Help! shopping for a mattress

I am 5’2" 150# with hip pain ( wickedly tight IT band), a back and side sleeper. My husband is 6’1" 265#, also a back and side sleeper. Our current Sealy bed has broken down terribly in just 3 years. Deep divets, pillowtop so we can’t flip. Previous mattress was a sleep number. HATED it for central divider, edges, and overall OK sleep. We have fallen in love with the Aria Las Vegas Sealy mattress, but unsure of it’s lasting performance after reading about cheap foam on your site. It is very expensive. We are Direct Buy members, and can get major discounts on several big name mattresses, but have 2 issues:

  1. We don’t know which Sealy mattress this one is.
  2. Is it going to break down after a few years?
    Obviously a deep discount from a buying club is enticing. Mattresses are an item that is greatly discounted there.
    Was reading about a detachable pillowtop form your Holland, MI affiliate. Maybe this is the way to go? We are in a Chicago suburb, so that is about 3 hours away.
    Your input is greatly apperciated. I am soooo sore.

Hi sunroomsofa,

The first thing I would suggest is to read the steps to finding the best mattress for you in post #1 here. These will greatly improve your odds of finding the best possible mattress in terms of quality and value.

The first step is to eliminate your worst choices (as you can see in the guidelines here) and I would rate the Aria as one of these … even with a significant discount.

There is no way to know this because they don’t list any of the information about what is in it. This is to keep you from making any comparisons with other mattresses and to make sure that the real quality of this mattress isn’t known. Which Sealy it is doesn’t really matter anyway because almost all of them use lower quality materials and have poor value compared to many better choices you have. These are exactly the types overpriced mattresses that use lower quality materials I would avoid.

Almost certainly yes. The polyfoam that they use in the upper layers of their mattresses (the weak link of most mattresses) is lower density and will soften and degrade much more quickly than higher quality materials. To use an analogy … you would be paying real wood prices for particle board covered with veneer and where nobody will tell you what was really under the veneer. They are able to do this because cheap materials can feel great in a showroom (or hotel) because you can’t feel quality and can only know the real value and quality of a mattress by knowing the details of the layers that are in it.

The better options I know of near Chicago are listed in post #2 and #4 here and you are fortunate because we have another member very close by that also has some of the best quality and value in the country … and perhaps more importantly can give you good guidance about the types of mattresses that are best for your circumstances, needs, and preferences and will be more durable for your husbands higher weight.

A detachable pillowtop or a topper can be a good choice because when it wears out faster than the rest of the mattress (the upper layers will wear faster than the deeper layers) … you can just replace it instead of the whole mattress.


We’re on our second RoomandBoard memory form mattress (first damaged in a flood when sprinklers went off in our condo) – and quite pleased with the quality and especially the price vis a vis TempurPedic and the S brands. Like the way their stores make mattress buying simple, without all the variations. What you see online is what you get in the stores, so it’s worth a look IMHO.

copyace, Evanston

Thank you, Copyace. I will definitely check out R&B.
I HAVE read all of the info, Phoenix. There is a lot of information. I do find it almost politician-like, that the only manufacturers you recommend are paid subscribers to your site.
I understand that National brands pay a lot for advertising, that we ultimately pay for, but I have to believe there is a reason why we can stay 4 nights in a hotel, and FINALLY agree on the comfort of a mattress.
I will take your helpful info, shop the catalogs a direct buy, check the momory foam at R& B, travel to Holland, MI to try the mattress topper, and regroup. I will even check out the subscribtion-companies that you recommend.

Hi sunroomsofa,

As you hopefully read in the post I linked … RoomandBoard was listed as one of the “better” choices in the Chicago area but as I also mentioned they are not in the same “value range” as Quality Sleep/ My Green mattress. This is based on the relative quality/value of their mattresses and their experience and knowledge and not on whether or not they are members of this site. This site provides you with the tools to validate this information for yourself so you don’t have to believe anyone or follow any other people’s recommendations.

In many areas of the country … Room and Board would be among the better local values (which is why I list them) but the are not in a “best in country” value range which is one of the criteria I use when inviting various manufacturers or retailers to become members of the site.

I think you may be putting the cart before the horse. If you had read most of the information on the site … you would realize that the reason I recommend the members of this site “as a group” (I don’t recommend any specific mattress, manufacturer, or retailer) is because they are “among” the best value in the country. Their membership here isn’t what gives them this value. I would guess that over 75% - 90% of the mattress purchases that are made as a result of the information on this site are made from manufacturers or retailers that aren’t members here which I have included in the forum lists in almost every area of the country and which also have good quality value and service and the experience and knowledge to help their customers make better choices. If you read this article and post #2 here you will see “why” they have been invited to become members which is more a matter of recognizing what already exists. There are many others that are “among” the best value in the country that are not members here and that you will find in my lists and comments in dozens or even hundreds of posts around the forum that I also think highly of.

The reason that most of the largest national brands tend to be poor value is not just the advertising they do and there are many other reasons for this (some of which you can read about in post #12 here). The bottom line is that for many reasons they use lower quality and less durable materials in every price point than many of the smaller manufacturers that are accountable to their customers rather than share prices, investment groups, and shareholder profits. The larger manufacturers that tend to be sold through mass market outlets also have an infrastructure and partnerships that feed many more mouths who take significant bites out of profit margins along the many steps of their supply chain.

I understand your skepticism about so called “consumer sites” which more often than not are simply a way for a retailer to present themselves as an “unbiased” information site but end up pointing people in only one direction or promote the quality of the materials or mattresses that they sell to the exclusion of others. The guidelines here on the other hand will give you the means to do this for yourself without having to believe anyone (including me). When I invite a manufacturer to be a member here … they are well aware that I list and/or recognize every possible source of “value” in every area of the country or online that I’m aware of so that the people who come here don’t have to take anything on blind faith or become part of a politician/sheep mindset which doesn’t do their homework into the “why behind the what” and who tend to either believe or be skeptical based on information they read that is presented to them enough times (through advertising and otherwise) that is more cliche than fact instead of the facts that their own research or informed questions uncovers.

It’s also true that any project that requires 16+ hours a day of work and research 7 days a week requires some form of income or it can’t continue. The members here provide that income not as a form of advertising (there are many requests for membership here that wanted to “advertise” that are not listed as members and there is no advertising allowed on the site) but as a form of recognition of what they already are and because of their desire to support the goals and values of this site so that it can continue. They well understand that they are competing with the “best” in the country and are happy to do so.

Yes there is of course a reason for this … and it’s because the combination of materials provides you with the things you need and prefer. This has nothing to do with the fact the mattress is in a hotel because the same combinations of materials (and better quality) are available elsewhere. It’s also true that hotel mattresses usually don’t just use the mattress itself to provide what you are feeling and that even though hotel mattresses are not a single type of mattress … they do tend to be made by major manufacturers and have just as poor quality/value as their regular mattresses. Don’t forget that you can’t feel quality and that even the cheapest and lowest quality materials can feel very good in a showroom or hotel … for a while. There is more about hotel mattresses (which are not just one type of mattress) in post #4 here (make sure you click the links to the examples) and in post #2 here. It’s also true that if someone has a mattress that needs replacing that the majority of mattresses they sleep on will feel better than the one they have in the short term (and in some cases in the long term as well).

I’m glad that you are doing some good research and testing which is the key to making the best possible choice. I’m not sure what you mean by “subscribtion-companies” though but I’m guessing you mean the list of members here that sell online?