I wealth of choices...I am lost...

Hello Everyone!
First off, I cannot give enough thanks for this website! So much valuable information, I cannot believe it’s actually for free :slight_smile:

Well, I am in the market for a new mattress. I currently have a spring mattress, it’s about 7 yrs old, bought at Ikea. I think I paid around #300. I also have a platform bed. Everything worked ok, or I think so, til 1 year ago, when it started to get obvious I need a new mattress: I developed really bad lower back problems for the past year. Plus, I can tell it starts to sag…
Now, fortunately, I can afford to spend more on a mattress, but do I have to? Also, I am thinking switching to a latex or memory foam. Here are some concerns though:
I am married, and my husband and I have totally different sleeping positions and needs. I sleep on my side all the time, he sleeps on his back. I like softer mattresses, he likes harder ones. He also has scoliosis and bad acid reflux, so at the moment, our mattress is slightly elevated (I put lots of blankets under it at the head end…).
Given the above, do you think a latex or memory foam is good for us? Oh, I am 5’5’’ and 135lb, he is 5’10’’ and 160lb.

Also, I am considering getting the Serta’s “Motion perfect adjustable base” - I know this is not strictly a mattress question, but I thought I would ask and see if you have any comments on it? Would that work with a latex mattress or it must have a memory foam?

Thank you again for this website, and looking forward to your comments!

I’m sure that Phoenix will chime in soon (he’s much more knowledgeable than me!), but I’ll give you my input too :slight_smile:

I think you should definitely spend more than $300. You could get a cheaper mattress, but it will likely just lead to problems in the long-run such as more pain. The cheaper mattresses also do not last as long. I recently bought a latex mattress from SleepEZ. The exact mattress that I bought is one of their specials, specifically the 8" queen. It is a very good value with a good return policy and VERY comfortable. The customer service from SleepEZ is unbeatable.

I think that you would be well served by a latex mattress. Latex is very supportive and gives relief from pressure. There are two huge benefits about ordering from SleepEZ or another retailer that uses the “layering” method. The first is that you can have split layers, meaning that your side and his side can be customized to however you like it. The second benefit is that if your side is too firm/soft, you can swap out the layers with SleepEZ for just the cost of shipping until you find the perfect fit for you.

There are a few reasons that I do not like memory foam. Many people find that it sleeps “hot” (they wake up sweating), it loses a lot of it’s support in 6-12 months, and because it is temperature sensitive it will act a lot different in the winter than in the summer.

I know that Phoenix uses and is happy with his Reverie Deluxe Adjustable Foundation, which can be had much cheaper than the Serta offering. He uses a latex mattress so it works for that.

Hi lulylu,

I think koala has done a great job of answering some of your questions and my comments would be very similar (thanks koala :)) I’ll add a few more that may also be helpful.

IMO, the first step in a mattress search is to find the better outlets that can help you make much better choices. The guidelines here will help you avoid most of the traps and pitfalls of mattress shopping that can happen if you “follow the advertising” that is everywhere. These better outlets are usually local mattress manufacturers that sell factory direct or smaller sleep shops that sell alternative or locally made brands. In many cases when there is not the type of quality and value available locally, then an online purchase from a factory direct outlet can also make a lot of sense for those that are comfortable with this.

Of course there is no “have to” in mattress shopping but I believe there are many advantages to spending more and I think this budget would not be enough to find a mattress that would be the best choice for most people. there are a couple of reasons for this.

First … as koala has mentioned … a mattress at this price will use lower quality and less durable materials that will not last as long as higher quality materials. While someone may use them for much longer … the quality of sleep can easily suffer and it can also lead to some of the issues you are facing (pain, discomfort, and lack of quality sleep etc).

Secondly … higher quality materials are more adaptive and have other qualities that may be missing in lower quality materials. They can provide a better degree of pressure relief and spinal alignment in different circumstances and sleeping conditions and can also have a greater effect on the sleeping environment (with things such as temperature regulation, overall feel, breathability etc). while some people are not sensitive to pressure relief and alignment as much as others and may not notice that the quality of their sleep may be suffering … it can still easily show up in other ways that many people may not connect to their mattress (things like moods, subclinical symptoms, mental acuity, and others) and even some major symptoms that people may not connect to their mattress.

Cheap mattresses that need to be replaced more often and that can also lead to lower quality sleep can be more expensive than higher quality alternatives. The “trick” is to know what makes a higher quality mattress and how to fit a mattress to each person’s needs and preferences which is one of the goals of this site. Each person has a different “value equation” which means that different things may be more important to one person than another but buying on price alone rather than “value” is one of the biggest and most costly mistakes that consumers can make IMO.

