How to find a GOOD mattress

We have spent $2,000 every 3 to 4 years trying to get a GOOD mattress that would last more than 3 to 4 years.
We have tried the “big” brands–Sealy, Simmons, etc, etc and we are now sleeping on a Lebeda bed made by a local manufacturer that is doing the same thing—it is flippable and not supposed to hollow out—which is our problem. No matter how much we spend–they hollow out in 3 to 4 years–and back we go to try to find one that will actually last past 4 years! I have read the info here–so hopefully the next time (shortly) we have to buy a mattress we will be better informed. But I despair of ever finding a bed that will last longer than 4 years without hollowing out…is there one out there?

Hi AvaS101,

You’ve probably read this already but just in case you haven’t the first place to start your research is the mattress shopping tutorial here which includes all the basic information, steps, and guidelines that you will need to make the best possible choice … and know how and why to avoid the worst ones.

In terms of durability … a mattress is only as good as its construction and the quality of the materials inside it (regardless of the name of the manufacturer on the label) and the biggest reason that a mattress will develop soft spots or start sagging prematurely is the use of lower quality and less durable materials in the upper layers in the mattress. Most major manufacturers use lower quality and less durable materials which is the reason I would avoid them but I would also avoid any mattress where you can’t confirm the quality of the materials inside it so that you can confirm there are no weak links in the mattress (see the guidelines here).

Other reasons that a mattress can soften or sag prematurely include a foundation that doesn’t provide suitable support under the mattress or a mattress that uses materials that are too soft for the people on the mattress (which can also reduce durability).

While there is no way to quantify how long any mattress will maintain its comfort and support for any particular person, if a mattress is well inside a suitable comfort/support range and isn’t close to the edge of being too soft when it is new (see post #2 here) and meets the minimum quality/durability specs that are suggested in the guidelines here then it would be reasonable to expect a useful lifetime in the range of 7 - 10 years and with higher quality and more durable materials like latex or higher density memory foam or polyfoam (in the comfort layers especially) it would likely be in the higher end of the range or even longer.

It’s always more realistic to think of about 10 years as a maximum reasonable expectation for any mattress no matter what the quality or durability of the materials and then treat any additional time after that as “bonus time” because after about 10 years the limiting factor in the useful life of a mattress will often be the changing needs and preferences of the person sleeping on the mattress and even if a mattress is still in good condition after a decade … a mattress that was suitable for someone 10 years earlier may not be the best “match” any longer.

Having said that … with higher quality materials throughout a mattress and/or for people whose needs and preferences or physical condition or body type hasn’t changed much over 10 years then “bonus time” or even “extended bonus time” with higher quality/density and more durable materials like latex or higher density memory foam or polyfoam or natural fibers is much more likely than with less durable materials.

There is also more about the most important parts of the “value” of a mattress purchase in post #13 here that can help you make more meaningful comparisons between mattresses in terms of suitability and PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and Personal preferences), durability, and value.