Help buying a mattress in Brooklyn/NYC area

Hi All,

Stumbled across this website in a mad google search for some sort of rational information to help in buying a new mattress. My wife and I are in desparate need of a new one. Right now we’re on a Full-size Sealy Plush Dignitary (I believe that’s what it’s called). We want to move to a Queen and something a good bit firmer. I’ve had this mattress for maybe 6-7 years and we’ve dealt with a horrible sagging in the middle for probably 5 of those years, getting worse each day. Both of us have trouble sleeping now, both have some back issues, but my wife especially is dealing with a ton of back/neck/jaw and other health issues and is in almost constant pain. I know a mattress is not the solution to our problems (we’re seeing tons of doctors and seeking other types of treatments for that) but it at least should not be hurting us and hindering our sleep.

Anyway, tried to do some research on mattresses and quickly discovered how consumer-unfriendly the whole thing is (with the name game, gimmicks, bargaining, etc.). I know the consumer reports thing came out with the memory foam being the most satisfactory to it’s readers but we’re pretty sure we don’t want to go that direction. We’re open to some foam involved but think that we’ll probably go with a coil (or innerspring - not sure what the correct terminology is) one.

Went to Sleepys and the guy there had us almost buying either a Simmons Beauty Rest (firm plush or firm pillowtop or something like that) or a MySide (#3 or #4). It’s hard because everything we tried felt so much better than what we’re currently dealing with. We wanted to wait a day and then that’s when the hard sell came in. “The sale ends tonight.” (I didn’t know it was even on sale since there was no sale sign or price marked.) “We’ll throw in free delivery and a mattress cover.” He then called his manager and eventually put my wife on with the manager. I stuck to my guns and eventually left without buying, but it was difficult.

This is a lot of money to be spending for my wife and I (we’re on 1 income as my wife is unable to work right now due to health issues) so I want to make a smart decision. On the other hand, we’re desparate for a new mattress set and are hoping to get one in the next day or so. What we have now just has to go.

A couple of friends suggested getting an extra firm coil (innerspring?) mattress on clearance somewhere and then getting a 2 1/2 inch memory foam topper to lay on top. That sounds appealing. They say to always go firmer as you can never make a mattress firmer once it gets home, and we definitely want something firmer anyway after our horrible plush sagging one that we have now. Although the one extra firm one we tried in the store that didn’t have any kind of pillow-top or foam was definitely too firm so it seems that we would need to get a topper if we did that.

I’m probably going on too long so let me wrap up. If anyone has any suggestions for what we should do we’d appreciate any info. Also, any specific recommendations for places in Brooklyn or Manhattan to do our shopping would be great.

We’re really hoping to buy one pretty quick (queen mattress / boxspring / frame / possibly a topper) but I don’t want to waste a bunch of money on a crap mattress like I did last time.



Hi dave36251,

As you are discovering … where you buy a mattress can be a more important first step than researching which mattress to buy. In general … factory direct manufacturers or smaller sleep shops that carry independent or local brands will not only be more informative about what is in their mattresses … they will sell mattresses that use higher quality materials at lower prices than major brands or mass market outlets and chain stores (who are benerally trained in marketing techniques much more than they are in the differences between mattress materials and components).

The first suggestion I would have is to read these guidelines. This will help you avoid the majority of the worst choices you could otherwise make.

The next step I would suggest is to scan (not study) the overviews in the mattresses section of the site. This will give you enough basic knowledge to ask better questions and to know when you are being “sold” a story or when someone is more focused on educating you about their mattresses.

Finally … there is a list of some of the better factory direct manufacturers and outlets in the NYC area in post #2 here and a more categorized list and descriptions of many of them in post #7 here. These are the ones (especially the last 5 in the second list) I would focus on.

Hope this helps (especially to keep you out of chain stores and away from major brands) and feel free to post any questions you may have along the way.



Thanks so much for all this great info! It was very helpful. We were able to visit a couple of the places you recommended.

Scott Jordan Furniture ( was by far the best place that we visited. Great products and every employee was very knowledgeable, helpful, and not pushy at all. The quality of everything in the store seemed very high. And the berkeley ergonomics firm coil mattress was our favorite mattress of all we had tried. Unfortunately, it was out of our price range. We wanted to throw our money their way in support of what seemed to be a great business but just couldn’t go that high.

