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normal Viscolatex?

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20 Apr 2012 12:42 #1 by yogiyoda

Hello,

Does anyone have any knowledge about viscolatex?

www.back2sleep.com/visco-latex

Is it really made from latex? I'd doubt it based on the product costs of the items below. Or maybe the walmart viscolatex is different than the back2sleep visco-latex.

www.walmart.com/ip/Spa-Sensations-3-Viscolatex-Topper/10924589

www.walmart.com/ip/Spa-Sensations-Viscol...ional-Shape/10924573

-yogi

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20 Apr 2012 13:48 - 20 Apr 2012 13:50 #2 by Phoenix

Hi yogiyoda,

Whenever you see "green tea" combined with "activated charcoal" and "silver science" you know you are dealing with a product made by Zinus which is a Chinese manufacturer which produces many different brand names including Spa Sensations, Keetsa, Night Therapy, spirit sleep, Vivon and many others. All of them use lower quality/density memory foam (typically 4 lbs or less) and tend towards exaggerated "green" claims.

In the case of viscolatex, it's quite probable that there is little if any latex in it at all (I remember seeing a walmart product recently which had "latex" in the name which had 1% latex in it). Their pillow is basically 2.5 lb memory foam with no mention of latex being part of the formula at all and they strongly imply here that there is none at all (when they talk about there being "none of the latex allergy issues") or at the very best a small amount of synthetic latex. Memory foam with a density this low tends to have very little "memory" and of course is not nearly as durable as higher density products (which also explains the price). They punch holes in it to make it more breathable and lower density memory foam also is more resilient (comes back faster) and that (the fact that latex also has pincores and is very resilient) along with perhaps a tiny percentage of synthetic latex in the formula is probably what "justifies" the "latex" part of the name.

The bottom line is that it is basically cheap memory foam which has been misrepresented to take advantage of the perceived quality of latex products.

The only good news is that Zinus is CertiPur certified so at least it has been tested for harmful chemicals and offgassing and that WalMart has a great return policy.

Phoenix


Researching for a mattress?... Be sure to read this post first.
Last Edit: 20 Apr 2012 13:50 by Phoenix.

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20 Apr 2012 14:22 #3 by yogiyoda

Thanks Phoenix. That's a lot of useful info. What you say makes sense. Also, maybe the product at back2sleep is different from the Walmart product. In some of their images I think they're claiming a 4lb density for visco-latex.

www.back2sleep.com/images/products/simplicity.jpg

And in a previous link they state "Visco-latexTM is a patented hybrid foam formed from Memory Foam and Natural Latex Foam... and more like latex is a reflexive type of foam that supports a person’s body weight" But I bet you're right and there's not much actual latex in the product. The prices are too low.

But whatever the stuff is, they aren't charging much for it. And people really seem to like the Walmart version -- if the user ratings a Walmart are to be believed.

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20 Apr 2012 14:56 #4 by Phoenix

Hi yogiyoda,

You're right that 3-4 lb memory foam would be more typical for a Zinus mattress or topper while pillows will often use a lower density version of the same material. The same material can be made in different densities (like all polyfoam and memory foam). Because the same "type" of memory foam and polyfoam can be made in different densities, without knowing the density of a specific version of a product ... the quality is unknown (and I tend to assume less rather than more).

The description on the Back2Sleep site conflicts with the Spa Sensations site (about having natural latex in the mix) and I don't find it believable. The fact that the version of viscolatex in the WalMart topper includes the description "airfoam" (like the pillow) indicates to me that it is a lower density version. The shipping weight seems to confirm this because the product is 4.69 cu ft (73" x 37" x 3") and the shipping weight is 13.05 lbs. This means that the product is an average of 2.78 lbs per cubic foot and because the top memory foam layer density is probably higher than this average, the visco-latex is probably lower density.

Phoenix


Researching for a mattress?... Be sure to read this post first.

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20 Apr 2012 20:02 #5 by yogiyoda

Thanks Phoenix. Clever way to get the topper density. So it appears that the Walmart viscolatex has a density of around 2.5 and doesn't really claim to be made from latex. The back2sleep product has a different spelling Visco-Latex (with a hyphen), claims to include Natural Latex and claims a 4.0 density. Could very well be different stuff. But I agree with you, I think it's unlikely to have much (if any) real latex in it.

