Mattress Nightmare, finally getting out of a pillowtop

…and back to a memory foam. I have about $900 to spend, need just a matress, and would only buy in person, not online. Just a preference

I am torn between 3 brands

Sleep comfort - 9 inch (Plush)
Sleep comfort - 11 inch (Firm)

Gemma - 10" (Plush)
Gemma - 10" (Firm)

iComfort - Insight 9" (Firm)

I am so torn between those mattresses. They are the only ones in my area that also fit in my price range. I tend to like mattresses more firm than medium but less than firm. so on a 1-10, probably like a 7-8

I decided on a Sleep comfort 9" although could not decide on the size. Its weird the 9" Plush is firmer than the 11" Firm. Someone told me they just label the 11" for technical reasons, i.e. that gel is considered more supportive and there is more gel in the 11" Makes sense but doesn’t help me make my decision . Hypothetically if I were to get this brand, the hard is going to be hard, the soft soft, but nowhere near as soft as the unbearable pillowtop I am getting rid of , correct? And I was told if I can stand the Tempurpedic Contour, then this firm will be fine as the Contour line is firmer.

So I shopped another store to price. They had the Sleep Comfort, gave a better price, but also had the Gemma. I wasn’t sure, as the first store told me that the Sleep Comfort isn’t generic and make a lot of foam for other mattresses. But apparently it wasn’t a piece of garbage they recommended, first because they gave good prices on the first, but also gave good explanations. First it is all natural material. Not a gel which scared me . But he said things I see on the forum for instance that gel isn’t all its cracked up to be, that they learned that it’s more for support

I sat on it and they had 2 10"'s similar to above in that one was firm and one plush. The only thing that scared me is that the density is 1-3lbs, if even 3, I forget. The Sleep Comfort was between 2-4lb I hope again that there are different ways of interpreting it, maybe that more dense isn’t always better. So the 9" Sleep Comfort is more dense, so I like that, but it is smaller ???

And they were my only choices until I went into the last store where I am tempted to NOT buy simply because of how pushy he was. But it was the iComfort. The Insight series. Apparently they are discontinuing them. But I liked it and he said it was $900±

With that being said, if anyone can share, or rather simplify all that is in the forum in helping to choose 1 of these 3 brands, and maybe even choose between the firm and plush because they feel so close.
While I want help, I wan’t honesty within recommending one of these. I can’t afford any more. I do not feel comfortable shopping online, etc. I would be devastated if a wrench came to this that I didn’t need.

Thanks to anyone who took the time to read, and even more who can give positive help within the constraints I gave


Hi eric0668,

Have you read the tutorial post here? It has all the basic information, steps, and guidelines you will need to make the best possible choices … and know how to eliminate the worst ones.

Outside of using the testing guidelines in the tutorial post for PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and Personal preferences) … a mattress is only as good as its construction and the quality of the materials inside it and I would make sure you know the density of any memory foam and polyfoam in any mattress you are considering so that you can make sure it doesn’t have any obvious “weak links” and you can make meaningful comparisons to other mattresses. No matter how a mattress feels in a showroom … if it uses lower quality materials (especially in the comfort layers) there is a much higher chance that the mattress will soften and break down much too quickly and you will lose the comfort and/or support which is the reason you purchased it in the first place and need to replace it … and the loss of comfort and support isn’t covered by a warranty.

If you let me know your city or zip code I’d also be happy to let you know of any of the better options or possibilities I’m aware of in your area.


Thanks Phoenix. As I saw the forum again and sent the post (filled with my usual angst), when fixing my profile I saw your name etc.

I will read the link now.

I am in Whitemarsh, MD 21236 (or Nottingham, MD 21236) (Baltimore is 15 minutes away 21201)


Hi eric0668,

When you get to step 3 in the tutorial … then the better options or possibilities I’m aware of in and around the Baltimore area are listed in post #2 here :).


Thanks again Phoenix

A lot of information. I gave it a read, but I am not a good reader, I mean at holding it and keeping it. How do I say it without having dia** of the mouth about myself. Anyway, I read it and will attempt to pull from it what I can.

