Memory Foam Mattress Buying Guide

October 09, 2023 7 min read

The first question that needs to be answered is: What exactly is a memory foam mattress? These mattresses are engineered, cutting edge type of visco-elastic PU foam. Authentic memory foam mattresses are made out of visco-elastic with many millions of sphere-shaped open cells. These cells have a special design that makes them very responsive to temperature and body pressure points. Therefore, a mattress made out of visco-elastic can contour itself so that it matches your body’s shape and provides you with the most support where needed. In addition to its support, a memory mattress is different from a standard mattress because its foam has an open-cell design that lets air freely pass through the material. This helps keep the mattress and the user cool and excessive sweating is prevented as well.

But before we continue with the guide, let us examine the best memory foam mattresses we have today.

Memory mattresses made out of visco-elastic materials have been quite popular across Europe for a very long time. Hospitals, institutes, and health authorities have used them because they support a patient’s body more effectively. Therefore, it prevents the development of pressure points, which can frequently happen any time a patient has to spend long amounts of time in bed.

In recent years, the consumer market has only increased for visco-elastic foam markets as customers have noticed the many benefits that the mattresses offer compared to standard spring-based ones. As consumer demand has increased for this kind of mattress, the different kinds of foam mattresses have also increased. The main problem here is that quality can widely vary, meaning that customers need t to consider many critical factors before making the best decision in terms of which mattress meets their needs the best.

Things to Look for When Buying a Memory Foam Mattress

Whenever you consider buying a high-quality memory foam mattress, you need to consider several important considerations and factors. The three most critical measurements and ratings that you should consider when trying to understand the specifications of a memory mattress are its Density, ILD Rating, and Firmness Rating. Those are the three criteria that will determine how well the mattress performs its job and your experience with it.

So let’s look more closely at the major factors.

Mattress Size

You might not be aware of this. However, most individuals spend about one-third of their lives lying in bed. There has been some very interesting research done that shows that a high percentage of individuals spend more money on their couches than they do mattresses and beds. In Europe, it is a different situation; the mattress is considered the most important purchase that an individual can make. That makes sense, considering how much time we spend on our mattresses and beds. Whatever we decide to purchase needs to be just right. Of course, we all want to have a comfortable, restful night’s sleep since it feels so good and has a direct connection to having a healthy body and mind.

When all of the above is considered, it’s very important to buy as large a mattress as you can in terms of your budget, bed, and bedroom.

How Suitable Your Bed is to Use With a Memory Foam Mattress

A majority of mattresses may be used with most bases and bedsteads. However, some will help with making it feel more comfortable and perform better than others.  For example, if you have a bed or bedstead that has a slatted wooden base, it is recommended that you place the slats no further apart than 2 to 3 inches. Most of today’s foam mattresses are suited for use with a divan sprung or box spring kind of bed as well. You need to remember that the mattress doesn’t need the base to provide any extra support.? That means that the best foundation to use with the mattress is a solid and stable platform.

Why It Can Be Confusing Comparing Different Mattresses By Manufacturer and Model

In general, it is thought to be in the best interest of the retail to make it as difficult as they can for customers to be able to effectively compare various memory foam mattresses in terms of their actual specifications and value for the money. One way of making a reasonable comparison is comparing Tempur’s products with another brand’s product since Tempur was the first company to introduce foam mattresses and is the market sector’s leader.

Why is Mattress Depth Important?

The depth of a mattress is important.? However, when it comes to depth with memory foam mattresses, the most critical aspect is the depth of the actual foam layer since that will determine how well it allows you to sleep comfortably, supports your body, and relieves pressure points.

Understanding Memory Foam Density

The density rating for a foam mattress is about the visco-elastic memory’s top layer density instead of the entire mattress. The supporting base is the real memory foam that uses high resilience or impact-resistant polyurethane foam for any mattress. This should never be mistaken for what is referred to as visco-elastic memory foam. For any foam mattress, the most expensive and important part is the top layer of visco-elastic foam. It is the most critical component.

Experts have recommended and said that memory mattresses with higher visco-elastic density ratings provide more support than mattresses with lower density ratings. That means that the density rating corresponds to the amount of visco-elastic memory foam contained within the foam portion of the mattress. So the lower that the density rating is, the less raw material has been used in making the layer of memory foam, meaning that the cells or air cavities are a lot larger. A higher density means that the memory foam is heavier, and there will be more cells or air cavities, and they will be packed tighter together and be a lot smaller as well.? That means wearing them down is more difficult, and it will help to determine how long the mattress lasts in addition to the muscular and skeletal support that it provides.

A high-density rated, the high-quality mattress will feel very full-bodied and sumptuous. In contrast, a lower-density rated, a lower quality mattress will not even come close to comparing.? However, it is worth noting that it doesn’t indicate how firm a memory bed is. Leading memory foam mattress manufacturers often change how firm the mattresses are regardless of the density level. That is very important to remember when buying foam since many manufacturers produce lower-density products. For instance, 50kg/m3 makes memory foam feel to customers like it is firmer and makes them think that the mattress has a higher density rating than it does.? Inevitably, the cell structure on mattresses with a lower density rating will wear down faster and easier and result in the memory bed losing its shape very fast.

One good rule of thumb to follow is to search for companies offering a long and comprehensive guarantee or warranty. Many makers of foam mattresses with lower density don’t offer over 12 months with their warranties or guarantees.

The density rating on a mattress is calculated by the memory foam’s weight in cubic meters.? That is why it is expressed as weight, for instance, 85kg/m3. If you prefer imperial measures and aren’t too familiar with the modern measurement system, it is the same calculation.? A cube of 1-foot modern memory foam is weighed. The density displayed imperially is in pounds, for instance, 5.3 lbs.

How to Understand the Way Memory Foam Will Feel

Usually, the best way of understanding how memory foam will feel is by taking a low at the manufacturer rating. A majority of them use terms like firm, medium, and soft.

The main problem with that is mattress manufacturers are not required to follow a specific test or guide of firmness so that you can compare all mattresses with one another. That is a problem when attempting to understand the differences between memory foam products in terms of how soft or firm the foam feels since it will vary between individuals. When it comes to comfort, we all have various preferences. That is why it’s important to rely on the manufacturer’s firmness rating and look into the ILD to understand how hard or soft a mattress feels.

Understanding What A Memory Mattress ILD Rating is and Why it is Important

The density and ILD of a foam mattress are both taken into account that will provide you with the most accurate picture of the quality and firmness of the mattress.

ILD is short for Indentation Load Deflection. Simply put, it tells you how firm or soft a memory foam mattress is.

Manufacturers calculate the ILD of a mattress by measuring how much pressure in pounds is needed for indenting 25% into a 4-inch layer of memory foam. It is tested using equal amounts of pressure over 50 square inches to press 25% into the memory foam. The pressure level needed for indenting 25% into the foam’s total depth is calculated and expressed in its weight.

The following example can help you better understand the ILD rating of a memory foam mattress.

Eight pounds of pressure is needed for indenting the softest memory foam 25%, whereas 20 pounds of pressure is needed for indenting into memory foam that is extremely firm.

The ILD rating for most memory foam mattresses is displayed in terms of a range. For example, 10 to 12, instead of only one number. That is because the ILD rating can have slight variations to it depending on where the foam has been stored before testing it or how it was conditioned. Moisture and humidity are two factors contributing to this slight variation. For example, a memory foam mattress with a 13-15 ILD rating means it is a medium to firm mattress of 13 to 15 pounds.