Specifically interested in either a latex or memory foam mattress or possibly a hybrid of both. BTW, could not find info about polyfoam, although I’ve seen the term used. Can you elaborate please? Thank you.
Specifically interested in either a latex or memory foam mattress or possibly a hybrid of both. BTW, could not find info about polyfoam, although I’ve seen the term used. Can you elaborate please? Thank you.
The list of better options or possibilities in the Philadelphia area is in post #4 here.
when you have a specific idea about the general type of mattress or materials that you prefer … it’s usually a good idea to do some initial research on the phone to narrow down the list to those that have these mattresses on their floor and to get a sense of the level of knowledge and experience they each have and perhaps most important their ability and willingness to provide you with good information about the contents of the mattresses they sell.
Polyfoam is the short form for polyurethane foam which is the most common type of foam you will see in a mattress. There are three types of foam (that go by many different names). One of these is memory foam, one is latex foam, and one is polyurethane foam (or polyfoam). All of them comein a wide range of better and worse quality and a range of different softness/firmness levels (except memory foam which is all inside a general range of “soft”).
Low quality/density polyfoam (and memory foam) used in the comfort layers of a mattress (t least in amounts more than about an inch or so) is the most common “weak link” in mattresses today and the biggest reason for early softening and the loss of comfort and support that is the main reason a mattress needs to be replaced (and which isn’t covered by warranties).
Hi Phoenix, thanks so much for your thoughtful reply. I visited two of your listings today, Room Service 360 in NE Philadelphia, and Croydon Mattress Factory in Bensalem and thought I should share my experience with you.
The saleswoman at RS 360 didn’t have any of the specs onhand for the Magniflex mattresses she showed me, even though she had two catalog-like books she was looking through, that held descriptions of the various mattress models. I was not impressed at all with this, particularly because I went armed with suggested densities and compression factors (ILD’s), which she didn’t even appear to understand.
Allen/Alan at the Croydon Mattress Factory got a much better vote of confidence from me, listening patiently and responding with appropriate models to show me, after I explained exactly what thickness, construction, and densities/ILD’s of mattress I wanted to look at. But he lost points with me when he insisted that any base polyfoam above 1.8 density is considered HR, not HD foam. Even repeated himself when I challenged him on the 2.4 support factor I had read about on this website. But then it did say that HR foam is the most commonly mislabeled, so I guess he was just another example of the misunderstanding of the term. All in all it was a fun and good experience, and he ended up telling me that I had been the most diligent and thorough mattress tester he had seen in quite awhile.
I am glad I didn’t order the bed in a box pac bed original for $650 for the queen size. There is no indication on their website that the 2.4 density, 32 IFD base foam does actually have a 2.4 support factor, although they too label it HR, rather than HD, and I really liked the way my body felt cushioned by the 4LB density memory foam layer at Croydon, so I don’t the pac bed’s 3LB memory foam layer would have been enough for me.
So anyway, now I know that I’m shopping for a Queen size, 8-9" mattress, with a 3" 4LB (12-16 ILD) open cell memory foam layer, supported by a 5-6" 2.5 or better (32-36 ILD) HR foam layer. (38 felt AWFULLY FIRM to me today, even through a 4" memory foam layer, so I don’t want to exceed that.) Preferably in a soft bamboo cover/case. Now to find one that’s actually in my price range…!
Thanks so much for all your help Phoenix.
Thanks for sharing the results of your “Philadelphia” experiences with us.
It seems that you may know more about foam mattress materials … at least from a technical point of view … than the merchants you were visiting
Magniflex is an Italian manufacturer that has some unusual and in some cases high quality mattresses but of course they also carry a premium price. They use foam from GommaGomma which makes some very high density and quality polyurethane (watergel), memory foam (extrapur) and latex (latexcel) in both slow and fast recovery versions. Magniflex mattresses are also Oeko-Tex certified for VOC’s and harmful chemicals which is unusual for a mattress manufacturer which uses polyurethane. It’s always important to be able to verify the specs of each mattress you are considering from the retailer though to make sure it has no weak links and to make meaningful comparisons and informed choices and its a shame that they couldn’t provide this information.
Croydon is also a little unusual as well but in a different way. As you can see in my comments here … they are not as open (or knowledgeable) about some of the materials in their mattresses. Hopefully, as more people ask them they will decide to become a little more more transparent. Some of their mattresses use fairly thick layers of polyfoam in the quilting and I would want to know the quality of these layers because the top layers of foam (either memory foam or polyfoam) are usually the weak link of a mattress.
