Quick Technical Question About An HR Foam Topper

Hello All,
Just a quick question about a recent-ish purchase from Foamonline. I ordered a 20 ILD topper of their medium soft HR Poly Foam, but what I got seems to match the firmness of a 28 ILD Latex topper I also own. I realize it’s tricky comparing differently formulated foams, so I’m wonder if what’s written on the foam - "Ronco HR30n’’ - helps determine whether this is indeed the 20 ILD product? (The next firmness up would be 30ILD). My emails with the company haven’t been conclusive, so I thought I’d see if anyone here could shed some light.

I’m thinking my ‘sweet spot’ in the world of toppers is in the ILD low 20s, and I’m thinking for my personal comfort tastes Poly would do better for me than Latex, so I’m trying to get wrap my brain around the various products so I can end up with the right one!

Thank you!

Hi mg517,

The ILD of latex is usually measured differently than the IFD of polyfoam so the testing results aren’t comparable between the two materials.

While there are different methods used to test the firmness of polyfoam … the IFD of polyfoam is usually a measure of the force it takes to compress a 20" x 20" x 4" piece of polyfoam by 25% of it’s thickness (1").

The ILD of latex is a measure of the force it takes to compress a 6" core of latex by 25% of its thickness (1.5").

Because it takes more force to compress a material by 1.5" than it does to compress the same material by only 1" … each type of testing would produce different results for the same material.

IFD/ILD is also only one of the factors or specs that can affect how soft or firm a foam material feels because it’s only measured at a specific depth of compression and the thickness of a foam layer, the compression modulus of a foam layer, and the point elasticity of a foam layer can also affect how soft or firm it feels (see post #4 here).

If you take all of this together … if a polyfoam layer has the same IFD rating as the ILD rating of a latex layer and they are both the same thickness … the polyfoam will generally feel noticeably firmer than the latex so it would be normal that a 20 IFD layer of polyfoam would feel firmer than a 20 ILD layer of latex of the same thickness.

the “30N” wouldn’t be related to the IFD of the polyfoam.

Phoenix

Thank you, that all makes a lot of sense. It sounds like the '‘very soft’ HR foam that Foamonline offers would probably be a better option - at 15 IFD - or maybe I just need to spring for the Latex option.

For reference, this is all going onto a Summit mattress from http://shovlinmattress.com/our-mattresses. I do ok with the 2 inches of HR foam I described, plus the thin pillow topper that they sell, I just feel like if I can dial back the firmness just a little, as a 130 lb back sleeper, I’ll do much better on it.

Thanks for the help!

Hi mg517,

I scanned your previous posts on the forum and my replies and there isn’t much I can add in the way of suggestions to my previous posts but just as a reminder I would keep in mind that you are the only one that can feel what you feel on a mattress/topper combination and there are too many unknowns and variables involved in choosing a topper that are unique to each person to be able to predict which topper would work best for you on the mattress you would be using it on with any certainty.

You’ve probably also read this as well but there is also more information about how to choose a topper in post #2 here and the topper guidelines it links to that can help you use your sleeping experience as a reference point and guideline to help you choose the type, thickness, and firmness for a topper that has the least possible risk and the best chance for success. It also includes a link to a list of some of the better online sources for toppers I’m aware of.

Just out of curiosity … based on your comments here I thought that you purchased a Charles P Rogers Cool Ultra mattress. Did you return it and purchase the Summit mattress you linked from Shovlin or was that an additional purchase?

Phoenix

Yes, that Rogers mattress was returned. And this history of purchases is all part of a prolonged effort to find a single bed to sleep on. Rather than rehash the bad of it, I’ll just say what I have now - the Summit from Shovlin - has, on the whole, put me in a pretty good sleep place, it’s just too firm to me - without a topper I can’t sleep more than a few hours on it. They do make a similar model with softer springs, but they don’t recommend that as they say it’s meant for children and wouldn’t hold up well. They did sell me a quilted foam topper that does help, but not enough, so I’ve been putting either a 2 inch 28 ILD latex or a 2 inch HR foam topper between the mattress and the pillow top. I would say my sleep now is about a 7 out of 10 - my mind is pretty rested and clear, but my shoulder and muscles are pretty bound up and achy.

As for the quest for toppers, yes it is very, very tricky, until something arrives and gets put on your bed, it’s really hard to predict what the effect will be. I think one thing I’ve learned about myself is that memory foam and I aren’t a good match. Maybe one inch would work, but the usual 2-3 inches of MF and I’m not supported the way I need to be. Ditto for softer latexes. I think, by process of elimination, I’d say that the firmness of a 22 ILD Talalay is about the firmness by body needs (I’ve experienced 14, 19, and 28.). So, I’m eyeing the 15 IFD HR foam, hoping that will be softer but still supportive, or perhaps I’ll spring for actual Talalay. I actually like Dunlop better, but I have a 3 inch Soft topper from Rocky Mountain, I’m not sure 2 inches would be successful in this configuration.

