How best to store mattresses
If you dread a trip to Mattress Firm or Macy’s, realize that you have more options than ever before—department and specialty stores are no longer the default destination for mattress shopping. Great mattresses at fair prices can be found at warehouse clubs and through online retailers—and the competition is only getting more intense.
We test queen-size mattresses (60 inches wide by 80 inches long) because they’re the most common size purchased. (For your reference, the other standard dimensions are king, 76×80 inches; California king, 72×84; full, or double, 53×75; and twin, 38×75.)
We subject each mattress to a battery of tests, including running a nearly 310-pound roller over each one 30,000 times to simulate eight to 10 years of use. Still, there’s much to know even before you start shopping. Here’s your path to a good night’s sleep.
Find the Best Mattress for Any Sleeper
Compare the Types
If you’re shopping for a new mattress, you could be overwhelmed by the variety of choices and prices, ranging from too-low-to-believe to astronomical. But there’s good news: Our years of testing have shown that, whichever type you choose, you only need to spend around $1,000 for a comfortable, supportive mattress. Here are the major types you’ll see:
Though many manufacturers use polyurethane to create their foam layers, some might use latex as well and we note which mattresses have latex in our features tab. Some mattresses include both. Memory foam softens when you lie on it and soon molds to your body. Once you get up, it springs back to its original shape. Some foam mattresses require some effort to change position.
Adjustable Air Mattresses
Interactive Video Guide
For more, watch our interactive video. You can skip to chapters on the different types of mattresses, tips for test-driving a mattress, and more.
Common claims that haven’t held up in our tests:
The More Coils, the Better
The better innerspring models we test have 600 to 1,000 coils. But even if one mattress has more coils than another, the coils could be made of thinner-gauge metal. You’ll also hear about coil variations such as Bonnell (hourglass type), continuous wire, and individually pocketed springs. None of those is inherently superior.
Gel Provides a Cooler Sleep
More than half our innerspring mattresses (noted in our mattress ratings) have a layer of gel-infused foam that’s claimed to provide a cooling effect, though it’s worth noting that 10 percent of the mattresses with a gel-infused layer still retain warmth. Overall, our tests have shown that innerspring mattresses containing gel did tend to sleep slightly cooler, but the reverse was true with gel-infused foam beds.
Forget About Comparison Shopping
If you like a mattress at one store and ask elsewhere for something similar, you’re likely to be steered toward a same-brand mattress claimed to have the same construction, components, and firmness. Mattress makers offer some lines nationally, but when those brands are sold through major chains such as Macy’s or Mattress Firm, they’re typically exclusive to those chains. And manufacturers don’t publish a directory of comparable mattresses. So use our ratings as a guide, and insist on the precise make and model that scored well in our tests. Also check our ratings of mattress brands and stores, based on subscriber surveys.
If possible, lie on any mattress that you’re considering. Wear loose clothes, and shoes you can slip off. Make yourself comfortable, and shoo away the salesperson if you’re feeling pressured. Salespeople should expect you to take your time. Spend at least 5 or 10 minutes on each side and on your back (your stomach, too, if that’s a preferred sleeping position). Panelists who took beds home for a month-long trial rarely changed the opinion they formed after the first night. Shopping online or at a warehouse club? Tryouts aren’t usually an option, so checking return policies before you buy is extra-important.
Check Return Policies
Make sure the store offers a full refund or credit toward another mattress. Return periods, often called “comfort guarantees,” range from a couple of weeks to 120 days. Some retailers, including Macy’s and Sears, charge a 15 percent restocking fee. Some sellers provide free pickup if you want a refund or an exchange, but otherwise, you’ll have to pay for it—or cart the mattress to the store. Macy’s, for example, charges an $85 pickup fee. And you’ll be responsible for any damage.
Try to Haggle
Once you’ve settled on a model, try to bring the price down. Many businesses, such as warehouse clubs, have fixed prices and won’t budge. But for retailers that do negotiate—particularly specialty chains—huge markups allow them to lower prices by 50 percent or more during their frequent sales. Our recommendation: Any time of year, insist on a sale price you’ve seen for the mattress you know you want, and don’t be afraid to walk out if you feel you’re getting a raw deal. While it’s a little tougher to negotiate online, there are still ways to save.
Don’t Be Bullied Into Buying a Box Spring
You might not need it. If your box spring isn’t broken and is still structurally sound, consider keeping it and saving money (roughly $150 to $300 for a queen-size). One caveat: Some brands require you to buy their box spring to receive full warranty coverage. Many foam manufacturers recommend a platform base or strong slatted wood foundations.
