Memory Foam Mattress vs. Innerspring + Memory Foam Topper?

Hello, I currently use a firm mattress with a 4 lb 2" memory foam topper.

It’s good, I guess, but I’m looking for something better.

Would I see a big advantage going to an all memory foam mattress?


Hi MattressNewb,

It would really depend on the specifics of the mattress and on what you are specifically looking to improve. Some memory foam mattresses may be worse and some may be better than your current mattress/topper combination but you are the only one that can feel what you feel on any sleeping system (whether it’s a mattress or a mattress/topper combination) so the only way to know whether it would be better or worse for you in terms of “comfort” and PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and Personal preferences) would be based on testing the mattress and/or on your actual sleeping experience so you could decide which one was better for you.

I would keep in mind that memory foam mattresses have several inches of memory foam in varying thicknesses (usually in one or two layers) over a different type of support core (usually polyfoam but sometimes an innerspring or occasionally even latex) so you won’t find any “all memory foam” mattresses.


Thanks for your reply Phoenix.

One thing I’m reading in reviews on Amazon is that most memory foam mattresses are being described as either “firm” or “very firm” by users.

The purpose of me getting my 4 lb memory foam topper was because my innerspring mattress was firm and the topper softened it up.

Suppose I buy a memory foam mattress and it is too firm, would I in theory be able to put the same 4 lb topper on it to soften it up as well?

Hi MattressNewb,

Many mattresses on Amazon are in lower budget ranges so they only use thinner layers of memory foam (which is often lower quality as well) so you would sink through the memory foam more easily and feel more of the firmness of the polyfoam support core through the memory foam than you would with thicker layers. Some mattresses also use firmer versions of memory foam than others.

I would be very cautious though about about using other people’s experiences or reviews on a mattress (either positive or negative) as a reliable source of information or guidance about how you will feel on the same mattress or how suitable or how durable a mattress may be for you and in many if not most cases they can be more misleading than helpful because a mattress that would be a perfect choice for one person or even a larger group of people may be completely unsuitable for someone else to sleep on (see post #13 here).

I would also keep in mind that there are no “standard” definitions or consensus of opinions for firmness ratings and different manufacturers can rate their mattresses very differently than others so a mattress that one manufacturer rates as being a specific firmness could be rated very differently by another manufacturer. Different people can also have very different perceptions of firmness and softness compared to others as well and a mattress that feels firm for one person can feel like “medium” for someone else or even “soft” for someone else (or vice versa) depending on their body type, sleeping style, physiology, their frame of reference based on what they are used to, and their individual sensitivity and perceptions. There are also different types of firmness and softness that different people may be sensitive to that can affect how they “rate” a mattress as well (see post #15 here) so different people can also have very different opinions on how two mattresses compare in terms of firmness as well and some people may rate one mattress as being firmer than another and someone else may rate them the other way around. This is all relative and very subjective and is as much an art as a science.

Yes … you can use a topper to add some additional softness and pressure relief on any mattress that is too firm and is still in good condition without any soft spots or sagging.


Once again Phoenix thanks a lot.
I have just 2 more questions:

  1. I’m also reading that memory foam mattresses tend to conform to your body the longer you’re in it creating indentations (someone described it like laying in a big tub of butter). These indentations concern me. If I’m in one spot and create an indentation and I roll over, will it take a few minutes for the indentation to “bounce back”? (With my current memory foam topper there is no indentation at all, it’s more of a pretty instant bounce back).

  2. With a memory foam mattress (or even a regular foam mattress) can you sit on the edge of the bed like you can an innerspring mattress. I’m a fan of turning my mattress into an impromptu seat.

Hi MattressNewb,

There are dozens of different types of memory foams that can have a wide range of properties (such as temperature sensitivity, response time, and firmness/softness) so this would really depend on the specific type of memory foam in a mattress, the thickness of the memory foam layer or layers, and the overall design of the mattress. There is more about the many different properties of different types of memory foam in post #9 here and in post #8 here.

Because every layer and component in a mattress can affect the feel and performance of every other layer and the mattress “as a whole” … the most reliable way to know whether any mattress is a good match for you in terms of PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and Personal preferences) will be based on your own careful testing (hopefully using the testing guidelines in the tutorial) or your actual sleeping experience.

There is more about the different ways to choose a suitable mattress (either locally or online) that is the best “match” for you in terms of PPP in post #2 here that can help you assess and minimize the risks of making a choice that doesn’t turn out as well as you hoped for once you actually sleep on your mattress but when you can’t test a mattress in person then the most reliable source of guidance is always a more detailed phone conversation with a knowledgeable and experienced retailer or manufacturer that has your best interests at heart who can help “talk you through” the specifics of their mattresses and the options they have available that may be the best “match” for you based on the information you provide them, any local testing you have done or mattresses you have slept on and liked that they are familiar with, any special considerations you may have, and the “averages” of other customers that are similar to you. They will know more about “matching” their specific mattress designs or firmness options to different body types, sleeping positions, and preferences or even to other mattresses that they are familiar with than anyone else.

There is also more about the most important parts of the “value” of a mattress purchase in post #13 here which which can help you make more meaningful quality/value comparisons between mattresses in terms of suitability (how well you will sleep), durability (how long you will sleep well), and the overall value of a mattress compared to your other finalists (based on all the parts of your personal value equation that are most important to you).

For the most part … foam mattresses don’t have or need edge support if the support core in the mattress is a suitable firmness for the person sleeping on it (see post #2 here) although there may be a smaller minority of people that sleep with more of their weight concentrated on the very outside few inches of a mattress or who sit on the very edge of the mattress (instead of sitting more towards the middle of the mattress) where they will sink in more deeply and it may be a more important preference. Your testing and personal experience will tell you more about this relative to any specific mattress along with all the other preferences that you can “feel”. If you often sit on the very outside edge of your mattress then it may just be a matter of getting used to sitting a little more towards the middle of the mattress so your body weight is spread out over a larger surface area and you don’t sink in quite as deeply.