So many varieties of mattresses mean consumers have more choices than ever before. But confusion sets in when you know too little about beds to choose one.
Why Do You Need A Mattress Buying Guide?
For one reason or the other, you may have decided to get a new mattress. It could be that you’re not sleeping well, and you think your mattress is responsible. Wadding through lots of information to get a mattress can be distressing. You fell for the last brand hyperbole and got something unsatisfactory. Now you dread the trip to a mattress shop. You have become reluctant to hit the “Checkout” button on a web store.
Perhaps your current mattress is not doing badly, but you want a change nonetheless. You should get the best possible deal, a mattress that provides value for money. Whatever your reasons for wanting a new mattress, this mattress buying guide will lead to the right decision. Shopping for a new mattress doesn’t have to be burdensome. We wrote this guide to help make mattress purchasing as hassle-free as possible.
Give Your Mattress Choice Some Thought
Humans spend one-third of their lives sleeping. Having the right mattress is, therefore, essential. An old or wrong mattress, can worsen asthma, cause soreness, back, neck, and shoulder pain, and lead to insomnia.
One requirement for sound health is quality sleep. The typical recommendation for adults is seven to nine hours of sleep every day. According to Better Sleep Council, your mattress age and type play a significant role in whether you wake up feeling rested and refreshed. The recommended age to retire your mattress is seven to ten years.
If the mattress is older than seven years, you need to make sure it still provides the comfort and support for a good night’s sleep. A bed should ensure sound sleep, proper rest, and relieve pressure points. Relieving pressure points prevents issues like shoulder pain, lower back pain, sleep apnea, and other disorders resulting from improper shoulder and hip alignment.
Mattress choices have become so many that there is virtually one for all sleeping styles, body, and conditions (like mattresses for back pain). However, an abundance of options is not without its problems. Consumers get overwhelmed by the options available, leaving many with the feeling that extensive research will be required to buy the ultimate fit. While this is probably true, it doesn’t have to be the case.
A survey by the Better Sleep Council on mattress preferences showed that mattress preferences among shoppers vary greatly based on construction and size. Before you walk into the store or visit an online retailer, you should acquaint yourself with the available mattress options on sale today.
Types Of Mattresses
It’s no secret that there are different types of mattresses out there. Which one to buy depends on your preference, requirement, and budget. Each class has its pros and cons. Knowing the type of mattress that’s best for you is the first step towards making the right choice. Every pad has some distinct features. But the majority of beds can be classified into five categories. Should you have any confusion when assessing a mattress, you can always check out this buying guide.
Foam Mattress (seven-year average lifespan)
As the name implies, the mattress is made purely of foam. There are one or more top layers of foam to provide comfort. Some top layers are composed of poly-foam. Others are pure memory foam mattresses. You will also find beds that combine both. This type of mattress absorbs more heat than others, making it an excellent choice for hot sleepers.
Mattress material affects comfort. Memory foam pads provide a higher degree of comfort, spine alignment, and pressure relief than poly-foam pads. Similarly, medium or high-density foam has a longer lifespan than low-density foam. Mattress density is measured in pounds per cubic feet.
Another factor to account for is the Indentation Load Deflection (ILD). ILD represents the force level required to compress a mattress four inches deep. A higher ILD is better. Indentation Load Deflection for most mattresses is between eight and 21 pounds of force.
1. Affordable and widely available
2. No noise
3. Acceptable level of comfort
4. Isolates motion (next to zero motion transfer) Cons
1. Likely to off-gas (maybe with odor)
2. Absorbs more heat (the right mattress for hot sleepers)
3. Might sag pretty fast
4. Edge support issues
Latex Mattress (8.5-year average lifespan)
The comfort layer of latex mattresses is made from latex foam (natural or synthesized). The support body can be pure latex or dense poly-foam. How the company processes the latex will affect the degree of comfort. Dunlop or Talaya processes are the major latex processing types, with Talaya providing a better comfort layer due to the soft layers of foam. Latex mattresses have ILD ranges from 16 to 39, depending on buyers’ firmness preferences. Pros
Absorbs less heat Cons
Likely to off-gas
Comparatively poor edge support
Cumbersome and heavy
Innerspring or Coil Mattresses (5.5-year average lifespan)
The comfort layer of innerspring or spring mattresses builds from poly-foam. Innerspring mattresses usually have one or more layers of poly-foam in the comfort system. The support structure has steel coils on a base of poly-foam for most mattresses. The coil type, gauge, pitch, and count determine which mattress is best for you.
