How To Choose The Best Memory Foam Mattress

There’s no doubting the fact that memory foam has taken the mattress world by storm: Since its consumer debut in the 1990s, it’s rapidly increased in popularity. Today, it’s the highest-rated mattress type on the market, according to a survey of 22,000 people conducted by the online sleep resource Sleep Like The Dead. Their research found that 81% of consumers are completely satisfied with their memory foam mattress, as compared to just 64% of innerspring owners.

With all of that being said, however, not all memory foam mattresses are created equal. A number of cheaper options on the market today, for example, contain non-memory-foam fillers, leading to a less satisfactory experience over the long term. As such, before you invest in a memory foam mattress, you need to know how to choose a good one. The criteria below will help you spot the best mattress for your money:

1. Choose the right foam density. Generally, a foam density of around four pounds per cubic foot is considered ideal. Less than this and your memory foam mattress may not provide enough support and cushion for your needs; more than this and it may feel too firm and unresponsive. Note that it’s especially important to verify the foam density of a cheap mattress before buying. Low-density memory foam is less expensive to make as it requires less material, so many mattresses that look like a good deal in reality just contain less memory foam.

2. Look for a brand that is manufactured in Europe or North America. Memory foam mattresses manufactured in China may look like a bargain, but experts reveal that these mattresses often contain fillers that are designed to artificially emulate a higher foam density. Not only will these fillers degrade more quickly than real memory foam (resulting in an uncomfortable mattress), they may contain harmful toxic chemicals that will “off gas” into your home over the years. It’s better to buy from nations where memory foam production is held to strict quality standards.

3. Make sure the mattress is certified by CertiPUR-US® (or the closest applicable equivalent). CertiPUR-US® approved foams are free of ozone-depleting chemicals, toxic PBDE flame retardants, heavy metals, carcinogens like formaldehyde, and endocrine disruptors like phthalates. They are also guaranteed to have the lowest VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) emissions possible (less than 0.5 parts per million). This certification ensures that your mattress will be safe for your whole family, including pets and small children.

4. Choose a mattress with a 3–4 inch foam layer. Contrary to popular belief, more isn’t always better when it comes to memory foam mattresses. A layer of foam that is too deep may produce an overly “squishy” and unsupportive mattress that you sink too deeply into, resulting in back pain and neck stiffness. Ideally, you want just enough memory foam to provide a comfortable cushion.

As a final note, remember that the best way to find the right memory foam density and depth to suit your individual needs is to go try out a few different mattresses in person. Lay on each mattress for about 10 minutes and rate them for comfort and support, then choose the best one you can afford.

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