Do these pass the first two P's? Help narrowing down

Hey all!

Just want to say how amazing this website is. The amount I have learned here is crazy - this place demonstrates just how powerful well-informed consumers can be!

I’m heading to med school in August, and my girlfriend and I are moving in together into an unfurnished apartment, so we need a new mattress. Previously, we slept on whatever terrible mattresses our landlords gave us. I like to think of myself as a resilient guy, but both she and I have begun to notice just how poorly our current mattress is treating us.

She just graduated and is just starting in her job, and I’m going to be in school (my loans will have loans), so our budget isn’t huge. Nothing more than $900, for sure, with a preference for $750 or less. This puts many of the bed-in-a-box online mattresses in range, and I really like their trial periods – the idea that one can get a feel for a mattress by laying on it for two minutes while a salesman (who can’t even tell you what’s inside the mattress) hovers over you is BS.

About our sleeping metrics – I’m 220, 5’ 10", with wider shoulders than hips. She’s 120, 5’ 4", with an hourglass shape. I’m a stomach sleeper, and I am a very heavy sleeper, I never wake up but I do move around a lot at night (so I’ve been told). She’s a side sleeper, and is a very light sleeper, but if she’s undisturbed she won’t move a muscle all night. I often come to bed later than her, and she leaves bed earlier than I do, so lack of motion transfer is a huge plus. To be honest, we’re not sure if we prefer a firmer or softer feel; our current mattress has a trash comfort layer which encourages pressure points. We’ve tried mattresses in the stores and maybe would lean toward a softer feel – but once again, we just don’t know.

We’re both hot sleepers, and neither of us likes the feeling of being “eaten” by our mattress, so memory foam as the first comfort layer seems like a bad choice. We also don’t like the quilted “pillowtop” type of cover – we like flat and simple. Given those conditions and our budget, I’m currently looking at four options:
Tuft and Needle:
Pros: Truly hard to beat on price - $600. No memory foam in comfort layer. Established company. Good materials for my weight. Very well reviewed here by a variety of different sleepers.
Cons: I was always under the impression that polyfoam shouldn’t be used in a comfort layer. Many people on this forum and elsewhere have reported how firm it is (I know that’s all subjective, but when lots of people have the same subjective experience I can put more stock in it), so it might be too hard for the girlfriend. Guys who founded the company seem to have more previous experience with marketing than mattresses. The simple two-layer construction without latex or memory foam seems kind of “cheap” to me – but that could be my lack of experience talking.

Kiss by SleepEZ:
Pros: Talalay latex, “float” foam is reputed (on this site) to conform like memory foam with better responsiveness and temp reg. Recommended by Phoenix for any weight range. True factory direct manufacturer. Plush and firm options. Seem nicer and less focused on marketing than the others.
Cons: Pricier - $795. No idea how “plush” the plush is and how “firm” the firm is – wouldn’t know what to pick. SleepEZ has been around but this is one of the newer bed-in-a-box, I think. Less info available about it and less people trying it. This is super minor, but their box is hideous and makes it look more like a giant sex toy sitting outside my door than a mattress.

Pros: Thicker comfort layer (3.5 in vs 3 in) and mattress overall (11 in vs 10 in). Midrange on price ($750). Similar construction to Kiss Bed.
Cons: Dunlop latex instead of Talaylay. True memory foam in second layer. Hasn’t even been out for a year, and I have had a hard time finding any sort of experiences with it on this site. Phoenix recommends against for anybody over low 200s. No idea how firm/soft people generally perceive it to be.

Helix Bed:
Pros: Customizability – in a sea of “one size fits all” mattresses, this company offers the same great customer service and trial period that are hallmarks of niche while advocating exactly the opposite. Ability to find a medium between my girlfriend’s requirements and mine (we don’t want the split version).
Cons: Price. The $900 makes me cringe. How accurate can their survey really be? They’re not very transparent about what responses lead to what configurations. The “happy medium” between my girlfriend’s preferences and mine could end up being not happy at all – not a good fit for either of us.

