Memory Foam Density
Jun 5, 2011 4:11 PM
Joined: Jun 5, 2011
Points: 4
Hello Everyone,

I'm new to the forum, so forgive me if I am asking a question that has been answered before.  I searched the forum, but haven't been able to find what I am looking for.

So like so many other people, I am looking for a Tempurpedic quality matress for a much lower price.  Putting together pieces of foam is also an option.  The thing is, even the top manufacturers of memory foam mattresses like Serta, are not as dense as a Tempur.  When I go to the store that has all of these mattresses sitting side by side, I go up to them and slap my hand on the surface.  Slapping my hand on to the top of a Tempur, feels like slapping the stomach of a fat pig.  It feels solid, almost like it is a waterbed filled with gel.  When you press your hand into it, the top layer slowly depresses.  When you get on the bed and move into position, you do not immediately sink into it, which allows you to move into position much easier.

With the Serta iComfort for example, when you slap your hand on the surface, it feels like you are hitting thick foam.  It has a slight bounce to it (unlike slaping the Tempur which is absolutely solid when you slap it).  When you depress it with your hand, your hand depresses the top layer much quicker than the Tempur.  When you get on the bed to move into position, you sink a little bit each time you move, which makes it harder to move around (this seems to be consistant with all of the different memory foam beds that aren't Tempur).

So I am confussed; supposedly the memory foam in a Tempur is supposed to be 5.x lbs.  So many other memory foam mattress manufacturers claim to also use the same 5.x lb. memory foam, yet you can clearly feel a density difference with the above tests.  I've purchased three different memory foam beds over the past 5 years, and have been disappointed with all of them.  None of them have had the solidness of a Tempur.  I don't want to make the same mistake again.

Back in 2003, I purchased a 4" 5 lb. memory foam topper on eBay for about $350.  At the time I needed a queen size.  I put it on top of a cheap IKEA mattress, and for the next 3 years, this was the most comforable bed I had ever slept on.  The topper felt as dense as a Tempur.  It was very solid, and it didn't get as hot as the memory foam beds I have recently had.  I could lay it on the floor, and it slept even better than when it was on a mattress.  In 2006 I moved from CA to TX, and I did something I never should have.  I crammed the topper into a large plastic container for shipping.  When it arrived to TX, I left it in the container for a few months, because I was now sleeping on a King size mattress.  I went to open the container to use the topper for a guest room, only to find that it had split into the 4 sections I folded it in.  I wanted to buy a king and queen size replacement from the same eBay company, but I couldn't find the company on eBay that I bought it from.

So now I am wanting a split king mattress (two Twin XL).  I'm hoping that someone can help me find, or put together a mattress that is so close to a Tempur that it would be hard to tell the two apart when you do the above tests, but at a price much lower (hoping to spend no more than $800-$900 total)

Thank you,

Austin

Re: Memory Foam Density
Reply #5 Jun 6, 2011 1:55 PM
Location: L.A. area
Joined: Jan 18, 2008
Points: 1160
Don't buy any memory foam without a near-100% refund because many people return them. I have heard that the Tempurpedic is the "most returned" mattress in America. It's probably also the "most bought" too; but still...

Here's a pretty good quality memory foam mattress with a 120 night warranty and full refund:

overnightmattress.com .

There are different "formulas" for memory foam and as I understand it Tempur's is their own patented type. Personally I found it very UNsupportive and do not recommend any memory foam for people with back issues. But some seem to find it good so "to each his own".

Re: Memory Foam Density
Reply #6 Jun 6, 2011 2:12 PM
Location: San Diego, California
Joined: Jun 6, 2011
Points: 2
 

Hi Austin, 
 
With any type of poured material like foam or gel there are two basic numbers that make up the measurable qualities of the item; the first is Density the second is Deflection
 
Density is simply a measure of the amount of material (chemical recipe) in a piece of foam or gel measuring 1 cubic foot. For example if you have a piece of foam that is 12” x 12” x 12” and weights 4 pounds on a scale it is a piece of 4 pound foam regardless of the chemicals used to make it or type of foam. The effects of Density relate very little to the way the foam actually feels. However, Density is very important for the longevity of the product. The more dense the foam the longer it will last (up to a point). With Memory Foam, anything less than 3 pound intended to last a couple years; like an inexpensive topper. Memory Foam in the 4-5 pound density are usually what you find in a mattress that is designed for a useful life of the normal 8-10 years.
 
