Just joined and looking for store recos

Hello i just joined the site. I am a confused mattress shopper. I am in Northern Virginia (Sterling,VA to be specific) .

I’ve gone to a few different stores to try mattresses. Both my wife and i prefer a semi-plush mattress. I currently own a sealy postrapedic double sided pillowtop mattress that is 12 years old and we feel it is time to replace it.

We are both short and light weight (she is about 100 lbs i am about 145) and we are both side sleepers.

We’ve been looking at memory foam mattresses because we both love our memory foam pillows and like the feel of the mattresses with memory foam. We’ve tried tempurpedic (cloud surpreme) and icomfort (insight and genius) and liked both but i am concerned with some of posts about durability on this site. Since we both like memory foam i would like to try latex but i have no idea where to try a quality latex mattress.

Our budget is around 1500 but i can go higher if needed. Oh one thing i am somewhat interested in is back pain relief a friend of mine recently bought an ashley furniture foam mattress and she said it eliminated her back pain.

Thanks in advance for any help you can provide!


Hi ryanc,

You are very close to the same area as Elkie and my comments and most of the outlets that are linked in post #4 here would probably apply to you as well.

There are some weight/height/body shape guidelines here and some sleeping position guidelines here but these are a starting point and your personal testing and experience for PPP (pressure relief, Posture and alignment, and Preferences) will be much more accurate than rough guidelines based on “averages”.

Both Tempurpedic and iComfort are not great value IMO but the gel memory foam that uses particles in the memory foam like the Serta are not as likely to be as durable in the long term as some of the better gel foams. Tempurpedic is very high priced compared to mattresses that use similar quality memory foam but at least it is known to have good durability.

In most cases … a mattress that helps someone with back pain is because it keeps them in good spinal alignment and this is individual to each person and their height/weight/body shape and sleeping positions. In other words … a mattress that helps one person with back pain can cause back pain in another. There is no such thing as a mattress that is “good for back pain” … only mattresses that help with pressure relief and alignment for each individual. Each person can interact differently with a mattress than someone else which is why someone who is knowledgeable and “skilled” in the art and science of mattresses can be your best friend in making your best choice.

Ashley Sleep does make some memory foam and some “partly latex” mattresses. Their latex mattresses have only thin somewhat meaningless layers of latex in between upper layers of polyfoam of unknown density and the lower polyfoam support core. Their memory foam mattresses include layers of very low quality memory foam (less than 4 lbs) and I wouldn’t consider them.

Hope this helps and if you have any other questions along the way … feel free to post them.


Thanks for the help! I am going to try to test out the Latex mattresses at Hardwood Artisans and see if I like them. Unfortunately the other two stores you mentioned are far away from where I live (with traffic, over 3 hours away).

Do you know how the LatexBliss mattresses would compare to the DreamFoam Bedding Latex mattress at Amazon?

I am very attracted to the pricing available on Amazon for DreamFoam - and although I am a little worried about their no Return/Exchange policy, based on what I’ve read about the mattress I am hopeful it will be a good purchase regardless.

I am planning to go to Hardwood Artisans to try the LatexBliss mattress, and if we like them - purchase the DreamFoam Queen. Worst case scenario if I really don’t like it is that I now have an extra bed for one of the other bedrooms :slight_smile:

According to what I found on the Hardwood Artisans website ( http://www.hardwoodartisans.com/pdfs/bedmat.pdf ) they sell the Pamper, Nature, Nutrition and Beautiful LatexBliss mattresses. I’ll call first of course to see if they have them in stock and I’ll try all of them but I’m assuming Nature or Nutrition will fit my wife and I best.

Hi ryanc,

Did you click the link in Elkie’s post that led to the main list of possible options in the area?

Just in case you missed it … it’s in post #2 here.


Yes! Thank-you. That is how I found out about Hardwood Artisans. But, of the 3, Hardwood Artisans is the only one really close by. The other 2 that you linked are over 3 hours away with traffic and are in opposite directions from each other (one was in Woodstock, VA and the other’s closest location to me was in Frederick, MD).