I have no problem driving to some of these places. I was worried about budget and these nice places not having things I can afford after driving an hour. I suppose I can call as I read and tell them my budget and ask if they can put me in something within that constraint?? I know you don’t tell where to buy, but most of those places aren’t going to take advantage of me? Do you know if any of them negotiate like local dealers (Not that that’s a good thing)

Lastly, as I said in the post, I know it might be the lesser of evils for someone to give a recommendation if they didn’t like local store shopping, but I thought I comprehended one part to say, yes, it is subjective, but try to pull some objective things out of it when comparing mattresses, like spine shape etc…correct? With that, of the ones I mentioned I assume you would cross of iComfort, from what I read.

Hi eric0668,

I would always call any retailer or manufacturer I wanted to visit before I went to visit them as a “standard” practice yes (it’s part of step 3).

If you follow all the guidelines then it would be very difficult for any retailer or manufacturer to take advantage of you and you may find you know more than they do. Just make sure you never make an impulse purchase or a purchase where you feel any sense of urgency to “buy now” or based on a “fake sale” that they have convinced you is only good if you make a decision now. You can read a little more about negotiations in post #6 here but many of the better retailers or manufacturers don’t have “fake sales” and will usually have their best prices or close to their best prices every day of the year. You can always ask of course if they ever have any sales or if they would accept a negotiated offer (which can be a warning sign if they do) but if you do “negotiate” make sure it’s based on the prices of other comparable mattresses that are available to you and not on a “fake” regular price that nobody ever pays anyway and are only there for their customers to “feel good” about what a great negotiator they are and what a “deal” they received.

I’m not quite sure what you mean by this …

I know it might be the lesser of evils for someone to give a recommendation if they didn’t like local store shopping

… but in general either your own testing or using the help and guidance of an online manufacturer or retailer are the best ways to make the best possible choice in terms of PPP (see mattress firmness/comfort levels in post #2 here). If a recommendation comes from an online retailer or manufacturer that has the knowledge and experience to know which of their specific mattresses are most often a good “match” for specific types of people based on “averages” and you can’t test the mattress in person then a recommendation would make sense but for a local purchase your own testing will be more reliable than any recommendation based on “theory”.

Some parts of a mattress purchase are more objective (such as the quality of the materials), some are partly objective and partly subjective (such as pressure relief and alignment), and some are purely subjective (such as evaluating the “feel” of a mattress). All of these together and others as well are part of what I call each person’s personal value equation which are all the parts of a mattress purchase that are most important to you.

Whether or not you cross off the iComfort Insight off your list would depend on how it compared to other very basic memory foam mattresses that were similar (the Insight uses 2.75" of 4 lb gel memory foam over 6" of 1.5 lb polyfoam and there would likely be other lower budget mattresses that have the same or better materials in a lower price range).

The most important parts are to make sure you test any mattress you are considering for PPP, to make sure you know the specifics of all the layers in the mattress, and to never make any decisions under pressure or with any sense of urgency. If you want some feedback about any specific mattress you can always post the details on the forum and I’d be happy to help you “translate” the specs and tell you if there are any obvious “weak links” in the mattress.


Thank you so much.

Probably time for me to give it a rest and look at it tomorrow. I would apologize again, but I know that people say that is a sign of weakness :frowning: but so**y for being so anxious. I am a shopper. BUT a very impulsive shopper. For me, the word of the day is now now now. I wanted this mattress yesterday.

That, coupled with my inability to retain things read makes it hard. Although I am not sure that one isn’t caused by the other.

I understood what you said about the iComfort, either I missed it, or I actually got that there are going to be better and worse mattresses on any level. So If I have to buy the $550 mattress, pick the better of the two based on what I read. (If that’s the case then what I thought was the better mattress (Gemma) (which I REALLY want to be the better mattress because it felt great, is an inch thicker) doesn’t appear to be because of its 1.5 lb to 2 lb layers, albeit it has more layers than the Sleep Comfort, which has 3 lb and 4lb layers. But then again, I recall that the differences in structure may balance that out. ANd the sleep comforts bottom layers it has “base layer foam” and the bottom is “HD base layer of foam” Now did I learn something if my question is “what kind of foam thought?”

I did email a few places, just to keep one step OUT of the door of Sleepy’s etc, and said they were recommended on this forum, I am looking for a mattress, my budget is such and such and is it feasible to fit one of their memory foams in my budget.

