Mattresses: Choosing the best type of mattress Memory foam mattresses

Feet peeking out of duvet on a bed

Memory foam mattresses are good at relieving pressure on painful joints

Memory foam mattresses, also known as memory mattresses, are topped with a layer of temperature-sensitive viscoelastic material (memory foam).

This type of mattress is good at relieving pressure on painful joints, but is usually pricier than sprung mattresses.

Memory foam mattresses can cost more than £2,000, but our independent tests show that you don’t always get what you pay for - and we've found Best Buy memory foam mattresses for £400 or less. If you're considering buying a memory foam mattress, check out our memory foam mattress reviews to find the best one at the right price.

Moulds to your body shape

Memory foam is affected by room temperature, so you might find the memory mattress cold and hard when you first go to bed. As it reacts to body heat, it moulds to your shape, which can make it difficult for you to move or get out of bed. 

It also reduces air circulation around your body, which makes the memory mattress feel warmer. Many people find this helpful in winter, especially some manufacturers recommend you don't use an electric underblanket with memory foam mattresses. But you may feel too hot in summer.

23%of Which? members who've bought a mattress in the last five years opted for memory foam

Memory foam mattresses generally can't be turned over. But you can turn them around, and some mattresses have handles which make this easier to do.

Memory foam mattresses are the second most popular type of mattress among Which? members. Nearly a quarter of the members we surveyed about their mattress had bought a memory foam one.

Memory foam-only mattresses

Most memory foam mattresses are actually sprung mattresses with a layer of memory foam on top. Some, however, have extra layers of memory foam instead of springs, and are often described as pure memory foam, or memory foam-only mattresses. 

They tend to be pricier and softer, but not necessarily better - some pure memory foam mattresses impressed in our tests, while others were poor.

To find out more about the other types of mattresses so you can find the best one for you, take a look at our video guide to buying a mattress.

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