Most people looking for a memory foam mattress want to learn about density and what that means. Quite simply, density is how much one cubic foot (length x width x height) of foam weighs. So does that mean that all memory foam with the same density is exactly the same? If only it could be that easy. Unfortunately, it’s not.
Since memory foam density is a measurement you can use to compare memory foam, it is a useful tool. It’s just not an “end all, be all” measurement. For example, it is wise to look for memory foam of at least a 4-lb density. Memory foams of less than 4-lb densities simply do not have the conforming comfort and qualities that memory foam is supposed to have. Some very inexpensive memory foams have densities of 3.5-lbs or less or, as in the case with Tempur-Pedic’s cheapest models, as low as 2.5-lbs. Memory foam with densities these low simply do not perform the way memory foam should.
So if you buy memory foam with an even higher density, does that mean higher is better? Higher density memory foam, like 5-lb density, can sometimes be hard to move around on. I call that the “turtle on the back” feeling. This is why we use our 5-lb density memory foam as the second layer of our mattress. It is a great second layer, but not as comfortable if it was used as the top layer. A higher density memory foam is heavier, but not necessarily great as the sleeping surface. So higher density is heavier, but not better unless used in the right place. We have found that our 4-lb memory foam really hits that “sweet spot” for the greatest number of people and works as an ideal sleeping surface whereas the 5-lb density foam is better suited as a second layer of memory foam.
So can you just pick out any 4-lb memory foam and know it will be great? As I said before, if only it were that easy. Although memory foam density is a useful tool, not all memory foam is the same quality, comfort, and durability, regardless of its density. This is where reviews come into play. Reviews from buyers are very important when assessing the comfort of memory foam. Finding a reputable, established company is important too. There are a lot of start-ups selling memory foam right now. Who knows where they will be in 10 years?
At Healthy Foundations, we want to you be knowledgeable when you shop for memory foam. That is why we have our Memory Foam Buying Guide, as well as guides for latex, air, and adjustable beds. To learn more, check them out.