Still the reviews on the Walmart topper are very good (which is what caught my eye). So I guess "cheap" foam works for a lot of people. It's funny the best selling topper on Amazon only has a three pound density but it's user review are great. There are even people coming back 3-years later to still praise how good the topper is holding up. I'm beginning to question the idea that higher density foam is a superior product.

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21 Apr 2012 00:26 #6 by Phoenix

Hi Kevin,

There are even people coming back 3-years later to still praise how good the topper is holding up. I'm beginning to question the idea that higher density foam is a superior product.


I can understand your confusion. This is exactly the type of confusion that most of the industry works to achieve and is what allows them to "de-spec" their mattresses, charge whatever they think the market will bear, make whatever comparisons they think people will believe, and tell whatever stories they think people will trust enough to buy their mattress without ever being really held accountable. "This is just as good as that" is an easy story for many to believe when it is accompanied by "cheap" attractive prices and there will always seem to be "evidence" to support it. There are people who are happy with their 10 year old 3 lb memory foam topper on top of sagging innersprings with collapsed foam underneath it and they will tell the world that they have the best mattress in the world ... and from their eyes it's true.

Regardless of all of this though, once you get past subjective perceptions, opinions, stories, and the conflicting "evidence" that seems to support both sides of every story, there really are more objective facts behind all of this and while every fact may not be important to each person ... the difference between these facts and the "stories" that are rampant in every part of the industry are there to know for those who want to and for those where knowing the facts can make a difference.

For someone who is happy sleeping on a mattress that sells and is only worth a few hundred dollars and where the foam softening or shorter lifetime doesn't affect how the mattress feels to them (or how they feel about the mattress) ... there is absolutely no point in spending more ... no matter who else may think it is. My biggest issue though is when someone believes it is equivalent to something that is much higher quality and much more expensive and they believe the stories that convince them that it is.

Phoenix


Researching for a mattress?... Be sure to read this post first.

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21 Apr 2012 13:33 #7 by yogiyoda

I agree Phoenix. The way mattresses and toppers are marketed is kind of silly. Like the name "viscolatex" for a non-latex product is a little sneaky. And if these tactics are taken to the extreme and used to give people poor quality products at an unfair price, that's wrong. If they don't exist already, there should be some kind of "sunshine laws" in the mattress industry to prevent the worst instances of this deceptive marketing.

On the otherhand, I can't really get worked up about the best selling Spa Sensations and Visco2 toppers of the world. Maybe they aren't the highest density foam. Maybe they aren't made in America. Maybe they're marketing is a little silly. But they're priced fairly. They last for years. They're certified as relatively environmentally friendly. And most importantly, people like them. (If I remember correctly, Consumer Reports did an informal study and more testers liked the Spa Sensations topper than Tempurpedic. Also, the best-selling status and user reviews speak for themselves.)

Yes, you can buy an American-made 5 lb foam topper that will last twice as long. But if it cost 3 times the amount and sleeps hotter is it really worth it. It is if you can afford it and you happen to be in the group that likes the feel more. But I'm not sure that is the majority.

Then again maybe, as part of an evil Zinus scheme to take over the world, all the rave reviews are planted and the CertiPur rating is fake. In which case, I retract all previous statements :)

Seriously, I don't claim any expertise myself. I'm just a dude with some sleep issues. One of them is that I have a thin good quality spring mattress, but it is a little too firm for me now. I've tried latex and also a couple different high density memory foam toppers. Both were way too hot for me. And I didn't like the bouncy latex feel. So next up is a Snugfleece Elite in the mail. If that's not enough, I'm going to try a topper underneath (maybe a cheap breathable one first). ...open to any suggestions.

-yogi

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21 Apr 2012 16:28 - 21 Apr 2012 16:35 #8 by Phoenix

Hi yogiyoda,

On the otherhand, I can't really get worked up about the best selling Spa Sensations and Visco2 toppers of the world. Maybe they aren't the highest density foam. Maybe they aren't made in America. Maybe they're marketing is a little silly. But they're priced fairly. They last for years. They're certified as relatively environmentally friendly. And most importantly, people like them. (If I remember correctly, Consumer Reports did an informal study and more testers liked the Spa Sensations topper than Tempurpedic. Also, the best-selling status and user reviews speak for themselves.)


I agree with these sentiments for the most part. There is some evidence that about 75% of people will be happy with any mattress they buy at least initially because it is better than what they are sleeping on (which is their point of reference). I personally use about 70% "approval" in reviews as being the "norm". I also take this with a grain of salt because it is only the people with the strongest opinions on either side of the spectrum who tend to write reviews so the majority of purchases that are in the middle ground of just "OK" are not normally heard from.

