High Density Foam

Like most things, with the advancement of technology mattresses too have evolved into the sort of product that comes in different shapes, designs, patterns and is made of different materials. One would think that this makes it really hard to decide which the best mattress is for their needs, given the wide spectrum of available products out there.

One of the critical factors to consider when buying your mattress, is density. Most commonly in the case of foam mattresses, high density means higher resilience and ultimately better support and comfort.

High density foams therefore are better in terms of durability, comfort and support, since they are more resilient and have quick response time, however it doesn’t mean they always have to be firmer than regular foam mattresses or other types of mattress for that matter.

What exactly is a high density foam mattress though, and how does it differ for each kind of foam? For instance, is high density poly foam the same as high density memory foam, and so on? One thing for sure, high density foam mattresses can distribute weight evenly to better relieve sensitive pressure points.

Let’s see what high density foams entail and how to measure density for each different type of material.

Why density matters?

Before anything else, it is imperative to clarify the relationship between density levels and firmness. Unlike people tend to think, a higher density doesn’t necessarily mean your mattress will be firmer. If you are concerned about firmness, you should check indentation load deflection.

What you really should expect from higher density, is a mattress that is better as far as quality and durability. Generally speaking, a mattress with higher density is heavier and sturdier.

On the contrary, a mattress with lower density is lighter, and possibly easier to carry. However it doesn’t seem to be as resilient and durable.

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How can we define foam density?

The best way to define the density of a certain product is by measuring its mass per unit volume. In simple terms, this refers to how compact the matter is compiled to be. Archimedes, one of the major Greek scientists of ancient times, calculated density by dividing mass by volume.

While many people assume that having a higher density means the product is more compact and therefore firm, in reality, this doesn’t hold true for foam mattresses.

The way to measure foam density is using a square of material which has the following dimensions: 12” x 12” x 12”. Take for instance a product that claims to have a density of 3 lbs/ft³.  Practically speaking, this translates to having a block that weighs 3 pounds. However, a clarification is needed at this point.

If you come across a mattress that has 3 lbs/ft³ density, that doesn’t necessarily mean the mattress will weigh 3 pounds. As logic implies, the mattress will have a much bigger actual weight. Nevertheless, there is a correlation between mattress weight and density, as the more a mattress weights, the higher the density and the more likely it is that the mattress is more durable.

Just remember that density refers to the small sample used during the testing of the product.

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Densities of different foams

There are plenty of options in terms of getting a foam mattress, and perhaps you have experienced sleep on some of them. Each comes with its own perks and downs, as they differ on a number of areas, including the manufacturing process, which among others determines the kind of density you get.

Together we shall take a closer look into each kind of foam in relation to its density, so that you are better informed on what things to pay attention to when you embark on your next purchase.


Polyurethane foam

When it comes polyurethane foam mattresses, usually found in the comfort layers of a mattress, it is better to opt for at least medium density of about 1.8lbs/ft³ when we talk about a one-sided product; if your mattress is for use on both sides, prefer a density of at least 1.5 lbs/ft³. Being overweight though, means you will require a mattress with at least 2 lbs/ft³ in density.

In any case, poly-foam is a good option if you want a cheap mattress yet it doesn’t come without sacrifices. Don’t give in to a poly-foam mattress with less than 1.5 lbs/ft³ in density, as you will regret it in the long run, since your mattress won’t last long and so your money will go wasted in the end.

If on the other hand you need a mattress for your guestroom, then density is not so important so you can settle for a cheaper option.

It is often the case that you will find poly-foam used in hybrid mattresses, which combine springs with foams, and usually polyurethane foam is found in the bottom layers of these mattresses. In these kinds of mattresses, density does matter since the bottom layer forms the foundation of your mattress, so you should prefer a mattress with high-density poly-foam so that it lasts longer.

On the other hand, if you see the top comfort layers of a mattress, this should also feature a higher density foam, especially if you weight more than a few extra pounds, as this areas absorbs the most pressure in the mattress and you don’t want it to break down easily. So, what are the figures for a high density poly-foam really?

High-density poly foam

1.5 lbs./ft³ to 1.8 lbs./ft³

Increased lifespan

– Better performance and compression rates

– Suitable for comfort layers

Make sure you get a mattress within these density ratings, and if required ask for customer assistance to ensure you get the info you need, since it will be important to know the durability of your product.


Memory foam

Memory foam or viscoelastic foam as it is also known, is a material used since the 1960s by NASA to create their airplane seats. It is a premium material with advanced qualities that gradually became available to the public, and is now vastly used for the best memory foam mattresses as it has different benefits like great pressure relief and body contouring, whereas it features typically denser and is more expensive.

There are downsides like sleeping hot and having a slower response time, however it is still well regarded and preferred as a premium foam. One of our top memory foam mattresses, Nectar mattress, features different layers of this great material.

