Best memory foam mattress 2020: our top 7 mattresses for support

Find the best memory foam mattress to help remedy back pain and achy joints – whilst keeping you cool – in this expert guide

best memory foam mattress
(Image credit: Nectar)

Looking for the best memory foam mattress? You've come to the right place. Getting your hands on one of these would be a very wise move if you’re waking up in the middle of the night with an achy back, or you're tired of feeling hot and bothered all day and all night. 

Sure, they're an investment, but they are designed to mould to your body shape and take the pressure off joints so would be so worth it. Plus, they are not all designed for those with big budgets: there’s a huge variety of memory foam mattresses – some come with open cell memory foam to keep you cool – to suit all pockets, all sleep positions and preferences. 

In this guide we've featured our top mattress picks which you can buy for 2020. We'll also help to decipher the individuality of the names behind each mattress – Emma, Simba and eve – on the market, which all (also) feature in our best mattress guide so you know you are on to a winner.

Our best memory foam mattress picks for 2020

Best mattress 2020: Emma Original mattress


(Image credit: Emma)

1. Emma Original Mattress

Best memory foam mattress for most sleepers: it's also our top pick of THE best mattress

Specifications
Size: Single–super-king
Depth: 25cm
Type: Comfort foam/memory foam
Comfort grade: Medium-firm
Reasons to buy
+Zoned support+Perfect temperature control+Medium firm for firmness+Good motion transfer
Reasons to avoid
-Too hard for some side sleepers

If you want to buy the best memory foam mattress on the market, then this Emma mattress is for you. The motion transfer on this mattress is brilliant, so good in fact you'll hardly know your fidgety partner is there.

Who will the Emma suit?

The Emma mattress is the best mattress for anyone who is a self-proclaimed memory foam mattress fan. In our opinion, it's the best pick for those who tend to move lots in their sleep.

What is the Emma like to sleep on?

There pretty much nothing we don’t like about this mattress. It’s easy to switch positions, and comfortable in whichever position you favour for that matter. We’d rate it towards the firmer end of medium, but it’s certainly not rock solid. The mattress is evenly supportive across the entire surface, so there’s plenty of room to spread out. 

Special features?

The breathable, removable top cover can be washed at 60 degrees, which is going to bust dirt better than the standard 40 degrees. Handles make it easier to manoeuvre.

Fillings?

Three layers of foam. The top layer is an elastic foam called Airgocell, which brings you pressure relief. The memory foam layer is next and, like all memory foam, keeps you comfortable in any position. The base is made from Cold Foam that supports the above layers, as well as you. 

What do you get for your money?

A 100-night sleep trial, no questions asked, 10-year warranty and free delivery, usually within one to three working days.

Real Homes rating 5 out of 5 stars

  • Buy the Emma Original Mattress

Best mattress for bad backs: Nectar Mattress

2. Nectar Mattress

Best memory foam mattress for bad backs: good level of firmness and motion transfer

Specifications
Size: Single–super-king
Depth: 25cm
Type: Memory foam
Comfort grade: Medium-firm
Reasons to buy
+Medium firm for firmness+Good motion transfer+Good breathability+365 night trial+Forever guarantee
Reasons to avoid
-No handles-Too hard for some side sleepers

Securing our vote for the best memory foam mattress for bad backs, the Nectar mattress won't lose its firmness even after a whole year's use.

Who will the Nectar mattress suit?

The Nectar mattress will be loved by anyone looking for a completely risk-free experience and decent memory foam mattress at a fair price.

What's the Nectar Mattress like to sleep on?

Thanks to its memory foam filling, the Nectar Mattress will make your joints feel cushioned from night one. With regards to motion transfer, the Nectar is as good as any memory foam, and if sliding into your other half during the night is a massive bug-bear, this is the best find for you. On the firmness front, the Nectar is rated 5.5–7.5 on the website, which the company claims is 'just right'. It's also not too firm – nobody wants a mattress that is too firm, trust us.

Special features?

It has an Adaptive Cooling Cover designed to draw away heat from your body and circulate fresh air every time you move. Also, look out for special offers on the Nectar website, such as free pillows or £100 off – they seem to be pretty much ongoing.

Fillings?