There are many manufacturers that are not as technically oriented but in some cases they have been making mattresses for so long that they have the experience to tell a good quality foam just from “feel” and its weight and in many cases they have been using certain foams for long enough that they know from the feedback of their customers over many years which foams are more durable and which aren’t. Foams are changing all the time though so its still important to know the density of the layers even with an experienced manufacturer … and it also allows more meaningful comparisons with other mattresses.
I think my overall view of Croydon is that they are better value than most mainstream mattresses but not in the same value range as many of the smaller or local manufacturers.
Well you certainly have it narrowed down
I would also keep in mind that there are very few manufacturers or retailers that will know the compression modulus of their foams and I would tend to go by density as a main indicator along with the feel of a mattress. If the mattress has 2 lb polyfoam in the base or better, it will generally be a good quality and durable material. HR polyfoam is much more unusual to find in the base layers of a mattress and it is also more expensive than HD foam. Even Tempurpedic uses 2.2 lb HD polyfoam in their support layers and their base layers will last for a very long time. The comfort layers are where foam quality is particularly important because these are the layers that wear and soften the fastest.
I think you are well on your way. The only other guidance I would give you … because memory foam can be so varied … is to use the 4 lb as a minimum guideline but if you come across some 5 lb memory foam that has the performance and feel you want (or gel memory foam for that matter) then I would not exclude these either. In the case of gel memory foam I would want to know the type of gel memory foam they are using (see post #2 here for more information on gel memory foams if you do decide to consider these). You may also want to consider a polyfoam base in the 2 lb density range and higher (so you don’t exclude some good quality/value mattresses looking for true HR polyfoam which you may not be able to find.
It’s also nice to know that if all else fails that there are some good online choices that will meet your guidelines and your local testing will be very valuable if you do decide to go in this direction.
I’m looking forward to more of your feedback.
Phoenix, the kind of memory foam mattress I’m interested in would have no quilting at all in the cover. The soft bamboo cover felt really nice, but I’ll probably opt for a less expensive knit or cotton cover.
Glad you responded to my post in the other thread about foam by mail. I had no idea that a company might send out a product other than what you ordered. That would certainly be difficult to prove. BTW, how DO we discern that what we have ordered, in the way of density, etc in a memory foam item REALLY is the specs it’s supposed to be? Especially with toppers? I mean, do they have some kind of stamp on them stating the specs? Or a tag attached somehow???
-Laura (puzzled now near Philadelphia)
The best way is to only deal with known reliable suppliers that have a good reputation in the “real” world and are known for supplying what their customers order. Other than this … you can calculate the volume of the topper (width x height x thickness) in inches and then divide by 1728 to convert the cubic inches to cubic feet. You then take the weight of the topper (and I would weigh it rather than going by the shipping weight which may not be accurate or may include the shipping materials) and divide by the cubic feet and you have the density.
This still may not give you a true indication of the quality because some products have a “fake” density because of fillers that are added to the foam but at least this can give you some idea.
Reliable suppliers are your best safety though.
A good cotton cover may not be so “cheap” depending on the quality of the fabric. Most of the less expensive covers would be some kind of polyester or polyester blend. Knits (regardless of the type of fabric) will be more stretchy and conforming than a woven fabric. Most people prefer an unquilted knit cover with memory foam but there are also many who like the feeling of a quilting layer of fast response foam on top so that the surface is a little more resilient, movement friendly, and a little less “memory foam” like (more of a hybrid feel).
What do you think of this mattress by Nature’s Sleep Phoenix? The 8" thickness include a 3" comfort layer, rather than the mere 2" found on their Tobago model. I should mention here that my husband and I are both lightweights. 115lbs and 160lbs. We both sleep on our sides and backs, so we want the extra comfort for our shoulders, but I definitely prefer a firm support layer for my back. (Before I was married I had a basic sleep number bed - no bells or whistles - that I used with a 3" mem foam topper bought from SAMs club - no idea what density, and I liked the 85 setting on the bed. When my fiancé-now husband tried it out, he preferred a setting between 50 and 60., so that’s how different our firmness preferences are. However, I always used to sleep on my back on the sleep number - nobody to snuggle up to back then.)
Anyway, I emailed Nature’s Sleep requesting exact specs of both layers and am awaiting their reply. I have a coupon they sent me for half off, so I can get it for $650. I also inquired in the email about the possibility of visiting their factory/warehouse in Edison, NJ. I know their products originate in both the US and China, but since they have Certipur-US certification, that makes the materials good, right?
