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Memory Foam Mattress Help
I'm new to the board and apologize for my lack of knowledge, but I would like to purchase a memory foam mattress for below $600 and any input you have would be appreciated.
Brands that I've looked at include Spa Sensations (12" with 5lb density), BedinaBox (9" with 3lb density, but states it is better foam), Sleep Innovations (3lb), Lucid by LinenSpa (3lb), Night Therapy (unknown) and Aerus (4lb).
My concerns with these products:
Spa Sensations is said to have poor customer service (with a corresponding "F" BBB rating) and only a 5 year warranty.
BedinaBox receives poor reviews from customers on other forums and many state that the company makes up their own reviews. I worry with the lack of density as well, even though they have a 20 year warranty (10 non-prorated, 10 prorated).
Sleep Innovations and Lucid by LinenSpa do very well review wise on Amazon, but I don't know if their beds will hold up (limited warranties) for how inexpensive they are (and their lack of density).
Night Therapy doesn't even list the density of their mattresses.
Aerus seems to have only fair durability and just a 5 year warranty.
So all in all, I'm unsure of where to go. BedinaBox, SpaSensations (Walmart), Aerus (Walmart), and Night Therapy (Sam's Club) would allow me to try to the product for at least 90 days so they are probably a better first step then the others mentioned.
Thank you in advance!
In general ... there are 3 "rules" which I would follow in considering or choosing a memory foam mattress which will help to cut through the confusion of hundreds of "unknown memory foams" ... many of which have questionable quality or worse. These are ...
1. Know that the manufacturer of the foam is listed on the Certi-Pur (or another testing organization) site.
2. Know the actual density of the memory foam they are using.
3. Know the density of the polyfoam used in the support layers under the memory foam.
I would also add a 4th which is to never buy a 3 lb memory foam unless you pay so little you are comfortable with "throwing it away" after a few months. Some may last longer than this but you are taking your chances. This is especially true because 4 lb foam that meets the "3 rules"is available to buy with very low budgets.
In terms of the specific brands you mention
Spa Sensations: Made by Zinus. These along with many other brands made by Zinus are made in China. This is the highest density of the brand names I am aware of and I would regard this as being among their "best" brands. It is listed on the Certi-Pur site so I would consider this one.
Bedinabox: They use 3 lb foam from North Carolina Foam Industries which are listed on the Certi-Pur site but it is only 3 lb so I would not conider them ... in spite of what they say.
Sleep Innovations: Also listed on the Certi-Pur site but I would not consider 3 lb memory foam.
Lucid by Linenspa: Made by Malouf Marketing who owns the Linenspa trademark. Many similar sites all over the web selling these (and a similar list of mattresses). Unknown foam. Wouldn't consider.
Aerus: While this is only medium quality in terms of density and won't last as long as 5lb ... it is a quality foam in this budget range. I would certainly consider a mattress using this foam depending of course on the price of the mattress and the the support layer under it. The Walmart version would certainly have good value and has a generous return policy if it didn't work out for you.
Warranties are pretty much worthless as a means of determining quality since in order to take advantage of them ... the actual depression with you (or any weight) OFF the bed needs to be less than the warranty exclusion. Long before a lower quality memory foam loses its ability to "come back" with you off the mattress, it will have degraded in its internal structure and qualities.
Bear in mind too that field testing a mattress can be very important including with memory foam as different memory foams and different thicknesses of layers have different feels and qualities and the support foam under them and the cover will also play a large role in how suitable they may be for your particular sleeping needs.
In general ... I would tend to look at local independent manufacturers for any mattress I was purchasing ... including memory foam ... as I believe this is where you will find your best value and the best advice ... and you will also be able to test a mattress to make sure it is suitable for you.
If there is not a high value local manufacturer near you and/or you wish to purchase online, I would tend to avoid all the "cheap memory foam sites" that do not list their sources and focus on those that are more open about the memory foam they are using. At the extreme lower end of a memory foam budget ... there are still good value mattresses (not the highest quality but still good value) if you look carefully and do web searches on terms that you know will lead to higher quality mattresses with "known" materials. These terms could include the foam manufacturer names along with certi-pur so that your search results are more likely to produce sites that are open about their materials.