Understand the Warranty
It can range from 10 to 25 years and covers only manufacturing defects such as sagging and loose or broken coil wires. Coverage is frequently prorated, meaning that it decreases over time.
On Delivery Day
Never accept delivery without inspecting the mattress (and the box spring, if you buy one) for stains and other damage. Also be sure that the mattress has a label that states “all-new material” before you send the driver on his way. If it’s not there, refuse delivery. And keep it on afterward in case you have to file a warranty claim in the future. If you bought a bed-in-a-box, inspect the mattress as soon as you unroll it. Call customer service immediately if something appears to be wrong with the mattress or if it’s dirty. Take a few photos with your smartphone in case the customer service representative asks for proof of the damage.
Need a new set of sheets for your new mattress? Check our sheets buying guide and ratings to find out how we rate and review cotton sheets.
Shopping for the best mattress? What to know before you buy
Whether you’re braving the big-box retailers or turning to the web for your next mattress, here’s what to look out for.
When I moved to Kentucky, I bought a gently used mattress and box spring to sleep on. I didn’t bother buying a new mattress, or even buying a bed frame — it was just a temporary fix until I was more settled.
That was more than six years ago. I’m still sleeping on that damn bed.
Suffice it to say that I’m long past due for an upgrade — and a better night’s sleep — but where to start? The mattress industry has seen some dramatic changes since the last time I was on the market, and aggressive branding and gimmicky-sounding designs can make it tough to tell which mattresses are worth it and which mattresses aren’t.
Even more impactful: The rise of online, direct-to-consumer mattress sellers has all but upended the retail landscape. Competition is a good thing, but it can make it difficult to feel confident that you’re getting the best deal on a good night’s sleep.
Before buying anything, I wanted to talk to mattress experts and get a better sense of how to shop smart — here’s what I learned.
Sign of the times: At least one retailer is starting to sell its own version of the sort of boxable, budget-friendly mattress that you’ll find online.
Online sales: Game changer or shortcut?
If you listen to podcasts, watch TV or use the internet, then there’s an extremely good chance that you’ve been inundated with ads for online, direct-to-consumer mattress sellers. They’ve been around for less than a decade, but they’ve already had a huge impact on the mattress industry, often undercutting the show-floor sticker shock with modern-looking, budget-friendly designs.
"In general, you get a pretty good mattress for the price," says Jack Mitcham, founder of the mattress review site mattressnerd.com. A former salesman in a mattress store, Mitcham notes some key differences between buying a mattress online and buying one in-store. "I think people tend to be a little bit happier because there’s less second guessing," he says, referencing a concept called the paradox of choice. "You don’t go through that when you buy online. You haven’t seen those 80 other options, and that doubt doesn’t creep into your mind."
Many online sellers also offer generous trial periods and return policies — sleep on your new mattress for a few months, then donate it in exchange for a full refund if you aren’t satisfied. That helps mitigate the fact that you typically can’t test any of these mattresses out before buying them like you can at a mattress store.
Mitcham also points out that the number of online sellers has surged from just a handful of options a few years ago to over a hundred. "I don’t think all of them are going to be around in, say, three years," he says. "Now, let’s say your mattress has a warranty issue, it starts sagging or something four years from now. Will your company still be around to service it?"
Mitcham suspects that the more established names — Casper, Leesa, Tuft & Needle, what have you — aren’t going anywhere, but he isn’t so sure about a lot of the new startups. His advice: Make sure the brand you’re buying from has a proven track record in the industry. The more years they’ve successfully stayed in business, the better.
Get smart about materials
Terry Cralle, a registered nurse and co-founder of a sleep clinic that tests for disorders such as sleep apnea and insomnia, says that your mattress will obviously make a huge impact on the quality of your nightly rest. "It can really make or break a good night’s sleep," she says, adding that people’s preferences will depend on their body type, and typically evolve over time.
"Older people, their skin is thinner," she says. "They have less of that subcutaneous fat in their body, so they might want a softer surface."
Cralle points out that mattresses are evolving, too, so she suggests keeping an open mind towards a variety of different kinds of materials, including ones you might not have tried in a while.
"The technology is really moving at a rapid pace," she says, describing some of the new ways that manufacturers are experimenting with how they layer different materials within their mattresses. "Some people really like a memory foam layer on top, some people like latex. Some people just want to stick with the springs."
Foam mattresses that carry the CertiPUR seal have been tested to be free from harsh chemicals.