The coil types are: Bonnell coils, Offset coils, Continuous wire coil, and Pocketed coils. Bonnell coils are less durable and found in less expensive mattresses. Offset coils last longer than the former but are seen in comparatively more costly mattresses. Continuous wire coils also last longer than Bonnell coils but conform less closely. Pocketed coils feature mostly in hybrid mattresses. It is designed to minimize noise and provide better motion isolation than its counterparts.
Coil gauge refers to the thickness. Thicker coils last longer. An indicator of 12 to 18 is the modern standard. Pocketed coils tend to have a higher gauge, and Offset coils have the lowest. The other coil types do not seem to have a consistent measure.
The coil pitch describes the angle of the inclination of coils relative to the surface. The coil pitch determines how firm an innerspring mattress would be.
Coil count (controversially) does not affect conformity or longevity. Mattresses can have coil numbers from less than 600 to more than 1000. 600 to 1000 is the sweet spot for most consumers.
Affordable and readily available
Bouncier for sex
Absorbs less heat
The edges are stronger
Provides slightly less comfort
Likely to be noisy
Poor motion isolation
Air Mattresses (8-year average longevity)
These scarcely have any comfort layer. The support structure has no less than two separate air mattress chambers. You can inflate and deflate either house to the desired firmness level. A customizable air mattress is available for couples with different weights or sleeping positions. If you are not satisfied with the level of comfort, there are always mattress covers to supplement.
When choosing an airbed, consider the customization range, controls, and trench before buying an airbed. Some models have narrow ranges for adjusting the level of firmness. Some controls use a remote system, but others require manual settings. There have been complaints about a trench appearing across some airbeds. A deep trench can affect support or impede comfort.
Good conformity to the shape
Serves different sleep postures Cons
More expensive than others
Absorbs too much heat or cold for others
Can get noisy
Flippable Mattresses (10 years+ average longevity)
The flippable mattress was once the dominant mattress type in the market. It requires flipping and turning to provide even wear and comfort throughout its lifespan. Flippable beds that are not maintained this way may begin to sag, break, or create an indentation in the surface where you sleep. Modern brands like IDLE Sleep have largely eliminated or minimized some of these problems. If maintained, this mattress type lasts longer than any of its counterparts. The need to flip regularly could be problematic for some users. Flippable mattresses also tend to be more expensive and less available. However, IDLE Sleep mattresses are affordable with flexible financing plans.
Allows used areas to decompress
Lasts longer than any type
Provides more comfort
It can be heavy
May be impossible to flip alone
Often more expensive
You don’t want to buy a mattress only to replace it within a short period. Not only do you risk wasting money on unsatisfactory stuff, but you also sacrifice a good night’s sleep in the process. Knowing what to buy will save you the trouble of tossing and turning throughout the night on thin or saggy foam.
Idle Sleep guarantees a risk-free 18-month trial period. You also get a warranty without end that covers regular wear and body impressions.
Things To Consider When Buying A Mattress
Regardless of the mattress type you want to buy, there are factors to consider before making a purchase. Check that you are satisfied with each of the points before making a purchase.
Most brands produce their mattresses in six sizes. Twin (38” x 75”), Twin XL (38” x 80”), Full (54” x 75”), Queen (60” x 80”), King (76” x 80), and California King (72” x 84”). Twin and Twin XL are suitable for single sleepers. Couples and single sleepers with pets will find the Full and Queen-sized beds ideal. The King and California King mattresses are perfect for heavier couples with ample bedroom space.
The best mattress firmness follows your sleep position and weight. Soft mattresses are best for those who sleep on their side. Stomach and back sleepers tend to be better off with a firm or intermediate degree of firmness. Some side sleepers may also prefer firm mattresses.
