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Tempur-Pedic vs. Discount Memory Foam Mattresses

Updated on August 4, 2008

History of Memory Foam

Memory foam was first developed by NASA in the 1970s. It was used to protect the astronauts bodies from the pressure of G-forces during take off. The foam was designed to relieve pressure points the body created. Memory foam was also designed to reform as the position of the body changed, hence offsetting the changing points of pressure created by the body.

In the 1980s a Swedish mattress company named Tempur-Pedic took NASA's technology and created a mattress for the consumer market in Sweden and later expanded into other countries. The Swedish mattress company reasoned that if memory foam protected astronauts from the riggers of G-force pressures it should work wonderfully in reducing the pressure points the body creates during sleep. Because of Tempur-Pedic's success, other companies began manufacturing memory foam mattresses as well.

Memory Foam Evaluation Factors

When buying a memory foam mattress, discount or a Swedish foam mattress, there are four areas to consider in determining the quality.


The first thing to look at is weight. Consider the density per square foot. The density of memory foam mattresses can be from 2 lb to 5 lb densities. The higher the density of the memory foam mattress is, the higher the quality.

Indentation Load Deflection (ILD)

The Indentation Load Deflection indicates how firm a memory foam mattress is. The higher the ILD is, the firmer the memory foam is. Therefore the higher the ILD, the more weight it takes to compresses the memory foam mattress.


Resilience indicates the amount of spring in the memory foam mattress. The higher the resilience, the more resilient the memory foam will be, meaning the better it will reform to its original shape after each use.

Tensile Strength

Tensile strength shows the amount a product can be stretched, which generally is not important for either memory foam or Swedish mattresses.

The ratings will vary a small amount from batch to batch, regardless of whether the memory foam mattress is from the Swedish Tempur-Pedic company or another memory foam mattress company.

Tempur-Pedic Quality vs. Discount Memory Foam Quality


Tempur-Pedic mattresses have two layers of foam. The top layer is three inches, 5.3 lb density, and has a 14 ILD rating. The bottom layer of the Swedish mattress is a five inch thick high-density base. Tempur-Pedic mattresses are covered in a plastic material and, over that, a soft cotton-like material.

Discount Memory Foam

Other manufactures of memory foam mattresses also offer two layers. The density ratings are between 4 and 6 lbs. and the ILD ratings are generally between 8 and 20. Different manufactures may also offer a variety of different materials layered in the memory foam mattress. These other memory foam mattress providers also offer various coverings form cotton to wool and thick to thin. The biggest advantage of a discount memory foam mattress over a Tempur-Pedic mattress is the price (obviously). Tempur-Pedic mattresses tend to be priced considerably higher then their competition and the quality of the competing memory foam mattresses can be equal to or greater than Tempur-Pedic Swedish mattresses.

Discount Memory Foam Mattresses Can Offer Superior Value

In general, memory foam mattresses offer superior comfort for a body at rest. The ability to conform to the shape of the body reduces pressure points and creates comfortable supported sleep. A memory foam mattress will reduce common aches and pains of the body just as it was originally designed to reduce the pressures exerted by G-forces on astronauts. Memory foam mattresses also offer a variety of quality, some surpassing Tempur-Pedic's Swedish mattresses. The Soft TouchTM Mattress by Contour Living is one such mattress. At 10 inches thick, this hypo-allergenic mattress is made in the USA, and backed by full 10 year warranty. It ships FREE and offers extreme value compared to the Tempur-pedic mattress. If you are in the market for a memory foam mattress, don't make a purchase decision until you check out the Soft Touch Memory Foam Mattress by Contour Living.

Cutaway image of the Soft-Touch Mattress by Contour Living
Cutaway image of the Soft-Touch Mattress by Contour Living


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    • profile image

      confused 3 years ago

      In another article it says NASA never used memory foam - and I have to agree with the other article that says memory foam is NOT good for people with bad backs, because I have a cheap memory foam and it is rock hard - terrible for hips and shoulders - I am a cripple because of it. I am going to shop for a new mattress tomorrow and it won't be memory foam. Live and learn. It's hot, it compresses to rock, it's heavy, basically - don't buy one if you are heavy.

    • Ben Zoltak profile image

      Ben Zoltak 4 years ago from Lake Mills, Jefferson County, Wisconsin USA

      Interesting, so you are saying that off-brand mattresses are worth checking out? I can't wait to get one of these someday.