April 2020

Tempur Mattresses: What is Tempur memory foam?

Tempur® hate it when you refer to their products as Memory Foam. It’s not memory foam, it is a temperature-sensitive pressure-relieving material. Because of this, they are very protective over their brand, and rightly so, it's cost them millions to get to the worldwide familiarity it enjoys today. Let's dig a bit deeper so you can make your own mind up to whether or not a Tempur mattress is suitable for you.

Tempur has become one of the most recognisable mattress brands in the market offering their unique feeling mattress materials based on synthetic foams. Search any online mattress forum and you will find people that love them and people that really dislike them based on feel heat retention and lifespan. Now everyone has their own subjective feelings on all mattresses. We thought we would dig a little bit deeper under the covers to help you assess whether a Tempur mattress is suitable for you.

TEMPUR foam is similar but not identical to Memory Foam

What is a Tempur mattress?

Tempur mattresses are made of a pressure-relieving synthetic foam (similar but not the same as memory foam) that moulds to your bodyweight in bed.

Tempur-Pedic International Inc is credited to be the company who trialled and developed so-called memory foam and through extensive advertising and promotion brought the world’s attention to the benefits of this ‘pressure-relieving material’. Although the material was developed in the 1970s by NASA, it wasn’t until the early 90s, before Tempur launched this Space Foam Technology for the domestic market.

Mattress shopping in White top
You really do need to try a Tempur mattress to see if the sensation of a slow sink is for you.

Note: We acknowledge that the original companies involved Dan Foam and Fagerdala World Foams contribution resulted in what is now known to be Tempur World Inc. I use Tempur as a reference to their mattress range and product.  Tempur recently acquired Sealy and are now known as Tempur-Sealy.  The acquisition with Sealy took place on 27th Sept 2012.  Making the largest bed company in the world.

Tempur mattress models

Tempur has a number of models in their range all based on one-sided synthetic pressure-relieving foam.

They are all one-sided mattresses. So you can only rotate them and not turn them.

Did you know that nearly all synthetic foam mattresses, like Tempur, are one sided?
Did you know that nearly all synthetic foam mattresses, like Tempur, are one sided?
Meaning you only get one sides worth of wear out of them over their lifespan?
Meaning you only get one sides worth of wear out of them over their lifespan?

How much is a Tempur Mattress

Tempur has several different models with the 20cm ‘Original’ retailing at over £1500 (double) or 22cm Deluxe retailing at over £1700 (Double). High-end stores will have other models such as The Cloud, Tempur’s softest mattress and The Sensation, marketed as a springy medium mattress, with an equally high retail price.  Tempur more recently has started rebranding models for certain retailers such as dreams.  To keep things simple there are three main models, the original, cloud and sensation.  These now come in varying heights and some retailers use their own micro-branding such as the ‘cloud deluxe’ which can lead to more confusion.

Tempur mattresses start at £1500 and are priced up to £3900

“Perceived Quality” is a sales technique whereby a purchasing decision is made purely based on price. You are going to assume that the higher-priced item is going to be a better quality product. If a shop has two mattresses side by side, say for example a Tempur mattress and an Ergo-Flex mattress that can be compared as a like for like option, the price asked then becomes the final decisive factor.

If a retailer or manufacturer has the balls to ask over £1500 for a product when there are equivalents available for roughly a third of the price, you are going to assume that the quality must be two-thirds better, But Is it?

Why are Tempur mattresses no turn?

We have written extensively about the drawbacks of a no turn mattress. Now some mattresses like Tempur and the other boxed mattresses such as Eve, Casper and Simba are all one-sided. Why? It’s the way they are designed and made. The foam layers start with a support layer and then get progressively softer as they are layered up. Meaning the mattress can not be turned as you’d be sleeping on the base.

Why can’t they layer up on both sides you may ask. Well, the softer foam layers can withstand the consistent pressure and would end up being crushed over time, thus not returning to their original shape.

In our opinion, no turn mattresses have a far shorter shelflife than a two-sided model. As you can only use one side. This means you really need to make sure you’re rotating them monthly to even out settlement and wear.

Alternatives to Tempur Mattresses?

We don’t have an exact comparison to the Tempur mattress range. Why is this you may ask. Well, we don’t rate memory foam and their equivalents at all due to their settlement complains, heat retention and the fact they are all one-sided mattresses. Given the price point of the Tempur range, we believe that 100% Natural latex is a comparable offering with far fewer drawbacks when compared to synthetic foams.

