Understanding gel foam mattresses
There are a lot of factors that go into getting a good night’s sleep. Studies show that being too warm can leave people tossing and turning. Even with a bedroom temperature set at 65 degrees, some people still find themselves waking up hot and sweaty, making them adjust their blankets or throw them off the bed completely. These people are known as “hot sleepers.” One way to deal with these sleep disruptions? Buying a cool gel mattress.
According to Consumer Reports, foam mattresses tend to retain warmth. So to combat this heat retention, Serta launched its iComfort gel memory foam mattress line in 2011. It was designed to not trap heat by layering a breathable gel-infused memory foam layer in the mattress to promote airflow.
With that said, not all cool gel mattresses work the same way. Some mattresses have the gel-infused foam on the top layer of the mattress, while others have it as a second layer beneath the mattress surface.
Many different brands have since created their own versions of cool gel mattresses. We researched the current products on the market and scoured mattress reviews. In our research below, you’ll see how some products compare and differ. While most of them heavily rely on chemical-based gel technology, some are more nature-friendly. Additionally, on a firmness scale, most brands rank their products somewhere in the middle: meaning their mattresses have considerable back support yet are soft enough to sink in and alleviate pressure.
If you’re a hot sleeper who’s looking for ways to get comfortable, read on to find a list of mattresses that may help you get a good — and cool — night of zzz’s.
The top 5 cool gel mattresses
Methodology: This research was compiled by reading consumer intelligence reports from J.D. Power and product specs presented by each respective company. Additional research was gathered and analyzed via product reviews on each company’s website and Amazon.
Best Overall: Nectar
The Nectar mattress is an ideal blend of comfort, durability, and affordability. Its multi-layered construction enables non-stop airflow and promises a cooler night’s sleep. The quilted mattress memory foam mattress cover and gel memory foam layer distribute your weight and body heat evenly, meaning no lumps or hot spots. The adaptive foam layers also relieve common pressure points, making it a good choice for any type of sleeper. Additionally, enhanced edge support and minimized motion transfer make this a good choice for couples and singles alike.
The shopping process is very simple with Nectar. With the 365-night home trial, free shipping and returns, and a Forever Warranty (which is exactly what it sounds like), you can purchase a Nectar mattress pretty much risk-free.
- Pre-promotional price: $898-$1,398
- Comfort/firmness: Medium-firm, 6.5 on a 1-10 scale (1 being soft, 10 being firm)
- Buying method: Online and in-store
- Perks: Your mattress purchase includes two free pillows, a free set of sheets, and free mattress protector
- Best for: All types of sleepers
Nectar gel foam mattress reviews
The original Nectar mattress has over 19,000 reviews on their website with an average review of 4.5 stars. The reviews are also positive on Amazon, where the Nectar twin mattress has 1,700 reviews, with a 4-star rating out of 5. Numerous customers say that that using the mattress mitigated their hip, shoulder, and back pain, and one even said it caused their back spasms to stop.
Pros and cons of Nectar
To learn more, read our Nectar mattress buying guide.
Best for your budget: Zinus Cooling Gel Memory Foam iCoil® Hybrid Mattress
The Zinus mattress combines proprietary coil spring technology, iCoil, with a cooling gel memory foam to provide comfort and support at an affordable price. Both iCoil and the layer of cooling foam work together in the hybrid mattress to contour to your shape and regulate your body temperature.
The mattress features an added layer of high-density foam to prevent sagging when someone is sitting on the edge of the bed and adds stability, which makes it easier to get up in the morning. It’s also great for couples as it has motion isolation and caters to different styles of sleepers.
- Price: $200–$434
- Comfort/firmness: Medium firm. On their scale of 1 being firm and 10 being plush, they rate this mattress a 6.2
- Buying method: Online
- Perks: Free shipping, 100-night trial, 10-year warranty
- Best for: Hot sleepers, stomach sleepers, back sleepers, and all-over-the-place sleepers
Zinus gel foam mattress reviews
On Zinus’ website, the mattress received a 4.4-star rating. One sleeper detailed how they love slowly sinking into the mattress for maximum comfort. Another comment from a side-sleeper said the mattress improved their sleep. On Amazon, of over 1,600 ratings, Zinus received an average of 4.5 stars. Commenters recommend choosing between the 10”, 12” and 14” profiles to make sure you get the firmness level you need. Additionally, users claim the mattress has eased their back pain and provided a solid night of sleep.
Pros and cons of Zinus
Best for luxury: Loom & Leaf by Saatva
The Loom & Leaf mattress by Saatva is a premium memory foam mattress that features a gel-infused layer for maximum cool sleeping and concentrated lumbar support. The 5-pound foam also provides contouring support. The multi-layered construction of the Relaxed Firm mattress is designed to offer the perfect combination of plush comfort and contouring support. It’s geared toward any type of sleeper — especially couples with different sleep preferences.
