Considering a bed-in-a-box? What you need to know about the new mattress trend
January 25, 2018, 4:05 AM
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WASHINGTON — Sales of beds-in-a-box have doubled in the last four years, and a leading consumer group has explored the online mattress experience for you in case it’s something you want to try.
“There are many more options available on the market now,” said Sara Morrow, a deputy editor with Consumer Reports. “Many of these companies are competing to make a mattress that’s hitting a good price point and is also offering good performance.”
Consumer Reports finds that online mattress retailers try to make the experience as pain free as possible for consumers. They typically offer generous return policies, long trial periods and free shipping.
Prices are competitive and it’s easier to comparison shop.
With brick and mortar mattress retailers, product names for identical or near-identical models can vary among stores. Consumer Reports finds that online bed-in-a-box companies tend to offer just one model, but that lack of choice isn’t necessarily bad.
“Our tests have confirmed that many of the mattresses do perform well whether you’re a petite person, an average person, a tall person — and, no matter how you sleep,” Morrow said.
Most are made of foam. But bed-in-a-box offerings include innerspring and adjustable air mattresses.
The question is: Are they any good?
Consumer Reports’ independent laboratory testing and ratings show beds-in-a-box get good marks for durability, stability and firmness. Some of these mattresses perform at consistently “good” and “excellent” levels.
The Essentia Strami, for example, tops Consumer Reports’ ratings for all foam mattresses.
“Twelve foam mattresses that are beds-in-a-box have made our ‘recommended’ list,” Morrow said.
And it’s not impossible to try before you buy.
Some brick and mortar stores display products from the online mattress retailers. Target shows twin-size Casper mattresses and Leesa has a relationship with West Elm stores, which has locations in D.C., Baltimore and Tysons Corner.
Consumers can also check the websites of individual companies to see if and how they might offer an in-person, pre-purchase experience.
Rejects don’t have to go back in the box.
Beds-in-a-box are compressed, folded or rolled into what might seem like minuscule containers relative to their unleashed size. But Consumer Reports finds most rejected purchases do result in refunds and the mattresses don’t necessarily have to be returned.
“More than likely, they’re going to give you a refund. But also more than likely, it’s going to be your responsibility to remove that mattress from your house,” Morrow said.
Some companies will work with consumers to arrange for the mattress to be given to a charitable donation or to pick it up themselves.
“Always make sure that you’re familiar with the return policy,” Morrow said.
Should you also buy a box spring?
Consumer Reports advises mattress owners to follow the manufacturer recommendations. Ignore the manufacturer’s advice and you might void the product warranty.
Sticking with a traditional mattress? Take your time.
If you choose to buy a bed from a mattress store, Consumer Reports finds from its most recent survey of subscribers that the longer you try out a mattress at the store before buying it, the more likely you will be satisfied with your purchase.
The recommended tryout time: 10 to 15 minutes.
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How Long Do Mattresses Last? The Results May Shock You!
Mattresses are pretty expensive — one quick glance at our buyer’s guide will confirm this fact. This is why many people do not replace them – not even after many years of use.
They do not want to spend a lot of money on a new one. Besides, now you can delay the process of buying a new one if you do an excellent job at maintaining your existing one.So, how often should you replace your mattress?
It doesn’t matter which type of bed you have. Most of them are ready for replacement within ten years to ensure a good night’s rest (old mattresses can hurt your sleep quality). Besides, it can last beyond ten years on average, if the owners maintain it properly.
Also, many different factors affect a bed’s lifespan. You can extend its life expectancy by following a few easy steps in the text below. We prepared and wrote down some tips to boost its longevity.
How long does a mattress last?
My mattress is getting on in years. In fact, Bill Clinton was in his first term as president when I last bought a new one. Is it time for me to replace my mattress?
You’ve probably logged more than 30,000 hours in your bed, and your mattress has likely become less comfortable and less supportive. But there’s no set formula for determining when you need to replace a mattress. It might be time to buy one if:
•You regularly wake up tired or achy—you make Oscar the Grouch seem as cheerful as Mr. Rogers.
•You tend to sleep better away from home, than in your own bed. Are you planning unnecessary business trips or looking for any reason to go on a weekend getaway?
•Your mattress looks or feels saggy or lumpy—it needs go on the Abs Diet.
•You’re over age 40 and your mattress is five to seven years old. Remember, your body tolerates less pressure as it ages. As if getting older weren’t tough enough . . .
A mattress can be an expensive investment—we’ve tested models that cost in excess of $4,000—but if you treat your new one properly, it could easily last 10 years. Our advice:
•Don’t let your kids use your bed as a trampoline.
•Rotate your mattress. If you have a single-sided mattress (you sleep on only one side), rotate the mattress from end to end—that is, move the mattress 180 degrees. The foot of the mattress is now at the head, and vice versa.
If you have a double-sided mattress, rotate it as above, then turn it over so the bottom is now on top.
Perform these steps every two weeks for the first three months you have your new mattress, then once every two months thereafter. You’ll find illustrated instructions on a number of different Web sites.
• Use a bed frame that has a center support.
Essential information:See “How to buy a mattress without losing sleep” for detailed advice on finding the perfect bed. And watch our video buying guide.