The second number, Deflection, is a measure of the softness or firmness of a piece of foam or gel. Deflection is measured on a 1-100 scale in terms of ILD (Indentation Load Deflection) or IFD (Indentation Force Deflection). ILD and IFD measure the same thing but ILD is specific to poly-foams. The normal ranges look like this table:
 
Super Soft: - 5 - 14 ILD
Soft: 15 - 20 ILD
Medium:  21 - 30 ILD
Medium Firm:  31 - 39 ILD
Firm: 40 -  55 ILD
Extra Firm:  56+ ILD
 
Think of ILD as a measurement of how far an 8 pound bowling ball will sink into a specific piece of foam. 
 
Now we have two measurements, one for weight and one for firmness, by which we can order a piece of foam.  I can order a 4 pound  20 ILD piece of generic memory foam or a 2 pound 20 ILD generic memory foam and they will feel almost exactly the same. The 2 pound foam will be cheaper nearly by half because it is actually made of less chemicals. 
 
Here is the crux of the problem: with the tools we have there is no way to measure the feel of a piece of foam as it varies by chemical composition by manufacture.  Tempur-Pedic has a special chemical formula that they use to create Tempur material. While it is technically "memory foam" by it's basic chemical composition there are unknown chemicals included in the recipe  that give it a unique feel from other memory foams. 
 
Does this make a difference or is it just good marketing?
 
Perhaps it's a little of both. In my opinion the price premium for a Tempur-Pedic is not worth that special “feel” of Tempur. High quality memory foam mattresses from a variety of manufactures preform equally or better and provide the healthy comfortable sleep environment that we all need. 
 
When making your purchase decision you can go by the numbers of Density and Deflection to make sure you are getting good quality the right firmness. Unfortunately, those numbers will not help you compare the feel of one memory foam mattress to another. If the “feel” of the Tempur material is the only thing that will make you happy than stick with Tempur-Pedic. If you are looking for a better value, you can find that in stores and online. Just make sure the store you choose has a good home trial policy that does not put your money at risk. The best retail stores and online stores offer free shipping and free returns with 100% refund if you are not satisfied. 
 
Happy Shopping, 
Re: Memory Foam Density
Reply #7 Jun 6, 2011 3:28 PM
Joined: Mar 20, 2011
Points: 71
Austin wrote:

Like I said before, I know there has got to be something out there that is as dense as a Tempur, because I already have a Queen 4" visco topper that I purchased in 2003 that is just as good.  Other than the fact that it is in 4 pieces now, it is as good as a Tempur.  I would have thought that in the past 8 years, there would be even more choices out there, but maybe not.

  

Austin


Like another poster stated, you can find memory foam that has good value for, but tempur is tempur. What is the density and ild of the topper you bought?

"I purchased what was supposed to be a king 4" memory foam topper last year, but it turned out to be latex" wow! who made that mistake? You stated it was plastic, but latex is rubber.

Re: Memory Foam Density
Reply #8 Jun 7, 2011 2:51 AM
Joined: Jun 5, 2011
Points: 4
need2sleep636 wrote:

 


Like another poster stated, you can find memory foam that has good value for, but tempur is tempur. What is the density and ild of the topper you bought?

"I purchased what was supposed to be a king 4" memory foam topper last year, but it turned out to be latex" wow! who made that mistake? You stated it was plastic, but latex is rubber.



My Topper is 5 lb, and I don't know what the ILD is.  When I bought it 8 years ago, the density was the main thing.  Very few people ever mentioned ILD.  All I know is it was the best.  I was very happy with it up until the time that I broke it.

I never said that I received a plastic topper.  I compared sleeping on it to sleeping on a waterbed with a plastic bladder.  In other words, because the latex was very solid with almost no holes in it, I would sweat when I slept on it.  I would get warm sleeping on my memory foam topper, but I never sweat on it.

I'm sure there are people that wouldn't have anything else other than a latex topper.  It just isn't for me.  That being said, does anyone know anything about the 4" toppers that ISOFORM.COM sells?  They claim to be 5 lb. viscoelastic foam, but we all know that the mattress dealers make lots of claims.

