With so many brands that claim to have the “best mattress,” it can feel impossible to know where to start your search for a new bed. That’s why we’ve created this guide to help you find the perfect mattress without having to compromise. So take a deep breath and close all those other browser tabs that are taking your mattress-buying anxiety to the next level. In this guide, we’ll walk you through 7 steps to find your next mattress that will save you time, money and frustration. If you want to skip ahead to any of these sections, simply click on the links below:
Sometimes it is easy to know you need a new mattress. You may feel a spring stick in your back every time you lay down. Maybe the mattress is much heavier than it used to be, or it is discolored and nearly begging to be thrown out.
Other times the signs are not so clear. The general rule of thumb is to change your mattress every 7-10 years. However, this can vary based on a number of factors, and there’s no alarm that goes off telling you to change your mattress.
If you’ve had your mattress for more than 5 years, start paying more attention to your mattress and sleep in general. Take note of how well you’re sleeping.
Are you waking up feeling groggy or achy? Does the mattress give too much when you lay down? These could be indications that your mattress is losing its shape.
The reality is the moment you’re not sleeping well – it’s time to start shopping.
Here’s some general information to help you decide if it’s time for a new mattress.
|Mattress Type||Average Lifespan|
|Innerspring Mattresses||7-8 years|
Innerspring mattresses are some of the oldest models. While modern versions add new technologies to it, the basic structure stays the same – A set of large springs surrounded by foam.
Innerspring mattresses are affordable, and comfortable for many sleepers. That said, they do tend to have a shorter lifespan than other mattresses. Flipping the mattress regularly may help extend the lifespan a bit, but even if you’ve flipped and rotated your innerspring mattress regularly, the foam will eventually embed itself in the open wire coils and start to lose its comfort.
A saggy spring mattress is another sign it’s time to change. Additionally, feeling any pressure points from the springs anywhere on the body is a sure sign to replace that mattress.
|Memory Foam Mattresses||7-10 years|
Memory foam mattresses get rid of springs altogether, and instead use a responsive foam to help the mattress form to the body and distribute body weight.
For many people, this makes for a comfortable sleeping experience. The foam tends to hold its shape better than some other options, and may offer additional support and firmness without sacrificing on comfort.
While the material is generally better at holding its shape, it still doesn’t last forever. A well-rotated mattress can last up to 10 years, but after that it is time for a change.
It’s also important to note that the foam core will become about 10% softer over the years. People who need the most support may become unsatisfied with the mattress before this ten year mark, and should start looking for a replacement.
|Individual Pocketed Coil||8-12 years|
Individual pocketed coil mattresses improve on the design of the classic spring mattress. The inside uses hundreds of tempered steel coils encased in individual pockets of foam to create a great surface area that responds better to body weight than a standard spring mattress. A foam topper rests on these springs, giving the bed both comfort and responsiveness.
Partly because of this improved design, you can get quite a bit more life out of this mattress. The springs may not wear down as fast, and regular turning can also help reduce the typical signs of wear a bit further. As such, you can expect an individual pocket mattress to last as long as 12 years.
|Hybrid Mattresses||8-12 years|
As the name suggests, hybrid mattresses are halfway between a spring mattress and a memory foam mattress. They have the stability and support of springs without sacrificing on quality thanks to a smooth foam top, typically of memory foam.
The combination may be ideal for people who need both strong support and comfort. These mattresses last much longer than an all foam or memory foam mattress, up to 12 years with proper rotation.
Solid latex mattresses are relatively newer to the market. These mattresses tend to have the most longevity and are very resilient. Pure latex mattresses are one of the most natural options on the market as well. These days, many mattress makers produce mattresses that are a blend of synthetic and natural latex. This may help bring the cost down, but it has also lowered the life expectancy.
That said, a good latex mattress can last at least a decade with good care and cleaning.
It’s important to use this purely for guidance. The average lifespan of a mattress depends on a number of factors beyond just the type of mattress you have – like how often you use it, the kind of sleeper you are, your body weight, if you have children jumping around on it often and if you share your bed with your pets.
And we hate to break it to you, but if you’ve had your mattress for more than 5 years, there are most definitely dust mites, bacteria, and other microorganisms that have crept their way into your mattress layers – no matter how clean you think you are. (Fun fact: the average person sweats out half a pint of perspiration every night. Gross, we know.)