So I plan to go to Hardwood Artisans to try out the LatexBliss mattress - I was just curious how it would compare to the DreamFoam Bedding (aka Brooklyn Bedding) mattresses on Amazon’s website. $599 for a Queen Latex seems almost too good to be true - so I thought, if I liked the Latex mattress at Hardwood Artisans I would give the DreamFoam Bedding mattress a try, assuming that you think they are comparable.

EDIT - Oh - somehow I didn’t find the link that you posted this time in the Elkie’s post. I will also take a look at those stores too. Thanks!

Phoenix - thanks for all of your help.

Is there a particular Latex mattress available in the DC area that you think would be comparable to the DreamFoam mattress on Amazon?

LatexBliss’s website does not give a good indication of the layers inside of their mattresses, and neither did Winndom.

I also found out the LatexBliss mattresses were not locally available in the showroom for Hardwood Artisans.

I am thinking maybe SavvyRest which has 3x 3" layers, or the HealthyBack LatexBliss (like the Bliss Essence) with a 3" then 6" of Talalay Latex and 1" support might be a decent comparison.

My plan is to try to go to HealthyBack and IMI (a store which has Winndom) and SavvyRest this week to try them all out - but if I like them - I’d like to buy the DreamFoam since it sounds like such a good deal. If I really hate it - I don’t mind using it as a guestroom bed and then moving it would be the only problem.

If I’m reading Amazon’s website correctly the DreamFoam is a 1.5" comfort layer of “reflex foam” (Is this Latex or Poly?) followed by 3" of Talalay Latex foam, followed by 5.5" of not quite HD but close PolyFoam

Hi ryanc,

Not that I’m aware of no.

You can see some of the PLB layers in post #1 here but the PLB site itself is not so detailed. ILD specs though are not an indication of quality and in the case of PLB … regardless of the ILD’s … the mattresses are all talalay latex and high quality (although not as good value as some latex mattresses made by local manufacturers across the country). It’s always much more accurate to choose a mattress based on personal testing than on the ILD numbers. They can come in handy though if someone is trying to use a particular mattress as a guideline for an online purchase but of course this is exactly why many manufacturers don’t indicate ILD’s.

In the case of Winndom, they are quite open about the materials in their mattresses and the retailers that sell them should have spec sheets and if they don’t a phone call to their rep should fill in any missing information. They are very responsive to retailer requests based on feedback I have received.

That’s unfortunate. I’m guessing that in the constantly changing retail environment that the PLB retail finder may not always be up to date and I’ve come across a few other discrepancies as well (both missing and incorrectly listed).

They may provide a “very rough” comparison but in both cases the layering and materials is different enough that the comparison would only be a guideline. For example if you lie on a mattress that used a 3" comfort layer with a known ILD and the base layers underneath this were also similar (which would involve knowing the details of the base layers in both mattresses) then the only major difference would be that the dreamfoam mattress would be softer because of the extra quilting foam and any difference in the cover would also make a slight difference.

I believe that the Healthy Back PLB Essence would most likely be similar to the PLB Nature except that the top layer would be Celsion (a cooler sleeping type of talalay latex with phase change materials) which would have a different ILD than “regular” talalay. The layer specs they show combine several layers into one (they basically show the comfort layer rather than the breakdown of the comfort layer).

Your local testing can give you a good idea of the comfort layer firmness choice that may work best for you with the Dreamfoam but it would only give you an approximation of what the Dreamfoam may feel like overall because the layering you are testing is quite a bit different. Savvy Rest with a 3" soft talalay top layer and then medium Talalay layers underneath may come somewhat close but even here the Dreamfoam has quilting foam on top (making the comfort layer a bit thicker and softer) … there is wool in the Savvy Rest quilting (making the soft foam under it a bit firmer), and the medium Talalay would be different and have a different feel and performance compared to the polyfoam base in the Dreamfoam. With all of this … the main goal would be to help you decide on the firmness of the Dreamfoam comfort layer rather than see if you can “duplicate” it’s feel.

