Mattress Buying Guide
How to Choose the Right Mattress
REPOSTED FROM THE LINK BELOW, SHARED FOR YOUR KNOWLEDGE.
Is it time for a new mattress? Do you wake up tired or achy, or does your mattress look saggy or lumpy? Or maybe you sleep better at hotels. If you dread a trip to Sears or Sleepy’s, realize that you’ve got more options than ever before—department and specialty stores are no longer the default destination. Now great mattresses at fair prices can be found at Costco and online retailers.
We test queen-size mattresses (60”w x 80”l) because they’re the most common size purchased. (For your reference, the other standard dimensions are king, 76×80 inches; California king, 72×84; full, or double, 53×75; and twin, 38×75.) We subject each mattress to a battery of tests, including running a 308-pound roller over each one 30,000 times to simulate 8 to 10 years of use. Still, there’s much to know even before you start shopping. Here’s your path to a good night’s sleep.
Compare the Types
Four Mattress Myths
Common claims that haven’t held up in our tests:
Foam Layers Make a Better Bed
More innerspring mattresses now include foam on top. But the foam is often too thin to make a difference on some of the hybrid models. Hybrid innerspring models that scored well in our tests had a foam layer several inches thick, though performance still varied.
More Coils, the Better
The better innerspring models we tested had 600 to 1,000 coils. But even if one mattress has more coils than another, the coils could be made of thinner-gauge metal. You’ll also hear about coil variations such as Bonnell (hourglass type), continuous wire, and individually pocketed springs. None of those is inherently superior.
Gel Provides a Cooler Sleep
Some mattresses (noted in our Ratings) have a layer of gel-infused foam that’s supposed to provide a cooling effect. But that layer is buried beneath other layers. While our tests have shown that innerspring mattresses containing gel did tend to sleep slightly cooler, the reverse was true with gel-infused foam beds.
Extra Lumbar Support Helps Back Sleepers
A special lumbar-support zone is one of many ways manufacturers try to differentiate their product lines. But there’s no guarantee that it makes any real difference, and it hasn’t shown significant benefits in our tests.
Forget About Comparison Shopping
If you like a mattress at one store and ask elsewhere for something similar, you’re likely to be steered toward a same-brand mattress claimed to have the same construction, components, and firmness. But they’re probably not the same. Mattress makers offer some lines nationally, but when those brands are sold through major chains such as Macy’s, Sears, and Sleepy’s, they’re for lines exclusive to those chains. And manufacturers don’t publish a directory of comparable mattresses. When we went to three bedding chains and asked for mattresses similar to those we’d bought at three department stores, five of the six were way off the mark. So use our Ratings as a guide, and insist on the precise make and model that scored well in our tests. Also check our Ratings of mattress brands and stores, based on subscriber surveys.