There are a number of things that may mean it’s time to change out your old mattress. These can vary from person to person, but see if any of these sound familiar:
In some cases, you’ve simply outgrown your bed. David Brummett, VP of Merchandising for Mattress Firm puts it plainly: “Over the course of 8 years, a lot of life moments can happen. Just because your bed was perfect at the start of college does not mean it will still be the right bed for you 8 years later. While mattresses can be lofty investments, your sleep and health are definitely worth the spend in the long run.”
Sometimes you are just not ready for change. You may know you need a new mattress but you aren’t ready to make the investment yet. Here are some tips to prolong the lifespan of your mattress and get more time to decide.
BUY A MATTRESS PROTECTOR
It’s important to have a good quality mattress protector as an additional barrier between your body and the mattress. Your mattress protector should be washed as you wash your bedding. We recommend that you use a good quality cotton-faced mattress protector.
ROTATE YOUR MATTRESS
The above lifespans of mattresses all include one important consideration – rotating your mattress. Regularly rotating your mattress helps reduce wear on any one particular spot of the bed. How often varies a bit, but in general you should rotate your mattress about once every three months.
NO PET ZONE
It’s tempting to sleep with the pets we love. That said, adding another body, with its own body oils, bacteria, and shedding, adds to the weight your mattress will absorb. Not only this, there is always the chance they may mark the bed. Sharp claws may also tear at the foam or damage the mattress.
NO MORE MONKEYS JUMPING ON THE BED
To extend the life of the mattress, it should only be used for its intended purpose – sleeping. Having children jumping on the bed, standing on the bed to change a lightbulb, or otherwise using the bed in a way that was not intended– this can all add to the wear and tear.
There are a lot of things that go into deciding whether or not you need a new mattress. Ultimately, the biggest factor is YOU. If you don’t feel you are getting a good night’s sleep – it’s time for a change.
If you’ve decided it’s time for a new mattress, the next step is figuring out what type of mattress you should get.
There’s endless research out there to help you decide, but we’ve simplified what you really need to know about the most popular types of mattresses available.
Overall customer satisfaction:
Average price range:
As many people move away from spring mattresses, foam and memory foam mattresses make up the majority of online mattresses available.
These are typically a medium on the firmness scale and tend to be better for people with back pain as they help with lumbar support, pressure relief and body contouring. A foam mattress is also great for motion transfer, so if you or your partner moves around a lot, the other person won’t feel it.
Memory foam will also hug your body more than other mattresses will, and will give to your body shape rather than pushing up on it like with spring types.
Memory foam used to be a very warm sleeping choice. However, Helen Sullivan, spokesperson for CertiPUR-US tells us:
“When these foams first became popular, some said they were warmer to sleep on. However, technological advances in foam production have largely eliminated these problems by using different foam formulations, and in some cases, special cool foams, cooling gel foam, etc.”
It’s also worth noting that many foam mattresses you see today are not pure memory foam but a foam blend made with other materials.
If you’re shopping for a foam mattress, you’ll want to pay attention to what the foam is made of.
Helen says, “A major reason people look for CertiPUR-US® certified foam in their mattresses is because this certification ensures the foam is made without formaldehyde, made without PBDEs, TDCPP or TCEP (“Tris’) flame retardants, made without mercury, lead and other heavy metals, made without phthalates regulated by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, made without ozone depleters, and are low VOC (Volatile Organic Compound) emission for indoor air quality (less than 0.5 parts per million).”
This is immensely important, as the number one drawback to memory foam mattresses is the potential for them to be made with these harmful ingredients.
You can find brands that offer CertiPUR-US® certified foams here.
Overall customer satisfaction:
Average price range:
Latex mattresses are great for people who want many of the benefits of a foam mattress but don’t want to feel as wrapped up as a foam mattress can make them feel.
Additionally, even with new advances in foam mattresses, some people can still find them hot to sleep on. For these people, latex mattresses tend to have great cooling properties. They still respond and adjust to your body as you move around, but they have a bit more bounce than foam mattresses.
Latex mattresses also tend to have the longest lifespan of all mattress types.
