Getting Started With this Mattress Buying Guide
We spent years in the front lines collecting customer feedback about mattress choices and especially complaints.
We decided to develop our Mattress Buying Guide to help everybody cut through the noise and get to what they deserve as soon as possible.
Here we go…
There are many reasons you should consider buying a brand new mattress.
If you usually wake up achy or tired, and you also get better sleep at hotels instead of at home, the buying a mattress is recommended.
Besides that, if your mattress is over five years old and looks lumpy or saggy, it is probably best to buy a new one. This guide will help you in buying a mattress.
Choose a Size
The first thing to consider when buying a mattress is to select the right size. Most people change positions throughout the night. Sleeping in cramped quarters, therefore, prevents a person from freely moving around in the bed.
The available sizes include
- King: 76” x 80”
- California King: 72” x 84”
- Queen: 60” x 80”
- Double or Full: 53” x 75”
- Twin: 38” x 75”
Some manufacturers have slightly different measures and other come up with their own special sizes, with matching box spring or bed frame.
Consider Getting an Innerspring
A traditional innerspring mattress remains the most common option and usually the cheapest. Memory foam is very comfortable as it conforms to the user’s body and temperature. This foam was initially developed for protecting astronauts from G-forces.
Today, there are many varieties of memory foam, each having a unique feeling. Most of the innerspring mattresses today are essentially hybrids since they add several foam layers on top of the springs.
The other option is the adjustable air mattress that allows you to select different firmness levels on either side of the bed.
Choose Where to Do Your Mattress Shopping
The best place to buy a mattress is at a physical store, not on the internet or even over the phone.
The only reason you could buy online is after you have already tried out the mattress inside a store and wish to take advantage of the discounted prices offered by online vendors.
Research shows that more online clients returned their mattresses compared to shoppers who bought in the store directly.
Nevertheless, since online buying is very popular nowadays because of attractive return policies, ensure you check all the terms before making your order.
This could easily save you from the unnecessary inconvenience of having to return wrong deliveries after placing an order hurriedly.
Department stores usually have a wide selection of mattress brands.
However, sometimes these stores get cluttered, crowded, and there are not enough sales staff to cater to all the people. Bedding stores like 1-800-Mattress and Sleepy’s offer a wider variety, besides being less crowded.
The sales people at these department stores were more willing to accept bargaining and were more attentive.
Begin your search by looking at the cheapest bed from several top brands, and then work up gradually in cost. Remember that stores usually keep the expensive mattresses up front.
If you want great service, consider going to company stores specializing in only Select Comfort or Duxiana.
You will get better services since employees take enough time with clients. At Duxiana, Queen size mattresses cost between $5,000 and $8,000 (no bargaining), and at Select Comfort the same size goes for between $900 and $3,800 (there are regular sales).
Understand the Different Names
Mattress manufacturers often modify their innerspring mattress to cater for different sellers, quilting pattern, padding, and so on.
Then the consumers call each mattress using a unique name. However, consumers are ultimately the losers since they cannot easily do a comparison of the mattresses when shopping.
Most mattress makers offer some helpful information about their products on their websites to help customers make a better decision.
For example, if you visit www.simmons.com you will find some basic information regarding the company’s main Beautyrest models, including ComforPedic, TruEnergy, BeautySleep and Natural Care.
You will see those brand names wherever you encounter Beautyrest, and also all the mattresses in each model line share several features.
Select the Correct Firmness
Mattress firmness is kind of subjective, so never rely on product descriptions. An ultra-plush mattress from one company may be super-soft in another one. There was a time that orthopedists thought that only firm mattresses were beneficial to your health.
However, there is very little evidence that supports that view.
Hence, the right sleeping surface is largely subjective. A recent study that was published in Lancet, a British medical journal, suggested that those with back pain problems would gain from using a medium-firm mattress.
When you use a very firm mattress, your body is not evenly supported.
You are likely going to experience discomfort at your heaviest points (shoulders and hips).
If you use a very soft mattress, then you could end up sinking into the bed and have trouble moving around, which could result in aches, tingling or numbness.
