Hello! You have been a great help thus far in researching my mattress. I went into a OrthoMattress today and found a Stearns and Foster Villa Clarilee. The manager said it was the same as this one sold by Macys. He offered me a floor model on clearance with no warranty for $899 with no foundation for a queen (which I don’t need). The tag said 87% latex. It has a 7-inch Dunlop core with a “Intuisoft Smart Latex” layer. I can’t find any more information on the mattress than that. The mattress is 12.5" high, so I don’t understand what the rest of the mattress is made of.
Anyway, we laid in it and liked the mattress. Any thoughts on if this would be a good purchase and a decent price? I have been looking at some of the online stores you recommend, but the mattresses I like there are around $1700 or more. I am fine with a Dunlop base, but I would like to know more about what is above it. Thanks!
A mattress is only as good as its construction and the quality of the materials that are in it. As you can see in the guidelines here (which is part of the information in post #1 here which has information, steps, and guidelines I would use when you are shopping for a new mattress) … I personally wouldn’t consider purchasing a mattress where I didn’t know the details of what was in it.
In many of the Stearns and foster mattresses there is a latex core (which in the case of smart latex is mostly synthetic latex) and then anywhere from a couple of inches to many inches of lower quality polyfoam on top of this (sometimes with thinner layers of latex in the mix) which would be the weak link of the mattress. There are many threads on the forum from people who have purchased a “so called” Stearns & foster latex mattress that believed they were sleeping on latex instead of polyfoam only to find that in a few years it has softened (usually in the 3 - 5 year range and often sooner depending on the softness and thickness of the polyfoam in the mattress and on their body type and sleeping style) and they have lost the comfort and support that they need and the mattress needs to be replaced. Unfortunately foam softening isn’t covered by a warranty unless it also has an impression which is deeper than the warranty exclusion which usually doesn’t happen because when you are off the mattress the foam still has enough resilience to come back enough to be less than the exclusion (and the impressions are only measured with no weight on the mattress).
I personally wouldn’t consider any of the major brands unless you knew the details and the quality of every layer in the mattress and in most cases they don’t provide this even to their retailers. The information you would need to make any kind of assessment of the mattress or make meaningful quality and value comparisons with other mattresses is the thickness of all the layers, the type and blend of any latex, and the density of any memory foam or polyfoam in the mattress. The only exception I would make is if there was only around an inch or so of polyfoam in the quilting or comfort layers in total which is there for the surface feel of the mattress and isn’t enough to make a significant difference in the durability of the mattress.
I would be very hesitant about buying any mattress with unknown materials where there was no way to identify any potential weak links in the mattress that didn’t have a warranty at all. If you know the materials are all good quality (and you won’t be able to find this out) then a warranty wouldn’t be as important to me although there is always the possibility of defective materials in the mattress so a warranty of a few years to give any defects time to show up can still be important. Material defects (which is all a warranty covers) tend to show up early in the life of a mattress.