On the other hand, latex mattresses tend to be more expensive. They are also very dense, meaning they’re going to be on the heavier side. Depending on the type of latex you get, you may also notice some of that synthetic, chemical smell for the first few days. A latex mattress is also not as good as memory foam when it comes to motion transfer or pressure relief – the more you push on it, the more it pushes back.
Overall customer satisfaction:
Average price range:
Pocketed coil mattresses are rising in popularity. They have a lower price than many other mattress types, and offer the support of a spring mattress with much of the comfort of a foam mattress.
For the longest time inner springs were the dominant support system being used, but over the past few years pocketed coil mattresses are now becoming more widely used. The individual coils allow you to achieve more comfort and support with a pocketed coil mattress than with a standard spring mattress.
Generally pocketed coil mattresses have at least 768 independent coils for a queen. Compare that to an innerspring mattress, which will usually have 416 continuous coils for a queen. The additional coils mean more room to respond to the body.
Since the pocketed coils are independent of one another they’ll also contour to an individuals body better. Pocketed coil mattresses are great when it comes to partner motion separation, and can be used with an adjustable power base since the coils are independent of one another.
Pocketed coil mattresses can also win out over foam mattresses. Since the coils inside the individual pockets are tempered, they are very strong. You’ll have a much longer support life compared to a foam core mattress. Where a foam core mattress will start to lose resiliency over an 8-10 year period, tempered steel coils will always hold their shape.
Overall customer satisfaction:
Average price range:
Hybrid mattresses usually refer to a combination of memory foam and innerspring mattresses, but other materials and combinations can fit into this description as well, such as latex and memory foam.
Hybrids tend to offer a good balance of support and pressure relief while also providing a cooler sleeping surface. Motion transfer will also be better on a hybrid than on an innerspring alone thanks to the help of more motion-absorbing layers.
If you and your significant other want different things in a mattress, then a hybrid might be the best option for you. They allow room for you to tailor your needs in a way; getting both the support of a spring and the comfort of a foam.
That said, getting the best of both worlds can sometimes mean a higher price point. Hybrid mattresses can also be extremely heavy, making transporting and handling challenging in some cases.
Overall customer satisfaction:
Average price range:
When you think of the standard, traditional mattress, an innerspring or coil mattress is probably what comes to mind.
This is one of the most widely used types of mattresses, and it has been around for decades. Innerspring mattresses are made with at least one layer of spring metal coils. They have great bounce, strong edge support, and usually do not hug the body much, which means they may help keep you cool.
The overall customer satisfaction is a bit lower for these mattresses, which may be partly because they tend to break down and become uncomfortable faster than other mattress types.
Because of the metal coils inside, innerspring beds are pretty heavy and if they are shipped, they have to be shipped full size rather than compressed like some other mattresses. They are also most popular among bricks and mortar businesses, meaning in a store you are likely going to be paying top dollar for this kind of mattress.
If you’re looking for something that can contour your body well, then an innerspring mattress is probably not for you. Since there’s a decent amount of empty space in an innerspring mattress, you won’t get as much support or pressure relief as you would with other types of mattresses.
It is important to understand and consider all the different types of mattresses available to you before buying. This helps identify what you have to have as a sleeper, and what you can do without. If you will be spending one third of your life on this mattress for about 10 years – make it count!
Now that you know all the best types of mattresses available, it’s important to understand that the best mattress truly varies in each case.
Mattresses are a very personal. The best mattress for you might not be the best one for your mom, best friend, or neighbor. So when shopping for a new mattress, you’ll want to find something that compliments your personal sleeping style and body type.
Here we’ve outlined mattress suggestions on the best mattress for all sleeping positions and common conditions.
If you’re a side sleeper, your body weight may not be as evenly distributed as other positions, leading to pain at pressure points such as the hips, shoulders, and knees. Side sleepers will prefer a mattress that contours to their body and relieves joint pressure and pain. This tends to include mattresses on the medium-soft to medium end of the firmness scale.
Fortunately for side sleepers, this is one of the most popular sleeping positions out there – so there are lots of mattresses designed just for you. Most mattresses designed for side sleepers are made with some blend of memory foam: standard, latex, or gel memory foam.
