Bad back Looking for memory foam

Hello there!
This looks like a wonderful site. Thank you!

I have frequent lower back pain and am looking for a new mattress but I am on a strict budget that is non-negotiable.
One of the most frustrating things in shopping is that all the sales people, despite me being very clear about my budget, keep relentlessly pushing me to spend more. Like 5 times in a row, totally ignoring what I am telling them about my budget. It’s not an option for me to spend more that $1000. I wish that wasn’t the case, but it is.
I know I will not pay $900 and get something that is fantastic and last for 10 years. I want it last 5 years without sagging or loosing support. Is there anything out there that will do that in this price range and my comfort range?
I am 49 years-old 5’8", approximately 140 lbs female.
I like a softer, more plush feel with lots of support.
I love the feel of the Tempurpedic Cloud, but it is way out of my price range. The icomfort Savant -plus feels good too.
I surprisingly liked the Tempurpedic Simplicity -medium, plush. Not quite as comfy as the Cloud …but it was comfortable. I think that is around $1300 for a full and $1400 for a queen. I really need a queen but would go down to a full for a better mattress.
Macy’s has a sale on the Memory Works. The Serena -plush feels good. With the “sale” it is in my price range.
I have also looked at Bob’s Bob O Pedic…the Cirrus seems okay in my price range. I am honestly wondering if Bob O Pedic and the Macy’s Memory Works aren’t the same beds in the models I mentioned.
Any feedback?
Any of the outlets in Mercer County, NJ (Princeton area), or North Brunswick, NJ area? or Hunterdon County NJ (Flemington ect)?
I have gone to 3 different Sleepy’s and have gotten 3 different prices on the SAME bed that was on sale…not a bed I would every buy, but crazy…one guy told me I need to use an AARP card to get the low price, another told me he would give me the low price because the guy at the other store was giving it to me…the 3rd guy just blurted out the low price as soon as I walked by the bed…no AARP card needed! Gotta love it.
Right now I am leaning towards the Macy’s Memory Works Serena -Plus or the the Bob o Pedic Cirrus -plus…I swear these are the same bed.

Oh…I realize now that I should add that I am a side sleeper…zip code 08648
Thank you so much for any information that you can provide!

Hi Strummer,

This is fairly “standard” practice in the industry … until you eliminate the worst choices (about 3/4 or more of the mattress stores that most people tend to buy from).

I think your expectations are certainly reasonable (depending on the size and on any other options that may need to go with it such as a foundation and mattress protector). Given your lower weight … you should be able to find a mattress in your budget that lasts you this long or longer … even in a queen.

The Tempurpedic mattresses use a range of high medium and low quality foams (the simplicity has some of the lowest quality/density memory foam in the market) but all of them regardless of the quality of the materials they use are poor value. they can provide a good reference point thoug for a memory foam mattress because many manufacturers will have a good idea of how their mattresses compare in terms of feel and performance to the Tempurpedic lineup.

I think the first place I would start is to click the link that is in the signature of every post I make in the forum. This has a step by step guide and links to information that will greatly increase your odds of finding the best possible mattress that fits your needs and preferences and has the quality (durability) and value you want as well. Most important though … it will eliminate most of the worst choices like major brands and mass market outlets like Macy’s and it will also help eliminate the low quality mattresses like any low density memory foam mattresses sold at Bob’s. Eliminating most of the more common choices such as the ones you have mentioned that have poor value will help you focus on the better ones.

Post #7 here has some of the better choices and possibilities in terms of smaller manufacturers and better retailers in your area and I would spend some time on the websites and on the phone with the ones that interest you to tell them about your criteria and then visit the ones that are most interesting to you.

I would be very wary about buying any of the mattresses you have mentioned and after reading the post I linked I hope you will be looking in completely new directions :slight_smile:


Hello Phoenix,

Thank you very much for your detailed reply.
I decided to check the Select Foam site and I find it interesing that they have a model which they claim is comparable to the Tempurpedic Cloud. And they call it the “Cirrius”.
Well, Bob’s has bed with the same name and also compares it to The Tempurpedic Cloud.
What are the chances of that?

Well my back has beed pretty bad recently and this limits my ability to be driving around ect at this time and I just can’t bring myself to risk ordering a bed without actully being able to try it out first.

