Mattress comparison information

Hi Phoenix,

I have been researching mattresses for a few weeks now and stumbled across your site about a week or so ago. I am 5'10" 180 lb athletic build my wife is 5'2" 130 lb 3 months pregnant. We are both generally side sleepers. Our current mattress is a 5 year old inner spring and very cheap to begin with so its causing us to toss and turn all night and my wife to get pulled down into my indentation. We went to our local sleep train just to test out mattresses, after trying a number of them my wife preferred The TEMPUR-Cloud Supreme, and I preferred the Simmons Beautyrest® NxG 300 (but do not think i want a spring mattress) and one of the softer icomforts that was comparable to the NxG 300. I found even the TEMPUR-Cloud Supreme a little too firm after laying on it for 10 minutes or so and didn't feel like it let my hips sink in enough. I had originally liked the idea of a latex mattress after browsing through your message board but I am concerned about it being to firm as the TEMPUR-Cloud is on the plush side of memory foam and I understand that latex are generally firmer? I am in San Diego and have read the list you have posted of local retailers and was going to try out some latex mattresses when I have the time. With the mattresses I have listed what kind of less expensive alternatives should I look at? I asked the salesman at the Sleep train about what ILD the mattresses were rated at but he did not know, I believe that the NxG 300 was listed on the insert as a firmness of 4 but I am not 100%. Any advice you could give would be greatly appreciated. (I tried posting this once but I don't believe it took sorry for repost if I am wrong)

Hi John R,

Comparing memory foam to latex is somewhat of an apples to oranges comparison because the two are very different in almost every way. Memory foam is a slow response material and different people will call the same memory foam either soft or firm depending on what aspect of the memory foam they are most sensitive to. While all memory foam is considered to be soft (which is why it is never used as a support material) … different types have different response rates, temperature sensitivity, and relative softness (compared to other memory foams) so how firm or soft it feels will depend on the individual and the speed of their movement (like water if you slap it will feel firm but if you put your hand in slowly it will feel soft), the warmth of the foam, and the response rate of the foam. Because you will also sink into memory foam more deeply … the firmness or softness of a memory foam mattress also has a great deal to do with the thickness of the memory foam and the firmness of the layers underneath it. With thinner memory foam layers … you will tend to “go through” the memory foam more easily and feel the layers underneath it more.

Latex on the other hand comes in a very wide range of firmness levels and some of these are comparable to memory foam even though they will still feel very different and have a more “on the mattress” feeling and are much less motion restricting. The “feel” of the upper layers of latex will also be affected by the layers that are underneath it but to a lesser extent. The only way to know for sure how you feel about latex (or any material) is to actually lie on it (making sure you are actually lying on latex and not a mattress that has a thin latex layer hidden in the middle of other foams). The list in San Diego has some outlets that carry high quality latex mattresses so you have a good chance to test for various different types of latex in a range of firmness levels.

The Tempur materials are on the slower response end of the memory foam range while the NXG is on the faster response end of the range (although the Tempur uses higher quality 4 and 5 lb memory foam which takes longer to soften while the NXG uses lower quality/density 3.5 lb memory foam which I would not consider). A big part of the feeling of the NXG would have been the softness and contouring of the pocket coils which would be softer than the polyfoam layer under the Tempurpedic.

Firmness ratings can vary from company to company or store to store and are more about the overall feel of the mattress than a particular ILD. It is not uncommon for mattress salespeople at chain stores to sort of roll their eyes when you start asking questions about ILD or any other more technical information (although ILD is a very simple spec) because they are trained more in marketing terms and generic “story” type of answers and not in more meaningful information about mattresses. They are not the best place to shop (hopefully you have read this article which will help avoid the types of outlets where the salespeople tend to know less than those who have spent an hour or so on this site)

Almost anything of reasonable quality will be less expensive than the Tempurpedic and probably the NXG 300 as well . I would tend to look at mattresses that have a similar combination of 4 (which tends to be softer) and 5 lb (which tends to be firmer) memory foam though in the faster response and softer range (which a knowledgeable salesperson will know) and then trust your body to tell you which specific layering is best (there are literally hundreds of different types of memory foam and combinations so personal testing with some good guidance is generally the most accurate). Your preference for this general combination (softer and faster response) seems to also fit your preference for one of the softer iComforts. There are too many variables with memory foam in terms of layer thickness, types of memory foam, and the layers underneath to give more specific guidelines that would be more accurate than your testing.

My best suggestion with memory foam though is to use the thinnest layers possible for good pressure relief (and part of this will depend on the firmness of the layers or component under the memory foam) as this will also put you closer to the support layers of the mattress and will often lead to better alignment. Thick layers of memory foam (or any soft foam) can be quite risky in terms of best alignment. There are many good options for less than the cost of both mattresses though in the San Diego area.

It seems to have only gone through once. Sometimes when a post takes a long time (or I take a break part way through) the session times out and it doesn’t go through. I’ve learned the “hard way” on this and other forums to highlight and copy my posts before I click submit to same myself some occasional grief (usually with posts that are the longest and the hardest to re-write) :slight_smile: