Thank you for all of the work that you have done in creating this site. I am looking for a new mattress that gives me better quality sleep and no back pain in the morning. I previously had a Tuft and Needle queen for a year and started to have back pain when waking up. I tried a Zinus mattress from Amazon for the past month and continued to have back pain. After looking at your budget recommendations I realize that I probably did not spend enough.
I am 6’3" 170 lb so BMI is 21.2. I am in Austin TX and today went to 2 stores you recommend in the area: Denver Mattress and Urban Mattress. At Urban, it looks like they recently refreshed their product line. The Ravenswood seems like the best fit for my budget (<$1000). At Denver I liked the Green Choice Bliss and the Doctor’s Choice Euro Top. I was wondering if you have any insight into the materials in these mattresses or advice on which one to choose? I am going to look at Austin Natural Mattress (another of your recommendations) tomorrow. I was also considering a Helix mattress since it seems like you have a positive impression of them.
[size=2][i]ADMIN NOTE:Removed 404 page link | Archived Footprint:404 | Denver Mattress
One thing to note is that I do not care too much about durability, because I tend to move around every couple of years and moving a mattress is not very practical.
I’m sorry to hear that your Tuft & Needle mattress didn’t work out for you although it does use good quality materials that would be suitable for your weight range. I’m not sure if you still have it or not but it may be worthwhile checking the support system you are using under the mattress just in case it’s not providing suitable support because if the foundation is bending or sagging then it could be some or all of the cause of your back pain. If you still have it you can try the mattress on the floor to see if it makes any difference and if it does and you sleep better with the mattress on the floor then the issue would most likely be your foundation.
While it’s not possible to “diagnose” mattress comfort issues on a forum with any certainty because they can be very complex and there are too many unique unknowns, variables, and complexities involved that can affect how each person sleeps on a mattress in terms of “comfort” and PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and your own Personal preferences) or any “symptoms” they experience … there is more about the most common symptoms that people may experience when they sleep on a mattress and the most likely (although not the only) reasons for them in post #2 here.
As you probably read on the forum Zinus mattresses are Chinese imports that tend to use lower quality/density and less durable materials and I would generally avoid them.
While I can certainly help with “how” to choose … It’s not possible to make specific suggestions or recommendations for either a mattress, manufacturers/retailers, or combinations of materials or components because the first “rule” of mattress shopping is to always remember that you are the only one that can feel what you feel on a mattress and there are too many unknowns, variables, and personal preferences involved that are unique to each person to use a formula or for anyone to be able to predict or make a specific suggestion or recommendation about which mattress or combination of materials and components or which type of mattress would be the best “match” for you in terms of “comfort”, firmness, or PPP or how a mattress will “feel” to you or compare to another mattress based on specs (either yours or a mattress), sleeping positions, health conditions, or “theory at a distance” that can possibly be more reliable than your own careful testing (hopefully using the testing guidelines in step 4 of the tutorial) or your own personal sleeping experience (see mattress firmness/comfort levels in post #2 here).
There is more about the 3 most important parts of the “value” of a mattress purchase in post #13 here which can help you make more meaningful quality/value comparisons between mattresses in terms of suitability (how well you will sleep), durability (how long you will sleep well), and the overall value of a mattress compared to your other finalists based on suitability, durability, and all the other parts of your personal value equation that are most important to you (including the price of course and the options you have available after a purchase if your choice doesn’t turn out as well as you hoped for).
While 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 … 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 durability guidelines here to make sure there are no lower quality materials or weak links in a mattress that would be a cause for concern relative to the durability and useful life of a mattress before making any purchase. This is the part of a mattress purchase that I can certainly help with.
The materials they list for the Ravenswood meet the durability guidelines for your weight/BMI range but I would check to make sure that the mattress is only 10" thick to confirm that none of the layers inside the mattress are missing in their description. If the mattress is only about 10" thick and you have confirmed that there are no missing layers and you have done some careful testing on the mattress (hopefully using the testing guidelines in the tutorial) and are confident that it’s a good “match” for you in terms of comfort, firmness, and PPP and it also compares well to any other finalists you are considering based on all the other parts of your personal value equation that are important to you then it would certainly be worth considering as a purchase.
Green Choice Bliss:
These are also Chinese made mattresses and the Bliss uses 3.5" of 3 lb memory foam which certainly doesn’t meet the durability guidelines and I would avoid it.
Doctor’s Choice Euro Top:
This mattress also uses good quality materials that meet the durability guidelines relative to your weight/BMI range and there are no lower quality materials or weak links in this mattress that would be a reason for concern relative to the durability and useful life of the mattress so once again if you have done some careful testing and are confident that it’s a good match for you in terms of comfort, firmness, and PPP and it compares well to the other finalists you are considering based on all the other parts of your personal value equation that are important to you then it would also be well worth considering as a purchase.
I’m looking forward to your comments and feedback after your visit.
You can see my comments about the Helix mattress along with many of the other what I call “simplified choice” mattresses in post #2 here and post #1 in the same topic would be well worth reading as well. The Helix mattress includes 2" of 1.8 lb polyfoam in the comfort layers which is the minimum polyfoam density I would suggest for those that are in a BMI range under 30. They also use 1.5 lb polyfoam in the base layers of the mattress which is a little under the minimum density I would normally suggest in the guidelines and that I would normally like to see in a mattress in this budget range and is also a little lower density than many of the other simplified choice mattresses but with 5.5" of materials and components above it the deeper layers would have less effect on durability for someone that is in a much lower BMI range like yourself so it’s not something that I would consider to be a weak link in the mattress in your case.
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 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.
I would also keep in mind that any specific mattress may be the “best” match for a relatively small percentage of people, a “good” match for a larger percentage, and an “OK” match for a larger percentage yet but many online mattresses including Helix have a good trial period and return policy so you can try them in your bedroom instead of a showroom with little risk (outside of the time you spend sleeping on it and/or returning it if that becomes necessary or any costs involved in the return process) so if it’s not a “good enough” match for you in terms of comfort, firmness, and PPP you can just return it and try another mattress if your choice doesn’t turn out as well as you hoped for. Once again though you will only know whether it’s “good enough” and you won’t know whether it would have been better or worse or how it compares to other mattresses that you could have purchased instead that you haven’t actually tried in person. This is one of the disadvantages of buying a mattress online that you can only try “one at a time” vs local testing in a store where you can compare many mattresses side by side at the same time.
I would still pay attention to the quality and durability of the materials in any mattress you are considering and make sure that they meet the minimum suggestions in the durability guidelines for your weight/BMI range because lower quality materials will tend to soften and break down more quickly which can result in the more rapid loss of the comfort and support that was the reason you purchased a mattress in the first place so you may find you aren’t sleeping as well on a mattress that uses lower quality and less durable materials even if you have only slept on it for a year or two.
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 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 reasonable choice and post #2 here can help you make a final choice based on any local testing you have done, your more detailed conversations with each of the online options you are considering, your personal preferences, your confidence about PPP and the suitability of each one, their prices, the options you have after a purchase to fine tune the mattress or exchange or return the mattress (or individual layers in some cases) and any costs involved, 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.
I’m looking forward to finding out what you end up deciding … and of course to any other comments or questions you may have along the way that I can help with.
Thank you for the detailed response and analysis! I am glad I found you as well.
I ended up selling it on Craigslist but I did have it on the floor for the duration. It was sciatic nerve pain that might have been aggravated by a bad office chair as well. In your experience is the floor as good as any other possible foundation? In my case it is a fairly hard carpet.
I feel bad buying a mattress and then initiating a return knowing that they will not be able to resell it and will need to eat the cost fully. I’m also still trying to wrap my head around testing methodology - I tend to try a mattress in the store and think it is comfortable but then have a different experience actually sleeping on it.
Do you have any tips for comparing different materials (memory foam vs latex vs coil)? I am having trouble judging them against each other since they offer such different experiences.
A suitable support system under a mattress (either a foundation on a bedframe or a platform bed) should provide a similar level of support as the floor so the floor is a good way to test whether a poor support system is affecting your sleeping experience on a mattress.
Having said that it’s generally a good idea to have some ventilation and airflow under any mattress because it can reduce the risk of moisture buildup and the mold, mildew, and dust mites that can go with it. Having a sleeping surface close to the floor can also increase exposure to moisture, insects, dust particles or other allergens (particularly if it’s on a carpeted surface). It would be OK in the short term as long as you check the bottom of the mattress on a regular basis and give the bottom of the mattress a chance to air out from time to time (say once or twice a week) either by flipping the mattress over for the day or by standing it on its side (without any sheets or bedding on the mattress) so that any moisture or condensation that is trapped in the mattress has a chance to evaporate but I wouldn’t suggest it for the longer term.
Having a mattress on the floor may also be too low for many people which can make it more difficult to get in and out of bed but for those who prefer a lower sleeping surface then I would probably use something like the bed rug here or a thin slat system such as here or the Lonset bed base at Ikea under the mattress to add some airflow and reduce the risk.
The average costs involved with a return/exchange policy are a hidden cost that is factored into the cost of a mattress. It’s similar to shipping costs where a company offers free shipping which is also a hidden cost that is included in the price of a mattress rather than itemizing it as a separate cost. Every online company knows that a reasonable return rate is just part of the cost of doing business online. Many companies donate their returns to a charity and some have their customers donate their mattress to a local charity and provide a refund when they receive the receipt.
While nothing has a 100% success rate … with a local purchase and for the majority of people … careful testing using the testing guidelines and suggestions in step 4 of 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).
Assuming that the materials in a mattress you are considering are durable enough for your body type and meet the durability guidelines here relative to your weight/BMI 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). Different people just prefer different types of materials or mattresses but the best way to know which types of materials or mattresses or firmness levels you tend to prefer in very general terms will be based on your own local testing and your own personal experience.
