Many of today's most innovative mattresses contain gel, whether as a layer on its own or infused into a type of memory foam called gel foam. Gel imparts key features like supportive pressure relief, reduced motion transfer, cooling properties, enhanced breathability and added buoyancy.
While gel mattresses have some advantages over traditional foam mattresses, they're also typically more expensive and have a shorter lifespan -- usually lasting between five and eight years. They're 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 and others, 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 non-sale queen-size mattresses.
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.
This mattress incorporates a gel-infused memory foam that includes up to 20% biodegradable, plant-based foam, which helps with ventilation and moisture-wicking. It has nine layers in all, starting with a cover of plant-based Tencel (eucalyptus-derived with a feel like rayon), followed by a layer of organic wool, then nearly 1,000 pocketed coils. Below that are over 1,700 more micro-coils for enhanced buoyancy, another layer of contouring foam, poly-silk fiber, Air Luxe foam for deeper pressure relief, and a dense layer of support foam for greater durability. Finally, the base layer is organic canvas to hold things in place.
Owned by Avocado Green Brands, Brentwood Home follows suit on the numerous environmental certifications Avocado sports, including CertiPUR-US and Fair Trade. Brentwood Home mattresses are made in California in the company's own factory, where the company says many workers have remained employed for over 20 years.
With your purchase of an Oceano, you get free shipping and returns, in-home setup for a fee, a full year sleep trial and a 25-year limited warranty.
Casper's Wave Hybrid mattress has a medium firm feel. With several layers of targeted support, it's great for side sleepers, or anyone in need of enhanced pressure relief and support.
It consists of several foam layers that total a height of 13 inches. The company's signature Airscape foam comprises the top three layers, just under the cover, on which a thin layer of cooling gel is applied. The second layer of Airscape features holes for air flow and enhanced breathability, and the third layer is combined with memory foam that's divided into three areas for targeted zoned support and spinal alignment. Next comes a layer of gel pods and finally a base layer of pliable springs with heightened firmness around the edges.
Our favorite aspect of the Wave Hybrid is the layer of 86 gel pods placed beneath the waist and lower back regions. These are gently supportive and work with the mattress foam to strategically maintain spinal alignment. They're also intended to help prevent sinking when you lie down.
With this mattress, you can add Casper's new Snow Technology, which includes an enhanced cooling gel in the cover, superior heat wicking and additional ventilated, breathable foam.
The Casper Wave Hybrid comes with free shipping and returns, a 100-night sleep trial to decide if you want to keep it and a 10-year limited warranty.
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 offers faster recovery times from muscle soreness and sports injuries. This particular 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.
The Bear Pro also appeals to side sleepers, back sleepers and anyone who prefers a medium to medium-firm bed.
Reviewers on the Bear mattress site shared that the Bear Pro offers excellent motion transfer, is very supportive and helps alleviate pain in the joints and back. Some stomach sleepers noted it was a comfortable mattress for them as well.
When you buy a Bear Pro, you'll get free shipping and returns, a 100-night risk-free sleep trial and a 10-year warranty.
The Zinus gel-infused memory foam mattress has a firm feel, and it's ideal for hot sleepers, heavier folks and all sleeping positions. 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.
This mattress is also CertiPUR-US certified to be free of harmful chemicals like formaldehyde, as well as flame retardants and phthalates.
Reviewers say that the bed is comfy and easy to set up, and many reviewers' joint and back pain has been slowly alleviating since they've used this mattress -- one even noted improvements within just one night. Others noticed there was no bounce and it was quiet and had great motion transfer.
The price is a major bargain for a mattress with all the aforementioned features. Interested shoppers should consider the 100-night sleep trial and see how this mattress works for you -- if it doesn't appeal to you after several weeks of sleeping on it, you can easily send it back and get a refund.
In addition to the sleep trial, Zinus offers free shipping and a 10-year warranty.
Hot sleepers, 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 firm feel and is also good for those with joint pain, side and back sleepers.
The GhostBed Luxe's dual phase cooling technology offers an initial cooling experience when you first lie down on the mattress. The cover is made with phase change material that reacts with your body heat and is cool to the touch.
The second layer is an inch of cooling fiber that's designed to encourage airflow. Next comes an inch of gel foam, followed by a patent-pending Ghost Ice layer, which adds its own additional cooling power. Fifth in line is another 3 inches of gel memory foam, this time to provide pressure relief and draw heat away from the sleeper's body.
Next to last is the company's proprietary Ghost Bounce layer, which adds the buoyancy of latex alongside the contouring comfort of memory foam. Finally, the base layer provides a high-density core, assuring the bed will remain durable for the long haul.
The GhostBed Luxe comes with free shipping, hassle-free returns after 30 days, a 25-year warranty and a 100-night sleep trial.
Saatva's Loom & Leaf mattress measures 12 inches tall with four distinct layers, including 5 whole pounds of pressure-relieving memory foam.
The company lets you choose your desired density: Either relaxed firm (its most popular option, best for all sleep positions and couples with different sleep preferences) or firm, good for stomach sleepers or any other folks who enjoy the feel of a harder bed.
The first layer is the organic cotton quilted cover, which is hypoallergenic and antimicrobial. A natural flame barrier crafted of thistle and two layers of comfort foam accompany this cover as well. Next up is the gel-infused memory foam, which is designed to provide spinal support while also cooling. Below that, there are 5 more pounds of memory foam for pressure relief and further support, and a base layer made of high-density foam. All of Saatva's foams are eco-friendly and CertiPUR-US-certified.
When you buy a Loom & Leaf, you automatically receive free white glove delivery, which means the company will coordinate delivery with you, set your bed up in the room of your choice and remove your old mattress. It's free of charge if you select "free mattress removal" at checkout.
In addition to free white glove delivery, you also get free shipping, a 180-night home trial and a 15-year warranty. (If you need to return the mattress or decide you no longer want it after the sleep trial, there is a $99 transportation fee to pick it up.)
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.
The six layers that make up the Puffy Lux include a hypoallergenic, stain-resistant cover, followed by 1.5 inches of gel-infused breathable memory foam. The bed also features 1.5 inches of pressure-relieving foam, and 2 inches of moisture-wicking, humidity-resistant foam to help keep sleepers dry. The fifth layer comprises 7 inches of high-density foam accompanied by a full base of supportive coils with strong edge support. The final layer, the base, is equipped with a cover that grips the ground beneath it to give the bed stability. It works well on any foundation, including adjustable bases.
Reviewers were satisfied with the firm support the mattress gives while it gently contours the body. Buyers with back pain noticed it was alleviated as they used the mattress, in particular lower back pain.
If you purchase a Puffy Lux, you get free shipping, a lifetime warranty and a 101-night sleep trial.
Ideal for a range of sleeping positions, the Nest Bedding 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.
When selecting your firmness, keep in mind that medium is best for back, side and combination sleepers and people of average weight. Firm is best if you prefer back or stomach sleeping as a rule, need lower back support or if you like a firm feel to your mattress.
This mattress's five layers include a breathable quilted foam cover, an inch of Visco cooling gel support foam, 6 inches of reinforced edge coils and another inch of thick base foam followed by the final base layer for stability.
This mattress sets up easily, has environmental and safety certifications and is made in the USA.
If you purchase a Nest FLIP Hybrid mattress, you'll get free shipping, a 100-night trial and a lifetime warranty.
The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.