Finally ... if you are purchasing online ... make sure that the return costs are not so large (return shipping and restocking fees etc) that they would in effect force you keep a low budget mattress, even if it was completely unsuitable for you, because the cost of returning it was more than it was worth to do so.
Hope this helps
Thank you for the quick reply and great information.
So to summarize, the two manufacturers that fit your criteria more than the others are Spa Sensations and Aerus (the best fit at this price point). However, Spa Sensations (5lbs) is an unknown foam because of Step #3? (Density and ILD of polyfoam and support layers)
You mentioned trying to work with a local manufacturer. When searching for one (Albuquerque, NM area), I only came across the company below. Any opinions?
Finally, is there any quality 5lb memory foam mattresses that are only slightly higher in price or does the next tier end up jumping to $1000 and higher?
In my previous post I indicated that Zinus was not listed on the Certi-Pur site however I just checked and they now are. This is good news. I will be going back to previous posts and correcting those that indicate they are not listed.
Zinus has a Chinese factory and owns many brands which are often sold through box stores like Costo and through various outlets under many names. These include Spa Sensations, Night Therapy, Vivon, Mattress in a box, Keetsa, and others. They are usually lower density foams however the Spa Sensations is a higher density foam so it would be worth consideration. The density and ILD of the support foam can play a significant role in how the mattress feels and how well it supports the heavier parts of your body to ensure good spinal alignment so I would certainly make sure that this was known as well in any memory foam mattress I was considering. Memory foam is a good pressure relieving material however it is the least resilient of all foams and so has the least ability to support or "hold up" the heavier parts of the body which is one of the two main functions of a mattress. This is why the support layers under the memory foam and the thickness of the memory foam layer itself are so important (it needs to be the correct thickness for an individual's weight distribution and sleeping positions).
There are certainly higher density memory foam mattresses which meet my criteria that are under $1000 (queen) however they usually involve "wading" through the noise of many memory foam mattresses that IMO are not worth considering.
The link you posted is an airbed (called the Natural form SAT bed ) with memory foam in the comfort layer. IMO an airbed is the worst of all possible support layers both in terms of performance and value. There's much more information about this here www.themattressunderground.com/our-artic...s-pros-and-cons.html
Sleep EZ Is one of our manufacturing members who sell a high-quality memory foam mattress online which uses 5.5 lb Sensus which is among the highest quality memory foams and is made by Foamex. It is under $900 (queen). Their Select Sleep line of latex mattresses can also be ordered with 5.5 lb Sensus instead of latex in the top layer. Note added later: This mattress was discontinued
www.furniturerow.com/ A regional manufacturer with an outlet in Albuquerque. They also carry Simmons mattresses which I would avoid. They have several memory foam mattresses that may be worth looking at. From some initial research into the memory foam on their site, it seems that their suppliers include Flexible Foam (Which are Certi-Pur certified) and Kaymed (an irish foam producer which is well known in Europe). It may be worth asking some questions to see if they can fill in the gaps of the information on their website.
There are some examples of memory foam sources that use certified foams and will give you reliable information about what is in their mattress in the online memory foam list here .
There are many more reputable online outlets who provide memory foam for those that don't have access to a local manufacturer so I will gradually add to this list as time permits but I wanted to correct the error in the Zinus memory foam before I went to bed
Thank you again for the great information.
So, let me get this straight. I need to know the density and ILD of the polyfoam used in the support layers. Do I need to know the ILD for the memory foam or is that not applicable?
Also, I saw you listed Aerus as CertiPur registered, but did not list the manufacturer of their foam. Who is it exactly? I'm having a tough time finding any information on the density and ILD of the polyfoam used in their support layers.
Websites such as this one state that ILD ratings aren't helpful because the testing of ILDs aren't the same across the board. What are your thoughts on that? Is that why you focus on the support layers?
Thank you again!
The ILD of memory foam is not so significant because viscoelastic materials will change their firmness/softness with heat, pressure and humidity and over time. To give a rough comparison with other materials ...almost all memory foams are "in the range of" 15 ILD or less. Some of the very dense versions are a little higher (around 18). Because of how viscoelastic foam changes in softness, the ILD is fairly meaningless. They would all qualify as "very soft". Knowing the density of the memory foam however is important.
