Last updated: March 1st, 2017
The Classic Brands Cool Gel 12-inch Gel Memory Foam Mattress strikes a good balance between its medium firmness, the gel foam’s cooling capabilities, and the soft and comfortable feel of its outside cover. While not my top pick for best memory foam mattress of all time, it is a very budget friendly mattress that would be a great addition to your home if you’re shopping for a guest room bed.
For this review I personally tested out the Queen-size version of the Classic Brands Cool Gel 12-inch Gel Memory Foam Mattress for a week using our standard Zen Sleeping Scoring System. This holistic approach reviews 5 main categories: Initial Checks, Feel & Firmness, Smell, Heat Regulation, and Value, each worth a possible maximum 20 points. Each category is broken up into many subcategories, and we are always updating and improving our system.
To supplement my personal test of the mattress, I also conducted questionnaires with over 50 verified purchasers of the product – 40 of whom have owned the mattress more than 6 months. I will share relevant statistics and polls from them throughout the review, as you can get a much better understanding of a mattress’s possible performance by testing it for months instead of a week. So, let’s go!
Table of Contents
1. Where was the memory foam mattress produced?
The Classic Brands Cool Gel 12-inch Gel Memory Foam Mattress is produced in China by Classic Brands. Normally this is a deal-breaker, as I only like to review mattresses made in the USA. However, as you will see in the next section, they disclose enough about their materials and quality control for me to trust that their memory foam mattresses are not harmful or made with dangerous chemicals.3 out of 5 points awarded here.
2. Is the manufacturer listed on the CertiPUR-US site?
Yes, which means their mattresses are :
– Made without ozone depletes
– Made without PBDE flame retardants
– Made without mercury, lead, and other heavy materials
– Made without phthalates regulated by Consumer Product Safety Commission
– Low VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) emissions for indoor air quality
This is what I was referring to in the previous point. Normally mattress manufacturers from China are not CertiPUR certified, and so it is near impossible to judge the quality standards of the raw materials they use. Many times, the products can be made with chemicals that are not only irritable to humans, but harmful as well. That is not the case with Classic Brands, though – or else I would not even go through with the review. 5 out of 5 points here.
3. What is the actual thickness/ density of the memory foam layer?
The Classic Brands Cool Gel 12-inch offers a Cool Gel memory foam layer thickness of 3 inches, which carries a density of 4lb pcf. This is as ideal as it gets for the top layer of a memory foam mattress, as I usually prefer to see a thickness of at least 3 inches, and a density of 2 to 4 lb pcf. The Classic Brands Cool Gel 12-inch is on the higher end as far as density goes, which may mean it can be too firm for side sleepers or those who are sensitive to mattress firmness; we will find out in the Feel & Firmness section. As for now, I award 5 out of 5 points for the top layer check.
4. What is the actual thickness of the foam in the supporting layers?
This memory foam mattress offers a unique 3-tiered system of support foam layers. First there are two high-density gel-support foam layers, each 1.5 inches thick. These layers effectively act as the middle support layers of the mattress, and are supposed to provide cooling capabilities as they are made of gel-infused foam. The injection of gel (either as beads or liquid) into foam material acts to open the cell structures of the foam and better ventilate it, which prevents heat from getting captured within the cells and promotes airflow throughout the material while you lay on it.
The bottom layer of the Classic Brands Cool Gel 12-inch memory foam mattress is a 6-inch thick base foam layer to provide bottom support and prevent sinkage. I award 5 out of 5 points for the support layer check!
In total, I have awarded 18 out of 20 points for this section.
Now on to the real meat of the review. To test feel & firmness, I set the mattress on a foundation mattress and slept on it for a week, taking notes to provide an aggregate report of how it felt overall, and how firm it was. Then, I consulted with verified purchasers to gauge not only how the mattress felt for them, but also to gauge their scores on three factors of durability (more on that in a little bit).
Overall, the Classic Brands Cool Gel 12-inch memory foam mattress felt quite comfortable for my 200lb frame. I did not report feeling stiff, achy, or uncomfortable at all during any night of sleep. Also, I did not report tossing and turning at all. I’m naturally a back sleeper, and in my opinion the Classic Brands Cool Gel 12-inch seemed to be around a medium-level firmness. So, I would highly recommend the mattress to anyone who either sleeps on their back and likes medium-level firm memory foam, or sleeps on their stomach/sides and likes hard-level firmness. This is because, on average, side and stomach sleepers naturally need a softer sleeping surface than back sleepers to attain the same level of comfort. Therefore if you are a side sleeper and prefer medium-level firmness memory foam, I would recommend you purchase a memory foam topper with the Classic Brands Cool Gel 12-inch memory foam mattress, or a more soft memory foam mattress altogether.
