most Retailers won't make our list...The few that do are Carefully Screened By Our Team Of BEdding Industry CEO's that know the business...to make sure you won't get scammed!

We're the web's most established mattress review site, having been online far longer than any other web site offering "reviews" of bedding and related products. Because we have been mattress designers, manufacturers, and customer service reps ourselves, we know how to sort through the tangled web of mattress e-tailers and storefronts, to weed out the bad, and offer up to you an exclusive list of curated retailers we'd buy beds from..ourselves. Scroll down to see links to our favorite retailers, by category, and we'll even provide a quick abstract about each of these outstanding retailers. Note that we hand select each store, and review each business thoroughly before jurying them into our final selection process, and then elevation to the Our Dealers page. To be fully transparent, we do want to say that because our selection of retailers have affiliate programs in place, we may receive a small compensation for any mattress sales made. These payments are used to maintain the cost of this web site. Scroll down to get started.

 

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The most exclusive list on any mattress review site- absolutely free!

Take a look at who we recommend below. To be included in this list, dealers must demonstrate excellence and customer satisfaction at an elite level of performance. In fact, companies beg us to be positioned on this page. And honestly, we're not really in this for the money. We're retired mattress executives who've already made our mark, and in we're the business of helping people. We look for companies that are BBB rated, have affiliation with genuine, third party review sites, do not post their own cherry picked reviews, and are established businesses that utilize components and materials, including adhesives and textiles, that we are familiar with and would recommend for use with our own children or families. We look at the age and experience of the company owners and production managers. In fact, we even evaluate the fabrication facilities where bedding manufacturers have product fulfilled by third party operators, whether based in California or Massachusetts, in all 50 states in fact. To be included on this list, we utilize a proprietary algorithm which selects sixteen parameters to meet our standards of acceptance and to provide our MBG score of 1-5. If you don't see a dealer you are interested in, it may be that we have simply not added them to our list at this time. A score of less than three is below our threshold of excellence and disqualifies the manufacturer/dealer. A rating of 4 is considered excellent, and a rating of 5 indicates mastery of the following data points:

1. Quality and caliber of materials utilized. Includes analysis of polyurethane foam and latex foam sources, coil apparatus if applicable, outer encasement textiles and materials, adhesives (water based or VOC), thorough descriptions and illustrations of products on web site, including full disclosure of interior diagrams and specs to consumers, use of fire socks and FR barriers, roll pack equipment and brand used in third party facilities (C-3 machines, for example, which don't damage pre-rolled beds) and much more. Whether or not the manufacturer is importing their raw materials and other factors are included. Our parameters are so in depth, that many dealers we evaluate may not be fully aware of processes and equipment that we have information regarding. 

2. Number of models in the dealer program. Generally, 1-3 models provides enough variation and options for the typical consumer to choose from. Retailers offering large numbers of models tend to have production issues, and also tend to not have one or two popular or reliable options. We do tend to favor one model lineups when up selling is used as an obvious marketing ploy.

3. Turn around time for fabrication, production and delivery to consumer. We look for 5-12 days from the day you place your order for a bed until the day you receive it as a good marker. Condition and level of professionalism at third party fabrication locations. We maintain communication with over 25 third party fabrication houses in the U.S. at any moment.

4. Use of third party review sites, with accessible links to programs that take you away from the retailers site or offer validation that the reviews shown on the retail site are not hand picked reviews, or "fake" reviews.

5. Warranty, trial periods, liberal return policies. We examine these aspects to determine longevity and durability of product, and the willingness of the retailer to provide 100% satisfaction.

 

A Group Of Mattress Industry CEO's, 25 Years Of Mattress Design Experience And A Drill Instructor Mentality When It Comes To Excellence. Our Portfolio Of Online Retailers Offer Great Beds At The Right Price... And Keep You From Getting Scammed.

 

Brand       Type        Soft V Firm      Height     Trial    warranty   cost:q     Mbg rating     shop

Amore          Foam Hybrid      Medium Firm              12"         100 Nights        20 Years            $850                         4                   Buy    

Bear             Memory Foam    Medium Firm              10"          100 Nights       10 Years              840                         4                   Buy 

Brooklyn      Foam Hybrid      Medium Plush           11.5"        120 Nights       10 Years              949                         4                    Buy

Crave            Latex/Coil            Medium                    12"          100 Nights       10 Years              1050                       4                    Buy   

Dreamcloud    Foam Hybrid       Medium                   15"          365 Nights       Life                    1599                       5                    Buy

Eco-Terra    Latex/Coil Hybrid   Medium                    11"          90 Nights         15 Years             899                         3                    Buy

Happi-Bed     Memory Foam      Medium Plush           9"           100 Nights        Life                   700                         5                   Buy

Helix              Coil Hybrid         Medium Firm            10"           100 Nights       10 Years            995                         3                    Buy

 

List In Progress 7-18-18**********

 

 

 