The reflex foam is soft quilting polyfoam and the rest is correct yes. You will be given the choice of firmness of the 3" latex layer and of course if you mention you are a member here in an email or on the phone … they will throw in their latex shredded pillow. They are one of our manufacturing members and like all our manufacturing or retail members they offer a bonus to all the forum members (with at least one post) who purchase from them.


I went to HealthyBack today and both my wife and I really liked the Latex mattresses.

Neither of us are crazy about the “sinking in” feeling of Memory foam mattresses like the Tempurpedic, but I like the support it provides. The HealthyBack Latex mattresses seem to offer the best of both worlds.

Of the three we tested (I think it was Pristine, Elegance and Essence), I liked the Elegance the best. It seemed to be in the medium firmness range at least according to the salesman while the Pristine was the softest and the Essence was the firmest.

My wife couldn’t tell the difference between the 3 mattresses - she is 5’0" and 100 lbs so I don’t think the firmness matters to her.

Ultimately - I think I would be happy with the mattresses we tried but the prices were very expensive (in the $3000 range) so I think we are going to try the DreamFoam and see how it feels once we get it.

Based on my preference for a medium firm mattress - could you give me an idea on the ILD I should choose for the topper of the DreamFoam? I am thinking the 28 ILD is “safer” than the 24 since I can always soften up the mattress with a topper if the 28 ILD is too firm.

Hi ryanc,

Healthy Back is a class outlet and I have always been impressed with their knowledge and service when I have talked with them. They carry a good range of interesting and high quality mattresses. While I certainly understand your comments about the price, their PLB is certainly better “value” than most mainstream mattresses but not in the same range as many smaller manufacturers. Out of curiosity … did you happen to try the Technogel mattresses? this is a rather unique material and is actually a gel rather than a gel infusion and is very durable and apparently quite pressure relieving although they are also very expensive. I have been wanting to try them but they are not widely available (and not in my area) so I would be interested in your comments if you happened to try them.

The “regular” PLB’s all use 19 ILD talalay in the top layer and the ones that use the Celsion latex would likely be 21 (the closest equivalent in Celsion). Your wife is so light that she probably felt the similar softness of the upper layers regardless of what was under them.

I believe that the Essence would be the rough equivalent to the Nature, The Elegance would be the rough equivalent to the Beautiful, and the Pristine is what they call “The Worlds Best Bed” which has softer layers but is the same thickness as the Beautiful.

Because all of these use 19 ILD talalay (or the rough equivalent in Celsion) or lower in the upper layers … I would be tempted to go with the 24 rather than the 28 because it would already be firmer than the PLB’s although the quilting layer would add a little softness. If you went firmer than this … it would be noticeably firmer than the PLB’s and may be too firm for your wife who is much lighter (and quite possibly you as well). Of course if you are comfortable with a higher ILD then as you say you can always add a topper but I would bear in mind that the 24 is already firmer than what you tried in terms of the top few inches.

Your weight and heights on “average” would do better with 24 than with 28 and I know that in my own case (6’5" and 195 lbs and my wife who is 5’7" and about 135) that 28 ILD is firmer than we both like.

Hope this helps and the ILD suggestions are just for reference because as you know everyone is different in their preferences.


Hi Phoenix,

Yeah unfortunately my budget was around the $1500 mark, and the PLBs for $3000 were just too much of a price difference. Even for just the mattress - I believe they got the price down to $2199 for the Essence was a bit of a stretch. I also agree the HealthyBack sales person in the store was very knowledgeable and very professional - no hard sales tactics or anything.