(as far as that part where you said “I’m not sure what you meant” LMAO, neither am I. racing thoughts)

May I ask, what type and brand of mattress do you have?

Hi eric0668,

What you need to know is the density of each layer in the mattress … not an “overall range”. Memory foam and polyfoam are made in a different density range so 2.5 lb polyfoam would be a high quality material while 2.5 lb memory foam would be a very low quality material. It’s important to know the density of every layer in the mattress.

You can see here that the Gemma has 3 layers (two polyfoa layers and a memory foam layer in the middle) so you would want to know the density of each one or at least the two thicker layers (it’s OK if there is a total of “about an inch or so” of unknown or lower quality foam in a mattress).

Don’t forget that all the retailers or manufacturers on the lists in the forum are not “recommended”. In many cases they are just “possibilities” where some of the preliminary research has been done but you will still need to complete the research and make sure you know the specifics of all the materials in any mattress they sell and make some good comparisons. Some of them may have no idea that this forum even exists (although many will).

I would also suggest phone calls rather than emails because you can cover more ground in a 10 minute “interactive” phone call than you can in a week of back and forth emails and you can also read the “tone” of the conversation. Emails are only a good idea if they require a one sentence answer and there is no “it depends” in the answer (which is rarely the case with mattress questions).

See post #4 here.


Thanks again Phoenix

  1. A lot made sense. Probably because I walked away from the outer for awhile

  2. Before I read this I wrote both mattress co. And asked them the layer type, SPECIFIC, size and density.

  3. Your bed is sweet!!

  4. I was a manager at a restaurant and my friend from Morocco was a waiter for me. We used to joke for instance when a kid wouldn’t eat his food, put our hands out in front of us like choking him and say “eat it… eat it G** dam***”
    Maybe you have to hear it to get it

But, that’s what I am doing to you now. “Tell me…tell me Go* DA**it”. Tell me which one is objectively the better mattress
Maybe assuming the types of foam we don’t know are worst case scenarios.

LOL. (If u did it would be like you told someone you would recommend here or here but they have to make the final decision, :). I would sign a waiver)

Whether you answer that or not, you really are a special person. There are some not so nice moderators of all different forums. People “yelling” saying search search etc. All the while not knowing what’s going on there. Like me reading a of that help, and links, but retaining only parts. In other words to maintain a forum of people you have to understand people and some don’t. You are very patient. Everyone is at a different place. I may forget stuff due to chemo froo 08. They call it chemo brain. LOL

I will check back tomorrow. The good thing is the $$ I need to buy it with isnt here. I am waiting for a $400 credit from a returned speaker.

Hi eric0668,

Thanks for the kind words :slight_smile:

[quote]But, that’s what I am doing to you now. “Tell me…tell me Go* DA**it”. Tell me which one is objectively the better mattress
Maybe assuming the types of foam we don’t know are worst case scenarios.

LOL. (If u did it would be like you told someone you would recommend here or here but they have to make the final decision, :). I would sign a waiver)[/quote]

I think that when a manufacturer or retailer isn’t able to tell you the quality/density of the materials inside a mattress that the only safe working assumption is that they are low quality and I would avoid them.

No matter how good a mattress may feel in a store … if it only last you for a few months or a year or two and doesn’t maintain its comfort and support for a long enough period of time to justify the price you paid for it it would have little value to you. On the other hand if a mattress uses great quality materials that will last you for a very long time but it isn’t a good match for you in terms of PPP and you can’t sleep on it then it would also have little value to you. Both of them are important in a mattress purchase.

Unfortunately I don’t know of any way to assess the quality of the materials in a mattress or identify any weak links that can lead to the early loss of comfort and support outside of a manufacturer or retailer providing you with the information you need. The only alternative would be to take each layer of the mattress and calculate its volume and weigh it to calculate its density which of course isn’t possible.

Outside of a manufacturer or retailer providing you with accurate information or actually weighing it … there really isn’t any way to guess at the quality of the materials based on “feel” because lower quality materials and higher quality materials can feel the same … but only for a little while until the lower quality materials begin to soften and break down.


