In the market for a new mattress, and I have no idea what I'm looking at...


I’ve been doing some mattress shopping recently since I’m due for a new one, and stumbled upon this site. I know absolutely nothing about mattresses and it seems like there are some pretty knowledgeable people here, so I figured I’d ask around.

I have Degenerative Disc Disease in my lower back(L5, S1) and my current mattress is causing a lot of pain. Is there anything anyone recommends? Also, I’ve attached a link to a mattress I tried yesterday, but I’m not sure about it. I was looking at the “Solstice”.

Mattress Info.

If anyone has any information or could point me in the right direction, that would be great.

Hi Spud987,

If you have pre-existing back issues … I would be very careful in buying a memory foam mattress you haven’t personally tried or using memory foam layers (in combination with other softer layers) that were too thick and/or too thin for your particular weight, body shape, and sleeping positions. Memory foam can be very tricky to get right with back issues and can lead to some significant issues if you don’t.

Classic Brands makes some good value choices but they also make some choices that are not as good.

Some guidelines that should help you avoid most of the traps and pitfalls of mattress shopping are here.

Scanning the overviews in the mattresses section of the website that should help you with some basic mattress information that should help you ask better questions when you are mattress shopping.

Post #10 here will give you a few guidelines of what to avoid in a memory foam mattress.

In general … local factory direct manufacturers or retailers who have a direct relationship with smaller or local manufacturers are the best place to do your shopping as the odds are much higher that you will get accurate information about what is in your mattress and they will also have the knowledge to tell you what this means in real terms (they will focus more on educating you about mattresses than telling you stories to make the sale). Knowing about where to do your mattress shopping is one of the most important parts of mattress shopping and is half the battle. This makes the second half of the battle which is finding someone with the knowledge and skills to help you choose a mattress that meets your unique and specific needs and preferences and has real value (higher quality materials that are more durable) much easier.

The Solstice that you linked to uses 3 lb memory foam which would be reason enough to avoid it all by itself.

Hope this helps … and if you let me know the city you live in I’d be happy to see if I know of any better quality outlets near you.


Thanks Phoenix, a lot of the places I checked sent me right to the foam.

I live in Richmond, VA.

I kept hearing that memory foam is GREAT for lower back issues, but it’s hard to tell when I’m only laying on a bed for about 15 minutes.


I have had back issues for years because of an injury during college baseball in the early 1990’s. 12 years ago I had my disc shaved between my L4/L5 as it had a severe herniation.

To make a long story short I have endured 7 years on a fairly good memory foam mattress and my back was good for the first 6 months but after that the compression/sagging was not good for it. This was even with proper manufacturer recommended rotation.

I have come to find that a firm innerspring mattress with a decent top keeps my back happy. I have found latex to be the best top on top of the firm innersprings. I am close to getting a new mattress in this vein and won’t go anywhere near memory foam. The folks at the stores push you toward memory foam because it brings the biggest profit margin for the manufacturers/store and it feels great lying on it in the showroom.

Good luck.

Hi spud,

I couldn’t agree more with SRugs (and thank you for your comments and experiences :))

I mentioned in the post just previous to this one in another thread that memory foam can be very tricky and it is often recommended for the sake of profit rather than genuine knowledge about the properties of the materials and the importance of the many different types of layering combinations that are part of a memory foam mattress … some of which could work well and some of which can do far more harm than good. In addition to this latex is more durable and won’t soften as much (risking misaligned sleeping positions) or as quickly as memory foam.

Like Spud … I also believe that latex is often a better choice in the comfort layer and this can be in combination with an innerspring support system (which for some are a preferable feel or support system) or a latex support system (which can also work very well but needs the correct layering and firmness for your needs).

There is one factory direct outlet in Richmond … Regional factory direct manufacturer that makes a two sided latex mattress, two high quality memory foam mattress, and a wide range of other innerspring models. They are a good choice for both quality and value in their various price ranges and are very open and transparent about the materials they use.

There are also some retail outlets that may have better value in certain models than many of the other choices in the area (although probably not in the same value range as OMF). It’s important if you are considering these to make sure that they both can and will provide the details of the different layers in their mattress (either on the phone or in person) so you can make reasonable comparisons with other mattresses that use similar quality materials. I’ve listed some of the manufacturers they carry which may have some better value models. Wholesale manufacturer who sells through local retail outlets. Their retail store finder has a list of outlets. I have talked with them and I know they work closely with their retailers to provide good quality and value. In particular though … I would talk with Michelle at in Richmond (Short Pump), Williamsburg and Midlothian, VA who works very closely with them and is exceptionally knowledgeable and helpful about all their mattresses and mattress materials and construction in general and custom builds every Winndom mattress she sells. She is a great resource for Winndom regardless of which retailer you are dealing with. Richmond. They are knowledgeable and say the “right things” on their site. They carry a range of mattresses made by Golden Mattress Company which manufacture some good quality/value mattresses and some mattresses made by Therapedic (including two sided) as well. Apparently they also have started to carry Savvy Rest latex, and they ship adjustable beds and various latex and memory foam beds, although you’d ned to get the completes information about their memory foam beds, as meaningful specifications are not listed on their web site. Richmond and others in the VA and NC area. I have talked with them in the past and they seemed knowledgeable about foam materials and said they would be willing to call the factory to find specs. Carries memory foam, gel foam, and innersprings made by Corsicana and Matt Tech. Mostly lower budget and no latex. Also Winchester, Newport News, Virginia Beach, Midlothian, Colonial Heights, Harrisonburg, Staunton/Fishersville, Lynchburg, Blacksburg/Christiansburg and Salem in VA. Richmond. James & Owen, iTwin, Aireloom, Pranasleep, Tempurpedic. Make sure you can find out the specifics of the materials inside their mattresses here since they may not be willing or able to provide the specs you need to make an informed choice. Some are in a higher price range where I would make a careful value consideration. Richmond, VA. Carries Winndom mattresses.