I really appreciate getting some basic information under my belt. But have decided that I just don’t have time to become a matress expert and drive all over to places ect.
Plus I figured all the gas money spent driving to different places could be used towards a mattress. :lol:
If I had the money, I would plunk it on a Tempurpedic where it is a good value or not.
My time is running out as I will be needing a new matress very soon.

I will just have to make the best choice I can from what is in the stores. I am really hoping that Macy’s wouldn’t sell a product that will perform poorly within 2 or 3 years with their MemoryWorks. I would think if that were the case, there would be bad reviews all over the interent. I don’t see them. Or really any reviews other than on their own site.
I know it will not be high quality for the price, but can’t believe it will be total junk either.

Wish I had more time to explore this whole thing further. And I may be should my choice turn out to be a poor one!! B)

Oh, I also found this site that provides some information to rate products and they rate MemoryWorks as ok…wiht 4.5 lb density.

Maybe I am just want to believe that a MemoryWorks would ok for me.

But in terms of value, I can’t find anything that will give me a comfortable Queen memory foam with box spring for $800 including delivery.
So maybe it’s worth only $400…but there is no where for me to get if for that price…so I just have to pay it. Just like people have to pay for Tempurpedic if that’s what they really want,
Like I said, I know I am not going to get anything fantastic for $800 wtih deliver, but I think it will be decent.
Are you of the opinion that this bed will be saggin in 6 months or something?

Hi Strummer,

You’d be amazed at the number of duplicate names I come across in my research. Of course they are much different and knowing the details of all the layers is the way to tell them apart. The issue with Bobs (like so many others) is that they don’t list the quality of their materials (density) … only the layering thickness … and I would need to know that before considering them. I would also want to know that they meet the criteria I use for memory foam in post #10 here.

The goal is always to connect with the experts rather than trying to become one yourself. That way they already know what you would otherwise have to learn. That’s the goal of the “step by step” post that’s linked after my signature in all my posts. Gather just enough information to know the basics and then let the mattress experts do the rest once you’ve identified who they are.

Again … if you follow the steps in the linked post it will save you hours of driving, research, and mattress testing only to find you don’t know or can’t find out the information you need about the mattresses you are testing. Lots of the research before you test mattresses can (and should) be done on the phone.

Besides careful testing to make sure that a mattress provides the PPP (Pressure relief, Posture and alignment, and Personal preferences) that you need and want … the rest of the job is to make sure that it uses good quality materials relative to your budget and that it has good value compared to other similar mattresses. The memoryworks certainly isn’t junk and has 4" of 4.5 lb memory foam over an unknown quality 6" base layer (and I would want to know the density). Once you know the base layer density you would have a way to compare it to other mattresses. Macy’s sells lots of poor value mattresses … but this is not the same as “junk” or poor quality. Some of these use some very low quality materials and some don’t. Even great quality mattresses like the better Tempurpedics can be poor value if they sell for significantly more than mattresses that use the same or better quality materials.

The density of the memory foam they use is fairly widely available and 4.5 lb memory foam is reasonable quality if it’s true that this is what they are using (there are other sources that these may not be the correct specs). I generally suggest that people don’t go below 4 lbs and lower density memory foams can have a feel that many people like because they are usually faster responding, often more open celled and cooler, and softer. You are lighter so this would certainly be suitable for you.

I’m not sure what size you are looking at (which would make a big difference in cost) but if you are looking at a queen size set with delivery for $800 it certainly seems like good value to me (although I would still want to know the quality of the base foam). I don’t think it will sag in 6 months no if it is suitable for your weight and sleeping positions. It will go through some initial softening like all memory foam but as long as it’s not already too soft or on the edge of being too soft (it should be a little firmer rather than a little softer to account for the initial softening) and the initial break in of the foam doesn’t take you over the edge in terms of support/alignment then it should be fine and have a reasonable lifespan measured in years. My only other caution would be to do a google search for “memoryworks mold” so you are are of the issues they have had.

So assuming that you are looking at a queen size and the base layer is at least reasonable quality … it seems to me that you are looking at good value.


Hi Phoenix,

Yes, it’s a Memory Works Queen including box spring (or whatever they call it these days) and free delivery for $800.
I got an additional $100 for opening a Macy’s charge account…haha…they got me there…but a $100 is a $100!
I will pay it in full as soon as I receive the mattress, so I won’t incur any charges with that.