There’s nothing especially unusual about the Nectar’s construction but, as mentioned, it is reassuringly heavy, which is always a sign of quality. It features a decent layer of proper memory foam which is nicely aerated, and then pressure relieving foam that deals with contouring to your curvy bits. Finally the seven-zone base foam provides more contoured support plus depth. 

What do you get for your money?

The Nectar comes with an unprecedented 365-night trial period. And, if that’s not enough for you, it also comes with a Forever Guarantee. 

Real Homes rating 5 out of 5 stars

  • Buy the Nectar Mattress

Simba Hybrid

3. Simba Hybrid Mattress

Best memory foam mattress for side sleepers: and, an excellent all-rounder for your bedroom or spare room

Specifications
Size: Single to Super king
Depth: 25cm
Comfort grade: Medium
Reasons to buy
+Bouncy bounciness+Good motion transfer+Especially supportive for side sleepers
Reasons to avoid
-Only the top cover, not sides, can be machine-washed

This memory foam mattress is especially good for side sleepers, although it is a very good all rounder which can help sooth neck and back aches.

Who will the Simba Hybrid suit?

Anyone looking for a bit more movement from their memory foam.

What is the Simba Hybrid like to sleep on?

In a nutshell, the thin layer of tiny conical springs makes this predominantly foam mattress feel more like a traditional pocket spring mattress, making this our pick of the best all-rounder memory foam mattress. It is responsive and moulds to your body, while also offering decent levels of support. Designed to accommodate all types of sleeping styles – back, front or side – there is no ‘wrong’ way to catch some zzzzzs on the Simba Hybrid. Review-wise, there are multiple tales of miraculously pain-free sleep from poor souls previously in back-related agony (including the Ed-in-Chief of RealHomes.com). So, with the 100-night trial in mind, anyone suffering has nothing to lose from giving this mattress a bash (and potentially hundreds of pounds to save at the chiropractors). 

Special features?

The cover is hypoallergenic with integral airflow for cool temperature regulation. Simba has also developed its own latex-like layer, called Simbatex, which contains cooling soybean balms. Basically it’s cool all round. 

Fillings?

From the top: the Simbatex layer provides initial comfort, then there’s the aforementioned layer of conical springs (2,500 in a king size), which brings on the bounce. Next is a layer of visco-elastic memory foam for body contouring and weightlessness. And of course there’s a fairly solid foam base, which has been sliced in seven sections to provide differing density levels, essentially targeting the support where you need it.  

What do you get for your money?

Free delivery, 100-day free trial, plus a 10-year guarantee and hassle-free returns, and a knife for opening the heavy-duty plastic bag it’s suctioned into. They’ll also whisk your old mattress away.

Real Homes rating 5 out of 5 stars

  • Buy the Simba Hybrid Mattress

eve The Mattress

4. Eve Original Memory Foam Mattress

Best memory foam mattress for restless sleepers: a comfortable combination of firm foam and cosy cushioning

Specifications
Size: Single to Euro king
Depth: 25cm
Type: Comfort foam / memory foam
Comfort grade: Soft
Reasons to buy
+Breathable foam +Good for neck and back pain +100-night trial 
Reasons to avoid
-Chemical odour

With lovely and thick memory foam, and moisture-wicking fabric, even the most restless of sleepers will enjoy a good nights sleep on this mattress.

Who will the eve mattress suit?

Aimed at the masses, this is a one-size-fits-all sleeping solution (though we found it most comfortable on our backs).

What is the eve mattress like to sleep on?

Once you have got your head around the bounce-less solidity of memory foam (which takes a couple of nights), the eve mattress will treat you to really decent, undisturbed sleep. Ranging on the firmer side of medium, maybe even forget the word medium completely, the eve is particularly popular with those who like to sleep on top of their mattress, rather than in it. Online reviews suggest you will have ‘the Best Sleep Ever’, and while we might not go quite that far, the Eve definitely out-performs some of the other bed-in-a-box memory foams we have tried. If you sleep on your back, this is the best memory foam mattress for you.

Special features?

The top cover, which zips off for washing, is made from moisture-wicking fabric for a cool night’s sleep. 

Fillings?