While I know it’s impossible for someone to just say “ohp – here’s the one you should pick!” Is there anything above that raises red flags for one of you? That is, are there any above that don’t pass the first two P’s of PPP given our body types and sleeping habits? Does anyone have personal experiences with the companies or mattresses that you’d like to share? I’m pretty stuck otherwise, and although the return periods are great, it’s a big hassle I’d rather avoid if possible.

Thank you so very much!!!

Hi imax,

Welcome … and thanks for the kind comments … I appreciate it :slight_smile:

I’ll start with the most important question (and your topic title) first.

There are really 3 main factors involved in deciding on which mattress would make the best possible choice for you …

The first and most important is the suitability of a mattress in terms of “comfort”, firmness, and PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and your own personal preferences). This is the part that “translates” into how well you will sleep on a mattress.

This is something that only you can answer based on your careful testing in a store (hopefully using the testing guidelines in the tutorial) or your own personal sleeping experience after you receive the mattress because there are too many unknowns, and variables involved for anyone to be able to predict or know for certain whether you will be in good alignment in all your sleeping positions (the first “P”) or whether a mattress will relieve all your pressure points (the second "P) based on specs (either yours or a mattress) or “theory at a distance” until you have actually tried it.

When you are buying online then you can’t make side by side comparisons with other mattresses that you may also have been considering so there isn’t any way to know which of them would have been “best” for you in terms of comfort, firmness, and PPP unless you have personal experience with them.

Any specific mattress may be the “best” match for a relatively small percentage of people, a “good” match for a little larger percentage, and an “OK” match for a larger percentage yet but the only way to know for certain whether the mattress you end up choosing will be a “good enough” match for you to keep it (even if it isn’t the “best match” out of all the mattresses that you “could have tried” instead") will be based on your own personal experience when you sleep on it so the return policy can be a more important part of the “value” of an online choice to reduce the risk involved in making a choice that you have never tried in person. It’s really a matter of risk management and “tilting” the odds in your favor as much as possible.

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 won’t just sell you anything they can convince you to buy) 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.

The second part of making a purchase decision is durability is a very different issue from suitability.

Again nobody can speak to how any specific mattress will “feel” for someone else or whether it will be a good “match” in terms of comfort, firmness, and PPP because this is too subjective and relative to different body types, sleeping positions, and individual preferences, sensitivities, and circumstances and you are the only one that can feel what you feel on a mattress but outside of PPP (which is the most important part of “value”), the next 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 see or “feel” and assessing the durability and useful life of a mattress depends on knowing the specifics of its construction and the type and quality of the materials inside it regardless of the name of the manufacturer on the label (or how a mattress feels in a showroom or when it is relatively new) so I would always make sure that you find out information listed here so you can compare the materials and components to the quality/durability guidelines here to make sure there are no lower quality materials or weak links relative to your weight range in a mattress that would be a cause for concern in terms of the durability and useful life of a mattress before making any purchase.

There are more comments about the quality and durability of the materials in all the mattresses you are considering along with many of the other mattresses in what I call the “simplified choice” category in post #2 here in the simplified choice topic. Post #1 in the same topic would be well worth reading as well.

While you are just inside the weight range that I would normally consider to be a “higher weight range” … this is somewhat arbitrary for the sake of needing some kind of guideline. Two of the mattresses you are looking at (Helix and Ghost) have a “caution” for higher weight ranges, one of them (Tuft & Needle) has a “slight caution”, and one of them (Kiss) has no cautions at all for any weight range just as a point of reference in terms of the durability of the materials.

