Understanding Mattress Sizes And A Helpful Guide

When choosing the right mattress size, you may be simply replacing an existing bed, or you may be graduating up to a king, or splitting the mattresses for use with an adjustable base.

Often, transitional customers who are a bit older might buy a split twin XL set instead of a king, since future plans may lead to using an adjustable base, though many younger shoppers are buying adjustable bases too, regarding their beds as a sanctuary, or media center.

When it comes to mattresses—one size does not fit all, but we’re here to share all the information you need to make the right decision. Let’s walk through the sizes together–consider this your mattress size guide!

Here's a quick mattress size chart for reference:


Twin | 39x75 inches
Twin XL | 39x80 inches
Full | 54x75 inches
Queen | 60x80 inches
King | 76x80 inches
California King | 72x84 inches

Twin (39 x 75): The twin offers just the right amount of space for solo sleepers of any age. It’s compatible with special frames like daybeds and bunk beds, and won’t crowd even the smallest of rooms. Because of its narrow width, the twin isn’t perfect for arm stretchers or rollers, but stationary sleepers looking for something minimal and cost effective.

Twin XL (39 x 80): The twin XL offers an extra 5” in length, providing more leg room for people who are tall. We recommend the XL for snoozers—young or old—who are 5’8’’ to 6’3’’. Even shorties may want the extra length, especially if they have pets that like sleeping at the foot of the bed. The XL is often used for dorm rooms and split king setups, but it will fit in a variety of spaces. Just keep in mind that finding frames and accessories can be tricky because the XL isn’t as popular as the twin or full.

Split King (2 twin XLs): Two twin XLs walk into a bedroom…and become a split king. Basically, a split king is two twin XLs put together. This setup works well for shared beds with people who have different sleep schedules or comfort preferences. It’s also compatible with adjustable frames (with sides that move independently). These can be broken down into single parts, which simplifies moving and set up, but bear in mind that not all frames and accessories are compatible with split kings.

Full (54 x 75): The full, sometimes called double, works well in many situations. It’s small enough to fit into compact spaces, but offers just enough space for pairs. This size is a practical choice for guest rooms, as well as **co-sleeping, urbanites, parties of one, couples that don’t need a lot of space to move, growing kids, and pet parents who always save a spot for their fur babies. If you like to accessorize your bed, take into account that not every brand or style is available in this size.

Queen (60 x 80): The queen delivers more space without the overwhelming footprint of a king. It accommodates couples, co-sleepers, growing families (with kids and pets), and even lone wolves who want to roam free. Fulls and queens are a smart choice for city dwellers who want a bed that’s big enough to stretch out on, but doesn’t crowd their tiny homes. Queens and kings are among the highest selling sizes so there are plenty of sheets, frames, and accessories available at varying price points.

King (76 x 80): The king works well in big rooms and is a top pick for couples and families with extra space. The size allows sleepers to spread out—a must when sharing a bed with a restless or hot sleeper who tosses and turns, or someone who runs on a different sleep schedule. People who have (or want) human kids or pet kids will need the 76” width—it’s a luxury when the kids start enjoying your bed more than their own, trust us.

California King (72 x 84): **Contrary to popular belief, the Cal king is not bigger than a regular king. It’s the slimmer version of the king that fits more easily into small or awkward spaces (although it may be more costly and time-consuming finding accessories in this size). With the loss of 4” in width, Cal king users gain 4” in length. The width is still accommodating for singles or couples who want a little rolling room, but the extended length is the highlight. Tall people (6’0’’ and up) who need to stretch out and pets who like lying at the foot of the bed will appreciate the longer length.

**King and Cal king mattresses have different dimensions. To avoid order mixups, check the size of your existing frame (or accessories) before making a purchase. Remember: California kings, like the state, are long and narrow.

A mattress is an investment you don’t want to replace or exchange every couple years—we understand. There is no right or wrong answer to “What size mattress is best for you?” Take time to think through your current situation and where the future might lead, and you’ll find your fit! 

-Courtesy Tuft&Needle, 2018

Mattress Reviews-Understanding Mattress Types So You Know The Tricks

Mattress buying tips that will save you tons of time and money...

Need a new mattress? Experts advise replacing mattresses every seven to 10 years. If you’re not sleeping well, swap yours out in five to 10 years, says Prevention Magazine. We generally say eight years is a good marker these days, since human pieces and parts tend to accumulate on a typical mattress, skin cells for example, hair, and, well, a lot of things. Also, foam beds in generally will often lose their lively nature after 7-8 years. And because the mattress industry has typically become more efficient and competitive, it doesn't cost that much to replace a mattress.  But where to start? Likely, if you're shopping online, it's going to seem overwhelming at first. Best place to start? Narrow down your options by knowing a few general categories that mattresses fall into (tip: people these days are mostly buying hybrid mattresses)

Basically, here are the fundamental types of mattresses out there to consider:

Innerspring. You may have grown up sleeping on an innerspring mattress. It typically is the least expensive mattress type. It also is the most common, having been around the longest. Support in an innerspring mattress comes from wire coils, which also account for the familiar mattress bounce. Salespeople may say that the number of coils matters. It doesn’t. What does matter is the gauge (thickness) of the wire: The lower the number, the heavier the wire. For example, 12-gauge wire is heavier than 14-gauge. Heavier gauge coils make a firmer mattress. Thinner coils produce a springier mattress.