One think that poly-foam and memory foam have in common, is how lower density translated to less durability, which we shall visit in detail in the next paragraphs.

Medium density memory foam mattresses usually have between 3.5 to 4 lbs/ft³ density and are quite durable. It is advised that you opt for at least 5 pounds density if you are overweight, since you want support and resiliency that will last.

If you are on a budget and can’t find the kind of density-thickness correlation recommended in a memory foam mattress, a perfect alternative would be to consider getting a memory foam mattress topper so you take advantage of the perks of memory foam at a minimum cost.

It is better that you won’t settle for a memory foam mattress with density lower than 3.5 to 4 lbs/ft³, since it won’t deliver the premium quality you are looking for. In case you do fancy memory foam and want to get a mattress made of this material no matter what, make sure you know what you lose on durability. Avoid anything that has a density of less than 3.5lbs/ft³, and thickness above 1”.

High-density memory foam mattresses feature a density of at least 6lbs/ft³ and consequently, results in premium quality with advantages that expand from supreme support and durability that exceeds your expectations.

This is without doubt a great choice for a mattress that will last long, if you can afford it since it is worth the investment. Be sure to know exactly how your memory foam mattress feels before you go on to buy it, as not everybody likes the overall feel and attributes of memory foam.

However, all things considered, high-density memory foam mattresses (6lbs/ft³ or more) are a perfect choice if it suits your preferences and promises to deliver big in terms of:

  • Excellent pressure relief
  • Improved blood circulation
  • Back pain and neck relief

Latex foam

Latex is often preferred as a kind of foam that is highly durable and the one thing you have to pay attention to is the blend used to determine the longevity of your latex mattress.

In this respect, you should keep in mind that latex has two kinds, one is natural latex and the other is synthetic. Natural latex, like the one found in Avocado Qwen mattress, is derived from the rubber tree, is more elastic and will be costlier so you might want to go for the cheaper option, which is synthetic latex, if you are short on money. However, synthetic latex has a shorter lifespan and will more likely degrade quicker.

Another option is a hybrid latex mattress which comes with a combination of natural and synthetic latex. This is mid to high priced and performs really well durability-wise.

There are also two methods of manufacturing latex, Talalay and Dunlop; the second is the original process used which creates a denser product. Either method results in a durable mattress, however here’s a breakdown of what to expect from each process.


Dunlop method

Dunlop latex and Talalay latex

  • Costs less
  • Results in higher density, so it works better as a bottom layer
  • Simple process

Talalay method

Talalay latex method features

Blended

  • Combines the best of natural and synthetic latex
  • High resiliency and great quality

Synthetic

  • Best suited for comfort layers, since it comes with different firmness options
  • Recommended in mattresses that you can swap which feature a zipper so that you can replace the layer
  • Has a lower density so it is not the best for a foundational layer
  • Still, good quality and durable

Natural

  • Costs the most compared to all other options for a latex mattress
  • A healthy and eco-friendly method
  • High durability and quality

100% pure latex

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Density and durability correlation

Density is of the most critical factors you must consider when looking to buy your next mattress. In case you weight much more than average, it is best advised that you pay special attention to the density figures of the potential mattress you want, as the density of the mattress will greatly affect your sleeping experience. Notice in particular the top comfort layers of the mattress, usually the 5-6 inches on top, since this are the layers which are mostly affected by systematic use and make you want to change your mattress.

Density and durability correlation

Density as already discussed in this article, influences the durability and resilience of your foam mattress, which means it has a role to play in terms of determining how long your mattress will last. If you have plenty of extra pounds, you should want a mattress with higher density, since this will likely be more durable and therefore better suited to support you adequately and last longer.

Of course, durability related to density differs depending on the kind of material used for the mattress. The following chart gives you an overview of how foam quality and durability relate in terms of their density.

the relationship between density and lifespan of foam

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Key takeaway

You shouldn’t be worried about getting a foam mattress, as long as you pay attention to some specific details like density. High-density foam mattresses of any sort, are considered one of the safest choices available and definitely should be highly regarded for the benefits, such as durability, good quality, resiliency, improved pressure relief and quick responsiveness.

There is no doubt you will benefit greatly from a high-density foam mattress. A trending option is to get a high-density memory foam or latex mattress, rather than choosing to buy a polyurethane foam mattress, since the previous are considered better in terms of performance. You should check your budget and see what suits you best, however always keep in mind that the amount you will invest for a quality high-density foam mattress, will definitely pay off, as your mattress will last many years and still be comfortable and supportive.

Hi,my name is Chris and used to be a mattress salesperson, now I'm a software engineer and focus on blog writing part time, I created this mattress review and rating site to share my knowledge and experiences and hope everyone can get the correct mattress at a reasonable price.

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