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Should You Get a Tempur-Pedic or Memory Foam Mattress?

Many think memory foam is more comfortable, but it can definitely be more expensive. However, there are now more options than just Tempur-Pedic.
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You can't put a price on a good night's sleep... or can you? If you're shopping for a new mattress, chances are you've noticed that there's a huge price difference between your basic innerspring mattress (starting at around $70) and a high-end memory foam mattress (the top-of-the-line Tempur-Pedic GrandBed costs up to $8,599).

While the cost can certainly be steep, memory foam mattresses have high owner satisfaction ratings: 81% of memory foam owners are satisfied with their mattress, while only 64% of traditional innerspring mattress owners say the same.

But just because those owners are satisfied doesn't mean you will be, because what makes for a good night's sleep is very subjective. Let's look at general memory foam and Tempur-Pedic reviews, materials, and prices, to see what these mattresses offer. Then you can decide whether memory foam's cost makes sense for your budget.

What Is a Memory Foam Mattress?

While innerspring mattresses are made up of metal coils covered with layers of fabric and padding, memory foam mattresses are made of polyurethane foam. The foam reacts to pressure and heat, conforming to your body when you lie down. Memory foam makers say this provides support while keeping your spine in proper alignment. For anyone suffering from back or other joint pain, memory foam can ease pressure points and may improve sleep.

How Much Does a Memory Foam Mattress Cost?

Tempur-Pedic is generally recognized as the first company to make memory foam mattresses, and while there are lots of other choices for memory foam, its offerings are still considered the best on the market. But they're priced accordingly. Tempur-Pedic beds start at $1,199 for a twin-size Tempur-Cloud Prima and go up to $8,599 for a king-size GrandBed. On average, a queen-size Tempur-Pedic mattress will set you back $3,400, which is no small investment.

Many mattresses, especially those at lower price points, only have a small layer of foam on top of a more traditional innerspring mattress.

But if you think memory foam is a good choice, you don't have to spend that much. Big mattress brands like Serta and Sealy offer their own memory foam mattresses that average around $1,850 for a queen.

On the discount side, both Costco and IKEA offer lines of low-cost memory foam mattresses. Costco's mattresses are priced in line with Sealy and Serta, while IKEA has the bargain option, starting as low as $399 for a queen. But how do these stack up to a $3,400 Tempur-Pedic?

What Are the Differences Among Memory Foam Mattresses?

Looking at the price ranges for these mattresses, you might be tempted to head to IKEA and pick up a low-cost mattress. However, not all memory foam is made alike. Its density can be a key factor in the quality of the mattress; with higher-density memory foam, the mattress typically has a longer life span.

The density of the foam may be measured by weight (how much a cubic foot of memory foam weighs). Low density is typically 3 pounds and under; medium, from 4 to 5 pounds; and high, higher than 5 pounds. Indentation load deflection (ILD or IFD) is another measurement you may come across, and refers to firmness. The higher the number, the firmer the foam.

The trouble with comparing mattresses by their density is that different manufacturers will denote this differently or not at all. For example, Tempur-Pedic does not list any density ratings for its mattresses, though they typically run from 14 to 15 ILD, with densities estimated at 3 to 7 pounds. Alternately, IKEA specifically lists foam density on its website, even specifying the density of different layers of foam (typically from 1.7 to 3.1 pounds).

Furthermore, not all of them are made entirely of foam. Many mattresses, especially those at lower price points, only have a small layer of foam on top of a more traditional innerspring mattress. These may be advertised as foam mattresses, but a thin layer of foam, as little as an inch, won't give you the same benefits as an all-foam mattress. When shopping, pay attention to just how much foam a mattress contains.


What Are the Pros and Cons of Memory Foam?

In addition to offering a comfortable night's sleep for those suffering from back or other joint pain, memory foam mattresses have other pluses. Traditional innerspring mattresses can be noisy, and any movement may be felt across the entire bed. If your bedmate is a restless sleeper, both of these things can be a problem. Memory foam is quiet and isolates motion, which can help you rest no matter what.