Memory foam. Memory foam isn’t springy. Its heat sensitivity makes it conform to your body, making it a good choice for people who are in pain. It can take time to grow accustomed to this different feel, though. What’s more, foam products differ one from the other. Density is important to a firm base layer, with a cushier and softer top layer to allow your body to nestle and distribute weight properly. If you like a tucked in feel, it's a great option.

Latex and gel. Latex mattresses have a firmness similar to memory foam but springier and without lag time.When you move, the latex kind of moves you along, instantly responding to body movement. Latex is sold as a hypoallergenic product, but only if it's all natural and not synthetic. One interesting characteristic is its ability to make you feel like you are above your bed, and not in it. Latex devotees are fiercely loyal to it, and they say once you go to latex, you don't go back. 

Gel foams are jelly like, or combinations of memory foam and gel type materials. They are body conforming and a bit jiggly, but can be very supportive and excellent at relieving pressure. Also, some mattresses have a layer of moldable, more flexible gel that’s supposed to make the bed breathe and feel cooler. 

Digital Air Beds. Adjustable-air mattress let you control your mattress’s firmness by adding air or deflating it. These mattresses often contain layers of additional material, too. Excellent when you have a couple who have totally different sleep habits. Sleep Number makes the most sophisticated line of modern day digital air beds with lots of options.

Shopping for a mattress can feel confusing — with all the types, costs, whistles and bells — it’s worth spending some time to shop thoughtfully. Here’s our down and dirty 12 point guide on how to get a great bed at a most excellent price..

1. SHOP IN STORES, AT LEAST TO START-GET A FEEL FOR WHAT'S OUT THERE, THEN SHOP ONLINE

You may eventually buy a mattress online. But because mattress preferences are so personal, no amount of online research can substitute for the experience of trying out mattresses in a store.

After zeroing in on what you want, do some comparison shopping online.

2. FIND THE MATTRESS YOU WANT BEFORE IT’S ON SALE

Mattress shopping during a sale can be frustrating and difficult if you haven’t done your research first. Stores are crowded. Salespeople are busy and distracted. Shopping online can be frustrating. Take your time finding the mattress you like and then pounce on a sale price. Use the links we have on our site, throughout the pages. They will typically take you to a deal on the mattress we're recommending.

3. TRY BEDDING SPECIALTY STORES

Often, salespeople in stores specializing in bedding may be most attentive, Consumer Reports found, in a study by their team. CR researchers found shopping in department stores less satisfying. Online shopping will be a bit more detached, of course, since you can't wheel and deal with the sales team or sample the product before you buy...but..it is highly competitive in the web mattress marketplace, so most of the time, you're going to get a killer deal. You're also likely to get a bulletproof return policy as well.

4. BE SKEPTICAL OF PILLOW-TOPS

Mattresses with pillow-top layers can give you a false comfort reading because they can mash down quickly after purchase, Good Housekeeping says. Another downside: Pillow-tops are thicker, requiring the purchase of new “high-profile” or “deep-pocket” sheets.

5. BRING YOUR PARTNER

Don’t delegate your mattress shopping to someone else. If two of you will be sharing the mattress, both of you should test the options in stores.

6. DON’T BUY SALES HYPE

Consumer Reports cautions against being sucked into paying lots for fancy features, saying that years of testing have shown that all but the cheapest are sturdy. Keep it simple, typically the basic model, or original model that the company first designed is the one to go with, especially if you are shopping online. The upgraded model with the mint green layer may not be worth the higher price.

7. ASK ABOUT PRODUCTS NOT ON THE SALES FLOOR

Brick and mortar stores tend to use their display space for higher-end products. If you find something you like, ask if you can see a lower-end model. Believe it or not, online stores will often have boxed deals also, say for mattresses that were sent back, without ever being opened or touch. Ask in an online chat.

8. PAY ATTENTION TO THE WARRANTY

Most manufacturers’ defects are evident within the first year, according to Good Housekeeping. After that much time passes, defects are difficult to prove anyway. So, one hundred year warranties are kind of "meh", but a good 10-20 year deal on the warranty is decent. 

