What Is Ild in Mattresses?

An ILD (Indentation Load Deflection) rating refers to the hardness or softness of the visco elastic foam in a memory foam mattress or mattress pad.

ILD Ratings

More specifically, the ILD is the pressure reading that results from pressing a foam block (15-inch square by 4 inches in height) down 1 inch or 25 percent. A lower ILD rating indicates a softer mattress.

ILD ratings are usually expressed in ranges between 10 to 16: 10 to 12 (soft) 13 to 15 (medium) 16 and above (firm)

Understanding the Rating

For the 10 to 12 range, the ILD reading indicates that it takes 10 to 12 lbs. to indent the foam by 25 percent. A higher ILD rating does not signify a better mattress; it only says the mattress is firmer.

How to Use the ILD Rating

Use it as a guide. If you know you prefer a medium mattress, start looking at mattresses with ILD ratings of 13 to 15, but don't limit yourself to these ratings. Mattress ratings and compositions vary.

ILD and Density

An ILD rating does not reflect mattress density. The density of a mattress relates to foam composition and determines how quickly the foam recovers or springs back into shape.

Summary

When choosing a mattress, remember that the ILD rating is only one consideration. You will want to take density, price and comfort into account as well.

About the Author

Linda Prior is a communications and marketing professional in Tampa, Fla. She has an M.B.A. and a B.S. in journalism and she's been writing freelance part time for four years. Her writing experience includes copywriting, ghostwriting, script production and editing.