DreamFoam Essential mattress review: A budget-friendly mattress to fit anywhere

 Brooklyn Bedding DreamFoam Essential mattress, press photo.
Brooklyn Bedding DreamFoam Essential mattress, press photo.

DreamFoam Essential mattress: Two-minute review

The DreamFoam Essential mattress, from parent company Brooklyn Bedding, is a basic, all-foam bed-in-a-box with some important distinctions. Formerly known as the Brooklyn Bedding Chill mattress, it doesn't trap heat like many foam mattresses do.

What really sets this mattress apart is the wide variety of sizes from which to choose. The thickness you choose determines the firmness for the DreamFoam mattress. There are five different options, ranging from six to 14 inches, which translates to a range from 'firm' to 'medium-soft'. Most notably, there are 22 different mattress sizes available, many of which are especially for RV or boat spaces.

Brooklyn Bedding DreamFoam Essential mattress
Brooklyn Bedding DreamFoam Essential mattress

My husband and I slept on the 10-inch thick, queen-sized mattress for three weeks. In my testing, I found the DreamFoam's motion isolation to be good, which is important for couples. Despite having different sleep preferences – I'm a side sleeper that prefers a softer mattress, he's a stomach sleeper that prefers a firmer mattress – we both found it to be comfortable. The 10-inch mattress falls in the middle of the range, and the company refers to it as 'medium-firm'. It is better suited for stomach and back sleepers than side sleepers, since it lacks the contouring of a softer mattress. If you depend on firm edges to sit comfortably on the edge of your bed, you may want to look elsewhere.

This isn't the most luxurious or exciting mattress around, but it is functional and very affordable. While it doesn't make the cut for TechRadar's overall best mattress guide, it does feature amongst its best cheap mattress picks – and is especially useful if you're shopping for an awkward space. Read on for my full Brooklyn Bedding DreamFoam Essential mattress review.

DreamFoam mattress review: Materials & design

  • All-foam mattress – two or three layers, depending on thickness

  • Simple but effective design

  • Huge range of sizes and several thickness options

One of the most notable things about the DreamFoam Essential mattress is that it comes in 22 different sizes, each of which can be purchased in one of five different thicknesses. Depth options range from six to 14 inches, with the sleep feel getting softer the thicker the mattress is. A number of Brooklyn Bedding's mattresses are available in a wide range of sizes, but this one might have the most options of them all.

Brooklyn Bedding DreamFoam Essential mattress, press photo
Brooklyn Bedding DreamFoam Essential mattress, press photo

The design is simple but effective. The DreamFoam mattress isn't removable for cleaning, although it is designed to be stain-resistant. Each mattress has at least two layers of foam: the thicker bottom foam layer is a high-density foam for firm support, while the top layer is Gel Swirl Memory Foam, which is designed to be responsive to your movement.

This top layer of foam is infused with cooling gel, and also described as 'open-cell', to encourage airflow and heat dissipation. (In reality, pretty much all mattress foam is open-cell, but I was impressed with the temperature regulation here nevertheless – I'll get into that more in the Performance section of this review.) The 6-inch, 8-inch, and 10-inch models all have these two layers, and the layers get thicker as the mattress gets thicker.

The two thickest models, the 12-inch and 14-inch mattresses, have a third transitional foam layer in between the two mentioned above. This middle layer is a high-density foam designed for better contouring to your body.

Close up of stitching coming loose on Brooklyn Bedding DreamFoam Essential mattress
Close up of stitching coming loose on Brooklyn Bedding DreamFoam Essential mattress

Brooklyn Bedding recommends rotating the mattress every six to eight months, but it's not flippable. There are no handles to help with maneuvering. This isn't the most luxurious or complex mattress design around, but it offers decent quality for the affordable price tag (although there was a bit of loose stitching on our review model).

  • Design score: 3.5 out of 5

DreamFoam Essential review: Price & value for money

  • Budget or lower mid-range mattress, depending on thickness

  • Good value for the quality; respected brand name

  • Always discounted – expect 25% off or occasionally more

Like many mattresses, the DreamFoam Essential is never sold at full price. Expect 20% off MSRP, which takes this mattress into budget (for the 6 and 8 inch models) or lower mid-range brackets (for 10 inches or thicker).