Powhatan, VA. Carries Pure Latex Bliss (Talalay latex) and Easy Rest (memory foam). I would avoid the major brands they also carry.
ADMIN NOTE:Removed 404 page link | Archived Footprint: LaDiff Furnitre. Carries Symbol and Magniflex, and apparently also has started to offer Savvy Rest latex mattresses. You’d have to find out the specifications of any Symbol mattress you might be considering to see if it was using quality materials. The Magniflex and Savvy Rest would tend to be in the higher price ranges.

There is one other factory direct manufacturer that would be well worth a visit for those that are comfortable with a little longer drive. They are … Norfolk, VA. Local factory direct manufacturer. They are a member of this site which means I believe they compete well with the best in the industry. They make a range of very high quality and natural and organic latex mattresses along with a complete range of natural and organic bedding products. Options include various layering choices and side to side split layering as well (each side customized for each person on the mattress). Cheryl the owner is passionate about all things natural, organic, and green and their factory is completely energy independent (solar, wind, and thermal energy). Their mattresses are much higher quality and better value than what you would find in a major brand or chain store and while they are also in a more premium budget range than some of the other members here … they also use more specialized materials in some of their models (such as zoned latex, two sided zoned covers, and convoluted latex) that add to their value. They take a more holistic approach to a mattress purchase however and a mattress purchase gives you membership in their cuddle up club and a lifetime discount on all their bedding products so their value is ongoing long after the mattress purchase itself. They are a great choice for those who prefer high quality natural and organic mattresses and bedding products made by one of the greenest manufacturers in the country. You can see a review and some pictures in this thread.

Bear in mind that there are three different types of foam … and each of these three has a wide variety of different grades, versions and softness/firmness levels. Two of these are specialty foams (memory foam and latex) and the last type is the “standard” polyfoam which is in almost every “mainstream” mattress which has many different names and comes in a very wide variety of different quality levels (based on density). Low density polyfoam and memory foam in the upper or comfort layers of a mattress are what you mostly want to avoid because this becomes the “weak link” of the mattress and the main reason for premature softening and deeper visible or “virtual” impressions.


Thanks guys,

This is all great information, especially hearing about memory foam from someone else with back issues. I’ll check out OMF this weekend and if I have any questions let you know.

Phoenix, do you have any posts or a list of materials I should try to stay away from when purchasing a mattress? In a few of your posts I’ve noticed that you talk a lot about how materials are important.

Again, thanks.


Hi Spud987,

Most of these are listed in the overviews I mentioned in post #2 but the main materials I would avoid would be more than an inch or so of low density polyfoam used in the comfort layers and memory foam below 4 lbs density.


For what it is worth, I think this listing could use a bit of updating. I’m in the Richmond area. Bedcrafters by Michelle is in Short Pump and Midlothian.

I went to Richmond Bedding and had a mixed result. The owner was the only one there that day and to his credit, never tried to sell anything. No pushy tactics at all. Super relaxed atmosphere to try out the mattresses. Many adjustable, which I didn’t even look at. Most, if not all, innerspring mattresses were Therapedic. He was not forthcoming with the specs stating manufacturers don’t share their trade secrets (strike 1). This is where I encountered the all latex Savvy Rest mattress - the most expensive in the store and at the very back (again, to his credit he wasn’t trying to push anything, even the priciest one he offered). Later, upon additional research, found out Richmond Bedding and LaDiff (a furniture store) are the two authorized Savvy Rest dealers in Richmond.

In what I can only figure was his backdoor attempt to try to “sell” he indicated that my 17 year old boxspring, as long as it was still flat / level, would be fine to support any new mattress including the all latex Savvy Rest (strike 2)

That said, I’d still consider this dealer over say a Mattress Firm or someplace like that any day.

LaDiff is a large, local furniture store in downtown Richmond offering fairly modern furniture and a few different mattress brands - it tends to be on the pricier side but from what I can tell, generally offers higher quality items. This is ultimately the dealer I went with for my Savvy Rest as they actually offered the best deal. I don’t think the sales staff is as knowledgeable about mattresses since they sell all types of furniture but they are incredibly helpful, responsive, and easy to work with so far (my mattress delivery is still pending).

Anyway - hope this helps with folks in the area looking around in 2017 :slight_smile:

Hi photocat,

Thanks you for the updates! I appreciate you taking the time to provide those, as these lists can change quickly and feedback like yours is very helpful to keep the lists as up to date as possible. I added your information and also updated a few other things for this list as well.