Best ultra firm mattress

Hi lovaday,

[quote]Folks - Newcomer to this site. i’ve slept on ultra firm all my life and looking for my next 2 mattresses for a home we just bought… We are buying the bed sets from costco and may be looking to buy the mattresses from them too if it’s a good quality. Has anybody on the forums used the Natalie ultra firm and can comment on quality? It doesn’t show info around coil count, etc[/quote]
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Just in case you haven’t read it yet … the best place to start your research is the mattress shopping tutorial here which includes all the basic information, steps, and guidelines that you will need to make the best possible choice … and perhaps more importantly know how and why to avoid the worst ones.

Two of the most important links in the tutorial that I would especially make sure you’ve read are post #2 here which has more about the different ways to choose a suitable mattress (either locally or online) that is the best “match” for you in terms of “comfort”, firmness, and PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and your own Personal preferences) that can help you assess and minimize the risks of making a choice that doesn’t turn out as well as you hoped for and post #13 here which has more about the most important parts of the “value” of a mattress purchase 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 all the other parts of your personal value equation that are most important to you.

There are 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 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.

The “bottom line” is the only way to know how firm a mattress feels for you (regardless of how firm it may feel for anyone else) or whether it is “firm enough” for you will be based on your own personal experience.

While I can’t speak to how any mattress will “feel” for someone else in terms of firmness, “comfort”, or PPP because this is too subjective and relative to different body types, sleeping positions, and individual preferences, sensitivities, and circumstances … outside of PPP the 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 “feel” and assessing the durability and useful life of a mattress depends on knowing the type and quality of all the materials inside it regardless of the name of the manufacturer on the label so I would always make sure that you are able to find out the information listed here so you can compare the materials and components in a mattress to the quality/durability guidelines here and confirm that there are no lower quality materials or obvious weak links in a mattress that would compromise the durability and useful life of a mattress and would have a very high risk that you would need to buy a new mattress much too quickly relative to the price you paid.

In the case of the Spring Air Natalie … if you look at the Costco description you will see that there are more than “about an inch or so” of lower quality or unknown materials in the upper layers of the mattress that don’t include the quality/density of the foam layers (and are almost certainly lower quality and less durable materials) which I would consider to be a weak link in the mattress and would be reason enough to avoid it.

It also has a polyfoam base layer not an innerspring so there wouldn’t be a coil count (although even if it did have an innerspring support core “coil counting” is mostly meaningless anyway).

Unfortunately there really isn’t a reliable way to put together a top 3, a top 10, or even a top 100 because different people can have very different criteria, preferences, and budget ranges (see post #2 here).

The first “rule” of mattress shopping is to always remember that you are the only one that can feel what you feel on a mattress and there are too many unknowns, variables, and personal preferences involved that are unique to each person to use a formula or for anyone to be able to predict or make a specific suggestion or recommendation about which mattress or combination of materials and components or which type of mattress would be the best “match” for you in terms of “comfort” or PPP or how a mattress will “feel” to you or compare to another mattress based on specs (either yours or a mattress) or “theory at a distance” that can possibly be more accurate than your own careful testing (hopefully using the testing guidelines in step 4 of the tutorial) or your own personal sleeping experience (see mattress firmness/comfort levels in post #2 here).

While other people’s comments or reviews about the knowledge, service, and guidance of a particular business can certainly be helpful … I would also avoid using other people’s experiences or reviews on a mattress (either positive or negative) or “so called” mattress review sites in general as a reliable source of information or guidance about how you will feel on the same mattress or how suitable or how durable a mattress may be for you and in many if not most cases they can be more misleading than helpful because a mattress that would be a perfect choice for one person or even a larger group of people may be completely unsuitable for someone else to sleep on (see post #13 here).

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.

You can see my thoughts about buying from Costco in post #4 here. As long as a mattress you purchase there uses good quality and durable materials (which the Natalie doesn’t) and you are comfortable with their lack of knowledge and guidance about the mattresses they sell then some of their mattresses would certainly make a reasonable choice … although they usually wouldn’t be the best quality/value choice for most of the members here that are aware of the many other options that are available to them including many that also have very good exchange/return policies as well.

If you are looking at online options then the tutorial includes several links to lists of the better online sources I’m aware of (in the optional online step) that include a wide range of different types and categories of mattresses in a wide range of firmness levels and budgets.

If you are also interested in researching local options that you can test before a purchase then if you let me know your city or zip code I’d be happy to let you know about the better options or possibilities I’m aware of in your area as well.


PS: if you are looking for an “ultra firm” sleeping surface that has very little give relative to most mattresses then it may be worth considering a firm cotton futon which are also relatively inexpensive.