Memory Foam Mattress Reviews: 2013 Edition
Every year new technologies and models enter the memory foam mattress market, so keeping current on the latest trends and trade names is important when comparison shopping. Our latest mattress brand comparison takes a close look at a range of both higher-end and discount memory foam mattress retailers to offer a broader scope for readers. To standardize the results as much as possible, we based the reviews on each brand’s mid-range mattress (11-13”) and rated them on important factors such as density, firmness, and warranty, as well as owner reviews.
Memory Foam Mattress Reviews for 2013
The brands and models we reviewed are as follows:
- Tempurpedic Rhapsody (available from Tempurpedic.com and dealers)
- Serta iComfort Savant (available from Serta.com and dealers)
- Amerisleep Revere (available from Amerisleep.com)
- Sealy Optimum Inspiration (available from dealers)
- BedInABox Tranquility Gel (available from BedInABox.com)
- Comfort Dreams Select-A-Firmness (available from Overstock.com)
- Spa Sensations 12” Theratouch (available from Walmart.com)
- Novaform Encore (available from Costco)
The chart below summarizes the memory foam mattress specifications and our findings, which are described in greater detail below. All prices reflect the base price of a queen sized mattress only. Reviews are based on available owner reviews from manufacturer websites, third party consumer review websites, and consumer publications.
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Memory foam mattresses as a collective group tend to rank among the highest in owner ratings (80-82% of owners report satisfaction) among all mattress types, significantly outperforming the average spring mattress (60-65% satisfied). However, there are still a few issues that tend to pop up with memory foam, which include sleeping hot, chemicals or odors, feeling stuck or trapped, and premature softening or compression. Different brands can exhibit vastly different performance due to different memory foam formulations, densities, and mattress compositions.
The Tempurpedic, Comfort Dreams, Spa Sensations and Novaform all use conventional memory foam, while Serta iComfort, Sealy Optimum and BedInABox feature gel memory foam, and Amerisleep uses plant-based memory foam. All of the mattress brands are made in the USA except Spa Sensations, which is imported from China. The gel memory foams usually tout cooler sleeping as a benefit, while plant-based memory foams claim cooler sleep and less odor.
The memory foam mattresses vary on the amounts of actual memory foam included with Sealy, Serta, Tempurpedic, Amerisleep and Comfort Dreams featuring 4 inches or more, and BedInABox, Novaform and Spa Sensations featuring 3 inches or less. The rest of the mattresses are composed of foam support cores or other types of foam, depending on the model. Mattresses with more memory foam tend to contour to sleepers better. Petite individuals and stomach or back sleepers may be comfortable on 2-3”, while medium to large framed individuals and side sleepers will want at least 4” for pressure relief.
Density & Firmness
Density is a measure of weight, referring to the heft of one square foot of material. Density affects longevity (denser foams tend to be more durable), feel (less dense foams generally respond quicker), as well as heat and odor (lower densities should have fewer heat and odor complaints than high). A measurement between 4.0 pounds and 5.0 pounds is considered the ideal range for comfort and durability. Anything less is may compromise durability, while anything firmer than 5.5lb may be overly viscous.
Serta, BedInABox, Spa Sensations and Novaform all use what would be considered low density memory foam, below 3.0 lbs. Comfort Dreams uses foam between 2.5 and 4.0 lbs depending on the firmness ordered. Sealy uses 4.0 lb foam, Amerisleep 4.5 lb foam, and Tempurpedic 5.3 to 7+ lb density foams.
The densities of the core layers can be harder to find, with 2.0 lb and higher considered ideal for long-term support. Tempurpedic is believed to use 2.2 lb cores (some have questioned this recently however), Amerisleep uses 2.0 lb cores, BedInABox uses 2.5 lb cores, Comfort Dreams uses 1.4-1.5 lb cores, and the others are unknown.
As far as firmness, the memory foam mattresses in this range tend to be medium to medium-firm, with the exception of the Comfort Dreams which comes in three firmnesses (however user reports suggest all tend to feel about medium).
