Choosing the right mattress may seem like an easy task at first. You have a queen size bed frame, then you need a queen size mattress. But once you’ve seen that there are many choices out there, choosing now becomes overwhelming. What can feel like a comfy cloud to one person can cause back problems for another. Also, there are a lot of things to consider before you choose a mattress, because it will dictate how soundly and how comfortably you would sleep every night. A mattress is a relatively expensive investment that you need to stick with for years to come.
Because of these, we’re giving you the things to consider on how to choose a mattress that’s best for you:
The age of your mattress will determine whether you need a new one or not. On average, a mattress should be replaced once every seven to eight years (although high-quality can last to ten years and even more). Other people change their mattress after just a few years, which is perfectly fine if you can afford it. However, this still depends on the quality and material. Also, if you’re now feeling some pain in your back and neck after waking up in the morning, or if you don’t feel well-rested, it’s a good time to change your mattress.
Here’s the average lifespan of mattresses according to type and material:
- Latex – 12 years
- Memory foam – 10 years
- Hybrid – 10 years
- Innerspring – 7-8 years
- Pillowtop – 7 years
- Airbed – 8 years
Where to buy
Going to the furniture store or mattress store isn’t the only way to buy. There are newer mattress-in-a-box companies that have sold quality products to thousands of customers, while offering free trial periods and convenient shipping. Different people benefit from different types of stores, so here’s what you need to know before buying from either physical stores or online stores:
Physical store – offers traditional way of buying mattresses, where you can check it out at the showroom or shop.
- You are allowed to feel and touch the mattress before buying it
- You can try to recline and see for yourself how relaxing it is before you buy
- Most stores offer removal of your existing mattress
- Most stores offer free delivery and their staff can even help install it to your bed
- Buying from the store may feel overwhelming because there may be so many mattresses to choose from
- It’s harder to compare prices
- Shopping on a store can be time-consuming
- A salesperson may try to convince you to get what they want you to buy, not the mattress that’s best for your budget and needs
- Price of a mattress may include markups
- Always try to lie down on a lot of mattresses before settling down on one
- Don’t pay full price. Always try to look on the items on a sale price, and don’t be afraid to negotiate with the salesperson
Online store – offers a new way of shopping, where you can purchase what you want online and have it shipped to your home.
- You can search for specific types or sizes of bed easily
- You don’t need to dress up and drive to the store to shop
- You can easily compare prices of the same mattress and choose to buy from the online shop that gives the best deal
- No salesperson to deal with
- A lot of online stores include free shipping and a money-back guarantee
- Prices listed are usually final
- You can’t try it before buying
- You have to set up the mattress and get rid of your old mattress yourself
- Sometimes, items in actual doesn’t match the picture and the specs listed online (which can give you trust issues)
- Always check deals and compare prices online from different stores
- By all means, read reviews of the products first before considering buying
The type of mattress you need varies upon personal preferences and needs. There are so many mattress types and most of the time, the type to pick is the hardest choice. But to make your selection easier and more informed, here are the most common mattress types and what you need to know about them:
Innerspring mattress is the most popular mattress type. It’s also perhaps one of the oldest (if not, the oldest type that stayed). It is composed of one or more layers of spring coils that provide comfort and support. Typically, the larger the number of coils, the better comfort and support it offers. It’s known for its great bounce, strong edge support and comfort. Since it’s widely popular, you can easily find an innerspring mattress at most furniture and mattresses shops. You can also find a variety of firmness options according to your preferences. It’s also more affordable than other mattress types.
The downside to having innerspring mattress is that the padding tends to compress in time. When it comes to a point where you can feel the coils as you lie down, it’s time to replace it. Also, as it wears down, the springs lose support, which causes the notorious squeaky noises it produces. If you or your partner is a sleeper who tends to move a lot, one of you is sure to get disturbed.
As the name suggests, the memory foam mattress consist of memory foam. It is known for its body contouring properties, offering great support and pressure relief for the whole body, especially in pain-prone areas like the back and the neck. Memory foam mattresses are perfect for sleepers that want a greater hug and more body shaping than many other mattresses offer. It uniquely conforms to every inch of your body that is pressed into it, but when you lift away from the material, it slowly regains its original form. Also, this type of mattress is known for its motion isolation properties, so it makes a great bed for those who sleep beside their partners. Your tossing and turning will not disturb your partner and lets them sleep soundly.
The memory foam was first developed by NASA in the 1970s, and was first used as a safety material for seat cushions. Since then, it was used in a lot of other applications but most especially for mattresses. Historically, memory foam has a bad reputation as a retainer of heat, so if you want a cool night’s sleep, you may not like sleeping in here. But nowadays, manufacturers are making new ways to keep heat down. There newer memory foams that are designed with cooling properties.
