Memory foam beds have quite a few advantages over ordinary innerspring mattresses. They don't require box springs, or harbor as many allergens. Their lack of springs and ability to conform to the shape of your body can prevent pressure points and the transfer of motion from one side of the bed to the other. Most users love them and consider them a great investment, but what things should you consider when you buy one?
Credit: Flicrk/PhylG1. Proper Foundation. A regular box spring is not the best foundation for a memory foam bed. Ideally, you should have a hard and flat surface to place it on, like a platform style bed. It is also possible to use a standard metal bed frame with plywood inserts to support your memory foam mattress.
2. Composition. Not every memory foam bed consists solely of one solid layer of memory foam. Sometimes they're composed of memory foam that has been layered with other types of common foam which don't have the same properties as visco memory foam. (Since memory foam is likely the most expensive component, you should pay special attention to this while doing price comparisons if you want to get your money's worth.) It's also common for a bed to be composed of multiple layers of various densities of memory foam.
Credit: Flickr/PhylG3. Density. Not all memory foam is the same density. Usually the density for memory foam mattresses is indicated by pounds. A bed with a "3 pound" density will weigh 3 pounds per cubic foot. Most beds range from 3-6 lbs. The higher the number, the greater the density.
4. Warranty. As with most large purchases, it's wise to consider the warranty that goes along with the particular bed you're buying, in case you later find it is defective or otherwise requires returning and/or refunding.
5. Shipping. Memory foam is very heavy, so if you buy online, be sure to check the cost of shipping. Sometimes it is separate from the item price, or you have to look for a chart on the seller's website. Is it free, flat rate, or priced by weight of parcel?
6. Environmental impact. Memory foam is primarily composed of materials sourced from fossil fuels, and therefore is not environmentally friendly and takes a long time to biodegrade in landfills. If you're concerned about purchasing something 'green' and eco-friendly, look for a memory foam bed that has been made with a mix of polyurethane and soy polyol instead of just polyurethane (usually the manufacturer will advertise this fact). Be sure to check the specific percentage of soy polyol in the foam, as some only contain 5% soy polyol while others can contain up to 50%.
7. Durability. Less dense memory foam will not last as long as more dense kinds. See consideration #3 for more info about memory foam density.
8. In case of spills. Memory foam is very absorbent and is not easy to clean when an accidental spill has soaked into it. For this reason, consider investing in a waterproof cover to save yourself the trouble - just in case.