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Updated Aug 22, 2023 3:01 PM

What better way to start your morning than by showing up well-rested, and what better way to rest than on a new mattress. With new technology and developments in sleep science, we know more about what it takes to get a good night’s sleep. Traditional coil innerspring models have evolved, and modern designs come with foam materials that can literally shape to our bodies. With cooling gels, foam, plush pillow tops, and breathable materials, we can stay cool, relaxed, and comfortable all through the night. Moreover, you’re no longer stuck shopping in stores with pushy salespeople. The best mattress can show up at your doorstep once you decide on the best option for you.

The best mattresses: Reviews & Recommendations

While we can’t always control the stress in our daily lives, we can control the quality and comfort of our nightly rejuvenation by selecting the best mattress for our bodies. The right bed will provide you with optimal support and comfort. Whether you prefer firm support or a plush, soft mattress, you can choose from many options in many price ranges, so we’ve helped narrow it down.

Best memory foam: Tuft & Needle Mint Mattress



This memory foam mattress is made with multiple layers of foam to form a strong base, ceramic gel beads for support, and a cooling gel inside the mattress. The top layer uses T&N Adaptive foam, which contours to your shape and releases tension in your limbs. What’s more, it is swathed in a breathable cover to help cool the body. And you can rest easy knowing that this model is Greenguard Gold- and Certi PUR-certified, which means it’s free from harmful chemicals.

Best hybrid: Casper Original Hybrid Mattress



This hybrid Casper mattress uses Zone Support which allows for optimal spinal alignment. On top of that, breathable foam helps to circulate air and release heat, so you don’t get too hot at night. The final touch? Innerspring coils add lift, bounce, and border support to the base. Sleep hot? Up the heat distribution and pressure relief with the Casper Wave Hybrid Snow mattress.

Best for durability: Nod Hybrid by Tuft & Needle



This Tuft & Needle mattress offers a hybrid construction, with layers of adaptive foam, slow recovery foam, and a layer of pocket coils with a foam base. It’s topped with a stay-cool material to prevent the heat that is associated with some foam mattresses. The hybrid style allows for the bounce and structure of traditional models combined with the muscle-relaxing comfort of modern memory foam.

Best budget: Zinus Memory Green Mattress



Not looking to spend a lot? Typically you can find deals on foam mattresses; prices get lower as the size and thickness get smaller. The Zinus Memory Green Mattress, for example, is full size and measures 12 inches thick for under $300. This budget pick is made with three layers of foam to conform to the body, allow for airflow, and provide base support. The makers compress and ship it in a small box that expands within 72 hours of opening the package.

Things to consider when shopping for the best mattresses

The mattress marketplace is full of options. With hundreds of models and manufacturers, finding the right choice can feel overwhelming. You can pick from traditional and new materials and price points that range from reasonable to a splurge. Also, consider what type of comfort and support you want. While you should ideally try the model out in person, many online purchases come with free trials and easy returns. Finally, you should understand the construction and materials used. You want your mattress to be durable and retain its shape for many years.

Innerspring vs. memory foam

First, you should understand the difference between innerspring vs. memory foam. Traditional mattresses are designed with what is called innerspring construction, which is made with steel coils arranged in various configurations. While some manufacturers advertise that the more coils the better the support—and therefore the better the quality—it’s important to consider the gauge of metal used in these springs. Thinner-gauge metal may not be as durable as a thicker gauge. Some are designed with a Bonnell-style coil or hourglass shape, a continuous wire coil, or individually pocketed springs. You can find highly rated mattresses made with all of these coil styles.

Why does it matter? Coil construction is responsible for the bounciness. The top of the innerspring construction mattresses can include special layers of cushioning, such as a pillow top layer or infused gel. Shifting positions tends to be easy with innerspring mattresses due to the bouncy quality. Foam layers and plush pillow tops added to the top help suppress the bounce by absorbing some of the vibrations.