Loom & Leaf mattresses are also eco-friendly. The company produces them in a way that emits fewer greenhouse gases, and guarantees that the final product will be odorless and free of harmful chemicals.
- Price: $849–$2,276
- Comfort/firmness: Comes in Firm 7 and Relaxed Firm (5-7) on a firmness scale of 1 (soft) to 10 (firm)
- Buying method: Online
- Perks: Free White Glove delivery and set up, 120-night at-home trial, 15-year warranty
- Best for: The firm mattress is good for stomach sleepers, and all other sleepers may prefer the relaxed firm mattress
Loom & Leaf gel foam mattress reviews
On Saatva’s website, they received a 9.7/10 star rating with over 40,000 reviews, earning them the title of America’s #1 luxury mattress brand. Customers say the buying process was a breeze, and some praise Saatva’s customer service. Additionally, many people found they slept solidly through the night and no longer experienced back pain.
Pros and cons of Loom & Leaf
Read more in our Saatva mattress buying guide.
Best for firmness options: Brooklyn Bedding Aurora Hybrid
The Brooklyn Bedding Aurora Hybrid mattress is constructed using TitanCool on the surface of the mattress — this moderates your temperate by using cooling gel beads. But one of the most appealing selling points is that there are three firmness levels to select from, so you can choose your ideal comfort and temperature.
Additionally, the top layer is created with CopperFlex foam, which provides superior pressure point relief combined with antimicrobial properties. The hybrid’s use of coils provides motion isolation, making the bed a good choice for couples.
- Pre-promotional price: $999–$2,124.00 (Twin–California King)
- Comfort/firmness: Can select Soft, Medium or Firm
- Buying method: Online or in select showrooms
- Perks: 120-night trial, free shipping and returns, 10-year warranty
- Best for: The company recommends “soft” for side sleepers, “firm” for stomach and back sleepers, and “medium” for all three.
Brooklyn Bedding Aurora gel foam mattress reviews:
On the company’s website, this mattress receives 4.7 stars with 1,077 reviews. Many reviews detail the positive cooling qualities of the mattress and also the ease of ordering, delivery, and set up. Also worth noting in the positive reviews: All different styles of sleepers recommended this mattress.
Pros and cons of Brooklyn Bedding Aurora
Best Eco-Friendly Hybrid: Bear Hybrid
The Bear Hybrid is Greenguard Gold Certified for low emissions and uses less harsh chemicals than other mattress brands. Additionally, as a hybrid, it combines hyper-soft cooling-gel foam situated over layers of comfort foam and a pocketed coil system to reduce motion transfer and provide edge support, which is advantageous for couples. If you like the traditional “bounce” of innerspring mattresses, consider this hybrid model.
- Price: $872-$1,352
- Comfort/firmness: A 6, on a scale of 1 being soft and 10 being firm
- Buying method: Online or in a few stores
- Perks: 100-night risk-free trial, free shipping, and returns
- Best for: Side and back sleepers
Bear Hybrid gel foam mattress reviews
On the company’s website, the Bear Hybrid has a 5-star rating out of 1,385 reviews. Positive reviews detailed getting a better night’s sleep, especially for couples with mixed sleep styles. Additionally, commenters said they woke up with less back pain.
Pros and cons of Bear Hybrid
*Pricing as of 05/12/2020
Things to keep in mind when shopping for gel memory foam mattresses
- Firmness: Most cooling gel mattresses tend to run on the medium-firm side, which is good for back sleepers and stomach sleepers. (Although some brands do offer softer cooling gel mattress options.)
- Foam or Hybrid: Cooling gel mattresses come in memory foam and in hybrid foam and coil. Foam mattresses tend to be softer, while hybrid mattresses tend to offer more bounce and support.
- Coolness: There are a couple of ways cooling gel can be used in a mattress — from cooling beads to gel-infused foam. Each style works effectively to keep you cool when paired with other breathable materials.
The bottom line
There are many different cool gel mattresses on the market. Finding the best mattress for you depends on the level of coolness you require while you sleep and your preferred sleep position. Different types of cooling materials work more efficiently than others, and some mattresses have different levels of firmness. Look into both of these elements when deciding the best cool gel mattress for you.
Frequently asked questions
Do gel mattresses keep you cool?
Yes, gel mattresses keep you cool. They don’t retain heat like memory foam mattresses and help allow the body to better regulate its temperature.
What is the best cool gel mattress?
Based on our research, the best overall cool gel mattress is the Nectar mattress. It allows for a breathable and cool night’s sleep. It also has great bang for your buck, while also having overwhelmingly positive customer reviews.
Are gel beds any good?
Yes, gel beds are good for cool, relaxed slumber while also getting support for your pressure points.