How to choose a mattress – and 5 of the best mattresses to invest in now
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I t can be hard to find the best mattress for a good night’s sleep. Memory-foam, Egyptian cotton and pocket springs may cloud our judgement, making it difficult to choose the right mattress.
Mattresses have become so technological – some are even based on research from the US space agency NASA – that they now sometimes go by the name ‘sleep systems’.
And at up to £40,000 a go, some even cost as much as a mid-range BMW and command the same sort of social status. But is it really necessary to fork out to get a good night’s sleep?
The consensus is that a cheap mattress is indeed a false economy – spending, say, less than £200 is almost certainly not going to ensure a good night’s sleep unless you are very young, very light and frequently sleeping somewhere else.
Cheap mattresses also need replacing more often, perhaps as frequently as every two years. Spend a bit extra, say, more than £1,000, and you should not need to change the mattresses for 10 years, or, in the most luxurious pocket spring cases, up to 25.
"Spend as much as you can afford," advises Martin Gill of And So To Bed. "The minimum should be about £700 on the mattress and bed base combined. It always strikes me as absurd that people will spend £3,000 or £4,000 on a sofa which they sit on for an hour or two some evenings, and much less than £1,000 on a bed where they will spend a crucial eight hours every night."
O nce you have fixed the budget, the next priority is looking for the right kind of support.
"People often ask for orthopaedic mattresses, but all that means is a hard one," says Gill. "Very few people actually need a hard mattress unless they have crushed a disc. For most other people, they will simply be uncomfortable, particularly for lighter women, creating shoulder pain and pins and needles sensations."
I ndeed, your body weight will largely dictate the sort of tension you require – the softer ones are better for an eight-stone woman, a firmer mattress will benefit a 16-stone rugby player type. Of course, many suppliers sell combination mattresses with different tensions on either side, catering for couples with greatly varying weights.
Others sell two mattresses zipped together, a technique much improved on the old days, making it now almost impossible to tell that there is a divide. "We say if couples feel the zip, we’ll give them their money back," says Gill.
With spring mattresses, the firmness is largely dictated by the number of springs. High-quality mattresses such as Vi-Spring, such as the superb double model, will often have soft cotton and lamb’s wool to enhance the springs; the very best will have horsehair filling, which breathes well and acts like more tiny springs.
Vi-Spring offer a comfort promise – try the mattress for up to 90 days, and if need be, they will replace it with a softer or harder one. Tempur, a manufacturer of memory foam mattresses using material developed at NASA to relieve g-force pressures during space launches, offers a 60-night free trial.
T he viscoelastic foam is designed to eliminate pressure points by spreading body weight evenly. The foam cell mattresses, that start at around £1,040 for a double, reorganise themselves constantly to mould to the exact contours of a body, and because they do not harbour dust mites in the same way as more traditional mattresses, they are excellent for asthma sufferers.
Although good mattresses are expensive, they are surely worth it for health and happiness, even if it means making savings elsewhere. "People often put up with wakeful nights, constant tiredness and sore backs for a long time before connecting it to the mattress," warns Lucy Benham of John Lewis & Partners.
"A good test is sitting on the edge and seeing whether the whole side of the mattress collapses. If so, the mattress needs urgent replacement.
"Also, when looking at a new one, remember that quilted ones tend to be of lower quality. Tufted ones, which look like they have buttons going through them, are better as this means the filling is contained to avoid it moving around. Good stitching around the sides indicates that the springs are contained in pockets, which will be much more effective than open spring mattresses.
"But always remember to lie down on a mattress in the showroom and ask for professional advice. Choosing a new mattress is a very important decision indeed."
M ake sure the bed base is suitable for your mattress. A poor base will make even the most expensive mattress uncomfortable. Divan or upholstered ones are best for spring mattresses as the springs in both components complement each other. Memory foam mattresses are better if you have only a wooden slatted base.
To gauge the right tension for you, lie on the mattress in the showroom, and push your hand under the small of your back. If there is a large gap, the mattress is too soft, no gap at all, then it’s too firm. Just being able to pass your hand through suggests that the tension is spot on.
If the mattress is too hard, your body will try to compensate by frequently tossing and turning during the night, up to 60 times. This will impair your and your partner’s sleep. A good mattress will reduce turning to 17 times a night.
A too-hard mattress makes the body do the work, rather than the bed. The shoulder and hips cannot sink into the mattress, so they curve towards each other, resulting in a bent and stressed spine.
A too-soft mattress lets the body sink into a hammock position, causing hips and shoulders to pinch in, the spine to curve and putting pressure on joints and muscles. Numbness and tingling can follow.
The best spring mattresses tend to be pocket-sprung, where each individual spring is kept separate to respond to pressure from your body.
How to Choose a Mattress: A Buyer’s Guide
Choosing a mattress seems simple enough, but the fact is that finding the right mattress isn’t always an easy decision. With hundreds of models and options to choose from, it’s easy to get overwhelmed while mattress shopping.
Selecting the right mattress is more important than you might think. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says sleep loss has reached epidemic levels in the United States. In terms of return on investment, a consistent good night’s sleep pays high dividends when it comes to overall well-being. Given the reality that we spend a third of our lives in bed, it’s well worth taking the time to choose your next mattress wisely.
Selecting a mattress is about as intimate as purchases get. It is, after all, something you return to night after night, year after year. But in a world where shopping means translating often confusing industry jargon, choosing a mattress can be as technical as it is personal.
Here’s everything you need to know to choose a mattress that’s just right for you.
When Should You Replace Your Mattress?
When it comes to lifespan, the industry wants you to consider replacing your old mattress every five to seven years, but many experts say the timeline is rarely cut and dry. When all is said and done, it depends on the product, how often you use it, and personal preferences. Industry insiders say a well-made, high-quality mattress can last eight to 10 years (or longer).
These are some tell-tale signs that it’s time to go mattress shopping:
- You wake up with aches, pains, and stiffness in your back, shoulders, or neck.
- You uncharacteristically toss and turn during the night and don’t feel as refreshed in the morning.
- Your mattress shows obvious signs of wear and tear, such as a sagging surface or protruding springs
- You find yourself lying on top of peaks, sinking into valleys, or rolling toward the edge of your mattress.
- You hear creaking and other noises when you move around in bed.
- You can’t remember the last time you bought a new mattress.
Invented in 1871 by Heinrich Westphal, traditional innerspring mattresses are constructed from steel coils in a range of configurations that provide a familiar bouncy feel. Innersprings are frequently the least expensive and most widely sold options. Interconnected coils are the most durable while individual pocketed fabric-covered coils provide motion isolation, which prevents the wavelike shift that happens when a sleeping partner moves during the night.
Lifespan:Well-made innersprings can last as long as any mattress (up to 10 years or longer), but within the first few years of sleeping on them, many owners report sagging issues that affect support and comfort.
Construction:Innersprings are made from steel coils with gauges that range from 12 to 18 (18 being the thinnest and most easily compressed and 12 being the thickest and firmest). These coils are often cushioned by a fiberfill or foam outer layer and encased in quilted fabric.
