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What is High Density Foam?

Malcolm Tatum
Updated May 17, 2024
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High density foam is a type of polyurethane foam that is composed of a large amount of open cells or bubbles that are packed tightly together. The result of this higher concentration or density is that air is able to pass through the holes in the cells with greater ease, making it much easier to provide comfortable padding for cushions, mattresses, and other similar products. Foam density of this type also tends to hold its shape with greater efficiency, allowing it to return to normal dimensions when any object is lifted from the surface of the foam.

One of the best ways to understand how high density foam works is to consider a mattress that is manufactured using the product. The structural foam used in the mattress allows it to conform to the contours of the individual sleeping on the mattress. At the same time, the foam provides support that allows the spine to remain in a natural position, eliminating stress on the back and neck. As a result of this cushioning effect, the individual is able to enjoy a deeper and more recuperative sleep, and is more likely to awake feeling rested and refreshed.

Unlike some other products, high density foam has the ability to regain the original shape shortly after any weight is lifted from the product. For example, a mattress made with this foam provides ideal support for the sleeper, but quickly reverts to its original appearance after the individual arises. Such mattresses will hold their shape for many years, providing a longer period of active use than mattresses using other types of materials.

There are several other common uses of high density foam. Cushions and pillows are often made with this product. Upholstery foam that is high density allows sofas and chairs to provide comfortable sitting for many years before any sagging or indentations begin to appear underneath the upholstery. The product can also be used for wall padding in recording booths and other settings, helping to muffle noises with great efficiency.

In terms of cost, products made with high density foam tend to be competitive with products manufactured using other materials. Often, the foam products can equal or even exceed the life of products made with other materials. For this reason, using this product for padding or as the main material in a number of products is both practical and cost-effective for manufacturers, as well as being affordable and offering long-term service to consumers.

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Malcolm Tatum
By Malcolm Tatum , Writer
Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing to become a full-time freelance writer. He has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including About Mechanics, and his work has also been featured in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and newspapers. When not writing, Malcolm enjoys collecting vinyl records, following minor league baseball, and cycling.

Discussion Comments

By kylee07drg — On Jun 25, 2011

@Oceana - Another advantage of open cell foam pads is how quickly they spring back into shape after being pressed. My husband left his heavy toolbox sitting on our bed. Needless to say, I stressed out over it and pointed it out when he came home. He walked over to the bed, said, "It's not a problem," lifted the toolbox, and said, "See?"

I looked under the covers at the mattress pad. It had already recovered completely. This is an awesome benefit for us, because he is forgetful and apt to leave heavy things lying on the bed.

By Oceana — On Jun 22, 2011

My husband and I were just beginning our life together. Our friends gave us their old mattress. We were grateful, but it was kind of lumpy and hard.

We bought a mattress topper made of high density foam for added cushioning and comfort. I have to say it is one of the best things we have purchased. We both fall asleep so quickly now, and it is hard to get up in the morning!

This mattress topper pad absorbs movements, so neither my I nor my husband get disturbed when one of us tosses and turns. We are both kind of restless sleepers, so this added bonus made us happy.

By ajvician — On Jun 22, 2011

Another use I have noticed for high density foam is bean bag chairs. Instead of the small Styrofoam pellets seen in classic bean bag chairs some companies stuff them with high density foam pieces.

By HappyDay45 — On Jun 22, 2011

My husband and I thought we would try some high density foam pillows. We have enjoyed them, but we also found out that when we leave the windows open and it is quite cold out the pillows get hard as a brick.

I don't know if our pillows are a particular kind of high density foam or it is typical of all high density foam. Also these pillows are very heavy when compared to down or polyester filled pillows.

By frosted — On Jun 22, 2011

@jlknight65 - We did the same thing for my dear mother-in-law. We originally bought a very firm mattress for her so she would have good support, but it was too firm for her to be comfortable.

The first thing we tried on top of her mattress was an egg crate foam pad, but she did not like that. Next we went to a foam supplier and bought a nice thick high density foam pad for her bed. She loves it!

By jlknight65 — On Jun 22, 2011

We put a high density foam sheet or pad on top of our son's mattress and he sleeps so much better now. It made his bed a lot more comfortable.

Malcolm Tatum

Malcolm Tatum


Malcolm Tatum, a former teleconferencing industry professional, followed his passion for trivia, research, and writing...
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