A Tom’s Guide guide to foam mattress types

By Alan Wolf, YSN

Mattress makers have their own proprietary names for the different foams employed in their products.

Tom’s Guide, a popular consumer tech site, believes the absence of standardized terminology could foment confusion among customers. For that matter, even some mattress dealers, for whom bedding is an ancillary category, could get caught up in the cloudy nomenclature.

To address the issue, Tom’s Guide sleep editor Ruth Hamilton called on Tim Dilworth, COO of 3Z Brands — creators of the Birch, Leesa and Brooklyn Bedding collections — to help draft a glossary of foam mattress classifications. Here’s what they came up with:

Comfort foam: The blanket term for any foam that’s layered near the top of a mattress.

Memory foam: A type of comfort foam, memory foam is typically a denser, higher-quality material that conforms to the body for a “slow-response, sink-in” feeling, Hamilton wrote.

Gel memory foam: Memory foam infused with gel beads that can absorb body heat for a fresher sleep experience.

Latex foam: A durable, high-quality foam that provides a springy, “weightless feel,” the authors said. The softer, more uniform talalay latex would typically be employed in the upper layers of a mattress while the denser, more durable dunlop latex is used as a base or transition layer (see below).

Base or transition foam: This foam is designed for function rather than comfort, and as the name suggests, it’s used at the base of a mattress or above or below coils as a transition layer, the Tom’s Guide guides said.

Fast-response foam: A springier alternative to memory foam without the body-conforming feel.

Open cell foam: Actually, all mattress foams are open cell, vs. closed cell foam that’s used as packing material. Some marketers use the term to suggest their product is cooler and more breathable, although “It’s a little bit of a misnomer in my mind,” Dilworth said.

Hat tip to Tom’s Guide.

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