Serta Smart Choice Alyson vs. Tempur Cloud

Hi - awesome website!

We are looking to get a memory foam mattress for our new king sized bed after happily sleeping on an Original Tempurpedic mattress for 8 years (bought in 2004). It has been getting a bit hot at night though.

We want the same firmness (ie, firm), and we want to avoid a hot mattress. We have limited funds.

I know someone at a scratch and dent/overstock place who quoted me $499 for the Alyson 8" memory foam mattress. It felt good and firm. I am worried that it is 6" of high density (28 ILD) foam with 2" of light 2.5lb foam over it that it will get too hot.

The alternative is to spend $2200 or more for the Tempurpedic Cloud. It has an “air flow” core - whatever that really means - with 1.6" of 5.3lb 14 ILD tempur topped by 1.2" of lighter 4.1lb Tempur-ES foam.

Am I right in thinking the Alyson will feel cooler at the surface but possibly will absorb heat over the course of the night into its core, while the Tempur might feel warmer on the surface but will disperse the heat better? Is it worth 1700 more to find out??? Please help. :slight_smile:

Hi kvinPA,

The quality and durability of both memory foam and polyurethane foam is primarily determined by density rather than the firmness or softness level of the foam. Both low and high density polyurethane foam can be made very firm or soft. Memory foam is always considered soft (which is why it can’t be used as a support layer) although there is some variation between them and the higher density versions will feel firmer because they generally take longer to soften and mold to body heat.

The Serta is using 2.5 lbs memory foam which is the lowest quality and cheapest memory foam you can get. This also means that it is the least durable. Memory foam that is such low density will soften much more quickly than higher density memory foam (in some cases this may only take months). Because it is so thin though … and because lower density memory foam tends to get softer more quickly (it has less memory) … you would be feeling more of the firmer support layer below it which is “soft” (28 ILD) for a support layer but “firm” for a comfort layer. This also means that its softening will have less of an effect on the overall mattress but the base layer will also soften more over time because it is closer to your body and not as isolated by the layers above it. This could be a risk for good alignment unless you are very light. In other words … from a liquidator (or scratch and dent place) that is likely selling mattresses that have already been used and probably don’t carry a manufaturers warranty … this mattress belongs in the price range you are looking at or less and I certainly wouldn’t pay more for it. It is not very good value and would be comparable to some of the cheapest memory foam mattresses on the market.

The Serta also doesn’t list the density (quality/durability) of the base layer but it should be at least 1.8 lbs density to be suitable and it’s likely that it is (probably between 1.8 and 2.0 lbs). Of course in some mattresses in the lowest budget range it may be lower yet (some very cheap mattresses only use 1.5 lbs as a support layer and Ive even seen 1.2 lbs).

The Tempurpedic on the other hand is a much higher quality mattress and uses higher quality foams in both the comfort layers (4.1 and 5.3 lbs density) and in the support layers (2.2 lbs or higher). It is also very much overpriced however compared to other high quality mattresses that use similar quality foams and sell for much less.

The “air core” layer is a convoluted layer which in theory lets the mattress “breathe” and stay cooler but if a convoluted layer has a solid slab of denser foam above it and the convoluted or egg crate compresses … then the effect of this is somewhat mitigated and questionable.

Lower density memory foam (and polyfoam) is generally more breathable, cooler and faster reacting than denser memory foam and is often used as a surface quilting layer because it can improve the breathability of higher density memory foams. In other words it will sleep cooler than denser memory foam. The foam underneath the memory foam is polyfoam which is generally more breathable than memory foam. the good news is that with only 2" of very low density memory foam … this mattress wouldn’t be as warm as others that use thicker and higher density layers. It will also depend on the type of material used in the cover of the mattress.

There is more in post #2 here about the many factors that are involved in the sleeping temperature of a mattress and there’s more in post #9 here about the different types , properties, and densities of different memory foams.

You are looking at both extremes of the memory foam spectrum. From the lowest quality available to the highest priced of all the higher quality memory foam mattresses. I personally wouldn’t consider either of them. These guidelines may also help you find better quality and value.

If you let me know what city you are in I’d be happy to look and see if I know of any better options in your area.


Thank you so much for your information. I have read the other posts and am still somewhat bewildered as to how something can be both firm and not supportive at the same time. Regardless, I take your point about the poor quality of the Serta option. At first feel it felt identical to the Tempurpedic costing 3x more but I suppose it really won’t last long. It is not a used product by the way, it is warranteed for 10 years but still probably too risky.

I live in zip 15626. What would you recommend instead of the Tempurpedic Cloud that is not overpriced? I have tried to find a local manufacturer who is better value but so far have come up empty handed. Thank you!!!

Hi kvinPA,

That’s mainly because “softness” and “firmness” have several different meanings and can be quite misleading. The support layers of a mattress are generally too firm to sleep comfortably on but are there to keep you in alignment and to “stop” the heavier parts from sinking in too much. This requires much firmer foam than comfort layers which are designed to form a cradle and relieve pressure. Typically … foam support layers start at about 28 ILD and go up from there. 28 ILD is at the softest end of the support layers and would be considered “soft” in terms of support (the ability to hold up your heavier parts).

On the other hand … comfort layers are for pressure relief and they can vary from about 10 ILD (supersoft quilting foam and many memory foams) up to about 24 ILD. All of these are in the soft range. In some cases even 28 - 32 ILD may be used but these would be considered relatively firm in terms of pressure relief and would be more “medium”. They would be more suitable for heavier people (firmer foams feel softer for heavier people) or for back or stomach sleepers who don’t need to sink in as much).

The thickness and softness of the upper layers will also play a big role in how firm a mattress feels. For example … if you have a 2" layer of very soft foam and put this over a 40 ILD base layer … you would “go through” the upper layer and feel much more of the firmer layer below it. 2.5 lb memory foam is so soft that much of what you are feeling is the relative firmness (in pressure relief terms) of the base layer below it. 3" or 4" of the same soft foam would isolate you much more from the firmness of the support layers and you could then have a mattress that was both very pressure relieving (comfort layers) and very supportive (support layers) for many people.

Some of the firmest mattresses are like this where they have a couple of inches of very soft foam over a firm innerspring or firm foam and they would be “extra firm” mattresses even though they contain some very soft foam on top.

Post #2 here includes the factory direct manufacturers that are within 50 miles of you. All of them except Denver Mattress make memory foam mattresses although not all of them may be in your budget range. Original mattress for example only makes one very high quality memory foam mattress (at least as high quality as the upper end Tempurpedics) but they are @$2000 for the set (with a box spring). Their websites and a few calls to talk with them (and factory directs are usually quite happy to discuss your needs over the phone) will help you choose the ones that are most worth a visit.

There are certainly some better quality options in the list.

Hope this helps :slight_smile: