My husband and I are mattress shopping. Man … it’s not easy. We want a Cal King and have been to several mattress stores including Macy’s, Sears, Sleep Train, Mancini’s, etc. We’ve generally found that we like the foam mattresses and upper price range coil mattresses that the salespeople call plush firm. Our favorites so far are the Tempur Pedic Comfort Supreme and iComfort Prodigy as well as one of the Major Label Black beds that I can’t recall the fancy name of (whatever their version of plush firm is). By the way, we tried the iComfort Savant in the store and one side was clearly broken down more than the other side, so much so that my pelvis sank and caused more lower back pain. The sales guy said the mattresses were ~2-2.5years old.
But now I’ve read your website (thank you very much by the way) and I’m convinced that we shouldn’t buy the icomfort based on quality and the Tempur Pedic is just so expensive.
A little about us. I’m 5’8’’ and 150ish and husband is 6’1" and 170ish, both mid 30’s. He can sleep anywhere, his mattress when I met him was like a plywood board. I have chronic low level lower back pain and am recently pregnant, so the back pain will get worse for a little while. The back pain is from an old injury and my bad posture at computer work. I don’t expect my mattress to solve that problem, I’d just like it to not make it worse. Also, I have a mild latex allergy from early career exposure to latex gloves. It’s not really bad, but touching latex with broken skin or mucus membranes will cause swelling. Even fresh fruits with high latex protein content will cause my mouth, tongue, and throat to swell a bit, however if they sit in the fridge for a week the protein breaks down and I can eat them with less swelling.
We are in the greater San Francisco Bay area, but San Fran is pretty far, about an hour one way (we call this East Bay). Are there any other mattress stores you’d suggest that weren’t on your previous San Francisco list? We’ll definitely try the store in Concord if it is still open, the website seems to not exist anymore though.
Are the salespeople at your super secret list of good stores able to know what the heck an icomfort prodigy is and what I would like if I like that one? Or do you have any suggestions of what I should tell them I’m looking for if I like those listed above?
I’m a little leary of an all latex mattress, but due to most of the proteins being washed off and small layers being beneath fabric probably a latex layer or two would be okay. I think you’ve mentioned some types would be better than others? Any suggestions?
I’m a little confused as to how the small stores (or small manufacturers) can afford to offer better quality at a lower price than the big names like Sealy, Serta, Etc. How is this possible? What should we expect to pay at these “better” stores? We are looking to stay around 2K, but would go up to 3K for a great mattress. How long should we expect a mattress to last? Foam or standard?
Lastly any suggestions for pregnancy sleeping? Are there any great pillows out there or are foam mattresses not good in some regard for that? I’m a back sleeper and if I have to sleep on my side my shoulders ache, not usually the bottom shoulder, but the top shoulder from being stretched forward all night, (sometimes the bottom shoulder too though). For the last pregnancy I relieved this ache by rolling a towel long ways and jammed it under one hip/shoulder, but this really tweaked my lower back, so if you have a better solution I’d love to hear it.
That’s probably a very good decision … and avoiding or eliminating the other “worse” choices like most major brands and mass market outlets or chain stores is probably just as good an idea. The steps in post #1 here can greatly improve your odds of finding the best possible quality and value and the first step is all about eliminating most of the more common choices so you can focus on the better ones.
[quote]Also, I have a mild latex allergy from early career exposure to latex gloves. It’s not really bad, but touching latex with broken skin or mucus membranes will cause swelling. Even fresh fruits with high latex protein content will cause my mouth, tongue, and throat to swell a bit, however if they sit in the fridge for a week the protein breaks down and I can eat them with less swelling.
I’m a little leary of an all latex mattress, but due to most of the proteins being washed off and small layers being beneath fabric probably a latex layer or two would be okay. I think you’ve mentioned some types would be better than others? Any suggestions?[/quote]
Type IV latex allergies are fairly common but are much more rare when it comes to latex foam because as you are mentioning the surface proteins have been mostly removed in the manufacturing of the foam (unlike gloves and condoms and other solid rubber products) and there is no contact with the latex as well. there is more about mattresses and latex allergies in post #2 here. My guess would be that blended Talalay latex may be the best match (because it contains less natural latex in the blend and it is washed many times during manufacturing)
I don’t think my list is “super secret” since it’s sprinkled all over the forum (and is constantly growing as I continue my research) :). I think that most of them would know what the iComfort was but suggesting a reasonable facsimile may be a completely different matter. It’s much easier and more effective to try to match all mattresses to a common set of more objective factors (such as those in post #2 here) than it is to try to duplicate the “mostly subjective” feel of another mattress that uses different materials and layering. Your body would be better at “recognizing” a similarity than trying to match the “feel” using specs which can be very misleading. There is more about the difficulties of “mattress matching” in post #2 here.