Hi Phoenix. Good Tuesday to you

I feel a little clearer after sleeping on it. Less impulsive , manic etc. :slight_smile:

What I got now is to hope One of the loval places I contacted will be able to help. The other option to expand my choices is to go to Bedding Barn which is closer. And lastly I do what is recommended pick the 2 I like go home and compare. What I see now is that HR foam isn’t common but good and comes in a smaller layer …among other things

So it may come down to those 2

I have a question about my bed mentioned here somewhere. I have the IKEA Malm. It has slats and I believe they are 3" or less. U would know better as my heavy mattress is on it at home now. So I was wondering, I would like to keep whatever bed I get lower. Do I need to use the bunkie board I have or can I go without? (I was told for my tempurpedic a ways back that this was good for them (in fact I think in described the bed and showed them the construction of the full width of the frame at the head and bottom and they said that was very supportive) so I assume it would be good for most memory foam)?

But the main ? is do I need to use anything ?

Hi eric0688,

If your slats are 3" apart then they would be fine although it’s also important to have good center support to the floor and if the Malm doesn’t have it I would consider adding a center support leg under the center beam in the Malm because I believe it has a span that goes from heat to foot without any center support.


Phoenix, they are more than willing to get me the type and density of each layer of one of the mattresses, but the salesman, not as informed as the area manager that was helping, said that he was looking into the density, but the mattress rating has a 5.3 ILD

From searching and finding other examples, this would indicate a soft mattress, however this is not the case, it is medium to firm

Here is a pic of my Malm, with the center meta

l beam. That should be ok?

Hi eric0668,

I can see that the salesperson doesn’t seem to be that well informed. A mattress doesn’t have an ILD rating … only individual layers inside the mattress … and 5.3 would normally be the density of a memory foam layer not its ILD. With memory foam ILD doesn’t really mean much anyway and can be very misleading because the ILD of memory foam changes with temperature, humidity, and the length of time the memory foam is compressed.


I don’t know if you can sense that in my message but I sort of thought that was a ****

The guy is nice, but nice doesn’t work LOL I was being helped also by the area manager who knew more than he, I suspected. Not your level though

I got back to him and nicely insisted that I get the density of each level :slight_smile:

I want to thank you for all your help. I ordered a mattress today and while I wasnt able to put all, maybe not even many of the things learned here to practice, mainly due to budget, ibdo believe I am getting a better value. I found and tried the mattress in a store and ordered it online. A Simmons Curve
With an $800 budget I feel I did better getting a reputable company’s intro line, but the best of 3 within that, than I would have at a crazy retailer where I was going to choose between a Dormia owned company and a new company.

So thank you.

I am torn though
I have seen some foundation / slat posts but some of them are outdated with IKEA changing slats etc

I have a 2-3" bunkie board. I like it now. You could say this is similar to a low profile or no?

Well I would like to stay low. Even without the bunkie
I was thinking of using the Ikea slat. A salesperson said then warranty specifically says not to. But I read and it clearly says make sure space is not greater than 3". And if I read from you correctly latex matters most and if I have a firm base, I believe, don’t quote me, it does say firm and is polyfoam

With regard to which ones (if u support that choice) will the flexible ones make noise. Bouncing noise. If not I would get those. Someone said that it can help a firm mattress feel slightly not so firm. Another said in a 10.5" mattress it’s not going to be noticed just go with the bunkie board. But that’s not the only reason. You said airflow is better with slats right?
I could stick with the basic slats for the Malm I have but the distance there is the largest. Maybe greater than 3"?

You brilliant help. Or anyone’s…is appreciated.

I want to give myself the best conditions. The mattress the best conditions to keep a warranty. And the best conditions to stay cool with airflow etc

I hope you have been well the past couple of days.


Hi eric0668,

There is more about foundations that includes links to many options in the foundation post here.

A bunkie board is generally about 2" high and a low profile foundation is usually in the range of about 5" but other than that they would both work well as long as they met the warranty criteria for your mattress (and you can check with your retailer or with Simmons about this).

I would tend to use the foundation that is recommended by the manufacturer of your mattress or at the very least make sure that your support system (which is the bedframe and foundation/bunkie board) met the warranty criteria. You would probably be best to choose something like the Simmons Low Profile Foundation that is designed to work with your mattress and would have good airflow rather than a flexible box spring. Most good quality foundations (or box springs) shouldn’t make noise (although some lower quality versions can develop squeaking or creaking over time).