One of the better options (as koala mentioned) is a side to side split layering which has different layers and firmness levels in each side of a mattress. They are offered by many manufacturers including some of the manufacturing members here. Different layering patterns can also be effective (each person can “come to rest” in a different layer of a mattress). Here again though … finding an outlet that has the knowledge and skills to deal with these types of situations and also sells mattresses that have good quality and value can be your best friend. There are some layering guidelines here which deal with different height weights and body shapes and some guidelines here which may help with different sleeping positions.

The more the outlet you are dealing with knows though … the less you have to know because the better ones have experience with all of this and truly help people make great choices every day.

The choice between memory foam and latex is really one of personal preference but you can read a little more about memory foam here and about latex here. One of our members also put together a good visual comparison between many of the qualities of each which you can see here (the only part of this I would question would be the pain relief which IMO would depend on the case of the pain and the layering of the mattress).

I personally prefer latex for various reasons and I believe it is a higher quality, more durable, and “healthier” material with many qualities that make it very effective in mattress contruction but this is a personal preference and there are many people who are very loyal to the qualities of memory foam and don’t like latex nearly as much. The only suggestion I would make is that if you have not slept on memory foam before and are not familiar with how it feels and performs … then personal testing would be important because memory foam can be “tricky” in terms of maintaining good alignment and also has other factors connected to it that are important to take into consideration (such as the quality of memory foam, breathability and temperature control of the different types of memory foam, and the responsiveness and motion restriction that are part of most memory foams). In the end … the layering and construction of your mattress will have more to do with pressure relief and alignment than the type of materials used which can be chosen because of preference.

One of the best places to buy an adjustable bed is here and they have some of the best prices on the internet. The Serta motion perfect is basically an Ergomotion 400 with a few added features (different fabric and a zipper attachment) and unless these added features (which are not a factor in quality) are particularly important, it would probably not be your best value choice.

As koala mentioned … I personally have a Reverie Supreme which along with the Ergomotion 400 (which would be the rough equivalent to the Supreme) represent very good value IMO. Mattresses with a foam core (either memory foam with a polyfoam support core or latex) are almost always suitable for use on an adjustable bed and actually work muc better than an innerspring mattress which has to be specially made to be suitable and even then don’t conform or wear as well with an adjustable base. Latex is actually more flexible and elastic than the polyfoam that is used in most memory foam mattresses as a support core.

If you let me know the city you live in I’d be happy to let you know about any of the better outlets I know of in your area which could give you better information and guidance and also carry higher quality and value mattresses.

Hope this helps and if there’s anything I (or koala) has missed … feel free to post it here.


Dear Koala and Phoenix,

Thank you so much for your elaborate replies!! I’m sorry I took so long to write a big thank you back or give you an update on my mattress shopping adventure, it’s been a little busy here with work and travels…
Since I wrote to you, my husband and I were able to go once into a store and try some mattresses but nothing came out of it. It was just a quick stop by on our way home from work…
I am ready to get back at it now that I am back in town.
I made one decision though: I am pretty sure I will be going with the Ergomotion 400 as a base after researching it on the net, definitely better price than Serta’s iComfort base.
Now, if you could tell me what outlets are in my zip code - 92101 - I would appreciate it!


Phoenix is the man to talk to about local outlets, and I’m sure he’ll be here soon. All I wanted to say was I am super jealous you are in San Diego! The zoo there has koalas! Be sure to stop by and give some love to my brethren :wink:

Hi lulylu,

I think post #2 here should help quite a bit :slight_smile:

I would suggest starting your search with a few phone calls along the lines of some of the suggestions in this article to get a sense of which of these you connect with and then pay a visit to the ones that seem to be the most knowledgeable and helpful and have the selection and value you are looking for.

You have some good choices near you.


PS: I think the Ergomotion 400 is a much better value choice for an adjustable bed.

:slight_smile: I’ll make sure I’ll whisper your name to the koalas next time I visit the zoo! :slight_smile:

Hello Phoenix!