From the top; a 3.5cm thick open-cell hybrid foam offers maximum breathability, then there’s a 3cm layer of memory foam for contoured support, and a 17.5cm thick base layer, again foam, that’s sliced into zones to target key body areas. 

What do you get for your money?

A 10-year guarantee, free delivery and free, no-fuss returns after 100 days. 

Real Homes rating 5 out of 5 stars

  • Buy the eve mattress

Silentnight 3 Zone Memory Foam Mattress

5. Silentnight 3 Zone Memory Foam Mattress

Best memory foam mattress for those on a budget: this foam-based mattress is kind on backs and won’t break the bank

Specifications
Size: Single to Super king
Depth: 18cm
Type: : Memory foam
Comfort grade: Medium
Reasons to buy
+Cheaper than chips +Light to transport+European (ie, Ikea sizes available)
Reasons to avoid
-Tad skinny-No handles

Delivered in a vacuum-packed roll, not in a box like the other top memory foam mattresses, the UK-made Silentnight mattress is a brilliant enter-level mattress which is still easy to transport.

Who will the Silentnight memory mattress suit?

Anyone seeking no-nonsense targeted support for decent spine alignment. 

What is the 3-Zone Memory like to sleep on? 

A dearth of readies doesn’t necessarily equal a poor night’s sleep. This budget option from Silentnight is award winning, namely a Best Buy from Which?. The consumer testing behemoths have decreed that you can expect a well-supported back, and minimal motion transfer (so no painful tweaks when your partner bounces into bed). In fact Which? says, for memory foam, it’s 'one of the best we’ve seen'. Over at Very.co.uk, customers seem similarly smitten, rating this mattress 4.5/5 on quality, value and comfort. Silentnight rates it medium for firmness but, reading many reviews, it appears to be on the softer side of medium in reality. The best memory foam mattress if you're on a budget, we think.

Special features?

The foam layers are treated with Purotex, which combines five natural bacterias known for their dust mite-busting powers. A soft-knit cover provides extra comfort. 

Fillings?

The top ‘comfort layer’ is memory foam, and the base layer is Silentnight’s proprietary Miratex foam core, which offers soft support for your shoulders, going firmer for hips and lower back. Just two layers is fairly pared-back compared to modern memory foams and there’s less focus on breathability and airflow so be a little wary if you tend to sleep hot.

What do you get for your money?

Free UK delivery, five-year guarantee and a 60-night comfort trial. It’s part of Silentnight’s Mattress Now range, which means it’s wrapped up small enough to pop in the boot of your car should you want to drive to an actual shop to buy one. 

Real Homes verdict 4.5 out of 5 stars

  • Buy the Silentnight 3 Zone Memory Foam Mattress

Tempur Sensation Elite 25 Foam Mattress

6. Tempur Sensation Elite Mattress

Best memory foam mattress if you struggle to sleep: whether because of back pain or a thrashing partner, this mattress may prove priceless

Specifications
Size: Small single to Super king
Depth: 25cm
Type: : Memory foam
Comfort grade: Medium
Reasons to buy
+Offers 25cm of comfort +Medium firmness+Good motion transfer
Reasons to avoid
-Expensive

If you've got the budget, this Tempur mattress is our runner-up. Since 1991 Tempur have been bringing memory foam into our homes and changing the way we sleep inevitably. It got high marks in our review and, no matter how you sleep, we're confident you'll enjoy it as much as we did.

Who will the Tempur mattress suit?

Side-sleepers with or without backache or muscle pain.

What is the Tempur mattress like to sleep on?

The Tempur didn’t feel like the other memory foam mattresses we’ve tested: the longer you lay prone, the deeper you sink, but subtly. The bonus of being a bit sinky is that the Tempur Sensation Elite scored really well on motion transfer. There just wasn’t any, end of story. Tempur grades this mattress medium for firmness, and that’s a fair assessment. Posture – which is all about body support – is where the Tempur comes into its own and why we have rated it the best for side-sleepers. During testing, we noticed that our shoulders and hips felt comfortably supported, contoured by the mattress, and we woke feeling fresh and ache-free. In our opinion, this is the best memory foam mattress for those who suffer with back pain.

Special features?

The material becomes softer and more malleable in warmer areas, essentially where it comes into contact with your body temperature, and remains firmer in cooler areas – hence the body hugging appeal. 

