Membership List....vendors pay to be this unbiased?

I have learned a great deal on your site. However, I recently noticed that the vendors on the membership list pay to be on that list. I originally thought these members were unbiased recommendations. What if a subpar mattress manufacturer wanted to become a member? How do you decide who is really the better manufacturers when they are paying to be members?

Also, we live in Lincoln, NE and looking for a “softer” mattress. We have tried the Aspen at Denver Mattress and it gave both of us back/shoulder pain. (We are back/side sleepers and my husband weighs 190 and I am 145 lbs.) The Aspen has a 24 ILD latex on top of 32 ILD on top of foam support. It also has about 1" of polyfoam in the top layers for comfort. We are desperate for a mattress that is softer and yet supportive. Any local recommendations would be helpful. We would prefer to try the mattress before purchase or at least have the option to return if it doesn’t work out. Would prefer memory foam or latex. After our last latex bed, not sure that latex is for us or maybe we needed a different firmness?

I’ve talked with Chuck at Dreamfoam Bedding about the Ultimate Dreams mattress on He recommended the 24 ILD/level 7. It is the same ILD as the Aspen. He said it had the extra padding in the top for extra softness, but I realized after getting off the phone that the Aspen also had that extra inch of “comfort fiber” in the top layers for softness. Wondering if the latex hybrid is different with regards to “softness” than the pure latex in the Aspen/Denver Mattress?

We also have Sams/Costco in the area and wondered about your thoughts on softer mattresses available through these vendors.

I have considered the Tempupedic Cloud Supreme and LOVED the initial feel in the showroom but decided against it based on your opinion of it being overpriced. If you can recommend any similar memory foams I would love it.

Like many women, I have an hourglass figure that really needs some softness before hitting the supportive feel. On many mattresses, it is just too hard. We had a Stearns and Foster pillowtop years ago that was HEAVEN for both us for the first year. Then, as you can probably predict, we felt like we were rolling into one another.

Walmart has a few highly reviewed memory foam mattresses for $300-500. Doubtful they would last, but at that price, it beats dishing out big money for a Sealy and go through warranty in a few years.

Phoenix, any help or advice would be appreciated.

Hi doxen,

Membership in The Mattress Underground is by invitation only and happens when I get to know a manufacturer or retailer through several conversations and they get to know me. It is not an open membership and there is no advertising on the site. You can see more in this article. It would be fair to say that I am “biased” towards manufacturers and retailers that I have talked with that have high quality products and materials, have good service, value and integrity, and reflect the values of this site. These are the ones that I welcome as members (and who welcome the chance to be a supporting part of this as well).

The best part though is that their value is self evident and doesn’t require anything other than a knowledge of mattress materials and construction, a phone call to the manufacturer, and a few comparisons to realize the value that they offer. Nobody has to take my word for anything and if anything … the articles on the site and the posts in the forum can give anyone the tools to see value for themselves and find a mattress that best fits their own “value equation”. There are many manufacturers and outlets mentioned in posts all around the forum that are not members (probably over 90% of the outlets I have listed) and many of these also have great quality and value. In other words … the membership is just recognizing what can be seen by anyone but that many people would not know about or discover for themselves in the mass marketing environment and lack of meaningful information in the industry today. As I wrote on the page I linked … this site is also a 16 hour a day project without a day off in well over a year and a half and without an income … I wouldn’t be eating very well so a business model that “eventually” can support this kind of ongoing time, effort, and research has to be part of the “plan”.

There are some factory direct manufacturers in Lincoln and in Omaha which would likely be your best source of quality and value. They are … Omaha. Local factory direct manufacturer which makes latex, memory foam, and innerspring mattresses. I have talked with Mark the owner here and I think highly of the quality and value of the mattresses they make. You can see my comments in post #519 here. Lincoln, Omaha NE Regional factory direct manufacturer. They make a range of traditional innerspring mattresses and also the iChoice which is a mostly latex or latex/memory foam mattress (depending on the topper you choose). I know you are aware of them but I’m including them for reference for others who may read this post. Factory direct store for Land & Sky in Lincoln, NE. They make a range of high quality Dunlop latex mattresses (including organic) and latex/innerspring hybrids. They also make waterbeds and an interesting mattress which is a combination various types of mattress called the iSleep. Lincoln, Omaha. Regional factory direct which makes a range of latex, latex hybrids, memory foam, and traditional innerspring mattresses. Omaha. Carries Omaha Bedding and Southerland mattresses (among others that I wouldn’t consider) that may have better quality and value.

