Consumer Mattress Reviews

Providing the best reviews so you can make informed buying decisions.

How to Pick the Best Mattress: Consumer Mattress Reviews’ Guide

How to Pick the Best Mattress: Consumer Mattress Reviews’ Guide

Finding the best mattress can be a challenge, between the vast sea of options and competing sales pitches. How do know which type to choose, where to shop, or which questions to ask? In this guide, we’ll cover the basics of bed shopping so you can choose your next mattress with confidence and come away with sweet dreams.

Tips for Choosing the Best Mattress

While personal preference is perhaps the most important factor when it comes to finding the best mattress, there are a few other considerations that prove helpful. If you aren’t sure where to start or have been burned with buyer’s remorse in the past, the following tips and suggestions can help point you in the right direction.

Know Before You Go

Before setting foot in a mattress store, there are a few things you should do. Begin by taking inventory of your preferences so you have a clear idea of what to look for. For example, how do you feel about your current mattress? Is it too firm, too soft, or just right? Do you have a specific preference for materials such as innersprings, latex, or  memory foam? If you are unfamiliar with the different types of beds, consider researching the pros and cons of each one to see which would be the best fit for you and testing out a variety of beds at a store (but don’t commit just yet!). You should also double check the mattress size you’ll need before buying and the condition of your current foundation or boxpsring to avoid unnecessary returns/fees.

Don’t Rely on Brand Name Alone

A few brands in the mattress industry have been around for decades and are fairly well known.  However, brand alone is not a good measure of either quality or potential satisfaction. There are lesser-known companies with ratings well-above average, and prominent brands with dismal ratings. Often times, models even within the same line have vastly different customer satisfaction ratings. Likewise, prices do not always accurately reflect the quality of materials. When shopping and comparing, focus on what’s inside the mattress, your needs, and the retailer’s policies rather than trusting in brand name.

Look at Quality (Not Just Savings)

When making a major purchase like a mattress, it can feel great to get a good deal. However, mattress showrooms are notorious for exaggerating sales and inflating markups. For this reason, it is better to compare the specifications and quality of mattress rather than focusing on discounts. Each mattress type has different indicators quality to be aware of. Below is a list of the major things to check for when comparing different mattresses for the 3 major categories:

  • Innerspring Mattresses: Coil Count, Coil Type, Padding Materials, Quality of Foams, Cover Materials, Firmness
  • Memory Foam Mattresses: Memory Foam Density, Core Foam Density, Memory Foam Type, Quilt/Padding Materials, Cover Materials
  • Latex Mattresses: Latex Content (Natural/Synthetic), Latex Type (Dunlop/Talalay), Layer Thickness, Core Material, Glues?, Cover Materials

Compare Reviews

In industries where sales people aren’t always scrupulous, unbiased opinions can be very valuable. Thanks to the Internet, there are several resources where you can find real owner views and learn about the pros and cons of a specific bed or brand. Although comfort is subjective, mattress reviews can offer insight into factors like durability, customer service, performance claims, and perceived value. If a significant proportion of people report a bed is firmer/softer than expected, sleeps hot, or has other issues, this can be helpful to know before buying.  It can also be helpful to compare a particular bed’s reviews to industry averages to see how they stack up. Here’s average review data by mattress type (from SleepLikeTheDead.com):

Innersprings

Memory Foam

Latex

Percent of Owner Satisfied or Better

63%

81%

80%

Average Price

$1580

$1590

$1870

Average Lifespan

6-7 Years

7-8 Years

8-9 Years

Heat Complaints

4%

8%

7%

Odor Complaints

6%

15%

10%

Noise Complaints

6%

<1%

<1%

Get the Best Mattress Prices

Though we stress focusing on quality rather than price, know one wants to overpay. Many retailers have room to negotiate prices, or may at least be able to include free items like pillows or foundations in order to earn your business. Online stores and brands that sell direct-to-consumers online may also offer more competitive pricing (and more favorable return policies, since they understand you’re buying before trying). Sales abound all year, but holiday sales can also be a good time to save, especially on more prominent brands. Memorial day, Labor day, and Black Friday and other national holidays often feature better prices than average, and can be a good time to buy. It can be wise to plan and compare mattresses in advance of sales though so you don’t wind up making an impulsive buy.

Always Check the Fineprint

Lastly, in order to get the best mattress, you also need to look at the “fineprint”, including the retailer’s return policy, the manufacturer’s warranty policy, and the mattress label. Retailers should be upfront and clear about the policies and willing to provide them to you before buying.

Return Policies: It can take several days or even weeks to adjust to a new bed, especially if you are trying a new type of mattress. The ability to return protects your money and lets you know that the retailer cares about service. While some companies may say they have “satisfaction guarantees”, not all refer to same thing. Always ask if you can return (some may only allow exchanges), and all of the costs you will have to pay to do so (restocking fees, pickup fees, return shipping fees, etc). Some retailers may have other caveats like using a mattress protector or keeping tags attached, which are important to know. Most reputable showrooms offer a minimum of 30 days to return, with some specialty retailers (especially online stores) offering 60 or more days. However, some brands may mandate how long you have to keep the bed before returning (which may be 30 or more days).

Warranties: Warranties for mattresses typically cover manufacturer defects or wear beyond what one would expect for “normal wear and tear”. There can be both “full-coverage” terms in which manufacturers cover the cost of repair or replacement, and “prorated” terms during which the owner pays an increasing percentage of costs based on age of the bed.  Mid-range and higher end brands usually offer at least 10 years of full coverage, which may be followed by 5-15 years of prorated coverage. Some companies may offer little or no warranty, or may only warrant certain components of the mattress. Warranty policies will also specify at what point of sagging coverage kicks in, which can range ¾” deep to 2” or more (though 1” and greater impressions can affect comfort). Some companies may also include requirements such as mattresses remaining stain/odor-free, using specific types of supports/foundations, or other conditions.

Labels: Mattress labels are mandated by law in the U.S., and they provide a few important details. First, they will tell you if a bed is made of “all-new materials” or if contains recycled/refurbished materials. It also describes the basic contents of the foams and fabrics (but will not contain details like density or ILD, etc).

You spend nearly one-third of every day in bed, so dedicating a little time to researching and shopping will be time well spent. Knowing the basics of beds helps you shop with greater confidence and equips you to choose the best mattress based on objective measures like quality and value rather than relying solely on subjective measures like “showroom tests”, which often are not predictive of how a bed will feel in the long-term. If you have any additional questions on choosing the best mattress, feel free to comment below!