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Our personal favorite, The Puffy Mattress has been designed and developed by the Puffy Company, created with the simple idea of providing a mattress to the people that is universally comfortable and gives a feeling like you are sleeping on a "bed of clouds". After 4 years of research, foam formulations, development, sleep trials, and countless hours of perfecting the foam layers, the Puffy mattress was crafted and developed to ensure a sleep surface that will be perfect for a deep, restorative sleep. Using high end components including a beaded gel foam, a high density memory foam layer (not he cheap stuff), and excellent support foam underneath, the company believes that they have crafted the perfect sleep system that will provide a comfortable sleep to sleepers of all ages, sizes, and sleeping habits- and we agree.  Puffy has accomplished its goal by managing to create a mattress that feels like a cloud when you lay on it. We like it, and if Ellen likes it, my guess is it's got to be good. And, she's from our hometown, as well. -MBG  

 

When athletes and sleep scientists get together, we've found that there's more innovation in mattress designs that they create. That's definitely the case with The Molecule Mattress. Active people need more support and airflow than traditional egg-crate or typical polyurethane foam mattresses can deliver, like Casper, Tuft&Needle and other brands that offer fairly simply designed foam beds. The Ergonomically-engineered Molecule features a meticulously-engineered matrix of hexagon-and diamond-shaped channels that respond to your unique anatomy and promote airflow even at the deepest depression points. You awake refreshed with relief from sore muscles and joints. The fabric used on the outside of the mattress is designed to wick away heat and use evaporative cooling to chill you down. Built on a foundation of higher quality support foam, it's reasonably priced, and our banner link will give you $200 off instantly We love it.-MBG

 

 

With decades of research and development, Z Bed has designed the ideal mattress for the best nights sleep. With the perfect amount of support and just the right amount of bounce, it is no wonder why Z Bed has thousands of happy customers. "It's What's Inside That Counts!" is what they say. Each Z Bed Mattress is made with the finest materials available. We start off with a firm 7 inch breathable foam base to ensure a sturdy structure. Then a 1-1/2 inch layer of conforming memory foam. The final 1-1/2 inches are made of natural latex. The bed is then wrapped in a premium Tencel cover. Tencel sleeps cool, has natural components, and we like it. Simple one mattress lineup, and a no B.S. site. No fake reviews, either. -MBG

 

A rising star online, the Hyphen mattress uses a technology that we're quite familiar with. Copper, in its elemental form is naturally antibacterial, resists dust mites, and allergens. Beginning with an outer fabric encasement that is highly breathable, anti-microbial, and hypoallergenic, you've got a layer of protection right up top. Inside, there are two comfort layers that offer bounce and relieve pressure points, also containing elemental copper within the foam itself. Underneath, Hyphen uses a "sweet spot" foundation layer so that the mattress is likely to be comfortable and pleasing to virtually any user. That back that up with free shipping- and free returns. We like the simplicity of their site, and the fact that they state specifically that they do not use "unicorn hair" in their mattress, and we like that. Check them out. -MBG

 

 

 

The Leesa Mattress is a perennial favorite of Mattress Reports. Hugely successful and owned by over 260,000 satisfied users, their bed is simple in design, and radical in concept. Using a proprietary material called "Avena" Foam, which is a latex like hybrid foam, it offers a bounce factor which provides just the right amount of buoyancy and a livelier feel. Excellent for tossers and turners, and those who don't like to be consumed by their mattress. Leesa offers a 100 night trial, free shipping and returns, and best of all, they donate one mattress for every ten they sell. Pretty cool, we think -MBG

 

You've seen it. The raw egg test. Is it bullshit? Actually, no. We've played with and designed a few beds ourselves with the unique grid design gel foam that Purple uses as their fundamental ingredient, and it is extremely supportive and comfortable. What makes it so unique, is that it eliminates motion transfer, and actually provides more lift than sink, so you get great pressure point reduction without that wet sand feel. Highly recommend considering them, if you are looking for the squishy, livelier feel that gel foams offer. we love it.- MBG

 

Our favorite hybrid mattress, the Solay Premium Hybrid is a technological marvel incorporating the industry's best pocketed coil system, a cooling gel foam layer, a motion dampening layer of specialized foam, and an outer covering made using Tencel fabric, which reduces body temperature and optimizes your body for a purr-fect night's sleep. A 101 night no risk trial period, and a solid industry warranty. Best of all, when you buy a Solay mattress, the company will also donate another mattress and foundation to a child in need. -MBG

 

 

"The Nolah mattress is an irresistible combination of soft and firm. Because it's made without the heat-trapping viscoelastic chemicals used in Memory Foam, Nolah sleeps cooler, provides better pressure relief and is much more durable than even the best Memory Foam and Latex mattresses. If you don't already know, at Nolah we love our sleep and our great American outdoors. When we're not helping you sleep better, we're out exploring our country's wildest places, which is why we donate part of our profits to help protect our planet's wildlife." - You can even choose your animal..-MBG

 

 

We rarely run across a foam mattress designed to be customized for two users. Perfect for couples who have different needs and different requirements as far as soft vs. firm. It's reasonably priced, but hard to find online, but they offer a really unique hybrid bed with high quality foam materials, an excellent outer covering, all for a reasonable price, too. For $995, you'll get an adjustable mattress that can you can tweak to just the right feel. They offer a 100 night trial, and you even get a storage bag with the bed. With tons of reviews readily accessible on their site, we just love this bed. Click here to check them out.-MBG

 
 
Shop Nest Bedding® Now!

