Need help in sorting all the foam mattress info

Hello All,

I have learned so much from this site that I didn’t think I needed to know about mattresses! It has been so helpful in sorting through all the info (& scams) on line. But now I need some guidance. We are in need of a new mattress, badly. My husband is a large guy at 6’3" and 200+ lbs and I’m average athletic build, plus our little munchkin who climbs into bed at night. I think we wore out our traditional spring mattress (~7yrs old) prematurely due to our living situation (fam of 3 in studio apt.) the past couple years… we’re in it an inornate amount of time. My husband pretty much broke his side of the bed and we all roll to his side due to his weight and the breakage. Hence our search. I have narrowed my search down with your site’s help. But I have some concerns and need some advice. We have no budget currently for a mattress and after looking in stores the $1000+ is way out of our price range right now. I am interested in a memory foam-ish mattress (he has major lower back issues) & I like the cozy feel, that will last us no more than 5 years but that I will get the best bang for the buck. We both agree that we like a soft feel on top with a firmness underneath. So putting a mattress topper on the mattress is fine by me if that will help keep us in the $500-ish price range. I don’t expect our lack of funds to continue and will hopefully be able to purchase new mattress next year, so I just need one to get us through this slump.

  1. My main concern is his weight and the fact he does his computer work in bed I am concerned we’ll get the “rolling” action again. Will memory foam wear out within our expected useage timeline and cause us to roll to one side of the “ship”? Other suggestions to look at?
  2. “Cooling Gel” infused foam… is it worth it if you are a hot sleeper?
  3. I like the Aerus Natural Ultra Luxe from SamsClub, is there any others comparable with a higher density or would 4lb/sqft be sufficient?

Thanks for the help guys!

PS. I’m glad to learn of other alternative mfgs of mattresses. I always thought the namebrand ones were way over priced for what you got.

Hi mamabear,

I would keep in mind that the design of a mattress and its ability to keep your spine in alignment is much more important for back issues than the materials that are used. Any material can be too thick or soft in the comfort layers especially and cause back issues. With back issues … good spinal alignment in all your sleeping positions is particularly important which means careful and objective mattress testing using the testing guidelines in post #1 here becomes even more important than usual.

The main problem with most mattresses isn’t so much that a material actually wears out as much as it softens under the heavier parts of the body which results in the loss of comfort and support. With higher weights then it becomes more important to use more durable materials and to avoid comfort layers which are more than “just enough” in terms of thickness and softness or the risk of foam softening and breakdown would be higher. A good generic guideline would be to use 5 lb memory foam, 1.8 lb polyfoam (or 1.5 lb in a two sided mattress), or latex in the comfort layers. I would be cautious about using lower quality materials than these in the comfort layers especially except perhaps in smaller amounts (around an inch or so or less). There is more about the factors that are involved in the relative durability and useful life of a mattress in post #4 here.

There is more hype than substance about gel foams in the market although there is “some” truth to the claims. In most cases … depending on the specifics of the gel foam … they can have a small effect when you are first going to sleep but once temperatures equalize then any further effect is minimal. Moisture wicking and ventilation is the biggest factor in temperature regulation over the course of the night. You can read more about the many factors that combine together and contribute to temperature regulation in a mattress in post #2 here.

Aerus is a breathable memory foam but it comes in different densities and I would be cautious with 4 lb memory foam with higher weights and I would also want to know the density of the support layer below the Aerus memory foam as well.

Some of the better quality/value online memory foam options I’m aware of are listed in post #12 here but I would always keep in mind that durability is only part of the picture and that it’s even more important that a mattress is suitable for your specific needs and preferences in terms of PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and Personal preferences). A mattress that wasn’t suitable for you and you can’t sleep on would have little value to you no matter what it’s quality or “value” otherwise. Your budget is low for a good quality memory foam mattress weth any significant amount of higher quality memory foam although the size you’re looking for would also make some difference (king size would be more costly than queen).

A mattress is only as good as the quality of its construction and materials regardless of which brand is on the label so it’s always more important to know the quality of the materials in your mattress than the brand. Some of the better manufacturers across the country are also local or regional so they may not be available across the country. If you let me know your city or zip code I’d be happy to let you know of some of the better options or possibilities I’m aware of in your area.

If you follow the steps in the guideline post I linked it will help you make the best possible choices in terms of the type of materials and the quality, durability, and value of your mattress.