What is High Loft?
High loft fiber is a light, fluffy material that usually contains more air than fiber. It is commonly used in pillows, comforters, even insulation. And of course, it is used in mattress toppers as well. Mattress toppers made from high loft tend to be soft and springy. They typically machine wash and tumble dry, making for easy care. They are overall very durable and they do a good job of protecting the mattress.
What is Memory Foam?
Memory foam was originally developed by NASA as a means for aircraft cushoning, but has since branched out to many different industries, including bedding. Memory foam, so named because it will momentarily "remember" the shape pressed against it, is composed of polyurethane foam. The firmness or softness of a memory foam mattress cover will vary based on the formulation of the foam. It is meant to provide support and alleviate discomfort by conforming to the body during sleep.
Differences in Attributes
Composition is the most obvious difference between high loft fiber and memory foam mattress covers. While high loft fiber is light and fluffy, memory foam is very dense and heavy. As mentioned before, high loft fiber is easily washable, whereas memory foam cannot be submerged in water or easily cleaned. There is also a difference in support. Memory foam tends to provide more true body support than high loft fiber because it conforms to the shape of your body. A high loft fiber mattress topper will do little more than provide a bit more softness.
Which form is better depends on the purpose the mattress cover will serve. If it is meant to be a low-maintenance, inexpensive way to add a little comfort, high loft fiber would be more than sufficient. If, however, you are suffering from back pain, or are looking for something a bit more high end, the memory foam mattress topper might be closer to what you had in mind. It depends on your individual needs.
Memory foam toppers tend to be significantly more expensive than high loft fiber mattress toppers, due mostly to the density and technology possessed. A true memory foam mattress topper can be purchased for around $200, whereas a high loft fiber topper runs at about one-quarter of the memory foam cost. Prices vary, but memory foam places greater demands on your wallet.