Memory Foam Buyer's Guide

What It Is, Why It Works, And The 5 Key Things To Look For When Buying A Memory Foam Bed Or Topper.

While memory foam was developed for NASA in the 1970's, it didn't hit the consumer market until the early 1990's - first as memory foam mattress topper pads, and later used in memory foam mattresses.

Since then, memory foam mattresses have become the fastest growing segment in the mattress industry. With every year, you see more and more companies selling memory foam mattresses and topper pads, and it is very difficult, even for those of us in the industry, to keep up with all the new memory foam products being introduced. What is a consumer to do?

In this guide, I'm going to do my best to give you the straight story on what memory foam is, how it works, and what to look for in memory foam (density and quality, memory foam toppers versus memory foam mattresses, etc.).

Armed with the information, I hope you are able to find just the right memory foam mattress, topper pad, or other product that fits your needs.

Why Has Memory Foam Become The Fastest Growing Segment In The Mattress Industry? Comfort -- In A Survey Of Over 22,000 Mattress Owners, Memory Foam Received The Highest Overall Satisfaction Rating At 81% vs Just A 64% Satisfaction Rating For Innersprings.

memory foam topper pad with hand

Hand Imprint
In Memory Foam

Where the mattress industry so often sells on hype about latest greatest technology, I wanted to concentrate on actual, verifiable information when putting together this guide.

So before we go into the details about memory foam, I thought it was important to first look at the bottom line -- how does memory foam compare to standard innerspring mattresses for comfort.

And what is great about the internet is that these days you can cut through the hype to see the actual data on this -- real reviews, by real folks, trying out the mattresses in their own homes.

And while it was hard to get this kind of objective information back in '94 when I was first starting out selling memory foam after it helped me with my back pain, in 2014 all this information is now at your fingertips, literally.

While comfort is subjective, what is no longer subjective is that certain types of mattress are just more comfortable than others.

And you don't have to take my word for it, or any other mattress retailer. The numbers don't lie.

Based on over 22,000 real people's mattress experiences, the meta site Sleep Like the Dead found that in analyzing this information that memory foam mattresses received the highest level of customer satisfaction of any mattress type at 81%.

In contrast, only 64% of innerspring owners said they were satisfied.

That is a huge difference, and shows the simple reason why memory foam has gained such popularity -- it delivers comfort in a way that far surpasses the standard innerspring mattress.

Where did memory foam come from and what gives memory foam its unique comfort properties? It is an interesting story and starts with the space program.

But these days there are lots of different foamers making memory foam, and while they are all referred to as "memory foam", they have different formulations and in terms of comfort and sleeping cool memory foams are definitely not created equal -- which I will cover in our next section.

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Next > Brief History of Memory Foam, And Why Not All Memory Foam Created Equal - Some Memory Foam Is Just More Comfortable And Sleeps Cooler Than Others