According to experts, the right mattress supports your spine across the body, while enabling you to maintain a natural curve.
Once you reach 40 years, your skin loses its elasticity and thus becomes highly sensitive to external pressure.
Thus, in this case, a more cushioned, softer surface is recommended to reduce pressure on your skin.
Do a 15-Minute Test Inside the Store
Once you get to the mattress store, do not be afraid to spend several minutes lying down on several kinds of mattresses.
Sales people even expect it as it makes their job of helping you easier. Wear loose fitting clothes and shoes you can easily slip off.
Make sure you imitate your normal sleeping position to get a feel of whether the mattress is best for you.
The beauty of in-store testing is that it will help you sleep better afterward since you are likely to make the correct decision.
Do You Need Another Box Spring?
Sometimes a foundation can be priced at the same level as the mattress.
The foundation is usually just a simple wood frame that matches the mattress and contains stiff wire. We discovered that companies liked pairing the same foundation with different mattress from varying price points.
Thus, you could save by buying an expensive mattress and cheaper foundation. After bed has been made, there is now way to tell whether you are using a cheaper foundation.
If your old box uses bouncy springs rather than stiff wire, you should consider replacing it.
Likewise, if you are changing to an adjustable air bed or foam from the conventional innerspring, you will need a stable boxy foundation without springs.
However, if your present foundation or box spring is just a couple of years old and does not have any breaks, rips or warps, consider continuing using it together with the new mattress.
Thus, replacing your mattress is usually enough to ensure you sleep better if your foundation is not broken and is still physically sound.
If you buy an extra-thick mattress, consider using it with a shorter foundation to help in reducing the height of the bed.
Beware of “Comparables.”
Purchasing a mattress can be a confusing task. Once you have already established which kind of mattress you like, asking for similar products in a different store will likely give you a set of new choices.
The sales people will likely convince you that the new choices have the same components, firmness, and construction as the mattress you wanted. That is very unlikely.
Mattress makers provide some lines nationwide, but when the same brands are sold in major chains like Sears, Sleepy’s and Macy’s, they are usually exclusive lines to those specific chains. Besides, manufacturers also do not publish a manual of comparables.
According to insiders, retailers that claim to have comparable products usually go to competing stores to compile a list of equivalent beds.
Ultimately, there is no exact way to determine which mattress model is comparable or the same to one in a different store.
You just have to test out as many mattresses as you can so that you know which one works best for you.
Besides, it is better to bargain rather than looking around for a comparable mattress as you will not get the same quality you liked in a different mattress.
Ensure you Get a Comfort Guarantee
Certain retailers give clients a short timeframe to exchange or return a box spring or mattress they did not like.
This time frame can be anywhere from several weeks to several months. Each store has its rules when it comes to returning mattresses.
Macy’s encourages clients to allow their bodies at least 60 days to adjust to using their new mattresses.
In contrast, Sears comfort policy runs for the first 30 days. In general, all returning and restocking costs are supposed to be paid by the client.
Do not Rely on Warranties
Warranties are meant to cover flaws in workmanship and materials.
They do not cover normal wear or comfort and are normally effective for ten years. If you encounter a problem and wish to make a claim, the manufacturer or store will send a licensed inspector to your home.
You will need to produce a receipt before the inspector can begin evaluating your mattress.
You can make a warranty claim if your feel that your mattress has sagged down significantly.
This problem could affect your quality of sleep, and thus it is important it gets addressed quickly.
The inspector will check whether the depression is lower than the allowable threshold, which is 1.5” for an innerspring mattress.
Ensure that you adhere to all the correct rules of using your mattress to avoid a scenario where the company voids your warranty.
Some of these rules include not removing the tag, ensuring that you have provided even support using a frame or box spring and also making sure the mattress is not soiled.
Buy During a Sale, and Ensure you Bargain
Even though specialty mattresses normally have a fixed price, there is a way you could save money and still get the same high-quality mattress.
If you can afford the current price, just buy the mattress. If not, consider waiting for a couple of weeks for a sale or a discount to be offered.
