Hi guys, long time lurker first time poster.
I saw the responses in this thread and had to register to contribute. Anand's community has helped me so much over the years w/ reading opinions about which parts to buy; I think it's time I gave back on a subject I know a lot about. Memory foam mattresses.
I suffered (past tense) from insomnia and have tried almost every mattress out there and this is what I found out along the way. ^_^
Good deal but I have been wondering how these things got so cheap over the years and it seems that they used to be made entirely of memory foam. This one just appears to have a top layer of it. I am sure it is still comfortable but just an observation.
I bought a 7" memory foam mattress 3 years ago from a mom and pop place for $700. My wife says she can feel the box spring so I guess it is a good idea to get a mattress that is thick like this one.
Memory foam mattresses should never use a box spring. They need a flat foundation to work properly. the springs in a box spring will cause it to sag and provide uneven support as well as create pressure points.
I've never heard of a memory foam mattress made entirely of memory foam. The memory foam is usually the first 3-7" followed by support layers of traditional higher resitance polyfoam. The only way I could see that working is if it's a very high density high quality memory foam 7lbs +. Which would probably be less comfortable than a layering of two densities which the luxury memory foam mattresses usually have.
Lets be realistic, a mattress has HUGE profit margins. Its foam for Christs sake, the mattress industry is nothing but a giant marketing ripoff. Now you have companies like Sleep Number selling you AIR. My current mattress cost me 1k, I will NEVER spend that much again.
There is a HUGE difference in the kinds of foam available. All with different properties and benefits. Some with no benefits (dirt cheap foam which feels like a sleeping bag pad).
Sleep number probably has the highest profit margins, you're correct in that. But that's mainly because their shipping costs are so much less.
Some bargain memory foam manufacturers try to save on shipping to lower their prices, and vacuum seal / roll their mattresses. Which results in dead spots when it's unsealed, and usually tears in the foam. It can also only be done with cheaper, lighter foam. Bragada is known for this. Though there are some smaller manufacturers who do a good job and still have decent prices like Parklane mattresses out of oregon.
Of all the major manufacturers I have tried them all. Tempur-pedic, Serta iComfort, Simmons Comforpedic, Sealy Optimum, Novafoam, Simmons black (spring/memory foam hybrid), Sealy Posturpedic gel; & the sub models they all have. There is a world of difference between the cheaper memory foam mattresses and the luxury models.
First thing's first, Tempur-pedic is the best; period. They never patented their specific formulations for memory foam so there is no duplicate to the feel. All the other memory foams are the own individual manufacturers take on the foam NASA created in the 60s. The other side of the coin is, because they know they're the best they charge for it. They aren't cheap.
However imo the improvement in comfort and durability of the high end memory foam is a larger % increase than the price. You can get an iComfort or Optimum for $1,500 - 2,000 for a queen; but if you spend $500 more you can get a Tempur-pedic which supports better.
The best way I could describe it is the standard memory foams are much more reactive and have more properties of standard foam re: recovery time. They're also less temperature sensitive. The Serta, Sealy, Simmons & Novafoam all feel more like a foam bed with a very soft pillowtop; while the TP feels more like quicksand. Lying on them all, my spine has only been completely straight on the TP (note: using a ergonomic memory foam pillow is essential to having a straight neck).
Now TP has a lot of different models they've rolled out to try and fit different customers needs. It used to just be the "Tempur" material (they don't call it memory foam because while it is a memory foam it's made differently and has unique properties other regular memory foams don't. They have different names for each formula, I think the traditional one is T-85. All the foam is made in Denmark.). Since then they've come out with the "Tempur ES" (extra soft), "Tempur HD" (high density), "Tempur Breeze" (thicker cell walls & a heat wicking formula), & "Tempur Weightless" (a more reactive version of ES). Their mattresses usually consist of multiple versions layered for different feels. Sometimes though they use the same material but layer different densities (e.g. Contour Signature has the traditional Tempur material but a layer of 4.3 Lb and a layer of 5.3 Lb under it). The only mattress they make I haven't been able to get comfortable on is the Simplicity which is their bare bones mattress and uses a solid core without any air-flow channels. So it tends to sleep hotter, and it only has 2" of memory foam; half that of any other TP bed.