Testing Sleep Number’s It Bed Claims
CR finds the new adjustable air bed falls short of its brandmates
Sleep Number’s adjustable air beds have been a hit with Consumer Reports’ readers and have done well in our tests for the past few years. In our surveys, readers tell us that adjustable air beds help them sleep, especially if they have aches and pains. And in our mattress tests, Sleep Number beds have earned consistently high marks for support and durability. Then along comes the It Bed by Sleep Number, which the company claims is "smarter than the average bed." We don’t test for that, but we can tell you whether it will help you sleep.
The It Bed by Sleep Number, $1,100, is a bit of a departure for the company in the way it’s sold and delivered. Most shoppers buy a Sleep Number bed in one of the company’s 450 stores and have it delivered and set up in their home by the company. The It Bed is a direct-to-consumer play like the trendy beds-in-a-box from Casper and Tuft & Needle. You buy it online and set it up yourself. And that’s what we did.
Our Mattress Tests
In our labs, we put the It Bed through our tests for support, durability, and motion transfer with test subjects of different sizes and in various sleeping positions. The It Bed by Sleep Number offered only mediocre support for petite, average, and large/tall sleepers who sleep on their side or back and was worse than that for large/tall back sleepers. It’s also less forgiving when one partner changes positions, meaning the other will probably be shaken or jostled.
By contrast, in our tests its two brandmates, the Sleep Number i8 Bed, $3,000, and the Sleep Number c2 Bed, $800, provide very good support for all side sleepers, and even better for some who sleep on their back. And when one partner tosses and turns, the other is less likely to be bothered.
The part that’s smart on the It Bed is the WiFi-enabled pump and the SleepIQ app, which lets you adjust the air bladders from your smartphone and track your sleeping habits. The other two beds we tested are controlled by a remote; if you already have one of them, you can add the new pump for an extra $300. The SleepIQ app is free.
Finding Your Sleep Number
Whether you buy your bed in the store or online, Sleep Number encourages you to find your sleep number by inflating the bed to 100, then slowly letting air out of the bladders until you feel comfortable in your normal sleeping position. At home you’re on your own, but in the store you have help from an apparatus that measures your pressure points as you lie on the mattress. The majority of people who own the conventional Sleep Number beds prefer settings from 35 to 50, according to a company spokesperson. By contrast, owners of the It Bed by Sleep Number prefer a setting of 80.
CR captures both preferences. In our adjustable air mattress tests we use two settings: 35 and 85. We average the two, and our experts have found that there’s little difference in support and firmness between Sleep Number’s lower and higher levels of inflation. The new It Bed scores a 3 in firmness on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the firmest.
Later this year, Sleep Number is coming out with a new line of adjustable air mattresses called the Sleep Number 360 Smart Bed. They’ll have some intriguing features, including one that adjusts the bed automatically by adding or removing air as you change positions, a foot warmer that kicks in shortly before your normal bedtime, and a so-called snore detector that raises your head via the adjustable base to alleviate mild snoring. It comes with SleepIQ and can sync with your fitness tracker and other apps including the one for the Nest thermostat to adjust the temperature based on its reading of your body temperature.
Once the Sleep Number 360 mattresses hit the market, we’ll evaluate whether to buy and test one. We also plan to test adjustable air beds from other brands in addition to more innerspring and foam mattresses.
The Ins and Outs of Memory Foam: Is It Worth the Hype?
April 10, 2017
Filed under: Shopping Tips
Memory foam mattresses have soared in popularity over the last decade. Memory foam pillows are a more recent addition to the product line. But what’s so great about memory foam? A lot, it turns out.
What is memory foam?
Memory foam material dates back to 1966 when it was developed by NASA to absorb shock in airplane seats. Since then, “slow spring back foam” (as it was initially referred to) has been used in NFL helmets, hospital beds, shoes, and prosthetics.
Memory foam has evolved in recent years, and technologically advanced foams are common materials in mattress construction. For example, Serta’s gel foam mattresses are made up of a combination of tiny cushioning chambers, each infused with millions of Titanium gel beads uniquely designed to relieve pressure points, provide added support and aid in temperature regulation.
Why do some sleepers prefer memory foam?
Memory foam is a great mattress material for many reasons. It evenly distributes weight and pressure over an area, giving many sleepers pressure point relief. The foam contours to each individual’s body shape, allowing for a high level of mattress personalization. Memory foam is also resistant to movement. If your bed partner gets up frequently or tosses and turns at night, the activity doesn’t ripple throughout the entire mattress.
Now, advanced memory foam technology helps keep you cool while you sleep. Serta’s iComfort mattress collection, for example, features EverFeel® Triple Effects™ Gel Memory Foam which provides a cool and comfortable night’s sleep.
How long does memory foam last?
Memory foam mattresses can last anywhere from eight to ten years, depending on how well they’re cared for. Typically, a memory foam mattress will last as long as any other type of mattress, whether it’s an innerspring or hybrid.
A liquid resistant mattress protector is a good way to keep your memory foam mattress clean and free from stains, which can impact the warranty. Our iComfort TempActiv mattress protector is a great choice for your memory foam mattress due to its cool-to-the-touch feel and water proof barrier.
What if I’m still not sure?
That’s okay! A new mattress is a big decision. If you prefer the traditional feel of an innerspring mattress, Serta offers the best of both worlds. Our hybrid mattresses mattress models combine gel memory foam with the most advanced individually wrapped steel coil innerspring systems. No matter your comfort preference, we’ve got you covered.