The advantage of shopping online for a mattress these days is that the bedding business has become so competitive and so crowded that it gives the buyer some definite edges. Every company has there own unique product, their own recipe if you will, but what they don't necessarily have is the most important part of the equation. And, it bulletproofs you from getting stuck with a mattress that sucks. The trial period is by far the best safety net when buying online. Used to be, when you bought a mattress at a brick and mortar store, once you left, you owned it. Not anymore. A solid warranty is now becoming pretty commonplace in most online e-tailers programs. We recommend a warranty of at least 10 years, covering any defect or damage to the bed. Actually, a 20 year warranty is pretty typical, with a 10 year free replacement component, and the backside 10 years being prorated, with a little less coverage on the bed from year 11-20. We'd say 20 year minimum, although it isn't uncommon these days to see lifetime warranties on a lot of beds out there.

Also, Look for companies that are BBB A+ rated companies, and display the live link logo. If you can’t find these on a company’s web site, you shouldn’t really be shopping there, in our opinion. Beware of strangely unheard certifications on web sites too, like “TrustDoctor” or “Certified by The American Foam Institute”, often creative graphic design by the owner of the web site, and not a genuine third party organization. Honestly, BBB and Consumer Reports are the only two organizations that are truly vetted and believable. Good luck!

9. LOOK FOR A LIBERAL TRIAL PERIOD AND RETURN POLICY

Buy from a store that offers “comfort returns,” meaning that you can return the mattress if you’re unhappy for any reason, though you may need to pay a fee. Before buying, understand exactly how the return policy works. Most sites are offering 90-120 day trial periods and free return shipping if you simply don't like it, don't want to talk about it, just want your money back. And competition between online stores for the best trial period is fierce. We say look for at least a 90 day trial. Most new owners are going to know within a couple of nights, but we recommend giving your body at least 3-4 weeks to adapt to a new sleep surface. 

10. BUY A NEW PILLOW, TOO

With a new mattress, “the gap between your head and shoulders will change with the change in mattress firmness,  Definitely pair your mattress purchase with a new pillow or three...look for companies that throw in pillows for free. We've found that people who ask for free pillows with their new mattress often get them.

11. HAGGLE AND BARGAIN

Mattress retailers typically mark up prices four to 12 times over the cost of producing the mattress, BuzzFeed says. With margins like these, there’s room for you to bargain, and you should — even during a sale. If you can’t get a lower price, ask for nonmonetary perks, like new pillows or bedding thrown in. This would apply to retail brick and mortar stores. Online, again, you're going to get a great deaL due to the heat of the compeition.

12. SKIMP ON THE BOX SPRINGS-MOST OF THE TIME THEY'RE A RIPOFF

Focus your money on a good mattress and don’t feel obliged to buy an expensive box spring. Ask if the less-expensive box springs can be substituted for the one shown with the mattress you like. Get a simple platform, with either 3" wide slates spaced no more than 3" apart, or some kind of solid "hardtop" foundation.

 

The Difference Between Natural Latex And Synthetic Blends Of Latex?

Is the latex 100% natural or is it a blend ?

100% Pure Latex - No clay fillers, no chemical dyes, no pesticides, no bleach, and no carcinogenic adhesives.

Several retailers on the web and otherwise make the claim that their latex mattresses are produced with 100% latex; however, even man-made synthetic latex can be considered "100% latex". Just as you probably know there is a lot of leeway given in the labeling of food ingredients, the same holds true in the advertising of latex mattresses. There is a difference between blended "100% latex" and pure 100% natural latex however. 100% natural latex is known to be inherently more elastic and resilient, expanding and better conforming to the various levels of weight and pressure it is exposed to.

While blended latex (a combination of natural and synthetic latex) is what is mostly used in mattresses, the feel is a less-lively one that doesn't have the same "kickback" or resilience, but instead provides less response to pressure and weight aside from passively absorbing it. Blended latex is also widely perceived to be less durable and more prone to break down over time. In most cases blended latex contains about 30-40% natural latex, with the remaining 60-70% being synthetic latex and/or fillers. You may be content with a blended latex mattress, but when shopping, be sure you're comparing apples to apples.

Mattress Industry Trends

The mattress industry has been going through a significant change in the last few years. In part, this change has been driven by the changing demographics of the mattress customer. As baby boomers have been getting older, they are looking at ways to keep themselves feeling younger and more energetic. They are far more willing to try new products than their parents before them, especially with more personal items like mattresses.

This trend has been driving other industries as well, notably the weight loss and plastic surgery industries. But over the last few years there has been a significant growth in the sleep industry, and the mattress industry as a whole has shifted significantly to try to give a more comfortable and luxurious sleep experience.

What has this meant to you, the consumer? Over the past few years, there has been an internet explosion as people have become more comfortable with ordering larger ticket items on the internet.