Example of a Saatva innerspring mattress
Price range:Innersprings can be as low as $100 or tens of thousands for shoppers inclined to splurge. The average price for a spring-based queen mattress in stores hovers between $800 and $1,200. While offerings in the popular Simmons Beautyrest line can sell for a premium, Saatva’s comparable but more attractively-priced online luxury mattress can be had for only $899.
Typical firmness:Innersprings firmness can vary widely (from soft to very firm) depending on model among high-profile brands including Serta, Sealy and Simmons. Smaller, lesser-known brands usually offer only medium and firm options.
Who should consider this type?For the most part, innersprings appeal to consumers who appreciate the traditional and familiar springy feel that coil-constructed mattresses provide. They also get high marks from shoppers looking for the added give and bounce that generally makes sexual intimacy more comfortable and satisfying.
Sleeping positions best suited for the mattress:Innerspring mattress can be well-suited for all types of sleepers depending on the firmness of a particular model.
Weight/size:Innersprings, which can range from about 65 to 125 pounds, average about 100 pounds in queen size. Thickness can vary from as little as six inches to more than 14 inches.
Locations:Depending on style and size, innerspring mattress can fit well in almost any home environment, but rigid large conventional box spring foundations may not easily navigate narrow staircases or small doorways (split designs are an option).
Latex mattresses have a firmness similar to memory foam models with additional springiness. Most are made from natural latex derived from the sap of the rubber tree, though some are synthetic. All come with the benefit of being antimicrobial and resistant to both mold and dust mites. Some are made with Dunlop latex, which is heavier and more dense than its lighter counterpart, Talalay latex, which tends to have a softer feel.
Lifespan:Well-constructed, multiple layered latex mattresses can easily last 10 years under heavy use. Some all-natural latex mattresses can last up to 20 years or longer.
Construction:Latex mattresses use either plant-derived (natural) or petroleum-based (synthetic) latex foam as their core support system, with some also relying on the material for the upholstery layers (with or without added memory foam).
Example of a Brooklyn Bedding latex mattress
Price range:Though prices can vary widely, most latex mattresses cost between $850 to $2,400. Brooklyn Bedding’s #BestMattressEver goes for just $750 in queen size.
Typical firmness:Latex firmness varies greatly from soft to medium to firm. Generally, layers can be shifted or replaced to change the level of firmness. Some latex mattresses can be custom-ordered in a split configuration, with a different firmness on each side.
Who should consider this type?Sleepers who are sensitivity to allergens including dust mites, mold, mildew, bacteria, and other organisms. Green-minded consumers concerned about environmental impact and off-gassing often opt for tree sap-based latex beds.
Sleeping positions best suited for the mattress:Latex mattresses can be constructed and configured for side, back, or stomach sleepers.
Weight/size:Latex mattresses in queen size generally weigh in between 100 and 150 pounds, and average about 125 pounds in queen size. Their thickness varies from a thin three inches to a large 15 inches or so.
Locations:The hefty weight of thick and high-density versions of latex mattress means they usually require more than one person to move and are best suited for more spacious bedrooms.
Memory foam mattresses are made from the pressure-sensitive material developed by NASA as a way to cushion astronauts from high G-forces during takeoffs and landings. They tend to have much less bounce-back than innersprings and are appreciated for their ability to offer pressure relief. Memory foam offers enveloping support that conforms or molds your body. When not in use, the mattress springs back to its original shape.
Lifespan:With good durability that exceeds most traditional sleep surfaces, a high-quality memory foam mattress has an average life expectancy of 10 years, with many lasting even longer.
Construction:These mattresses typically have a high-density base (usually conventional foam), which acts as supportive material, with memory foam and sometimes latex or gel foam layered on top.
Example of a Leesa memory foam mattress
Price range:The average bed-in-a-box memory foam in queen size retails in the neighborhood of $155 to more than $4,000. The Tuft & Needle T&H Mattress retails for just $600.
Typical firmness:Memory foam mattresses have varying degrees of firmness depending on the thickness and density of the materials used. Three pound or less density makes for a softer bed, four to five pounds balances softness with support and six-pound-plus density offers long-lasting firmness.
Who should consider this type?Memory foam appeals to anyone who prefers a mattress that conforms to the body, eliminating pressure points. It’s also a great choice for shoppers who like the convenience of buying online and having an efficiently compressed mattress in a box delivered right to their doors.
Sleeping positions best suited for the mattress:Memory foam can provide a good night’s sleep in any position, but is considered the best option for side sleepers.
Weight/size:Queen-sized memory foam mattresses tend to between 100 and 150 pounds and average about 125 pounds with thickness ranging from six to 13 inches-plus.
Locations:The rise of e-commerce bed-in-a-box brands like Leesa, Casper and Tuft & Needle has made modern memory foam mattresses convenient options for almost any type of space.
Hybrid mattresses combine a traditional coiled support system as a foundation with added cushioning from one or more types of foam.
Lifespan:Well-made hybrid mattresses have longevity similar to traditional innersprings, lasting up to 10 years or more. However, they are prone to a similar level of sagging over time.
Construction:Hybrid mattresses often feature a traditional steel coil spring support system topped by varying combinations of memory foam, latex, or gel.
Typical firmness:Like conventional spring-based mattresses, hybrids have a variety of firmness options that run the gamut from soft to very firm.Price range:Hybrid mattress prices can vary a great deal, but the average cost is somewhere around $600 to $4,000 or more. Helix Sleep sells a hybrid, personalized to your specifications for $900.
Who should consider this type?Hybrids are attractive options for consumers drawn to the secure support and bouncy feel of traditional spring sleepers, but also like the contouring comfort of the modern foam sleep experience.
Sleeping positions best suited for the mattress:Depending upon model, hybrids come in configurations that provide suitable comfort for those who sleep on the side, back, or stomach.
Weight/size:The inclusion of foam layers makes most queen hybrids lighter than conventional all-coil innersprings, weighing about 115 pounds with thicknesses averaging 12 inches or more.
Locations:Much like their spring-only cousins, hybrid mattresses can be used in a variety of dwellings, but the stiffness, thickness, and weight of some models can limit their use to roomier environs.
Though designed to look like conventional mattresses, adjustable beds allow sleepers to elevate, lower, or bend various parts of the sleep surface to a position most comfortable at any given time.
Lifespan:Sleep surfaces specifically designed to flex with thousands of adjustments over their lifetime provide good longevity, offering a lifespan on par with their conventional counterparts.
Construction:Many owners of adjustable bed bases use conventional foam or air bed mattresses, but adjustable mattresses feature a hinged articulation system that allows them to naturally bend, providing a smooth, bunch-free sleeping surface.
|Example of a Tempurpedic adjustable mattress. NOTE: The company does not release thickness or specs.|
Price range:Adjustable mattresses in queen size can range in price from a few hundred dollars at entry level to a few thousand on the high end, though they average about $700 to $5,000. Loom & Leaf offers an online-only gel-cooled memory foam in queen for only $999.