Nest Bedding is one of our favorite sites. Great products, with a lot of technical materials used in their biggest sellers, including their Alexander Signature Hybrid Mattress, which is built using ingredients we love. Combining the most innovative copper infused foam on the planet and the support of high quality individual coils with extra edge support, and some extra comfort layers that are sumptuous and supportive, The Alexander Signature Hybrid is the most comfortable mattress on the internet. Even the fabric used on the outside cover is designed to keep you sleeping cool and comfy. Reasonably priced, and an excellent return policy and trial period. Now Featuring Thermic Phase Change Cooling Fabric on all Alexander Hybrid Mattresses! You can check out the Alexander Hybrid here.-MBG

 
 

   The Leesa Mattress is a perennial favorite of Mattress Reports. Hugely successful and owned by over 260,000 satisfied users, their bed is simple in design, and radical in concept. Using a proprietary material called "Avena" Foam, which is a latex like hybrid foam, it offers a bounce factor which provides just the right amount of buoyancy and a livelier feel. Excellent for tossers and turners, and those who don't like to be consumed by their mattress. Leesa offers a 100 night trial, free shipping and returns, and best of all, they donate one mattress for every ten they sell. Pretty cool, we think -MBG

 

After years of research to find the highest-quality and most innovative materials PangeaBed was born. Made with copper-infused Talalay latex, this  bed in a box mattress redefines the science behind a good night’s sleep by a delivering cleaner, cooler, and more comfortable rest. Antibacterial, antimicrobial, dust-mite resistant, and hypoallergenic because you don’t even want to know what’s living inside your current mattress. (It’s millions of bacteria, by the way.) Coppers heat dispersing properties combined with Talalay latex's superior airflow and breathability allow you to sleep cool and comfortable. Made with 3 unique layers that work together to provide your back with exceptional support to keep your spine in its natural alignment. Perfect for all, the copper mattress provides cloud-like comfort for back, stomach, and side sleepers alike. We love the concept of incorporating elemental copper into a bedding surface, and this company seems to be very technically oriented around their product. They also have been featured in major publications, too. Click here to learn more about this amazing bed.-MBG

 

Designed as a mattress with universal appeal to any fussy sleeper, The HappiBed provides a cloud like feel with world class pressure relief & cooling.  The HappiBed is uniquely designed with alternating layers of memory foam and heat transfer foam to insure you get the pressure relief of memory foam but more bounce than a traditional memory foam.  And believe use, we've sampled and tested many "dead" memory foam mattresses that sink and collapse into the middle. This bed is unique. The heat transfer foams pull heat out of the memory foam and allow for better airflow in addition to making sure you do not get a stuck in the mud, quick sand feeling.  Designed for a soft cloud like feel while maintaining good deep support.  Some of their customers often say it's "soft & firm at the same time". Made with CertiPur non-toxic support foam layers, equipped with a zippered cover to wash and maintain a fresh bed for years to come, HappiBed provides a 100 night no questions asked trial, and a great factory warranty. One of our most popular mattresses. Click here to learn more and to buy yours today. -MBG

 

We used to sell the biggest brand of memory foam mattress out there, Tempur-Pedic, long before other memory foam companies popped up. No one could really out-do them, that is until Nectar appeared on the scene. Using more advanced gel type memory foams, and specialized fabric coverings that sleep cool, the Nectar mattress is a technological orchestration of foam comfort layers that is highly thought out. Gel infused memory foam is so sumptuous, so comfortable and supportive, it's hard to describe. If you're a fussy sidesleeper with pressure point issues, give their bed a try. And, hey, how can you beat a 365 day no questions asked trial period? Great reviews and an excellent, simplistically laid out web site. Click here to check them out. Best single asset of this bed? A lifetime warranty, or as they call it- a forever guarantee.-MBG

 

Loom & Leaf got its start in 2015 as the memory foam hybrid option of the popular online mattress company, Saatva. In the years since, the brand’s made a name for itself as a great source for high-quality memory foam hybrid mattresses that aren’t just luxurious to the touch, but also easy on the wallet and environment. Saatva tends to use higher quality foam material (4lb density memory foam rather than 3lb, which lasts much longer) and they offer a great trial period. Likely to be in business much longer than many others, because of the company size.-MBG

 

Keetsa is one of our favorite mattress makers on the web. They offer a boutique line of mattresses using natural materials infused with high quality memory foam, advanced support and comfort layers, and outfit each bed with an unbleached 100% cotton fabric certified by STANDARD 100 by OEKO TEX® which is about as green as you can get. Another thing we love about Keetsa is their use of plant oils to supplement the synthetic ingredients in their foam layers, and they seem to have a strong interest in ultimately creating a mattress made using plant based ingredients only.