We then went to Room and Board( (which is just a short walk from Scott Jordan) and checked out their RestWell mattresses. The employees were not quite as knowledgeable and it took a minute for someone to come over and help us, but they were so much better than most that we had encountered at traditional mattress stores. I also appreciated that in both these stores we were not given the “hard sell” and it didn’t feel like the traditional “used car lot” atmosphere. We liked their Encased Coil Firm mattress, and the price was very reasonable (and in our price range), but as we had literally walked directly past a Sleepy’s on the way there we decided to take a few minutes and give it a quick look before making a decision.

We got the usual hard sell and mumbo jumbo talk at sleepys. We did seem to like the feel of some of their mattresses but the prices seemed a bit high. We decided that we’d see how far we could get the salesman to come down on the one mattress we were most interested in. It was a Simmons Beautyrest Shakespeare line Extra Firm. It was incredible that he was somehow able to get the price down just a few bucks (literally) below the price I told him I couldn’t go higher than. (He looked up to find a clearance boxspring, knocked off shipping, etc.) Made me wonder what would’ve happened if I had given him a figure a hundred dollars less than that? Would he magically have found another way to lower the price? Probably.

We left the store to talk it over for a bit. It was a pretty decent deal (I think) that I could’ve gotten at Sleepy’s but that place just leaves a bad taste in my mouth and I really hated throwing my money that direction. We decided to head back to Room and Board to try their mattress one more time before making a decision. The thing that kind of sucks there is that all of their mattress samples in the mattress department are twin size so you can’t get the feel of what the bigger mattress would feel like. When we went back we asked if they had a queen we could try and they did, it just was on display on the 3rd floor on a bed that they were selling. So we went up there and tried the queen out for a while. We liked it, we generally liked the store itself a lot and the employee helping us this time was quite helpful. I did a little math in my head as far as prices (with sleepy’s we were getting the whole set including frame and boxspring, but this was just the mattress and my wife definitely wanted a boxspring so I figured in the costs of a boxspring and frame and delivery charge from Sears) and Room and Board was still the cheaper option by a couple of hundred dollars. That combined with the fact that I just felt better throwing my money in their direction as opposed to Sleepy’s made the decision for us and we bought the mattress there. It arrives on Saturday (ships from Minnesota I believe).

It would’ve been nice to get the mattress quicker (sleepy’s would’ve been next day) as we are kind of desperate for a new one right now. But when I thought about it I believe the wait is worth it. I also felt that Room and Board was much more serious about customer satisfaction and is really looking to build life-long customer relationships. (Scott Jordan Furniture felt even better in this regard, but like I said, it was just too far out of our price range.)

So, we’re looking forward to the new mattress and will report back after a while to let you know how it’s working for us. And if we’re not satisfied we won’t hesitate to return it.

Thanks again!


Hi dave36251,

Thanks for your feedback on some of the NYC outlets. I completely agree with you about the knowledge and the service of the Berkeley Ergonomics outlets and they use great materials in their mattresses and have good value even though the prices reflect the quality of their materials and components (which are still significantly less than anything comparable in a larger brand if you could even find something comparable).

Your experience with the different levels of knowledge and service also reflects the different types of outlets you visited. In general factory directs with one or two outlets or the sleep shops like scottjordan are the most knowledgeable and service oriented. The larger retail direct outlets or regional factory direct outlets can be variable from outlet to outlet but on average are still well above the norm and the chain stores are mostly the way you described them.

The only thing I hope you checked was the density of the polyfoam above the coils. While it is only 2" in the firm I believe, … with all mattresses of this type this would be the “weak link” of the mattress although as you mentioned the value would still be better than a comparable major brand mattress.

I think you did well … and congratulations on your new mattress :slight_smile:

Thanks again for a great report and review and I hope you have a chance to let us know how it is when you’ve slept on it for a few days.


Unfortunately, I’m not sure about the foam. I asked the first person who was helping us there what type of foam is used in the bed and she wasn’t sure but said she was pretty sure it was a dense foam. I probably should’ve pushed for more info but at that point we were exhausted by the search, and also I didn’t remember exactly what types of foam were the better kinds so even if they told me I probably wouldn’t have known if it was good. I should’ve printed out the info I wanted to reference and brought it with me. Next time I’ll be a little smarter about that.

So I guess we’ll just have to see at this point. Either way, I’m looking forward to laying down to sleep on a new mattress Saturday night. I do feel confident that RoomandBoard will be decent to deal with if we end up not being satisfied with the mattress or if it does not hold up.

