Shoppers can easily be led astray by marketing claims and pushy salespeople, with no idea of what they need to know to get the best mattress for personal needs. Rather than actually listening to the customer, salespeople are often more concerned about their commission based on the highest price mattress they can push. This can be troubling and stressful for consumers – the latest Consumer Reports mattress survey found that 40% report buyer’s remorse after buying a mattress. Without learning the facts and conducting their own research, the consumer is left with little information on how to actually choose the best memory foam mattress for their own needs. To address these concerns we have compiled the most important information you should be aware of in order to get the best memory foam mattress for your needs.
Guide to Getting the Best Memory Foam Mattress
Here are the most important factors to consider when shopping and comparing memory foam beds. In order to get the best memory foam mattress, take the time research and understand the critical components so you know how to spot a good deal from a dud.
Memory Foam Type
Let’s begin with a brief explanation of memory foam and its composition. There are a few primary types of memory foam that each offer slightly different features. The best memory foam mattress for you will depend on your sleep preferences.
- Traditional memory foam has been in use since it was developed by NASA for the space program. It is created from petroleum-based products and while providing comfort and support, concerns over the release of VOCs have been expressed by various consumer watchdog organizations and some owners complain of heat.
- Gel memory foam is relatively new to the market and is generally traditional memory foam that has either been injected with gel or contains a gel layer that is supposed to decrease the effects of trapped heat. These claims have been questioned recently by advertising boards and consumer publications with some manufacturers facing rebuke.
- Plant-based memory foam is another alternative, which replaces the petroleum products with a portion of plant-based oils and extracts. Some manufacturers avoid the use of toxic VOCs, and a few industry studies have shown this type to be more breathable and cool than than other types. Plant-based foams also tend to have a quicker response time, reducing the stuck feeling that some dislike.
In a previous article we compared leading brands of these memory foam technologies on factors like owner reviews, price, durability, value, etc in order to identify the best memory foam mattress type. In our results, we found Amerisleep’s plant-based memory foam mattresses to deliver the most consistently positive owner reviews, and at a better value than other leading brands.
Density of memory foam is measured by its weight per cubic foot. The best memory foam mattress brands range between 4lbs. to 5.3 lbs in their density. Weights below this are considered throwaways and mattresses created from heavier weights are considered too firm for comfort in thick layers. The density affects the durability and longevity of the mattress as well as its comfort level.
- Very high density levels will create the feeling that the person is stuck in their bed.
- Very low density foams may break down quickly and lose their memory qualities.
- Density is not an indicator of firmness, but affects the “buoyant” sensation and how well the material will recover over time.
- The density of the base layer will be different than the upper layers; for the base a minimum of 2 lbs is desirable.
Temperature affects memory foam to some degree, although some memory foams are temperature neutral. Highly temperature sensitive foams can feel hard in cold rooms and gooey in warm rooms. This can also heighten the stuck in a hole sensation, as in a cold room, memory foam will soften near the sleeper and remain firmer elsewhere. Temperature neutral foams respond based on pressure rather than body heat, and can conform and contour just as well as heat-sensitive foams.
- Temperature sensitive foams react to hot and cold in the environment and sleeper’s body heat.
- Temperature neutral foams are not affected by the temperature of the room or sleeper.
Choosing a Firmness
Choosing the correct firmness level can be difficult, however this holds true regardless of whether the you are buying an innerspring or other type mattress. Overall, studies have shown that the majority of people experience the most comfortable rest on a medium-firm bed. However, here are some more tips for choosing firmness.
- Consider the firmness level of your current bed and whether you slept well on it, or if a softer or firmer surface might feel better.
- Weight and sleep position can influence the support a mattress provides. Smaller individuals and back/stomach sleepers may prefer firmer beds, while heavier individuals and side sleepers may prefer plusher beds.
- Choose a memory foam mattress from a company who stands behind their product.It may takes you approximately 4 weeks to adjust to a new composition after sleeping on innerspring mattresses. Find an in home trial period of at least 90-days with an easy guaranteed return that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. Warranty and in-home trials are crucial when purchasing a new mattress of any type.
The thickness of a memory foam mattress also plays a role in the way it feels. You need to examine not only the overall thickness of the bed, but also the actual memory foam layer in order to select the best memory foam mattress for you.
- An average memory foam mattress will feature 2” to 7” of memory foam over an inner support layer.
- Larger individuals and side sleepers will experience more comfort with deeper layers of memory foam, as you need to allow enough room for the material to contour to your curves and pressure points.
- If the mattress is to be combined with an adjustable bed it is suggested to choose one no thicker than 12 inches so it can conform to the contours without compression.
Best Memory Foam Mattress Supports
Knowing whether to replace the mattress and box spring or foundation can be difficult. It is important to note that memory foam beds require different support systems than spring beds. You cannot use a boxspring where you can feel the springs on the surface; the surface of the support base must be solid.
- Solid wood foundations prove ideal.
- Platform bed owners may not require a foundation if the slats are spaced closely together and can accommodate the weight of the mattress and sleepers.
- Adjustable bases work well with memory foam mattress to create an optimized sleep.
- Some warranties may require you to use the brand’s mattress foundation, so be sure to check.
Since we tend to spend nearly 1/3 of every day in bed, it seems imperative to choose the healthiest and highest quality memory foam mattress available. Spending a few Knowing how the options vary equips you to cut through sales hype and select the best memory foam mattress for your lifestyle and sleep style.