Avoid Common Memory Foam Topper mistakes with 5 simple questions

Before you buy a memory foam topper or pad you'll hate or just don't need ask yourself the following questions:

  1. Should you choose a pad or a bed?
  2. What do they cost?
  3. Who makes the best memory foam mattress pads?
  4. How to choose a good pad?
  5. How long does a good bed topper last?

(Buying from links on this website sometimes adds a bit of cash to my lumpy mattress fund. It doesn't cost you more. And helps me spread sweet dreams everywhere.)

A memory foam topper can give you many of the benefits of a memory foam mattress at a much lower cost. A quality memory foam mattress top can almost eliminate painful pressure points that cause you to toss and turn all night. They will help you get to sleep more quickly, sleep more deeply and wake with fewer aches in joints and muscles. Sometimes doctors actually prescribe memory foam mattresses and pads for people with certain health and sleep problems.

Purrfect memory foam topper with sleeping kitten

Q1: Can you get by with just a pad, or do you need a new mattress?
Don't drive yourself crazy with frustration or confusion over how long you've had the bed or how much you spent. It's simple. Buying just a pad instead of a whole new mattress will work if your mattress is basically in good shape. If your mattress is too soft, has compressed areas, or a hammock feel, get a new one.

If your mattress just needs to be a bit more comfortable, maybe it's a bit too firm, then buy the mattress pad.

Q2: How do you choose a good memory foam topper?
A good memory foam pad has many of the same properties as the top layers of a visco elastic foam mattress:

Thickness A good pad should be between 2" and 4" thick. Personal preference. Some people are happy with 2 inch pads. I don't like them, they're too skinny for me. I have a 4" topper. It has enough depth to cushion the wide shoulders of a 5'11" overweight side sleeper. If you're a smaller person you'd probably be happiest with a 3 inch thick pad.

Density Between 3lb and 5lb. Most people seem to prefer 4lb pads. If you weigh over 200lbs you might want to go with a 5lb or higher density pad for more support.

ILD Indentation load deflection (ILD) is a measure of the foam's comfort, or how easily it deflects. Between 8 and 20 is an acceptable range. But many people prefer ILD measurements between 12 and 15 for that melt-into-the-bed feeling

Temperature sensitivity Memory foam should soften at body temperature. That's how it provides the conforming support. The foam cells closest to your body soften and the ones further away stay firm. If you live in colder climates, a memory foam mattress top might feel a bit hard just as you get into bed. But it warms up quickly to contour itself to your body.

Q3: How long do they last?
4 to 8 years with 4lb density foam. However, I've seen warranties up to 10 years.

Q4: Who makes the best memory foam mattress top?
Most of the major mattress manufacturers now carry a line of pads and toppers. Sealy mattresses, Serta, Simmons and even TempurPedic mattresses have them. In 2006, Sensus came out on top in an informal test conducted by a Wall Street Journal writer. But there's many more pads out now, so choosing the best rated mattress pads is a bit more challenging.

So make your choice easy. Follow the criteria outlined in the "How do you choose a good topper?" section, choose a reputable manufacturer and wait for a good sale.

Q5: What's a Good Price?
Here's average low prices for Queen size pads:

2 inch thick
3 memory foam topper
4 inch memory foam topper

You will pay more for higher pound density memory foam. There's just more stuff in it, so it is going to cost more pound for pound.

Bonus Tip:
Make sure that your memory foam topper has at least a 30 day no questions asked return policy. Even after answering these 5 questions on memory foam toppers, you won't really know if a mattress pad will work for you until you try it in your own bedroom.

Topper FAQs

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