apples to oranges

First Thank you for your great website - have learned so much

Very close to pulling the trigger on BB mattress, have texted w/ Mario and he has been a huge help. We have not been able to come to terms with that most subjective of mattress quality - - firmness. We live in Tucson and have only the Big Box chains for our mattress selections locally. We are wondering if there is any cross correlation between foam mattress at say Mattress Firm and the latex offering of BB’s BME. Would a firm memory gel or whatever foam feel like the soft, medium or firm that BB is selling so we could go check out a comparable product before the purchase.

We are both side sleepers and have spent a couple of weeks on a foam mattress of some kind while on vacation and had great rest (of course being on vacation we could have slept on rocks and had good night’s sleep).

Mario had recommended a soft but both my wife and I are leery as one of the things we did not like about our vacation mattress was the feeling of being"in" it rather than on it and seeming to have to struggle to roll over.

Again thanks for all your information wonderful members and manufacturers

T & D

Hi questa macchina,

There are some options in the Tucson area in post #4 here other than Big Box chains that may be helpful if for no other reason that to do some better testing.

There are 3 different types of “foam” materials (memory foam, polyurethane foam/polyfoam, and latex foam) and each of them have very different properties and come in a wide range of firmness levels. By the time you also consider the effect of all the possible subtypes of foam materials in each category that are also different from each other and the wide range of firmness levels that are possible in each foam category and the effect of different combinations of foam in different firmness levels and different thicknesses and the effect of different types of covers in each mattress then there is a near infinite amount of different mattresses that are possible to manufacture and it’s unlikely that you would find two mattresses that are closely comparable except perhaps in the broadest and most general sense.

There are also no “standard” definitions or consensus of opinions for firmness ratings and different manufacturers can rate their mattresses very differently than others so a mattress that one manufacturer rates as being a specific firmness could be rated very differently by another manufacturer. Different people can also have very different perceptions of firmness and softness compared to others as well and a mattress that feels firm for one person can feel like “medium” for someone else or even “soft” for someone else (or vice versa) depending on their body type, sleeping style, physiology, their frame of reference based on what they are used to, and their individual sensitivity and perceptions. There are also different types of firmness and softness that different people may be sensitive to that can affect how they “rate” a mattress as well (see post #15 here) so different people can also have very different opinions on how two mattresses compare in terms of firmness and some people may rate one mattress as being firmer than another and someone else may rate them the other way around. This is all relative and very subjective and is as much an art as a science.

In other words … the only way to know for certain whether another mattress would feel softer or firmer to you and “how much” it would feel softer or firmer (particularly if it’s rated in a similar firmness range) and whether it would be a good “match” for you in terms of comfort, firmness, and PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and your own Personal preferences) will be based on your own personal experience … regardless of any other person’s experience on the same mattress. This is also why a good return/exchange policy can be a more important part of the “value” of an online purchase so you can base your assessment on your own experience rather than anyone else’s experience which may be very different from your own.

When you can’t test a mattress in person then the most reliable source of guidance is always a more detailed phone conversation with a knowledgeable and experienced retailer or manufacturer that has your best interests at heart and who can help “talk you through” the specifics of their mattresses and the properties and “feel” of the materials they are using (fast or slow response, resilience, firmness etc) and the options they have available that may be the best “match” for you based on the information you provide them, any local testing you have done or mattresses you have slept on and liked or other mattresses you are considering that they are familiar with, and the “averages” of other customers that are similar to you. They will know more about “matching” their specific mattress designs and firmness levels to different body types, sleeping positions, and preferences (or to other mattresses that they are familiar with) than anyone else.