In addition to this many of the reviews are really reviewing the suitability or wisdom of their choice (it's too hard, soft, not supportive, perfect etc) rather than the quality of the mattress itself which can't really be known for a much longer time. How long the mattress gives them the pressure relief, alignment, and feel that is "perfect" for them is one of the biggest issues in quality and value but is not really dealt with in the majority of reviews. I sometimes find it funny when a reviewer talks about the quality of a mattress when they have no idea about the materials that are in it. This is where the knowledge of the relative durability and the different characteristics and lifetimes of different materials can be very valuable. Even the cheapest materials can be used to make a mattress that feels amazing ... it just won't stay that way for long. Because the changes are more gradual though and different people have different tolerances to sleeping on a surface that may not be the "best" for them or relate their gradual development of symptoms to other causes ... they may not realize the effect their mattress is having on their overall wellbeing. Relating comfort and alignment to the quality of a mattress can be very misleading because it is more about how good a choice someone makes and how influenced they were by the highly managed perceptions of the showroom environment.

In addition to this ... I place a high premium on some type of certification for safety ... particularly in the area of memory foam where there is so much market confusion and there are so many products where their safety is questionable. There really is a health issue with various chemicals and offgassing with some materials and the quality control of different foam manufacturing methods that are used which can have both short and long term gradual consequences which most people will not relate to their mattress. Some people are more sensitive to this than others (both with short term symptoms they can identify and longer term symptoms they may not connect to their mattress) and in some cases even the testing threshholds are higher than some people's sensitivities. The short term symptoms of a more "toxic" material can be very unpleasant and even frightening. The longer term symptoms are mostly hidden and usually not related to the materials in their mattress (or elsewhere in their environment). Because we spend so much time in such close proximity to our mattress ... it is IMO the most important piece of furniture that we own and also can have a greater effect on our overall wellbeing than almost anything else we own.

Because of all this ... my goal is not so much to try to get everyone to buy a more expensive or higher quality mattress but more to help give people a more objective way to measure the value of what they are buying according to their "value equation". Part of this is also helping people identify sources where their odds of buying better value are much higher. Lower priced materials that are "safe" and can perform well for a particular individual for 3-5 years can be good value for one while for another person with different needs, preferences, or tolerances ... even a slight bit of softening can lead to backache or aggravate other symptoms. A 2" layer of memory foam for example that "wears out" in a mattress that otherwise has good materials and the layers underneath are still performing well will be far less noticeable than a 3" layer of the same material that wears out and causes issues.

Then again maybe, as part of an evil Zinus scheme to take over the world, all the rave reviews are planted and the CertiPur rating is fake. In which case, I retract all previous statements


That's funny :) My only answer to that is here .

So next up is a Snugfleece Elite in the mail. If that's not enough, I'm going to try a topper underneath (maybe a cheap breathable one first). ...open to any suggestions.


I think this can be a very good choice ... partly because of a thicker layer of wool's ability to cushion pressure points and partly because of wool's other benefits including the sleeping microclimate and temperature control. If that's not enough for the pressure relief you need ... a low cost but reasonable quality polyfoam or memory foam topper can also be a good choice and changed out when it's comfort degrades to a point where it isn't working for you any more. If your mattress is still in good shape and the main issue is pressure relief ... this can be a great option.

Phoenix


Researching for a mattress?... Be sure to read this post first.
Last Edit: 21 Apr 2012 16:35 by Phoenix.

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22 Apr 2012 16:50 #9 by yogiyoda

Thanks. Any recommendations for "higher value" foam that won't sleep hot? Like you suggested, if the wool topper alone doesn't work, I was even thinking of buying PU foam - maybe from some place like foamonline.com. Looks like you can get a high range of different ILD and density PU foam there. Apparently, you can get even get densities from 1.8 to 3.0 lb/ft3 in "soft" and "very soft". Of course with no reviews there's no predicting as to what they'd actually sleep like.