So if the manufacturer or retail salesperson had specifically made some accurate (and preferably real time so that subjective memory didn’t take over) comparisons between one of their mattresses and the iComfort Prodigy then you may be in luck but this isn’t too likely.
I last talked with Patrick at Community Mattress less than a month ago and he was going strong (we talked for over an hour). His website is not active (it’s been down for some time and he doesn’t focus on it much) which is why I only listed his contact information.
The list is as up to date (as far as my research has taken me) except for one recent addition in Berkeley that I have yet to add http://famousfoam.com/index.html He is very knowledgeable about foam mattresses including latex foam, polyfoam, and memory foam although he does tend to use lower density memory foam than I would be comfortable with but he says his experiences with it are good and he doesn’t use the thick layers that are so common in many memory foam mattresses.
There is a Sacramento list in post #5 here and a San Jose list in post #2 here which are mostly duplicates but may have some options closer to you. You can also search the websites of the Wholesale manufacturers that are mentioned there for retail outlets that are close to you (Diamond mattress and EasyRest) both of which make memory foam mattresses.
When I have the chance I’ll scan the Livermore area to see if there are any closer options to you that have some possibilities and which brands they carry that may be worth considering (EDIT: there are none I would add to the previous lists).
The short version is that they have less mouths to feed (smaller infrastructure and supply chain), operate at a smaller profit margin, usually have less debt to service, don’t have the pressures to pay shareholders and investment groups continuously increasing profits, and don’t spend massive amounts on advertising. They are accountable to local communities and their customers rather than shareholders and investment groups. You should expect to pay much less (without sale prices) than anything equivalent (at sale prices) in a chain store or from a major brand that was equivalent (in some cases even half of the “sale prices” of mass market outlets for an equivalent quality mattress). Of course they sell mattresses that are in every price range so there is no “amount” that can be expected except “better” than an equivalent quality mattress at the more well known and more heavily advertised mainstream outlets and major brands. You can read more about them in the article on the front page of the site, this article in the “industry” section of the site and in post #12 here and post #3 here (about some of the changes in the industry in the last decade or so). Depending on the size (larger sizes cost more than smaller sizes) … $2000 - $3000 can purchase an amazing mattress in any size.
Any type of mattress can be a valid choice (and the overviews in the mattresses section along with your personal testing will tell you which general types you prefer). It may help to think of a mattress as a support layer for support (and there is a list of materials and components that are used for this in the overviews) with “comfort layers” over that for pressure relief and to isolate your more sensitive pressure points from the firmness of the support layers (there is also a list of the materials used for this). The key that no matter hat type you prefer … to choose the highest quality materials that are available in your budget range. Your price range will allow for very high quality “premium” materials and quality.
I would buy a mattress for the long term and if you need more pressure relief or other adjustments while you are pregnant then you could add toppers for the short term. The mattress will be for the long term (a decade at least) and as you can read in the overviews … the two primary needs are the same which is comfort (pressure relief) and support (spinal alignment). Everything after that is a preference and your “needs” can be met with many combinations of materials.
Pillows are a much more personal item with more preferences involved than mattresses but the pillow thread here has some good links and resources to help you identify what you “need” in a pillow based on your body type and sleeping position and some of the many preference choices that are available. The search for the “perfect pillow” is a lifelong pursuit for many people and is much more subjective (and sometimes changeable) than a mattress :). I should also mention that there are three main types of foam and each of them is very different and there is a wide range of different qualities available in each category so a “foam mattress” is not really a meaningful term because there are so many variations of “foam mattresses” that are significantly different from each other (again there is more in the overviews and the more detailed pages in each section). Even innersprings are really a foam hybrid mattress because almost all of them have some type of foam above the support component (the innerspring).
You may do well to consider a body pillow for your pregnancy which can provide you with some extra comfort and support for unusual or odd sleeping positions as your pregnancy progresses. A google search on “body pillows” or on “pregnancy pillow” will bring up lots of hits.
Hope this helps. Many of your questions are rather broad (and could require a re-write of the whole site :)) so I would probably spend some time with the overviews to give you a sense of the types of choices you have. if you have some more specific questions as a result of your mattress testing or research … don’t hesitate to post them.