, either; the construction of the bed itself also distinguishes it from the competition. You see, Layla beds have two unique sides. One side is soft, perfect for side sleepers. The other side is much firmer, making it ideal for back and stomach sleepers. All in all, this dual-sided design makes Layla suitable for a wide range of sleepers.

Read the full review of the Layla Mattress here

Layla Mattress Logo 600x400

Layla Sleep offers a memory foam bed that won’t contribute to night sweats, all the while offering flexible firmness levels to suit a wide range of sleepers.

All About Foam Mattresses

Woman's hands touching different layers of new foam mattress. Checking hardness and softness. Choice of the best type and quality. Front view. Close up.

Now that you’ve seen our top picks, let’s get down into the nitty gritty of why these beds may (or may not) be the perfect fit for your bedroom.

Benefits of a Foam Mattress

With so many options available, why settle for foam bedding? While this type of mattress won’t work for everyone, some of its benefits include:

Customized pressure relief

Memory foam is viscoelastic, which basically means it conforms well to the shape of the body and returns to its normal state when you stand up. This property means foam-based bedding can hug the unique curves of your body, providing customized support and cushioning where you need it most.

Soft to the touch

Those who prefer softer sleeping surfaces, like side sleepers, often enjoy the “give” this material has. If you like softer sleeping surfaces, you’ll therefore probably like foam. 

Affordability

While this material was once pretty pricey, it’s now readily available on the market at discounted rates, making it a great option to explore when the budget is tight.

Quietness

You know what’s annoying? Noisy innerspring beds. Foam beds? They’re the quietest options in the sleep industry.

Effective motion isolation

If you share the bed with a light sleeper, you know the struggle of trying to keep still to avoid jostling them. Memory foam’s viscoelastic properties make it great at reducing the amount of motion transferred across the bed. In other words, this material effectively isolates motion, so your movements will be less likely to disturb a companion. Even traditional foam beds still reduce motion transfer effectively, giving them an edge over their innerspring competitors.

Downsides of a Foam Mattress

Foam has a lot to offer. However, it isn’t perfect. Some of the drawbacks include:

Overly soft for some people

Some people love softer sleeping surfaces. Others? Not so much. Those who like to sleep on their backs and stomachs often enjoy firmer places to rest. If you like firmer beds, you’ll have to look for a specially designed foam bed or pass up on one entirely.

Prone to overheating

Regular foam is known for its heat-trapping qualities, which can mean unpleasant night sweats. That’s why it’s important to look for bedding that incorporates cooling technology. Many mattress companies use gel-infused foam to negate the overheating issue and you can always use a temperature regulating system like the BedJet 3, that can keep you cool in the summer and warm in the winter

Tends to form permanent indents

Low-density or low-quality foam can easily form indentations. That’s why it pays to invest in bedding made with higher-quality materials.

Unpleasant initial smell

Many people may notice an unpleasant smell when they first unpack memory foam-based mattresses. If your room is well-ventilated, this smell usually goes away anywhere from a few hours up to 72 hours. Some companies combat this smell by incorporating materials like carbon or green tea into their beds.

Usually less edge support

Unless your bed specifically states that it has reinforced perimeters, it’s usually safe to assume that your foam mattress will have poor edge support. This is an important factor to keep in mind if you often sit at the edge of your bed.

What to Look For in a Foam Mattress

A woman in a white shirt and jeans in a mattress store. She examines the mattress she wants to buy. She squats and looks at the mattress

If you’re buying a foam mattress, there are certain features that it literally pays to notice. Some of these features include:

Cooling technology

If you can’t sleep when you’re hot, you absolutely must invest in a bed that incorporates cooling technology. Oftentimes, mattress manufacturers introduce gel-infused foam into their bedding to offset the heat-trapping qualities of regular foam. Other materials that may produce a cooler bed include graphite and copperOpen-cell foam and quilted tops are also known to produce a nice cooling effect, as they allow for greater airflow.

Reinforced edge support

Foam and latex beds are known for being soft and adaptive. That usually means that bedding made exclusively of these materials tends to have poor edge support. If you like resting on the edge of your bed, that can be a large drawback. The solution? Check for options that specifically state that they have reinforced perimeters. Manufacturers usually include denser foam along the edges of the mattress to achieve this effect.

CertiPUR-US certifications or other safety seals

Never settle when it comes to your safety; look for certifications that show your bed was made in a safe manner and with safe materials. When it comes to foam, CertiPUR-US is the gold standard. Notably, products with this seal have undergone testing for harmful substances like formaldehyde, ozone depleters, mercury, and lead. GreenGuard Gold and Standard 100 by OEKO-TEX are also highly trusted certifications that you may come across.

Decent trial period (if you’re ordering online)

If you’re not trying a bed out at a brick-and-mortar store, you’ll want to make sure you get a decent trial period. This way, you can fully test out how you feel after sleeping on a mattress within the comfort of your own home. Considering it may take your body a few weeks to fully adjust to a new sleeping surface, you’ll want a trial period that at least lasts 30 days.

Want more information about shopping for a mattress online? You can check out our step-by-step guide here.

Warranty

Obviously, you want a long enough warranty to ensure that your investment is protected for years to come. Standard warranties in the industry run from about 10 to 25 years.

You’ll also want to check not just at the length of the warranty, but what the warranty covers. Since foam is prone to indenting, you’ll want to make sure your warranty covers shallower impressions. If not, you’ll be left with a bed with lots of indents for a while.

Final Thoughts: Who WIll a Foam Mattress Suit Best?

While foam beds have a lot to offer, they won’t work well for everyone. Those who prefer firmer beds, for one, might not enjoy the usually soft feel of foam-based bedding. Back and stomach sleepers—since they often need a firmer place to rest to achieve proper spinal alignment—might not enjoy these beds unless they’re specifically designed to be firmer.

So, who will enjoy these mattresses? Bargain hunters, for one, should enjoy the low prices and variety they get when they shop for this type of bedding. Side sleepers, too, should enjoy how much these beds hug their bodies, providing them sleeping surfaces that optimally align their spines. Couples with a light sleeper (or two!) should also enjoy how little motion is transferred when they sleep on these beds.

Who will each of our top 3 picks suit best? Athletes and active individuals should enjoy the thoughtful pressure-relieving design of the Bear Pro. Bargain hunters may find the Tuft & Needle Original to their liking. For hot sleepers, the innovative construction of a Layla may help them sleep a little cooler. 

We think you’d enjoy a foam mattress if you:

  • Share a bed with a partner, as foam prevents most motion transfer.
  • Have a tighter budget, as they are typically cheaper than non-foam ones.
  • Are a side sleeper, as foam beds naturally have the “give” your body needs.
  • Prefer the feeling of an all-foam mattress.

A foam bed may not be the best for you if you:

  • Want an extra-firm sleeping surface.
  • Don’t enjoy the sinking feeling of foam.
  • Easily overheat.
  • Need added edge support.
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Kristen Greif

Napper extraordinaire. Side/stomach sleeper. 25 solid years of experience with sleeping.