How to Buy a Memory Foam Mattress

Looking for some sleep on a memory foam mattress? Before you walk into a mattress store and waltz into the jaws of an unscrupulous salesperson, get the facts by following the steps in this how-to.


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    Make sure the memory foam is of high enough density to support your body properly. The best way to know is to check the package for the density of the foam. Cheap foam is normally 2 to 3 lb. density, mid-grade foam is 3 to 4.5 lb. density and good foam is over 4.5 lb. density. Usually, 5.3 lb. to 6.2 lb is considered the ideal density to properly support the human body. The lighter grade foam won't support you and will quit returning to its original shape after only a few months.
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    Look for memory foam that is temperature sensitive. The one thing that makes Memory Foam so unique is temperature sensitivity. When you first lay down on a memory foam mattress, your body weight causes the mattress to "melt away" from that pressure until your weight is spread evenly over the surface of the mattress. However, after you "settle in," your body temperature begins to affect the material, causing it to soften in the places where there is increased temperature. This fine tuning is what accounts for the unmatched comfort of the genuine memory foam mattresses.
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    Read the warranty information carefully. See exactly what will be required of you when you have a warranty issue. Will you be responsible for shipping, packaging, etc.? Most importantly, how long has the manufacturer been in business? A lifetime warranty from a company that's only been in business for a short while is probably worthless.
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    Check for ample testing done with real people. Many times, testing done in laboratories, without humans, isn't a true picture of what happens out in the "field." The human body is unique and it affects materials differently than a mechanical testing device.
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    Ask for a "comfort test" period. You should be able to sleep on a memory foam mattress for a short period, to see if you have any issues. If elect to try the mattress it will be covered in plastic to ensure it remains sanitary and the company can re-sell it if you return it. This will limit your ability to truly feel the benefits. If A high percentage of people love memory foam mattresses, but a few don't. Know what to expect if you are one of the few. Will you be able to get a refund of all your money? Or is there a re-stocking fee? Will you be required to "exchange only" with that merchant? If so, make sure they carry a wide variety of products so you'll have lots of choices.
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    Compare prices on Web stores of reputable direct-to-consumer distributors. High density foam mattress products can often be obtained less than half the price than lower density retail offerings, with similar warranties. Search for keywords like SRF and "Slow Recovery Mattress", and look for sites which explain in detail the differences in products that are offered.
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    Most memory foam mattresses are actually in two or three layers, with a memory foam topper glued to a foundation layer of urethane foam. The quality of the foundation layer foam, which is used to distribute weight to the frame, also affects the service life of the mattress.
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    If you have a good quality mattress, you may also consider buying only a memory foam "topper". However, be aware that many retail products are of a low density and relatively high price for the quality.


  • If you can take ice, in a zip lock bag, you can verify if the material is temperature sensitive. It will become firmer in the place you put the ice after 5-15 minutes.
  • Get a written "comfort guarantee." Make sure it's at least 10-14 days or more.


  • Nothing lasts forever.
  • Salespeople will try to give you "facts" which will favor their product, no matter how inferior, so just remember density, temperature sensitivity and reading all you can about memory foam to be educated before you buy and you'll be happy with your purchase.
  • Most people don't realize how heavy a solid foam mattress is. Solid memory foam or regular foam mattresses are a real job to move or even to turn around even for two healthy people, and you surely don't want to carry one up stairs.
  • Many memory foam mattresses are manufactured in China. Some of the latest products coming out of China are of super high quality and chemical free. Ask for the details of manufacture before you buy.
  • Foam mattresses act like sponges, this means they absorb liquid. You should always use a waterproof mattress protector when you set up your memory foam mattress to prevent liquid from getting into the memory foam and to keep you sleeping cool during hot weather.
    • The Tempur-Pedicâ„¢ liquid-proof mattress cover of very high quality (and very comfortable to sleep on), but it is not highly durable and should not be washed in a machine with the sheets. Such treatment will eventually lead to tiny rips and tears resulting in leaks and a dramatic loss in effectiveness. Instead, this mattress cover should be spot cleaned by hand or carefully inspected for leaks after each washing. It can lose effectiveness in as little as two years if not cared for properly.

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Categories: Bedding and Mattress Care