choices but not comparing

Hi everyone, I’ve been doing tons of research and see that most people compare similar items. But I need advice that is maybe more complex or variable than that. I need a new mattress but have a limited income. So, I could buy something temporary, (like the Ultimate Dreams $599), something scalable (like the SleepEZ 6 inch currently on sale with the stretch cover $995), or something kind of different (a coil- 2 inch latex hybrid with organic innards and cover $850 from a local person). I would like something good, cheap, and natural, but these things seem to cancel each other out. Any suggestions on how to deal with this? Should I drop more money and get the latex with a better cover? Should I buy a topper for the Ultimate Dreams? In a perfect world the mattress cover would be organic and the inside stuff would be natural, but I’m worried that the coil one will be too springy and firm. I like latex but I wonder if buying a pretty thin latex mattress is even worth it compared to the other, cheaper, plusher options. (fyi I’m a side and back sleeper, female, and quite small). Thanks for any guidance!

Hi yadda! I recently purchased an 8" queen from SleepEZ–the larger version of the specials that you are looking at. I LOVE it and have received absolutely amazing customer service from them. I am glad that I went with a layered version, because when I bought it it was too firm and I had to swap it out (only $30 per swap to cover shipping.) Now I have a bed that I love and I am just fine tuning it.

I don’t know if you’ve seen the cotton stretch cover that comes with these mattresses, but they are beautiful and VERY comfy. They also allow you to be closer to the latex, so you get more of the support/pressure relief benefits. You can see pictures of the cover here:

About Ultimate Dreams: I know a lot of people are happy with them (in fact, if you look at posts from the last week you will see another satisfied customer.) The reason that I couldn’t go with them is I am too worried about what if I didn’t like the bed? And in my case I didn’t like the first combination I got, and I would have been stuck with it.

Hi yaddayadda,

I’m not so sure I would call a mattress like this “temporary”. The materials are very high quality and durable … and it would certainly last longer than many of the mattresses that are being sold at several times the price. It’s also unlikely that it would need a topper because you can choose the firmness level of the comfort layer.

The scalable idea is also a very good one which can be added to over time if you need it. This would give you the advantage of having a latex core and comfort layer which you can build on if you need it and you would also be able to exchange layers.

Finally the $850 innerspring/latex option you are talking about also appears to be good value and there are many people who prefer the feel of a hybrid over an all latex mattress. The key here is to make sure that the innerspring is good quality and the advantage here is that you can test it personally for pressure relief and alignment.

In essence … once you have “all good choices” then the difference between them is more a matter of your personal preferences and nobody else can really answer what is best for you. If you were looking at a major brand or a chain store I would suggest that you look elsewhere but in your case all your choices are between good and good.

You are absolutely right that good and natural are on the other side of the budget scale than cheap … even though they may have better value than “cheap” options that won’t last as long or perform nearly as well. I would remember that the two major functions of a mattress are pressure relief and alignment and everything after that is preferences.

My best suggestion is to do enough local testing on various mattresses to give you a sense of clarity about what is most important to you and the type of mattress and layering that works best for you. Then put a list together of what is most important to you (such as natural vs synthetic) and then you will have a model for either a local purchase or an online purchase. Local purchases are a little less risky because you will have tested it and know that the pressure relief and support/alignment are what you need. Online options have different degrees of risk depending on how well you know what you need and want and the different return or exchange policies (as koala mentioned). Most of the better merchants though are good at helping you with the process based on your height/weight/body shape/sleeping positions and if you have done some testing to get a sense of your various options they can help you even more. I would avoid the mistake of buying a mattress based on price alone unless you also know that it is suitable for your needs and preferences. After all … the “price” of sleeping on a mattress that doesn’t work for you can be very high.

So in the end these are the types of questions that only personal testing and your own “value equation” can answer but at least you have good options. I would do some local testing and talk with your various options on the phone and the odds are that you will gain enough clarity to make your best decision.


Thanks for the enlightening responses! Koala, I appreciated the picture a great deal because it gives me a better sense of the cover. Phoenix, thanks for emphasizing the opportunities available through local choices. I know the return policy would be flexible but exploring the local also works as a springboard (pun totally intended) from which to make a decision about what I really like.

I contextualized the cheapest mattress as more temporary only because it does not suit my inclinations toward natural. I’m worried about the synthetic parts of the bed, and not too keen on flame retardant because I’m a wee bit sensitive (and pretty paranoid). I’ve thought about enclosures but am not sure how protective they would be in terms of off-gassing and just plain exposure to whatever the foam is made of.

So, I really appreciate your input and this forum has been really helpful in imagining out the many possibilities before I got to these three models. I like the idea of scalability, too, because initially I kept thinking of the mattress as a 10-year unchangeable purchase. But this could just be part of a whole longer project.

So, my lingering questions are: is flame retardant really important with a latex mattress–does a cheapy cover pose a real danger? I figure that if my bed is on fire, I am probably done for anyway.
Also, is six inches of latex really too thin for a person–I’ll have to consult and think about the density configurations.

Thanks for your really thorough and thoughtful responses–I know that the final decision is subjective but there’s a lot of information to make this decision a better one!

This is just my personal opinion: You need 3" of a firm support layer on the bottom to make up the core of the mattress. That really only leaves you with 3" (one layer) to play around with for comfort, so you don’t get THAT many choices (although still many more than with an off the shelf mattress.) What I like about three layer mattresses is you get two comfort layers to play around with to find your perfect fit. On the other hand, if you’re the type of person that gets overwhelmed with choices then less may be more.

Hi yaddayadda,

IMO, while 6" is a little on the thin side … it can be adequate for people who are lighter. There have been thousands of people who slept on a 6" Dunlop latex mattress quite happily for decades although they would have been on the firm side by todays standards. As Koala mentioned though … there is less ability to make adjustments and a thinner mattress will become firmer faster than one that is slightly thicker because it compresses to a greater percentage of it’s thickness and may not have quite the same combination of pressure relief and support as a slightly thicker mattress makes possible. In other words it may tend to be a bit on the firm side for many people but again this is individual and your lighter weight increases the odds that it will work OK for you. Of course there is always the option of adding a cheap temporary topper if needed pending adding another higher quality layer.

In terms of fire retardants … there is more about the better options at the bottom of this article. Like everything else there are tradeoffs involved with the wool being the most natural but which can also affect the feel of softer latex below it. Without a wool quilting then a silica impregnated rayon type barrier becomes a good choice for those who want less effect on the softness of the mattress.

In terms of how important a flame retardant layer is … there are many people who believe that the introduction of the 1633 fire code (the open flame test) was more political than protective because the previous 1632 which protected against smoldering fire was considered to be sufficient. It is open to question whether the added expense of complying with the newest code and the chemicals that have been used which many people believe pose a greater danger than fire were worth it.

In terms of buying a “cheapy” cover … if it is already part of the mattress (rather than separate) the mattress would include a fire barrier regardless of the price of the cover unless you had it custom made with a doctor’s prescription. If you are talking about purchasing a separate cover … then it is important that it is thick enough to protect the latex from oxidation from ultraviolet and ozone which can break down latex prematurely and that it is designed for use as a mattress ticking not just as a protector. A cheapy cover may also not provide the same kind of comfort or breathability as a better quality mattress cover. All of this though is personal choice but i personally would go with a better cover if the materials in the mattress were higher quality.