The primary factor in the quality of a memory foam layer (it is only used in the top pressure relieving layers of a mattress because memory foam is too soft to provide good primary support) is density. As a general guideline, under 4 lbs is low quality, 4-5 lbs is medium quality, and 5 lbs or better is good quality. The density (or the chemicals used to create the density) can also change how the memory foam performs (how stiff or soft it gets with heat/cold, how easily it "melts" under you or how durable it is are examples). There are many many different chemicals that are added to memory foam to change how it reacts to different conditions even though the ILD of all memory foams at "room temperature" are fairly close.
The support qualities of a mattress come primarily from the layers under the memory foam and can also be affected by the thickness of the memory foam layer (thicker layers are less supportive). The type, firmness, and other qualities of the support layers has at least as much to do with what makes a memory foam mattress suitable for an individual as the type of memory foam itself.
Tempurpedic as an example sells many different memory foam mattresses (at an inflated price) with different types of memory foams and different thicknesses of memory foam in upper layers (they all use polyfoam in the support layers). While the thickest comfort layers are generally regarded as the "best" and are certainly the most expensive, for some people they would be completely unsuitable and the thinnest comfort layer they have would work much better.
In general ... in today's mattresses ... memory foam layers are too thick and this is sold as a "benefit" because so few understand the differences in the "other parts" of a memory foam mattress and how the various layers work together to create a mattress that is suitable in terms of pressure relief and spinal alignment for an individual. Because memory foam layers that are too thick can lead to poor spinal alignment, this can lead to back issues or aggravate existing ones because memory does not "hold up" the heavier parts of the body. In actual fact ... the term "memory foam mattress" is somewhat of a misnomer since only the top part of them is actually memory foam. Even the idea that memory foam is the most pressure relieving material is incorrect and based on a misunderstanding of what actually creates pressure relief. Latex and buckling column gels in the right softness levels are just as pressure relieving as any memory foam since the biggest part of pressure relief comes from a combination of qualities ... one of the most important of which is what is called "point elasticity" (and not just softness). This means the ability of a material to take on the shape of your body to distribute weight and relieve pressure. Polyfoams can be much softer than either the softest latex or memory foam and yet are not nearly as pressure relieving as either.
The support layers under a memory foam mattress are usually polyfoam (occasionally latex or an innerspring). Polyfoam too comes in different quality levels that are primarily measured by density. The minimum density of polyfoam used for a support layer should be 1.8 lbs/cu ft. Higher (over 2.0) is better unless you are in lower budget ranges. Each density can be made in a wide range of firmness or softness levels without changing the density so density and softness are not really "interconnected". In polyfoam the ILD (firmness/softness) is meaningful because it doesn't change in the same way that memory foam does with heat, humidity, pressure, and time.
The best ILD in the support layer for any individual depends on the thickness and quality of the memory foam above it, the height/weight and weight distribution of the person, and the normal sleeping positions. Typically the lowest ILD that would be used in a support layer would be about 28 and it is often (and often should be) higher. While this can seem somewhat technical, a good way to bypass most of the technical knowledge is to test mattresses specifically for pressure relief and spinal alignment separately and then to use the thinnest possible comfort layer that provides good pressure relief for your weight distribution and sleeping positions.
An outlet that knows the differences between different mattress constructions and knows why different types of layering or material may be better for you than another and can "translate" that knowledge into practical terms that makes sense to you can be your best friend and also help you bypass the need for more technical knowledge. Unfortunately in the more typical outlets ... these types of people are exceptionally rare. They tend to prefer to sell by "stories" and by "comfort" which is a pretty meaningless term. They also try to sell using sales techniques and closing techniques such as sales prices, warranties, or comfort exchanges, which are all traps for the unwary.
Aerus is made by Foamex (FXI)
So to recap ... knowing how to test a mattress for pressure relief and knowing how to test it for spinal alignment can "bypass" much of the need for technical knowledge (other than foam density in memory foam or polyfoam to help determine its quality and durability). Finding an outlet which knows the technical stuff and will show it to you if you want it or truthfully translate it for you if you don't want to get so technical can also be one of the most beneficial things you can do and help you bypass this knowledge. Like buying a car ... finding someone you can trust, knows their stuff, and will do what is right for you, is a real prize ... and very rare in this industry outside of "sleep shops" and manufacturers who sell direct.
