Confused.. need help with a new mattress, please.


A little background… I was recently diagnosed with spinal arthritis (i’m in my early 30s) and wake up feeling like an invalid in the morning. Our current mattress is too plush and my back definitely feels it, so I definitely need a firm one. Today I went to Sleepy’s and enjoyed lying down on a Beautyrest Legend Firm. I’m totally confused at this point… I’m so afraid to make a mistake and after reading your site, I’m even more confused :slight_smile:

I’m in Central New Jersey (Bridgewater). I haven’t seen a single small mattress shop in the area… Seems like only Macy’s, Sears, 1800 Mattress and Sleepy’s are available here. I would really appreciate your input and any recommendations in the area.

Thank you!

Hi Asya,

One of the most important things to remember when you are buying a mattress is that a mattress needs both relieve pressure and keep you in alignment and to do that it needs to be both plush and firm … never one or the other.

Without good pressure relief … you can end up with poor circulation, pressure points, tingling, joint pain, and numbness.

Without good alignment … you can end up with back pain.

So the first key is always to know how soft a mattress needs to be on top and how thick this soft layer needs to be (depending on your weight, shape, sensitivity to pressure, and sleeping positions) because these are what mostly relieve pressure.

The second key is to know how firm the lower layers need to be because they are mostly what keeps you in alignment.

This is why mattress ratings can be so misleading because they don’t tell you which part of the mattress is firm or how firm and which part is soft or how soft.

Here are the steps I would take in the mattress shopping journey.

Step one is to do a little bit of reading. Just enough to help you ask better questions and have a sense of the different materials and the different types of construction and how it relates to different people and sleeping positions. To do this … I would read the overviews in the mattresses section of the site. When you’ve read these you will have a clear sense of which salespeople know their product and how to fit a mattress to your needs and preferences and which are only there to make some money … know little about mattresses … and are more interested in their commissions and the store’s profit margin than they are in your long term satisfaction.

Step 2 is to avoid as many as possible of the worst choices and the traps and pitfalls of mattress shopping. This means eliminating the choices that will confuse and frustrate you and do little to help you find your perfect mattress. The guidelines here will help with this. In essence … stay away from most mass market outlets ad major brands or any outlet that won’t tell you layer by layer what is in their mattress.

The next step is to identify the better stores within reasonable driving distance and spend the majority of your time there. These will either be factory direct manufacturers that make their own mattresses or smaller sleep shops that sell smaller, more local, or higher value “alternative” brands and are transparent about the materials inside them. What the chain stores will call “off brands” in the hopes you will believe they are lower quality. While a drive may take some time … it will also save you many hours of frustration in trying to make meaningful comparisons between mattresses that are impossible to make without knowing the materials in a mattress and without a salesperson that has the skills and knowledge to focus on why each mattress may or may not be suitable for you instead of just telling you the marketing stories that are more designed to get you to buy than to educate you about the mattress.

In your case the closest factory direct manufacturer is in Syracuse.

NOTE: This is an “oops” and the list is centered around Bridgewater, NY instead of Bridgewater, NJ. I’ll leave it here for those who may be searching for the better options near Bridgewater or Syracuse, NY (Note: I’ve also included the better options or possibilities I’m aware of in and around Ithaca and Binghamton as well). See reply #4 in this same thread for some “closer” options to Bridgewater, NJ. Local factory direct manufacturer in Syracuse and Cicero, NY. They manufacture their own line as well as WJ Southard and Bemco mattresses. They make a wide range of all types of mattresses in a wide range of budgets from innersprings to memory foam to latex and use better materials and have better value than the larger manufacturers that are so common in the mainstream industry. Post #9 here will give you an idea of the type of experience you can expect there. I think highly of them and there are some good quality choices available here.

If for any reason this is too far to drive (although the drive will probably save you a great deal of time and frustration overall) … then there are a few local stores (within 20 miles) where your odds of finding something that has higher quality and value may be better but this will take more research and knowledge on your part to find them.

This means that you would need to phone the retailers that you are considering visiting and “interview” them before you walk in their front door. One of the key qualities of a better outlet is the willingness to give you good information on the phone and help you “pre-select” a few mattresses that would be worth testing. Questions like “do you give your customers a list of all the layers in your mattress including the density of any polyfoam or memory foam that is in it?”. “Do you have any latex mattresses that don’t have more than an inch or so of polyfoam above the latex?”. “Can you tell me the layering of any memory foam mattresses you carry that you think may be worth testing?”. How much is … “this” … mattress in queen size mattress only?". Outlets that can and will answer these types of more specific questions cheerfully and without “resistance” and are clearly interested in helping you rather than telling you to “come in and lay on the mattress” before they give you any information are the ones worth visiting. You will get a clear sense of what to expect by asking these types of questions and it will save you watching a lot of eyes roll and “I’m going on a break” comments if you go into the store and start asking questions about materials and construction without an “interview”.