Typical firmness:Adjustables’ firmness can vary significantly (soft, medium or firm) depending on construction and model. In queen and king size, they can be split, allowing for partners sharing the bed to have a different level of firmness on each side.
Who should consider this type?Many individuals with medical conditions (chronic back, shoulder, and neck pain or acid reflux) find that adjustables provide superior sleep comfort.
Sleeping positions best suited for the mattress:Since they can lay flat, adjustable beds can be used in all sleep positions, but they are ideal for back and side sleepers.
Weight/size:Adjustable mattresses are slightly heavier than conventional types of the same size, but their substantial frames can often make them heavier than conventional beds.
Locations:Adjustable beds, with their bulky, heavy steel-framed bases, can easily weigh several hundred pounds, limiting their use to larger spaces in many cases.
Pillow top mattresses generally have thick and soft upholstery layers of fiber and foam materials stitched onto the tops of mattresses.
Lifespan:Despite positive owner experiences indicating that pillow top mattresses initially minimize pressure points, relieve pain, and promote better sleep, the benefits tend to only last for a few years at most before sagging (sometimes just for several months). New generation two-sided flippable designs have more longevity.
Construction:Most often built over innerspring and airbed cores, pillow top mattresses are made up of several inches of top padding that can consist of standard, latex or memory foam, fiberfill, cotton, or wool.
|Example of a Sealy Posturepedic pillowtop mattress|
Price range:Pillow top mattresses on average cost about 30 percent more than comparable conventional sleep surfaces. The Serta Fitzpatrick Pillow Top (list price $1,999) is currently discounted to only $475.
Typical firmness:Pillow top firmness can vary from soft to very firm depending on the core they are built on, but the mattresses tend to be softer due to the additional padding on top.
Who should consider this type?Sleepers prone to pain due to pressure points generally appreciate pillow tops’ body-hugging qualities.
Sleeping positions best suited for the mattress:Their ability to disperse and conform make pillow tops beneficial to both side and back sleepers, who have reported high levels of satisfaction with them.
Weight/size:With their added padding, pillow top mattresses generally weigh roughly 20 percent more and are thicker than conventional mattresses of similar construction.
Locations:Mattresses with pillow tops tend to be bulky and heavy, making them better choices in larger settings.
Airbed mattresses can be custom-inflated to a desired firmness using either manual inflation or an integrated electric pump. An integrated pump makes inflation and deflation to the desired firmness fast and simple.
Lifespan:Well-made airbeds can last significantly longer than conventional mattresses, but tend to suffer from mechanical problems that require repair or replacement, including air leaks and pump or controller malfunctions.
Construction:Air mattresses use adjustable vinyl or rubber chambers filled with varying levels of air for primary support and often include a comfort layer consisting of foam, latex, fiber, or a combination of materials. Some models also have dual chambers that allow owners to inflate each individual half of the bed to firmness to suit each person sharing the bed.
|Example of a Sleep Number airbed mattress|
Price range:Airbed costs can span from less than $20 for a bare-bones manual blow-up to thousands for high-tech models by high-profile makers, but the average mattress costs between $500 to $4,000. The Sleep Number c2 model in queen is selling for just $999.98.
Typical firmness:Airbed firmness is adjustable to the needs and wants of the owner. An inherent downside is that air pressure can automatically fluctuate depending on the sleeper’s weight, body position, room temperature, and barometric pressure.
Who should consider this type?Airbeds’ adjustability gives them great appeal to sleepers who want varying degrees of firmness on any given occasion. They are also ideal for couples with significant differences in sleep preference.
Sleeping positions best suited for the mattress:The adjustable nature of airbed mattresses makes them suitable for side, back, or stomach sleepers.
Weight/size:Airbed mattresses are significantly lighter than their conventional counterparts, with weights ranging from next to nothing (a couple pounds) to 40 pounds or more and thicknesses as much as 24 inches.
Locations:Airbeds’ ability to deflate means they can be used in virtually any setting, even the smallest rooms or studio apartments.
Waterbeds, which employ a water chamber support system, are designed to look much like conventional beds. They are built in one of two styles: hard sided and soft sided. Hard-sided beds have a water chamber inside a rectangular wood frame, while soft-sided versions encase chambers with a frame of rigid foam zipped in a fabric casing.
Lifespan:Waterbed sleep surfaces generally have a life expectancy of 10 to 15 years, but it’s not uncommon for them to last 20 years or more.
Construction:Waterbed mattresses, which rest on top of a platform, are built in either a classic free flow style, without obstructions to the water’s natural motion within the mattress, or waveless, which uses baffles or fiber that limit the flow of water during movement. They often feature memory foam or gel tops.
Example of a typical waterbed mattress
Price range:Waterbed mattresses costs can run from $50 basic models to high end beds for $1,800 or more.
Typical firmness:Though affected by the layer(s) of cushioning on top of water-filled chamber(s), waterbeds’ firmness can be adjusted to fit the preferences of the sleeper. Water can be added for a firmer feel, or it can be drained to achieve a softer sleep surface.
Who should consider this type?Sleepers seeking the buoyant feel and total body support of floating on water, minimal surface pressure, a hypoallergenic surface, and a controllable sleeping temperature.
Sleeping positions best suited for the mattress:Waterbed mattresses tend to be good choices for side sleepers, since their natural give tends not to alleviate pressure point stress on the shoulders and hips.
Weight/size:When empty, size and weight are not issues for waterbed mattresses, but filled waterbeds can weight 1,500 pounds or more.
Locations:The cumbersome nature of waterbeds, which need to be filled and emptied to be moved, means they are not convenient options for consumers who move frequently. Their size and heavy filled weight generally make them best suited to larger spaces.
The futon mattress, a thicker, Westernized version of the traditional Japanese sleeping mat, is a versatile, space-saving sleep surface that can be used on a futon frame, mattress foundation, or directly onto the floor.
Lifespan:Futon mattresses, on average, have limited lifespans, providing only a few years of service, but well-made versions can last as long as some conventional sleep surfaces.
Construction:Futon mattresses are traditionally made from multiple layers of 100 percent cotton fabric, but many contemporary takes contain springs, foam, gel, or a combination of materials.
Example of a typical futon mattress
Price range:Futons generally start at only $50 and go as high as $400 for premium types, with an average price of about $150 to $175 ($130 to $150 online).
Typical firmness:Futon firmness can vary a great deal, from quite soft to very firm, but many tend to be on the softer side.
Who should consider this type?Budget-conscious buyers and those who only need a sleep surface for occasional use (for example, as a periodic guest bed). Also, consumers seeking dual-purpose furniture than can double as a makeshift sofa.
Sleeping positions best suited for the mattress:Most futon mattresses are best for back and stomach sleepers.
Weight/size:Futon mattresses in queen size generally weigh in between 10 and 80 pounds, averaging 40 to 50 pounds or so. Their thickness generally ranges from three to 10 inches.
Locations:Given their smaller size and lighter weight, futon mattresses are ideal for tight spaces or temporary use in almost any environment.