Even though memory foam is renowned for its durability and comfort, most all of it is made using synthetic ingredients. Keetsa has innovated something called Bio-foam™, a new type of memory foam that replaces a portion, 12%, of the petroleum oil with castor bean oil, a plant oil. This accounts for less dependency on the oil industry.
Why just 12%? Replacing more than 12% of the petroleum with plant oil will risk compromising the quality and durability of the foam. We are continuing the development process to increase the portion of plant oil, so we can depend less and less on petroleum in producing our foam. Technology is moving forward fast with botanically infused foams, and Keetsa seems to be driving that force. Best single asset- when you buy a Keetsa bed, they donate a portion of the profits to Operation Smile, a network of surgeons around the world that provide cleft palate reconstructive surgery to children. We love this company. Click here to learn more and to buy a Keetsa mattress. -MBG

 

We've known about this cutting edge company for a while now. Their use of miniature, or microcoil technology offers buoyant springiness in combination with their unique use of high quality support foam layers. A five-zoned foam encased pocketed micro coil compression system provides unmatched support from head to toe. DreamCloud’s innerspring coils have been designed to help you sleep cool and comfortable throughout the night. Due to the perfectly spaced coils, air is able to flow through the mattress freely, allowing heat to escape. Combined with DreamCloudֿֿֿ's other cooling technology, this is just one of their secrets to ensuring you never sleep hot on their beds. Our micro coils are designed to provide a luxury mattress experience.

Each micro coil is far more flexible than your average mattress spring. This allows the springs to work with the memory foam in unison to contour to your body and support pressure points for the ultimate pressure relief. The coils also absorb motion transfer, so you won't feel your partner rolling around at night. Instead, you'll get soft support with a touch of bounce for the dreamiest, most luxurious sleep ever. DreamCloud BestRest coils are the most durable in the industry - they will not break down and will maintain their comfort level for a luxurious sleep experience backed by our Everlong Warranty. Click here to learn more and to buy this innovative and fast-forward thinking hybrid mattress.-MBG

 

One of our personal favorites, because they provide very dense technical information about foam density and the science of mattress building. Known for building customized hybrid mattresses, this company is unique because of the variety of options you can choose. You simply provide information about your sleep habits, and they take it from there, creating the perfect bed for you. And, then can do two sided mattresses, which is way cool, considering more than 50% of couples have different needs when it comes to bedding. They offer a 100 night trial, a decent warranty, and even offer matching foundations and their own pillow. Worth taking a hard look.-MBG

 

Offering ongoing specials and discounts, this Chicago based company has some features we really like. Compared to other foam mattress makers, they seem to like setting themselves apart from the competition. Their mattresses are taller, use higher grade foam layers, build in a firm edge support system (so you don't slide off of your bed), offer customized materials for each side, build a pocketed coil hybrid, and offer a 100 night trial period, and both of their beds, in queen, sell for less than $800!  Their reversible mattress gets great reviews and gives you two beds for the price of one. Definitely worth a look.-MBG

 

 

Nectar gives you the support of a firm mattress while pampering you with the comfort of a pillow top. Premium materials ensure it perfectly contours your body. A medium firm mattress, the Nectar bed is technologically advanced, incorporating two different layers of cooling gel foam, a breathable base layer, and all of the components are Certi-Pur certified..meaning no heavy metals, no VOC's, no PBDE's, and other nasty stuff. We love their mattress and their program. Easy to use web site. -MBG

                                           “I no longer have any bed pains!”Jessica M.—Federal Way, WA
 
 

The Solay Coil Technology - Our Quantum® Edge coils were designed to provide you with the most amount of edge support. The durable yet flexible coils conform to your body for ultimate comfort and reduced motion transfer with less partner disruption. Based on sleep test results, our coils performed 28% cooler than the average sleep you'd have on an all foam mattress. One of the few Hybrid mattresses we like that integrates coils into their model, adding a springy, lively feel to the mattress. We love this product. -MBG

 

"Muse's concentration on cooling and its pressure relieving capabilities make it a stand-out in the market." A one model lineup, but you can choose your level of firmness, always a nice option to be offered, especially on an e-commerce site. -MBG

 

The My Morphiis Mattress from Perfect Pressure, LLC, is an innovative system that allows you to fully customize the feel of the mattress by inserting specialized foam layers of differing firmnesses into the bed..making it perfect for fussy sleepers, folks with back problems, neck issues, and generally fussy sleepers. An excellent choice for a hybrid bed. We love the concept. -MBG

 

 

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EcoTerra builds a unique mattress by combining pure latex with an individually pocketed coil system. This combination is pretty rare, but makes for an amazing mattress. One of the MR team members here was a pioneer in designing one of the first latex/coil hybrid mattresses and swears it's the most comfortable and durable combination you can invest in. Totally worth checking out. The site is friendly and easy to navigate, too. -MR

 

 

 

Latex For Less offers latex mattresses using premium latex obtained directly from their plantation partners, not factory seconds often used by other latex mattress makers. They use an organic outer cover, and they build their beds so they are reversible, offering a firmer side, and a softer side. With a 120 night trial and their lower prices (they make side by side comparisons with other etailers on pricing), you can't get a better deal for a basic, top quality latex bed without all of the bells and whistles that don't really add much to your sleep experience, anyway. -MR

 

 