With the ability to vacuum package and ship a mattress on a FedEx or UPS truck, an entire industry has stormed the web. There are new companies selling pure latex mattresses such as Habitat Furnishings, Zenhaven, Plushbeds, and others. There are also companies like Casper, OnPurple, Loom &Leaf, FCO Homegoods, and others, offering hybrid mattresses made using a variety of innovative materials.

Some of these companies have not been around very long, so I always advise buyers to consider purchasing a mattress from companies that have been around for 10 years of more to make sure they stand the test of time, and can service your warranty and return issue down the line.

Some of the big players, like Tempur-Pedic, Select Comfort, Simmons, Sealy, and Serta, continue to innovate, though their products tend to be far more expensive than beds made of equal quality by much smaller, boutique style manufacturers. When you see the advertising that is always chasing us around the internet for these products, you need to be aware that the consumer pays for the cost of these ads.

A lot of the smaller companies riding the coattails of these corporate behemoths are merely catching the breadcrumbs left by the big players, and that in and of itself is a huge marketplace.

The trend now is the tightening of prices for a decent mattress. The healthy competition in the industry has led to a much more comfortable price point for many of these mattresses. It is easy to spend $700-800 on a queen size mattress and get something that is really decent that will last.

High end bedding is still available for consumption, though. Companies like Hastens, and even American lines, like the Simmons Black series, have price tags of $5,000 and up. Select Comfort sells their higher end digital air bed models for $5,000 and more.

Innovative And Healing Ingredients Used In Mattress Design

There are so many great new and fresh technologies being developed in the mattress industry, largely driven by consumer interest in sleep hygiene and health, that it’s hard to keep up with the exploding category of hybrid mattresses. Hybrid mattresses are those made using several different kinds of components, each offering unique benefits to the user, sometimes with quite exotic ingredients.

One such exotic ingredient is copper, which is known as a healing substance both in dietary uses, and when in contact with the body, such as copper healing bracelets and other objects.

Several innovative mattress companies are experimenting with infusing copper into such materials as natural latex, offering immediate body contact or closeness to the element itself.

Copper reduces inflammation caused by arthritis, relieves pain, increases energy levels, and helps with a host of other medical issues.

Aluminum is also being infused into specialized memory foam layers to deflect heat, making mattresses far more comfortable for hot sleepers.

The fabrics used in the outer covering of mattresses are also becoming very innovative as well. Natural fabrics such as bamboo fiber, wool, and others offer a chemical free alternative to the vastly growing eco-friendly and environmentally conscious marketplace. Also, advanced heat reducing fabrics such as Tencil, and other reflective materials are rapidly gaining popularity as well.

Finally, there has been a fair amount of growth lately in the adjustable bedding area. This used to primarily be an institutional market product for the elderly or bed bound. Now manufacturers see a huge area of growth with younger markets, as well as the aging yet physically active baby boomer market.

It seems many manufacturers are reinventing the adjustable bed category, with prices starting in the $600-700 range for a queen size adjustable bed, with many models offering sleek features like LED under lighting, massage, sophisticated fabrics, and other options.

These models are sleeker, more family oriented, with high tech connectivity to smart phones, and ergonomic remote controls, and look like anything but the old school “hospital bed” that moved up and down.

Also, the American culture has been shifting to a more health conscious ethos, with emphasis placed on getting proper restorative sleep, putting in your eight hours, and having a quality mattress. Eagerness to explore new kinds of mattresses is also on an uptick, with the industry strongly suggesting that the average consumer replace their mattress every eight years or so.

Gone are the days when couples would buy a mattress and keep them for the duration of their marriage, or even their lives, thanks to an aggressive, and competitive marketplace with many new and innovative ideas about sleep and bedding in general.

The Difference Between Dunlop And Talalay Latex Enhanced

 

Talalay Frothing Process - Produces a much Higher Quality Latex foam as the Weaker Air Bubbles are Removed.

Which is better, talalay latex or dunlop latex? The relevant question is not as much about which is better as it is about where and how it's being used in the mattress. When latex is derived from the hevea brasiliensis tree, it has the consistence of maple syrup. There are 2 primary processes used to transform it to the latex foam used in mattresses; the talalay process and the dunlop process.

To spare you the technical details, the dunlop process produces a latex foam that is more dense, while the talalay process produces a latex foam that is lighter and has more air in it. If we use cake as an analogy, dunlop would be like pound cake and talalay would be like angel food cake. If you were to weigh each as latex cores, the dunlop would be heaver because it has more latex in it.

As a top comfort layer of a mattress, talalay is typically preferred because it is less dense which provides better pressure relief. As a mattress core however, dunlop is preferred because it's dense cell structure will hold the shape of the mattress better over time & will be less prone to sagging or indentations.

Nine out of every ten "natural latex mattresses" advertised are made solely of 100% dunlop latex, which is fine if you're a back sleeper and prefer a firmer feel; however, studies show a top layer of talalay latex does a better job of relieving trigger points in your hips and shoulders, especially if you're a side sleeper. The optimal latex mattress design would be a 100% natural dunlop core, which is denser to prevent sagging, with a 100% natural talalay top layer for better pressure relief.

