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You might be familiar with memory foam and box spring mattresses, but manufacturers want to offer as many options as possible. That’s where gel mattresses come in. In fact, your favorite foam or hybrid mattresses might already have gel options available. The best gel mattresses deliver motion dampening so your sleep won’t be disturbed if a partner or pet gets into bed, and they can provide more support and pressure relief than traditional mattresses. They also tend to run cooler.
While researching, you’ll find gel in all-foam and hybrid mattresses, either fully integrated into the foam or layered into separate sections or channels. Since gel provides temperature regulation, most often it’s found in or near the top layer of a mattress to combat heat retention. Gel foam generally contains either poured gel, swirled gel or gel micro beads, and the gel is often combined with materials that help regulate both heat and cooling even further.
While gel mattresses have some advantages over traditional memory-foam mattresses, they’re also typically more expensive and have a shorter life span, usually lasting between five and eight years. A gel foam mattress is also heavier than other mattresses. In addition, gel is a synthetic material and manufacturers often don’t disclose the exact ingredients. For this reason, it’s wise to look for certifications like CertiPUR-US to ensure that all the materials in your mattress are safe.
To help you with your search, we’ve rounded up our recommendations for the best gel mattresses available today. Prices listed are for queen-size mattresses, before any sales or discounts.
Read more: How to Stop Sweating in Your Sleep
Mattress Price Scale:
$ = Budget – $799 and below
$$ = Average – $800 to $1,699
$$$ = Premium – $1,700 and up
Reflect MSRP prices* sales might push a mattress to a lower threshold, but they are always changing.
Type Hybrid mattressFirmness 3 or medium-softTrial 365 nightsWarranty 25-year limited warranty Price $$
The Oceano is Brentwood Home’s best-selling hybrid mattress. Featuring a medium-soft feel, it’s comfy for all sleep positions and has a cooling effect that’s popular with hot sleepers.
Type Hybrid mattressFirmness 5 or mediumTrial 100 nightsWarranty 10-year limited warranty Price $$$
Casper’s Wave Hybrid mattress has a medium feel. With several layers of targeted support, it’s great for side, back, stomach or anyone in need of enhanced pressure relief and back support. It’s even endorsed by the American Chiropractic Association because of its zoned support design and ability to promote a properly aligned spine.
Type Hybrid mattressFirmness 6-7 or medium-firmTrial 120 nightsWarranty 10-year warranty Price $$
The Bear Pro mattress is an all-foam variety with five layers. Bear is known for its proprietary Celliant fabric, which keeps you cooler at night and promises faster recovery times from muscle soreness and sports injuries. This particular gel memory-foam mattress features a Celliant cover as well as advanced cooling technology using gel, copper foams and graphite. That makes it ideal for athletes or anyone else who works out on a regular basis.
Type Memory-foam mattressFirmness 3-4 or medium-softTrial 100 nightsWarranty 10-year limited warranty Price
The Zinus Green Tea memory-foam mattress has a softer feel, and it’s ideal for hot sleepers, heavier folks and all sleeping positions. With that being said, it seems to firm up in colder weather, a common characteristic of dense memory foam. The 12-inch variety includes 2 inches of gel-infused memory foam, 3 inches of comfort foam, and 7 inches of high-density base support foam. These three foams together promote air circulation, flow, breathability and pressure relief. Though, there are four firmness levels to choose from: 6-, 8-, 10- and 12-inch models.
Type Memory foam hybrid mattressFirmness 5 or mediumTrial 101 nightsWarranty 25-year limited warranty Price $$
If you are a hot sleeper, this may be one of the coolest mattresses you’ll find. The GhostBed Luxe consists of seven layers, four of which are devoted to cooling in one way or another. Supportive in all the right places while soft and plush on the top, the GhostBed Luxe has a medium feel and is great for all sleeper types from back, stomach, side, and combination.
Type Memory foam mattressFirmness 2 firmness levels — Relaxed firm: 7 or medium-firm; Firm: 9-10 or firmTrial 360 nightsWarranty Lifetime warranty Price $$$
Saatva’s Loom & Leaf mattress measures 12 inches tall with four distinct layers, including 5 whole pounds of pressure-relieving memory foam.
Type Memory foam hybridFirmness 4 or medium to medium-softTrial 101 nightsWarranty Lifetime warranty Price $$$
Another luxury hybrid mattress comprising layers of coils, cooling gel and several types of foam, the American-made Puffy Lux mattress offers the ideal bed for those with back pain or in need of pressure relief.
Type Flippable hybrid mattressFirmness 2 firmness levels | Medium: medium or 5 | Firm: medium-firm to firm or 8Trial 100 nightsWarranty Lifetime warranty Price $$
Ideal for a range of sleeping positions, the Nest Bedding Robin (formerly the FLIP Hybrid) mattress has two sides to offer — the top has a medium feel while the bottom has a firm feel. This unique bed combines Visco gel foam with supportive coils to create ergonomic support for optimal slumber.
Other mattresses we’ve tested
The mattresses above were personally hand-picked by our CNET Sleep editors, and proved to be the best performing gel mattresses among the 100-plus beds they’ve tested. With that being said, with so many to choose from, there are bound to be a few quality mattresses that miss the cut. Below are other mattresses tested by the CNET Sleep team that are worth mentioning as some of the best gel foam beds.
Lucid 10-inch Gel Memory Foam mattress: As an ultra wallet-friendly mattress, budget shoppers may really enjoy this option. It’s made with memory foam and has a slow-responding, viscous feel that’s typical of traditional memory foam. It comes in a large range of height options and three firmness levels, so most sleeping positions can find a Lucid Gel that suits their preferences. However, since it’s an all-foam mattress, I don’t recommend this to people who weigh over 230 pounds. It’s not going to be as durable or supportive as a hybrid mattress that contains coils.
DreamCloud mattress: Like the name implies, the DreamCloud is an ultra luxurious mattress that feels like a cloud when you sleep on it. I’d compare it to a fancy, five-star hotel mattress. It’s made with gel memory foam, but the fluffy pillow top in the cover of the bed makes it feel more neutral and bouncy. It’s incredibly thick and made with supportive pocketed coils in the bottom, so it’s perfect for all body types. It also has an accommodating firmness level; it’s rated around a medium or a 5 out of 10, making it fitting for all sleeping positions from back, side, stomach and combination.
How we test
Our CNET Sleep editors picked the beds and other products we write about based on editorial merit. When you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Find out more on how we test mattresses.
What are the pros and cons of a gel mattress?
Gel mattresses often sleep cooler than regular mattresses because the material doesn’t retain heat like traditional memory foam. Gel beds also tend to be more responsive to pressure. It ultimately promotes a cooler and more comfortable sleeping experience. However, because of this, gel foam mattresses are typically more expensive than your standard memory foam beds.
Who makes the best gel mattress?
Our CNET Sleep editors chose the following beds as the best gel mattresses:
- Brentwood Home Oceano
- Casper Wave Hybrid
- Bear Pro
- Zinus Green Tea Memory Foam
- GhostBed Luxe
- Loom & Leaf
- Puffy Lux Hybrid
- Nest Bedding Robin
How long do gel mattresses last?
It depends if your gel mattress is made with foam or if it’s a hybrid mattress (designed with foam and coils). A gel foam mattress will last around five to seven years depending on how well you take care of it. A hybrid mattress, however, should last around eight to 12 years. You should rotate your bed every six months so you evenly distribute pressure and give it a yearly deep clean.