Plushbeds is one of our favorites. In fact, one of our team members was a Plushbeds competitor for years, selling pure latex mattresses right alongside. He says that Plushbeds is one of the most honest, straight shooting dealers you could buy a latex bed from. With multiple designs aimed at precisely fitting your needs, they make a good option to consider. They also tend to throw in a lot of freebies, like sheets, pillows, even a mattress protector. Check them out. -MR

 

 

 
 

An amazing latex mattress made with no synthetic ingredients - just pure latex, nothing unnatural. We bought one, but it up and were really impressed about the meticulous craftsmanship with this bed. It's reversible too, with a plush, cushy option, and then a firmer, though not too firm, flip side. Outstanding outer cover. Priced a bit more, but you're getting the good stuff. Personal Favorite -MR

 
luma hybrid mattress

Get "bone deep" comfort and support in Luma's line of latex mattresses developed by the "Sleep Doctor", Michael Breus. They offer a unique mattress system just the way we would have designed it. A supportive undercarriage topped with a wonderful layer of Talalay latex. A unique line of latex mattresses. -MR

 

 

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Without question, the industry's gold standard for memory foam mattresses. Actually, the company refers to their pressure relieving foam as "Tempur® Foam", because it is unique in that it's behavioral characteristics, response time, and durability is so vastly different than other manufacturers. Used to be that Tempur-Pedic® was considered very expensive and out of reach for many consumers. In the last few years though, the company has rallied to offer affordable beds using their exceptional visco-elastic foam. Read about our senior editors' Love Affair With His Tempur-Pedic® mattress. A great story.

 

Nature's Sleep offers a variety of products, giving a much broader selection than most online stores. Next to TempurPedic, the big name brand, Nature's Sleep fills the bill with a variety of memory foam beds for every kind of sleeper. Inventor of The Ghost Bed, a memory foam mattress that challenged Casper and a few other brands. Worth a look, and you can get up to 50% off when they run a sale! -MR

 

 

 
Coolest Memory Foam Mattress

Layla offers a unique memory foam mattress that offers the therapeutic and cooling properties of elemental copper, a new trend in the industry that is rapidly gaining popularity. Copper powder is infused into the memory foam mix, and the result is a hybrid memory foam that offers some really unique benefits. Great site, easy to understand their product. Worth a look. -MR 

 

Muse Sleep offers threee memory foam mattress options, in soft, medium, or firm. We love the layout of their site, because they don't confuse you with too much foam terminology, densities, and technical nonsense. You can choose the memory foam mattress that best suits you, and get a great 120 night trial period, a solid 10 year warranty, and specialized fabric on the outside covering that promotes cooling, making it one of the rare memory foam mattresses specifically designed to cool you down. Need pressure point relief at hips or shoulders? Get a Muse mattress.

 

 

We mention Nectar in our Hybrid mattress suggestions up top, but because it is a very carefully designed memory foam mattress as well, it really does qualify as a true memory foam mattress. With multiple layers of gel infused memory foam to create an orchestrated effect that maximizes pressure point relief, the entire mattress is built on a fundamental focus to breathe and sleep cool. the unique feel of gel memory foam is something our team is familiar with. We designed several gel foam mattresses, and found them to be wonderfully enveloping, nest like, but without that quicksand kind of feel. We like Nectar as our top choice for memory foam mattresses. Great 365 night trial, and very reasonably priced! -MR

 

 

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Crave is a company that manufactures a pocketed coil mattress as well as a foam hybrid that use higher quality components than they really need to. But with our own 25 years of experience in the industry, we know that bedding designers and engineers always gravitate towards the ingredients they would want in a mattress for themselves. Crave's "yell it from the mountain top" reviews from customers speak to that as well. And, their prices are lower than Casper, Purple, Tuft&Needle, and they provide handy comparative pricing charts tight on the site. Here's what one customer had to say about their Crave mattress:

Scott P., Kernersville, NC writes: 

I recently received my new CRaVE mattress and foundation.  Let me start by saying this company hasn't overlooked any details. Starting from the packaging to the no-tools assembly and set up, this is one great mattress. I was amazed how a mattress that had been compressed and rolled into a box, could so quickly be ready for sleep!  Furthermore, it looks great. The tailoring was crisp and clean. If you hadn't seen it rolled up first, you wouldn't believe it came that way. And of course the most important part…it feels amazing. It's plush, but at the same time, very supportive. And it maintained a very stable sleeping temperature all night. Never hot and not too cool. I have been in the mattress industry for 28 years. I like what I see and feel good about CRaVE.  I recommend these products without hesitation. 