The standard PLB might be more in my price range - but I figure I will try the DreamFoam and see if I like it or not. At $600 it isn’t too bad of an investment and if we hate it - we gain an extra guest bed :slight_smile:

I did try the Technogel mattress, the Estasi I believe which was even more expensive than the Healthback PLB. I didn’t spend a lot of time trying it since I knew I wouldn’t be buying the Technogel - but my quick impression is that it felt really nice. My wife also liked it. It had the springiness of the Latex which we both prefer over memory foam - it still felt very supportive though. I’m not sure I’m the best to ask an opinion however - in a blind test, I probably wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between the PLB, Technogel and a decent coil spring mattress and the only dead give-away for memory foam would be the sinking feeling :slight_smile:

I appreciate your insight into the ILDs for the PLBs - I’m not very knowledgeable on Latex mattresses in general - so I simply picked the 28 ILD because I figured something in the middle is what I usually prefer and from what I’ve read - firm is safer than soft because you can soften a firm mattress but not the opposite.

Having not read that - I personally would have just picked 24 ILD since I know I prefer a softer mattress in general and my wife doesn’t seem to have a preference one way or another.

Based on your suggestion I feel more secure in getting the 24 ILD, knowing now that the Celsion latex is a 21 ILD.

Thanks again for all of your help! I’ll post my initial impressions once I get the DreamFoam mattress!

Hi ryanc,

Based on the feedback I have seen … it would surprise me if you weren’t happy with it but of course everyone can be very different from the “norm” or the majority. :slight_smile:

It certainly is expensive because the “pure gel” type of material is a more expensive material but it also has viscoelastic properties (like more traditional memory foam) but is much stronger and longer lasting based on what I have seen and also doesn’t have some of the “negatives” of memory foam connected with it (especially in terms of heat, offgassing and toxicity). Your impressions and those of others certainly help me to get a better sense of how it feels and how people react to it which is not the same as my own experience with it but it’s the best I can do till I have a chance to try it myself. Thank you.

I’m looking forward to your feedback when you’ve had the chance to sleep on it!


Just got my DreamFoam Queen Mattress today - I ordered it with a 24 ILD (or 7/10 according to Brooklyn Bedding’s softness scale with 1 being the most firm and 10 being the softest) and from just laying on it real quick I’m pretty happy with it so far. It feels a little softer than the HealthyBack PLBs I tried and less springy - but laying on it you don’t have the sinking in feeling you get with Memory Foam. Laying on my side, the bed gives more where my shoulder presses into the bed than on my innerspring Sealy which hopefully translates into pressure relief at night.

It arrived pretty quickly - I ordered it on 5/29/12 and according to the tag it was built on 5/30/12 and at my doorstep on 6/5/12 from Arizona to Virginia.

The packaging is really cool - the mattress gets compressed down to an inch think or so and then it gets rolled into a box. I was able to easily bring it up the stairs by flipping it end over end on the long side up the stairs and into my bedroom. My free queen shredded latex pillow (which my wife already laid claim to!) was also compressed into the same package. Amazing how small the mattress is when compressed!

It is significantly shorter than my Sealy Postropedic Double PillowTop mattress - but thats expected since this mattress isn’t two-sided.

I will give more first impressions and some pictures after I sleep in it tonight! :slight_smile:

Hi ryanc,

I’m looking forward to your “report” both initially and hopefully after a little longer as well :slight_smile:


Initial impressions -

My wife said she can’t tell the difference between the two mattresses - other than the height of the two :slight_smile:

For me - I woke up for the first time in a long time without aches and pains in my shoulder. My back also felt good - maybe not perfect, but I wonder if a week’s worth of sleeping on the new mattress will make a bigger difference.

I’m actually thinking of buying a Talalay Latex pillow now because the memory foam pillow I have now tends to make me sweat a lot and I wonder if it would additionally help with neck pain I sometimes get.

It was surprising how much of a difference it made! I was also surprised how cool I was sleeping on the mattress. I didn’t think it would sleep any cooler - (if anything I thought hotter) than my Sealy Pillowtop Innerspring, but it definitely slept cooler - I actually felt cold in the morning. Was actually surprised when I looked at the tag for the Sealy that the pillowtop is primarily made of polyfoam.