Each mattress category can include hundreds of different mattresses with a very wide range of different designs, different “feels”, different characteristics, and different firmness levels. Individual layers and components in a mattress (including the cover and any quilting material) can vary widely with different thicknesses and different firmnesses and every difference will affect the feel and response of every other layer and component both above and below it and the mattress “as a whole” so each mattress category will generally include some mattresses that have an overall design that will be a good “match” for you in terms of “comfort”, firmness, and PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and your own Personal preferences) and others that use the same type of materials and components and are in the same category and may be just as durable but have a different design or firmness level that may be completely unsuitable for you to sleep on … even if it uses the same general type of materials and components.
In other words you may tend to prefer the general feel and properties of some types of materials or types of mattresses over others but it’s always important to do some careful testing on any specific mattress you are considering to confirm that it’s likely to be a good match for your body type and sleeping style in terms of comfort, firmness, and PPP and/or to make sure that you are comfortable with the options you have available to return, exchange, or “fine tune” the mattress and any costs involved if you can’t test a mattress in person or if you aren’t confident that a mattress is a suitable choice.
I went to Austin Natural Mattress today and ended up buying the Nurture Plush. I was going to wait for a day and evaluate it again, but I also stopped by Denver Mattress and had a pretty negative experience. I brought up the quality issue with the Bliss mattress and the salesman basically tried to counter with a story about using that mattress in his guest bedroom. He also insinuated that Austin Natural Mattresses were not organic and really tried to hard sell me. I think he shook my hand 4 times. After that I went back and bought the mattress linked above. Does it look like good quality to you?
Unfortunately it’s not possible to make any meaningful comments about the quality or durability of a mattress without knowing the specifics of all the materials and components inside it and their description doesn’t include the thickness or density of the foam layers in the mattress…
If you can find out the information in this article and post it on the forum (listing all the layers and components from the top down) then I’d certainly be happy to let you know if there are any lower quality materials or weak links that could compromise the durability and useful life of the mattress that would be a reason for concern.
The foam layer is 3 in 1.8lb. The manufacturer is Kingdom in central TX. They didn’t really have any information they were able or willing to give me beyond that - is that enough for you to evaluate the mattress combined with the specs listed on their website? I was thinking that I might be able to call the manufacturer directly if not.
100% natural wool fire barrier
660-coil pocketed innerspring system
Certi-Pur certified partially soy-based foam encased edges and comfort layers
Additionally do you think there is a large price premium for the “organic” label? I also learned on the phone that the mattress sales guys at this store are commission based - is that almost always the case in your experience?
I would need to know all the information in this article (including the type and thickness and density of any foam in the comfort layers and any foam that is quilted to the cover) to make any meaningful comments about any mattress.
While 1.8 lb polyfoam comfort layers would meet the minimum durability guidelines that I would suggest for your BMI range so it would be a suitable choice if there are no other foam layers or components in the mattress … I would also want to make sure that there are no other missing layers in the mattress description (that could be a weak link in the mattress) by making sure the thickness of all the layers and components adds up to the thickness of the mattress.
In many cases wholesale manufacturers aren’t set up to deal directly with consumers and will only provide this type of information directly to their retailers and it’s really the job of the retailers to provide the information you need to make informed choices anyway so you don’t have to chase down the specs of the mattresses that they sell but you could always try and see.
It would depend on the store and/or the manufacturer. Materials that are certified organic generally cost more than the same materials that don’t have an organic certification because of the cost involved in the organic certification process itself but some stores or manufacturers also use organic certifications as a reason to charge significantly higher prices as well that in some cases are difficult to justify.
Most people that are looking for an “organic” mattress or materials are usually concerned more with “safety” than whether the materials have an actual organic certification and they usually aren’t aware that an organic certification isn’t the same thing as a safety certification. There is more information about the three different levels of organic certifications in post #2 here and some of the benefits of an organic certification in post #3 here and there is more about the different types of organic and safety certifications such as Oeko-tex, Eco-Institut, Greenguard Gold, C2C, and CertiPUR-US in post #2 here and more about some of the differences between organic and safety certifications in post #2 here and there are also some comments in post #42 here that can help you decide whether an organic certification is important to you for environmental, social, or personal reasons or whether a “safety” certification is enough.
It varies between different stores so it’s not really possible to generalize but smaller sleep shops will tend to have less commissioned salespeople than larger retailers or chains.
I called 3 of their locations and none were able to give me more detailed information on the mattress. I already paid for it so unfortunately unless I want to pursue it further I don’t think I will be able to get anything for you. Next time I choose a mattress I will be less hasty and get that information up front. Thanks again for your help, hopefully this one works out for me.
It’s unfortunate that they weren’t able to provide you with the information that you need but at least the good news is that at least some of the polyfoam in your mattress (and possibly even most or all of it) is 1.8 lb density which is a higher quality and more durable material than you will normally find in most of the mainstream mattresses in the industry.