Similarly, individuals weighing less than 130 pounds may require soft cushions to get more conformity and pressure relief. People who weigh 230 pounds or more are more comfortable with firm mattresses to prevent undue sinking. Couples with different weights may require beds with two adjustable bases and sides. That’s why adjustable beds are popular mattresses for couples.
The thicknesses of mattresses vary from less than 5” to 15”. Choose a width according to your weight. Heavy people may prefer thicker mattresses. But if you have a problem getting into or out of bed, then a very thick mattress may not be the right choice for you.
Quality plays a vital role in the pricing of a mattress. However, an expensive pad does not guarantee excellent performance. Studying the specs and customer reviews of a bed is probably the best way to know that it is worth the price.
Durability refers to how long a mattress will continue to perform with prolonged use. The average pad will go without excessive deterioration for seven years before it begins to wear.
Motion Isolation is the ability of a mattress to contain movement, so it does not ripple across the mattress. Motion isolation prevents sleep disruption when two people share a bed. Some mattresses have poor motion isolation, and a move from one partner will disturb the other.
Pressure Relief refers to the way a mattress conforms to body shapes. People have different body types, which mean different choices for firmness. A pad that does this properly will align your spine while alleviating pressure. Mattress conformity depends on its comfort layer or the cover and first layer. Thick comfort layers made of memory foam or latex offer the best compliance.
Bouncy and more responsive is better for sex. A non-responsive mattress may sink uncomfortably during sex.
A mattress that absorbs body heat may cause discomfort. A stomach-sleeper or back sleeper may feel warmer than average, potentially disturbing sleep.
Almost all mattresses release harmless gas. Only foam and latex carry an unpleasant odor. In most cases, the smell dissipates within a short period, particularly in a well-ventilated room.
All mattresses are open to sinkage at the edges. That’s because people tend to sit at the sides when they get up from or into bed. A mattress with excellent edge support will endure for longer, no matter how often you sit at the edge.
Some mattresses produce more noise than others when you shift around on it. Noisy beds can be disturbing to couples. A foundation may make so much noise that it even disturbs people who aren’t in the room.
Support means the ability of your mattress to maintain a flat, even surface that aligns the spine and pelvis and does not sink too deep.
Once you’ve decided on the mattress to buy, it is time to look at a few more things. You may choose to buy your mattress online or at a mattress firm. Each store or retailer has a different policy. Inquire about the above points before parting with your money.
Box springs and other accessories also sell online. You may want to ask your dealer about discounts and other packages that come with buying accessories together with your mattress.
Shipping and Delivery
Not all mattress brands offer free or even cheap shipping within the US. Check with the store before placing an order. Stores and brands like Idle Sleep that ship fast, and free are a better choice than those that charge a fee or have terrible delivery times. Vendors who use UPS or FedEx will generally deliver more quickly. Idle Sleep utilizes UPS, so you will most likely have an excellent shipping experience.
Trial and Returns
Most brands and stores offer sleep trials. They let you try the mattress over a fixed period. The test is to ensure that you are satisfied with the quality. You can choose to return the bed for a full or partial refund during this time. Trial duration varies among mattress brands. IDLE Sleep offers a sleep trial period of 18 months. They also refund customers fully, and you don’t have to pay for shipping the mattress back. You should expect to pay for return shipping if the store or brand doesn’t guarantee free return shipping.
Most mattresses come with warranties of at least ten years. The length of the warranty and items covered under warranty are significant. IDLE Sleep offers a guarantee without end. Idle Sleep mattresses warranty also protects against body impressions and wear from use.
Modern mattresses will typically include a unique certification that tests against specific chemicals. Some substances present in a bed can be harmful. There are organizations tasked with issuing certifications on the acceptable level of individual elements. CertiPUR-US certification: It confirms that the poly foams of a mattress have been tested for formaldehyde, PBDE emissions, mercury, and lead for consumer safety. OEKO-TEX certification: They check the entire manufacturing process against harmful additives or methods that may compromise the safety of materials used.