Memory foam mattress pros and cons

Many today are completely constructed out of foam. The memory foam mattress was invented in the 1960s, designed to soften when you lie on it and mold to your body. Once you get up, it springs back to its original shape. The top models use foam to relieve pressure in areas of the body that may hold tension. This malleable material conforms to the body and is made with good motion isolation, which is convenient for couples. What’s more, the cost of these varies from budget to high end. That said, some negative attributes associated with some foam construction mattresses include an initial “off-gas” chemical smell that will dissipate after a few days of being set up and lack of bounce. The foam can also trap body heat.

Though many manufacturers use polyurethane to create their foam layers, others use latex as well. Some include both (so be wary if you have sensitivities). Specific foams offer cooling, support, and pressure relief. Additional varieties include high-density polyfoam, high-resiliency polyfoam, open-cell memory foam, gel memory foam, and varieties of latex foam.

A hybrid mattress combines both coils and foam

Hybrid mattresses are made with both traditional construction (metal innerspring coil) and modern materials like foams and gels. They’re great for people who want the best of both styles of mattress. A hybrid has the sturdy support of the innerspring coil, better edge support, and durability along with the signature bounce. However, hybrids also incorporate the many benefits of new technology. Modern foam options offer superior comfort with the ability to mold to your body and relieve pressure in joints and muscles. Adding layers of foam or gel on top of the traditional base provides support and flexibility.

One of the complaints associated with foam-style mattresses is that it can be difficult getting in and out of bed. Sometimes the softness (lack of bounce) and molding quality can make the edge of the bed seemingly collapse when you sit on it. With an innerspring coil, you get some edge support and bounce that makes sitting on bed and getting out of bed easier.

Is pain relief a major consideration for you?

The big question: Will it help you get a good night’s sleep? They will ensure that you wake up without any additional aches and pains and feel truly rested. The best mattress for back pain relief is a combination of flexibility and durability. It will conform to your body and provide full-body relief, but be supportive enough to not sink or sag.

People seeking pain relief should also consider temperature. Cooling fabrics, gels, and breathable fabrics will allow for an ideal sleeping experience with plenty of airflow. Look for ergonomic designs such as gel pads that help to align the spine, provide softer support under the shoulders, and firmer support around the hips and lower back.

How long do you want your mattress to last?

Anyone who has spent a night tossing and turning in a friend’s basement on their ancient, broken mattress understands the importance of durability. The more durable the materials and construction, the more comfortable nights you will enjoy. Better quality spring construction will provide years of solid but flexible support. Look for foam that can withstand years of conforming to the body while remaining adaptable enough to return to its original shape after you get up.

The amount of wear and tear put on the bed is just one factor that affects its lifespan. A rarely used mattress in a seasonal beach house will last longer than one a child jumps on every night. Laboratories test this durability with simulations of normal use and offer an idea of how well they will hold up in time. The longer a mattress is able to retain its original shape, height, firmness, and side/back support, the more durable it is. A mattress that can withstand eight or more years of wear and tear earns a high rating of durability.

Final thoughts on buying the best mattresses

Buying a mattress doesn’t have to involve hours of in-person shopping and haggling with salespeople. Now you can search hundreds of styles online and order them to your doorstep without hassle. Understanding the needs of your body, as well as the materials and construction, will help you pick a brand and model. Then find the best mattress and look forward to restful nights and serenity ahead.

Why trust us

Popular Science started writing about technology more than 150 years ago. There was no such thing as “gadget writing” when we published our first issue in 1872, but if there was, our mission to demystify the world of innovation for everyday readers means we would have been all over it. Here in the present, PopSci is fully committed to helping readers navigate the increasingly intimidating array of devices on the market right now.

Our writers and editors have combined decades of experience covering and reviewing consumer electronics. We each have our own obsessive specialties—from high-end audio to video games to cameras and beyond—but when we’re reviewing devices outside of our immediate wheelhouses, we do our best to seek out trustworthy voices and opinions to help guide people to the very best recommendations. We know we don’t know everything, but we’re excited to live through the analysis paralysis that internet shopping can spur so readers don’t have to.

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