Mattress Buying Tips
Thinking about buying a new mattress? If you wake up tired or achey, if you tend to sleep better at hotels than at home, if your mattress looks saggy or lumpy, if you're over 40, or your mattress is five to seven years old. Use this mattress guide to help with your purchase.
Choose a size
Most sleepers shift positions during the night, and cramped quarters can keep them from moving freely. Standard mattress dimensions are king, 76x80 inches; California king, 72x84 inches; queen, 60x80 inches; full, or double, 53x75 inches, and twin, 38x75 inches.
Consider an innerspring first
A conventional innerspring mattress is the most common choice and often the least expensive. Memory foam, which was developed to protect astronauts against g-forces, is heat-sensitive and conforms to your body. Tempur-Pedic is the big name, but there are other brands. Not all memory foam feels the same, and it can take time to get used to.
Decide where to shop
Buy at a store, not online or over the phone. A product manager for Tempur-Pedic told us that more online customers return their mattresses than shoppers who buy in a store.
Start out with the least expensive bed from a few top brands, and work your way up in cost.
One specialty bed we tested, Tempur-Pedic, is sold at a variety of stores, but we found that discounts have historically been few and far between.
Understand the name game
Manufacturers usually modify innerspring mattresses for different sellers, changing the color, padding, quilting pattern, and so forth. Then each seller can call the mattress by a different name. Consumers are the losers. Because such mattresses are at least somewhat different, and the names vary, you can't comparison shop. At Mattress Man you will always be able to see, feel, smell, touch, and try out the actual mattress that you will be buying….at a huge discount off of the manufacturer's suggested prices.
Some mattress makers provide helpful information on their websites. Go to www.simmons.com, for example, and you'll find basic information about the company's flagship Beautyrest lines.
Choose the right firmness
Don't rely on names. One company's ultra plush might be another's super soft. Orthopedists once recommended sleeping on an extremely firm mattress, but there's little evidence to support that view. The best surface is purely subjective, says a spokesman for the Stanford University Center for Human Sleep Research.
A study published in 2003 in the British medical journal Lancet suggested that people who suffer from lower back pain would benefit from a medium-firm mattress. That made sense to several experts we interviewed. If a mattress is too firm, it won't support the body evenly and may cause discomfort at the heaviest points (hips and shoulders). If it's too soft, a sleeper could sink into the surface and have a hard time moving, which could cause tingling, numbness, or aches.
Alan Hedge, Ph.D., professor of ergonomics at Cornell University, noted that the best mattress supports the spine at all points while allowing it to maintain its natural curve. By age 40, Hedge said, skin loses elasticity and becomes more sensitive to pressure points, so a softer, more cushiony surface is more comfortable. "Slightly softer works better because there's less compression on the skin," he said.
Do the 15-minute, in-store test
Don't be embarrassed to lie down on lots of mattresses in the store. Salespeople expect it. Wear loose clothes and shoes that you can slip off. Spend at least five minutes on each side and on your back (your stomach, too, if that's a preferred sleeping position). On the whole, our in-store testers, about 75 percent of whom told us in a recent survey, that trying out the mattress beforehand helped them sleep better.
Do you need a new box spring?
Foundations can sell for as much as the mattress, even though they're generally just a wood frame enclosing stiff wire and covered with fabric to match the mattress.
We found that companies frequently pair the same foundation with mattresses in different price ranges. You can save by buying a higher-priced mattress and a lower-priced foundation. Once the bed is made, no one will know. If the old box has bouncy springs instead of stiff wire, it should be replaced.
If your current foundation is only a few years old, with no rips, warps, creaks, or "give," consider using it with a new mattress. Though most respondents to our recent subscriber survey replaced their foundation with their mattress, roughly 80 percent of those who kept their old one reported that they were sleeping better after replacing just the mattress. So if your box spring isn't broken and is still structurally sound, consider keeping it and saving several dollars.
If your new mattress is ultra thick, consider pairing it with a "low profile" foundation, 4 to 6 inches thick, to reduce height.
Look for a comfort guarantee
Some retailers give you two weeks to several months to return or exchange a mattress or box spring you don't like. Everyone plays by different rules, and a return usually costs you.
Don't count on warranties
They cover defects in materials and workmanship, not comfort or normal wear. They're usually in effect for various terms. Some mattress warranties don't cover full replacement value; instead an annual usage charge is deducted from the current retail price.
When you make a claim, the store or manufacturer sends an inspector to your house. You'll need to show a receipt. If you say the mattress has sagged, the inspector checks whether the dip is below the allowable limit, 1 1/2 inches. A company will void a warranty if you remove the "do not remove" tag, if the mattress is soiled, or if it has uneven support from a box spring or frame--a common reason for sagging, says a spokesman.
New mattress sets purchased from Mattress Man Outlet(We sell quality Corsicana Bedding) carry a "No Hassle Warranty".
Wait for a sale, and bargain?
If the price is good, buy; if not, wait. A shopper spent $1,300 more for a Serta Perfect Sleeper set at one store than for the same set at the same store a week later. At Mattress Man Outlet we have low outlet prices every day. You can expect to save up to 80% off of manufacturer's suggested retail prices.
Seal the deal
Ask about trial periods, return policies, and restocking and pickup fees before buying--especially at warehouse clubs such as Costco or Sam's Club, where you can't try out mattresses. Also ask about disposal of your old mattress (some deliverers will take it to the curb, others charge to cart it away).