Popular Myths About Buying Mattresses
The best mattress is right for everyone.
A particular mattress type cannot meet the needs of every sleeper. People differ in weight, sleep position, health condition, and other factors. It is not possible currently to find a universal mattress. You have to look at what is best for you by studying the features of each bed. Lying briefly on a mattress is best to determine quality.
Most beds will hold on for at least thirty consecutive days before you are likely to notice any problem. Sleep-testing a mattress in-store isn’t the same as actually sleeping on it at home. Coil count matters a lot.
Coil counts in the range of 600 to 1000 have the backing of customer satisfaction rating, but coils alone cannot determine the longevity of a mattress. Features like the comfort layer, coil system, and gauge all play an essential role. Gel foams absorb less heat than standard foams.
They may sleep slightly cooler, but they tend to have next to zero noticeable effect on heat-neutrality when compared.
Idle Sleep has four luxury bed options to choose from: 2-sided Hybrid, 2-Sided Natural Latex Hybrid, 2-Sided All-foam, and 1-Sided Mattress. The mattresses are built with premium materials to give you the best night’s sleep possible. The beds are designed to be medium-firm, firm, or hybrid.
Medium-firm mattresses are best for combination sleepers, side-sleepers, back sleepers, and front sleepers. Luxury firm beds are most suitable for stomach and back sleepers. Hybrid mattresses combine high-quality foam and pocketed coils making it a cross between the foam and traditional mattress. The coil makes the mattress bouncy.
The combination of luxurious IDLE Buoyancy Foam with zoned, pocketed coil support framework is an innovative approach that makes IDLE beds unique. The result is a top-quality cushion and sturdy support. This premium innovation properly aligns your shoulders, back, and hip with negligible motion transfer. It also ensures that beds serve all sleeping positions while being sturdy enough for growing children and teens.
Memory foams are still utilized in mattresses, but are outdated and out-performed by modern innovative designs like IDLE. Memory foams wrap around your shape and trap heat due to the chemical constituents of traditional memory foam.
IDLE foams, on the other hand, use some unique chemical compositions in preventing the trapping of heat despite conforming to your body, which means you get the benefit of conformity without sleeping hot. Pros
Quantum Edge-To-Edge support
Very durable (10 years+)
Affordable pricing Cons
May not ship internationally
King Koil California King Luxury Air Mattress
The California King Luxury raised airbed by King Koil has a soft, comfortable layer, a built-in pillow, and a 120V AC pump. The pump is easy to plug in and use, and it inflates the airbed in 2 hours 30 minutes. With a thick water-proof top and spinal support, the mattress helps you maintain proper sleeping posture. The airbed raises to a height of 84″ x 72″ x 20″ and comes with a patch kit in case you accidentally puncture or tear your mattress. It is perfect for visitors and finds use in camping. The mattress comes with a one-year warranty. Pros
Great customer service Cons
Not truly king-size
TEMPUR-Adapt California King Foam Mattress
It’s a California King foam mattress with a 3-inch cooling toper for a perfect night’s sleep. The mattress conforms perfectly to your shape to relieve pressure points. The cooling top is washable, breathable, and made of elastic fabric. It adapts to any situation like camping and recreational vehicles. The foam bed measures 83.5 x 71.7 x 2.9 and weighs 35.8 pounds. Pros
Large Size Cons
Complaints of topper durability
Sven & Son Queen Mattress
This luxury queen mattress is 12” high and made of Gel Bionic Infused Memory Foam that conforms well for any body shape, and soothes pressure points in the body. It measures 76” X 80” and has 1.8” Flex support foam layer for maximum comfort. There’s an extra 2″ dense foam for support and alignment, and the mattress is breathable. It also absorbs moisture to keep your cool and dry, and it adapts to both cold and warm climates for your convenience. The bottom is slip-resistant, with an allergen-resistant cover that zips at the bottom. Customers are guaranteed a ten-year warranty. Pros
Queen size Cons
Might be too soft
Prodigy Queen Memory Foam Mattress