The only question I have left, is, given our weights and sleep preferences I told you about, is a 5" base layer enough support? Should we consider 6" instead for ideal alignment while on our sides? Would a 4" comfort layer in the correct density and ILD also be warranted to cushion our shoulders while side-lying?
I’ll let you know as soon as I hear back with the specs. Thanks again for all your time and efforts to help.
This would depend on knowing more about the details of the foam. Once they’ve provided this to you I’d be happy to share any thoughts I have.
Not necessarily. CertiPur is only one of the criteria I use for memory foam mattresses (see post #10 here). It tests for the relative “safety” of the foams. They mainly test for VOC’s and certain harmful chemicals in the mattress although they do have some minimal testing for durability as well. In terms of quality though … foam density is the most important spec … not CertiPur certification.
You can read about the main benefits of using thicker layers and thicker mattresses in post #10 here. An inch of difference though is too small to “quantify” in most cases and the other differences in the foam (such as firmness, density, or type) would probably make a bigger difference than an extra inch of thickness. With your lighter weights though … the odds are greater that a thinner mattress would be OK and have less risk of feeling like it is getting too firm too quickly. Thinner layers are actually more supportive in the sense of holding up your heavier hips/pelvis but they also run the risk of getting firm too quickly and not being as adaptable or comfortable with different weights and sleeping positions.
A 4" comfort layer in the “correct” density or ILD (or type of memory foam) could also work well (or even a 2" layer of 4 lb memory foam over a 2" layer of 5 lb memory foam (such as in the Tempur Cloud Supreme) but the problem is there is no way to really know for sure what is “correct” for you without testing the mattress or sleeping on it if you make a purchase without testing. I would think you are probably in the range of 3-4" depending on the type of memory foam and base layers used. I would also keep in mind that 5 lb memory foam will usually tend to feel firmer than 4 lb memory foam so an extra inch may be desirable.
For example … one manufacturer may make a mattress using 3" of 4 lb memory foam over a 5" layer of base foam with a certain cover that they would normally suggest for a certain group of people while another may make a very similar looking mattress that uses 3" a different 4 lb memory foam with a different type and firmness of base foam with a different cover and they may suggest this mattress for a different group of people (although with layering this similar the odds are better that at least the two groups would “overlap”).
Because of all the many variables of different types of foam or materials, there is no formula that can be used to know for sure the mattress layering that would work best for you or to do anything more than make approximations. If you are considering an online purchase … then the knowledge and experience of the online manufacturer that you are working with can be one of the most important parts of the purchase because they will have specific knowledge of the mattresses they make and the materials they use and have many customers with different body types and sleeping positions that they can use as a reference point so they will usually be able to use “averages” to help fit you to the model that has the best chance of matching your needs and preferences. When you are buying online … the knowledge and experience of the manufacturer or merchant is one of the most important parts of a mattress purchase.
It also may be worth keeping in mind that because they are so commonly available … many manufactures will have a fairly good idea of which of the Tempurpedic models will most closely approximate the mattresses they make. In these cases … you can use the Tempurpedic line to get a sense of what some of their mattresses may feel like.
Some of the better online memory foam sources I know of are listed in post #12 here.
Ok, I emailed the Mattress Factory on Cottman Ave in Philadelphia today to inquire re: the specs on the mattress at the link below. Still awaiting reply.
I’m also still waiting to hear back from both the Nature’s Sleep people I emailed yesterday, as well as the Zen Bedroom people I emailed today about the mattress at the link below. I know the memory foam layers is only 2", but for that meager amount of money I could simply buy an additional mem foam topper to add to it. Do you have an opinion Phoenix?
The Zen Bedroom FAQ’s states that all their memory foam products are fully manufactured in the US. From the processes that create the foams, to the construction of the mattress, mattress toppers and pillows. Can that be true? I could have sworn I read somewhere that their foam was poured in china…?
I also have plans to try out more beds, maybe even over at the aforementioned Mattress Factory, where they seem to have several different brands and models of memory foam, as well as possibly latex mattresses. They claim on their website that they put their lowest price on their price tags and that their staff are salaried consultants, not commission-earning salespeople. They also say if you visit a retailer and the price starts to get lower as you get near the door, run out of that store. So it should prove interesting to see what this experience brings. I will let you know Phoenix.
Oh, in that other post about the Zen Bed being offered by Google offers, I meant of course, if the specs end up being any good, it might be a value choice for me to simply add a mattress topper for additional comfort in the top layer.
I’d need to know the details of the layers first (along the lines of the criteria I use for memory foam mattresses)
Yes. Therapedic licensees would almost certainly use American foams.
