A Question Before Buyng A King Size Mattress

First of all, thanks to Phoenix for this site. I’ve been reading it, as well as Phoenix’s informative posts for the last week. I just bough a Saatva Queen Mattress for my guest room upstairs with the quality beds. Currently I own a King Serta Mattress in the main bedroom. Annoyingly its developed a ridge in the center after only 1 year! Before that I owned a Kingsdown Mattress that lasted over 20 years and never developed a ridge.

As a test I’ve been sleeping on the Saatva mattress for the last week and I’m extremely satisfied. My question is, if i bought a Saatva King Mattress, is it prone to developing the dreaded central ridge? or will it be more like the Kingsdown or the Serta? I’m a bit concerned about making the switch considering what happened last time so any help in this regard will be greatly appreciated.

jt widdy wrote:

There are many variables involved in a mattress developing a ridge in the center, or more appropriately, sinking in the areas where you sleep.

First, the foundation the mattress uses makes a difference. A king uses split (twin extra long) foundations, and some of these can end up sinking a bit in their central area. This can create a firmer area in the center where their border rods meet, and this can be reflected back in the mattress. You’ll always want to make sure that whatever foundation you use, it’s a level and firm surface.

Use over time will also soften foam. If the area in the center of the mattress isn’t used much, that foam will feel “firmer” than the areas where you sleep. In reality, the foams in the area where you sleep will have softened more than the center of the bed. So your mattress isn’t really developing a ridge, it’s actually developing depressions/softening in your sleeping areas. This softening isn’t always visible, and I call this a “phantom” body impression. Higher density foams will assist with a lessening of this softening over time - what is termed Flex Fatigue. A higher density foam will generally hold shape better and have a more gradual (after initial break-in) change in feel.

The spring unit can also contribute a bit to fatigue, but this would be minor. Spring units will generally keep their shape quite well (assuming they are of good quality), but a marshall spring unit that is of a design that allows for more travel can accelerate foam Flex Fatigue in the areas where the bed is used by allowing for more foam travel. But this would be a minor concern.

As far as comparing your old beds to a new one, there are entirely too many variables involved to provide you with an accurate analysis. However, I can provide you a bit of general guidance.

The foam in your 20-year old mattress would almost certainly have been a better quality and density than the mattress you bought a year ago. That was the general state of the industry. The foams used in modern mattresses like the brand you listed tend to be quite low quality and not nearly as durable, and body impressions develop more rapidly and are deeper and more noticeable than before. It’s an unfortunate thing that we find with too many “name-brand” mattresses these days. Also, your old mattress was probably two-sided versus one-sided, which would allow for some “fluffening” when rotating the product. While you stated you 20-year old product never developed a ridge, there certainly would have been a difference in the foam in the center of the mattress versus the areas where you slept if we were to tear the product apart and analyze the foam. It just wasn’t as noticeable to you, which would have been due to the better quality of the foams being used and also perhaps to the comfort designation of the product. The online company you’re considering has different offerings, so the amount of difference you’ll notice will depend upon the style you choose and your sleeping patterns and diligence with rotation. The foams in most of their beds are decent, but there certainly are higher-quality foams available. In general, I would expect softening that wouldn’t be as bad as your one-year old bed, but maybe not as durable as your 20-year old product. Again, there are entirely too many variables involved to give you an accurate answer. The key thing is to manage your expectations. All foam will soften over time, so expect to feel some difference in the middle section of your mattress if you don’t use that are as much.

I hope that information is helpful to you.

Jeff Scheuer
Mattress To Go

Hi jtwiddy,

There is more about the 3 most important parts of the “value” of a mattress purchase in post #13 here which can help you make more meaningful quality/value comparisons between mattresses in terms of suitability (how well you will sleep), durability (how long you will sleep well), and the overall value of a mattress compared to your other finalists based on suitability, durability, and all the other parts of your personal value equation that are most important to you (including the price of course and the options you have available after a purchase if your choice doesn’t turn out as well as you hoped for).

While nobody can speak to how any specific mattress will “feel” for someone else or whether it will be a good “match” in terms of comfort, firmness, and PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and your own Personal preferences) because this is too subjective and relative to different body types, sleeping positions, and individual preferences, sensitivities, and circumstances and you are the only one that can feel what you feel on a mattress … outside of PPP (which is the most important part of “value”), the next most important part of the value of a mattress purchase is durability which is all about how long you will sleep well on a mattress. This is the part of your research that you can’t see or “feel” and assessing the durability and useful life of a mattress depends on knowing the specifics of its construction and the type and quality of the materials inside it regardless of the name of the manufacturer on the label or how a mattress feels in a showroom or when it is relatively new so I would always make sure that you find out information listed here so you can compare the quality of the materials and components to the durability guidelines here to make sure there are no lower quality materials or weak links in a mattress that would be a cause for concern relative to the durability and useful life of a mattress before making any purchase.

