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Foam Density and Why You Should Care About It

by David Keam

By: David Keam

President of the Best Sleep Centre

At Best Sleep, we take sleep seriously. All our Restonic Mattresses are engineered with the latest in Comfort Technology.

In this blog I would like to discuss Foam Density and why you should care about it.

Foam density is a key factor in determining quality, durability, and overall mattress. Have you ever heard the idea that your metal spring coils sagged? Of course not, because it is not possible. Unless you are standing on your bed to change the light bulbs or letting your kids jump on the mattress like in some silly hotel commercial; your coils are as good as the day they were made. It is the foam that sags and eventually turns to powder.

If a company offers you 1000 pocket coils and 1.5lb. foam and another mattress store offer you 2000 pocket coils and 1lb. foam take the 1000 pocket coil bed. If you want a fantastic quality bed, then come and see our mattresses with thousands of pocket coils and high density foam. Now you have the absolute best and will be a satisfied customer for the next 10 years... or longer.

Technical details

Mattress foam density is expressed in pounds and refers to the mass of one cubic foot of  foam  (i.e. a 5-pound  per square foot piece of foam means that a 12”x 12” x 12” cube of the foam weighs 5 pounds).

A mattress with a layer of higher density foam will be heavier and be more solid and will last longer than a mattress built with lower density foam. It is important to note that the density of a foam layer is unrelated to mattress thickness or firmness. Density is a quality best tied to durability and posture support.

The foam in mattresses comes in three densities, as follows:
Low Density

  • 1.0 lb to 1.35 lbs
  • Less durable, lower price point, less support
High Density
  • 2.0 lbs to 3.0 lbs
  • Exceptionally durable, longer lifespan, excellent overall support
Ultra High Density
  • 3.5 to 4.0 lbs or higher
  • Exceptionally durable, high price point, longer lifespan
Let us describe each density in more detail.

Low Density:

Low-density foam is typically measured at 2 lb/ft³ or lower. Many other mattress brands now primarily use this density level because of its lower price point. However, a lower density equals a shorter life span, less durability and less overall support than higher-density models. The base line of many mattresses is 1.35 lb per sq foot.

These mattresses often soften much quicker, which results in sleepers sinking through the mattresses top layer. For heavier sleepers or those who are prone to body pain, this lack of support is not good.

  • Lower cost
  • Less durable
  • Quickly soften = shorter lifespan
  • Decreased support
  • Mattresses break down quickly
High Density:

High-density foam falls within the range of 2.5 lb to 3 lb /ft³. These designs offer an ideal mix of durability and support at a reasonable price point. The higher-grade memory foam will support increased body weight and improve mattress integrity and longevity. These higher destiny foam infused mattresses aid to shape to the contours of your body, leading to better body support in key areas such as the back, shoulders, and hips. High-density foam also provides an ideal balance between adequate airflow and long-term durability.

  • Excellent support
  • Exceptionally durable
  • Cost-effective
  • Reduced pressure points
  • Longevity
  • Higher price point than low-density foam but lasts longer so in the end cheaper.
  • Less commonly available

Ultra High Density:

Ultra High-Density Foam is 3 lb /ft³ or greater although the price point is higher than that of High-Density foam. A mattress made with Ultra High-Density Foam will last even longer than a mattress made with High Density Foam.

The Distinction between Density and Firmness

There is a misconception that there is a direct connection between mattress density and firmness. On the contrary, it is common to find both low-density and high-density mattresses classified as soft or firm. There is a separate measurement for determining the firmness of foam known as Indentation Load Deflection (ILD). ILD is the measurement of how much weight (in pounds) it takes to push a 50” inch disc into a 15″x 15″x 4” foam sample and make a 1-inch indentation.

Mattresses feel softer or firmer depending on subjective preference. In this case, the mattresses foam density matters more because of how it affects overall quality and durability. The softer your mattress the better density the foam needs to be so that the mattress stays soft over time. Cheap foam simply gets harder over time as it compacts all the air that was in it and out of it.

The Density of Foam Support Layers. High-quality memory foam mattresses are manufactured with multiple layers of different foam.

This is what I tell people and they seem to get it. The softer you want your firm bed to feel the more it needs to cost.
Ideally your mattress will have high quality soft foam for comfort and high-quality high-density soft foam for longevity. Change the quality, change the price, change the feel over time and change the level of satisfaction.

Spend what you can afford and make sure you realize your bed is the most important furniture in your home.

David Keam
President , Best Sleep Centre Inc.

35 Years in the mattress business
Started as a delivery driver...Thanks for reading.
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