Memory foam is known to be an excellent material for evenly distributing weight and minimizing pain at pressure points, while also supporting the natural curve of your spine. Latex memory foam and gel memory foam are known to quickly bounce back to shape when users change position throughout the night, even more so than with standard memory foam. This may mean more time sleeping and less time trying to sleep.
People that sleep on their back need a mattress that offers support and contour in equal measure, to keep the spine in a neutral position.
The support is what holds your spine and neck steady, while the contour is what allows your bum and other curvy parts to rest peacefully without tension. We recommend choosing a medium-firm to firm mattress with zoned lumbar support like the Turin or Naples, both of these are time tested and back sleeper approved.
Stomach sleeping is the rarest sleep position out there, making up just 7% of the adult population. People choose to sleep on their stomachs for a variety of reasons, from habit and comfort to pain relief. Like any other sleep position, most who choose it can’t imagine sleeping any other way.
It is important to note that without the right mattress and pillow, this sleeping position can be really tough on your body. It puts lots of pressure on your spine and chest, which may lead to symptoms like:
Because of these possible side effects of stomach sleeping, The National Sleep Foundation suggests that stomach sleepers try a new sleep position altogether.
That said, that is a pretty steep request for many people who love sleeping on their stomach.
We understand. With our years of mattress and customer experience, we know that people like what they like. That said, we strongly recommend a good firm mattress that is either all foam or memory foam like the Rhapsody or an individual pocketed coil mattress with lumbar support like the Naples.
Choosing one of these two will prevent curvature of the spine in the lower back region and will give support where you need it.
More than 80% of Americans will experience an episode of low back pain at some time in their lives. If you’re currently sleeping on a mattress that doesn’t offer you the proper support or spinal alignment, there’s a good chance it’s actually making your back or joint pain worse.
Memory foam tends to be the best type of mattress to help cradle your body, relieve pressure points and keep the spine in good alignment. There are a few hybrid and latex mattresses that can do this well too.
You may have heard a rumour that sleeping on a rock-hard mattress is best for your back pain. If it sounds uncomfortable, it’s because it probably is – it’s also not true. While everyone’s preference is going to differ slightly, people who suffer from back pain generally prefer a medium-firm to firm mattress.
Dr. Sharma, a board-certified pain management physician at Manhattan Pain & Sports Associates says:
“I often see patients who feel that an old mattress is contributing to their lower back pain. Historically physicians were taught to advise patients to use a very firm mattress to prevent and help alleviate lower back pain by providing adequate support.”
“While the research is limited, there are some studies to support that patients should choose a mattress that is on the firmer side but still feels comfortable. One study in particular showed that a mattress with medium firmness was most helpful for patients with lower back pain. Ultimately it’s most important to find a mattress that feels right for you but still supports the spine.”
Instead of suffering through another night of back pain, look for a firm, supportive, and most importantly, comfortable mattress that can help alleviate your pain.
Choosing the right mattress for your sleeping style may be one of the most important factors when picking a mattress. A blend of both comfort and support may help people sleep long, pain-free nights and wake rested and ready to take on the day!
A mattress is not a one-size-fits-all experience. There are a number of important things to look for in a good mattress. If you’ve done any research on mattresses already, you’ve probably noticed that the mattress industry has its very own lingo – with words like responsiveness and heat transfer.
At first, these terms can be a bit confusing. While they might seem like fluff words, they’re actually how people in the industry describe the most important factors to consider when choosing a mattress that’s going to best meet your needs.
So here’s a breakdown of these key mattress features – in plain old English – to help you understand why these are the important things to look for in a mattress.
It’s important to note that sometimes you won’t be able to realize how well a mattress performs on these factors until you try it out for a while. So if you’re not sure what mattress is best for you, make sure to invest in a mattress with a risk-free trial period.
Spine alignment refers to keeping the spine in the most neutral position possible. When comparing mattresses, you want to look for something that will support your body so that your spine can remain in its natural position. An aligned spine position allows your muscles to rest, meaning you’ll wake up feeling more refreshed and with less tension in the morning.
For a side sleeper, the line from your tailbone to your neck should be straight.
A back sleeper’s spine should retain its natural curve when you’re lying down on a mattress that provides good support.
Stomach sleepers will have a bit more trouble maintaining the natural curve just by nature of the position, but a firm mattress and the right pillow may help.
