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Foam topper confusion 03 Oct 2013 10:49 #1

  • Hex92
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A few weeks ago I stayed at a friends place and they had some sort of foam bed that was amazing. I normally have a difficult time sleeping when away from home and I had one of the best nights sleep ever.

BUT I am not going to drop all that $$ on a new bed. We just recently bought a $1200 bed that is just a bit too firm and I 'bottom out' the pillow top when on my side. I like it fine when on my back.

So I figure the best way to improve my current bed is to get a 3" 5lb density foam topper. But the WIDE range of prices and other options - like gel infused - are just confusing. :silly:

SO my questions:

Is gel infusion for real? Does it really make the bed sleep cooler? Does it affect the comfort level vs a pure memory foam mattress?

I plan to buy US made topper. Does the manufacturer really matter? (I know some vendors stink; But is there a real difference between the 'good ones?)

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Foam topper confusion 03 Oct 2013 12:13 #2


I plan to buy US made topper. Does the manufacturer really matter? (I know some vendors stink; But is there a real difference between the 'good ones?)


If you're considering memory foam, vs latex or poly, as the density you mentioned (5lb) might indicate then it's worth noting that each foam manufacturer has its own proprietary process and mixture for making their foam. So it you really really like brand X 5lbs foam, that does not mean that all 5lbs foam will feel the same. Different vendor 5lbs foam may both be equally durable due to similar/identical quality specs.

I dont know if the same is true of latex.

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Foam topper confusion 03 Oct 2013 13:10 #3

  • phoenix
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Hi Hex92,

A few weeks ago I stayed at a friends place and they had some sort of foam bed that was amazing. I normally have a difficult time sleeping when away from home and I had one of the best nights sleep ever.


The first step would be to find out exactly what type of foam materials were in their mattress. There are many different types of foam (polyfoam, memory foam, latex foam) and each is very different. Every one of these types also has a very wide range of different versions and softness levels in each category and the specifics of the layering in a mattress (layer thickness and the specifics of each material) will also make a significant difference in the feel and performance of a mattress because every layer in a mattress will affect the feel and performance of every other layer to different degrees. Having said that ... most of the initial "feel"of a mattress would be in the upper layers so these would be the layers that are the most important in terms of approximating the "feel" of a mattress. In other words if their mattress had 3" of 5 lb memory foam in the top layer and the foam underneath it was firm then if your mattress was as firm as their base layer then adding 3" of 5 lb memory foam would be somewhat of an approximation. If your mattress already has some soft layers on top (which most do) then you would need to take this into account in choosing the thickness of the topper or you could end up having too much soft foam in the top layers of your sleeping system and end up with a mattress that was too soft for you and having spinal alignment issues and discomfort or pain in your lower back.

Dn is also exactly correct. Foam density is the biggest factor in durability but every manufacturer has their own formula that can produce memory foam with very different properties. Post #9 here and post #8 here has more about the different types and properties of memory foam.

With latex (if that's the type of foam that was in their mattress) the differences are much less if the type, blend, and density of the latex is the same but there are certainly differences between different types of latex and there is a wide range of firmness levels available in each type. There is more about the different types of latex in post #6 here .

Latex and memory foam are about as "opposite" as you can get (see post #2 here for some comparisons).

There are also many types of gel memory foams and you can read more about the different types of gel in post #2 here but in general you will find that it can have some effect on cooling for a little while when you are going to sleep and can also have an effect on the feel and performance of the memory foam but each type is different.

I plan to buy US made topper. Does the manufacturer really matter? (I know some vendors stink; But is there a real difference between the 'good ones?)


Similar density foams made in North America will have similar durability but they can still feel and perform very differently so it's important to talk with each vendor to find out more about the properties of their foam and how they might compare to other types of memory foam of the same density. Some may have the type of feel and performance that you prefer while others may not although they will all share the slow response and other similarities that are common to all memory foams to different degrees.

Phoenix
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Last edit: by phoenix.

Foam topper confusion 04 Oct 2013 11:37 #4

  • Hex92
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Thanks for the info. Think I will send an email and see if I can find out exactly what I was sleeping on....

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