How to Choose Mattress Firmness
Firmness can best be described as the feel of a mattress when you lie down on it, as opposed to support, which is what keeps the body securely aloft and in proper alignment.
Firm mattresses offer little give and provide above-average push-back or resistance when depressed. Soft mattresses tend to envelop the sleeper in cloudlike comfort with plush cushioning that contours and hugs the body. Medium firmness balances the supportive feel of firm mattresses with the pressure-point relief of soft surfaces.
There is no ideal level of firmness for a mattress and every sleeper has a firmness preference that works best for them.
Determining Your Firmness Needs
A good starting point for identifying your best firmness level is considering how you sleep.
Firmness for Side Sleepers
Side sleepers create several pressure points where the head, shoulders, hips, legs and feet come into contact with the mattress. People who sleep on their sides rarely remain in one position. Quite often, they shift from sleeping with both legs extended to one leg straightened and the other bent at the knee to both legs bent. This shifting means that side sleepers typically need a soft or medium mattress capable of conforming to the body’s natural curves while lying on their side.
When choosing the right mattress, honing in on the right firmness is crucial, since people who sleep on their side need a mattress with a good balance of firmness. The mattress should be firm enough to provide support and soft enough to hug the natural curves of the body while sleeping.
Firmness for Back Sleepers
Back sleepers often suffer from neck, shoulder, and back pain, especially when sleeping on an improper mattress or one past its prime. Having the right level of firmness is especially important for back sleepers, since a mattress that is too soft will not offer a sufficient amount of push back tends to create potentially painful pressure points while sleeping. Making matters worse, an inadequate mattress that doesn’t provide proper support can lead to improper spinal alignment, something that can lead to chronic back pain.
Slightly soft, medium, and moderately firm mattresses can all be good choices, so long as the sleep surface offers ample support while providing pressure relief.
Firmness for Stomach Sleepers
Sleeping on your stomach can cause lower back issues, adequate support is crucial for stomach sleepers. Since the torso is the primary point of pressure on the mattress, stomach sleepers need a sleep surface that provides equal support along the entire length and width of their bodies. Mattresses that are too soft create a situation where the torso sinks into the bed, causing the sleeper’s spine to bow, resulting in alignment issues and lower back pain and discomfort.
Stomach sleepers usually require medium or slightly firm mattresses that keep the spine straight throughout the night.
Body weight is often overlooked when shopping for a mattress, but everything from support to contouring to sleep temperature can be affected by how much you weigh and your individual body type.
Light sleepers (under 110 pounds), who tend not to sink into mattresses as deeply, can experience discomfort sleeping on firm, dense mattresses. Universal comfort mattresses are often the best choices for light sleepers. Since mattress firmness is rated for average sleepers, people who carry less weight may want to choose a mattress that is slightly softer.
Medium sleepers (110 to 200 pounds) can generally have the pick of the litter, since most mattresses are designed with them in mind. Mattresses with a medium, medium firm, or luxury firm rating, as well as those in the universal comfort range should be comfortable.
Heavy sleepers (over 200 pounds), who place much more pressure on mattresses than average sleepers, should consider firmer mattresses with thicker comfort layers (four inches or more), since they offer greater support and cushion that holds up better under more weight. Other things to consider are mattresses that sleep cooler and those that offer increased edge support, such as luxury innersprings.
Consider these general guidelines for weight, firmness, and sleeping position:
|110 pounds or less||Soft||Side and Stomach||Plush, pressure-relieving comfort|
|110 to 200 pounds||Medium||Side and Back||Ideal for back pain sufferers|
|Over 200 pounds||Firm||Side and Back||Can prevent and reduce back pain|
Common Mattress Myths
The world of sleep is filled with facts that don’t stand up to real-world scrutiny. These are ten claims, half truths, and falsehoods fueled by the mattress industry and misinformed consumers:
Myth #1:Firm mattresses prevent back pain.Sleeping on a mattress that is too firm actually creates aches and pains, since they tend not to give at pressure points, which can lead to tossing and turning.
Myth #2:The more springs, the better.While innerspring mattresses with higher coil counts can be superior, that only holds true if the springs are made from heavy-gauge metal.
Myth #3:Gel provides a cooler sleep.Although gel is supposed to provide a cooling effect, that’s not always the case, especially when it’s buried deep beneath the top layers.
Myth #4:Never keep a mattress for longer than seven years.A common misconception created by the industry, the truth is that mattress life varies considerably. Some may need to be replaced in five years, while others could last 20 or more, depending on quality, how you sleep on it, and other factors.
Myth #5:One size fits all. This fast-growing marketing trend among newcomer mattress companies leads consumers to believe that all mattresses are essentially the same. It’s always important to consider your sleeping position, any medical condition, age, weight, personal preferences, and past experiences when choosing a mattress.
Myth #6:Get the longest possible warranty.The truth is, in most cases, a lifetime warranty only refers to workmanship and materials and doesn’t cover normal wear and tear.
Myth #7:You need a box spring.Box springs were first invented as shock absorbers at a time when mattresses were much thinner. These days, they simply raise the profile of beds to make them higher and are often an unnecessary cost. Most mattresses only need a solid platform underneath.
Myth #8:Doing a showroom test lie-down matters.The reality is the only true way to do a mattress a test run is to sleep on it for several hours minimum, which is why many companies now offer returnable trial periods.
Myth #9:Flip your mattress regularly.Most modern mattresses are one-sided, meaning they should never be flipped. Read your manufacturer’s instructions to find out when or if your mattress should be flipped or rotated.
Myth #10:More expensive means better.Quality generally comes at a price, but a higher price tag doesn’t necessarily guarantee a superior product. In fact, many lesser known brands sell models on par with big-name makers for up to 50 percent less.
The Quick Guide to Choosing a Mattress
When should you replace your mattress?Deciding when to replace your old mattress depends on a number of factors: its age and condition, your particular lifestyle, and budgetary considerations. Most mattresses should be replaced between seven to 10 years.
What mattress type should you get?Use your sleep lifestyle and other relevant factors to determine the kind of mattress you should buy.
What firmness is right for you?Getting a desired firmness makes choosing a mattress a very personal decision. Consider your body type and sleep style before settling on your firmness sweet spot.
How much do you have to spend?Although budget factors into the equation, expect to spend somewhere between $800 and $1,000 on a quality mattress. When evaluating the broad range of available options, keep in mind that spending less could mean settling for sub-par quality, leaving you with a mattress that will need to be replaced sooner rather than later.
What positions do you sleep in and how much do you weigh?Be sure to take into account your body type and sleep style when searching for a new mattress.
Where do you live?Don’t forget to any space limitations that could impact your mattress purchase, keeping in mind that offerings like box-delivered memory foam could end up being a better choice for small spaces like apartments and homes with limited square footage.
A Word About Mattress Prices
Manufacturer retail prices are usually much higher than the actual prices you’ll find in both online shops and brick-and-mortar stores. Unlike many traditional retailers, who employ sales pressure tactics and offer few true bargains, the highly competitive nature of the Internet means online mattress shoppers can find deals unavailable anywhere else and get the most for their money.