Pressure relief is how well the mattress allows your body to relax and relieve its tension – without creating pressure points of pain from the mattress.
Your body will be best supported by a mattress that evenly distributes your body weight so the heavier parts of your body, like your hips and shoulders, don’t sink too deep into the mattress. If they do, your mattress could be causing strain and creating pressure points in these areas that cause pain.
Responsiveness simply means how well a mattress reacts and adjusts to your body movements while you sleep.
We all move while we sleep, but most of us never notice, as we stay asleep. Responsiveness is especially important for people who are restless sleepers or tend to change positions often throughout the night. They may be most affected by an unresponsive mattress, though even the heaviest sleepers may wake up if they are sleeping on a very unresponsive mattress.
Firmness is a pretty straightforward idea meaning how firm or soft a mattress feels. While all humans are different, how you sleep usually helps dictate the level of firmness you should look for.
Firmness is measured on a scale from 1-10 with 10 being the firmest. However, unless you find comfort in sleeping on a pile of cotton balls, we wouldn’t recommend choosing a 1. Likewise, unless you like sleeping on a hardwood floor, we wouldn’t recommend a 10 – these are the extremes.
Firmer foam mattresses and individual pocketed coil mattresses with lumbar support are usually a preferred choice for stomach sleepers, but you can also find middle-ground firmness on innerspring and hybrid mattresses.
Also, keep in mind that most mattresses will get about 5% softer over time. The really soft mattresses, often referred to as cloud mattresses, get at least 10 % softer over time.
Contrary to popular belief, firmness and support are two different things. Firmness is the pushback you feel from your mattress at certain pressure points. Support, on the other hand, is the weight your mattress foundation can hold to support your body properly. This may be a factor for heavier people or couples, and may refer to the support of individual pressure points as well.
Temperature control is the ability to pull heat away from the body and keep the person from overheating as they sleep.
This is important, as a good mattress needs to transfer heat away from your body, not keep it trapped within its layers. This helps reduce sweating and waking during the night.
Some words that indicate mattresses offer a cool sleeping surface include:
Some materials may also react to the body’s temperature throughout the night, such as the material Celliant.
Durability is a common term, but nonetheless important for mattresses. When looking for your perfect mattress, you want quality material that will last a long time, preferably without tons of nasty chemicals and harmful preservatives.
The strength of the material is important, as weak materials may sag or get lumpy. Mattresses with high durability will maintain their elasticity and support for years to come.
Edge support indicates the force the edges of the mattress can take without caving. Edge support is what prevents you from rolling off the mattress in the middle of the night.
Innerspring mattresses are the typical example, as they usually have a separate support layer around the edges that help keep you on top rather than sliding off. Foam mattresses typically don’t have a separate edge layer. However, it’s also harder to roll off of a foam mattress given its nature.
This factor is important if you’re a particularly restless sleeper, or if you use the end of your bed to put your socks and shoes on in the morning.
Even if a thousand people love a mattress, it doesn’t mean you will too. Every body type is different, and you’re going to respond to your mattress differently than anyone else.
So before you buy your mattress, make sure you pay attention to the trial period you have, as well as what’s covered under your warranty, and return policy.
You should also try to give your mattress at least a full 30 days to break it in and see if it feels right for you before you kick it to the curb. Though if you want a refund, we don’t recommend actually kicking it to the curb.
In the age of the internet, shipping is our favorite word.
That said, you should really pay attention to how mattress sets are being shipped these days. If you purchase online you’re more than likely going to be let down when a 100 pound box gets dropped off at your front door. If this happens, you’ll find yourself wrestling an immense package through the house and around to the bedroom.
Save yourself the trouble. There are many white glove delivery services to do the grunt work for you. Most brick and mortar retailers and some online retailers have all-inclusive services where they deliver and setup the new mattress and then haul off the old mattress.
When it comes to size, the best mattress for you can be determined by considering two important factors: who will be sleeping on it and where will it go?
While this certainly has to do with the size of the people who will be sleeping on it, it also has to do with personal preference.
If you’re single or shopping for children/teens then a twin or full size mattress will probably be suitable. On the other hand, the most common size for couples is a queen size mattress because it fits well into most bedrooms and is large enough to give both people the space they need to sleep without disturbing each other.
