Many shoppers buy cheap foam toys (e.g. foam puzzle playmat) and they think that they got a nice deal. But that’s probably far from the truth. Like with other things in life, you essentially get what you pay for.
The quality of foam toys is significantly influenced by their foam density, which is usually overlooked. This number is simply an indicator of how much foam was used in manufacturing the toy per unit volume. The more foam used in the toy, the more sturdy and quality it will be generally.
Instead of basing your shopping decision on only the price or the number of pieces (which is misleading), you should consider the foam density and see how many pounds of foam you’re paying for per cubic foot.
To estimate foam density, you merely divide the package weight by its volume (which is what the calculator here does). Here is a general equation you can use in order to get the density in lb/ft3:
Foam Density = Package Weight (lbs) / (Package Length x Width x Height (in) / 1728)
This of course assumes the pieces are snugged inside the packaging, which is usually the case with foam building blocks. If not, shoppers should use the dimensions of the product alone without the packaging to get an accurate volume (including for foam puzzles). Also, the foam puzzle must have the classic rectangular shape for the volume to be accurate.
For toys that have pieces with identical size (e.g. foam playmats and cubes), it’s more accurate to start with the volume of one piece for calculating the total.
Note that for foam puzzles, the package weight takes at least 50% of the total product weight. That’s why it’s important to multiply the package weight by 0.5 to get an accurate density.
You may use the calculator above to find the foam density for any foam toy you’re interested in buying. This includes puzzle playmats, building blocks and jigsaw puzzles.
To get the package weight or dimensions of a product, shoppers will probably need to browse through major retailers on the internet including Amazon and Walmart. While shopping in-stores, you may do the measurement yourself if you don’t mind doing the work.
Please keep in mind that this calculator is to be used to compare the foam density of different products, rather than to suggest whether a specific density is good or not.
Don’t forget to share out this foam density calculator for the benefit of others.