Please help finding the right mattress!

Hello, I have just come from mattress shooping & am just as frustrated as I have been every time I have done this. And my wife & I have done it about a half dozen times in the past 13 years! That is WAY too much when the products supposedly have a 15 or 20 year warranty! I’ve been looking at Tempurpedic Cloud Luxe and an icomfort bed, supposedly equivalent. The reading I’ve done so far on this site confirm what I believed, that both of these products are vastly overpriced. A condition that I believe applies to all mattresses, based on my consistently bad experiences with them.

Rather than post what I think I want, I will start as I have with both salespeople and ask for recommendations based on my experience & needs. I was in sales, and was very knowledgeable about the product I sold, and so could truly help a customer get what he or she needed, and hoped to get the same from these mattress salespeople. Unfortunately I haven’t !

So, to begin: I am 5-11" and about 180lbs with broad shoulders & a narrow waist. I’m in good shape, but have had a couple of shoulder surgeries and subsequently an accident which fracture-dislocated my left shoulder. It has an impingement as a result. I also sleep on my side. What ends up happening is I sleep for an hour or two, wake up with shoulder pain and roll over. Repeat, many times over. The result is an awful night’s sleep.

My wife is 5-3 and about 110, also in good shape, also a sidesleeper. We are happier with a foam mattress, as with a spring mattress, when I get in it, she rolls downhill to me. Then niether one of us sleeps because we’re both too hot & I have no room.

I have one saleswoman wanting to sell me a Tempurpedic Cloud Luxe, to the tune of &4200 or so, and a salesman across the street (who also has Tempurpedic on his floor ) wanting to sell me an icomfort. I cannot come to terms with spending >$4000 on a mattress and I’ve just read Phoenix describe durability issues with the icomfort. And, despite its price being roughly 60% of the TP, it, especially in light of the durability issues, this doesn’t seem like a good choice, either.

We are in the Las Vegas area, and while mattress stores abound, I have no faith that I am getting a good product that will last even 5 years.

The solitary exception to my bad experiences with mattresses is the one we currently have in our other home, which is a memory foam mattress of unknown brand which we bought on ebay 6 or so years ago for $400. It is only 2 layers, a thick, top layer of soft memory foam and a firmer bottom layer. We’ve been very happy with this mattress but it is now worn out as well.

What I feel like I need is a mattress that is very soft on top so my shoulders don’t hurt, yet firm enough to provide adequate support. Unfortunately, I rarely get a good night’s sleep, and almost always wake feeling tired at best.

The other factor is that we are planning to put this mattress on a “platform bed” with no box spring beneath it. The furniture salesmen tell me the many slats that support the mattress make a box spring unnecessary. I question this, but don’t know if it is or isn’t true.

I have seen Phoenix recommend local manufacturers to others; I hope that is possible in my caseas well!

Hi northeastconfederate,

Unfortunately you are not alone. There are many who believe (and quite justifiably so) that shopping for a mattress is more difficult and more loaded with traps and less than ethical or knowledgeable outlets than shopping for a used car. This article (if you haven’t read it already) will help you avoid most of the worst choices so you can focus on the better ones and not waste a lot of time in chain stores or look at major brand mattresses. As you have also discovered … warranties have little to nothing to do with how long a mattress will last and are mostly used as a marketing tool to “upsell” more expensive mattresses. They don’t cover the loss of comfort or support which is the main reason people need to buy a new mattress and warranty exclusions generally make sure that only a small percentage of warranty claims are successful anyway.

The “best” first step is to first research and discover the better local manufacturers and local outlets that have the knowledge, skill, and experience, along with the value of their mattresses to help you make great choices. Trying to build a mattress by “specs” is one of the least effective methods of deciding on what may work for you. While there are some general weight/height guidelines here along with some sleeping positions guidelines here and an outline of how different types of mattress construction can affect both of these in this overview here (and more detail in the various pages in this section) … this can become very complex and I would use these as general guidelines that can help you ask better questions and better tell the difference between salespeople who are feeding you “stories” and those who have the experience and knowledge to help educate you and are genuinely interested in helping you make better choices than they are adding to their commissions or the profit margins of the outlet. As you know from being in sales yourself … if you find the “right” people to help you … the choice of the best product that hey have available and that best “fits” your needs and preferences is almost a certainty. If you are working with the “wrong” people or in most mass market outlets … then it’s likely that none of your choices will be good ones.

