Are Tempurpedic foam mattresses worth buying?
May 1, 2004 7:07 PM   Subscribe

I need a new mattress. While shopping around, I tried one of those TemPurpedic, Swedish foam mattersses. They are about 4x more than I would ever expect to pay for a bed, but i am tempted. Anyone have any experience/advice/tips on these? Worth it or not? Any cheaper alternatives?
posted by bluno to Home & Garden (13 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If you're looking at memory foam (which is what the TempurPedic-style beds are generally listed as on the Internet), you'll want to know what density - Low (around 4 lbs.), Medium (around 5 lbs.), and Firm (6 lbs.). Higher density foam's usually only a little more expensive than the lower density stuff. The TempurPedic mattresses are generally on the lower density end of the scale - you sink into it a little more and a little faster than you will on a high-density bed like the one I've got. If you get the chance, try resting on beds of different densities - it really is a different experience from the firmness categories of regular mattresses.

A) Great if you've got back pain
B) The bed doesn't roll or groan or complain when you move
C) Actually very easy to move around if your house/apartment has strange, small twisty hallways, as the mattress has no springs and bends quite easily.

A quick Google search gives me this small company who'll sell you a foam mattress for anywhere from $450 to $900.

I got mine from a guy in Orange County who has a connection to one of the production warehouses. It's pretty easy to find these things online for hundreds less than on a mattress showroom floor, where they'll try to sell you a Queen foam mattress for upwards of $1500 - $2000.
posted by salsamander at 7:25 PM on May 1, 2004

this question has been asked about 3 times on so far. just search for mattress or tempurpedic or bed or whatever. i asked it in dec or jan.
posted by dobbs at 7:51 PM on May 1, 2004

We just bought a "Swedish memory foam" mattress. Two actually. One we returned in exchange for another, as we did not like the first. The jury is still deliberating on the second. (And I can tell you, it's crowded in that queen size bed *rim shot*.)

The first one was too soft for me. The other problem with it was the smell. It was the budget version of its type: it arrived on this continent from China in a giant vacuum sealed bag (great for getting it home) and that life in the air tight bag meant the foam could not "off-gas" properly, resulting a a mattress that still smelled after one month. (The store told us it would dissipate in one or two days.)

The second mattress is firmer, is free of odor (was made in the USA and not shrink wrapped) and is generally agreeable to me. My wife is not taking a liking to it.

One item: I had slept on my stomach for years (after the back sleeping days of my youth -- not sure what made me change). The memory foam works best for sleeping on the back or side -- if I roll over in the middle of the night to my stomach, I wake with tremendous back pain. Much worse than I had ever experienced with a standard mattress.

When I do manage to stay on my back, I wake with no back pain although, curiously, I can not recall now if that was a problem before -- I reckon it was. I suspect my back pain has more to do with other issues than strictly my mattress. What I do enjoy is that sleeping on my bed means no more shoulder pain (from sleeping with my arm over my head).

And if I had comments about this in an earlier AskMe thread, I should look them up as well... :-)
posted by Dick Paris at 3:54 AM on May 2, 2004

Response by poster: hey dobbs...

sorry to be redundant. couldn't find a search feature for ask.mefi.
posted by bluno at 5:43 AM on May 2, 2004

bluno, search metatalk and it'll give you the results for ask as well as meta. matt's said he'll be separating them when he gets time. usually when i do a search of for ask i punch in what i'm searching for plus the word question as many people include it in the question (I have a question about mattressess..." etc. doesn't always work but often does.
posted by dobbs at 9:51 AM on May 2, 2004

I missed the other threads but I'll note this here.

When I was a kid I had a waterbed, and eventually it became impractical. So my mom went down to a foam-cutting place where you can buy pieces of foam cushion cut to order. She got a 1-foot-thick pad to fill the space where the water-bag used to go, and we started using that in the bed. It's a firm squishable foam not unlike you might find in sofa bolsters or seat cushions. It's incredibly comfortable, and since my shoulder injury two years ago, is the only bed I can sleep on that doesn't bother my shoulder at all. I think it was in the neighborhood of $80. I don't think the foam was developed by NASA, nor does your handprint stay in it for 30 seconds. It just feels good. Lookup "foam" in your phone book.
posted by scarabic at 10:25 AM on May 2, 2004

Better yet, search Google.
google "foam mattress" OR "memory foam"
posted by five fresh fish at 10:30 AM on May 2, 2004

Also, everyone heading to foam should look up "outgassing" on Google.

I suspect they're extremely unhealthy. You're breathing Very Bad Fumes all night.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:31 AM on May 2, 2004

Okay, I looked up "outgassing" but didn't locate anything germaine in the first dozen links. What are we missing?
posted by scarabic at 11:17 AM on May 2, 2004

there's a secret army of flesh eating zombies, recruited by the foam manufacturers, that creeps out each night and eats all evidence of the millions of dead people who've died from outgassing foam mattresses. it's a scandal of amazing proportions. all the newsreaders on tv have mind chips implanted in their brains that stop them from talking about foam matresses - when was the last time you heard one being mentioned on the news? i wrap mine in tinfoil.

bet you fff doesn't last past tonight. people that try to spread the word are eaten alive.

or there's this, which is worrying if you vomit a lot in your sleep.
posted by andrew cooke at 12:27 PM on May 2, 2004

Design Within Reach is now carrying an interesting version that's actually two foam mattresses intended to be used on a single bed: kind of a "left hand, right hand" kind of thing. The one side has the thinner, "softer" memory foam; the other side has the thicker, "firmer" memory foam. Apparently there's a cover that keeps the two halves joined and each person can decide how firm they want their side of the bed.

Note that this DWR, so we're absolutely not addressing the price issue, but if you've looked at "normal" mattress/box spring sets recently, this isn't out of line with the top of the line standard versions...
posted by JollyWanker at 1:13 PM on May 2, 2004

Memory foam may outgas toluene. Toluene is not good for you. Very not good.

How much do they outgas? I have no idea whatsoever. But you may want to consider the possibility.

I also doubt ordinary mattresses are any better, given the amount of plasticized and foamy parts in them, and I suspect waterbeds outgas vinyl pretty badly for a few days.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:19 PM on May 2, 2004

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