There are plenty of memory foam types, but to strip them down to the basics there are 4 main types to choose from when buying a mattress. All have their distinct pros and cons, with the newest of the bunch being green memory foam while the oldest is obviously traditional. Consumers on the prowl for the better mattress will run across all types on the list and may have trouble deciphering which one better suits their needs. This guide will break down some of the key features of each in an effort to make the process a lot easier for you, and your buying control that much more powerful. Whether choosing the traditional or a more modern type, the most important thing to remember is that if it isn’t comfortable in the first place then the type won’t change that. So choose a trustworthy brand, and choose the correct density.
Traditional Memory Foam
Old faithful, the cheapest of the bunch but also the one most prone to heat retention. This is the one that started it all, and keeps motion transfer to your partner at a minimum while also offering individualized contouring. This is also the most chemically rich versions of the memory foam and can really be a force to reckon with if a user in the household has sensitive skin. Off-gassing is also quite horrible with this type, and buyers will notice it lingering for sometimes up to months. It’s a bit of a furious moment a year after the mattress has been bought and still dealing with that weird smell, but keep in mind that is not all traditional memory foam. Traditional also has the unfortunate reputation of being the hottest of all the memory foam, by miles. This is the best memory foam to get if you stay on cooler climates, because on warmer climates it can be a killer for sleep.
Air Cool Memory Foam
In this updated iteration of Traditional memory foam, it offers all of the benefits and even manages to stand out the most to users that have reservations about going to memory foam because they want a firm mattress. Air cool memory foam came around a time when people were also complaining about how overly soft and plush the Traditional memory foam was, and the feeling of sinking into a hot body heat oven was not comfortable to everyone. Not only does this type reduce the heat that is captured by the mattress using breathable memory foam or even open cell technology, but it is also the only one of the types that has a bigger roster of firm and extra firm memory foam to its name. While there are plenty of soft versions of this, it has become more popular for the niche consumers that prefer it when moving on from a firmer coil mattress. There are a lot of versions of this Air Cool version that are made in house by certain brands like Tempurpedic and Serta, with one being barely distinguishable from the other.
Gel memory foam represents the coolest version of memory foam to date, that all but eliminates the problems with trapping heat found in both Traditional and Air Cool versions. Gel can be infused in several ways with memory foam depending on the brand as either beads, liquid, or even layers and pockets. Gel provides enhanced pressure relief and is cool to the touch, right from the start. Off-gassing has become a concern, but less so with the newer versions while buyers have had to deal with a wide range of the different types of gel solutions. Much like the Air Cool type, there are a variety of in-house and proprietary gel solutions that make it almost impossible to really gauge what is the best on the market, since every sleeper has a distinct bed profile. There have even been some reports that the gel infused memory foam may have a shorter life than Traditional memory foam because of distinct chemicals. Of all the types it provides the best contouring, since the gel has better heat sensors than all of the types and comfortably changes to match sore points on your body, directly on the fly. It’s the most modern type besides green, and is also the most expensive.
The most modern type is green memory foam, or memory foam made from natural products. This memory foam is made from the ground up to contain no harmful chemicals, no VOCs or toxic off-gassing, and to be generally safe for people of all types. It’s the perfect complement to a green household, and is usually made in facilities that support the environment. They are as expensive as gel memory foam, but lack some of the cooling features of the said type. Green memory foam is still cooler than Traditional and Air Cool types, and even has the option of being super soft or super firm. Its versatility hasn’t been completely realized just yet, and because of this gel memory foam is the more popular option since it is in its prime. Green memory foam is still a viable option for those that choose to go the route, but remember that it is still in the early stages of its development.
Which is the Best?
At the current moment there is no doubt that gel memory foam is the best type. It provides the best cooling benefits, best health benefits, and is the most distributed type of memory foam on the market. There is an opening for green memory foam to make a run, but it will be a while before that really takes place. Some of the best green memory foam is being offered by smaller brands, which is another reason why it is so slow to grow to the mainstream. With the comfort levels of gel memory foam being at its peak, it is hard to consider a memory foam mattress that doesn’t have gel as the solution unless there is another option that is really incredible and hard to pass up. Gel is the best type, and that’s not changing anytime soon in the next couple of years.
Which is the Worst?
Traditional memory foam has long been surpassed by 3 other options on the list, but still has an interesting place in the memory foam market. It is the only option for colder climates that works right out of the box like a charm, and for buyers that actually liked the super soft sinking feeling then traditional is the way to go. It’s not going to have a rebirth anytime soon, as Air Cool memory foam has all but replaced it. But there is a market for it, just not as big as it used to be.
With 4 main types of memory foam mattresses to choose from customers may get a little dazzled by all the options, when in reality there are 2 main ones and 2 smaller ones. Even if you choose the mattress type that is correct for you, there are chances that some other vital area is being misrepresented on your list. Make sure to do all the homework necessary to bring home the best memory foam mattress, and then choosing a type will become second nature.