Mattresses are such an important item for our home, which we expect to last many years and from which we demand a comfort level to match our needs. With people tightening their belts in these times of economic austerity around the world, there are some smart choices we can make to lower our outlays without sacrificing comfort. Increasingly we are seeing memory foam replacing the old coil-springs as the leading material in our main bedding supplies. We show you here how to scan some memory foam mattress topper reviews to make an informed decision that can save you money.
What is Memory Foam?
Memory foam is a polyurethane-based material that, when combined with other chemicals during the manufacturing process, creates a sleeping surface that shapes very well to body shape and offers a level of support that surpasses most other materials used for the purpose. It was developed initially in the 1970’s as a protection for astronauts in outer space, who have to endure extremely high forces. It was necessary to use a highly pressure-absorbent material that acted with a strong cushioning affect on the astronauts’ bodies.
The modern mattress memory foam is not exactly the same as this but is closely related. It was a Scandinavian manufacturer that developed it for the bedding market and over the years, production costs have come down, now making it a viable alternative to consider for many people wanting to buy a new mattress or a topper for their existing one. Most of the big name manufacturers will include memory foam mattress toppers in their ranges, alongside the standard other options.
The Enduring Qualities of Memory Foam
Memory foam is usually rated using the ILD system. This stands for Indentation Load Deflection. The very fact that there is a rating system tells us to expect different qualities. It is not a uniform, one-size-fits-all type of material. You will see from a glance at some reviews and customer comments that experiences vary accordingly.
The general rule is that the firmer mattresses and toppers will have a higher ILD rating; softer ones will have a lower rating. Normally this would be quoted as a range rather than a single value.
Before choosing it’s important to set your expectations as to what you are really looking for from your mattress topper. You may only make your final decision when you lie down on it, in the store, but beforehand you may be able to decide on an ILD range that will best suit your expectations of comfort and support.
In mattress sets often the memory foam is used only in the topper, so if you are buying a topper separately to place on an existing mattress then the same rules apply. Check the ILD.
Usually the quality memory foam surfaces are designed to “breathe” to avoid overheating during the night. The material creates a different environment than a hollower, coil-spring mattress, and there are issues with air flow to be addressed, but generally there are not many complaints from people about their purchase getting too hot.
The main negative comments about memory foam usually result from the price premium that people have to pay for it and the powerful smells that are associated with them when they are first bought. If you have a spare room it is a good idea to air the topper for a few days at least before transferring it to your own bedroom. This will mean that most of the odors will have dispersed by the time you come to use it.
Benefits of Using a Topper
The main benefit of using a topper is the price advantage. A good quality memory foam mattress can cost thousands of dollars; good toppers are available for a fraction of that price. If you are placing them on a good, sturdy, existing mattress they can do a great job in enhancing your rest.
One word of warning: placing a topper on a badly sagging mattress will not cure the sag. They cannot work wonders.
Size and Thickness Considerations
If you have decided that this is the way to go, then you will be looking at sizes and thicknesses. Toppers are made in all the relevant sizes you would expect from a mattress ie. from King Size memory mattress topper down to a Single size topper.
It is the thickness of the topper that will ultimately decide the comfort level. The 4 inch memory foam mattress topper is one of the most popular thicknesses as it generally provides adequate cushioning and support for the body. The 3 inch memory foam mattress topper may also be enough for some people but anything less than this is probably not advisable.
Caring for Your Mattress Topper
The best way to extend the life and shape of your topper is to turn it 180 degrees every now and again, allowing for the body weight to be spread over the full length of the topper over time. Unlike other materials used for mattresses, memory foam does not need to be flipped to maintain its quality.
You should find that, unlike coil mattresses, your memory foam is not a breeding ground for dust mites, as it is a denser set up entirely. So if you are prone to allergies, such as asthma, then a memory foam mattress topper is worth considering. Many will have already been treated by the time you buy them, to lower risk of allergies and the like.
