Memory foam’s density is expressed by the weight of a cubic foot of that particular material. So, for example, the memory foam we use for our topper pad has a 4 lb/cubic foot density (or more generally referred to as 4 lb memory foam). This simply means that a cube that is a foot in each dimension made of this particular foam would weight 4 lbs.
Every year around this time, we get inquiries from parents and grandparents looking for memory foam toppers for students going off to college in the fall, usually for the first time. (Funny how it is rarely the student we hear from, but we do know who is usually paying the bills, don’t we?) Sometimes the colleges even recommend bring a memory foam topper to school when the student arrives. Despite what the colleges may recommend, we do not recommend this. Here’s why…
Occasionally, we talk to people who are looking for a memory foam topper to “fix” their old, worn-out mattress. Unfortunately, a memory foam topper isn’t a magic wand that can fix a mattress that is past its useful life. A mattress that is worn-out and has dips, sags, or lumps should be replaced. So what is a memory foam topper for then?
On occasion, someone asks us why we do not sell a 4″ memory foam topper and just offer 3″ and 2″ versions of our Healthy Foundations Memory Foam Topper. I had a question like this recently.
What we have found over the years, is that if someone thinks they need a 4 inch memory foam topper, they likely need a new mattress. A topper is meant to make a mattress that is too firm more comfortable, softer, reduce pressure points, etc. It is not meant to “fix” a mattress that is past its useful life or turn a standard mattress into a memory foam mattress. For most people who have a mattress that is too firm, our 2″ topper works well. The 3″ topper is for those who want a very plush feel. If you are looking to put our memory foam topper over an existing memory foam mattress, we suggest the 2″ topper.
IFD (Indentation Force Deflection), also known as ILD, is the measure of the firmness of a foam. It is used in everything from memory foam to car seats. IFD/ILD measure the deflection of a foam under a load. The specific IFD test gives the foam a numeric IFD value. The higher the number, the firmer the foam. This means, for example, that memory foam will have a much lower number than a base foam for a mattress and a car seat will have a higher number than mattress base foam.
Some “old wives’ tales” never seem to go away. Let’s get rid of some of them… You do not catch a cold from being cold. Colds are caused by viruses. If you cross your eyes or make a weird face, it is not going to stick that way. Most importantly (for our purposes at least), not all memory foam “sleeps hot.” So where did this pervasive rumor come from? Let’s explore that a bit.
All mattresses, including memory foam mattresses, need to be protected with some type of mattress cover, also known as a mattress protector. This cover goes between the mattress and the sheets and protects the mattress from sweat, dirt, etc. For our purposes, we will call this protective barrier a “mattress protector.” You will also see it called a variety of other names, but the basic purpose is to protect the mattress so you are not putting your sheets directly on a bare mattress.
We often get asked about the density of the memory foams we use in our memory foam mattress and memory foam topper pads, and once in awhile about their IFD/ILD rating.
And while we are happy to provide this technical data, I want to be clear that these technical specs alone do not give you a real indication of the comfort of a particular memory foam mattress or topper.
I get a fair amount of questions about gel foam — what is gel foam, why I’ve only carried memory foam beds (for more information on buying a memory foam bed, click here to see our in-depth memory foam mattress buying guide and checklist) and never carried a gel foam bed, and whether gel foam “better” than memory foam?
Whether memory foam “sleeps hot” or not is a concern for many people. Memory foam has a reputation for sleeping hot, especially because the leading brand, Tempur-Pedic, is known for this. Since sleeping hot is something that is undesirable, some memory foam manufacturers have worked to eliminate this drawback.