Many online mattresses brands also offer perks like free shipping and no-hassle returns to make for an attractive shopping experience.
The complete guide to buying a mattress in South Africa
The complete guide to buying a mattress in South Africa
Welcome to the Meelu guide to buying a perfect mattress for you!
This guide takes an in-depth look at everything you’ll need to know to make the right choice in buying a mattress. Don’t have time to read the whole article or want to skip to a summarised version? View the cheat sheet here.
Why is buying a mattress such a big deal?
Would you run a marathon, go camping or climb a mountain without the right equipment? Of course not! And yet, when it comes to sleeping (which we spend a third of our lives doing) we often neglect the most important piece of equipment needed – the mattress!
It’s no secret that a comfortable and supportive mattress is one of the key ingredients for a good night’s sleep, but most people don’t realise just how much a mattress can impact not only your sleep, but your entire life.
Sleeping on the wrong mattress, a mattress that is badly worn out or even a mattress that is just too old can cause more than just neck or back pain.
By contributing to poorer quality sleep, the wrong mattress could:
- Increase stress levels in your life, making you more nervous, irritable, worried or depressed
- Harm your relationships by making you grumpy, less attentive and lower your libido
- Negatively impact your ability to perform at work or school
- Alter your judgement, decision-making and long- or short-term memory abilities
- Lower your immune system, making you more vulnerable to infections
- Increase your risk of chronic illnesses such as obesity, heart disease, high-blood pressure and diabetes
Having the right equipment becomes even more important when the consequences of not being prepared are as serious as the list above. Fortunately, we’ve compiled this handy guide to help you identify, test and purchase a mattress that has the perfect balance of comfort and support just for you. Properly looked after, a good quality mattress should last up to 10 years! This means that you shouldn’t rush the decision, but once you’ve decided on a new mattress you will be getting the perfect night’s sleep for years to come.
Do you need a new mattress? Here are 8 warning signs that you do…
Now that you know how important a good mattress is for your mental and physical well-being, here are the signs that you need to invest in a new mattress:
1. Your mattress is 8-10 years old
Most people don’t remember when they got their mattress, but common wisdom says you should start shopping for a new one every 8 – 10 years. Wear and tear, new advances in mattress technologies like specialty foams and a build-up of things like dust mites, dead skin and sweat over the years are all good reasons why you should replace your mattress every decade. It’s also true that the older you get the more comfort and support you will need while you sleep. This means that even if you bought the perfect mattress for your body 10 years ago, it may no longer be the right mattress for you anymore.
2. Your body is stiff, achy or sore when you get out of bed
Wear and tear on the foam and springs can cause the mattress to sag in the middle, creating misalignment in your spine and pressure-points in your body while you sleep. It becomes difficult for you to get comfortable, and you end up tossing and turning a lot during the night. This results in you waking up with pain or stiffness in your shoulders, neck or back almost every day! A sure sign that your mattress is causing this pain is if the pain or stiffness gets better during the day, only for it to return again the next morning.
3. You wake up tired
A good night’s sleep should leave you feeling rested and refreshed. Do you find yourself struggling to get out of bed in the morning because you’re still tired, even after getting 7-8 hours of sleep a night? You are probably tossing and turning throughout the night because your body can’t get comfortable enough to fall into a deep sleep.
4. You sleep better somewhere else
If you end up sleeping better when you go away on holiday or a business trip, or you find yourself preferring to sleep in another bedroom or the couch it’s probably time to admit that you aren’t sleeping well on your current mattress anymore. As your mattress stops providing you proper comfort or support, it will become harder for you to fall asleep and you will look for other places to get a good night’s sleep.
5. There are visible dents, lumps or sagging in your mattress
These changes in the shape of your mattress mean that the support is being compromised in some way. If you feel like you sag into the mattress when you lie down, or there are uncomfortable bumps pushing into you at night, they will only get worse over time. It’s best to start shopping for a new mattress right away before it starts negatively impacting your sleep!
6. You experience a sudden increase in allergies or asthma at night
Over time, a traditional spring mattress becomes a home to dust-mites, dead skin and other potentially allergy-causing bugs and dirt. If you’ve experienced an increase in allergies or cold-like symptoms including sneezing or coughing when you go to bed, during the night or when you wake up in the morning then your mattress may be the culprit! Using a dust mite resistant mattress cover or investing in a latex/memory-foam mattress will help prevent dust-mites breeding in your bed.
7. Your partner disturbs you by moving at night
Do you constantly get woken up by your partner rolling over in their sleep or getting up in the middle of the night? Your traditional spring mattress is probably worn-out or wasn’t designed with motion-transfer in mind! Improvements in mattress technology like latex and memory foam all reduce motion transfer, which means you can sleep soundly through the night without being woken up by your partner moving or sneaking off to the fridge for a midnight snack.
8. You’ve gained or lost a lot of weight recently
Mattresses provide different levels of comfort and support, and often what supported you a few years ago isn’t what your body needs anymore. As you gain or lose weight, pressure points or sagging may begin to impact the quality of your sleep, which means it is time to get a mattress that’s right for your body-type today.
The different types of mattresses
Buying a new mattress can be confusing with all the different types available on the market. Deciding between a Specialty Foam, Innerspring or Hybrid mattress is often made harder by some mattress manufacturers who don’t make it clear what they have used to make their products, instead using language and descriptions that make it hard to compare one mattress against another. We’ve broken down the different types of mattresses available into 4 main categories, helping you compare and identify the best option for you.
A fast-growing mattress category, foam mattresses are here to stay and for good reason. There are essentially 3 different types of foam mattresses available, all offering different benefits and sleep experiences.
Memory Foam Mattresses
Initially developed for NASA in the 1970’s, memory foam has quickly become one of the favourite foams to use for mattresses worldwide. Also known as Visco Elastic foam, a memory foam mattress is often considered to be the best option if you have a sore back or achy joints. Memory foam evenly distributes your weight in the bed by conforming to your body shape. As your body-heat softens the foam, you sink into the mattress which can sometimes sleep “warmer” than other traditional mattresses, but it is very much up to personal preference. It is one of the most comfortable materials available and is resistant to bed-bugs and mould which make it a great option for allergy sufferers.
Natural or synthetic latex mattresses are also very popular choices and have a bit more “bounce” than a memory foam mattress. Extremely durable, latex mattresses are known for their support and lack of motion transfer. They provide great support and alignment in the shoulder and hip area, whilst reducing pressure-points throughout the length of the body. If your partner is a restless sleeper, you stand a better chance of sleeping through with a latex mattress!
Specialty Foam Mattresses
Specialty Foam Mattresses are made up of different layers of foam, and often include Memory Foam, Latex Foam, Polyurethane Foam and other foams that contain materials like cooling gel together in one mattress. These foams are produced at different densities and combined to create a sleep experience that highlights the best quality of each material. Often providing the best combination of comfort and support for most sleepers, Specialty Foam Mattresses have taken the mattress industry by storm in the last few years and many are available online as a cost-effective alternative to more expensive in-store options. Our own Meelu Mattress is a Specialty foam mattress and comes with a risk-free, 100-night trial!