I’m looking forward to your feedback
Ok, first quandry. Tried several Tempurpedic models today. Here’s the lowdown.
The Tempur Cloud Supreme felt good, but possibly a bit too soft.
Tempur Cloud Luxe, Rhapsody and Select all felt too hard to me.
Tempur Simplicity had 3 firmnesses. Firm felt way too hard. Soft felt too soft, and although even the Medium felt a bit firm for my taste, if I had to choose one of the three, it would be that one. Starting to feel like Goldilocks trying to find the baby bear’s bed that’s just right :unsure: , after trying out Papa and Mama bear’s and finding them too hard and too soft respectively.
Now when I tried to find the specs for the Cloud Supreme, this is what I found.
But when I looked at the specs for the Simplicity, this is what I found.
Of all the TP mem foam mattresses I could find, the Simplicity was the only one with just a 2-layer system. Comfort layer, and support layer. Which is what I thought comprised all mem foam mattresses. Now I discover that base layer and support layer are NOT interchangeable terms, but that they are actually two separate layers in many mattress models.
However in this model
it looks like the support layer is comprised of the softer comfort foam,
whereas in this model
it looks like the support layer is comprised of the firmer HD foam. (“highly conforming” of course).
I am now TOTALLY confused. Should I be looking for 2 layers or 3? How do I ascertain the actual densities of the various layers? I couldn’t find them on TP’s website either. And what in the world is TEMPUR-ES???
Oh, I think I figured out TEMPUR-ES - hah, extra soft!!! Now that’s an exact density!!!
These specs are not complete because they are missing the most important part which is the density of the foams.
Tempur-ES is 4 lb memory foam.
Tempur material (their “regular” memory foam) is 5.3 lbs.
Tempur-HD is 7 lb memory foam
The base foams on most of their mattresses is @2.2 lbs.
These specs are also incomplete and missing the most important information.
The Tempur Simplicity line uses 2" of some of the lowest quality memory foam available in the industry (@ 2.5 - 3 lbs)
The base layer is likely in the range of 1.5 - 1.8 lbs.
The base layer comes in soft, medium, and firm which is how they change the feel in each version.
This quality memory foam is what is normally found in memory foam mattresses that cost a few hundred dollars. It’s very “cheap” foam.
How many layers a mattress has is really irrelevant. The primary functions or a mattress are pressure relief (mainly the job of the comfort layers) and alignment/support (mainly the job of the deeper layers) and in some cases there is a middle or “transition” layer which does a bit of both. The words that are used to describe the layers are meaningless … the only thing that is important is whether a mattress provides pressure relief and alignment/support for the person on it along with their other preferences.
These are what a mattress “needs” to provide for each person. Everything after that is all about preferences and the quality of the materials. Any memory foam is too soft to be used as a support layer and when they call a memory foam “supportive” … it’s only in comparison to other memory foams that are softer … not because memory foam itself can be used as a support layer. This is why all memory foam mattresses have either an innerspring, polyfoam, or latex as a support layer (the firmer layer, layers, or components on the bottom of the mattress).
The Cloud series uses mid quality/density (4 lb) and high quality/density (5.3 lb and 7 lb) memory foams and a polyfoam support system.
The Rhapsody uses 7 lb memory foam, 5.3 lb memory foam, and a polyfoam support system.
The Select uses 5.3 lb memory foam and a polyfoam support system.
They used to have some of the specs on their site (such as the layer thickness of the memory foams) but they have been removing them to make it more difficult for consumers to make meaningful comparisons. Some of the specs are still listed on the Canadian site as well as many other places around the web.
It makes no difference. If a mattress provides you with the support/alignment you need and the comfort/pressure relief you need and also your other preferences (motion isolation, overall feel, sleeping temperature etc) … and it uses the quality of materials that justify the cost and provide good value … the number of layers or what anyone calls them are not important.
One more thing to keep in mind is that with memory foam mattresses (and all mattresses actually to differing degrees) … especially if they use higher density memory foam … it’s important to spend some extra time on the mattress (more than the normal 15 minutes) because these types of foam can take time to warm up and feel as soft as they do when they are warmer. Also keep in mind that most memory foam will become softer over the first 90 days or so which means that it’s a good idea to find out whether the mattresses you are testing have been broken in and if they haven’t to remember that it will be firmer at first than it will be after it’s been broken in. How quickly you move on the mattress can also change the perception of how firm or soft they are (just like if you sap honey it can be firmer but if you move into it slowly it will feel much softer). Memory foam is a “time delay” or “slow response” foam in other words.
