If you want to drive yourself nuts, go shopping for a new mattress. You’ll hear dozens of theories on coils, fabrics, stuffing, foam density and warranties.
What I know about buying a mattress I’ve learned from the best: Insiders now retired from the sleep product industry.
CONFUSION FACTOR. All of the major brands—Simmons, Serta, Sealy, etc., make decent mattresses but if you’re planning to go from one chain store to the next comparing prices, forget it. The major brands change the names of the same mattress for each of the stores so it is impossible to compare by make and model.
SHOP BY LEVEL. Each company makes “levels” of mattresses: Very cheap, decent cheap, good and best. That’s not what they call them, but you can tell by the pricing within each manufacturer’s line of products. Expect several models in each price level.
PRICE MATTERS. You get what you pay for in a mattress. A very cheap mattress is about 10% materials (foam, steel, padding) and 90% air. A mid-level mattress is about 40% materials and so on. The more material, the better the product and the higher the price. A high-quality mattress will be up to 90% materials, and therefore the heaviest. You can lift a mattress to determine its quality.
WEIGHT MATTERS. The heavier the sleeper the heavier by weight you want the mattress to be. You will do just fine with a lightweight mattress in a guest room that is seldom used, or for your 50-pound child. But for heavy adults, opt for the heaviest mattress you can afford.
TAKE A NAP. Once you’ve narrowed your selection to two or three, take a nap. Spend at least 15 minutes on each of the beds you are considering. Comfort is key here so don’t make a hasty decision.
RETURNABLE. Make sure there is at least a 30-day trial period. This is a deal-breaker and you should absolutely not purchase a bed without this guarantee, no matter what else they are offering. Most beds require a few weeks of sleep to break-and discover how they will feel long-term. Don’t give up right away on a bed after a few bad nights. Your body has to adjust to the new bed.
TRUST THE CLUBS. Warehouse clubs like Costco and Sam’s Club carry a limited choice of name-brand mattress sets in all sizes. Typically they’re top of the line at cut-rate prices. But you won’t have a salesman to consult (perhaps that’s a good thing), you won’t be able to take a nap, either. However, I can say from personal experience both Costco and Sam’s make wise choices and they have generous return/refund policies. Trust them and you’ll knock $100s from the cost of your mattress.
CONSIDER ONLINE. There’s a new trend toward low-priced, high-comfort mattresses that you order online and show up on the doorstep rolled up in a box that is lightweight enough to easily maneuver up a narrow staircase. I know it sound ridiculous, but it is the new wave. Thousands and thousands of very happy customers can’t all be wrong. Companies like Tuft & Needle, Leesa and Casper are getting thousands of rave reviews. All three of these companies have a 100-night guarantee with free return for full refund, no questions asked. Given the customer feedback plus amazingly low prices, I think it’s worth considering a mattress you can’t test in a store—but only if you have nothing to lose for trying and you will carry through with a no-hassle return if it’s just not right for you.