One of the most traditional form of mattress, the latex mattress is great for people who prefer foam but want to stay away from memory foam mattresses. It’s a bit like memory foam, but with springs. This type is known for its comfort, bounce, responsiveness and cooling properties. Latex mattresses are also known to last for decades, as these are incredibly durable. It’s also feels very familiar, as a lot of people have felt a bed with springs before. The amount of space located between the springs allows for air circulation, which keeps the temperature down. This type of bed is one of the most affordable options in the market.
There are two types of latex beds: natural and synthetic. Natural latex is the more environment-friendly option made from natural tree sap. It’s antimicrobial and resistant to mold and dust mites. However, it’s more expensive. Synthetic latex comes with synthetic polymers that are less healthy in the long run. Latex mattress may also be Dunlop or Talalay – Dunlop is heavier and denser, while Talalay is lighter and softer.
Hybrids are made from a combination of latex, polyurethane foam and memory foam. It is designed to provide the best of both worlds. It employs the bounce, cooling properties and responsiveness of the latex, while providing great pressure relief and support from the memory foam. It’s a modern option that’s a very good choice for the majority of sleepers.
Since it mixes the best properties of traditional mattresses, it comes in an expensive price. One piece may cost a thousand dollars, which is a significant investment. However, if you plan to use it long term, your investment may be really worthy.
Pillow-top mattresses can either be coil, memory, hybrid or latex foam with a layer of soft material that is either stuffed or sewn in the cover. This adds a layer of extra softness, making your bed plusher than ever. It provides great deep compression support. If you want your bed to be super soft and cloud-like, a pillow-top mattress can be your best choice.
A pillow-top mattress is also more expensive than a simple bed, like a latex bed for instance. The additional comfort means additional cost as well.
Adjustable mattresses offer the ability to change the sleeping position of the mattress. When typically, most mattresses are flat, adjustable ones can allow inclining the back and elevating the feet. Some adjustable mattresses even have massage, heat or vibrate functionalities. Adjustable mattresses are usually a combination of an adjustable base, support foam and memory foam.
This type of mattress are mostly recommended for people with medical conditions like chronic lower back pain, snorers and older sleepers.
A waterbed is an unusual option, since most stores only sell foam-based mattresses. However, waterbeds are still sold – most of them online – to provide people with an option that is less conventional. Waterbeds are usually recommended for people with backache and arthritis, since this type of bed can help relieve back pain. It can be adjustable with settings, wherein you can adjust the wave action of the bed. There are also some that can adjust the temperature and firmness of the bed.
The budget for a mattress varies from person to person. But the good news is, you don’t need to have a lot of money to get a great bed. When it comes to mattresses, more money doesn’t always mean a better mattress. With many manufacturers building great mattresses at reasonable prices today, consumers can allot a modest budget and still get a nice and comfy bed.
Markup prices in retail stores are very inflated, ranging from 300 to 1,000% inflation. This is why it’s now more recommended to try purchasing online first. They offer high quality mattresses for around 30% of what you’d pay for in-store mattresses of a similar model.
Price doesn’t indicate good quality, especially if you’re shopping in-store. But don’t expect to get a decent queen bed if you only want to spend $500. If you’re not spending at least $500, you’re probably getting a mattress with lower quality and lower durability. A budget of $1,000 to $1,200 is ideal, but if you’re looking for bigger beds like a king bed or a California king bed, you may consider increasing your budget.
Firmness or Softness
The firmness of a mattress refers to how hard or soft the mattress feels. It’s highly subjective, as others may feel a mattress is too firm, yet it’s already slightly soft and comfortable enough for another. Most often, it’s also confused with support. However, a mattress may be soft or firm but still equally provides good support that keeps your spine in proper alignment. Firmness is more related to comfort.
The average preferred firmness level falls around 4 to 7 out of 10. Most mattresses labeled as “universal comfort” coincides with these numbers, giving sleepers the opportunity to find the right level of firmness they want.
While most mattresses use the term “universal comfort,” there are other sellers that offer other labels, such as “soft,” “medium” and “firm.” Soft and firm are for those who aren’t sure about the idea of universal comfort, and for those who like a mattress that is softer or firmer than most options. The right level of firmness of a mattress will be impacted by your primary sleeping position and your body weight, which will be discussed below.
Every person sleeps in their own way, but perhaps you might not know that there is an ideal firmness level of mattress suitable for your preferred sleeping condition? Before you buy a mattress, it’s a wise idea to choose what fits best with your usual sleeping position to prevent unnecessary body pain caused by poor mattress choices. Each sleeping position has its own ideal firmness level and needs.