I definitely understand why the ILD and density of the support layers is so important now. I am also starting to realize the importance of working with a sales representative who is knowledgeable and has my best interests in mind.
I just spoke with a Spa Sensations (Zinus Inc) representative and he told me the following about their 12" Theratouch Mattress:
3" 3lbs Memory Foam Layer - 8~9 ILD
3” Super Soft Pressure Relieving Foam w Ventilation - 15ILD
6” HD PU foam base - 25ILD
That is definitely different information about the memory foam layer (3lbs vs. 5lbs) than what is advertised on other sites. It seems like they miss the mark as well in regards to ILD and they didn't even give me the density of the support layers when asked.
Right now it is looking like I will either go to a local store, purchase the Aerus from Walmart, or possibly online with My Luxury Mattress. Of the online outlets you listed earlier (select foam, foam source, and my luxury mattress) my luxury mattress looked the best. The only worry I have is they state the customer is responsible for repacking the mattress properly (boxed and bagging) to be shipped. That seems like it would be an ordeal since they are usually vacuum packed. I sent them an email to get the specifics on this.
It is too bad there aren't more companies online who offer a quality 4-5lb memory foam in this price range with an extensive trial period and cost free return. If you know of any other local stores besides sleepez or furniture row please let me know.
I sent an information request to FXI to find out the density and ILD of the polyfoam used in the support layers under the memory foam of the Aerus. I'll be sure to let you know what I find out.
Lastly, you mentioned proper testing of a mattress for spinal alignment and pressure relief, do you have any specifics on that?
Thank you again!
Thank you so much for the information. I was skeptical of the density information about the Spa Sensations as it didn't seem to be in line with other Zinus brands and I am thankful that you took the time to do the research.
I am somewhat adverse to ordering a memory foam mattress online without a great return policy for several reasons.
Memory foam itself has a basic "set" of chemicals and method of manufacturing that is used but there are hundreds of variations between manufacturers and even the same foam manufacturer will often have dozens of variants and custom formulations which can change the recovery time, the breathability and heat retention, heat sensitivity, and many other characteristics of their memory foam, even when similar densities are compared. The support layers and the ticking/quilting can also make a huge difference in how the memory foam "performs". This means that memory foam comparisons between different manufacturers, even of the same density, is not as easy to "translate" as latex (which has much more similarity in its characteristics between different manufacturers than memory foam) or even polyfoam.
So in many cases ... buying a "standardized" memory foam mattress online regardless of the density or quality of the memory foam itself can be a roll of the dice. Very few people who are looking for a memory foam mattress truly realize how different they can be and how many factors can change the feel and performance of the mattress they are considering. Since memory foam, in general, is pressure relieving ... the biggest variables are in the support, feel, and heat retention of the memory foam mattress and of course in its durability (and in the case of unknown foams ... harmful chemicals and VOC emissions).
The thickness of the memory foam layer and the type of layers under it can play a major role in alignment regardless of the quality of the memory foam itself. Memory foam in very low densities are also not as "gradual" in their response and so can be much firmer when cold and then melt more easily when warmed up and become too "soft" and a person may "go through" the memory foam onto the firmer layers underneath which can cause pressure issues in spite of the memory foam. Of course, they are also not as durable. Lower density memory foams may also be more breathable because the internal structure is not as dense and "insulating". There are also many other factors involved with heat retention of a memory foam, however.
Memory foam and viscoelastic materials also have a characteristic called "creep" which means that over time ... they become softer (lose some of their resistance to pressure) in addition to the variables of heat, pressure, and humidity. This means that someone who may be in alignment at the start of the night may sink deeper over the course of the night and lose alignment ... even if the heat and humidity don't change.
For all these reasons ... and more ... I believe it is much more "accurate" to purchase a memory foam mattress through personal testing rather than buying online ... at least without a great return policy. If someone can test a memory foam mattress locally with a known type of foam and then that same construction and foam is available online ... then, of course, the risk of getting it wrong is much lower. Overall local manufacturers or smaller sleep shops are usually a much better way to go when that is possible and the value is similar.