To clean your mattress topper, we recommend the application of baking soda for around half an hour. Then vacuum clean the mattress to remove the baking soda and other unwanted material. Avoid using water too heavily on the foam; any stains can usually be removed with a little warm water and then blotted with a towel. You can always assist drying by using a hairdryer.
Recommended Approach to Buying a Mattress Topper
There are a lot of considerations to make before buying any mattress or topper, so it is useful to have some guidance here.
If you have a preferred manufacturer already then it becomes slightly easier. You can begin by visiting their web site, checking specifications of the toppers they produce and gathering useful buying tips in general.
If you’re not sure about the brand then mattress topper reviews will point you in the right general direction. They may have some empirical analysis of the toppers as well as comments from customers who have already bought products. These comments may or may not be from real customers. Marketers are clever and can pay people to post positive or negative comments based upon the brands they are pushing. So ensure that you have found a legitimate and respected site. Either way, you should find the experience leaves you with some of the right types of questions you need to be asking before you buy, so it’s a very useful first or second step.
You may have a few ideas of the toppers you are interested in at this point. Check prices at the online retailers to get an idea.
The golden rule when buying any mattress is that you need to test them out. This will entail a trip to your local bedding supply store, but at least you should have enough information by now to be able to ask the salesperson some probing questions. Then you can lie down on as many as you like, which will either narrow your choices down or give you some new ideas.
Once back home go online again and compare prices between exact models on your shortlist. Are they cheaper than at the bedding store? Sometimes significant savings can be made. Some brick and mortar bedding suppliers also have web sites where you can buy the items at discount. This way you could end up with a good quality, cheap memory foam mattress topper.
For example, you may have your heart set on a Simmons King size memory foam mattress topper that you tried in the store and found to be what you were looking for. Perhaps the exact same one is available online at 20% off the store price. Providing the online store provides a decent warranty and is a reputable site you can buy and get it delivered relatively easily, most times.
The best memory foam mattress topper is one that is well sourced, reasonably priced and meets your expectations. Be realistic about your expectations as a mattress set is specifically designed for comfort, support and robustness. That is why they are priced much higher than the toppers. Ensure that the mattress you are placing the topper onto is not a decrepit and sagging model that really needs to be thrown out, as it will not help in the long run. In this case may be better to buy a complete mattress set. But if you are satisfied with your existing mattress and are just looking for some extra comfort then the topper could be a cheap and worthwhile solution.
In the past the mattress topper was a pad or cover used predominantly to protect the mattress from perspiration and other stains, which would often render the warranty on a mattress void. It was necessary to use one either rested on top of the mattress, tied to the corners to keep it in place or as a wrap-around cover completely enveloping it. Nowadays, as you will see from mattress topper reviews online, these items are increasingly being made thicker and more comfortable as a completely separate item of bedding that can be used for sleeping on the floor or on top of an existing mattress.
In Asia mattress toppers are now used almost like an old-style Japanese futon mattress, which would be rolled out to provide a sleeping surface at night and then rolled up and stored away during the day, freeing up the space to be used for something else.
In the west they are more commonly now used as a comfort layer on top of an existing mattress. A word of warning here: a mattress topper can give a new lease of life to an old mattress that is a bit too firm for you but it will not be able to save a badly sagging, out of shape, moth-eaten and dust-mite ridden model that needs replacing. If you are looking to save a little money by buying a memory foam mattress topper, for example, to place on your old mattress , rather than going to the expensive of a whole new memory foam mattress, then fine – but be realistic about what your topper will be able to do.
If you are choosing memory foam for your topper, which seems to be the most popular choice these days, make sure there is enough memory foam used. Anything less than 2 inches of good quality foam won’t make too much difference to your comfort levels, so if you buy a 3-inch or 4-inch memory foam mattress topper then check the exact composition to see if all that thickness is memory foam. Stick with the major manufacturers as no-name makers may not be using good quality foam at all….you are already saving money by not having to buy a full mattress so spending a little more on your topper to ensure good quality is wise.