As a side note, Macy’s gets you to buy the Queen by offering the Full size for only $10 less. So of course you go with the Queen if your room permits.
One another annoying thing…online they offer two higher quality options in this line, but they did not have them on the store floor so there was not way to try them out. I called different Macy’s locations and none of them had these other two mattresses on their floors.
So I just had to rule them out.

I did do an internet search on Memory Works after first trying out the mattress in the store. I did see the alarming and horrifying reports of mold. :ohmy:
But then I noticed that they have not sold that model or line for a while now. They have replaced with a new line with new name.
The reviews that mentioned that referred to the “Olivewood”…this is no longer sold by Macy’s. Nor are any of the others from that same line.
For all we know it could be the same darn mattresses and they just changed the names due to the mold problem.
I am more apt to believe they fixed the problem and made some little changes or updates to the line as I do not see any recent reports/reviews relevant to the current line of Memory Works on the store floors and online now.

When I have time I will try to find out the quality/density of the base layer.I would like to know that.
Will let you know if I learn anything on that and how things go once the mattress is delivered and I am actually sleeping on it.

Thanks so much for our input!

Hi Strummer,

Congratulations on your new mattress:)

I hope you are able to find the density of the base foam as it would help add to the information on the forum (in many cases mattress specs are added “piece by piece”)

I also hope they have solved the mold issues … I sure wouldn’t want to have to deal with them … and it’s often there long before you notice it. I would also hope though that they took the issue seriously and made the necessary changes.

I’m looking forward to your feedback when you’ve received the mattress and have had a chance to sleep on it.


Thank you Pheonix.
Forgot to mention that I ordered the Serena Plush in the Memory Works line.

I now nee to consider a mattress protector and am wondering how the waterproof ones impact the feel of the mattress.

Will keep you posted on how it all goes.

Hi Strummer,

I just looked at the Sealy Canadian site and if you look here they list the density of the foams used in the memoryworks mattresses … at least in Canada (and it’s likely that it’s the same in the US). The good news is that the support core for the memoryworks mattresses seems to be 1.9 lbs which is reasonable.

The not so good news is that the MD-3 memory foam appears to be either 3.0 or 3.5 lbs (it appears that they make it in both densities) which is not so good. This conflicts with some other sites (including the one you mentioned and some others I’ve seen) which list it at 4.5 lbs but this is from the Sealy site itself so its likely to be accurate.

The MD select may be a different density and perhaps this is 4.5 lb memory foam or it could be their name for one of the two lower densities listed but I haven’t been able to track it down so I don’t know for sure. If you look here … it says that the MD select “offers a lower density feel” which implies it is a lower density than the MD-3 so it’s possible that it is the same combination of 3.0 and 3.5 lb memory foams that are listed on the Sealy Canada site.

I just thought I’d post this in case it made a difference.


Hello Phoenix,

Thank you for the information.
It’s kind of ridiculous that the information consumers need to judge the quality of a mattress is not readily available.
When you buy a computer, you can readily tell the quality of the processor ect.

When I have a moment, I am just going to call Sealy and see what they can (or will) tell me.

I am able to cancel my order before delivery…my card does not even get charged until it is delivered.
But I would want more information before I would do that.

It will be interesting to see what I can find out!
But not I know just a few simple questions…which “should” have simple questions to ask…
Sealy and perhaps Macy’s headquarters or whomever I need to call.
I wonder if there is a department of consumer affairs that requires this basic info be printed somewhere so I can know what is it that I am buying.

They can give it whatever name they want…but bottom line is they should be able to tell me the denisity and the lb…right?

Hi Strummer,

They “should” … but unfortunately in most of the mainstream part of the industry they don’t.

The most basic “quality” information in the case of poyfoam and memory foam is its density (which is usually expressed in lbs/cu ft). With the polyfoam support layer I would be looking for 1.8 lbs and higher (which your mattress seems to meet). In the comfort layers which are usually the weak link of a mattress… I would be looking for 4 lb memory foam or higher unless the price you are paying justifies the use of lower quality materials.
There are other factors involved in durability as you can see in post #2 here but density is the single most important and basic and is the minimum information I would consider.

