How to buy a Mattress

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There is an abundance of information out there about mattresses, but what I find interesting, is that ultimately when you sleep on a mattress you are sleeping on foam No matter what kind of mattress you purchase you will be on a piece of foam (except water beds).  All mattresses have different kinds of ways to support your body and create comfort but ALL mattresses have some kind of foam top that you lay on to sleep.  The interiors of these mattresses can be very different in the construction methods but when the manufacturer completes a mattress they top it off with a foam pad and it is the foam density that will create the firmness or softness of the mattress.

There are a few basic types of mattress construction.  They are:

  • Interactive – A complete wire grid that is all locked/wired together.
  • Pocket coil – All of the coils inside the mattress are individually wrapped.
  • Foam – There are three basic foam types – Memory foam, Latex foam, Regular foam.

Each one of these mattress types will provide the user with different levels of comfort.  Two of the key elements to remember when shopping for a mattress are sleep and comfort.  Everybody knows the adage of we all spend a third of our lives in bed so make sure it gives you those two important factors without compromise.

Interactive – One of things to consider with these mattresses is coil count.  The higher the coil counts the better the quality of the mattress.  As an example a queen size mattress with 600 coils is good but a queen size with 1,000 coil count is deluxe.  All of the coils are wired together creating a giant grid to provide comfort and support, however one of the set-backs with an interactive mattress is that there will be a lot of motion created from moving on the bed.  When you or your partner roll, toss or turn during the night, the mattress has a tendency to transfer that motion to the other person.

Pocket Coil – These mattresses have the same principles as the interactive type in that the coil count makes a big difference to the beds comfort.  Similar to the interactive, a mattress with 800 individual pocket coils is good and a unit with 3,000 pocket coils is excellent.  The big difference between the two types is that interactive has all the coils connected together and the pocket coil does not.  Each pocket is independent of each other to create less motion in the bed.  With pocket coil you will find less side to side motion to eliminate disturbing your partner.  One of the attributes of the pocket coil mattress is what they refer to in the industry as the “Romantic roll”, which is when you have a low coil count in the mattress which tends to make the users roll to the centre of the bed if one person is far heavier than the other.  With two people of the same weight and size this tends to be less of a concern.

Foam – One of the great attributes of foam mattresses is there is no cross transfer of motion, meaning you can get up on the bed and run on the spot and your partner will not even know you are doing it, unless they wake up and see you.  These beds are excellent for keeping very still while sleeping with other people.  Another nice thing about foam is that the more you compress the foam the firmer they become.  This works exceptionally well and creates better support for users of ample proportions.   Foam mattresses conform to each body type individually to provide you with maximum comfort.

Some of the foam types are:

  • Natural latex foam which is a natural product that comes from rubber trees.
  • Synthetic latex foam which is man-made petroleum based product.
  • Regular foam is man-made polyurethane foam that is generally purchased based on density. The higher the density the better the foam.  An example would be 1.5 lb density foam is considered cheap mass market foam that will collapse between your fingers when you squeeze it.  Higher density foam would be 3 lb density which would far more difficult to compress between your fingers and of course the higher density foam will last far longer than the 1.5 lb foam.  The higher the number the stiffer the foam.
  • Memory foam which is a man-made petroleum based product that will conform to every body type no matter what the person’s weight.

When it comes to your allotted budget I always tell everybody to spend the maximum you have allowable.  You will be using your mattress 365 days per year and you deserve to have the best sleep and comfort available.  Do not compromise on an okay mattress because it suits your budget.  Spend the extra money and you will feel the benefit every morning!

I am a firm believer in mattress service plans or comfort guarantees that are offered by many of the furniture stores.  Some will require you to purchase a mattress pad to prevent the unit from becoming soiled in any way while you test it out for comfort.  Some will have a sleep guarantee that will allow you to try the product out for a specified number of days to let you really try it on for size.  No matter what the store is offering take time to consider the options.  It is impossible for you to lie down on a mattress in a busy store with people walking by, and sometimes waiting for you to get off, the mattress you are trying so they can try it and really get a sense of whether or not it will work in your home.  If you are selecting a mattress for you and possibly a partner, then it becomes even more difficult.  At least if you have acquired the appropriate coverage you know you can go home and have the chance to try it out.  If you buy a mattress and you don’t get any coverage it’s, “Too bad, so sad”.  Not very many furniture stores that I have been into will exchange a mattress after you have it in your home for even a couple of days, so do give it some consideration.

For those who have a platform bed that does not require a box spring/foundation, be sure to check the warranty on your chosen mattress to make sure it is covered in this event.  Some manufacturers insist on using a box spring and if you do not, then the warranty is void.  All mattress reps will be able to assist you with this information when you are at the store.