Both of these are in the group of “major brands” that i would consider to have poor value … although for different reasons. the Tempurpedics mostly (except for the Simplicity line) have good quality but poor value. The iSerta uses ower quality materials and also has poor value.

Some of your better choices that I’m aware of in the Las Vegas area are in post #2 here.

This is true and a slatted platform bed (with slats no more than 3" apart which most have) are a good choice both for support and ventilation of the mattress.

Finally there is a list of online manufacturers that are members of this site in post #21 here that can act as value “reference points” for a local purchase and depending on the “value” that you encounter locally may also be well worth including in your research for a possible purchase using your local testing as a guideline.

Hope this helps as a starting point and feel free to post with any questions you may have along the way.

At least this time you will be “armed” with the information you will need to make sure this is the last time you will need to buy a mattress for a much longer time :slight_smile:


I read the various links posted & now realize why the ebay special I bought was such a good mattress for me. It is exactly what I concluded I need after reading through all that info. Taking that a step further, I liked the feel of the TP Cloud Luxe, and apparently it is appropriate for me. Which confirms that the saleswoman who guided me to that mattress must have known what she was talking aboutafter all; she was certainly helpful & nice, seemed knowledgeable. I just cannot, CANNOT justify spending that much money on a mattress!

So, I resolved to visit the independant store here and see what they offered, but meanwhile contacted some of the vendors posted for another forum member & had very good results. I wish I could remember which one now, but I don’t have my notes in front of me; I will post this info later on. The fellow I spoke with, Todd, definitely knows what he’s talking about & will custom build a mattress for me. I told him what I was looking at on his site, what I liked in the Cloud Luxe, and my shoulder issues. With that he said he’d use a 3" memory foam layer with another soft foam layer atop that of 1.5"; under the memory foam is a 1" layer of breathable foam; the support layer will be 6.5" of pretty dense foam (I forget if it was 2.4 or 3 lb).I think I have all that right. Will have to refer to my notes to make sure. All that for a fraction of the TP bed, and free shipping! It will take a week or so to get it built & another 4-5 days to get is iut here from the east coast, but I’m very pleased to have someone to give personal service & provide a quality.product! Thank you! I will let you know how this all goes in a few weeks when it has happened!

So what did you purchase, from whom and are you happy with it? Also, is it soft like the cloud you mentioned?

Ok, sorry for the long absence and a lack of an update. To answer your question, I bought a king size mattress from I called them, spoke to Todd, who was extremely helpful. i told him essentially what I posted here, that I think what I want is the Tempurpedic Cloud Luxe, that my research so far confirms that that is what I need (side sleeper, broad shouldered, therefore need soft foam upper layer, etc). I also told him about my shoulder surgeries and resulting issues with soreness during sleep.

Todd told me they’d build me a mattress with a better quality base material than TP uses but otherwise it would essentially be the same construction. I got a thick layer of softer foam on top, another layer of memory foam (3 layers altogether) and it’s wrapped in a nice quilted mattress cover. It arrived relatively quickly (they’re in either North or South Carolina, I disremember which, and I’m in Nevada) and was relatively inexpensive (~$1450 as compared to ~$4200 for the TP). In general I fall asleep and don’t move until morning. I have never slept on such a comfortable mattress!

HOWEVER… And this is a big HOWEVER: It stinks to high heaven! It smells “musty”, almost like mildew. But it’s a brand new mattress. It arrived shrink wrapped in plastic, which was airtight and undamaged, so I know it didn’t get wet in shipping. I live in the desert… It didn’t get wet here. And it’s brand new. At first I thought it was my sheets, so I washed them. Smell went away but came back the next night. Then I washed the sheets and mattress cover, which was also brand new. Smell went away but came back in 2 nights. Tried this several times, finaly bought a new mattress pad iwth the same result. Finally I realized the smell is in the mattress.