Return Policies- Are they All The Same?

 Not all Return Policies are the Same

Questions You Should Be Asking

If you aren't satisfied with the mattress, do you have to ship it back yourself or will they pick it up? Is there a cap on your return costs, and can you get it in writing?

Hopefully you'll choose the right latex mattress the first time around, and will sleep happily ever after. But what if you don't? What are your return options? What are your return costs? Will the company tell you up front? How many days do you have to try the mattress (60 days is acceptable, 90 would be better)?

Does the company have a comfort exchange policy or is your only solution to send the mattress back? Will the company come and pick up the mattress or are you responsible for shipping it back to the company? Many companies tell you they will "take the mattress back" within a certain time period, but fail to mention that it's up to you to get it there. It typically costs $300-$475 to ship a used mattress one-way across the country.

Are you responsible for just the return shipping or the shipping costs both ways? Is there a cap on what those costs are? What does "like new condition" really mean, and is it possible to be in "like new condition" after sleeping on it for 30 nights?

Read the fine print, as what seems too good to be true, usually is. There's an old adage, "What the bold print giveth, the fine print taketh away". While you should never expect a complete refund if you damaged a mattress you're returning, look for fine print that leaves the amount of your refund to the discretion of the company, as there have been many occasions where customers are charged hundreds of dollars because of ordinary use being claimed as mattress damage. Expect to pay something for returning a mattress. Anything that promises otherwise might be too good to be true.

Read the fine print of the return policy. If the return policy is vague or can be interpreted more than one way, inquire and get it in writing before making your purchase.

A Quick Guide To Mattress Options For Restless And Hot Sleepers

Have you ever dreamt that you are being tossed around the ship in a violent storm, only to wake and realise that it was just your partner rolling over, again? If you skip off to bed before your partner, do you secretly wince moments before they join you, knowing that your semi-somnolence is about to end abruptly as they seemingly catapult themselves into what was once a still and peaceful space? Do you suffer pangs of guilt because (you love your partner, BUT...) you wish they slept on their own bed?

If you answer yes to any of the above questions, you’re not alone. Many people suffer from partner related sleep disturbances. The good news is there are some wonderful mattresses available today that specifically address these issues, enabling you to enjoy a wonderful night’s sleep once again.

Let’s look at some of the issues pertaining to sleeping partner disturbances and find a way of choosing the best mattress to avoid this, as well as finding potentially a more comfortable night’s sleep for your partner, too.

Pocket Spring Mattresses
Mattresses with multi-zone pocket springs or unlinked pocket springs are a fantastic choice to eliminate partner disturbances for two main reasons:

  • they offer individual support, providing  greater comfort, so there is less tossing and turning
  • they eliminate movement throughout the entire bed as the springs aren’t linked 

Pocket Spring Mattress Support

Pocketed coil beds improve the level of contouring around the body, offering adequate amount of support where your body needs this, eliminating pain or pressure.

A lack of support may cause discomfort in any part of your body. For example, pain in your hips, shoulders, lower back or neck can cause you to involuntarily move throughout the night to alleviate the pain or stiffness. Then once you move the situation is repeated all over again as there just isn’t adequate support. To further inflame the situation, all this discomfort and unrest upsets the other sleeping partner, and so the unhappy cycle continues. 

Eliminating movement throughout the bed
Unlike our recommended Pocket Spring Mattresses, if you have a mattress with a coil spring system that is linked, any movement on the bed is relayed to the adjoining springs, creating movement right across the mattress, giving unpleasant movement that disturbs your partner’s sleep.

Latex mattresses
Another popular option to eliminate partner sleep disturbances is latex. Many people describe latex mattresses as being “supremely comfortable”. They are dense and yet comforting to lie on. Latex is a natural product; is relatively affordable; gives that wonderful ‘sinking into a heavenly cushion’ feel, yet is easy to move around in, making a latex rubber mattress an extremely popular choice. Latex also has the advantage of being hypo-allogenic, antimicrobial and resistant to dust mites. There are many different types of latex though: some are 100% latex, while others are a mixture. It pays to find out what type of latex is in your mattress, as the composition will have an effect on the type of support it offers.

Understanding mattress components
Many people choose a mattress compiled of several layers. The main components are the support and comfort components. For example, to minimise partner disturbance, you may choose a mattress that has a pocket spring base and then choose a mattress with a comfort component that gives the desired amount of comfort and support that you need.

Once again latex is a popular option as a comfort component. Alternatively you might choose memory foam. Memory foam is renowned for that delightful ‘sleeping on a cloud’ feeling where you are literally enveloped by surrounding foam. It moulds around your body and is very useful for those suffering pressure point pain or hip and shoulder pain. Other components that create comfort are made of substances such as gel, Dacron or wool to provide either a soft, plush feel or a firmer feel. 