Our Fusion range of 100% Natural Latex mattresses are two-sided and offer a slow pressure relief feel without the need to retain as much heat as synthetic foams. Latex is also far faster to respond to changes in movement during the night. Synthetic foam and memory foam mattresses have long been criticised for holding you to rigidly in the ‘dip’ that it created around you. Latex is completely different as it only responds to pressure not heat when you need to move it returns to its original shape almost immediately. Meaning its easier to turn and you don’t get as hot at night. All whilst still offering ultimate pressure relief for sleepers.

Fusion 4 mattress on Hazel Base
View our 100% Natural Latex Alternatives to Tempur Mattresses

We have written an article about the comparative feel to Tempur mattresses. This article gives much more detail on the makeup and composition of other mattresses in comparison to the Tempur specifications. One big difference is that our Fusion latex models all come with removable toppers that allow you to turn them and extend the longevity of your mattress along with the mattress itself, a drawback often made to Tempurs one sided mattress range.

Is a Tempur mattress worth the cost?

A Tempur bed mattress is recognised to be the market leader, no doubt about it. but this does not mean it will suit everybody. Their ‘material’ has a general density of 85kg/m3 whereas in comparison British Vita Vasco foams have a general density of around 55-70, but British Vita (and other foam converting companies) do have comparable products with densities in excess of 80kg/m3.  That said most of the 80kg plus foams are imported in the UK from the far-east as their simply isn’t the market for such dense firm foams, most people want memory foam to be a pressure relieving.  This means the market in bed manufacturing usually uses 40-60kg foams for this purpose.  The denser foams found in Tempur and Ergoflex require significant heat, compared to say Latex, to mould so they do get warm and this is one of the main complaints about Tempur and Memory foam products, especially if you’re already a warm sleeper.  We have a page that explains all about foam densities and data sheets here.

If you’re wondering what you should expect for your money from a traditional pocket sprung mattress the guide below should help you. Obviously these are a different construction method to Tempur mattresses but should help provide a comprehensive picture when choosing a new mattress.

How much to spend on a double mattress?What can I expect for my money?
Under £500Will not get you much at best a 13.5 gauge open coil/cage sprung with a thin polyester layer or a solid foam mattress.
£500Entry level spunbond springs with some form of synthetic upholstery. Usually one sided mattresses.
£750The beginnings of a basic pocket springs unit with 800 – 1000 count. No substantial amount of filling other than foams and synthetic materials. Two sided models.
£1000Should get you away from most low ranges and into the mid-range pocket spring models.
£1250Should get you a decent pocket sprung mattress with some Natural Fibre content.
£1500Should get you many manufacturers mid-range models with Natural Fibres
£1500-£2000Should get you a Hand Made primarily Natural Fibre Quality Mattress
£2000+You should expect 100% Natural Fibres and Traditional Hand Made Construction Method.
£5000+A Bespoke Hand Made Sleep System, High-end Spring Units & Featuring the Worlds Most Luxurious Natural Fibres.

Better Value?

It is understood that in (their words) a standard test (draw your own conclusions as to what this means) the thickness loss of Tempur after 80,000 compressions is less than 5 percent compared to approximately 10-15 percent for a highly elastic polyurethane foam.

Personally, I would want to know if a like for like ‘foam’ was used in the test, say a close matched 80–85kg/m3, but cannot find this essential piece of info.

I do draw your attention to a clause in Tempur’s guarantee that states any indentation of less than 2cm will not be considered a reason for the claim.   Be aware that as a general rule from all manufacturers, visible and permanent indentations in memory foam of less than 2 – 2.5cm will not be seen as a defect in the mattress. A quick search on the internet will throw up many consumers complaints that it is this very visible indentation that causes them most concern.  This is always a concern with memory or pressure relieving foam because all these mattresses are one sided so you only have one side to use.  John Ryan models aim to compensate and reduce this by supplying them with turnable removable toppers.


Tempur is a highly successful and quality product, what we are asking is, ‘is that quality product worth the price tag?’ Given the alternatives such as the Fusion 100% Natural Latex range there are plenty of other alternatives to investigate before you part with your cash. If you need any more advice on suitable models please contact us on 0161 437 4419 or visit our shop.

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