A perfect mattress for most sleeping positions
Of the 50 customers I interviewed, 35 of them thought the Classic Brands Cool Gel 12-inch was a perfect fit for them. The other 15 thought it was simply too firm to get a good night’s sleep on. The majority of those 15 happened to be side sleepers, with some of them also being lightweight, thus making them naturally more sensitive to firm mattresses. My rule of thumb: Medium-level firmness, comfortable for my back, and no tossing or turning. In terms of feel & firmness, it is a great memory foam mattress for back sleepers.
To test durability of the Classic Brands Cool Gel 12-inch Memory Foam Mattress, I considered three key factors: garment construction, surface / edge abrasion, and stain release. For all of these factors, I turned to my trustworthy verified purchasers who have owned the product for more than 6 months. They are the perfect candidates to rate these factors as they have used, washed, dried, and generally observed any wear and tear of the mattress over a considerably longer period of time than I have.
Garment construction refers to how resistant the mattress is to tears at the seams, body and sleeves. The more durable a mattress is, the more resistant it is to these types of tears. The Classic Brands Cool Gel did great at this; the mattress features a soft yet very resilient top cover, so all 40 interviewees reported no tears at all.
Surface / edge abrasion refers to how resistant the memory foam mattress is against wearing away when rubbed against another surface. Since the mattress will be rubbed against your skin, the washing machine, the drier, and everything in between, this is an extremely important factor to review. Again, all 40 customers I interviewed noted no surface or edge abrasions with the Classic Brands Cool Gel 12-inch.
Stain release refers to how effectively the mattress can release stains. It’s important for two reasons: durability and aesthetics. A more durable mattress typically will be able to release stubborn stains easier, and secondly, who likes to sleep on mattresses with stains?! This factor was very difficult to test since most of the customers I interviewed actually ended up placing mattress protectors or pads over the surface, so the jury’s kind of out on this one. However, the ratings of the two previous factors are good enough to convince me that the mattress probably rates well here as well.
After having tested the feel, firmness, and durability of the Classic Brands Cool Gel 12-inch Memory Foam Mattress, I believe it deserves 17 points out of 20 points for this section.
Most memory foam mattresses come with a distinct “new memory foam” smell that typically goes away after a few days of being aired out. In order to test this section, all I had to do was unpack the Classic Brands Cool Gel 12-inch Memory Foam Mattress and take a whif. Luckily, there was not much of a smell to report! That is to say, it did smell, but it was not strong at all. I’d describe it as more of a distant, thin odor that is typical of higher quality memory foam mattresses. I let the mattress air out in a well-ventilated room without any covers for 48 hours, and by then the smell had completely vanished.
Most customers report a slight smell that lasts for a couple days
The majority of the customers I interviewed had a similar experience as I. 39 out of 50 of them reported very little or no smell, 5 reported a medium smell, and 6 reported a very strong smell. Everyone’s mileage will vary when it comes to smell as there are many factors to take into account (human sensitivity, how long was the mattress packaged for, etc), so as long as a clear majority of customers didn’t have terrible experiences, I believe the Classic Brands Cool Gel 12-inch will not both you smell-wise. I award 15 out of 20 points in this section.
To provide an accurate review of heat regulation, I recorded how hot I felt during a week’s worth of sleeping on this mattress, and also consulted with my 50 verified purchasers to gauge their opinions. Personally, the mattress did not perform as well as I’d expect in this section; seeing as it is a gel-infused memory foam mattress, my expectation was a cool sleeping experience. Instead, most nights the mattress felt not cool or even neutral, but quite warm. It wasn’t hot enough to make me sweat or very uncomfortable, but I definitely used less blankets while sleeping on this mattress… or else I would’ve been much too hot.
However, the majority of my interviewees reported actually feeling quite neutral during the night while sleeping on the Classic Brands Cool Gel 12-inch memory foam mattress. This may be because over time the mattress gets broken in, or even that the purchasers got used to the warm feeling and now think it feels more neutral as a result. I think that this mattress should not be discounted just because I didn’t find it to be a cool or neutral sleeping experience; on the other hand, if you are very sensitive to heat and strictly require a cool mattress, I would look elsewhere. But for the majority of sleepers, this mattress will not make you feel hot. So, I award 15 out of 20 points for this section.
As of the dating of this post, you are getting a very budget-friendly deal for a 12-inch memory foam mattress with a lot to offer. The top layer is 3 inches of cool gel memory foam, carrying a medium-firm level density of 4 lb pcf. For Zen Sleeping standards, this is pretty much optimal. Under the top layer is a unique 3-tiered system of two support layers at 1.5 inches thick of high density foam, and one high density layer of base foam. For a budget of $400 or less, you cannot really find a better deal on the market. If firmness is an issue for you, consider getting a mattress topper, or even purchasing this memory foam mattress as a bed for the guest room. For value, I award 20 out of 20 points.
We at Zen Sleeping believe that a mattress with a score of >70 passes our performance standards. After adding up the totals of each section, we are glad to report that the Classic Brands Cool Gel 12-inch Memory Foam Mattresses has attained a Zen Sleeping Score of 85! Below you will see a breakdown of how each section in this review stacks up against one another.