I stopped by the OrthoMattress store today just to try “bouncing” around on different mattresses and get closer to a decision. I was sure I will not buy anything from them, but just wanted to see if they have latex and what can they sell to me :slight_smile: And I did not buy anything, indeed, but they got me thinking on a mattress that felt sooooo good. It was the Stearns and Foster one, all natural latex - or that’s what the saleswoman said… I tried 2 of them, one was “firm” and one was “ultra plush”. I liked, of course, ultra plush one better. My husband liked the firm one, but he said he is willing to compromise… I know I have the option to customize the sides with a local manufacturer, but he’s getting impatient with the whole process, and just wants something as soon as possible…
But it got me thinking on some of the specs:

  1. is it really ALL Dunlop latex because the label in the front of the mattress said 7" latex core for the Firm one, and 8" latex core for the Ultra Plush one. The saleswoman said they are all natural latex, not the synthetic latex, Dunlop all the way.
  2. they also had listed, on both of them, that they have the “interlocking system” and the “intuisoft smart latex”… What are these?
  3. if the core is 7" or 8.75" then how come the total height is 10" or 13"? Are the rest “fillers”??
  4. the price seems kinda ok after researching other places: they have a 50% promotion right now, so a Queen Firm 10" sells for $1,700. The Ultra Plush 13" sells for $2,400… I think the difference in price between the 10" and 13" is quite significant for only a 1.75" difference in latex core. But I did feel an immediate difference in comfort between the 2 every time I switched back and forth…
  5. if I go with one of these mattresses, I know I would also be paying for all the “silk-infused covers” and “craftmanship”, etc etc…but I am willing to do that if I know at least the mattress is truly natural latex, Dunlop all the way up just to speed up the process and start sleeping better.
  6. they also sell the Ergomotion 100 for $1,100 but when I told her I can get the 400 series online for the same price, she said to be careful with online places because they re-sell things, basically that they are used, and worry about bed bugs and such, etc etc. But then she offered to price match if I showed her a printed page with the price.
  7. and to put the cherry on top, she said she will waive the sales’ tax, which could be a few hundred dollars :slight_smile:

Basically, my concern is how do I know for sure this Stearns and Foster mattress is 100% natural latex, Dunlop, and no fillers?? Can the other terms “interlocking system” and “intuisoft smart latex” tell me something more? I went on the S&F website, but of course can’t find info on the exact mattress they have in OrthoMattress store, I knew that, but I did find the word “intuisoft smart latex” under the description of a mattress that seemed to me to be made of synthetic latex?? (even though not stated directly).
And finally, is the price of $1700 somewhat ok for a 7" latex core Dunlap, 100% natural latex??

This promotion (50% off, no sales tax, etc) ends tomorrow, so I’m anxiously waiting your answer :slight_smile:

Thank you again for your help, I can’t express my gratitude well enough!

Hi lulylu,

I would run (not walk) away from any place that offers a 50% discount on a mattress or that tells you the sale ends at a certain time. These are just sales techniques designed to give you a false sense of urgency about buying a mattress because they know that if you walk out of the store without the sense of urgency that making reasonable comparisons will lead to you not going back again.

The Stearns and Foster latex are not “natural” Dunlop but a continuous pour blended Dunlop latex which is the cheapest form of latex. This doesn’t mean that it’s “bad” … only that it isn’t the same quality as better types of latex. While they do have one mattress that they say is all latex … a look at the law tag will confirm if this is true. Even if it is all latex these are not the highest quality materials and almost all of these have polyfoam included in the mix. A layering like this would be typical of S & F which has several inches of polyfoam and synthetic fiber over the core. Always look at the law tag if someone who is selling a major brand mattress claims they are selling an all latex mattress. There is more about Ortho, Stearns and Foster, and smart latex in post #5 and 6 in the San Diego thread.

Good manufacturers and outlets sell mattresses with good quality and value every day of the year and don’t rely on fake sales (and other techniques) to create a false sense of urgency to do their selling for them. Impatience and frustration is the best friend of these types of outlets because it mostly leads to poor decisions. A mattress is one of the most important purchases we make and will affect the quality of life for more than a decade and it’s never a good idea to make decisions like this without knowing exactly what you are buying.

You can do much better IMO … at some of the other outlets in the San Diego thread.


Thank you, Phoenix.

I read the other posts on local manufacturers in SD area…I’ll be calling and visit a few on Monday :slight_smile:
Will keep you posted.

Thanks again!

I am happy to report I finally bought my bed! I ended up buying the adjustable Reverie Deluxe from olejostores.com, and a 6" queen, latex mattress from a local shop, the Escondido Mattress Company. I can’t wait to receive them and start sleeping better!
Thank you for all the good advice and guidance!

Hi lulylu,

Congratulations on your new mattress and adjustable bed.

I’m glad the site could help you and hopefully you will get a chance to give us a report when you’ve had a chance to sleep on them for a while.