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THE GOOD: Most popular mattress topper • often highly effective at improving mattress comfort • available in several varieties to suit personal preference.
THE BAD: Potential for initial odor and heat retention • can lack conforming ability for people under 120 lbs • somewhat difficult to move on / get up off • squishy feel possible • fairly heavy.
THE COMPETITION: See how other topper types compare to memory foam in the topper comparison.
Ratings show how the various memory foam topper varieties compare to the average mattress topper. Ratings indicate what tends to be true; ratings for a particular model or individual topper may vary.
|MEMORY FOAM TOPPER THICKNESS||MEMORY FOAM TOPPER DENSITY|
|1"||2"||3"||4"||2.5 to 3 lb||3.5 to 4 lb||4.5 to 5+ lb|
|Easy to move on||C+||D+||D||D||C||D+||D|
|Back sleep friendly||B||A-||B+||B||B||B+||A-|
|Side sleep friendly||B-||B+||A-||B||B||B+||B|
|Front sleep friendly||B||B-||C+||C-||B+||B||C+|
|No off gassing||C-||D+||D||D-||D+||D||D|
|No sleeping hot||C||C-||D+||D||C||D+||D|
|Avg-sized person friendly||B-||A-||B+||B-||B-||B||B-|
|Heavy person friendly||C||B+||B||C+||C+||B||B+|
|Light person friendly||C+||C||C||C-||B||C||D|
|Easy to handle and lift||B+||C+||D+||D-||B-||C||D|
|Firmness||med||med to soft||soft||soft to extra soft||--||--||--|
|Comment||limited impact on comfort||top selling thick- ness||2nd top selling thick- ness||person may roll toward heavier partner||limited support||mix of comfort/ support||limited avail- ability|
The table below compares toppers with 89% or better owner satisfaction based on at least 500 consumer experiences.
|Red Nomad||Milliard||Gel Swirl||Serta||Comfort Dreams|
|Owner Satisfaction (sample)|
|2", 3", 4"||2"||2", 3", 4"||2", 3", 4"||1", 3", 4"|
|2.5 lb||3 lb||2.5 lb (est)||3 and 4 lb||2.5, 3, 4 lb|
|Distinctive Advantage Or Trait|
|top rated memory foam topper overall||top rated gel-infused memory foam topper||--||top selling memory foam topper||free pillows with 3" and 4" models|
* Memory foam density indicates how
much foam weighs. For example, foam with 3.0 lb (or lbs/ft) density means that a cubic foot of this foam weighs three pounds. See the above grid and memory foam density: low vs high to learn more about differences in density.
** Gel-infused memory foam tends to sleep about 25% cooler longer than regular memory foam all other things being equal.
*** CertiPUR-US certified foam meets standards for content, emissions, performance and durability.
Memory foam is made from polyurethane with additional chemicals to increase density. The foam is made up of millions of spherical shaped, open cells. What makes memory foam unique is its temperature and weight sensitivity. Learn more.
Memory foam mattress toppers should generally be expected to last about three to four years with regular use – a rate somewhat better than that of the average mattress topper. Memory foam toppers with higher density foam (4 lbs/ft or greater) may last longer than those with lower density foam (3 lbs/ft or less).
As the toppers age and wear, they tend to lose their resiliency and support. They may also discolor and tear.
Memory foam toppers often have warranties with lengths of 2 to 5 years. Owner experience data suggests that the likelihood of successfully filing a warranty claim is low. Shoppers, as a result, should place little if any emphasis on warranty coverage.
When unpackaged, memory foam can initially give off a gas or odor lasting from hours to weeks. This is the main complaint by memory foam topper owners as about 18% report the problem. Off gassing can be a small annoyance to some people and unbearable to others. Learn more about memory foam off gassing.
There often is randomness in regard to whether and how much a memory foam mattress topper will off gas. However, owner experience data suggests that off gassing tends to correlate with topper thickness.
* Off gassing lasting more than 24 hours.
About 8% of memory foam topper owners – vs about 4% for the average mattress topper – report that their topper sleeps hot or, in other words, fails to disperse body heat resulting in an unnaturally warm sleep surface.
Thicker memory foam toppers tend to have more heat-related complaints than thinner varieties. (See below chart.) This appears to be due to the fact that the sleeper often sinks further into thicker toppers where there is less air circulation. High density foam toppers may also increase the potential for heat retention.
* Heat retention enough to undermine sleep quality at least some of the time.
Gel-infused memory foam tends to sleep about 25% cooler longer than regular memory foam – all other things being equal.
Memory foam toppers can often be added to just one side of a bed to, in effect, provide different firmness and feel for each side. This can make a mattress more suitable for couples. Learn more on how to have a topper on one half of a mattress.
Higher-density and thicker memory foam toppers can impact romantic activity. While they offer some advantages such as improved comfort, they also may reduce bounce and make movement more difficult and awkward. Learn more about the pros and cons of memory foam on this issue.
Ratings are based on 40,000+ consumer reviews collected from diverse, credible sources including product review sections on retailer websites and online message boards.
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