I probably sound like a commercial for TP at this point, but I'm just trying to illustrate there is a big difference between budget memory (ford pinto) foam and the rolls royce (TP).
Another thing to consider is how long the mattress will last. All memory foam breaks down over time & softens / sags. Usually it will soften before it sags (especially true with quick recovery memory foams) which presents a problem because the warranties all cover sagging. TP is 3/4"; most other manufacturers are 1-2". Another advantage of having a luxury mattress is customer care; if a TP sags all you need to do is lay a yard stick over it and show a dime fits under the yardstick (pic); and they send you a new bed. Sealy, Simmons, Serta all require you to have an inspector they assign to come in your house and inspect the mattress which can be a scheduling nightmare and incur extra costs.
High quality memory foams like TP last about twice as long as low quality memory foams (like this Novafoam or a Sealy, Simmons, Serta). So while a TP may cost 5x as much it lasts 2x as long; so in amortized it's more like 2.5x as much. Which is not a lot more $ imo considering you spend 1/3 of your life on it and it comes out to about $100 a year more. $100 a year more assuming the TP lasts you 10 years (the warranty is 25 years but after 10 it's prorated, on year 11 it's prorated at 50% it's value -5% a year after until years 20-25 where it's just 5% of it's value which is worthless and trickery tbh). If it's starting to feel soft into year 9, just stand on it in the soft spot to make it sag. Beat them at their own game
Quality high density foam is not cheap, it goes by the pound and a big mattress weighs plenty.
Same here on the long time waterbed switch to foam. Lots of doubt right up to first night of sleeping on one, zonk and not a twitch til morning. Waterbeds have no box spring, just a zero flex solid platform. Keep that in mind when testing mattresses in stores that use a box spring under all mattresses.
My tip on picking, maybe edge toward a little firmer than you think at first especially if you are "big".
The only reason I know so much about these beds is because I suffered from insomnia and have researched & tried damn near all of them.
All memory foam beds are NOT created equal.
I tried getting away with a cheap one, but I couldn't.
I can understand how someone might want to think they found a bargain, and love the fact that they got a $400 Tempur-pedic; but it's not the same thing.
Bring your own pillowcase, go into a showroom that displays Tempurpedic along with other memory foam beds. Find the ergonomic memory foam pillow that matches your sleep type (side, back, front), throw your pillowcase on it and take turns lying in the beds. Spend at least 10 minutes lying in it. High quality memory foam takes that long to settle. Cheap memory foam reacts much quicker giving the illusion of support, but when they start breaking down you're left with a hammock effect which will hurt your back more than help it.
The memory foam mattresses have a problem in that people feel too hot in them.
The solution to the heat is to use gel infused memory foam.
This mattress has a layer of the gel memory foam up top to keep you cool, and then regular memory foam underneath for good feel. You'll see this is common, now that the heat issue is recognized. Only cheap memory foam mattresses lack the cooling gel layer of memory foam.
Do Not buy a gel memory foam mattress. They don't work & they break down much faster than just memory foam.
The gel provides minimal cooling if any at all, and it stops providing any cooling 30 mins to an hour after you're in bed. Plus it turns into a Goopy mess which weighs down your bed and turns it into soft mush.
The only cooling memory foam I've found that I'd even consider is the Tempur-pedic Breeze. And that's only because it doesn't use gel, they engineered the cell walls to be extra thick and incorporated some chemicals into the foam which wick heat into the air-flow channels.
Though it's not worth it IMO because like the gel, the cooling effect only lasts about an hour, then it feels as warm as a non-cooling memory foam. If it was just a little more $, I'd say go for it, but it's a lot more $ (sometimes almost double the price) for the Breeze model; and won't last the night which defeats the purpose.
Note that only hot sleepers (people who tend to have a higher core temperature) will feel hot on memory foam, and then only if they're in a warm room. The best solution is to simply keep your room at 65-70 degrees
and just use sheets, not a comforter.