 

Austin

Re: Memory Foam Density
Reply #9 Jun 7, 2011 3:11 AM
Joined: Jun 5, 2011
Points: 4
RionCM wrote:

In my opinion the price premium for a Tempur-Pedic is not worth that special “feel” of Tempur. High quality memory foam mattresses from a variety of manufactures preform equally or better and provide the healthy comfortable sleep environment that we all need. 


I agree Rion.  I'm sure a Tempur feels slightly different from my favorite old topper, but the difference is so little, I can't tell the difference, and I've tried many times.  Yet the difference in price is night and day.  Thank you for the data on the memory foam numbers.  I know there are light foams that are stiffer, but because a 2 lb is so light, it doesn't hold up as long, and I can tell the difference when I lay down on it.  They rebound faster, aren't as solid feeling, etc...

Companies I've worked with in the past would let you return it within a few days, but usually the hassle of trying to figure out how to get a 110 lb King size mattress topper back into a box, and the cost of shipping negates the refund.

 

Austin

Re: Memory Foam Density
Reply #10 Jun 7, 2011 1:53 PM
Joined: Mar 20, 2011
Points: 71
Austin wrote:

   They claim to be 5 lb. viscoelastic foam, but we all know that the mattress dealers make lots of claims.

 

Austin



I'd be very cautious of the way they word the above information. 5lb viscoelastic is not the samething as 5lb density viscoelastic.

"So I am confussed; supposedly the memory foam in a Tempur is supposed to be 5.x lbs"

That depends on the model. with an $800 budget, you don't have very many options. I'd look into FBM. They have a 9" (5" base and 5.5lb density 4" topper) mattress for $616.99. I have the 5" PU base and it is very, very, very firm

Re: Memory Foam Density
Reply #11 Jun 7, 2011 2:20 PM
Joined: Sep 11, 2007
Points: 111
Eventually you may end up spending as much or more trying to mimic the Tempur.  Sometimes going the cheap route ends up being an expensive lesson.  You get what you pay for.  The tempur. will outlast any mattress you put together.  Do a cost analysis over the next 20 years.  That's how long you will have a tempur. should you decide to keep it.  And a money back gurantee policy.  Tempurpedic is not the most returned mattress.  There's no facts to back that statement up.
Re: Memory Foam Density
Reply #12 Jun 7, 2011 3:25 PM
Joined: Feb 1, 2011
Points: 17
In all of the compare shopping I did, the density and poundage all starts to get jumbled.  Look for a deal that works for you and the budget you are trying to live in.  My parents own a Tempur at their summer home and love it.  I bought a knock off tempur product and I love mine.  I wish I would have purchased a mattress not just a topper.  However, if you find something that you want to try, try it. 
Re: Memory Foam Density
Reply #13 Jun 7, 2011 4:28 PM
Joined: Oct 15, 2009
Points: 966
You might want to consider foamorder.com   I am currently using 1" of the 5.3lb. density memory foam.  I weighed it, and calculated it to be 5.9 lb density.   I believe they have a 90 day return policy.  A bit more expensive, but I prefer that over the Sensus I got from overstock (which is also pretty good) and a couple others I have tried.

I am not sure about heat issues.  I am using 1" of latex over it, so I have not had heat problems.  It did have a strong odor when I got it, but I don't notice it.   Also, made in China, if that bother you.

Re: Memory Foam Density
Reply #14 Jun 7, 2011 5:08 PM
Joined: Dec 17, 2009
Points: 850
Good_Sleep wrote:

Eventually you may end up spending as much or more trying to mimic the Tempur.  Sometimes going the cheap route ends up being an expensive lesson.  You get what you pay for.  The tempur. will outlast any mattress you put together.  Do a cost analysis over the next 20 years.  That's how long you will have a tempur. should you decide to keep it.  And a money back gurantee policy.  Tempurpedic is not the most returned mattress.  There's no facts to back that statement up.


I agree on the cost over time analysis...but I don't think the average one will hold up to 20 years of use....but to be honest I don't wanna peg my own guess on that either...really depends on the person using it and the density of the Tempur layers being used.

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