Remember to examine carefully the bargains, to ensure that you are getting a discounted price.
An advertised discount or bargain may not necessarily be helpful.
A flyer we saw from one mattress store claimed up to 75% savings, but the detailed footnote showed that the actual list price used to calculate the discount was much higher than the regular sales.
Have several options at a couple of stores
The best way to ensure you get a decent discount is if you are ready to get your mattress elsewhere.
Our reporter asked a sales person at 1-800-Mattress if there was a discount at the store’s website. The sales person informed her that he would give her a nice deal if she purchased the bed directly from the store.
Alternatively, you can consider looking at the same mattress in several stores to see which one offers the best price.
While the price difference can be minimal, having a few options helps make getting a good discount easier.
You will also have better bargaining point since you already know how other stores are selling the similar mattress.
Finalize the Deal
Before sealing the deal, ask about return policies, trial policies and pickup and restocking fees.
Also, ask if you can be assisted in disposing of your old mattresses.
Some deliverers offer the additional services of removing your old mattresses free of charge and taking it to the curb while others may charge some money to transport it away.
Besides that, insist that your order has a no-substitution clause, in case your bed runs out of stock.
After delivery, check for damages and stains. Ask for a replacement immediately if you are not satisfied.
Leave the Tags On
You will need the tag if you want to file for any warranty claims afterward. Hence, there is no need to remove the tag after buying the mattress.
The tags carry important identifying information and also details relating to the kind of materials used in the construction of the mattress.
Through reading the tags, you will be able to get a clear description of your mattress and what has been used in the filling (e.g. polyester, feathers, cotton or goose down) as well as the proportion of each.
Other important labeling requirements that must be put on mattress tags include the country of origin and the names of the vendor, distributor, importer, and manufacturer.
We evaluated the warranty policies of the major mattress makers in the market right now, Serta, Simmons and Sealy and all of them agreed that it is very important that the tag remains on the mattress for any claims to be processed.
However, what is not fully clear is whether or not the tag should be attached permanently to the mattress or whether it is enough just to have a tag that has been removed from the mattress.
Since there is no benefit of removing this tag; it should just be left alone as it serves an important task.
Types of Mattress
For people who have only owned innerspring beds and are considering replacing them, it is easy just to imagine you will be satisfied by paying more money to get a newer model. However, there is good news.
After an extensive period of testing, we found that regardless of the kind of mattress you buy, only the cheapest varieties will not be durable. The following are a few mattress types to choose from:
The innerspring mattress uses steel coils and is usually the cheapest option, as well as the most common mattress.
Some of the variations have special cushioning layers, and some have infused gel.
The hybrid varieties usually have several foam layers placed over the springs. The top sellers in this category include Sealy, Simmons, Spring Air and Serta.
Pros: It is easy to change positions.
Cons: Certain models easily transmit bouncing in the bed when used by two people.
Memory foam mattresses are essentially made with polyurethane along with extra ingredients.
These mattresses are very popular with people with back pain. Latex foam is a common variation of memory foam and is claimed to be hypoallergenic.
Pros: Memory foam molds itself to the user’s body and returns to its original shape when the user wakes up.
Some models even offer dual firmness, where each side can have a unique firmness level.
Besides that, this model helps in isolating movement when used by two people, such that you will not feel when the other person is moving around in bed.
Cons: Reported concerns of using memory foam is that it gets hot at night and requires some effort turning when you’re sleeping.
The adjustable air mattress is inflated to the desired firmness setting before using it. The inflation is done using an attached pump. Many varieties have extra foam layers.
Pros: Most varieties allow for the individual halves to have different firmness levels to cater for different sleep partners.
Cons: A recent survey showed that many people complained about the price. Also, adjusting the bed at night can be a noisy affair.
A gel is a flexible and moldable substance that is usually installed in a foam layer or it serves as a layer in other beds.
Pros: Gel is claimed to assist a mattress in feeling cooler and breathe better, particularly when used in memory foam.
Cons: Our extensive tests showed that a conventional mattress without the infused gel still breathed very well.
Well, there you have it – all you need to know before purchasing your next mattress this fall.