Fillings?

On top, there's 3cm of comfort material, below 4cm of support material, below that 4cm of dynamic support, and lastly 14cm of DuraBase technology. We don't know what that is but it sure works.

What do you get for your money?

A 100-night sleep trial, 10-year warranty, free delivery and free returns. You can also get up to two years’ interest free credit – you’re probably going to need it! 

Real Homes rating 4 out of 5 stars

  • Buy the Tempur Sensation Elite Mattress

Zen Superior Coolmax Memory Foam Mattress

(Image credit: Memory Foam Warehouse)

7. Zen Superior Coolmax Memory Foam Mattress

Best memory foam mattress for hot sleepers: it comes with a Coolmax cover which evenly disperses heat

Specifications
Size: Single to King
Depth: 20cm
Type: : Memory foam
Comfort grade: Medium
Reasons to buy
+Offers 20cm of comfort +Medium firmness+Coolmax cover which disperses heat and moisture+British made
Reasons to avoid
-Not available in super king

Zen is a company that claims that it's applying a wellness approach to mattress making. The idea behind the products is that your mattress should promote calm and harmony.  

The main standout point is that the entire range of nine mattresses is designed with movement reduction and body-moulding properties in mind. These are achieved by expertly layering different densities of foam to achieve the most comfortable possible surface for a variety of sleeping positions and concerns. 

Who will the Zen mattress suit?

This mattress is perfect for sleepers who tend to overheat in the night.

What is the Zen mattress like to sleep on?

We are first to admit that we have not yet tried and tested this mattress, but a number of five star customer reviews indicate that the mattress has 'transformed the bed' and 'all the mattresses are very comfortable and well made'. The product description says that the mattress is supportive and comfortable, and the memory foam ill mould to your body which will help to ease joint pain.

Special features?

This mattress comes with a Coolmax cover which has been made to disperse heat and moisture to help you stay cool and dry throughout the night.

Fillings?

On the top is 7cm of sumptuous memory foam which will surround you with supportive comfort. And then underneath this is 13cm of Reflex foam, for even more support.

What do you get for your money?

A 100 night free trial, five years warranty, free delivery AND your supporting a British brand.


How to buy the best memory foam mattress

When looking to buy a memory foam mattress, whether it's new to you or it's a replacement mattress, it's an investment you need to get right. Here are a couple of things to consider when looking through your best options:

Firmness

Memory foam mattresses are designed to mould to your body shape to give you incredible support. This makes them, in our hard won experience, brilliant for relieving back pain, joint aches and shoulder discomfort, especially if you sleep on your side. Because of this, all the memory foam mattresses we've tested and rated are of medium to soft. So, if you like a firm or hard mattress, these will take a little getting used to. But don't confuse 'medium to soft' with 'squishy' or 'non-supportive' – memory foam cups your body where it needs it. It's worth, too, investigating our pick of the best mattress for side sleepers to help you hone your choice – it includes hybrid mattresses, too, which will appeal to memory foam fans.

Sweaty sleeper?

The newest memory foam mattresses are much better than those first brought to the market 10 to 15 years ago, and are designed to be cooler to sleep on than older models. If you tend to get hot easily at night, consider a latex foam or one that features added ventilation to maximise air circulation and heat distribution. 

Or, if you've bought a memory foam mattress and are finding that you're overheating at night, and are beyond your free trial, no quibbles return period, take a look at our best cooling mattress pads to keep you cooler.

What is the best memory foam mattress 2020?

Let's recap...if you want to buy the best mattress on the market right now (in our opinion), we can highly recommend you  buy the Emma mattress. This is a medium–firm people pleaser which is complete with memory foam (the second of three incredible layers of foam) and zoned support to keep even the most fidgety of sleepers truly content. It's available in all sizes, from a single to a super-king, but as it sports great motion transfer and optimal temperature control, this is ideal for couples too. 

Got more budget? It's not the cheapest memory foam mattress, but if you suffer with a bad back, and even if you don't, the Tempur Sensation Elite 25 memory foam mattress will fit the bill nicely: it provides brilliant levels of support and relief for your pressure points, excellent alignment and it's second to none on motion transfer. 

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