You have the advantage of being taller and lighter which means that a mattress will tend to last longer for you (there is less stress placed on the mattress with lighter weights) and the price seems fairly reasonable but your basis for comparison with other mattresses would be different with lower density foams and the “value” in this case isn’t as good as it would be if the density/quality was higher.

I had a nagging feeling that the 4.5 lb density wasn’t right which is why I looked a little further (I normally don’t do much investigation on major brands that have missing information because it usually leads to dead ends and the same lower value conclusion anyway) only to realize that I had discovered this before in another thread here.

You may still decide to buy the mattress of course but I thought you should know that the quality/value is not quite as good as you (or I) would otherwise have believed.


Hey Phoenix,
I don’t know how much this means, but the Memory Works “Caramel” on the Canadian Sealy site is part of the line they discontinued.
Of course that doesn’t mean the line out is of different quality, though it’s is possible that it’s been upgraded in some way.
Unfortunately, I may need to be a detective to find out!

Yeah, on the Macy’s site for the “Juno” Memory Works (which you provided the link to) they come right out and tell you it’s lower density foam:
“lay your head down with an innovative mix of lower density Memory Foam…”
I will give them points for coming out and saying that. Though, as you know, many consumers have no idea that lower density means lower quality…
And the Juno is only selling for $540 for the Queen Set right now on the sale. And last week the price was closer to $500 for the Queen set.
The “Juno” is the lowest quality/priced mattress in the current line. I layed on it and it could tell right away it wasn’t decent …at least for for me. It is not a bed I would have considered.

The bed I ordered for the Queen Set including delivery is the Memory Works Serena Plush…it doesn’t say anything about a lower density feel

Product Details

Wake up & sleep better! This smart choice combines layers of Memory Foam for an even greater response to your body’s needs & wants. A plush foundation provides gradual progressive support that wraps your body in a resilient comfort, while also relieving pressure points, improving circulation and balance a cool temperature all night long.
•Request warranty information
•Comfort level: plush
•Mattress type: Memory Foam
•Quality: best
•Sleep style: back/side
•Mattress height: 10"
•No-flip mattress design
•Quilting layers: .5" MD-3 Memory Foam for optimum comfort & support, while also reducing pressure points and improving circulation & temperature balance
•Comfort layers: 1.5" MD Select Memory Foam & 2 MD-3 Memory Foam combined for even greater response with gradual progressive support
•Cover fabrication: knit picture-framed with chenille border
•Available box spring heights: 9" standard, 5" low-profile
•Boxspring construction: semi-flex
•Adjustable bed compatible
•Meets federal fire retardant safety standard
•20-year limited warranty

Either way $800 for a Queen Set with delivery isn’t so easy to find in stores where you can actually the try the bed. Not in a 10".
This bed feels a little better than the Cirrus at Bob’s, but when you factor in delivery, I paid a $100 for what I got at Macy’s than for the Cirrus at Bob’s…

I will try to send out the density of the comfort layers though…
But right now, this is what I can afford…and if it lasts 5 years without sagging…I will be happy…it is under warrenty and it’s Macy’s and Macy’s is pretty good…so I can send it back and replace it with something else if worse comes to worse.

Right now I need to see that is is poor quality/low density to cancel the order…because I am basically happy with the bed and the price.

I paid $800 for the Memory Works Serena Queen set with delivery.

Also the Juno Memory Works that your provided the link for is only 6". And it only has 1 inch 3 MD…
The Serena Memorory Works is 10"…and 4 inches of memory foam with different types of foam.

Looking at this and now looking at stats on the discontinued MemoryWorks line on the Sealy Canada site…I think MD stands for Memory Density…and the digit is the density…so MD 3 means 3 pounds…ect…
I see on Canadian site…their old model, the OliveWood used the MD…
•Premium quilted to memory foam sleep surface aesthetics with ultra soft knit panels
•Responds to your body’s weight & temperature
•Bamboo rayon fibre has the ability to breathe and provide coolness
•CareShield liquid protection fabric treatment repels and resists stains
•3" MD-3 Memory Foam (3.5lb) + 3" MD-3 Memory Foam (3.0lb) + 8" High density Foam Core (1.9lb)
•10 Year Limited Warranty

I mention this because I believe the Olivewood was the high end of that line they discontinued…so yeah…even the higher end of the line may not stack up so well.