It is a luxury mattress that gives you the option to adjust head tilt independently. It has two motors, with one controlling the head tilt. You can fully control the mattress via a remote device. You can change positions to sit up in bed and read, eat, or work on your laptop. It also comes with a Queen Powerbase and an alarm system with a massage vibration function. It is 14” high and measures W 60” x L 80″. You can use your iPhone or Android phone to adjust the bed. It has four USB ports, Bluetooth connectivity, furniture upholstery, dual body massage, and a host of other cool features. Pros
Lots of extra features
Queen size Cons
King Stearns & Foster Hurston Luxury Firm Pillow Top Mattress
The mattress has several layers for comfort made of ultra-soft gel foam. It uses a coil system that allows airflow, making it breathable and well ventilated. It is an excellent mattress for one who wants luxury and comfort and is willing to pay for it. It is a firm bed and has in-built pillows. If you weigh up to 230 pounds, you will find this a good option. It measures 79″ L x 76″ W x 14″ H, with cooling technology, and excellent motion isolation. The bed comes with a ten-year warranty. Pros
Gel foam material
Good ventilation and breathable
In-built pillow Cons
Some find it too firm
ViscoSoft Foam Queen Mattress
It has a 4” high-density comfort layer to relieve pressure. The mattress features temperature control technology for adapting to different weather for your convenience. It is a firm bed designed to provide the necessary support to people with back, hip, or other bodily pains. A unique chemical combination significantly reduces the off-gassing smell. The cover pad is removable and washable. A 5-year warranty backs the mattress for manufacturing defects. It is breathable and absorbs body heat to keep you dry and cool. It is made of memory foam and conforms well to the body while eliminating motion transfer. It measures 80 x 60 inches, and weighs 25.8 pounds and has a density of 3 lbs. /ft3. Pros
Provides great comfort Cons
Topper not so great
Sunrising Bedding Latex Twin Mattress
It has a complete latex comfort layer that utilized the Talaya process, which eliminates the need for gelation reagents. The support mechanism features pocketed coil technology with 496 pocket coils and a gauge of 2 mm. The mattress design helps to eliminate motion transfer and minimize noise. Pocketed coils are individually enclosed and provide stable support. The mattress is firm, has cooling technology, and is non-toxic. There is a 120-night risk-free trial and 20-year warranty. The mattress measure 75 x 39 x 8 inches and is 52.9 pounds heavy. Pros
Strong edge support
Provides great comfort Cons
Our reason for choosing Idle Sleep is because of the unique characteristics and benefits of their mattresses. Their luxury mattresses provide supper-comfort without compromising on temperature sensitivity. They also give you a lifetime warranty, free shipping and free return shipping. Their warranty covers even minor things like body impressions. They offer customers a trial period of 18 months, and they do provide fast shipping. Except you are looking for an airbed, chances are you will find a mattress of your choice at IdleSleep.com
Beds are as diverse in design as they are in types. There should be a few bed types not covered in this article, primarily due to their scarcity or unpopularity. More innovative designs and brands will continue to appear as others phase-out. Good foundational knowledge is all you need to understand all bed types with their merits and demerits. A proper understanding of the various bed types and designs will inform your buying decision.
How often should I get a new mattress?
There’s no straight answer to this. Mattress longevity depends on the frequency of use. We recommend that you start thinking of a new mattress after seven to ten years of use.
How firm should my mattress be?
Mattress firmness is also a matter of preference. A mattress of ideal firmness will depend on your age, weight, and sleeping position. It is, however, advisable to avoid mattresses that are at the extremes — too soft or too hard is never a good idea.
How much should I pay for a mattress?
There isn’t a thing as too cheap or too expensive when it comes to mattresses. Cost is relative, and you should go for a mattress that meets the most needs within your budget.
What mattress size should I get?
The ideal mattress size depends on the number of sleepers, bedroom space, and your budget. A bigger mattress will cost more and take more space.
How long does it take to break into a mattress?
Breaking into a mattress takes anywhere from 30 to 90 days. Most retailers will offer a trial period of 90 days on average. This period should be enough for your body to get used to your new mattress.