I took the sheets back off of the mattress today to let it continue to “air out” and expand, since the little insert with the mattress says they recommend letting it air out and expand for 24-48 hours. There was definitely a strong smell from the mattress when I first put it on the bed frame around 5:30pm, but by the time bedtime hit at 10:30pm the smell was only noticeable if you put your nose to the mattress.

So far - best $599 I’ve spent! I’ll try to remember to add pictures when I get home from work.

Any recommendations on a Talalay Pillow for a side-sleeper? I typically use one of those contoured memory foam pillows - something like this: Amazon.com

I am thinking of getting something like this, but wasn’t sure what kind (high loft, low loft, firm or plush): Amazon.com

Hi ryanc,

There’s a thread here with some thoughts and ideas about pillows. They are one of the most “personal” parts of a sleeping system because they are so close to our face and skin and personal preferences about feel play an even bigger role in most people’s choices than with a mattress. They are also an essential part of good alignment for the head and neck especially but will also affect the comfort and alignment of the upper body. There are some general guidelines about the needs of different sleeping positions in the thread and some good links as well.

I personally am primarily a side sleeper and I have the Malouf hi-loft plush and like it a lot.


Do you still feel the same way about the mattress?

My wife an I are side sleepers and were considering a higher # than standard 6. Was 7/10 a good choice?


Yes, I’m still happy with the 7/10 and the Dreamfoam mattress. My wife, who is currently 7 months pregnant also has not complained about the mattress. She was indifferent about the mattress when we first bought it - but she has not complained about the mattress. I’m still pretty happy with my purchase.

I did recently switch back to my old innerspring Sealy mattress with double pillow top because we had our master bedroom painted and so we slept in the guest bedroom. I definitely felt a difference laying on the mattress and waking up the next morning, and the difference was not a good one. I also have similar problems with the innerspring mattress at my parent’s house as well. It isn’t horrible - I just can feel the difference when waking up the next morning.

I also really liked the Healthy Back Elegance, and am interested in purchasing similar in the Dreamfoam latex mattress. I am 5’7 and 180 with a muscular build and since you mentioned the 7 was a bit softer I am concerned about my shoulder sinking in farther than on the Elegance. Would a 6 be preferred for my situation, or is that not enough additional weight to make a difference?

Hi joshs,

The most important part of buying a mattress online is to recognize that there is some risk involved and that nobody else can say for certain how a particular mattress may feel or perform for someone else.

Each person that buys a particular mattress will have their own unique experience based on the thousands of variations of their body type, sleeping positions, personal preferences, and individual perceptions and physiology.

Outside of personal local testing on a mattress that has a similar design … the “best” way to make your choice would be to talk directly with the manufacturer who can tell you what others in their customer base that are similar to you have done well with based on “averages”. I would also make sure that you have answered the question that asks “what recourse is available to me if I make the wrong choice?”

Unless you have good confidence that a particular comfort choice will work well for you based on local testing … it may be wise to give yourself some backup with one of their models that has exchange options available.

One other suggestion (and they will normally suggest this as well) … is that it’s usually “safer” if you are uncertain about a choice to choose slightly firmer than slightly softer because you can always make a mattress softer by adding a topper or mattress pad but it’s much more difficult to make a mattress that is too soft any firmer unless you have exchange options available.

I would also keep in mind that the Healthy Back Elegance has thicker and softer layers of latex in it than the basic Dreamfoam mattress which only has 3" so no matter what comfort choice you make the combination of layer thickness and layer softness of the Dreamfoam may not match the Elegance which is a completely different design and uses latex in all the layers.

It may also be worth asking about the layer thickness and softness of the Elegance so that you can use it as a better guideline. I believe it may be somewhat similar to the PLB Beautiful specs which you can see here but I don’t know this for certain.

A closer approximation to the Elegance may be the Alexis which has the option of using 3" of 19 ILD over 3" of 24 ILD in the layering

The more information you can find out about what you have tested the more useful it will be as guideline…