When it comes to mattresses, memory foam sits high among the most coveted materials. But not everyone can afford to pay top dollar for luxury foam mattresses. The best quality memory foam mattresses – those that guarantee that “just right” combination of firmness and softness for restful and ache-free sleep every night – are expected to last for nearly twenty years or more. But those mattresses can cost several thousand dollars, as in many cases they are designed to be orthopedic and recommended for back problems.
By no means does this mean you can’t enjoy the comforts of memory foam on a smaller budget: some smart manufacturers have found ways to cut costs by reorganizing their supply chain, employing new technology and figure out innovative methods to offer memory foam mattresses for less. Much less.
Here we compare three very popular foam mattresses available today for less than $500. These are:
- Perfect Cloud Atlas Gel Plus
- Signature Sleep Contour 8
- Sleep Innovations SureTemp
Although there are other foam mattresses in this price range, our research shows that these 3 models have consistently scored very high ratings among experts and users and their manufacturers are considered trustworthy and reliable.
Overview – the Best Foam Mattresses Under $500
The Atlas-Gel Plus by Perfect Cloud is a medium-firm gel memory foam mattress available only through selected websites. It uses cool technology, responsive materials and a smart supply and logistics model (the mattress comes highly compressed) to cut costs and still ensure quality.
It’s entirely designed in the USA but manufactured in Taiwan. The proprietary gel beads infused-memory foam and standard memory foam come together in the Atlas Gel Plus to offer good nights’ sleep at a fraction of the cost of higher end memory foams.
Gel memory foam is a recent innovation, and adding gel beads increases the density of foam, makes it firmer and more suitable as orthopedic mattresses. The Atlas Gel-Plus in particular has 3 core layers – a 3 inch Signature Gel Plus memory foam, a 3 inch comfort layer with bi-directional air flow system and a 4 inch high density Double Air Flow support foam. A removable stretch knit covering over all layers protects the mattress. Mocha Ultrasuede siding lends finish and soft-touch.
The mattress is designed to please all kind of sleepers (back, stomach or side) and offers good motion isolation. Air flow technology also prevents it from getting too hot. There is slight off-gassing but airing solves the problem and the mattress can be easily cleaned.
The queen size Atlas Gel Plus costs just . You can read our full review here.
The Signature Sleep Contour 8 is an entry level mattress among the ones listed here, and also the cheapest in price. It uses a hybrid foam and coil design for therapeutic medium-firm sleep. The coils are wrapped individually, after the latest in spring technology, allowing the mattress to flex according to your body’s contours. Each coil setup also contains a tempered progressive steel spring that helps to adjust to your body but also prevents sagging.
Above the 7-inch encased coil layer is a layer of high density memory foam, offering support and comfort. On top of this is medium-soft 12 ILD (Indentation Load Deflection) foam in a quilted pillow top for some comfort and stiffness around the mattress’s edge. A polyester-cotton blend cover protects the mattress.
The Sleep Contour offers very good motion isolation in its category and vibrations are kept to a minimum because of its design. The coils are also wrapped in membranes and cells designed to encourage air flow to prevent heating. This mattress is also made in Taiwan.
The Queen Size Signature Sleep Contour 8 costs an impressively low . You can read our full review here.
The SureTemp 12 inch mattress by Sleep Innovations is a two layer open cell memory foam mattress made in the USA (the only one on this list to not be made in Taiwan). The brand is known for its quality, ergonomics extensive research in the memory foam mattress industry. Accordingly, the SureTemp uses innovative design to improve airflow through patented cells in their proprietary memory foam. The innovation counteracts the heat trapping effect of memory foam and facilitates good sleep. It is a medium firm to medium soft mattress, designed for all types of sleepers.
The mattress provides good motion isolation as is expected of memory foam. The bottom layer is a dense support foam that eliminates vibrations. A 2.5 inch layer of what the company calls “air-channel foam” facilitates even temperatures through circulation. A cotton cover keeps the mattress dry and cooler.
This mattress is marked at over $1800 but it is now available for an affordable . You can read our full review here.
A Comparison of Lifespan and Warranty
Of the three mattresses reviewed here, the Signature Sleep Contour 8 has the shortest and most disappointing 1 year limited warranty covering manufacturing defects and material flaws. The Contour 8, with many Signature Sleep products, is expected to last for 10 years with regular use especially by couples. However, these mattresses are not meant for long-term use, though the price you pay may easily be recouped with a few years’ use of the mattress in the spare room.
Sleep Innovations offers a hassle-free 20 year warranty on the SureTemp 12 inch, which is average in the industry for high quality memory foam. Warranty covers workmanship and material flaws and structural issues. The company will either repair or replace the mattress at their discretion and cost. The mattress is expected to last between 15 and 20 years with daily use.
The Perfect Cloud Atlas Gel Plus comes with the most attractive warranty of 25 years no-questions asked (extended from 10 years). This is the longest warranty cover provided by any premium mattress manufacturer currently. The warranty covers defects like indentations or body imprints of 1.5 inches or more, workmanship or material defects, or separating lamination inside. The gel technology employed by this mattress is fairly new and the lifespan data won’t be available for the next several years, but we know that the average expectation for similar mattresses is 10 to 15 years with proper use, and the above warranty leads us to believe that it will last much longer than that.
Best Foam Mattress Below $500: The Verdict
- When used occasionally, the cheap Signature Sleep Contour 8 has provided 85 percent owner satisfaction. For daily usage however, the ratings fall substantially, so this mattress could be a good solution for a guest room or a holiday home.
- For a superior mattress adequate to regular use at a bargain price, both the Atlas Gel-Plus and SureTemp are excellent choices. They also offer superior warranty covers, similar prices and user experiences.
- If place of manufacture is an issue with you, then the USA-made SureTemp is the mattress to choose within this budget.
- In terms of orthopedic value, the gel technology used in the Atlas Gel-Plus mattress make it a winner (read full review here).
Here is the summary of our assessment:
|Technology||Memory Foam||Memory Foam||Memory Foam|
|Warranty||10 Years||1 Year||15 Years|
|Lifespan||15+ Years||10 Years||15-20 Years|
At these prices all three mattresses are quite affordable when it comes to memory foam, especially considering the fact that many popular brands offer mattresses costing above $2,000 or more, like for example the Tempur-Cloud Supreme or the Simmons Beautyrest Comforpedic Enlightened Days.
For an extensive overview of many more mattresses, check out our updated Best Mattress Guide.