Hot sleepers
Temperature is certainly an issue to consider when it comes to partner disturbance. If your partner throws off a lot of heat when they sleep, a bed that holds the heat may not be the best option. Theoretically speaking, latex is reputed to get hot, however, many people report otherwise. Once again, it’s important to spend time on the mattress yourself, along with your partner, and take notice of how much of the heating effect is created.

Gel toppers are extremely popular for “hot sleepers” because they have a cool surface which reduces heat build-up, allowing a cooler and more comfortable sleep. If you sleep in a hot climate, this is another reason to investigate gel toppers for your new bed.

Specialty Or Hybrid Mattresses - The Fastest Growing Segment Of The Mattress Industry

 

Specialty bedding refers to anything outside of the standard innerspring mattress. While this is a fairly new term, specialty bedding has been around a long time -- starting with latex mattresses back in the 40's and 50's (Sears made a latex mattress back then that people still talk about), and continuing through the waterbed craze of the 60's and 70's (although these old waterbeds are very different than the technologically superior waterbeds available today).

But while specialty bedding has been out there a long time, it hasn't been till the past 10 - 15 years that it has become a substantial part of the bedding market. It has become so significant, in fact, that specialty bedding now is the fastest growing segment of the mattress industry.

And the acknowledged leader in the specialty bedding industry is Tempur-Pedic®. Tempur-Pedic® has grown into the fourth largest mattress manufacturer in the U.S., and its success has spawned a host of competitors. Memory foam, an esoteric product 15 years ago, is now available in every leading brand and is becoming a huge import from China as well. What you need to know, though, is that memory foam can vary tremendously in quality and comfort.

While memory foam is the largest segment of the specialty bedding market, the fastest growing trend is in latex. Latex has been gaining a great deal of market share in Europe for some time, but only lately has it become a growing trend in the U.S. Recently Sealy has made a huge investment in latex, setting up their own manufacturing facilities. It remains to be seen, however, if Sealy or any other manufacturer will pour money into advertising latex in the way Tempur-Pedic® has done (over $100 million dollars in advertising a couple of years back).

The other segment of the specialty mattress industry that has grown rapidly over the last few years has been the air bed industry. Largely driven by Select Comfort, air beds are currently the 2nd largest segment of specialty bedding. But with Select Comfort facing serious financial difficulties (their stock has gone down 80% or so over the last few years), air beds popularity may have peaked. It remains to be seen whether Select Comfort can right the ship and continue to find the money to fund its advertising that drives its sales.

Air beds are complex compared to other mattresses, with moving parts (pumps), bladders and all sorts of other comfort layers. Technologically they are the most confusing, and quality can vary tremendously. So it is important to know what to look for when buying an air bed. If you are interested in an air bed because you like the flexibility they offer (you can change the firmness of your sleep surface at the flick of a switch).

Save On A Mattress By Passing On The Upgraded Mattress Ticking

 

The "ticking" of a mattress is its outside covering. On a traditional mattress, this ticking is sewn. On many of the newer specialty mattresses (memory foam beds, air beds, latex mattresses) the ticking is a zippered cover.

In either case, one of the latest trends is to add a fancy ticking in order to position a mattress as a higher end model. The range of these upgraded tickings is huge. From silk and cashmere to Cool Max and other temperature regulating textiles, aloe or vegetable infused materials, and even tickings embedded with small magnets or elemental copper.

And all these claim to have some sort of benefit for the sleeper: silk and cashmere to help you sleep cooler and add comfort, aloe for its health benefits (although I have to admit I'm fuzzy on what these are), coolmax to help you sleep cooler (used a lot on memory foam beds), and the magnets supposedly to create a more "natural" magnetic field that is healing for sleep purposes.

Are these claims valid? Boy, I have to say I'm skeptical about most, if not all, these claims. First and foremost, most people use a mattress protector or mattress pad over their mattress to protect it. So people almost never sleep with their sheets right on top of the ticking anyway. I'm pretty skeptical that you continue to get the benefit of the aloe, cashmere, silk or coolmax through a 1/4 thick mattress pad. As for the magnets, I am just generally skeptical on the health claims here, although I'm not saying it might not offer a benefit (for some general information on this, Google "magnetic mattress therapy"). But how comfortable is it to sleep on hard pieces of magnets sprinkled throughout your bed?

Bottom line -- if you will be using a mattress pad or mattress protector over your mattress, you can save a lot of money by buying the same mattress (with all the same innards) and foregoing the fancy cover. I can't say you will always have this option, but in many cases there will be very comparable mattresses which differ only in the cover (and their price).