An innerspring mattress is the oldest and most widely known type of mattress available. These traditional mattresses contain an inner steel coil support system that manufacturers started using over 100 years ago. There are many variations of the spring system, each providing a different experience based on the number of springs used, their size and whether the springs are connected or housed in individual pockets. Each innerspring mattress uses foam, fiber, upholstery and other materials to add comfort to the spring system and support the sleeper. Although still the most widely used type of mattress, advances in technology have challenged the idea that springs are needed to provide support in mattresses, and many new mattress buyers are choosing more modern alternatives, like specialty foam mattresses.
Hybrid mattresses combine innerspring technology with one or more types of foam, typically using memory foam, polyurethane foam or latex. Often combined in unique ways, hybrid mattresses can be a viable choice for those who prefer the feel of a spring mattress but want to experience some of what new mattress technology has to offer.
Other Types of Mattresses
This category is made up of the less popular types of mattresses, including options like Water Beds, Futons, and Air Beds. If you are considering a mattress that doesn’t fit into any of the categories above, we recommend you test and compare it against one of the above first. There is a reason most people prefer to sleep on something like a Specialty Foam Mattress as opposed to a Water Bed, but this decision comes down to personal preference and how your body and mind feels after a night’s sleep.
What is your budget?
When it comes to buying a mattress, most people make the mistake of thinking that higher prices mean better quality. Although a mattress is an investment and you definitely shouldn’t go for the cheapest option, there are multiple factors to consider when comparing mattress prices.
The first thing to take into consideration after you’ve identified the type of mattress you would like to sleep on is where you will be getting it from. Purchasing a mattress in-store from a dealer generally carries a higher price than buying a mattress online, simply because there are extra costs involved in transporting the mattress to and from the store, mark-ups and salesman commissions. Purchasing a mattress online directly from the manufacturer will potentially save you money, and many mattresses available online compete for comfort and support with higher-priced in-store alternatives.
Another factor to consider is the types of materials used to manufacture the mattress. The less you pay for a mattress, the higher the chances are that the materials used are of poorer quality and are potentially more toxic to sleep on than mattresses made from premium quality and much purer materials. This is especially true for Foam mattresses, where off-gassing of toxic fumes can be a concern.
For the South African market, we suggest the starting budget for a Queen-sized mattress and up to be between R7000 and R10 000. Taking into account how long a good quality mattress should last, spending R10 000 on a mattress will only cost you R2,74 a night for the next 10 years! That’s a small price to pay for a good night’s sleep, every night.
What size mattress should you get?
How much space do you have?
The first thing to consider when deciding on what mattress size you should get is not how many times you can roll over before you reach the other side, but how big your room is. Many people order the biggest mattress they can afford without properly measuring the available floor-space in the room and deciding how much extra space they want around the bed to be able to move freely. Make sure that you are buying a bed that fits your room properly, as a mistake here could be extremely frustrating and costly.
Who will be sleeping on the mattress?
Is it just you, or will you be sharing the bed with a partner? Do you have children or pets that will join you in the bed regularly, and how will that affect your comfort and sleep?
It’s important to account for your current situation and future plans – are you single but plan on getting married soon? Are you currently a young working professional planning on moving to a bigger place in the near future?
Your answers to these questions will give you better insight into which mattress size is right for you, today and tomorrow.
How do you sleep?
If you sleep with a partner, it’s important to consider how each of you sleeps at night. Are you a side, stomach or back sleeper? How much space do you take up when sleeping, and are you or your partner a restless sleeper who moves around a lot? You may want to get a larger mattress if either of you feels that you could get disturbed at night by your partners sleeping style and movements.
Mattress size recommendations
Below are our recommended mattress sizes for different types of people and scenarios. We suggest you start looking at the size that suits you below and take it from there!
King Mattress:Ideal for couples, the king-sized mattress is the ultimate in comfort. Enough space to sleep peacefully with your partner, we recommend this if you are married, living together or planning either of those anytime soon.
Queen Mattress:The Queen size mattress is ideal for a guest room or single adult. We find it can be slightly too small for long-term comfort for couples but is still an ideal choice if you are on a very tight budget.
Double Mattress:Deceptively named a double, this mattress is best for a young adult or teenager and is too small for any adult couple sharing a bed long-term. When sharing, an adult has the same space proportionally as a baby has in a crib, which can be constricting and disruptive for both partners.
Single Mattress: The single mattress is great for teenagers and younger children.
Mattress firmness is a difficult topic to address because it is highly subjective. Each individual has their own definition of what “Soft” or “Firm” means, so we’ve done our best here to give general guidelines as well as explanations on the differences between “Firmness” and “Support”, and how to best decide what will work for you.
What is Mattress Firmness?
Mattress firmness describes the feeling you get when you lie on the mattress, from your first impression to the prolonged experience you have. It’s based on how hard the mattress feels, and how comfortable that hardness is for you. Mattress firmness can be described in one of two – how soft it feels and how much you sink in is just as good an indicator of hardness as how much the mattress feels like it is “pushing” back at you. The different feel is generally given a number between 1 and 10 (with 10 being extremely firm), or a description like “Soft / Plush”, “Medium-Firm” and “Firm”.
Statistically, most sleepers prefer a firmness of “Medium-Firm” or around 6.5/10, and many mattresses (especially the specialty foam mattresses) are being designed and engineered around this ideal firmness and being marketed as a one-size-fits-all solution. The Meelu Mattress is a great example of this, and comes in at a comfortable 7/10 firmness!
What is Mattress Support?
Many people think that support and firmness is the same thing, but it is not. You can have a soft or plush mattress with great support, or a firm mattress with very ineffective support that creates unnecessary and uncomfortable pressure points. Support is how aligned a mattress keeps your spine and hips while you sleep, and is often designed into the mattress with different specialty foams, springs, and other engineering or technology. The best indicator of support is when you are lying in your ideal sleeping position, is your spine straight or curved in a way that could injure you over time?
How do you sleep?
Your preferred sleeping position will also affect what firmness you may find comfortable. The 3 main sleeping positions are back, side and stomach sleepers. Although medium-firm is still seen as the most popular firmness, you may find that as a side sleeper you enjoy a softer mattress, or if you are a stomach or back sleeper you might prefer a firmer mattress.
How to test a mattress
One of the biggest moments in deciding which mattress to purchase is the infamous “Mattress Test”. Sadly, the norm for testing a mattress is notoriously ineffective, as mattress tests happen in-store, and hardly ever exceed 5-10 minutes. These quick tests are often performed under the watchful eye of a hovering salesman and other shoppers and are awkward to say the least. Unfortunately, it is the only opportunity most people have to test their mattress before they say “I do” and enter into a 10-year relationship. A person will only get to test their mattress properly over a full night’s sleep, and even then, the first few weeks of a new mattress take some getting used to. Fortunately, there is a new trend among most online retailers and many are offering a 90-120-night risk-free trial with each mattress purchased. This means that if you are not happy with the mattress and don’t feel it is right for you, you can return your mattress and get a full refund within 90-120 nights. This is an ideal amount of time to see if a mattress is right for you, and we hope that this will become the new standard in how companies allow their customers to test their mattresses. The Meelu Mattress, available on this site
Regardless of whether you are testing a mattress for 10 minutes or 100 nights, below are our best tips for what to look out for when testing mattress.