If you have a bunkie board or slats that have gaps in the range of 3" it should be fine as long as your bedframe also meets the warranty criteria and has good center support to the floor.

The airflow under the mattress really don’t affect cooling at the sleeping surface but is more to reduce the risk of moisture under the mattress and reduce the risk of mold, mildew, and dust mites.


WOW! :). You are full of knowledge

I hope you are patient …it seems you are. I don’t retain things well even if it’s immediately after i read something

Let me list this out for me mainly

I have:

-a Malm bed
-a 10.5" Simmons all foam mattress
-now i have the base wood slats in IKEA that “came with” or was recommended with them to start

They are recommending their solid foundation or a slatted system where the slats are actually no bigger than 2" (not 3 now that I reread)

I have a bunkie board covered in what appears to be beige breathable material (correct…I haven’t seen it in awhile)
And also does it not cover that thin frame of the board on only 5 sides. The bottom I don’t recall having any material

Now I have that over my slats in my bed with my dreaded pillow top on top.
Did I do that wrong. Should I have just put the board in the frame without the slats?

Now I can use the board (thinking out loud please correct me)
As that would fit into the recommended category. The Simmons one you showed me would fit also, as it is theirs, but no more so than the bunkie, correct

So with the slats. I am reading tbat the latex needs more support and slats closer together?? And the all foam needs support but not as much so the spacing can be a little bigger

So assume the IKEA slats are 2" which they are not (just asking in case I could find some because this would be the best way to get airflow, keeping out moisture, not necessarily making it cooler up top) then it would be fine to use these slats?

If that were the case, would the bounce in them make noise and be hard on the mattress? I am guessing not or IKEA wouldn’t sell them. The noise part while moving ?

And the flat ones may make it firmer or keep it the way it is.
And the flexible ones, would they possibly contribute to taking away some firmness?

Thanks again. You are a God/Goddess
Forgive me I restated a lot of the last question bit hopefully interjecting a few tidbits I read

So basically I want to use slats if you can’t tell. (I’ll just stop there lol )

Why are you up so late. You PST?

Hi eric0668,

You can see the Simmons warranty here. These are the criteria that your support system needs to meet.

It says that the bedframe needs to have adequate center support and your malm doesn’t appear to have any center support under the center beam so it may invalidate the warranty.

It also says that the mattress requires either a Simmons foundation or supportive non yielding rigid foundation (it doesn’t give specifics). If the mattress is used on a wood platform bed then it says that the gaps need to be 2" or less apart.

It appears to me that both your bed and your slat system may not meet the warranty criteria.

I’m usually up very late (the hours involved in running this site are long) and yes I’m on PST.


Hi Phoenix. Thank You

Even though you don’t know me, You probably know me by now. all flustered that you just said my bed and slat system isn’t supportive enough for my mattress.

When in fact you were saying, my bed and slats (together) aren’t supportive enough to go the “slat way” alone

You were not saying my bed AND slats are not supportive enough for use with a Bunkie, boxspring, foundation or any other type of solid foundation, without gaps that may or may not be the best choice of those 3 correct

With that said, I see a picture in the warranty with the picture of my bed, slats, and a metal beam going from top to bottom listed as the better support option. Not the good option, and not the best, but in the middle

Also it says in the middle, as well as in the end “what is not covered” is if you go with slats and their spacing is less than 2 inches

Were you answering all the questions I wanted, simply using different words than expected? in other words, the IKEA slats ARE NOT less than 2 inches.

I am tending to believe I got it correct and my jumping of a cliff as usual is premature LOL
I am also thinking that I COULD get different slats or go with those options above

You had said earlier in the post that what they recommend is best. Well they don’t per se recommend or even say that their base is best but simply supportive with no gaps, like the Bunkie , box or foundation correct

All of them are going to be the same? My Bunkie is going to be the same as a box (which would be last choice I assume) or foundation. I got the for use with the Tempurpedic Contour I had a few years ago


Thanks for your help. dealing with people of all types. I want help so bad, but I have to resist going back to the answer right away, LOL so I can give my heart a rest so I don’t jump off the deep end reading into something so much

Go Seahawks right

Go Orioles