You may think that it’s the most popular sleeping position, but actually it’s not. Only few sleepers start sleeping while lying on the back. With this position, the most important factor is firmness and support. Anything too soft will create pressure points, causing the body to shrink and experience back pain. You only need just the right amount of flush, around the 4-7 range (universal comfort range), in which 10 is the most firm. Any of the mattress type will be suitable for you, but memory foam can provide the highest level of comfort, since this provides just the right level of contouring to the spine while maintaining the mattress’ support and structure.
Side sleepers tend to move as they sleep – they don’t always remain on a same position once they start sleeping on a side. Some will have either legs straight, one leg bent, or both legs bent. Because of this constant movement, you need a soft to medium level of firmness, something around 3-6 (out of 10). Any mattress that is too firm won’t contour to the shape of the side sleeper, which can cause pain to the pressure points in the long run. Any mattress will do, but innersprings may have more pressure relief as compared to some latex and foam mattresses.
This is considered as the worst sleeping position, but what can we do, there are people who can’t sleep until they lie facing down. The torso will apply the most pressure to the mattress, so they need something that can give equal support across their body. If the mattress is too soft, then the sleeper may curve his/her spine, which can cause lower back pain and other problems. The body needs to be as flat as possible, considering the surface of the mattress. Anything like a tall pillow may cause misalignment in the spine that causes discomfort and pain. So, you need a mattress that is medium firm to firm – a 5 to 7 in a range of 10. Some outliers may need a slightly softer or slightly harder feel, ranging from 4 to 8. A stomach sleeper may not prefer a memory foam as it would feel suffocating, so a bed with a firmer construction would make sense. A foam mattress or a dense innerspring would be best for stomach sleepers.
Still, the firmness of the mattress you choose will depend on your preferences, but you can use this guideline to get started and to know what’s best for you.
At first glance you may think, what does weight have to do with choosing a mattress? The fact is the hug, feel, sinkage, support and even cooling that a mattress offers will be felt differently by people of different weight. You must choose a mattress that offers a specific type of firmness to create the ideal feel and support that your body needs. Again, it’s a guide and it’s still your choice – these are just guidelines to help you align your weight and preferences with the ideal mattress for you.
For this matter, let us categorize body weight as light (150 pounds or less), average, (150 to 200 pounds) and heavy (200 pounds or more).
Light sleepers (150 pounds or less)
If you want a soft bed, mattresses labeled as soft, plush, and plush soft that are in the 3-4 score out of 10 (with 10 being firmest) are great for you. You have the advantage of not sinking so deep in a foam mattress, so it becomes a good choice if you want body hugging.
If you want medium firmness, universal comfort mattresses are perfect. It’s recommended for light sleepers to choose a mattress that has 1 point less firm below what they really need. For instance, if you think you need a 7, you must go for a softer 6. It is because firmness is rated based on an average sleeper.
If you want a firmer bed, mattresses characterized as firm, like those in the 8-9 range out of 10 is a great choice. If you don’t want some balancing hug and contour, it’s the level that’s best for you.
Average sleepers (150 to 200 pounds)
If you want a soft or medium firm bed, you can choose the industry standard – the universal comfort mattress. The firmness rating is based on average sleepers, so you’re in the market sweet spot. Also, anything that is characterized as medium, medium firm, luxury firm or rated 5-7 is going to be a good fit. If you want something softer, go with the 3-5 range.
If you want a firmer bed, you can still go for the medium firm and luxury firm, depending on the feel you want. It’s safe to stay at the 7-8 range, if you want firm.
Heavy sleepers (200 pounds or more)
If you want a soft bed, you need a minimum of 4 inches comfort foam, which is only found in mattresses that are 12 inch or thicker. Getting a softer bed that hugs the body can be a bit problematic for heavy people, as heavy sleepers already sink deeper within the mattress, so the softness can amplify this further. This may mean it can be harder for a person to get out of bed. Also, a foam mattress option is better if you want a soft bed, as they provide deep compression support while bringing the soft feel you want.
If you want medium firmness, look for mattresses that have a minimum comfort layer of 4 inches to ensure support and comfort appropriate for your weight. You can get a foam mattress that is rated with 5-7 firmness. If you have cooling needs or if you want a mattress with better edge support, you may go with luxury innerspring or coil-on-coil mattress.
If you want a firmer bed, you can adjust the firmness level you’re looking for by adding 0.5 to 1 point. If you’re looking for 8, you must go for something from 8.5 to 9 range. But it is not recommended to go for more than 9 on the firmness scale.