- Firmness:As you lie down on the mattress, how does it feel? Is it comfortable, and do you feel like you sink in just the right amount in your preferred sleeping position?
- Support:Test your sleeping positions and see if you can feel your hip and spine alignment – do they feel like they are supported, and not sagging or bent uncomfortably?
- Edge support:Does the support in the mattress go all the way to the edge, or does it feel like you’re going to fall off the mattress the closer to the edge you get? It’s important to have consistent support up to the edge of the mattress.
- Durability:What is the mattress and its cover made from? Ask the salesman or read online to find out as much as you can about the inner workings of your mattress. If it’s a spring or foam core, what about it makes it unique, and will it serve your needs long-term?
- Motion transfer:Will your partner disturb you at night? It’s best to test the mattress together and see how well the mattress absorbs movement.
- Mattress Warranty:How many years is the warranty cover? Most good quality mattresses will last as long as the warranty but beware of warranties that seem too long – most mattresses should be replaced after 8 – 10 years.
- Return policy:Being able to return an expensive item such as a mattress is important. Ask your salesperson what the terms and conditions are, and make sure that you know what you’re getting yourself into and how you can avoid a costly mistake if you’re not happy with the purchase.
Cheat Sheet on buying a mattress
- Buying a mattress is an important investment that contributes to a good night’s sleep – this impacts every area of your life
- You may need a new mattress if:
- Your existing mattress is 8 – 10 years old
- You wake up sore, stiff or tired
- You sleep better somewhere else
- There are visible dents, bumps or lumps in your mattress
- You experience a sudden increase in asthma or allergies at night
- Your partner disturbs you when they move or get up at night
- You gained or lost significant weight recently
- There are 4 main types of mattresses to choose from:
- Foam mattresses
- Memory Foam
- Specialty Foam
- Other – Water Bed, Airbed, Futon etc.
- The ideal budget for a Queen mattress is R 7 000 and R 10 000 – less than that and you risk compromising on quality and increasing toxicity.
- The size of your mattress should be determined by the size of your room, who will be sharing the bed with you, and your preferred sleeping positions
- Firmness and support are 2 different things: Firmness is how the mattress feels, Support is how the mattress keeps your hips and spine aligned. Both are important and should be considered based on your preferred sleeping position.
- How to test a mattress. Whether it’s 10 minutes or 100 nights, look out for the following things when testing your mattress:
- Firmness – is the mattress firmness comfortable in your preferred sleeping position?
- Support – does the mattress provide the correct support for your hips, spine, and shoulders?
- Edge support – does the mattress support
- Motion Transfer
- Mattress Warranty
- Return Policy
Buying a mattress? Avoid these tricks South African companies use to get you to spend more
- Buying the right mattress is crucial, but it is also confusing and complex.
- Mattress producers and sellers make it difficult to compare products.
- You need to understand their tricks to avoid being ripped off.
- For more stories, go toBusiness Insider SA.
Buying a mattress is an important decision. Along with exercising and eating well, sound sleep is one of the fundamentals of good health. But it’s also one of the most confusing decisions you’ll likely make in your adult life.
Considering that we sleep for one third of our lives, and will likely only purchase around a handful of mattresses during this time, it stands to reason that mattress purchases should get due consideration.
But, even with all the consideration and care in the world, you may find it difficult to make a decision.
Much of the complexity of buying a new mattress is fuelled by the very companies wanting you to make a decision.
Many mattress companies use a variety of tricks, which range from subtly sneaky to pure evil, in order to get you part with as much money possible.
Here are some of their tricks:
They make it difficult to compare prices among competitors
Price-savvy shoppers know that online comparisons can save you thousands, and help avoid dud products.
Although price comparison websites are often dubious, it’s usually possible to get a good idea of products across an industry by doing manual online or multi-store checks.
But it is difficult to compare mattresses. That’s because most traditional mattress manufacturers leave their products nameless, and allow retailers to rebrand their mattresses.
Mattress manufacturer Sealy’s Collection range, for example, includes 9 different unnamed mattresses. The Sealy website lists these according to generalised specifications and comfort levels.
This allows each independent store that sells these mattresses to rebrand, and price, mattresses as they wish.
For example, the cheapest double Sealy mattress on The Mattress Warehouse website is the “Sealy Posturepedic Alon Firm”, at R4,199.
This mattress does not exist on competitor websites like Beds Direct, Beds On Line, or Dial A Bed.
However, Beds Direct has a similarly-named and priced “Amom Firm” mattress. And Beds On Line an “Alco Firm”.
The trend continues throughout the mattress ranges, and is not a tactic exclusive to Sealy.
Reviews are also hard to come by, and believe
Reviews of mattresses are difficult to find, mainly because of the naming issue, set out above.
Unlike with other products on sale online, the fractured naming system makes comprehensive reviews of mattresses difficult to come by.
The rise of online mattress companies like Casper in the US has changed how the industry works – including increasing the number of online reviews.
But take the plethora of rave reviews for this style of mattress with a pinch of salt, because most are reviewed by ‘mattress bloggers’, who receive free goods in exchange for positive reviews.
Most mattress review sites also make their money off referral fees, which means bad reviews don’t make for good business.
And for those independent review sites swimming upstream, mattress companies do their best to silence them. In 2016, Casper sued several bloggers who dared to leave vaguely critical reviews of their products.
They run so-called massive sales
Many mattress shops run regular sales with discounts of up to 50%.
These are designed to get feet through doors or clicks on websites. But they may not be as impressive as they seem.
Again, because it is difficult to compare mattresses, confirming whether an advertised discount is really a bargain, is complicated. It’s nearly impossible to compare discounted prices of all mattresses across stores.
When youcancompare mattresses, the sale price of one store is often surprisingly similar to the retail price of others.
Much like South Africa’s daily deals websites, it appears many stores make use of elevated recommended retail prices to claim to be offering higher discounts than they actually are.
Many manufacturers also only allow retailers to sell a specific mattress at or above an agreed price. Because of this, it’s unlikely that the massive discount on your favourite brand mattress is all that significant after all.
They’ll try to make you purchase a mattress protector or bed frame
Most mattress companies offer extended warranties in order to persuade you to part with your cash.
But salespeople may tell you that unless you purchase an expensive mattress protector or a base or boxspring you’re not covered by their warranty, and you won’t be able to return the mattress.
According to South Africa’s Consumer Protection Act, they’re required to accept returns of certain defective and unwanted goods. The CPA doesn’t cover you if you try to return an unsanitary mattress or one that you damaged, and so it may be a good idea to purchase one anyway. Some special comfort guarantees are also dependent on you purchasing a protector of some kind.
Still – you’re also not under any obligation to buy expensive accessories in order to receive standard consumer protection offered by the law, but read the extended warranty carefully before making the decision.
