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Latex & Memory Foam Mattress Topper Buyers Guide
Sleep Warehouse bedding specialists have created this mattress topper buyers guide to inform and assist consumers with buying Natural Latex and Memory Foam toppers. We highly recommend reading through all the information provided below to become more knowledgeable about natural latex and memory foam sleep products, which will assist you in selecting the exact right product for your sleeping needs. It’s a lot of information, but it will take you through the decision process. Sleep Warehouse has one of the largest selections of the highest quality memory foam and latex mattress toppers enabling you to find the perfect sleep surface.
There is vast amount of good and bad information on the Internet regarding latex and memory foam sleep products. We have assembled straightforward information on topics that are most commonly asked and some that are not to help you become a more informed shopper. Scroll through the topics below to answer many questions that you may have. If after reading the following information, you have any questions, do not hesitate to call or email our customer support for assistance with choosing the exact product for your needs. We love chatting with our customers and are here to help!
Have a great day!
On we go….!
Latex and Memory Foam are the two most popular materials mattress toppers are fabricated from. Each comes in a variety of densities and firmnesses to accommodate your specific sleeping needs. One size does not fit all and is the main reason Sleep Warehouse offers a wide variety of the best mattress toppers and mattresses. While both latex and memory foam provide for excellent sleep surfaces, there is a significant difference in feel between the two and we will describe below:
Memory Foam, also know as; visco elastic foam, NASA foam, temperature sensitive foam, slow recovery foam to name a few. Marketers and industry members will use any combination of the above, but the most common is Memory Foam. All of Sleep Warehouse memory foam toppers are made in the United States and are Certipur Certified. Memory foam is a chemical based polyurethane foam made from millions of high density, visco-elastic, memory cells. The tiny round open-cells are temperature sensitive and as a result conform to the shape of the person using the product as it warms. In warmer conditions, the cells get softer and more pliable. By contrast, in cooler conditions the cells will stay firmer. Within the confines of our homes and standard room temperatures, memory foam provides excellent comfort and body forming support. The conforming (molding) quality of memory foam results from the combination of the soft, compliant cells (comfort) with firmer (support) cells. Most customers are familiar with memory foam in products such as Tempurpedic mattresses. The “doughy” slow recovery foam is a unique feel only available in memory foam products. The higher the density rating the slower reactive the product will be. Sleep Warehouse’s 5lb Sensus topper (ranked #1 by The Wall Street Journal) will feel firmer and more supportive then a 3lb Comfort series product due to its slower reacting properties, while the 3lb product will respond more quickly, feel less doughy and overall softer.
An analogy we use with customers to describe the difference between the memory foam densities is if you took two bowls of dough side by side. One being room temperature and one having just been taken out of the refrigerator. If you place a hand on the top of each bowl of dough, you will see that your hand will sink quickly into the room temperature dough and the dough will quickly form to your hand. On the other side, the cold dough will be firm and will take a bit longer to conform to your hand. Once your hand settles into the cold dough (your hand warms the dough), your hand will be firmly supported and held into place snuggly. If you remove your hands from each bowl at the same time, you will notice that the cold dough (high density mf foam) will take some time for your hand print to disappear, while the room temp dough will loose the hand print more quickly (low density mf foam). The warm dough is more responsive and similar to lower density memory foam, while the cold dough is an extreme example of higher density memory foam.
Memory foam has a “deadening” feel, which is excellent for movement containment, which keeps you from not bouncing/moving while your partner is moving around on their side of the bed.
Natural Latex Foam
Latex has been used in bedding applications for years (mainstream since 1940-50’s) and is having a big resurgence in the topper and mattress industry due to its supportive and resilient properties. In addition to the excellent support and comfort benefits of latex, people are becoming more aware of their impact to our environment and are choosing environmentally friendly (healthy) products such as Sleep Warehouse’s certified 100% Nature Latex mattress toppers. An important point to mention quickly, NOT ALL LATEX TOPPERS/MATTRESSES ARE 100% NATURAL – make sure you know exactly what you are purchasing!
Natural Latex foam is manufactured from the sap of the Para rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis) with the three largest producing countries of natural latex are Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia. Together they account for approximately 72% of all natural latex rubber production. Latex can be manufactured via the Dunlop (Continuous or Standard) or Talalay production processes. Sleep Warehouse latex mattress toppers are manufactured using the most advanced newer Continuous Pour Dunlop process, which results in the most density consistent and durable 100% natural Dunlop topper. This new leading technology is a departure from the standard Dunlop process, in which 6” cores are vulcanized and then cut down into desired topper thicknesses. In the standard Dunlop process, 6” cores will have some density variance from top to bottom due to the “settling” of the latex during the manufacturing process. This can result in toppers being inconsistent in density depending on if you topper was cut from the top or bottom of the latex core.
Sleep Warehouse natural latex toppers are produced on a continuous pour process to specific 2” or 3” thicknesses. This produces a very density consistent topper with a finished “skin” outer surface. The end product is a topper, which provides the consistency and softness of a Talalay product with all the support and durability qualities Dunlop is know for. End result is a 100% natural latex topper that provides exceptional support and comfort. There are NO additional FR (fire retardant) chemicals or SBR (Styrene Butadiene Rubber or synthetic latex) used in any of Sleep Warehouse latex toppers.
Latex topper foam is very reactive and described with terms such as springy, responsive and supportive. Available from Sleep Warehouse in 3 firmness levels, natural latex can be used by consumers looking to add a soft comfort pillow-top function to a firm mattress and all the way up to layers firm enough to use as a mattress base layer. Latex is known for its durability and long product life, without any noticeable odor in an all-natural sleep surface. Latex toppers tend to sleep cooler then memory foam/polyurethane toppers, due to your body position staying higher on the topper and not sinking into it like you do with memory foam. Some customers state that latex toppers are also easier to move around on, then memory foam toppers. Latex is a great sleep surface for individuals who are +180 lbs, due to support and longevity of use.
