Know Your Foam – what you need to know before shopping for memory foam

by mattress toppers, Uncategorized

Memory foam and latex and the two most confusing materials when it comes to choosing a good mattress or topper.

The companies are aware of it and are using the the fact than an average buyer doesn’t really know what’s what.

Today, we’ll go beyond the common tips about densities and thicknesses and take a more in depth look at the “quality” of memory foam.

testing memory foam hand

Thickness and the density are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg

Thickness and density are the two aspects of memory foam that you’ll see in almost every guide out there. But they do not tell the full story. Not even close.

We will go over the basics, but the “meat” of this guide is looking beyond that and defining what makes memory foam “high-quality.”

It’s a term that’s thrown around willy-nillly without explaining what it really means. It’s common sense; no company will ever say that their mattress or topper is made from “low-quality” memory foam. They will pack it into marketing phrases designed to blur the facts.

In this guide, we’ll make an effort to unpack it. If we do a good job, you should walk away with in shock with a touch of anger.


A favorite joke for a number of comedians is, “Is there EVER a

day when mattresses AREN’T on sale?”

What to look at instead

We promised to point out a “trick” that you can use to make a an informed decision…so let’s get to it.

Why we need it in the first place?

Because you can talk about densities and thickness and the foam topper or mattress you’re looking at might seem like a bargain.

But that’s not where it ends, not even close. There is such a thing as “foam quality.”

And the shady part is that you can’t judge the quality just based on thickness or density. IT”S THE WARRANTY that tells the complete story.

Knowing what to look for there is the “trick’ we promised to share.

Online shopping gives the potential customers the opportunity to skirt the salesman’s spiel by reading the reviews of the product that caught your eye.

Researching online is fine, but making an investment based just on what you read is rarely a good idea.

A smart buyer wouldn’t even think about getting a memory foam mattress without “test-driving” it.

mattresss salesman explaining memory foam

All About Memory Foam Warranties

First things first – what makes the warranty void?

Most warranties on any mattress will be voided if the mattress gets stained. Any stain or soil on the cover will cause the company to void the warranty, even if the problem is somewhere else. For example, if the mattress sags or the foam breaks, it is a  quality issue.

But you’ll have a hard time getting your money back if it’s stained – besides the added comfort that’s what makes a good mattress topper a solid idea.

Foundation and Support

You will also have to make sure that it has the correct foundation to support it. The wrong foundation can cause the foam mattress to sag and wear unevenly.

Your mattress should have very clear guidelines regarding the type of frame and support you purchase. If you don’t have the right support, the company will not honor warranties.

Warranty Length

Mattress warranties are usually for 5, 10, and 20 years. Most experts agree that no mattress will last that long.

Beware of Hidden Fees

While a mattress may have a suitable warranty, you may not know about the fees that come with claiming a warranty. To make your claim, you will have to get an expert to come inspect your mattress.

This often requires a fee, as will the removal of the old mattress and delivery of a new one. You may also have to pay a difference in the value or cost of the mattresses.

Prorated Warranties

A prorated warranty means that you will have to pay at least 20% for a replacement mattress or repairs.

Manufacturer Defects

Warranties are for manufacturer defects, not normal wear and tear. Mattresses do wear out, and that is not considered a manufacturer defect. This type of defect can be visually identified and measured, such as the depth of a sagging area.

However, if a section of the mattress seems to not be as soft or supportive, that usually cannot be measured.

Look for a non-prorated warranty

A non-prorated warranty means the entire cost of a new mattress is covered in full. Unfortunately, most of these types of warranties are very short-lived. Most warranties are prorated, meaning that the mattress is depreciated over a period of time. You will have to pay the difference between the years remaining on the warranty and a new mattress.

A non-prorated warranty means that if you find a manufacturer’s defect, you can be refunded or your mattress replaced up to 100% of the full value.

Full non-prorated warranties are not common

Some manufacturers combine the two different types of warranties. A 20-year manufacturers’ warranty may offer 10 years at a non-prorated coverage, and the last 10 may be prorated.

Be sure to read the warranty closely. A 20-year warranty may be totally prorated, or only be non-prorated for a couple of years.

Remember, any discoloration on the mattress can void the warranty, so even a general yellowing from dust and dead skin cells can create an opportunity for the warranty to be voided. If you’ve invested in an expensive mattress, it’s wise to invest a fraction of that in a good protective pad or topper.

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Any affiliate fees never add cost to you. Never. And we only recommend personally tested or thoroughly researched products.

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  • Bob Ozment

    Bob has been testing and writing about all things sleep (and especially blankets, air mattresses and folding beds), for 8+ years now. before that, he worked as a Quality Assurance Manager with one of the bigger names in the sleep industry. He holds a masters degree Statistics, Actuarial & Data Sciences from the central Michigan University at Mount Pleasant. He's one of the people who designs our producing testing and statistical models. He’s a stomach sleeper, but nobody’s perfect.