There are a few other retailers that I’m aware of in the larger general area (Syracuse, Bridgewater, Binghamton, Ithaca). I’ve indicated the brands they carry that I would focus on that you have a better chance of finding out what is inside them and that may have some better value (depending on what is in any model you are looking at and the price of course). Syracuse, NY. They carry Therapedic, Eclipse, and Symbol mattresses as well as Savvy Rest latex component mattresses. Syracuse, NY. They carry Pure Talalay Bliss (Pamper, Nature, and Balance) and Magniflex. Syracuse, NY. Restonic including latex and memory foam

Imex Furniture New York Mills, NY. Restonic Retailer in Watertown, Fort Drum, Pulaski, Oneida, NY. They carry Eclipse, Therapedic, Hemingway, Eastman House, American Bedding. Can order custom sizes. Many stores throughout the area. Pure Talalay Bliss. Make SURE they are willing to identify all the layers in their mattresses. Chain stores like this typically tend to focus on sales techniques rather than quality information. NO MATTER WHAT … never buy anything at a chain store on your first visit. ALWAYS leave the store and leave decisions till at least the next day no matter what “deal” you are offered. Large chains like these can be “dangerous” to the unwary consumer :slight_smile: Johnson City, Vestal, Syracuse, NY. Natura. These are high quality talalay latex mattresses.

Home Green Home | Ithaca, NY | Green Living Goods Ithaca, NY. Carries WJ Southard, Savvy Rest. High quality but more “premium” mattresses. Johnson city. They carry Gold Bond. Make sure you can get all the specs of any mattress you consider here. Sayre, Towanda, PA. Sierra Sleep, Therapedic. Montour Falls, Horseheads, NY. Sayre, PA. Restonic

This should help you go from where you are to finding the best possible mattress within your budget and that will suit both your needs and preferences.

Take your time … and never worry about missing a “sale”. Most of them are fake anyway and high quality mattresses are available every day of the year at better prices at the better manufacturers and retailers. If you have questions along the way … don’t hesitate to post them here.



Phoenix has armed you with great information.

Theses might be a couple of nearby options:

Orange Mattress Co. ( has been around a long time.

The Mattress Factory in Fanwood ( they don’t reveal all of their components on their site but after reading the pieces Phoenix gave you will be armed with knowledge to find out what they put in their mattresses.

Good Luck

Hi Asya,

Well I hope someone from Bridgewater, NY comes to visit the forum because for whatever reason that’s what I used instead of Bridgewater, NJ.

The two that SRugs gave you (thanks :)) are two of the three local manufacturers that are closest to you.

The other is in Highland Park

There are quite a few others a little further away and post #7 here has a list and a brief description of them to help you narrow them down a bit.

Finally, you may wish to check with some of the Sleepy’s outlets to see if they have any Pure Latex Bliss mattresses available on clearance. They are very high quality talalay latex mattresses but since Sleepy’s is no longer carrying them, if they still have any stock available they would have a large discount and unusually good value

Sorry for trying to send you on a trip to Syracuse :slight_smile:


Thank you! We actually got a mattress for our son at White Lotus and decided to go once again. Unfortunately, I forgot to check their hours as they are closed on sundays.

Do you think for my back I would be better of getting a memory foam or a regular mattress? I’ve noticed Costco also has some nice mattresses with good reviews…

Phoenix, thanks for not sending me all the way to Bridgewater, NY :slight_smile:

Thank you again for all your help! You guys rock!

Hi Asya,

The choice of memory foam or another material in the comfort layer is really a matter of personal preference. Some of the materials that are used in the comfort layers are listed here. the different materials used in the deeper layers for support are listed here.

The three different types of foam used in the top layers are memory foam, latex, and polyfoam with the two more specialty materials being latex and memory foam. The “best” mattress for a back issue is one that keeps you in alignment in all your sleeping positions, provides you with the pressure relief you need, and feels the way you prefer. This will depend on the layering and on the suitability of the comfort layers support system for your weight and height and sleeping positions. The one caution I would pass on is if you do go in the direction of memory foam … it can be a little tricky with back issues because it tends to allow you to sink in deeper over the course of the night more than other foams which can lead to sleeping out of alignment. If you do choose memory foam in your mattress … make sure the memory foam layers are not too thick.

