Choosing between two mattresses and would love your thoughts


I’m looking to move from a queen to a king mattress/box spring. I’ve been reading a bunch of posts on this board and learning a ton, and I was hoping you guys might have some insight to add to my purchase decision.

I’m choosing between the following two beds:

  1. Shifman Traditional Firm Mattress from Bloomingdale’s, $2900 on sale (
  2. Room & Board Encase Coil Firm Mattress, $1400 w/ boxspring (

I greatly prefer firm mattresses. I also currently have the queen version of the Shifman above and I like it a lot. I would just buy the King version, but it’s pretty expensive. So, my wife mentioned the Room & Board bed. It’s only one-sided vs. two for the Shifman, but doesn’t use chemical fire retardants (big selling point for the wife).

I’d love thoughts about the comparison and whether there are other beds you think I should be looking at. If it matters, I live in northern VA, right outside DC.

Thanks for your help!

Hi rosscohen,

The first thing I would suggest is to read post #1 here which has the basic information, steps, and guidelines that you will need to make the best possible choices (and avoid some of the lower quality or value choices like the two you are looking at).

A mattress is only as good as its construction and the quality of the materials, components, and foam inside it regardless of the manufacturers label that is on it so to make any meaningful comparisons between mattresses in terms of quality or value you would need to find out the quality specs of the layers and components inside it. You are not likely to find this with Shifman except perhaps in generic terms (that doesn’t include the quality of the materials) and I wold personally not consider a mattress where you can’t validate the quality of the materials it uses … which usually indicates that they are lower quality than other mattresses in similar or lower price ranges.

You will probably find that the comfort layers of the RoomandBoard mattresses you are looking at (which are the weak link of most mattresses in terms of durability) are low quality polyfoam in the 1.2 lb range which means I would avoid these as well but I would confirm this with them before excluding them.

You can’t “feel” the quality of the materials in a mattress or know it by the price of the mattress and both low quality and high quality materials can feel great in a showroom. The difference is that higher quality materials (regardless of the price of the mattress or the manufacturers label) will last longer and stay closer to its original feel, comfort, and support over a longer period of time.

While the Washington, DC area is not the best in terms of its selection of good quality and value mattresses … the better options and possibilities I’m aware of are listed in post #2 here.


Thanks Phoenix. This is extremely helpful. One follow-up question, if you have a minute: My wife really wants a mattress without chemical flame retardants (doesn’t have to be organic, but the two tend to overlap). Is there a particular company you’d point as a good starting point in the DC / Richmond area?


Hi rosscohen,

I don’t know the specifics of the fire barriers in each mattress but there is more information in post #4 here and post #2 here about the different types of fire barriers and which ones may be more “safe” than others and don’t involve harmful chemicals. You would need to ask each retailer or manufacturer what type of fire barrier their mattresses contain or in some cases if you have a prescription from a medical professional some manufacturers will make a mattress without a fire barrier at all.

Many latex mattresses use quilted wool as a fire barrier which is perhaps the most natural and for most people the “safest” or often the most desirable of all although inherent viscose / silica fire barriers are also very safe IMO and are often used in mattresses that don’t use quilting for those who want to sleep closer to the latex.