 

The Hive Mattress is a coil hybrid that we love. The design team and owners came to the table with 30 years of experience in all aspects of the mattress industry, and they offer just one bed- a refined pocketed coil mattress that is outfitted with premium latex and top drawer memory foam comfort layers, as well as a breathable outer encasement. They offer a 100 night trial and a 10 year warranty, too . Says the Hive team,  “It’s never wrong to do the right things”…a motto we at the Hive Mattress live by. "We are true believers in family values and putting your family first at all cost. Honesty, caring for others and giving back to your community is also essential to have a fulfilled life. HONESTY IS KEY TO SUCCESS!   Making things better inspires us".  We like their style and their ethics, and their customers think so too. Visit their site, easy to navigate, easy to buy. -MBG

 

 

Detailed Information About Polyurethane And Latex Foam: Understanding Foam Mattresses By Type Before You Commit To A Mattress

 

Shopping for a bed can be a challenging experience that can quickly turn an eager buyer into a blithering jelly like mass. Jump online and start shopping and it’s information overload on a nuclear, mushroom cloud like scale. Hundreds of popular brands are jockeying for position on Google, each brand fighting for their lives  as hundreds of “bed in a box” mattress companies crowd the marketplace. In the last five years, over 185 online mattress companies have jumped into the game, most owned by non-bedding industry tech types trying to shove a mattress into a box so it can be delivered to your door, much like a pizza. But what are all of these mattresses? What are they made of? What will they feel like? Is one better for back sleepers vs. side or back sleepers?

 

Overwhelmed with a sea of so-called hybrid foam mattress companies and so-called “mattress review” sites trying to snare you into buying one of their recommended brands so they can pick up a tidy commission, you are dragged through a gauntlet of misinformation, lack of technical details, and plenty of graphics of couples lounging in their loft apartments with salvaged wood floors and rescued greyhounds. But what about the mattress??

 

In this article, we’ll give you the basic breakdown on what the biggest selling mattresses on the web, and in retail stores, are actually made of, and what they were designed to accomplish. Because this site is operated by former bedding industry CEO’s who have already made their money and thus have no real ambitions other than to enlighten consumers, and since we aren’t a so-called “review site”, and since we believe that most sites that call themselves “review sites” are really part of a large sales funnel to get you to buy the most popular mattresses out there, we can focus on giving you honest and truthful information whose only purpose is to educate and inform. Should you be interested in our selection of recommended dealers, you can certainly check out our carefully vetted list.

Basic categories of mattresses are a bit harder to define these days, because of the advent of “hybrid” mattresses, which are beds that combine one or two components that are each unique, and when combined, deliver the amplified and enhanced benefits of a combination of ingredients designed to deliver support and comfort. Even the “mattress review” sites that pimp these brands never really evaluate the nature of the ingredients of the beds they “review”. For example, Casper, Tuft&Needle, Loom And Leaf, Purple, Leesa, and other foam bed manufacturers and retailers are essentially selling hybrid beds made with several kinds of polyurethane foam, wrapped in an outer fabric casing which is proprietary and conveys the image of the brand, the brands logo, or other identifying characteristics that clearly convey a message to consumers. 

Today’s mattress retailers are really selling a mattress experience, and don’t focus as much on identifying the ingredients used in the beds they are selling. They don’t think it’s important and leave that part out of their product descriptions, instead resorting to vague and elusive yet mind numbing names that describe how the components should feel, like “Dreamfoam” or “Ultrafoam”, or perhaps even labeling an ingredient as “Unicorn Hair Infused”. They want you to emotionally invest in the purchase experience, the delivery process, and the unfurling and installation of their product just as much as they do the comfort element.

Virtually all of these companies are selling what we can describe as a highly similar product. They are made from a fairly spartan recipe of polyurethane foams, usually with two or three layers in each model they sell, each with unique qualities that provide a distinctive feel. 

The method of shipping and delivery of these beds is also the reason why these companies have so much competition and have to rely on “mattress review” sites to funnel traffic to them. Just keep one thing in mind. Polyurethane mattresses are extremely inexpensive to manufacture and ship. Let’s say you are paying $800 for a typical foam bed. The company you are doing business with, by the way, is farming out the manufacturing of their product to middle men known as “fabricators”. There are hundreds of them across the U.S. The raw cost for a subcontracted fabricator to build and cover the mattress, get it into a box, and get it to your door, is around $300. Of the $500 that remains, $200 is often spent on advertising and marketing alone. Many affiliate commissions are $150-200 for each sale, paid by the manufacturers to the so-called “review sites”. That’s out of your pocket!

The remaining $300 has to cover all other expenses that the manufacturer incurs, the most expensive being media advertising like TV, radio, and social media, and then there’s the staff, the payroll, and the owners and shareholders. The fact of the matter is that there’s not really a huge amount of net profit in this kind of business, and the only way you can make any serious money in the mattress biz is by doing a crushing amount of volume. We know. We’ve done this ourselves.

 

So, what is polyurethane foam and how is it made?

 

First of all, no polyurethane foam is naturally derived. ALL polyurethane foam is petroleum based, though there are some foam materials that are made with small amounts of soy based polyols, and can be categorized as somewhat natural, but that’s a stretch. Chemicals are combined, and much like adding dishwashing detergent to a sink full of water and watching suds arise and expand, the polls combine with foaming agents and expand, forming a flexible grid of compressible material. Blowing agents are often used to facilitate this process.

High-density microcellular foams can be formed without the addition of blowing agents by mechanically frothing or nucleating the polyol component prior to use. These foams are not used in bedding, but rather for extremely dense components like shoe soles or tires.