Hi Strummer,

I’m more focused on the quality information about the different foams than on the specific mattress because the same foams will likely be used in all their mattresses. You are right about being a “detective” and for me it’s generally not worth it because the outcome is almost always the same if you do manage to find the information you need. This is the job of the retailer … not the consumer … and I tend to only deal with retailers that can do what they need to do to help consumers find the best possible quality and value and find the information they need. If this type of research is up to consumers … it’s usually incredibly time consuming and frustrating and it’s usually best to just pass by the retailers that don’t understand the importance of this type of information.

This was just connecting the dots. The MD select is described in another mattress as having a “lower density feel” which likely means that it’s an actual lower density. It would be the same material in every mattress that used it and the Serena uses 1.5" of the ME Select memory foam.

This may be true but don’t forget that any quality of material can feel good (or not good) and that quality determines how long the “feel good” will last. It’s also important to make apples to apples comparisons with other mattresses that may be available. If you are considering a mattress with lower quality memory foam … then it’s easier to find equivalent mattresses at other stores that use the same lower quality memory foam and will also sell for lower prices than if you are trying to compare them to mattresses that use higher quality memory foam (which sell for higher prices). Memory foam mattresses in your price range that use lower quality memory foam would be easier to find. Before I even considered Bobs or spent any time trying them … I would make sure that you know from a phone call if their memory foam is American made and/or CertiPur certified and that they can tell you the density of the layers in their mattresses (or I wouldn’t even go there at all).

I certainly don’t share your thoughts about Macy’s when it comes to mattresses :slight_smile:

The problem is that lower quality materials can feel good at first but will soften much more quickly than higher quality materials even though they don’t have a permanent impression. This may happen after any comfort return period and it won’t be covered by any warranty because the actual impressions have to be deeper than the warranty exclusion before it becomes a warranty issue and this rarely happens … even though foam softening may lead to the loss of comfort and/or support. Warranties are more about protecting the manufacturer against warranty claims than they are about helping the consumer replace a mattress that has lost its comfort and support and are mostly a marketing tool more than anything else.

Yes … it could stand for memory density or medium density but either way it’s not likely that any of it is higher than 3.5 lbs.

None of this is to say what you “should” or “shouldn’t” do of course because only you can decide what is best for you and how much more research you are OK with but if you do decide to continue then at least you have some information that you can make more meaningful comparisons. Much of this can even be done on the phone so you don’t have to spend time going somewhere where it’s clear that the value is no better than what you already have. I would suspect that there are more than a few mattress purchases made out of “shopping fatigue” or frustration …particularly when you are dealing with some of the less knowledgeable retailers and coming up with so many research dead ends.

I normally wouldn’t consider memory foam mattresses less than 4 lbs (unless it’s an inch in the quilting layer or so and the rest is higher quality/density) but like anything else there is a point where low quality materials may be all that is available in a certain budget range or you may feel that it’s OK anyway or worth the risk. I don’t think you are in budget range that is limited to this but the challenge would be finding something that is local (rather than online or further away) so you can go and test it in an area that is dominated by chain stores and major retailers which tend to sell lower value mattresses


So what do you think of one of the Ultimate Dreams for me? Perhaps the eurotop?
I love the feel of the tempur pedic cloude luxe.
I like a plush/comfy feel with lots of support.

They seem to be getting good reivews and the ability to switch out with the zip eurotop reduces risk

Hi Strummer,

As you probably know … I think the Ultimate Dreams (Brooklyn Bedding/Dreamfoam) is among the best quality and value in the country (which of course is why they were invited to be a member here).

Latex is a very different animal from memory foam though so you may want to make sure that you are comfortable with its feel and performance (it’s a fast response foam rather than the slow response of memory foam and has a very different “feel” to it). They also have a gel memory foam mattress that is similar in feel to the Cloud Luxe (just a little bit firmer apparently) which may also be worth considering if you prefer the memory foam feel.

As you mentioned … the Eurotop has the advantage of being able to make a change in your comfort choice for a reasonable cost (see post #2 here) which can lower the risk or “fear factor” of an online purchase compared to a mattress that can’t be changed or returned after purchase.

All of these are good quality/value choices and if you are comfortable with an online purchase then they would be well worth considering and it may be well worthwhile to talk with them on the phone.