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How to Choose the Right Density

For two reasons, I found this page a bit difficult for me to write.

Firstly, no two people are alike. Even if two individuals are of the same weight and height, and experience similar aches and pains upon waking up each morning, they may have different preferences in mattresses. One may prefer high density memory foam while the other likes a medium density mattress.

Secondly, the sheer volume of choices available can confuse matters. In the early days of memory foam, there were not as many different options available for density or other features like cooling and motion control.

First, the Basics

Now that I’ve already caused you even more confusion, I will attempt to give you some simple information about high, medium, and low density memory foam mattresses to give you a starting point.

What exactly is density? In the simplest terms, if the density of a foam mattress has is 5 pounds per cubic foot, it means that a cubic foot of the foam material will weigh 5 pounds. A cubic foot of a higher density mattress will be the same size but weigh more.

A memory foam mattress can also be layered, usually with denser foam underneath for support and lower density on top for comfort.

low density foamLow Density (3 pounds per cubic foot or less)

Virtually every memory foam mattress works by reacting to your body heat. The foam softens as it warms up, allowing it to take the shape of your body contours. For this reason, the foam doesn’t always mould to your body the instant you lie on it; there is a waiting period.

Low density foam almost immediately softens when you lie on it. If you prefer a soft mattress, or if you don’t like the initial stiff feel of a denser mattress, low density may be your preference.

Low density also contains less material, so it is cheaper to manufacture and easier for you to afford – definitely a point in its favor!

medium density foamMedium Density (about 4 to 5 pounds per cubic foot)

This is the most popular range because the mattresses are a good compromise between firm and soft. Compromise is especially important if you share your bed with a partner.

Medium density also is affordable for most buyers, though you will notice that the mattresses do not offer the same firm support as high density.

If you don’t suffer particularly from morning aches and pains, and if you’re looking for something in the Goldilocks zone between firm and soft, then medium density will probably work of you.

Budget permitting, you can also consider a layered mattress with soft low density foam on top and supportive higher density foam underneath.

high density foamHigh Density (6 or more pounds per cubic foot)

These top-of-the-line mattresses are by far the most expensive, even costing in the thousands.

The density of an orthopedic mattress is always at least 6 pounds, and is worth the extra cost if you have severe aches and pains caused by a medical condition. The mattress feels stiff at first when you lie on it, but it is designed to quickly warm up and conform to your shape, supporting all of your pressure points as well as your spine.

High density foam is the most durable of all, not surprisingly. It costs a lot initially, but you won’t have to buy a new mattress for many years.

To Summarize

As I mentioned at the start, there is a strong element of personal preference in choosing the perfect density for your mattress. Hopefully you now have a better idea of the choices you’ll be facing when you shop for a memory foam mattress.

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