Foams are increasingly common these days, and the quality and makeup will vary from model to model. A good start is to look for mattresses that carry the seal of CertiPUR, a nonprofit industry organization that tests foam mattresses for things like mercury, lead and formaldehyde.
For memory foam, Mitcham recommends keeping an eye on the density of the material, and not going any lower than 3 pounds per cubic foot. (Some sellers list specs like these online — if you’re shopping in-store, you might need to ask a salesperson if they can look them up for you.) "If you have a layer that’s like 2.8 or 2.5 pounds per cubic foot, it’s probably not going to be as durable and it’ll be more likely to lose its comfort in a few years," he says. For the high-resiliency foam often found in the base of the mattress, Mitcham recommends staying at 1.8 pounds per cubic foot or higher.
"Some really cheap mattresses, like some of the Chinese mattresses on Amazon might be 1.5, and that’s too low," he says.
"The density is your durability," agrees Brent Limer, chief sales officer at Latexco, a manufacturer of both memory foam and latex mattresses. He also points out that memory foam density won’t necessarily dictate how comfortable it is. "Polyurethane foams are a chemical reaction, so you can change the feel by adjusting your formulation and keeping the same density."
Memory foam tends to retain heat a little more than other materials, so many will offer special coatings or additives that promise to cool things down a bit. If you’re concerned about heat, Limer also suggests looking for foams that have a more open cell structure. Finding them doesn’t require a microscope or a chemistry set — just press your hand into the foam, then see how long the mattress takes to recover its shape when you pull it away. "The ones with a more open structure will typically have a 3- to 5-second recovery, versus like a 10-second recovery," Limer says.
Put reviews into perspective
Reading reviews from other customers is always a good idea when you’re shopping online, but it’s important to put those reviews in context when you’re buying a mattress. Stray complaints about firmness or softness should be taken with a grain of salt — after all, a mattress that’s too firm for one person could be too soft for another. More important is focusing on each customer’s buying experience, and getting a sense of how the company you’re thinking of buying from will treat you. (To that end, a close read of each company’s warranty, return and haul-away policies is also a good idea.)
Beyond your fellow customers, you’ll find no shortage of buying advice from mattress review websites and YouTube videos, and much of it is indeed pretty helpful. That said, it’s also important to understand that many of these sites make the bulk of their money through affiliate referral links, which means that the people writing the reviews are often getting kickbacks direct from the manufacturer each time someone buys a mattress based off of their recommendations. In other words, the more they turn readers into buyers, the more money they make — and according to reports, some are making millions.
That isn’t wrong in and of itself. CNET makes money off of affiliate referrals, too — though I’d point out that the compensation goes to the site and not directly into the pockets of writers like me.
At any rate, it’s something worth keeping in mind as you seek out advice. If a site seems more focused on pushing a particular brand than offering helpful, practical buying guidance, harbor an extra dose of skepticism. Sticking with sites that are clear and upfront about any affiliate referral practices is a good start — finding ones that explicitly state which brands are participating is even better.
Even if you ultimately buy online, mattress retailers can still be a valuable resource.
Don’t rule out retail
"The only way to know what kind of mattress you like is to go and feel them," points out Mary Helen Rogers, a spokeswoman for a group of mattress industry leaders called the Better Sleep Council. Even if you ultimately buy something online, she says, your local retailer can still serve as a good starting point.
"The main thing is to spend a lot of time with the mattresses and use the salesperson as a resource, but don’t be used by them," Mitcham advises. "Don’t just do everything the salesperson says and follow their process, which is tailored to get you to buy what they want you to buy."
On his site, Mitcham notes that customers shouldn’t be afraid to shoo the salesperson away and lie down on each mattress they’re considering for as long as needed. If you’re having trouble deciding, Mitcham writes, look for the mattress you can lie down on the longest without tossing or turning.
Bottom line: With online, direct-to-consumer mattress sales booming, the stores know that they have to work harder than ever to earn your business, which gives you a lot more leverage than you might expect. Markup is typically higher than you’ll find online, but there are still deals to be found — and unlike most online sellers, brick-and-mortar retailers will often leave room for negotiation and price matching.
"I actually had customers go to Sears or something and put a 10 percent deposit down on a mattress," Mitcham told me of his years in retail. "Then they’d bring me the invoice and say, ‘I want you to beat this price, and I’ll call up and cancel this order.’ If you’re willing to go to that extent then you’re likely to get a deal."