Anyhow, so there’s still some trial and error happening, but I do feel like I’m close. Hopefully!
Thanks!

Hi mg517,

[quote]As for the quest for toppers, yes it is very, very tricky, until something arrives and gets put on your bed, it’s really hard to predict what the effect will be.

Anyhow, so there’s still some trial and error happening, but I do feel like I’m close. Hopefully![/quote]

I certainly agree that it can be tricky … especially if you are more sensitive to smaller changes … because there are so many variables and preferences involved with how all the materials and components in a sleeping system interact together with different body types and sleeping styles. It sounds like you are “close” to me as well though and hopefully your trial and error will come up with the combination that takes you from 70% to 90% which for most people would be in the range of “ideal”. I don’t think that anything is ever 100% because outside of the mattress itself your own needs and preferences and quality of sleep can also change to some degree from day to day depending on how you feel and the circumstances and events of the day.

Phoenix

So, back with a follow up. The two inch 15 ILD HR topper from Foamonline arrived and, though a perfectly good product, was kind of a bust. Maybe 1 inch instead of 2 would work better, but at this thickness I just collapse into it too much. (Sidenote: They’re a little imprecise in their cuts, the first topper was a inch long, the second was 2 inches short. Not a big deal, but odd.) So I then ordered a 1 inch soft foam topper from Foambymail (their SS_2 foam) which has been a little more useful. After much experimentation, my current mattress mountain is now: the Shovlin Summit mattress, 1 inch SS_2 foam, 2 inches 28 ILD Dunlop, and the Shovlin Pillow Topper on top. The result is something I can get 4 or 5 hours of ok sleep on, but every 3 or 4 days I end up on the couch anyway, or I end up passing out at work…

I kinda feel like I’m hitting the same wall I hit with the too-firm mattress I bought from Norwalk Mat Fac. In that nothing I pile on it changes the fact that the support structure isn’t well suited to my sleep style/weight/preferences., and, once the toppers get thick, my body will hammock into them, pretty much regardless of material It’s as if I’m attempting to invent a mattress on top of a box spring, which is ‘tricky’ for sure!

I have asked Shovlin about the one mattress they do make with softer springs, even though they’ve previously talked me away from it. I’ve also started taking a look at some high-end mattresses, for instance the Vi Spring Coronet I really love, or the Hastens Medium Excel (though that’s really more than I’d prefer to pay). Elsewhere on the site, you speak well of the Vi Spring brand, which is encouraging, as they’re my favorite of the Hastens/Savoir/Reylon choices I have here in NYC.

I guess I’m thinking I’ve been shopping in the wrong price range all along, and that while I can get good quality for the range in which I’ve been paying, the kind of things I can get in my area in the low-mid range just aren’t going to work for me (or be from companies to avoid). Maybe it’s silly to be thinking about another mattress purchase, and I’ve bought many over the past 4 years!, but I just end up spending equivalent piles of money on toppers, so why not?

Anyway, I don’t know if I have a specific question right now, maybe I’m just venting or organizing my thoughts… I’m definitely doing better than last year, but it’s still very much an uphill battle.

I appreciate having a place to work this out, even if I’m a little ramble-y today. Thank you Phoenix and everyone here!

Hi mg517,

Thanks for taking the time to share an update even though you still haven’t reached your “ideal” yet.

[quote]I guess I’m thinking I’ve been shopping in the wrong price range all along, and that while I can get good quality for the range in which I’ve been paying, the kind of things I can get in my area in the low-mid range just aren’t going to work for me (or be from companies to avoid). Maybe it’s silly to be thinking about another mattress purchase, and I’ve bought many over the past 4 years!, but I just end up spending equivalent piles of money on toppers, so why not?

Anyway, I don’t know if I have a specific question right now, maybe I’m just venting or organizing my thoughts… I’m definitely doing better than last year, but it’s still very much an uphill battle.[/quote]

The price range of a mattress has very little to do with whether a specific mattress design or combination of materials will be a good “match” for you in terms of PPP and in many cases isn’t even a reflection of the cost of the materials inside it. You can see my comments about some of the more “ultra premium” mattresses in the first part of post #2 here and some of the other posts it links to.

Various zoning systems can also be very useful and worth considering for people who have more challenging circumstances or sensitivities, body types that are more difficult to “match” to a mattress, or who have a history of having more difficulty in finding a mattress that works well for them. There is more about zoning in this article and in post #11 here.

Phoenix