We are a newly wed couple, students, and living in NY on a pretty low budget.
Also, I was in the army and hurt my back carrying massive packs and being blown up, and I really need to find a healthier mattress than the piece of garbage that is currently ravaging my back every night.
We have been looking for a decent mattress for over six months with no luck.
We are looking for a foam or latex mattress, preferably more on the naturally side, as my wife is worried about toxic gases.
She likes a softer mattress, while I like a firmer one.
Our budget is up to $850, but surely we’d rather pay less than that.
Just in case you haven’t already read it … the first place I would start is post #1 here. This will give you the basic information you need to make the best possible choices.
A mattress is only as good as the construction and materials that are inside it and unfortunately they don’t provide any information about the quality of the materials it uses (you need to know the foam density). They also don’t give any indication about the type of person they believe this mattress would be most suitable for in terms of body type and sleeping positions (if they even know) so there is no way to know whether it would provide you with the PPP (Pressure relief, Posture and alignment, and Personal preferences) that would be suitable for you. If you made a mistake and the mattress wasn’t suitable for you … there is no recourse and no matter what the value of the mattress in terms of its raw materials … if it isn’t suitable for your specific needs and preferences it would have little value to you (you would need to sell it at a loss and start all over again).
There are no shortcuts to finding the mattress that is most suitable for you and some degree of local testing is always a good idea whether you buy locally or make an online purchase.
Your budget is probably too low for an all latex mattress (unless it was about 6" or so and even then it’s on the low side) but depending on the size you are looking for there may be some latex hybrids (latex over a polyfoam support core) that are available (you will find some good online resources in the first link in the post and there may be some similar value available locally as well).
There is no “formula” where someone else can know for sure which mattress is the best “match” for you because of all the variables and preferences involved. The first and “best” step though is some local testing and if you let me know your city or zip then I’d be happy to let you know of the better options I’m aware of in your area. If you are in NYC (rather than some other part of NY state) … then there are some good options in post #2 here and more detailed and “categorized” descriptions of many of them in post #7 here.