Here's the official pricing for the main sizes, alongside the prices you can expect to actually pay. I'll use the 10 inch model here.

  • Twin: MSRP $449 (usually sold at $336.80)

  • Full: MSRP $574 (usually sold at $430.50)

  • Queen: MSRP $699 (usually sold at $524.30)

  • King: MSRP $899 (usually sold at $674.30)

  • Cal king: MSRP $899 (usually sold at $674.30)

If you're not in a rush to buy, you might be able to snag a bigger discount around national holidays. The Black Friday mattress deals in late November traditionally bring with them the lower prices of the year, but parent company Brooklyn Bedding typically bumps up its deals to 30% off for events like the Presidents' Day mattress sales and the Memorial Day mattress sales.

In terms of value for money, it's pretty good but not amazing. The most affordable options in TechRadar's best memory foam mattress guide are cheaper, but you are getting the reassurance and expertise of a well-known and respected sleep brand here (DreamFoam is an offshoot of Brooklyn Bedding). If you're considering the 12 inch version or thicker, there are similarly-priced alternatives that offer more for your money – for example, the DreamCloud mattress (no relation) has a more complex and luxurious feeling design, along with a much longer trial and warranty.

  • Value for money score: 4 out of 5

DreamFoam Essential review: Comfort & support

  • Firmness depends on thickness; 10" review model around 7/10

  • 10 inch version comfortable for any sleep position

  • Not a lot of body contouring

The DreamFoam Essential mattress comes in five different thicknesses, and each one has a different firmness profile. I tested the 10-inch model, which is the middle of the five. It's rated as 'medium-firm' by the company, rating it 6 out of 10 in terms of firmness. I think it's slightly firmer; more like a 7 out of 10. The following section of this review is based just on the 10-inch version; the thinner and thicker versions will feel different.

I found the DreamFoam Essential mattress to be the type of mattress where I lie on top rather than sinking in. I didn’t find that it contours to my body very much. The sleep surface is quite responsive, and springs back quickly when you remove pressure. While the mattress is made of two different foam layers of different densities, I couldn’t sense that while sleeping on it.

Brooklyn Bedding DreamFoam Essential mattress with weight resting on it, to show sinkage
Brooklyn Bedding DreamFoam Essential mattress with weight resting on it, to show sinkage

To get a more objective record of firmness, I placed a 15-pound weight in the middle of the mattress and measured how far it sank in. The weight sank to a depth of two inches, which lines up with the medium-firm rating that Brooklyn Bedding gives the 10-inch model. I agree with the company’s medium-firm rating; it feels that way to me subjectively as well.

Mattress firmness preference is a matter of taste. But as a general rule, the best mattresses for side sleepers tend to be a little softer, with more pronounced contouring, to prevent pressure from building up around the hips and shoulders. Back and stomach sleepers generally get the support they need with a firmer mattress. Additionally, larger bodies will want the added support of a firmer mattress while lighter-weight bodies will be more comfortable on softer mattresses.

My husband and I both have lighter-weight bodies, but he is primarily a stomach sleeper while I’m primarily a side sleeper. We do both occasionally sleep on our backs as well. I found the mattress to be comfortable, even on my side, with just enough contouring for a good night’s sleep. My husband found it to be even more comfortable, since he prefers to sleep on his stomach.

While I think anyone could sleep comfortably on the medium-firm 10-inch version, it will feel most comfortable for stomach and back sleepers. It’s designed to support up to 950 lbs, so should be suitable for bigger bodies, too.

Brooklyn DreamFoam mattress review: Performance

  • Decent temperature regulation

  • Good edge support for sleeping; less for sitting

  • Minimal motion transfer

Foam mattresses can trap heat, rendering the sleeper uncomfortably hot. Both my husband and I tend to sleep hot, so we are especially sensitive to any mattress or bedding that might raise our sleeping temperature. Thankfully, we didn’t find this to be an issue with the DreamFoam Essential – I'd judge it to be temperature neutral, neither warming me up nor cooling me down as I slept. (If you really struggle with overheating at night, you might be better off investing in one of the best cooling mattresses, however.) For context, I tested this mattress during a midwestern spring, with the average temperature being about 68 degrees Farhenheit.