A “regular” mattress is normally an innerspring with a polyfoam comfort layer. If you go in this direction … it’s very important to know the density of any polyfoam used because low density polyfoam (which is used in almost all the major brands) is one of the most common reasons for mattresses that soften and develop impressions quickly. Higher density polyfoam is much less commonly used outside of smaller local or regional manufacturers. With memory foam … it’s also important to know the density being used because here too low density memory foam will soften and break down much more quickly than higher quality materials.

If you order from Costco … it will take a lot more research into materials and even then I would only order a mattress where you know the specs of every layer. The only way to know the real value of a mattress is to know the quality of the layers and when you order from a place like Costco who know very little about mattresses … you would need to know much more to make up for what they lack. There is a lot of “junk” on the site mixed in with a few better value mattresses and reviews that are written soon after a mattress is purchased are among the worst ways to know the quality of a mattress. Even the lowest quality materials will feel good for a little while. The good part of ordering from Costco though is that they have a great refund policy.

Overall … the best way to purchase a mattress is from a local manufacturer or a sleep shop that carries alternative brands which use higher quality materials in their mattresses and sell them at lower prices than the mass market outlets.


Hi Phoenix, I see HL Stephens furniture listed here and they are the ones we ordered our bedroom furniture from. I also looked into beds there and they are an exclusive Restonic dealer. They also recommended latex. At the time however I did some research on customer feedback and found nothing but complaints. It was more on there coil springs but enough to scare me away. I brought this up to them to help “sell” me on the brand. I found so much more insight from you and this web site to possibly get me to look deeper into there line. I guess being a licensee dealer means Restonic makes different grade levels of products and some dealers aren’t going to have the same level of performance as others. They just kept talking about the 25 year non pro rated warranty more than anything else. That and winning in Consumers Digest and some woman’s choice award. No mention at all of what goes inside of there mattresses. With what I’m beginning to learn now maybe I’ll ask them to see what they say.

Hi Wrewster,

Reviews about a “brand” are mostly meaningless because most manufacturers make a wide range of mattresses from lower quality and less durable mattresses (that would generate most of the complaints) to higher quality and more durable mattresses (that would generate very few complaints). By excluding some brands completely you can end up throwing out the baby with the bathwater.

In terms of quality and durability … a mattress is only as good as its construction and the quality and durability of the materials inside it regardless of the name of the manufacturer on the label or the price of the mattress. Without knowing the specifics of all the layers and components in a mattress (see this page) it’s not possible to assess the durability or identify any potential weak links in any mattress.

As I’ve mentioned in several of my previous replies … I would be very cautious about using other people’s reviews or experiences on a mattress (either positive or negative) as a reliable source of information or guidance about how suitable a mattress may be for you or the durability of a mattress and in many cases they can be more misleading than helpful because a mattress that would be a perfect choice for one person may be completely unsuitable for someone else to sleep on or vice versa (see post #13 here).

The only reliable way to know the relative quality and durability of a mattress compared to any other mattresses you are considering is to make sure that you know the quality and durability of the materials and components inside it … regardless of the name of the manufacturer.

As I’ve also mentioned in my previous replies … brand shopping is among the worst ways to choose a mattress.

One of the most important parts of a successful mattress purchase is to make sure that the retailer or manufacturer you are dealing with is able to provide you with the information you need about the mattresses they carry on their showroom floor to make an informed choice. It’s not the “brand” that is the issue because Restonic makes some high quality mattresses and some low quality mattresses … it’s the ability and willingness of a retailer or manufacturer to tell you the specifics of what is inside their mattresses so you can more easily include their better quality mattresses in your research and exclude the ones that use lower quality and less durable materials.


Completely understand where you’re coming from Phoenix. I guess I grasp at looking into the brand name too because of integrity of said brand(s) or there lack thereof. With so much marketing BS I get concerned that some brands may flat out lie as far as what they “claim” may be inside there mattress. I figured they may have earned a reputation somewhat based on the misinformation/half truths or maybe earned a solid reputation for speaking the truth and nothing but the truth, lol.

Hi Wrewster,

While it’s always possible for them to lie … they would normally just not disclose the quality of the materials rather than lie about it because providing misinformation and getting “caught” is much riskier than not providing it at all.

Most licensee brands such as Restonic are private factories that have been in business for a long time and many of them are much more likely to be transparent about the materials they use than the major manufacturers. The “bottleneck” and the most frequent source of misinformation is often a retailer that doesn’t want to take the time and make the effort to phone their factory rep to find out the information that you are asking for. There is more about this in my previous reply to you here.