But memory foam mattresses aren't perfect, either. Because they respond to body heat, they may warm up overnight; for some, they may be uncomfortably warm to sleep on. Many manufacturers offer layers of gel on their foam mattresses to cool them, while Tempur-Pedic has its own cooling technology called SmartClimate and Tempur-Breeze. If heat is a concern, look for these features when shopping.

Another complaint is that memory foam can be hard to move around on. Because you sink into the foam, shifting can be difficult. While that's an inconvenience for adults, it can be a serious problem for infants and small children. Manufacturers warn against leaving young children unattended on memory foam mattresses, since they may find it difficult to turn over, which can leave them in danger of suffocating.

Electric blankets are another no-no where memory foam is concerned. Some say they are a fire hazard; others say that they can affect the temperature of the foam. Regardless, foam mattress manufacturers discourage using electric blankets.

So What Should I Buy?

Because comfort is very much a matter of personal opinion, mattresses are a good product to check out in a showroom. While this won't provide a perfect representation of what the mattress will be like once you take it home, it will give you an idea of how it feels. If you're testing memory foam mattresses, remember that they seem firmer when you initially lie down, so spend some time to see what they really feel like.

If you're testing memory foam mattresses, remember that they seem firmer when you initially lie down, so spend some time to see what they really feel like.

Beyond that, look for mattresses with trial periods and good warranties. Tempur-Pedic offers one of the best you're likely to find, letting you try the mattress out at home for 90 days (if bought directly from the company), alongside a 10-year warranty. While you're still responsible for shipping costs if you decide Tempur-Pedic isn't for you, that's a lot better than being stuck with a $3,000 mattress that you don't like sleeping on.

Is Tempur-Pedic Worth the Cost?

The 81% owner satisfaction rating we mentioned earlier covers owners of all brands of memory foam mattresses, not just the high-end Tempur-Pedic. While Tempur-Pedic does make quality memory foam mattresses with solid, high-density foam, even people who have more modestly priced memory foam mattresses are happy with them — and you might be, too.

If you think memory foam is the right mattress choice for you, find a local mattress store where you can try out a Tempur-Pedic mattress in person, as well as competing memory foam models from Sealy and Serta. Not everyone likes Tempur-Pedic's dense foam, so you may find you prefer softer foams or thinner layers of foam on lower-cost mattresses.

And if the budget's tight but you really want that memory foam mattress, try IKEA, which offers mattresses made entirely of foam — rather than just thin layers of it — at more affordable prices.

But bear in mind that a good mattress will last for 10 years. Even if you buy a $3,400 Tempur-Pedic, that comes out to less than a dollar a day over the life of the mattress. And if a Tempur-Pedic mattress feels comfortable to you, that's not a bad price for a decade of good sleep.

Readers, what do you think about Tempur-Pedic and memory foam mattresses? If you have a Tempur-Pedic, do you find that it's worth the higher cost? Let us know in the comments below!


Contributing Writer

Elizabeth is a professional writer and a non-professional technology enthusiast, with a keen interest in how tech is changing the world we live in.
DealNews may be compensated by companies mentioned in this article. Unless marked as a "Sponsored Deal," the opinions expressed here are those of the author and have not been reviewed or endorsed by the companies mentioned. Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).
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12 comments
hueyh1
The wife and I purchased the Tempurpedic supreme cloud split king. Unbelievably I have no more shoulder and hand numbness. I sleep in one position most of the night. We have a Ergo up foundation for my wife's reflux issues. She says the bed is a bit hard. It is somewhat hard at first. I'm trusting It will break-in. She wants the Supreme Cloud Breeze on her half of split king. Same height thickness. Will let you know if she's satisfied. For me.. best bed system I've ever experienced...so far.
leannrose
Really need some opinions of people eho have temperpedic memory foam or the cool gel top mattresses. I have AS, degenerative spine disease and some arthritis so i have pain, swelling and stiffness in all of my joints so sleep is hard to come by so i need an extremely comfortable mattress. Please give me suggestions with details-thanks.
TheRanger
Has anyone tried the new Feel Cooler mattress? The price is excellent, they say it will cool you down so no issues with heat, and a new kind of foam. But I would like to get some kind of review of it before I decide.