As for me, I haven’t finished zeroing in on the best mattress just yet (and hey, after six years, I can’t exactly claim to be in a rush). The important thing is to take enough time to understand what you’re paying for, especially since you’ll spend more time using your mattress than any other piece of furniture in your home. Do some homework, figure out what you really prefer, and you’ll have an easier time of it than you might think.
7 Tips for How to Store a Mattress and Box Spring
How To | September 26, 2019
It is hard to believe, but we spend over one-third of our lives sleeping! Having a good bed, box springs and mattress is an investment that could last a very long time. A bed set, including the headboard, box springs and mattress can cost thousands of dollars, so it is important to protect your investment. If properly maintained, a good bed set can last decades and mattresses and box springs can last at least 10 to 15 years. Even if you are an empty nester, and cleaning out a child’s bedroom, it might still be a good idea to keep their mattress for future needs.
Interested in learning the top box spring and mattress storage tips? Keep reading below.
Tips for Mattress Storage
What is the best way to store a mattress and keep it in good condition during moving or storage? Learn how to store a mattress below.
1. Avoid Storing Mattresses in the Basement
Basements can be damp, which could damage the mattress. In order to protect your mattress from potential damage, never store it in your basement. Also, keep mattresses away from pets and sharp objects.
2. Clean the Mattress Thoroughly
Before moving or storing a mattress, be sure to thoroughly clean the mattress. Use upholstery cleaner on the actual mattress and then vacuum both sides.
3. Take the Bed Frame Apart
Disassemble the bed for moving or placing it in storage. Keep all screws/nuts/bolts in a plastic bag taped to the frame or headboard for safe keeping. Cover the bed frame and headboard with old blankets during transit and during storage to protect from dust.
4. Use a Mattress Storage Cover
Invest in a mattress cover to protect the mattress in storage. Use a light, breathable plastic cover to cover the entire mattress. These usually cost $20 or less at stores. Secure the cover with tape and cover any holes or tears in the cover.
5. Keep the Mattress Flat in Storage
If you are storing a mattress on a long-term basis, then store it flat in the storage unit. This is actually opposite from what you read in most storage tips. It is okay to move the mattress on its side, but for storage, it is better to store flat as the coils and inner workings could shift by storing it on its side over a long period of time. When storing on the ground in a storage unit, lay a tarp on the ground first. You can also store the mattress on top of flat furniture.
6. Avoid Placing Items on Top of the Mattress
Do not store anything on top of a mattress. Heavy items can cause damage to the mattress material as well as possibly damaging the mattress springs.
7. Freshen Up the Mattress with Baking Soda
Once you are ready to remove the mattress from storage, freshen up the mattress before use. Sprinkle baking soda on both sides allowing the baking soda to absorb any odors and then remove via a vacuum.
More Tidy Life Tips
In this infographic, you will find more information regarding the importance of storing your mattress correctly as well as more mattress storage tips. Click below!
How to Store a Box Spring
Of course, if you have a box spring for your mattress, you’re also going to want to make sure you store it properly as well. Storing a box spring is very similar to storing a mattress, but much more simplified. Below are some tips for box spring storage:
1. Clean the Box Spring
Before storing your box spring, be sure to vacuum both sides. If it needs cleaned further, use a stain remover and rag to blot out stains.
2. Use a Mattress Storage Bag
Cover the box spring with a mattress storage bag. This will help to prevent dirt, dust or moisture from getting to your box spring.
3. Freshen up the Box Spring with Baking Soda
When you remove the box spring from storage, sprinkle it with baking soda to freshen it up.
Consider Storing a Mattress in a Storage Unit!
It is critical to protect your bed set, box springs and mattresses, while moving or in storage, so you will be able to use the items for many years to come. Self storage is a great home storage solution to keep these items protected until you need them again.
ezStorage has storage facilities in Washington, DC, Baltimore, MD and Northern Virginia. Reserve a 5×10, 10×10 or 10×15 storage unit for all of your household storage unit needs today!
Best Places to Buy a Mattress
More than 4,800 CR members shared their recent shopping experiences. Here are the retailers that came out on top.
Is it better to buy a mattress online or in-store? That’s a complicated question, without a tidy answer. What we can tell you, however, is which mattress retailers are best, according to Consumer Reports members.
The list below includes both online and in-store merchants, and our data shows that people tend to be equally happy purchasing a mattress either way. Among our members, more than 8 in 10 who bought a mattress online (88 percent) and in-store (82 percent) reported being satisfied with their experience.
These are just some of the findings from our Winter 2019 Mattress Retailers Survey, in which more than 4,800 members gave feedback about their recent shopping experiences, both online and in-store.
