Memory Foam Density Guide
So you have heard about the comfort and benefits that a memory foam mattress provides and you want to buy one. But you’re feeling incredibly confused by all these references to 3lb, 4lb, 5.5lb of memory foam and wondering what that means? No problem, we’ll be addressing the issue in our memory foam density guide.
If the lb of memory foam issue wasn’t bad enough, there is then 8″, 10″, 12″, 14″ and even 16″ mattress thicknesses to consider, and then even after that there is the composition of your mattress to consider. This can make things seem very confusing for you.
In this memory foam density guide, let’s take a look at what memory foam density is and what the big deal is with all these mattress thicknesses and what this all means with regards to your mattress.
What Is Memory Foam Density?
You may have heard of the term “density” back in your high school physics class. If you need a refresher, no problem. Technically speaking, density refers to an object’s weight (mass) in relation to the space it occupies (volume). So a 14-pound bowling ball which measures a few inches in diameter is denser than 14 pounds of mist spread over a city block.
In the US, density is expressed in pounds per cubic foot, so a 1-pound object which measures 12 inches in length, width, and height has a density of 1 pound or 1 pcf. Memory foam mattresses are dense – they are generally heavier than traditional spring mattresses with the same dimensions.
Usually, high quality and popular memory foam mattresses range from 3 to 5.5lbs pounds per cubic foot. Anything more or less than this range is considered by experts to be unsuitable as sleeping mattresses. Now that we have that explained we can move on to two important questions in our memory foam density guide that you need to know.
What is the ideal memory foam mattress density?
To answer that in our memory foam density guide, let’s first look at what low density and high density means for someone sleeping on a mattress.
The lower the density the more spongier and weaker it will feel to sleep on. If the density is too low, then the mattress can feel very unsupportive, like you’ve sunk straight through to the bottom of the material.
This also means the mattress uses less material, so it will also tend to be cheaper. As you may expect, this will not be comfortable. And if you can somehow endure sleeping on a weak mattress, do not expect it to have a long life.
The higher the mattress density means the firmer the mattress, the more material used. And subsequently the more expensive the mattress will tend to be. One of the disadvantages of memory foam is that it has a tendency to retain heat, which can for some people become quite uncomfortable during warmer seasons.
The higher the density of the mattress, the more heat will get locked in, and the longer it retains or “memorizes” the impression left by the weight of your body on the mattress.
If the density is too high, then it can feel uncomfortable moving around the mattress, as you will feel a bit trapped or restrained in the depression your body has created, finding it a little more difficult to move to a new position.
The ideal density to avoid the mattress being too low and weak, or too high and firm is to get a mattress with between 3lbs and 5.5lbs of memory foam inside for the best results. Avoid any mattress with less than 3lbs of memory foam, or more than 5.5lbs of memory foam.
What About Mattress Thickness?
The next question to consider in our memory foam density guide, is that in addition to the density of the mattress, there is also the mattress thickness to consider. So what memory foam mattress thickness should you get?
This area itself can be confusing as not only does the mattress thickness vary, but so does its composition. The most basic form of memory foam mattress may consist of 2 layers, the upper layer being a memory foam layer at the top and a base foam layer at the bottom.
Other configurations have a third layer that sits on top of the memory foam mattress.
The most popular mattresses thicknesses people opt for are 10 or 12 inch mattresses. Like with density, you do not want a mattress that is too thin. The ideal mattress thickness for most people is 10″ or 12″.
You would probably not be too happy with an 8″ mattress. 14″ and 16″ mattresses are also available for people that prefer thicker mattresses or want extra support because they are a bit heavy.
What About 3 Or More Layer Mattresses?
If you would like your mattress to feel extra soft then you can opt for a pillowtop mattress, this adds a layer of pillowtop foam on top of the mattress to create a cushion feel. Generally these come in the 12″ mattress configuration.
Gel memory foam mattresses represent the latest evolution in memory foam mattress technology and provide a gel and memory foam combined top layer, with a comfort foam support later, and then a high density foam base layer. The DreamFoam Bedding Ultimate Dreams 13″ Gel Memory Foam Mattress, the DynastyMattress New Cool Breeze 12-Inch GEL Memory Foam Mattress, and the 12″ Lucid By Linenspa Gel Memory Foam Mattress are three examples of a triple layer gel memory foam mattress.
The addition of gel is designed to address one of the most common complaints about memory foam – their inherent tendency to retain heat, especially the one’s with the higher density.
Gel mattresses haven’t replaced memory foam mattresses, so for the time being their status is an alternative to the traditional non gel-mattress foam mattresses, rather than a successor, but they are very popular and are fast gaining their own fan-base.
Memory Foam Density Guide Summary
So when looking for your new mattress you want to look for a mattress that has a density between 3lb and 5.5lbs, with 3lbs being on the softer side and 5.5lbs on the firmer side, but both being within the range to be comfortable to sleep on. Also take a look at the memory foam mattress reviews to see what other customers have said.
You also want a mattress that is at least 10″ thick, with 10″ and 12″ being the most popular choices. 14″ and 16″ mattresses available for those who prefer or know they need a thicker mattress to support them comfortably.
And lastly in this memory foam density guide, if you need your mattress extra soft, then you will want to opt for a pillow top mattress. And if you are concerned about your mattress becoming too hot, then you may like to opt for one of the newer gel memory foam mattresses.