Overall, about 10% of memory foam mattress reviews complain of sleeping uncomfortably hot. Tempurpedic Rhapsody reviews tend to be slightly worse than average for heat, while Sealy Inspiration is about average. Comfort Dreams,Novaform and Spa Sensations are lower than average with 5-6% of reviewers mentioning heat. The lowest rates of complaint were seen in the Amerisleep Revere (2%), and the iComfort Savant and BedInABox Tranquility Gel (each 4%). Gel mattresses claim to reduce this by providing a cooler surface, and most of the gel models do show a slight reduction in heat complaints though the plant-based memory foam from Amerisleep seems to perform even better.
In general, about 15% of memory foam mattress reviewers report significant odor or off-gassing, usually attributed to chemicals used in manufacturing and dissipating within 1-3 weeks. Tempurpedic and Novaform seemed to have the most reviewers complaining of odor (18% and 12%), with BedInABox, Comfort Dreams and Spa Sensations performing just a little better (9-10%). Sealy’s Inspiration came in at 7%, while the iComfort Savant received odor mentions in 4% of reviews and the Amerisleep Revere in 3%. Looking at the numbers, the traditional memory foam seems to be most likely to have an odor, followed by gel foams and then plant-based.
For durability scores we looked a complaints of sagging or impressions in owner reviews compared with other consumer publications’ durability scores for each brand. The iComfort Savant, Optimium Inspirations, Comfort Dreams Select-a-Size, Spa Sensations Theratouch and Novaform Encore all scored a C for durability based on significant reports of sagging and impressions. These mattresses are estimated to last between 3-5 years. Tempurpedic, Amerisleep and BedInABox all recieved fairly low complaints of impressions or wear, and would likely last between 7-8 years or more. Durability depends on a variety factors, including memory foam and core foam density, user care, sleeper weight and frequency of usage, so significant variation can exist here.
Warranty & Returns
The warranties offered varied significantly. The Comfort Dreams and Spa Sensations having only 5-year limited warranties. Amerisleep, BedInABox, and Novaform offer 20 years with 10 years of full coverage. Tempurpedic, Sealy and Serta each offer 25 years with between 10-15 years full coverage.
Trial periods, or the length the mattress can be returned, also varies. Overstock does not accept returns on the Comfort Dreams mattress. Amerisleep, Tempurpedic and Spa Sensations have 90 day return periods, while Serta, Sealy and BedInABox offer 120 days and Costco maintains and open-ended return policy for members. It is important to note that some of the brands sold through dealers (like Sealy) may be subject to the individual retailer’s policies that may be shorter
For most of the brands, memory foam mattress reviews showed above-average scores. The highest rated models were the Amerisleep Revere and BedInABox Tranquility Gel, both showing reviews around 4.6 / 5 stars. Reviewers of both lines generally praised the value of their mattress, service received and comfort/pain relief. Comfort Dreams Select-A-Bed and Spa Sensations Theratouch received average reviews around 4.5 / 5, with owners most satisfied with the low price. The Serta iComfort Savant and Sealy Optimum Inspiration had ratings of 4.3 and 4.1 out of 5, respectively, with reviewers generally praising comfort, but complaining of costs, durability, or service issues. Novaform’s 4.0 rating was attributed to good value, but occasional complaints of comfort issues or excess firmness. The Tempurpedic Rhapsody showed the lowest overall rating of 3.0 / 5 (as of July 2013; Tempurpedic has removed reviews recently on their website), with people generally expressing good comfort, but complaining of the high costs, heat and odor.
The two cheapest memory foam mattresses are the Comfort Dreams Select-a-Size and Spa Sensations Theratouch, both coming in around $360. The Novaform Encore is next at $839, followed by the Amerisleep Revere and BedInABox Tranquility each at $1299. The most expensive models are the iComfort Savant at $1574, the Sealy Optimum Inspiration at $1999 and Tempurpedic Rhapsody at $3199.
Overview of Memory Foam Mattress Reviews
The collection of diverse memory foam mattress brands compared in this article highlight some interesting trends, namely that the more expensive big-name brands don’t necessarily offer high quality or better owner satisfaction than mid-range models. The two best-rated beds both come from online retailers and are priced in the middle-range for memory foam, while even the low-end beds scored fairly well with shoppers. If you are shopping for a memory foam mattress this year, it might be wise to consider looking beyond the local mattress store and to compare the actual value and satisfaction potential when researching products, not just the brand names.
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