You can also check the Pure Latex Bliss retail outlet finder for any outlets that may sell them that are close to you. They use softer Talalay latex (19 ILD) in the top layers of their mattresses in various thicknesses and have an even softer topper (14 - 15 ILD) which can be added to them and given your feedback you may need softer latex than 24 ILD or a thicker comfort layer to accommodate your body shape and weights.

I would talk with the outlets on the list to tell them about your testing and preferences and see what they would recommend in either latex or memory foam that they believe may suit you before paying them a visit. This will also give you a good sense of what to expect when you go there.

I’ve talked with Chuck at Dreamfoam Bedding about the Ultimate Dreams mattress on He recommended the 24 ILD/level 7. It is the same ILD as the Aspen. He said it had the extra padding in the top for extra softness, but I realized after getting off the phone that the Aspen also had that extra inch of “comfort fiber” in the top layers for softness. Wondering if the latex hybrid is different with regards to “softness” than the pure latex in the Aspen/Denver Mattress?

The Aspen has 2" of latex and an inch of polyfoam while the Ultimate Dreams has 3" of latex and and 1.5" of quilting foam. Thicker layers act softer than thinner layers so while this is not quite an apples to apples comparison (each layer affects all the other layers) the Ultimate Dreams would have a softer comfort layer in the same ILD as the Aspen yes.

There are many memory foam mattresses with similar quality and better value to the Tempurpedic but because there are also dozens of different types of memory foams which have different properties (you can see some of differences between memory foams in post #9 here) the feel may be different. The “feel” of a mattress can be very subjective so local testing on similar mattress will be the most accurate way to tell how comparable another mattress that may have comparable quality and design but use different memory foams may feel for you. A mattress that uses similar memory foam layers and is designed and has been “tested” for similarity may also be close for most people. Two of our members that are listed in post #21post #21 here specialize in memory foam mattresses that use similar quality/density memory foam to Temperpedic. One of them has “matched” their entire lineup to the Tempurpedic line and both would give you good advice about which of their models may best compare to the Tempurpedic lineup.

Both of these sometimes carry some good quality and value mattresses but they don’t have a lot of knowledge about mattresses so it can involve some effort in researching the different mattresses they have to find the ones that use better quality materials. In general … they have some better value options but not in the same value range as many local manufacturers or better outlets. The good news though is that if you buy one that lists the materials and you can see that they are good quality but they don’t end up performing or feeling the way you want them to … they have a money back guarantee. You would be rolling the dice in terms of how suitable they may be for your needs and preferences but at least the risk is low. I would look locally or at better online outlets though before I went in this direction.

Unfortunately your story is far too common and helping people find better alternatives to the major brands which consistently use lower quality materials (even in their higher end mattresses in many cases) and sell for far too much is one of the main goals of this site. Your body shape also indicates that a softer or thicker comfort layer may work better for you.

In post #6 here I listed some of the better memory foam mattresses that were being sold at Walmart and there are also some comments about “matching” different mattresses. I personally would tend to avoid memory foam mattresses in the price range you are mentioning. They will be low quality and even though they are “cheap” they will often end up costing more over time both in money and in the quality of sleep.

Hope this all helps :slight_smile:


That was actually a very good question. Is there a Bias. The answer without a doubt is yes. He clearly states for retaillers and manufacturers you have to pay $200 per year plus $50 for referral. He doesnt hide that at all. Anytime there is a benefit there is a bias can’t bee avoided. WIth that said I think he makes a sincere effort to provide accurate information based upon belief. Even in my store I find myself being biased pushing people towards a particular product after a rep or owner of a manufacturer has visited or called. It is unavoidable. SO with that said yes a biad but in good intent, nothing is hidden and it’s our responsibility as savvy consumers to understand all that.

Hi joeyTOB and doxen,

I should have also mentioned in my first reply to doxen that on the very front page of the site starting in the second paragraph of the lead article my “biases” are clearly outlined :slight_smile:

These “biases” existed long before I built the site or started inviting various businesses which “fit” them to become members (and were evident in my hundreds of posts on other forums before this site was started).


I want to add something to the answers here. I have poured over this site for the last few days and have found Phoenix to be extraordinarily forthright. He suggests local manufacturers such as Denver Mattress just as often as he does his group of member vendors. He doesn’t trash any manufacturer, but informs in a very “unbiased” manner.