Unfortunately your experience is not uncommon with a major brand mattress. All the major brands such as Sealy/Stearns & Foster, Simmons, and Serta all tend to use lower quality and less durable materials in their mattresses than most of their smaller competitors that will tend to soften or break down prematurely relative to the price you pay which is why I would generally suggest avoiding all of them completely (along with most of the retailers that focus on them as well) regardless of how they may feel in a showroom along with any mattress where you aren’t able to find out the type and quality/durability of the materials inside it (see the guidelines here along with post #3 here and post #12 here and post #404 here).

While a minimal degree of impressions that don’t affect the comfort and support of the mattress are normal with any mattress over time … there are 3 main reasons that can lead to deeper impressions in a mattress that can result in the loss of the comfort and support of the mattress and the need to replace the mattress.

The first is the support system underneath the mattress. The foundation under a king size mattress is generally two twin XL foundations put together and if the foundations under your mattress have any flex when you apply pressure to them then the edges of the two foundations where they come together in the middle would be more rigid than on each side of the mattress which can contribute to forming a ridge in the center of the mattress over the area where the foundations meet and impressions or “valleys” on each side where the foundations are more flexible.

The second reason and perhaps the most common reason would be a mattress that uses lower quality and less durable materials and components in the upper layers of the mattress that are subject to premature softening and breakdown and this will happen faster in the area on each side of the mattress that most people would spend most of their time sleeping on than it will in the middle of the mattress that most people don’t tend to sleep on as much. While again a minimal amount of foam softening or impressions that don’t affect the comfort and support of the mattress would be normal with any mattress (and mattresses that have thicker layers of softer materials in the upper layers of the mattress or pillowtop mattresses can be more prone to this than firmer mattresses as well) … with lower quality materials this would happen to a greater degree and more quickly than it will with higher quality materials and you would be much more likely to pass the threshold which results in the loss of comfort and support in the mattress and need to replace the mattress much more quickly.

If any visible impressions in a mattress are deeper than the warranty exclusion (which is commonly 1.5" which is also the depth of the Saatva exclusion) and the mattress meets all the other criteria for a warranty claim (which generally includes having no stains on the mattress of any kind and that the impressions aren’t the result of an unsuitable support system or the result of abuse to the mattress) then it would be considered to be a defect and the manufacturer would repair or replace the mattress (although a customer would generally be responsible for the cost of transportation which can sometimes be costly).

If the impressions are “virtual” impressions that are the result of the softening of the materials or components in the mattress (generally lower quality foam materials) and any significant sagging is only evident when there is weight on the mattress (which is common with lower quality foam materials) but there are no visible impressions in the mattress that are deeper than the warranty exclusion when there is no weight on the mattress then it wouldn’t be considered as a defect and wouldn’t be covered by a warranty even if the softening in the mattress has resulted in the loss of the comfort and support you need to sleep well on it and it needs to be replaced (see post #174 here about mattress warranties).

There is also a third reason that can cause this on some occasions which is the shifting or bunching of the materials in the areas on each side that you sleep on towards the middle of the mattress where you don’t sleep as much. This normally wouldn’t normally be an issue with a mattress where the layers and components are well secured together either by gluing, tufting, or by securing the padding above an innerspring to the innerspring underneath it with staples or hog rings.

There is also more information about Saatva and many of the other simplified choice mattresses in post #2 here and a forum search on Saatva (you can just click the link) will also bring up more comments and feedback about them as well.

While Saatva would be a “better than average” quality/value choice compared to many of the mainstream mattresses made by the major manufacturers (which are a low bar to use for a comparison and which I would avoid completely) … some of the materials they are using are less durable than I would be comfortable with and for most people they wouldn’t be in the same “quality/value” range as many of the other options that use higher quality and more durable materials and foam layers that most of the members here would know about as a result of the information on this site. I would also be cautious about making a purchase based on some of “marketing exaggerations” on their site.


PS: I have removed the advertising link that you added to your post and have also banned your mattress forum user account for spamming along with the other user accounts that you have used to spam the same link.