Wow, thanks for all the specs and other info Phoenix! I’ve had a hard time trying to pin these down.
FYI I also tried out the Therapedic Memory Touch Premier 10" model, as well as the Comfort Solutions Perfect Contour Luxury Advance model by King Koil, but both these models AND these manufacturers got several bad reviews on goodbed.com when it comes to durability. Of course some of the Tempurpedic models got bad reviews on the site too.
I’m beginning to think it would be better for me to build my mattress with components rather than purchase it already assembled. I could start with a 3" 4LB memory foam layer and a simple 5-6" high quality core. (Would you recommend Foamorder.com for components as highly as you did for their mattress with it’s edge support system?) Or would I do better to see about having foam cut at a local foam outlet, like the one you mentioned in another thread down by the Philly Int’l Airport? There’s also a Foam Store in Wilkes Barre, PA, but that’s a bit of a hike. Although shipping might be considerably less than the Foamorder.com place out in San Francisco.
Phoenix, if a foam store is offering to cut while-u-wait, does that mean that they pour the foam there? That we needn’t be concerned that the foam has clay or other things mixed in like overseas? I’m sorry if I still sound dense after all this education.
Anyway, I figure if I start with the simple 3" comfort layer, and 5-6" core layer, I might elect to enhance it later (when the budget allows) with a 2" layer of high quality latex between these two layers for a springy kind of additional comfort layer, thus creating my own hybrid. (I’ve also tried out a handful of latex and hybrids during my recent excursions and found I like latex quite a bit.) In the meantime if I could just get these two primary layers right in specs, I might have a mattress I can actually sleep on, as opposed to the one I have now on which I am LOSING sleep. (A Kingsdown Crown foam (but not memory foam) mattress with MAJOR body impressions after just two years of use. What a mistake THAT was…)
In general there are two main approaches to buying a mattress.
The first involves “becoming an expert” and the second involved "finding the experts. You can read more about this in post #4 here.
There are also 3 main food sources of mattresses which are local, online, or becoming your own mattress designer and buying the components to make your own. You can see more about this in post #15 here.
The direction you are thinking of is option #3 which would involve more “becoming the expert” and would generally need well above average knowledge and experience in the different types of foams and components and enough experience with different layering combinations to have the confidence that what you are designing and building would work in “real life” as well as it does in theory.
This is by far the riskiest option (and can be the most costly if you make mistakes) and if you have exhausted your local possibilities and can’t find the type of mattress and the quality/value that you want and are looking online … then who you work with can still be even more important than what you buy.
The first post I mentioned has some links to sources but if you are looking for some better online memory foam options (including components mattresses where you can choose your own layers or re-arrange them if necessary) then post #12 here will help. This includes some of the members here which specialize in memory foam mattresses.
There is also a complete list of the members of this site who specialize in online (or on the phone) sales and service and have exceptional quality and value listed in post #21 here (including the members that were in the memory foam list).
So my “best” suggestion would be to “find the experts” rather than trying to design and build your own mattress on your own piece by piece and if you aren’t able to find a suitable mattress locally that has the kind of quality and value you want, then to work with an online manufacturer you can trust (along with what you have learned from your local testing) who can give you the best of both worlds which is the ability to choose a mattress that has the design that you (and they) believe is best and using their experience, knowledge, and guidance to help you make better and more informed choices.
I went to the Verlo store in West Chester. After spending probably 15 hours reading this and other websites, and feeling just dangerous enough to talk the lingo and have a sense of what I wanted, I went to this mattress outlet. I called first (per the suggestion of this website) and the owner, Foster Good, happily answered my questions. My wife and I showed up a half hour later. Foster was terrific. He readily handled my many technical questions and my wife’s relatively naive ones. He encouraged me to “build” my own bed in one area of the store where I could play with a bunch of combinations of latex, memory foam and gel layers. There was NO pressure even as I was about to leave because my wife had enough of our tech talk. I’ll be heading back in a few days. "twas a VERY different experience than Sleepy’s. Dont know if Ill buy from here or go via the internet (yes, I’ll try to buy local), but wanted to pass along that this appears to be a very good place to buy a mattress.
Thanks so much for the feedback.
This is a sign of a good manufacturer/retailer that cares more about matching their customers to a mattress and selling good quality and value than trying to sell their customers whatever they will buy.
It’s such a pleasure when you are dealing with people like this and it can turn mattress shopping from a chore and a frustrating and confusing experience to a pleasure. I’ve added a link to your comments to some of the listings that include the Verlo West Chester outlet.