I called Todd and his response was that he has been building and selling mattresses for a long time and never had this come up before, let him reach out to some people and get back to me. He never got back to me. I have spoken to him several times since, but have had a HELL of a time getting in touch with him, he’s often working in their other store, or what have you. Eventually he calls back, but it takes 5 or 6 calls to make that happen. Finally he says they’ll need to have the mattress back to evaluate it and if they determine that the foam is faulty (and none of the other mattresses made from that same batch of faom have anything wrong with them) they’ll replace it under warranty. But I have to pay for and arrange shipping (which wil be reimbursed IF they determine there’s really something wrong). And I have to do without my mattress meanwhile.

This is not a satisfactory resolution. I will give further details when I have more time to post, but this is ongoing. In short, at first I thougt I was very happy with this mattress and the people from whom I bought it, but I am less so because of this smell.

Hi northeastconfederate,

It’s not unusual at all to have offgassing with a new memory foam mattress … it usually disappears within a few days to a few weeks (in some cases). Beyond this though when the smell doesn’t dissipate within a reasonable time I would consider “abnormal offgassing” to be a defect.

The “musty” smell is usually from the foam itself (not mildew) or in some cases from the glue. It can be worse if the mattress has been sitting in plastic for extended periods of time and in some rare cases it can mean the foam hasn’t cured properly (but this would usually be common to a batch of foam). It can also be worse with denser foam where the windows in the cell structure haven’t opened and the offgassing can persist until the initial breakin period has been completed. In some cases some people can be more sensitive to the smell than others. Compressing the mattress for shipping and then wrapping it in plastic can make the initial odor worse (it accumulates inside the plastic) but the compression usually breaks open the windows so the smell won’t last as long.

Usually airing out the mattress with a bowl of vinegar beside the mattress, using febreeze until the smell dissipates, or walking on it to help open the windows in the foam can speed up the process so that the smell dissipates more quickly but in cases where it is more persistent and not “normal” … then an exchange becomes the most reasonable option.

Return policies usually (but not always) involved paying for any return shipping but hopefully if you do decide to go in this direction they will recognize the issue on their end as well and re-imburse your shipping costs.

I hope you are able to let us know the outcome as well … and I also wouldn’t hesitate to let them know that the issue and how it is dealt with is the topic of discussion on the forum.



We had been using Febreeze, which helped a little. Then we tried a weak bleach solution in a spray bottle, which also got rid of the smell for a few days. Then my wife erad that vinegar will get rid of most odors, so we have been using that (all of the above in a spray bottle). Spray on, let the mattress air out while the sheets, mattress pad/cover, and blankets are being washed. Make the bed, the smell is gone or tolerable for a while. It seems to be getting better, takes longer for the smell to be overpowering and intolerable.

Also, it seems to be stronger in the corners near the bottom (meaning where we have our feet, rather than our heads). This leads me to believe that perhaps your description of offgassing being delayed because of windows not opened up might be what’s going on. It doesn’t smell nearly as strongly where most of our body weight is on the mattress, so maybe it’s offgassing in those areas faster.

We ahve company coming in about a week, for about a week, and then again a month from then. So we can’t ship our mattress and sleep in the guest room, as it will be occupied part of that time and therefore we can’t be without a mattress. So for now we’re going to continue to deal with it the way we have been and hopefully it will continue to get better. Having this mattress be ok would be the best outcome for everyone involved, of course. Hopefully that happens…

Hi northeastconfederate,

That’s good news at least. if you walk on the mattress in the areas where there is less weight it may help speed up the process.

I’m hopeful as well. As long as you are in the 120 day window then time will probably be the best choice for now (considering the smell seems to be reducing). One other thing that can help is to sprinkle baking soda on the mattress and let it sit for a few hours and then vacuum it up again but all of these will only absorb the odor that is already there and won’t deal with the release of new odor as the cells break open so while its worth a try it may be an issue of time and in the worst worst case an exchange before the 120 days is up (and after your company has gone).

The other piece of good news is that you know the mattress works for you … now it’s just a matter of the odor dissipating.