Adjustable Beds -- The Hottest Trend in the Mattress Industry Is Turning Bedrooms Into Sanctuaries And Media Centers For Families

 

The International Sleep Products Association (ISPA) just had their bi-annual show in North Carolina, and from what I hear the biggest trend at the show was adjustable beds.

And this makes sense. As I talked about before, with the boomer demographic just starting to hit retirement age, they are spending more and more money on sleep. And while the mattress industry has responded to this desire to be pampered by creating more and more luxurious beds, they see a huge and growing market in providing an elevated sleep experience through an adjustable bed.

These new adjustable beds aren't your father's - while you can still find the traditional Craftmatic adjustable beds for $1000 - 2000, the newer entrants to the adjustable bed category can be stratospherically expensive -- topping out with the new top of the line Hollandia Adjustable Bed from Israel that comes in at $50,000.

While I haven't tried out the Hollandia myself to see what a $50,000 bed feels like, it does illustrate that the mattress industry sees a new market for high end adjustable beds.

The report I hear back from ISPA is that there were a tremendous amount of companies showing adjustable beds. Some with the traditional decks that support the bed and move, and some using Euro slat foundations that move. The hottest brand by far is L&P, or Leggett and Platt. Offering a multitude of styles, their reputation for service and warranty coverage, the quality of the steel chassis built into the mechanism of their product, and the fact that they've been around for 100 years, speaks to their popularity.

If you are interested in an adjustable bed, you should soon see a much wider variety of styles and options available at local stores, but online, they are available through most popular bedding sites. I would expect them to not only show up at mattress retailers, but also high end furniture stores and back specialty stores. The pricing may vary tremendously, so check around and see what types you like (the classic firm decked adjustable beds vs the Euro slat options) and also the range of adjustability they offer. You may also want to compare how quickly they adjust and how noisy they are.

Mattress Buying Tips - Getting The Most For Your Money

 

With All These Choices, How Can You Get The Most From Your Money?

As I've spent time researching the mattress industry, I've come across some insider's secrets on buying a mattress. Unfortunately, the mattress industry remains very opaque -- and purposefully so. The last thing many in the industry want is for customers to be able to easily compare mattresses from differing retailers. And since mattress manufacturers are able to easily change model names and numbers (unlike the car industry), it has long been industry practice for manufacturers to rename a model for different retailers (a practice I talk about in more detail on the MATTRESS SCAMS page of this site..

But even given the barriers that the mattress industry throws up to keep consumers from comparison and price shopping, there are some ways to shop smarter to make sure you are getting the best possible deal.

 

Recommendations

Though we do not review individual products on this site, you'll notice banner ads that we provide to guide you to recommended sites that we believe offer a great product, solid customer support, and a well organized web site. If you want specific tips on buying the type of mattresses you can check out the in-depth information we offer on our reviews of general product categories. You,ll  be a much better educated consumer and hopefully much more likely to end up with a mattress that gives you the comfort you are looking for by taking some of the simple tips we offer and put them into practice!

Mattress Reviews -- Are They A Scam, Or Can Certain Types Of Reviews Help You Find The Most Comfortable Mattress For You?

 


After reading what only seemed to be positive reviews for every mattress I researched on various web sites, I finally asked myself "Are all these reviews real? And even if they are, are they so 'cherry picked' that they just aren't giving a real idea of how well people really liked this mattress?"

It didn't help that different stores called the same exact mattress by different names. It made comparing mattresses almost impossible.

After spending a lot of time scouring the web, I did finally come across some review information that seemed credible. And after looking at all sort of reviews, I came up with a process that I found helpful for sorting though all the different types and makes of mattress to narrow it down to ones I really felt might work best for me.

Using this process really helped me step back from all marketing hype that permeates the mattress world that I found sort of overwhelming and confusing. It allowed me to step back and look at the forest level, rather than the confusing tree level, to first see which general types of mattresses might offer the most comfort and best fit for my needs. And then once I had a handle on this, I could plunge in to the tree level and begin sorting through the specific mattresses of this general type.

Here is the process that I came up with, and I hope it will help you break through all the confusion and hype to find the mattress that would be the best match for you and what you find comfortable.

First, I found that getting a general lay of the land gave me a much better feel of which types of mattresses get rated the highest in terms of reviews. This looking at the "forest" level got me away from specific reviews that I didn't necessarily think were real, and instead, allowed me to take a step back and see which general types of mattresses I might want to explore more deeply.

One site that stood out was Sleep Like The Dead. Even though they take advertising from different mattress retailers, they don't have any specific sponsor -- their advertising comes from a wide variety of mattress retailers carrying all sorts of types of mattresses. So they don't have a reason to fudge the general review comparisons that they show.

Also, they offer a page which details the owner satisfaction of different types of mattresses. The site says their data is based on responses from over 15,226 actual owners. I didn't come across any other site that had this sort of broad basis for its research.

