Mattress Shopping Dilemma

I recently stumbled across this site while researching an upcoming mattress purchase. My impression so far is that there is a wealth of information provided here both by Phoenix and the many members of this site. For a little background, I last bought a mattress back in 2001 and haven’t really paid much attention to the market since. I can already tell from my reading on this site and my experience during a quick shopping trip to two local retailers that the industry has changed quite a bit in the interim. I don’t remember memory foam or latex foam even being present in the market back in 2001. Seems to me that foam now commands fifty percent or more of the mattress market now and is really being pushed by both manufacturers and retailers.

The dilemma I currently have is not a choice between coil innerspring or memory/latex foam. I believe I’ve decided to go with the all foam option. I’ve looked at the Dreamfoam bedding on Amazon and at the Brooklyn Bedding sister site. I’ve also looked at foam bedding at Denver Mattress and another local retailer, Mattress King. What I found I liked locally was the Sealy Optimum Inspiration mattress and the Denver Mattress iComfort mattress. I believe these are both overpriced and am now looking for a comparable alternative by Brooklyn Bedding, Dreamfoam, or some other small factory direct retailer. I believe I would rather go with the latex option so I’ve really looked hard at the Bamboo Bliss and Aloe Alexis mattresses on the Brooklyn Bedding site.

The real problem I’m having is I have no way to “test drive” either of these mattresses or any of the Dreamfoam offerings on Amazon and would be making a blind purchase of a mattress that I’ve never even tried. The only real way to gauge the quality/feel of these mattresses is via the retailers’ descriptions and the reviews of people that have actually taken the plunge and purchased one. What concerns me is that many of the reviews and descriptions make comparison to the Tempurpedic line. I tested multiple Tempurpedic mattresses (Weightless Select, Weightless Supreme, Cloud Luxe, Cloud Select, Cloud Supreme) on my trip to Denver Mattress and to say I was underwhelmed would be a huge understatement. I found all of the Tempurpedic offerings to be overly firm and rigid compared to the two mattresses that I liked.

I’m not sure how to balance the reviews I’ve read on the Dreamfoam and Brooklyn Bedding mattresses now that I’ve tried the Tempurpedic mattresses and determined that I really dislike how they feel. I really do not want a mattress that compares in feel to the Tempurpedics. I’m sure that puts me in a small minority because I see review after review comparing the Dreamfoam mattresses favorably to Tempurpedic and also see similar comparisons relative to the Brooklyn Bedding mattresses. So, I’m kinda stuck at the moment in terms of which way to go.

Hi jdubya,

Specialty sleep (memory foam, latex, airbeds, etc) is certainly growing faster than other market segments but traditional innerspring / polyfoam mattresses still account for the large majority of mattress sales (almost 2/3 of mattress sales).

Once you have eliminated innersprings as a support system though … then deciding what type of foam you prefer in the support layers (generally latex or polyfoam because memory foam isn’t suitable for deep support layers) and the comfort layers (polyfoam, memory foam, latex) and of course the specific mattress that will provide you with the PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and Personal preferences) that is suitable for you are still an important part of your choice.

No matter which type of foam you prefer … choosing good quality materials is important forthe sake of durability (both low and high quality foams can feel very good in a showroom and you can’t feel the quality of a foam).

Both the Sealy Optimum (see here) and the Serta iComfort series (see here) are not good value and neither one discloses the specific quality of the materials they use in their mattresses (although some alternative sources have made some of them available). Smaller manufacturers like Dreamfoam use the same or higher quality materials in every budget range and have much better value. I would keep in mind though that latex (like the Bamboo Bliss and Aloe Alexis) and memory foam mattresses (like the iComfort and Optimum) are very different materials with a completely different feel and response (see post #2 here).

I certtainly wouldn’t go by reviews because each person’s experience on a mattress is very subjective and may have no relationship to what you will feel. The “best” way to choose would be personal testing on similar mattresses that were available locally and if that isn’t available then the next best way would be with more detailed conversations with the retailer or manufacturer who can use “averages” to help you make the best possible choice. The options you have available after a purchase may also be an important part of your personal value equation and both of these have comfort exchanges that allow you to exchange layers if you make the wrong choice which reduces the risk of an online purchase. In effect it allows you to do some testing using your actual sleeping experience.

Their memory foam mattresses are the ones that are usually compared to some of the Tempurpedic line but their latex mattresses are a completely different animal.

They could certainly let you know how their memory foam mattresses compared to the Tempurpedic line (and could probably give you some insights about how they compared to the iComfort line as well in more general terms) but again their latex mattresses wouldn’t be comparable to either.

The “best” approach IMO would be local testing on similar mattresses (latex / polyfoam hybrids if they are available locally) so you are familiar with the general feel and response of latex combined with more detailed conversations so you could make a choice that was as close as possible to your ideal.


I goofed in my original post when I indicated that the iComfort was one of my two favorites. I did test the Serta iComfort and liked it but not as well as I liked the Sealy Optimum series. What I had intended to type instead of iComfort was the iChoice mattress made by Denver Mattress. I found this mattress to be a bit “bouncier” than the memory foam mattresses from Sealy and Serta but somewhat expected that after reading various posts on latex foam on this site. I found my self in agreement with poster “Just Right” that this mattress was probably a little too soft with the included topper and a little too firm without it. My preference would have been to have the topper on the mattress but in a little firmer form.

My opinion from reading most of your posts is that latex foam is more durable and longer-lasting than memory foam but is also more elastic (“bouncier”). My primary reason for going to Denver Mattress was to test the iChoice mattress to get an idea of the difference between the two types of foam. I had no idea that they even carried the Tempurpedic, Serta, Beautyrest, and Sealy brands. The fact that they did gave me the opportunity to test all of those brands along with the Denver Mattress offerings. I thought the Serta, Beautyrest, and Sealy offerings were comparable but I preferred the Sealy Optimum Inspiration out of the mattresses I tested from all three brands. My next favorite was the iChoice. I just wish I could have tried a topper with a little more firmness.

Hi jdubya,

I would certainly agree with both of these comments yes. Memory foam has very little resilience and absorbs most of the energy of compression while latex is among the most resilient materials available. The difference is very noticeable.

It’s unfortunate that they also sell major brands because their own mattresses are much better quality and value but they also don’t make any memory foam mattresses and some manufacturers also carry major brands for customers (who unfortunately are still the majority) who buy a mattress based on brand and who don’t realize that the label on the mattress isn’t nearly as important in terms of quality and value as the quality of the materials in the mattress. Unfortunately there is no way to really know what you tested except in very general terms but at least it gave you had a chance to become familiar with different types of memory foam mattresses even though your experiences can only be used for more subjective comparisons. Your experience on the Inspiration and on the iChoice also seems to indicate that your preference is in the middle range of firmness (the Inspiration is in the middle of the range and your experience on the iChoice also indicated that you were in between a softer and firmer choice) so this would also have some value as well.

There may be some other latex options close enough to you that you could test a little wider variety of latex mattresses to see if one is “in the middle” in term of your firmness preferences. If you let me know your city or zip I’d be happy to let you know of any other options I’m aware of in your area.