http://www.coolingmattress.com/...Code=FCSMATTRESS
dwsherwin
I've had a tempurpedic mattress for the last 10 years or more and really enjoy it. I used to wake up with a back ache with inner spring mattresses but not with tempurpedic. No heat issue with the mattress and is still in great shape after 10+ years.
avid newsreader
I have a Serta icomfort and it's the best I've ever had. I have trochanteric bursitis and can't stand a mattress that's hard on top, the memory foam gel lets me sleep comfortably on either side without waking in pain. And I find that I don't move during sleep on this mattress, because nothing hurts so I have no reason to roll over.

The key to moderating the heat factor is to buy the top of the line waterproof mattress cover for the iComfort, which is not only waterproof but also dissipates heat and keeps the mattress cool for sleeping. The cover is not cheap, but IMHO it's worth every penny.

Added to that, I use a set of deep pocket Calvin Klein sheets that I absolutely love, they are medium thick 100% cotton but have an extremely silky finish that really babies my skin.
slappymartin
Much information is missing on this topic. What is LATEX memory foam and is it different?

For me---and I know there are many who can't get enough heat---memory foam is too freaking HOT HOT HOT!
The memory foam with "cooling gel" is not any cooler. It may feel cooler initially but absorbs heat just as much. The cooling gel is a marketing trick. The cooling gel only works temporarily.

The other massive drawback is, it is like sinking into Styrofoam. Settle in one spot then you have to crawl out of it to turn over.

But hey everyone is different. Some apparently like sinking into burning hell.
idahohillbilly
We have 2 memory foam mattresses. The 1st one we bought is an iComfort by Serta (15"). We also tried the Tempur-pedic, but the salesman mentioned that the iComfort has the layer of gel foam, (a relatively new feature), which sold me, after reading many Tempur-pedic reviews. The second one we bought as a replacement mattress for our pickup camper. It's also by Serta (10"), and I found it on sale at a Big Lots store for less than $400. After using both mattresses for 5+ years, we like the cheaper mattress as much, if not more, than the one we paid $2500 for.
SuzeD
We have had a Tempur-pedic for 7 years and absolutely love it! The first month was hard because the mattress is so firm it's like sleeping on the floor, but after the break-in period we've been really happy. It's hard to sleep at hotels now. The heat retention is really not a problem for us and I've even used a mattress heating pad during the polar vortex and it really does heat up (I would wake up and have to turn the heat pad off)

We didn't need a sleep number since my husband and I have the same number. I now have some arthritis and this bed is what is recommended by my physical therapist, plus if either of us have a sleepless night the other is well rested and able to take care of the other.

The price was hard to swallow, but I'd buy it again in a heart beat.
Ovaltine
I've slept on nothing but memory foam for about 20 years. Note that even some all-foam mattresses are only a couple of inches of memory foam on top of conventional polyurethane foam. The "heat" issue doesn't really bother me unless it's over 73º in the bedroom, which is a lot warmer than what's considered ideal sleeping temperature anyway.
computer parts guy
You can never do too much research about where you sleep. I have never slept on a Tempur-pedic. People seem to love them or hate them. I am a little intimidated by the heat retention issue of foam mattresses.
dealnews-bglaser (DealNews)
@mmendoza

You must read DealNews closely- thanks! This is a major update to an older article, with a new author and the latest information and options regarding foam mattresses.
mmendoza
This was an article published approximately 7 months ago.