I should mention, another cool thing about the Berkeley Ergonomics bed at Scott Jordan was that the cover zippered open so you can look at the actual inside of the mattress. Not sure if this is standard with all BE mattresses or not. Also, they said that because it did zipper open they could come out and do repairs on the mattress if ever you have a problem with it.

Hi dave3251,

The foam you want to avoid in thicker layers, especially in the upper layers, is in the range of 1.2 lbs density or less. 1.5 lbs is a little higher quality and more durable but should still be used with caution (not too thick or under other foam) and once you get to about 1.8 lbs you are in a higher quality range for high density (HD) foam. As you mentioned as well … local manufacturers or the better retail direct sleep shops that deal directly with a factory are usually much more responsive to any consumer issues than the typical chain stores if there ever is an issue. They build their business more on reputation than on advertising

All of the BE mattresses have the zip cover which is how they can customize all of their mattresses with different softness levels. Many online manufacturers also use zip covers (so that foam layers can be exchanged if necessary after purchase) and it is becoming increasingly popular in the “mainstream” as well not just because they can often be washed or drycleaned but because it can give you access to the layers in the mattress.

I’m looking forward to your “report” when you get the mattress.


Dave i am in the same situation as you. I was planning on going to Scot Jordan on Sunday. Just a heads up what price range was the mattress you looked at in? If its way out of my range id skip the visit and go elsewhere

Hi Almbriano,

I’m not Dave so I don’t know the specifics at Scott Jordan but even though each of the outlets for Berkeley Ergonomics can set their own prices and there may be some variance … they are usually fairly consistent across the country and you can see the “general” prices of their various models here.


Hi Almbriano,

The mattress that we were looking at was the Nordic 2 in Firm Configuration. The price at Scott Jordan’s was $2200. These don’t require a boxspring, I believe, but we wanted one and that would’ve been $375 from them. Delivery to Brooklyn is $65. And then there’s the sales tax of 8.875 %. They were not going to charge tax, though, (they called it a discount) so the total for us (mattress/box spring/delivery) would’ve been $2640.

Hope that helps!


p.s. looks like the price in the link Phoenix provided is close, just $200 cheaper than at Scott Jordans.

Hi Phoenix,

Follow-up question for you. Let’s say our mattress does end up having a lower quality foam (like 1.2 pounds density). Would adding a topper of some sort help the situation? And if so, what kind of toppers do you recommend?



Hi dave3t251,

Adding a topper over lower density foam would likely increase the lifespan of the foam below it to some degree (it would take up some of the mechanical compression and stress that otherwise would be absorbed by the top layer of the mattress) but how much would depend on the relative firmness of the topper compared to the comfort layers in the mattress (how much each layer compresses) and it would also run the risk of turning the lower density soft foam into part of your support system (putting it deeper into the mattress) and compromising the overall support of the mattress.

The choice of topper is a matter of personal preference, budget, and the type of “fine tuning” you are considering to bring the mattress closer to your ideal. They will generally be fast response materials (like latex or polyfoam), slow response materials (like memory foam or some of the newer versions of slow response latex), or synthetic or natural fibers (such as a polyester or down alternative fiberbed or wool). They could be as thin as a mattress pad with minimal extra cushioning or a full fledged topper which is thicker and functions as an important part of the performance of the overall sleeping system. They can also be chosen in a wide range of thickness and firmness levels. The best use of a mattress pad or topper is to either change the surface feel and resilience of the mattress, to add a more breathable layer to encourage better temperature regulation or ventilation, or to add cushioning for additional pressure relief. It is not a great way to improve durability or support because of the risks that go with increasing the thickness of the comfort layers and putting you further away from the support layers of the mattress and because if the foams that are used in the comfort layer of your mattress are softer than the topper they will compress almost as much anyway.

In general … toppers with shredded materials or fibers or foam toppers that are relatively soft and thin will provide some localized or additional pressure relief with less risk to overall alignment because both the lighter and heavier parts of the body can sink into them relatively evenly (meaning better alignment).

So which topper would depend on the goal you are trying to achieve besides just additional durability (which by itself isn’t the best use for a topper) and of course your budget.

The first choice I would make is between fast response, slow response, or fiber.

Post #10 here may also be helpful in choosing which may work best for you. I would wait until you had slept on the mattress for a while though (past any break in or adjustment period of the first few weeks) before deciding on any fine tuning that should be added to it.


Perfect - thanks again for some great and very helpful info!