What did they find in their research? What was striking was that the types of mattresses which I am drawn to for their feel (memory foam, latex mattresses, and air beds) all had much higher overall satisfaction ratings than innerspring mattresses. The actual results were: Innerspring -- owner satisfaction 61%, Latex (I'm guessing this combines synthetic and natural latex) -- owner satisfaction 78%, Air -- owner satisfaction 79%, and Memory Foam -- owner satisfaction 81%.

I thought this was striking. While Latex, Memory Foam and Air Beds were very closely rated, Innersprings were rated over 20% lower than any of these.

It also reinforced what I felt from trying out mattresses in stores. This "new generation" of mattresses just offers more comfort than springs. Even the manufacturers of innersprings seem to agree -- they now routinely incorporate memory foam or latex to try to capture some of the comfort that these alternatives offer. This layering on comfort layers is the reason that innerspring mattresses have grown from the 6" thick ones of my childhood to ones routinely 13"+ that feel like you need some rope and pitons to be able to climb into at night.

So looking broadly at the vast variety of mattress types out there, the lay of the land seemed pretty clear to me. Based both on what I felt as well as the consensus of mattress owners of all types -- this new generation of mattresses, Memory Foam, Latex and Air Beds, offered more comfort than sleeping on a bed that had hard steel as its core.

Now for getting to the "tree" level of inspection -- how to find help sorting through these different options. And this is where I found it got pretty hit and miss -- mostly miss.

One thing I love about the internet is that I can find independent reviews that really help me understand how a product or service really works. The best are reviews that aren't edited heavily, have a lot of detail, and truly seem to represent all sides of the question in a matter-of-fact way.

Amazon is my favorite for this, and often the first place I do research on generic-type products widely available on the web. The problem with mattresses is that they aren't generic -- they come from all sorts large and small mattress retailers, and the reviews on Amazon don't cover most of these and ignore many of the larger brands. For example, Tempur-Pedic TM isn't covered at all on Amazon, despite it being the leading brand for memory foam and the 4th largest mattress manufacturer in the U.S.

So here's what I did. I did a basic Google search for each of these mattress types, and looked over the first few top listings for each.

What I found was generally disappointing. Although most of the dealers had reviews, they were all too often just "cherry picked" ones. They weren't like the Amazon reviews which provide a large database of unbiased and largely unedited reviews with stats on the reviews in general (What % liked and would recommend the mattress? How many overall stars did it earn? etc.), along with complete access to all the reviews - even the not-so-good ones.

A very few did offer these sorts of detailed, unbiased reviews, though. And I found these to be really helpful in getting a feel for how a particular mattress actually worked for real people sleeping on it at home -- and not just how it felt for a few minutes lying down in a store.

Two examples of dealers providing these sorts of Amazon style reviews are our sponsors -- and this is one of the reasons I feel so comfortable referring people to them. You will find more information about them, Healthy Foundations and Habitat Furnishings, on our specific buying guides for the different types of mattresses.

So ... my advice, based on my experience researching mattresses, is first: figure out at the "forest level" which of those owner-preferred mattresses -- Memory Foam, Latex, and Air Beds -- may be the best fit for you. To help you with this part of the process, I have put together our buying guides. My hope is that by reading through these guides, you will get a good sense of the benefits that these different types of mattresses have to offer and which might be a good fit for you.

The next step of the process is at the "tree level". You will now need to investigate in more detail any of the mattress types that appeal to you. Regardless of who you buy from, the detail their customers put in their reviews will really help you get a good idea of what people like, and don't like, about Memory Foam and All Natural Latex. Then, after reading through 6 - 12 of these reviews, I think you will get a very good idea of whether the type of feel and comfort these mattresses provide might be the type of feel that you are looking for.

As for the other sites which only offer a list of selected reviews, you will have to judge for yourself if they really represent an unbiased sample or just a "cherry picked" bunch meant to give a good impression of the mattress. One thing I consider when looking at these is the return policy of the retailer. If they don't offer one, or just a store credit, then they have no incentive to provide accurate overall reviews.

But a retailer offering a good and real money back trial has every reason not to overly pump up their products. Because if they do oversell, they would just be shooting themselves in the foot since they would have to incur the expense of taking back a bunch of mattresses from dissatisfied customers.

 So, again, forgetting whether you might ultimately purchase from the companies whose banner ads are visible on our site, the information in the articles is a treasure trove of great detail for you as a researcher into how these particular types of mattresses, Hybrids, Coil, Digital Air Beds, Memory Foam or Latex, work for a broad cross section of ordinary mattress users.

But before you skip to this step (at the "tree level"), I really hope you will take a few minutes to look over my buying guides to help you navigate your way through the "forest". They should give you a good orientation to these specialty type mattresses, and from there you can go on to do the more detailed research on specific mattresses. Here, again, are the buying guides I've put together: