PU Foam VS Memory Foam – Difference

Are you planning to buy a foam mattress? 

If yes, then you are at the right place. This is because buying a foam mattress without understanding the differences between the foam types would be quite difficult.

The two major foams used in the mattress constructions are PU foam and memory foam. Both these materials might look almost similar. But several differences set them apart. 

To establish the differences and provide you with the clarification you need for purchasing the best mattress, we have introduced a differential study between the two major foam materials- PU foam VS memory foam

So, let’s not waste any more time discovering how the PU foams are different from memory foam.

1. What Is PU Foam? 

PU is also known as polyurethane and is one of the most used foam materials in mattresses. In the mattresses, the PU material comes with several open-air pockets with varying firmness levels. In some mattresses, the PU foam has a high level of softness, while in others, the material can be rigid. 

The polyurethane material is manufactured by combining polyols with diisocyanates. These two raw materials are derived from crude oil, so the polymer material is used as a very thin layer. 

1.1 Benefits Of PU Foam

  • Resistance to abrasions: One of the major benefits of PU foam is that it can resist abrasions and wear and tear excellently. This is why the material is introduced mainly at the top, where the abrasions are more. 
  • Can regulate the temperature: The PU foams come with several open-air pockets varying in size. It helps in regulating the airflow or ventilation. Hence, the material can control the surface temperature with ease. 
  • Enhances the comfort level: If you want to enjoy the comfort of a foam mattress, choosing a PU foam product will be a good idea. One can get the material having different firmness levels, starting with super soft to extra firm. 
  • It is a cheaper material: Lastly, the PU foams are inexpensive. Hence, the mattresses having the PU foam layer come at an affordable price. 

2. What Is Memory Foam? 

Another most used foam material in mattress constructions is memory foam. Unfortunately, most people have different speculations about what memory foam is in reality. For example, a myth says memory foams are always rigid and can increase discomfort levels. 

In reality, memory foam is made from polyurethane and mixed with heat-sensitive elements. When the memory foam surface receives heat from your body, it will mould according to the body’s shape in contact with the surface. 

Once the pressure and heat are withdrawn, the foam returns to its original position and becomes flat. Since the foam material can change its shape according to the applied pressure and regain the flatness of the surface, it is termed memory foam. 

2.1 Benefits of memory foam

  • Perfect for different sleep positions: With memory foam mattresses, you can sleep in any position without having to worry about health issues. In addition, as the foam layer can mould itself according to your body shape in contact, you wouldn’t feel uncomfortable. 
  • Provides the ultimate level of comfort: As the memory foam can mould itself on heat or pressure, it provides the ultimate level of plushness to the sleepers. 
  • Can ease back pain and muscle aches: One of the major health benefits of having a memory foam mattress is the material’s healing properties. Not only can it support the body postures, but it also relieves back pain and aches. 
  • Has shock-absorbing properties: Lastly, the memory foam comes with shock-absorbing properties. So, even if you jump on the bed suddenly, the foam layer will absorb the impact and reduce your momentum to prevent sagging. 

3. Difference PU Foam VS Memory Foam

Attribute PU foam Memory foam 
SoftnessSuper soft to normal softnessA little hard but can mould the shape
CoolingYes (air pocket ventilation)Yes (Microgel infusion)
Firmness3 to 5 firmness levelMore than 5
Hypoallergenic Yes Yes
Odour No bad smell NA
Edge support NANA
Bounce NAYes 
  • Softness: In terms of softness, both memory and PU foams are plush and cosy. However, as the memory foams are a bit denser than the PU foam, the latter material is the softest.  
  • Cooling: PU foam has air pockets between the polymer fibres to regulate the surface temperature with ventilation easily. On the contrary, the memory foams are usually infused with micro gel technology, absorbing the surface heat and making it cooler. 
  • Firmness: On a scale of 1 to 10, the PU foam has a firmness ranging between 3 to 5. But the memory foam has medium firmness with a rating of 5 or 6 depending on the layer’s thickness.
  • Hypoallergenic: Both the PU and memory foam materials are hypoallergenic. So they won’t cause any damage to your skin, be it in the form of skin rashes, tenderness, redness, and so on. 
  • Odour: Since high-quality raw materials are used to manufacture PU and memory foams, you wouldn’t have to endure any bad smell.  
  • Edge support: If we review all the foam mattresses available in the market, we will see that 95% don’t have edge support. This is because both the PU and memory foams do not have high elasticity like the springs. 
  • Bounce: PU foam has less bounce coefficient as compared to memory foam mattresses. However, the latter material has a higher bounce, thanks to the special construction of the foam layer.

4. Strength And Weakness Of PU Foam 


  • Has more softness and plush feature 
  • It is cheaper as compared to other foam layers 
  • Used as the top layer to regulate the temperature 


  • The firmness level is low, between 3 to 5
  • Cannot relieve back pain or muscle aches

5. Strength and weakness of memory foam 


  • Can mould its surface shape according to the part of your body coming in contact
  • Can regulate temperature through micro gel infusion 
  • Ideal for orthopaedic patients 


  • Denser material which increases the weight 
  • It is costly in comparison to other foams

6. Which is better: PU foam or a memory foam mattress? 

If you love to enjoy the softness of a mattress or looking forward to cuddling with your bed, the PU foam mattress will be the ideal choice. In addition, the presence of numerous air pockets increases the ventilation, thereby keeping the surface cool.

On the contrary, if you want a medium-firm mattress, memory foam is the ideal choice. Also, if you want to alleviate back pain and aches, you should get this material. 


  1. Is a PU foam mattress good for your health? 

    Yes, to some extent, PU foam mattresses are good for health. It’s hypoallergenic and can regulate the surface temperature with ease. 

  2. Is polyurethane foam so expensive? 

    No, the polyurethane foam is not expensive. It’s because PU foam is constructed from the by-products obtained from the crude oil refining process. That’s why the material is cheap. 

  3. Which is best for back pain? PU foam or memory foam?

    To relieve back pain, it is memory foam that is more effective than PU foam. After all, memory foam can maintain your body posture as well as provide support to your spine. 

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