King size mattresses have crept up in the popularity polls recently because they essentially offer couples as much space in bed with their partner as if they were alone in a twin. If you’re a restless sleeper who needs lots of room, then a king mattress is the way to go. It’s also a popular choice among couples with pets or children who sneak into bed every now and then.
For taller or larger folks, California king might seem attractive. Buyers of both king sizes should be aware of increased costs for the bed itself and accessories, and more challenging set-up due to the size and weight of the mattress.
Here are the dimensions and examples for standard bed sizes so you know what to expect:
|Twin||38″ x 74″|
|Twin XL||38″ x 80″|
|Full||54″ x 74″|
|Queen||60″ x 80″|
|King||76″ x 80″|
|California King||72″ x 84″|
While we’re focusing on high-quality mattresses in this article, we feel like we need to warn you about prices that are both too low and too high.
For instance, if you find a queen size mattress under $500, it typically means they’re cutting corners or using cheaper materials. Which means you’ll likely end up paying for it elsewhere – such as by getting low quality sleep.
Many of the online-only brands that cut out the middleman fees can offer an amazing quality mattress for under $1,000 for a queen size mattress. Certainly, there are mattresses that are more expensive than that, but you’re likely paying for bells and whistles or hidden markups at that point.
It’s true a mattress can feel like a big investment, but you can also think about price this way: If you buy a $1,000 mattress, only sleep on it for 300 days out of the year, and own it for 7 years, you’re paying $0.48 a day to get a great night’s sleep. Your morning coffee costs more than that, and quite frankly, many people would need less coffee if they got better sleep.
These are the most important words and concepts to keep in mind when you are looking to buy a mattress. Most importantly, remember that each body needs different things, and overall, your comfort is the deciding factor.
So you need a new mattress. You understand all the most important terms to look out for when choosing a mattress, and it’s time to buy. But where should you do buy a mattress?
There are both pros and cons to buying a mattress in a brick and mortar store. There are also pros and cons to buying a mattress online. In many cases it comes down to personal preference, but we will give you a basic rundown of what to expect from both.
One question you might be asking yourself is: “Can I really buy a mattress online without trying it out first?” It’s a fair question.
On the other hand, consider this: You can’t really tell if a mattress is right for you in the store. Laying on a mattress with your feet dangling off for 30 seconds is no doubt going to feel comfortable, but you can’t tell how good a mattress is for you without testing it out for a long trial period – at least 30 days.
Luckily, most quality online retailers and in-store retailers understand this fact. This is why most retailers offer a nice trial period. Regardless, most will want to try out their new mattress in-store. Many people do both; they try the mattress out in the store and then buy from the same company online once they have decided what they are looking for.
No matter where you buy your mattress, an important thing to look for is flexibility. Many stores offer both online and in-store services, and these may be the best businesses to buy from. They have the ease you want from an online store, but also have the physical location so you can try out the mattress and see its dimensions.
Where you should buy your mattress is just as important as what type of mattress you are buying. The way we see it, a good mattress store is the key to a great night’s sleep.
A good mattress foundation can offer lots of sleeping benefits you might not even be thinking of. While it may just seem like an “add-on,” you actually want to think of your mattress and foundation as a pair. Here’s why your foundation shouldn’t just be an afterthought:
Something else to keep in mind, there are plenty other types of foundations other than a boxspring or wood foundation. Adjustable power bases, metal platform frames, or platform bed frames will also provide adequte support for your mattress.
Generally, you don’t want to put a brand new mattress on an old foundation. You wouldn’t build a new house on an unlevel foundation, would you?
We’ve walked you through the important things that you want to see in a mattress, but keep in mind that there are a number of things you should avoid when mattress shopping. In general, you’ll want to stay away from the extremes.
Take a look at some of the warning signs we’ve outlined below.
We get that choosing your mattress is a big deal – it’s where you dream, love, recharge, binge watch your favorite Netflix shows and nurse yourself back to sleep during flu season. By this point, we hope we’ve helped you select the mattress that’s going to be best for you. At the very least, we hope you have a better understanding of what’s out there and what to look for in a mattress.
If you still have unanswered questions, leave us a comment below and we’ll do our best to help you out.