Surfactants are used in polyurethane foams to emulsify the liquid components, like soap does to grease,  and stabilizes the cell structure to prevent collapse and allow for spring back. Rigid foam surfactants are designed to produce very fine cells and a very high closed cell content, and this creates very firm foam.  Flexible foam surfactants are designed to stabilize the foam and to keep it from shrinking. Adjusting and controlling these variables permits many different kinds of foam to be made, in a variety of densities, and degrees of firmness or softness. These foams can be tinted too, and can appear in a virtual rainbow of colors, making it easy for manufacturers to create models and styles that have their own unique marketing and merchandising qualities.

Polyurethane foams can be either "closed-cell", where most of the original bubbles or cells remain intact, or "open-cell", where the bubbles have broken but the edges of the bubbles are stiff enough to retain their shape. Open-cell foams feel soft and allow air to flow through, so they are comfortable when used in seat cushions or mattresses. Closed-cell rigid foams are used as thermal insulation, for example in refrigerators.

For mattresses, polyurethane foam is delivered to fabrication houses in large blocks called “buns”, and sliced down into the desired thickness and sizes needed to build out a lineup of foam beds. They can be ordered with any desired tint, the foam can be sculpted into unique shapes, all at very minimal cost to the manufacturer. Very often, a thick piece of firmer foam about 6-8” tall is used as the foundation or base layer in a foam bed. The ideal density for this kind of foam, especially if it is to last for 10-20 years is 28-32 ILD. ILD is a unit of measurement in the bedding and foam industry which describes relative density or firmness. The acronym stands for Indentation Load Deflection, and is characterized as the amount of weight it take to compress one square foot of area one inch in depth. Thus, a 32 ILD rating would indicate that the foam sample tested required 32 lbs applied to one square foot of the sample to be compressed one inch. This measurement system is also an indicator of quality in foam materials used in these popular hybrid foam beds. 

 

Memory Foam, Gel Memory Foam-  Visco-Elastic Polyurethane Foam

 

Commonly found in most polyurethane mattresses, “memory foam” consists mainly of polyurethane as well as additional chemicals increasing its viscosity and density. It is often referred to as "viscoelastic" polyurethane foam, or low-resilience polyurethane foam (LRPu). Higher-density memory foam “melts” and becomes soft and body conforming when exposed to body heat, allowing it to mold around your body relatively fast. Newer foams may recover more quickly to their original shape.

“Memory foam” was developed in 1966 under a contract by NASA's Ames Research Center to improve the safety of aircraft cushions in flights where high G forces were involved. Scientists Chiharu Kubokawa and Charles Yost of the Stencel Aero Engineering Corporation were the principle chemists who developed the materials. The temperature-sensitive memory foam was initially called "slow spring back foam"; Yost called it "temper foam".Created by feeding gas into a polymer matrix, the foam has an open-cell solid structure that matches pressure against it, yet slowly springs back to its original shape. It was the most significant advance in the foam and subsequently the bedding industry in a century.

When NASA released memory foam to the public, Fagerdala World Foams was one of the few companies willing to work with the strange, alien like material, as the manufacturing process was tedious and difficult. Their 1991 product, the "Tempur-Pedic Swedish Mattress" eventually led to the mattress and cushion company, Tempur-World.

Memory foam was also used in medical settings. For example, it was commonly used in cases where the patient was required to lie immobile in their bed on a firm mattress for an unhealthy period of time. The pressure on some of their body regions impaired the blood flow to the region, causing pressure sores or gangrene. Memory foam mattresses significantly decreased such events.

To this day it remains the one ingredient every foam mattress should include in its design, owing to its amazing pressure point relieving qualities, and its ability to cradle and support the body like no other foam.

Memory foam was initially too expensive for widespread use, but became cheaper. Its most common domestic uses are mattresses, pillows, shoes and blankets. It has medical uses, such as wheelchair seat cushions, hospital bed pillows and padding for people suffering long-term pain or postural problems. 

Unfortunately, the heat-retaining properties can also be a disadvantage when used in mattresses and pillows so scientists developed what was known as “second generation memory foam”,  and manufacturers began to use open cell structure to improve breathability. In 2006, the third generation of memory foam was developed. “Gel visco" or “gel memory foam” incorporates gel particles fused with visco foam to reduce trapped body heat, speed up spring back time and help the mattress feel softer.

Gel-infused memory foam was next developed with what were described as "beads" containing the gel which, referred to as “phase-change material”, would achieve the desired temperature stabilization or cooling effect by changing from a solid to a liquid "state" within the bead of gel.  Changing physical states can significantly alter the heat absorption properties of  foam material, which is why the technology was applied to visco-elastic memory foam.

Since the advent of gel memory foam, other substances have been added to create a variety of options that provide comfort, support, pressure point reduction, and other benefits. Aloe vera, green tea extract and activated charcoal have been combined with the foam to reduce odors and even provide aromatherapy while sleeping. Tercel and other rayon based textiles  has been used in woven mattress covers over memory foam beds to wick moisture away from the body to increase comfort. Phase-change materials (PCMs) have also been used in the fabrics that are used on memory foam pillows, beds, and mattress pads.

