There is a saying that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” That is true not just for beauty, but when is comes to memory foam mattress firmness, or any mattress’ firmness for that matter. What that means is that what one person thinks is a mattress that is too firm, another may think is too soft.
There is no universal standard or test for mattress firmness ratings. Memory foam mattress manufacturers and retailers describe the firmness of their mattresses as best they can to give customers an idea of how the mattress feels, but ultimately, the “beauty is still in the eye of the beholder.” What one person thinks is firm another may think is soft and vice versa. How a mattress feels to a person is a very individualized thing.
One case that illustrates this “eye of the beholder” thing for firmness are the returns for our own Healthy Foundations Memory Foam Mattress. The mattress has a low return rate and is considered a medium firm to firm in terms of its feel, but the returns run about 50-50 for those who think it is too firm and those who think it is too soft. Even between sleep partners, what is comfortable and/or too soft or too firm is often up for debate. Be thankful if you and your sleep partner have the same sleep needs!
Another thing that skews the firmness/softness for memory foam mattresses in retail stores is the environment of a retail mattress store. Most retail stores are warmer than most people keep their homes. This means the mattress will be softer in the store than in most homes. Mattresses in the store are also well-broken-in. This also means the mattress you buy will feel differently in your home than it did in the store. So what’s person to do to know if a mattress will be the right feel for them?
First of all, read as many reviews of a mattress as you can. Understand that no mattress works well for everyone, but you can get a general idea of how a mattress feels by reading lots of reviews. The second and, in my opinion, most important thing to do is to only buy from retailers that will give you a true money-back trial of at least 90 days. (Our money-back trial is 365 days, but 90 days is the minimum we recommend.) This will allow you to know if the mattress works for you in your own home for an extended period. A 15 – 20 minute store trial simply can’t duplicate your own sleeping experience 8 hours a day, day after day. One more important detail: Stay away from exchanges, store credits, and “comfort” guarantees (just a tricky way of saying “store credit”). You want to be able to get your money back and shop elsewhere if needed.
At Healthy Foundations, we want you to be as informed about your mattress choices as possible, so we have buyer’s guides to help you out. Check out our buyer’s guides for memory foam mattress, air beds, natural latex mattress, and adjustable beds.