Members dished about retailers’ mattress selection, sales service, and customer support, as well as whether floor models were clean and delivery was on time. We also got into price: How much did they pay, how happy they were with that price, and did they haggle?
Using our data, we created ratings for 16 mattress retail chains as well as independent retailers.
One clear trend emerged: Buying a mattress online is quickly becoming the new normal. Among CR members, 40 percent who bought a mattress between January 2018 and March 2019 made their purchase online—more than a threefold increase in six years.
"It is possible that online mattress sales may overtake in-store sales within the next few years,” says Martin Lachter, a Consumer Reports survey project leader. "But the mattress market is still evolving, and many people still prefer to shop for mattresses in a brick-and-mortar store."
Below are the mattress retailers that rank highest for overall satisfaction in our mattress survey.
For each retailer, we picked a top-performing model from our mattress ratings. (CR members with digital access can read our ratings and reviews of those.) And you can read more about mattresses in our mattress buying guide.
Tuft & Needle
Founded in 2012 by two software engineers, Tuft & Needle is a bed-in-a-box company that offers two mattresses, the T&N and the Mint. It mainly sells mattresses on its website, though you can also try them out in one of its seven stores nationwide, or at Lowe’s or Crate & Barrel.
CR members seemed to be very happy with the prices they paid for a mattress at Tuft & Needle, which was a median of $758 in our 2019 survey, up from $661 in our previous survey. Tuft & Needle makes only two mattresses, which likely explains the store’s mediocre rating for mattress selection in our survey.
Sales service and customer support both received top marks, as did on-time delivery and delivery quality.
Price: $595 Shop
According to the survey, price matters a little more to online purchasers than those who buy in-store, and online purchasers on average report paying less for their mattresses. Amazon is a great example of a very low median price paid for an online mattress. As you might expect, the online retailer offers a wide selection of inexpensive mattresses from various manufacturers. Of the CR members who bought a mattress at Amazon, the median price paid was $456, compared with $1,205 for all mattresses members bought.
Amazon’s mattress selection is impressive: In addition to its own AmazonBasics brand, you’ll find brands with high-ranking mattresses in CR’s tests, such as Casper, Sleep on Latex, and Tuft & Needle. In addition to price, members gave Amazon favorable marks for selection, customer support, on-time delivery and the quality of the delivery service.
Best Way To Store A Mattress
I’m going to be moving and I will need to put my mattress in storage for a while. It concerns me that if it is left in a storeroom or storage facility and not done correctly I may damage the mattress. I’m not sure how to store it or if storing it could affect my mattress’s performance please help.
Mattress Storage Is Something A Lot Of Us Have To Deal With At One Point Or Another.
The key here is protecting the mattress set from the elements. Dry storage is the key and climate-controlled makes for the best storage if available. First and foremost would be to protect the mattress with a plastic mattress bag. It protects the various mattresses’ materials from stains and moisture. A mattress box would be an added level of protection and is recommended in addition to bagging especially during the moving process. This will shelter the bed keeping it clean and undamaged from the moving enemies of dust, dirt, and moisture even rough handling.
Prior to buying plastic storage bags and boxes, measure the thickness of your mattress. Thicker beds with pillow tops are often deeper, and it is important to make sure box and bag dimensions correlate with the bed’s measurements. Cost of plastic mattress bags can range from a couple of dollars to approximately $9.00 for the various sizes. Mattress boxes range in price from about $9.00 for a crib mattress to around $35.00 for a king. This is a very nominal cost considering the cost of a new mattress set these days. Such items can easily be found in and purchased at any moving, moving supply, or shipping company both on the net and off. U-Haul, The Container Store, and Ecobox.com are just a few companies that can fill these needs.
Now That Your Mattress Is Hopefully Boxed And Bagged What Is The Best Way To Store It Without Damaging It
If possible it is best to lay the mattress flat with nothing stacked on the top. Heavy items placed on mattresses can cause compression of materials. Although most mattresses can be stored on their sides or end some manufactures take cost-cutting measures in manufacturing by not properly quilting padding layers together or gluing them together. The stuffing inside may shift which can cause lumps that are nearly impossible to fix. Additionally if left on end or on their sides for a long period of time the mattress materials on the bottom side may be damaged due to mattresses’ excessive concentration of weight.
Author: Douglas Belleville
Doug Belleville and his father Dave own and run STLBeds – a specialty sleep store located in Arnold, MO. The staff at STLBeds is highly educated about sleep, comfort and their special sleep products. STLBeds only carries high quality mattresses and bed-related products. You won’t find the brand names here – click here to find out why!