A memory foam or gel memory foam mattress is usually denser than conventional polyurethane, making it both more supportive but also much heavier. Memory foam mattresses are often sold for higher prices than traditional mattresses, because of the process involved and the sophisticated chemistry. 

Memory foam is extremely beneficial in many ways. Its open-cell structure reacts to body heat and weight by conforming to the body, and relieving pressure points, and preventing bed sores. Most memory foam has the same basic chemical composition, however the density and layer thickness of the foam can vary the feel of the foam greatly. A high-density mattress will have better compression ratings over the life of the bedding. A lower-density one will have slightly shorter life due to the compression that takes place after repeated use. Look for higher density memory foam whenever you can. Ask for 5lb memory foam in the support or middle layers, and 4 lb. density memory foam on the top or comfort layer. Less expensive 3 lb memory foam will ultimately most last as long, tends to split and crack due to body movements over time, and will desiccate (dry out) much more quickly.

 

Natural Latex Foam

 

Latex foam is a manufactured foam product popular in a wide range of cushions and mattress products. All-natural botanical latex is a natural, renewable product secreted in fluid form by a multitude of plant species; most latex used in foam manufacture is harvested from the prolifically productive rubber tree plant, Hevea brasiliensis. There are engineered, synthetic versions of latex foam, but none have managed to match the natural characteristic of real botanical latex.

The rubber tree was originally discovered in the forests of Brazil. Once the value of latex was discovered for a range of manufactured products, the farming of rubber trees took off. A rubber tree blight combined with mobile business speculators in the 1800s and early 1900s led to a glut of large-scale rubber tree estates throughout Asia.

 

Dunlop Latex and Talalay Latex

Dunlop: In the Dunlop production process, first invented in the early 20th century, latex is poured into molds, vulcanized (usually with sulphur), and allowed to dry. In the early days, particulate settling would lead to a Dunlop latex foam that was firmer and denser on one side than the other. These days, with improvement in manufacturing techniques, that unevenness is minimal or even nonexistent.

Talalay: In the Talalay production process, perfected after World War II, the latex is first whipped for aeration, then poured into molds where it's flash-frozen and subjected to vacuum suction. The result is a soft, space-age material that usually contains more air than Dunlop latex and is usually more expensive, even though there's less latex and more air in the final product than in Dunlop mattresses.

Both Dunlop latex foam and Talalay latex foam are available in a range of densities and firmnesses, from soft to firm. Dunlop can be firmer than Talalay, and Talalay can be softer than Dunlop. In the mattress world, most superior mattresses are made using layered Dunlop and Talalay, with Dunlop on the bottom for support and Talalay on top as a "comfort layer". Latex FAQ: Is Talalay latex better than Dunlop (or vice versa)? The question really should be centered more around how to use Talalay and how to use Dunlop.

Synthetic Latex vs. Real Botanical Latex

Natural latex is a coveted foam bedding that offers body-contouring support and pressure-relieving comfort, all in the same space-age yet sustainable, environmentally friendly material. But not all latex foam beds are created equal. Here are the types of latex mattresses that you might find on the market:

Synthetic: Synthetic latex foam mattresses tend to be less resilient and less comfortable than real foam and may break down more quickly. Pure synthetic Dunlop is such a poor-quality bedding that you'll rarely find it on the market, but you will occasionally find all-synthetic Talalay.

Blended: Blended latex is usually 70% synthetic latex and 30% natural latex, and can be processed using either the Dunlop or Talalay methods. Blended latex still doesn't have the plush, buoyant feel of 100% natural latex beds, but it's a closer approximation than purely synthetic options.

Hybrid Latex: Hybrid mattresses are a latex "comfort layer" over some other interior support, either a polyurethane core, a traditional inner spring mattress, or even an air mattress. A latex memory foam mattress is a particularly comfortable hybrid form, made up of a memory foam interior sandwiched between a latex sleep layer and a polyurethane core.

 

The Holy Grail Of Foam

 

100% natural botanical latex mattresses are the holy grail of the premium mattress world. But as such, they're very expensive. And not all all-natural beds are ideal an all-Talalay bed may sound extremely comfortable, but be more likely to sag over time, since the Talalay process incorporates so much air. Synthetic beds can be less comfortable, less resilient, and have shorter lifespans. While synthetic latex may be more affordable, it may not be worth your money on its own. Order samples or lie on a floor model before you buy to be sure you're happy with the quality.

Blended latex is a compromise on all fronts. It's an all-latex mattress at a lower price and a reasonable approximation of all-natural latex qualities. But it sleeps like a shadow of an all-natural latex bed almost comparable, but never quite.

Many people swear by hybrid beds, and they can be quite comfortable and often more affordable than other options. Still, inner springs can sag over time, and a firmer polyurethane core can cause your latex comfort layer to bottom out? over time, so that you're basically sleeping on the harder polyurethane layer.

And watch out! A bed labeled "100% latex" can be 100% synthetic latex. Look for a 100% natural (or at least a blended latex) bed instead. Take your time, read the fine print, and know your product. As a savvy consumer, you're sure to find an affordable latex mattress that will serve you well for years to come.