I did talk with Rocky Mountain Mattress yesterday about their memory foam mattresses. They sell Bayer memory foam on their main pages (which is a large foam manufacturer but not listed on Certi-Pur) but they also have a selection of Foamex memory foam (which he actually prefers as well). The Foamex are layered DIY constructions and the support layers can be customized much like many latex DIY mattresses that some of the members here sell. They may be worth considering. Their Foamex mattresses are here www.rockymountainmattress.com/specials-c-28.html . They also have some good youtube short clips showing the different responses of different memory foams.
FWIW ... Sensus is a slower recovery foam than Aerus (both are Foamex) and less breathable but "denser feeling" or "firmer" than the Aerus although I use firm here only relative to other memory foams as no memory foam is really firm unless it is cold.
I will list more as I come across them or do a little more research on many I already know about for those who may be looking to buy memory foam online in spite of the "risk" of doing so.
Information about the basic functions of a mattress (pressure relief and spinal alignment) is here www.themattressunderground.com/mattresse...pinal-alignment.html . General information about testing for pressure relief and alignment (and the other steps to finding your perfect mattress) is here www.themattressunderground.com/mattresse...erfect-mattress.html and more details about pressure relief testing are here www.themattressunderground.com/mattresse...pressure-relief.html and spinal alignment testing here www.themattressunderground.com/mattresse...pinal-alignment.html
I've been wanting to reply to your post earlier, but I'm still waiting on Foamex/FXI for a response on the density/IFD of their 7" Intelliform layer underneath the memory foam. They replied back, but gave me the test data on their open flame evaluation instead. I contacted the Stork Materials (company who does the testing) evaluation manager to see what he found. I'll be sure to keep you updated.
I've looked at Rocky Mountain Mattress previously, but the one turnoff I had with them is they charge you on returning the product. I'm definitely not a fan of that!
2. The customer is responsible for return shipping, including any and all shipping fees. Please contact us in advance if you plan on returning your mattress, and we will provide complete return instructions and the correct shipping address.
Thanks again for all of your advice and I'm currently reading your articles on how to properly test a mattress for pressure relief and alignment.
While I know that there is no specific information about the ILD of the poly under the memory foam, It would be in the range of 28 - 35 and likely closer to 28-32. This would be in the medium to medium - firm range. If they put firmer foam under 3" of 4 lb memory foam ... a mattress with this type of layering construction and materials would be too firm for most people and not suitable for "mass marketing" as the transition between the memory foam and the firmer poly under it would be too great. The polyfoam (Intelliform) is also made by Foamex.
I also understand the hesitation with return shipping charges. There are many online outlets however that charge much more to return a mattress because they will charge a return fee or restocking fee and also charge you for the original shipping cost in addition to the return shipping cost if a mattress is returned. These types of return fees (original shipping plus restocking fee plus return shipping) can make the cost of returning a low cost mattress impractical which is the reason the fee structure is set up the way it is and why they can often charge less for their mattresses (knowing they have greatly reduced the practical ability to return it). I personally believe that return fees that only charge for the cost of return shipping are much more reasonable and an "acceptable risk" ... especially if some preliminary research and testing can give you an idea that the mattress you are buying is at least close to what you would need and the chance of a return is lower. The greater the total cost of returning a mattress ... the more important it is to have a clear idea that it will be suitable.
One of the things I did like about Rocky Mountain Foamex mattresses (not the Bayer ones) is that the layers can be re-arranged (both the core layers and the memory foam layers if there is more than one) which can change the feel and performance of the mattress which in turn significantly reduces the chances that it will need to be returned (especially if your testing indicates that it was at least close to what you need in the first place). This "at home" customization can certainly play a big role in "getting it right" without the need to exchange the mattress.
The tradeoff with outlets like this is you gain the ability to tailor the mattress to your needs because of their greater selection and choices (rather than the all or nothing approach of an outlet like Sams Club, Walmart, or Costco) but there is a minimal shipping charge to return it (it can usually be returned UPS which is much less than truck freight but repacking the mattress can be somewhat difficult).
Outlets like My Luxury mattress will not charge for returns at all (even return shipping which is quite rare outside of box stores) but this cost of business (there will be more returns) would also be built in to their pricing structure.
When purchasing online ... the costs involved in "getting it wrong" need of course to be balanced against the choices offered and how likely it is that your choices may or may not be correct for your needs.