Choosing the Right Density for Your Memory Foam Mattress

by Chandler Warnick

A decade ago, choosing a memory foam mattress was easier because there were so few brands and options. However, as the prices of memory foam mattresses have dropped, more brands have begun producing memory foam bedding, and choosing the right mattress has become more challenging. However, one factor remains constant throughout the different brands: memory foam density. Memory foam density, expressed in pounds per cubic foot, makes a big difference in the softness, durability, support, and price of your mattress. Knowing a little about the different densities of memory foam mattresses can simplify the buying process and help you find the memory foam mattress that's right for you.

Memory Foam Mattress Densities:

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  • Low-density memory foam mattresses:

    Low-density memory foam (three pounds per cubic foot and lower) has some advantages, mainly that they are soft and inexpensive. Unlike regular foam, memory foam feels somewhat stiff when you first lie down on it, softening as it warms up with your body heat. Low-density memory foam has more initial give than higher densities, making it softer. Also, because less material goes into low-density memory foam mattresses, it is less expensive than higher densities. However, most memory foam mattress makers use higher densities because they are more durable and offer an adequate amount of support, which is why most people buy memory foam in the first place. If you're on a tight budget or if you dislike the initial stiff feel of medium and high-density memory foam mattresses, then a low-density memory foam mattress may be the right choice.

  • Medium-density memory foam mattresses:

    Medium-density memory foam mattresses (four to five pounds per cubic foot) are the most common because they are a good blend of comfort, support, durability, and cost. Though not as soft as low-density mattresses, they don't feel stiff when you first lie down, and though they don't offer as much support as high-density memory foam mattresses, they offer enough for the average person. They're also priced reasonably, which makes it hard to go wrong with a medium-density memory foam mattress. If you're having trouble deciding which density is right, are new to memory foam, or just have fairly typical tastes, then a medium-density memory foam mattress may be right for you.

  • High-density memory foam mattresses:

    Durability and support are the two areas where high-density memory foam mattresses (six pounds per cubic foot and higher) really stand out. If you buy a high-density memory foam mattress, you can plan on using it for years to come. If your main reason for buying a memory foam mattress is for the unique back support that it offers, then consider choosing high-density memory foam. A high-density memory foam mattress will feel stiff at first, but once it warms up and molds to your form, it offers excellent support.