Consumer Reports: Softening Ultra Firm Beds

Losing sleep because your mattress is as hard as a rock? Now there are mattress pads that are supposed to make your bed softer and more comfortable. Consumer Reports just tested several, including ones from Wal-Mart, Target, and Tempur-Pedic. Prices for the queen-size toppers ranged from $70 all the way up to almost $900! Five of the pads use memory foam. The other two are feather beds.

Consumer Reports had six couples test the mattress pads. The couples took each topper home and they used it for about a week. A memory foam from Target, one of the least expensive tested, was also the least popular. It seemed too small for the mattress, and for most panelists. It didn't make the bed any more comfortable.

And many were not very impressed with the memory-foam pad from Tempur-Pedic. One panelist felt it was like sinking into quicksand. And the price was daunting, too. When the panelists found out that it was close to $900, most felt that they would just buy a new mattress at that price.

While no topper was a hit with everyone, the most popular was the $70 Spa Sensations Memory Foam Mattress Topper by Wal-Mart. It might be worth trying to see whether it sends you to dreamland.

Unfortunately, you can't try out a mattress topper at the store, so it's important to check the return policy to be sure that you can return it if it isn't right. And Consumer Reports says if you've got an old, worn-out mattress, mattress toppers won't do you a bit of good. You have to replace the mattress, and hopefully you'll select one that's not too firm.

Consumer Reports has no commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor appearing on this Web site.

Copyright © 2003-2007 Consumers Union of U.S., Inc.

Complete Ratings and recommendations on all kinds of products, including appliances, cars & trucks, and electronic gear, are available on Consumer Reports'  Web site. Subscribe to