Brooklyn Bedding DreamFoam Essential mattress with reviewer's hand resting on it
Brooklyn Bedding DreamFoam Essential mattress with reviewer's hand resting on it

Motion isolation is an important factor for couples, especially if one or more of the partners tends to toss and turn. I’m very sensitive to my partner’s motion while I’m trying to sleep, and I found that the DreamFoam Essential offered pretty good motion isolation. I ran some tests to measure this more objectively, dropping the 15-pound onto the mattress near a wine glass to see if it would fall over. First, I dropped the weight 10 inches away from the wine glass; it jiggled but didn’t fall over. Second, I dropped it 25 inches from the glass; this time it barely moved at all. This confirms that the mattress will work well for people whose partners move around a lot at night.

Brooklyn Bedding DreamFoam Essential mattress with wine glass, tape measure and weight resting on it
Brooklyn Bedding DreamFoam Essential mattress with wine glass, tape measure and weight resting on it

Finally, I tested the mattress' edge support. This matters for a couple of reasons. First of all, you want to be able to sleep on your mattress right up to the edge, so you can make use of the whole mattress. Second, you want to be able to sit on the edge of the mattress and push up to standing. For sleeping purposes, I found the edge support to be quite good; I never felt in danger of rolling off. However, when I sat on the edge of the mattress, I sank in quite a bit. It wasn’t the best surface for pushing off from.

I also tested all of the edges with the 15-pound weight, noting 1.5-inch sinkage all around. As a rule of thumb, you want for less sinkage around the edges than in the middle. The middle of this mattress had two inches of sinkage, so, overall, edge support isn't bad.

  • Performance score: 4 out of 5

DreamFoam Essential mattress review: Specs

Should I buy the DreamFoam Essential mattress?

Buy it if...

✅ You're shopping for an awkward space: The DreamFoam Essential comes in nearly two dozen different sizes, including ones especially for RVs and bunk beds. A few of this brand's mattresses come in some unusual sizes (the Brooklyn Bedding Signature Hybrid has 14 size options, for example), but this might be the widest range of them all.

You're on a budget: If you don't have tons of cash to splash and/or you just need something good quality and comfortable, this is a great pick. While this isn’t a high-end, lush mattress, both my partner and I were perfectly happy sleeping on it during our review period.

You need a guest room mattress: With a range of different firmness options and a high maximum weight limit, this is a mattress that can suit lots of different people, regardless of sleep position or body size. The price point is perfect for a spare room, too.

Don't buy it if...

❌ You want a luxurious mattress: The DreamFoam Essential, while perfectly fine, is more of a basic mattress-in-a-box model. If you want something a little fancier, check out the DreamCloud mattress. This hybrid sits in the lower mid-range price bracket (so depending on thickness may be cheaper than the DreamFoam) and is our top pick for affordable luxury.

You need a mattress with sturdy edges: While the edge support on the DreamFoam is okay, it's not exceptional. If you need something you can comfortably push up off to get up in the morning, look elsewhere.

You aren't shopping for an awkward space: If you don't need one of those weird sizes, be aware that there are plenty of budget-friendly all-foam mattresses to choose from. The DreamFoam might still win out in the end, but it's well worth taking a look at the TechRadar roundup of the best memory foam mattresses to make sure you're not missing out on something that would suit you better.

How I tested the Brooklyn Bedding DreamFoam Essential mattress

I tested the 10-inch thick, Queen-sized DreamFoam Essential Mattress. My husband and I slept on it for three weeks in the spring. We have central heating and air-conditioning,  so it was never too hot or too cold. The average temperature was 68 degrees Fahrenheit. We both tend to sleep hot, so we used minimal bedding: just a bottom sheet, a top sheet, and a light blanket.

In addition to my subjective feelings about the comfort of this mattress, and soliciting my husband’s opinions, I ran standardized tests to assess the softness, edge support, and motion isolation of this mattress.

Read more about how we test

First reviewed July 2023