If you already have a bed, there’s usually no need to include the base, and you should receive a discount on the purchase price if you choose to exclude it. Beware that the salespeople may try to tell you that your base may damage the new mattress, or that purchasing a boxspring included with the mattress does add much to the price.
‘Comfort returns’ aren’t as easy as they sound
It’s almost impossible to feel comfortable with a mattress decision after lying on one in a store for five minutes.
Mattress stores know this, and so they’ll attempt to ease your decision-making process by offering a “comfort guarantee”.
In most cases these guarantees offer shallow little peace of mind, because they seldom come without conditions or as a full refund option.
They often come with a list of onerous conditions – such as the mattress must not be marked or soiled in any way, and you can only exchange for products in the same price range or higher.
There may also be hidden costs associated – either to activate the guarantee, or for collection and delivery.
Although mattress companies make bold claims about comfort guarantees, it’s important to read the terms and conditions of these carefully before believing them as they’re advertised.
They are trying to get the most commission
Many mattress salespeople make commission on mattress sales. This means you may be in danger of not getting an honest opinion based on your exact needs, but rather on which mattresses pay the most commission.
It also means salespeople will often turn their noses up at certain in-store brands for being “inferior”, when in actual fact they may be perfectly good beds that simply pay less commission.
Go into the process with this in mind, and you might be able to work it to your advantage, though. The displayed prices are often a starting point for negotiation – even if the store is running a so-called sale.
You can try to bargain with the salesperson, and ask them to throw in extras like pillows, bed bases or mattress protectors as an incentive.
They ask you your budget and then sell accordingly
Because mattress sales are so cutthroat, most salespeople are skilled at working out what customers are willing to spend.
And because few people are regular mattress buyers, it’s also very difficult to know what a fair price would be.
Mattress salespeople know this, and some will pitch the products according to your budget, rather than actual requirements.
Despite what the salesperson might tell you, there’s often very little difference between mid-level and the top-of-the-line mattresses. The most expensive, which are marketed as the top of the line, aren’t necessarily the best.
Understanding the tricks to avoid being ripped off
As frustrating as mattress purchases are, they are a necessary evil. If you’re in need of a new mattress and don’t want to fall for the tricks of the industry, your first step should be to compare like with like.
Most major brands have various “lines”. Within each there are usually 3 different types of mattresses – named along the lines of firm, medium, and plush.
With this in mind, you can then more easily compare prices across stores, and online.
Sleep experts recommend you visit several stores in-person and lie down on each, to find which specific type of mattress suits you best.
Although salespeople may attempt to close the deal on the spot, resist the urge.
Instead, request that the store provides you with a quote on the best prices possible (preferably with a discount included), and then go compare that offer at other stores. In many cases it may also be cheaper to purchase your mattress online.
Once you’ve made up your mind, be sure to read the fine print regarding comfort guarantees, delivery and return fees. And then sleep somewhat easy, knowing that you’ve saved yourself a few hundred rand.
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Also from Business Insider South Africa:
How to Choose the Best Mattress
We spend more than a third of our lives in bed. This is where we rest, relax, sleep and feel safe and snug. Because bed is important to us – and because good mattresses today are far from cheap – it’s worth considering what to look for when you buy a new one.
First, we explain some potentially misleading marketing terms common in the mattress industry.
You might have heard the term “no-turn mattress”. So what does this mean? Well, you don’t have to turn the mattress to ensure even wear and tear because only one side of the mattress is properly padded, with a latex or memory foam layer.
Second, a “lifetime warranty” doesn’t mean your mattress is covered for a lifetime. It means that if there are any manufacturing defects, the mattress will be replaced. The warranty doesn’t apply to normal wear and tear, or to any damage that you or pets cause. Over a decade or so, you’ll probably have to change your mattress due to normal wear and tear.
Last, it’s worth mentioning that generally, a new mattress won’t instantly give your body the support it needs. The base material has to mould itself around your body first, and it can take a few weeks before you enjoy the full benefit of a comfortable and supportive new mattress.
Types of mattresses
In South Africa, you have a choice of four main types of mattresses.
A continuous coil mattress is constructed from a single, continuous length of wire, coiled into a series of supportive springs or coils. It’s one of the cheapest options, and, depending on the size, currently retails at around R4 000 to R7 000.
This type of mattress is comparatively light and easy to turn. It’s usually filled with high-density foam for added comfort and support.
Best for: children and adults weighing less than 100 kg, or for occasional use in a guest room or second bedroom.
Pocket spring mattresses comprise dozens of thin-gauge, knotless coils individually wrapped in fabric pockets. The springs aren’t wired together. They work independently, allowing for more flexibility and support, and preventing transfer of movement between sleeping partners.
Prices range from R7 000 to R12 000, depending on the make, model and size.
Best for: just about anybody – pocket spring mattresses cater for different body weights, shapes and sizes, and provide good support and comfort levels.
Latex mattresses are firm, solid, well ventilated and particularly durable. Body contouring capabilities provide increased comfort and support, and prevent discomfort due to pressure points.
The density of the latex foam determines the firmness of the mattress, so you can decide whether you want a ‘gentle firm’, ‘firm’ or ‘extra firm’ mattress.
Latex doesn’t transfer motion. Also, natural latex is resistant to dust mites, mould and mildew.
Latex mattresses can cost you up to R35 000, so they come at a price.
Best for: anybody who is looking for advanced comfort and support, along with zero motion transfer.
A memory foam mattress forms contours around your body shape to provide incomparable comfort and support. Partner-related sleep disturbance is non-existent, and the mattresses are specifically designed to prevent back pain.
The foam is highly responsive to temperature, which can be a problem for people who get hot in bed.
This type of mattress has a longer lifespan to conventional coil mattresses and, as with latex, the foam holds its shape.
Memory foam mattresses come with a similar price tags to latex mattresses.
Best for: people who need added support, particularly those who have lower back pain.
What comfort level do you need?
The level of comfort you require is largely determined by your sleeping position. If you’re a side sleeper, a soft continuous coil or pocket spring mattress will do, as your natural sleeping position supports your spine.
Back sleepers should opt for a medium firm mattress, either memory foam or pocket spring, as extra lower back support is essential. Front sleepers are ideally suited to firm mattresses, whether latex, pocket spring or foam, as you’ll enjoy optimal back support, while avoiding the slight sinkage associated with softer mattresses.
If you constantly change position in bed, a medium-soft pocket spring or memory foam is your best bet. It will offer slightly more support, but allow for the flexibility of body movement.
Professional cleaning of mattresses
You can prolong the life of your mattress and ensure it’s hygienic, pleasant smelling and free of mites and pathogens by having it professionally cleaned.
So rather than buying new, you may choose to rescue and revive your existing mattress!
At Chelsea Cleaning, we offer a professional mattress cleaning service that includes:
- high-power vacuuming
- use of industry-leading stain removal formulas and emulsion cleaners to treat soiled areas
- a steam clean that uses hot water extraction
- a final vacuum and air drying.