Foam density is measured in pounds per cubic foot (pcf) or in metric terms, kilograms per cubic meter (kg/m3). When a foam product is described as being a 5lb density product, what that actually means is that 1 cubic foot of foam material weights 5lbs. It is important to know the actual foam density to make sure it will provide you with the comfort and support you are looking for. Mostly the higher the foam density, the more support it will provide and the more durable it will be. Support is a very important aspect of foam bedding as it is defined as “to carry weight of, hold up, and keep from falling or sinking”. In bedding, this corresponds to making sure the product does not bottom out or compress to the point where it no longer holds the weight of the person using the topper, mattress or pillow. Foam density is independent of foam firmness (see ILD info below).
Figuring out the foam density of a specific pad is rather easy. All you need is the weight of the product and do some simple math. Say you are trying to confirm the specific density of a 2” thick queen sized topper. You take the dimensions of the topper and multiply them to get the total cubic inches of the product. In a queen that would be 80” x 60” x 2” thick = 9,600 cubic inches. Now we need to convert cubic inches into cubic ft by dividing by 1,728 (12x12x12). Our queen turns out to be 5.56 cubic feet of memory foam material (9,600/1,728=5.56). If the topper you purchased is 4lb density, your topper should weight approximately 22lbs (5.56x4=22.24lbs). In most foam manufacturing there is a standard variance allowance of up to 10%. Some retailers and marketers are not stating their foam density ratings. Don't be surprised when you get the product. Make sure that they state that information up front and guarantee the product you receive to be of the specified density rating.
IFD (Previously called ILD-Indentation Load Deflection)
The IFD (Indentation Force Deflection) rating of the foam will determine the feel of the product. Most memory foams fall within the 10-14 ILD rating, while latex will have a much wider firmness range (16-40 IFD). The higher the IFD measurement the firmer the foam will feel. IFD is taken by measuring the force in pounds required to compress (indent) a sample of foam a specified percentage of its thickness across a surface area of 50 square inches. This is normally done on a 4 inch thick piece of foam. Foams manufactured in the United States are typically measured at 25% indentation or at a depth of 1” with a 4” foam sample. Firmness of the foam measured by IFD is an indicator of the surface feel of the foam, while support (density) is an indicator of the foams ability to support the load placed upon it.
Which topper is best for me?
Now that we understand the differences between latex, memory foam and what IFD & density ratings are, we are ready to break this down to which exact topper is best for your needs. Below is the though process which we take customers through in deciding which product is best for them.
First, we typically ask customers a few questions to make sure we understand their needs and what they are trying to “fix” with their current sleep surface. Persons weight, height, sleep position and sleep habits are all taken into account, as this will directly influence what mattress topper to purchase. We ask customers to list their top 3 most important features they need to have in their new sleep surface and any specific issues that they wish to avoid. Below we take you through the typical process on deciding which product is best:
Memory Foam or Latex – Do you prefer the doughy slow reacting, molding, sinking-in feeling of memory foam or the reactive, supportive, springy feel of latex topper? Memory foam seems to have a “love it” or “hate it” following. Other considerations are if you have issues with heat and are a hot sleeper. People, who normally do not sleep hot, will be fine with any of our memory foam products, but if you start out being a “hot sleeper”, you may benefit by going with latex. Many customers are becoming more environmentally conscience/aware of products they purchase and use. Sleep Warehouse’s natural latex is one of the best eco green topper options available. The latex is a low/no odor product, as compared to memory foam, which will have a “new foam smell”(which dissipates quickly over time). People who move/roll around while sleeping on their mattress top frequently tend to prefer latex, while those who like to snuggle in and stay in one spot like the conforming traits of memory foam.
Firmness & Density – This choice many times is the most difficult for customers as everyone’s personal preferences are different. In most cases, we could send customers interested in a natural latex topper (for example they cannot decide on either our Soft or Medium latex) one or the other and they would be much happier then what they are currently sleeping on. The same goes for memory foam, with our Aerus or Sensus products. Through review of our detailed product information on each topper page, customers should be able to easily narrow down their selection. If you are still unsure, do not hesitate to give us a call. In almost all cases, through discussion with the customer we can verify their topper choice and give them confidence that they are selecting the exact right product.
Topper Thickness – General guidelines are 2” for someone who weighs less then 180lbs and is typically a back or stomach sleeper. Side sleepers with shoulder, arm and hip issues tend to benefit from a 3” topper, as well as customer who are + 180lbs. We normally try and keep customers on the thinnest topper they believe will work for them. Specifically with memory foam, thick toppers can be hot and cause a “hammocking” feeling. This is not normally an issue with latex due to its support. For customers requiring 4” toppers, we provide them with 2 qty 2” toppers at a reduced cost. This provides advantages over a single 4” topper and in most cases longer product life. Please call us for any custom sizing requirements, as we are happy to assist you with that.
Do I need a cover for my memory foam topper?
Sleep Warehouse highly recommends covering all latex mattress toppers and memory foam toppers. This can be accomplished by using a standard mattress cover that you may already have or by purchasing one of the Sleep Warehouse Bamboo topper covers. Covering your topper will keep the product clean and help keep it from getting torn, damaged and prolong product life. All warranty coverage for toppers dictates cover usage.
This topper buyers guide should give you a start in the right direction to assist in picking out a new sleep surface. We offer the basic decision process above, but understand many have specific needs and special requirements. No questions are too trivial; as we want to make sure our customers are confident in choosing the exact right mattress topper, so do not hesitate to contact us!