The third and last part of making the best possible choice “for you” (regardless of whether it may be the “best choice” for anyone else) is assessing how the mattresses you are considering compare based on all the other parts of your personal value equation that are most important to you which of course includes the price and the return or exchange options you have available after a purchase (and any cost involved) just in case the mattress you choose doesn’t turn out to be as suitable a choice as you hoped for … in spite of the best efforts of everyone involved,

Some comments about some of your other questions …

If you are just testing a mattress for 2minutes in the store then it certainly wouldn’t be a good way to predict how well you will sleep on it. On the other hand … while nothing has a 100% success rate … with a local purchase and for the majority of people … careful testing using the guidelines in the tutorial (rather than just testing for the more subjective “comfort” of a mattress which often won’t predict how well you will sleep on a mattress or how it will “feel” when you sleep on it at home) along with some good guidance from a knowledgeable and experienced retailer or manufacturer that has your best interests in mind will usually result in a mattress choice that is well inside a suitable comfort/support range and will generally be “close enough” so that if any fine tuning is necessary it would be relatively minor and involve different mattress pads, sheets, mattress protectors, or perhaps even a topper if a mattress is too firm (see post #4 here and post #10 here).

There is 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 that can help you assess and minimize the risks of making a choice that doesn’t turn out as well as you hoped for in post #2 here.

There is more about motion transfer in post #18 here. Memory foam is the best at motion transfer but latex, pocket coils, microcoils, buckling column gel, and even polyfoam are generally good as well but it will depend to some degree on the specific design of the mattress, on your relative weight ranges, and your sleeping style (such as how close you sleep together). Pocket coils are generally good for motion transfer unlike innersprings that are linked with helicals which are generally poor to fair depending on the specifics of the innerspring and the foam layers above it. The most reliable way to know whether a mattress is “motion isolating enough” would be based on your own careful testing or your own personal experience with both of you on the mattress in the positions you normally sleep in.

I’m not sure where you read this but I certainly wouldn’t agree. Assuming that the materials in a mattress you are considering are durable enough for your body type and meet the quality/durability guidelines here relative to your weight range … the choice between different types and combinations of materials and components or different types of mattresses are more of a preference and a budget choice than a “better/worse” choice (see this article). The high performance polyfoam in the Tuft and Needle is certainly a good quality/density material that would be durable enough for your weight range.

While other people’s comments about the knowledge and service of a particular business can certainly be very helpful … I would always keep in mind that you are the only one that can feel what you feel on a mattress and I would be cautious about about using anyone else’s suggestions, experiences or reviews on a specific mattress (either positive or negative) or 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. 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 in terms of comfort, firmness, and PPP may be completely unsuitable for someone else to sleep on (even if they are in a similar weight range). In other words … reviews or other people’s experiences in general won’t tell you much if anything about the suitability, quality, durability, or “value” of a mattress for any particular person (see post #13 here).

I would also keep in mind that 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 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 reliable way to know whether a mattress will be “firm enough” or “soft enough” for you will be based on your own careful testing or your own personal experience.

Having said that … forum searches on Tuft Needle and on Kiss and on Ghost and on Helix (you can just click the links) will bring up all the forum posts that mention each of them.

I or some of the more knowledgeable members of the site can help you to narrow down your options, help you focus on better quality/value choices that are available to you either locally or online, help you identify any lower quality materials or weak links in a mattress, act as a fact check, answer many of the specific questions you may have along the way that don’t involve what you will “feel” on a mattress (or how well you will sleep on it), and help with “how” to choose but only you can decide which specific mattress, manufacturer, or combination of materials is “best for you” or is “worth the risk” regardless of the name of the manufacturer on the label or whether anyone else would have the same criteria or circumstances or would make the same choice.

Once you have narrowed down your options to a list of finalists that are all choices between “good and good” and you have confirmed that none of them have any lower quality materials or “weak links” in their design relative to your weight range and if at this point there are no clear winners between them (which is usually a good indication that you have done some good research) then you are in the fortunate position that any of them would likely be a suitable choice and post #2 here can help you make a final choice based on your local testing or mattresses you have slept well on, your more detailed conversations with each of them, your confidence about PPP and the suitability of each one, their prices, your preferences for different types of materials (or different types and blends of latex), the options you have after a purchase to fine tune the mattress or exchange or return the mattress or individual layers, any additional extras that are part of each purchase, and on “informed best judgement” based on all the other objective, subjective, and intangible parts of your personal value equation that are most important to you.