Also, any tips on how to turn into one of those hybrid creatures without backbones. I imagine that makes finding comfortable sleep surfaces easier :)

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22 Apr 2012 22:16 - 10 Oct 2014 20:35 #10 by Phoenix

Hi yogiyoda,

There are basically 3 types or categories of foam. These are memory foam, polyurethane foam, and latex. As a subcategory of memory foam there is the emerging category of gel memory foam (and other gel infused foams). While there is a wide range of differences in each category, memory foam tends to be the warmest, polyfoam is next, and latex is the coolest and most breathable of the foams. Adding gel to a foam would in most cases make it slightly cooler than the base foam it was added to but this would depend on the particular version of gel foam that was used and where it was located in the mattress (closer to the surface would be better). Gel that is added as larger particles that can migrate out of the foam is the least durable version of the gelfoams IMO while the gel that is added as part of the foam matrix itself (such as the swirl type of gels) or that use smaller particles that are embedded in the foam struts are more effective and more durable based on all the discussions with "experts" and the feedback I have seen. There is much more about gel materials in post #2 here and the information and posts it links to.

The more open celled a foam is and the less you sink into it (regardless of the type), the cooler it will tend to be. Certain types of fabrication such as punching holes into the foam can also make a difference in certain circumstances (if the air can flow freely and the holes aren't blocked by lying on it or by other layers of less breathable foam). The fabric that is used in the mattress ticking (cover) and the materials that are used in any quilting attached to the cover can also play a big role in how cool a mattress sleeps. Natural fibers will generally be much cooler than synthetic polyester fibers. There are also phase change materials such as Outlast or Coolmax which can slightly reduce the sleeping temperature. How hot a mattress sleeps is a combination of several factors part of which is the person on the mattress and part of which is how deeply you sink into the foam in the mattress, the breathability of the foam itself, the moisture regulation properties and breathability of the materials in the quilting and ticking, any special ingredients such as phase change materials that are added into the foam or the fabric, and the type of foam itself.

In terms of foam quality, outside of density (which is the most important aspect of durability), I would first make sure that a foam was CertiPur certified which means that it has a much higher chance of being safe. My second quality choice among CertiPur certified foams would be North American manufactured because I know that all of the major North American foam manufacturers are making good quality foams.

In terms of value ... this would depend on the price that I paid for a particular foam. the first place I would look is local foam outlets that assured me they carried North American foam. Because this is their business, they tend to be fairly knowledgeable about foams in general and usually have a range of different qualities (densities) available. They will also be able to tell you which of the foams they carry are more open celled and cooler. Aside from this ... an online foam outlet such as foamonline would make a good choice. In their case I have talked with them and they were open and knowledgeable about what they carried and the differences between their different choices. Some of the options on their website are different from their current products though so a phone call to find out what they have would be helpful.

The highest quality foams are called HR which are made with "high performance" chemicals and have much higher performance levels than lower quality foams. These have a density of 2.5 or higher, a compression modulus of 2.4 or higher, and a resilience of 60% or higher. They are the highest quality polyfoam but are also more expensive. The next quality level down would be HD (high density) conventional foams which are generally in the density range of 1.8 lbs and higher. Both of these can be made in any firmness level from very soft to very firm. Foams that are lower than 1.8 lbs density are starting to go into the lower quality range and once you are down to 1.2 lbs and lower you are in the very low quality and durability range. This doesn't mean that they are not suitable for use ... only that they may need to be replaced much more frequently. One of the reasons that lower density foams are used (besides that they are cheap) are because they also tend to be more open celled (more air and less material). 1.5 lb foam is fairly common in the "better" low budget mattresses where the prices don't justify the use of higher quality foams (although this and even lower density foams are also used in some very expensive mainstream mattresses). In support layers ... I would not use anything less than 1.8 lbs. In the comfort layers ... I would use softer foams with as high a quality/density as my budget allowed.

The foam outlets are usually pretty good at telling you the relative qualities of the foam they sell. There are also various places where you can buy toppers using various materials and some of these are also very low cost and often have partial specs on the site. A forum title search on "topper" will bring up lots of hits but this thread includes some good sources of various toppers (mostly memory foam but also many others).

Also, any tips on how to turn into one of those hybrid creatures without backbones. I imagine that makes finding comfortable sleep surfaces easier


I still remember when we were planning how to de-spec every mattress on the planet ... but that's another story. To this day though I keep looking over my shoulder just in case "they" find a way to dissolve my backbone with some new wonder potion they develop in their inhuman chemical labs. If they finally catch me (and "Latex" would have some things to say about that) ... I'll see if I can steal some of their potion and send it to you. I'll put it in a red pill :)

Phoenix


Researching for a mattress?... Be sure to read this post first.
Last Edit: 10 Oct 2014 20:35 by Phoenix.

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