Quality Bed in A Box or “S” brand

Hello all,
First post here and new to the mattress shopping world. I am looking to buy my first one as everything I have slept on has been secondhand. I have only really slept on your typical furniture store mattress with a innerspring and pillow top and unknown components inside. After about 10 years and lots of indentation on the left and right side (with a big hump in the center), it’s time to replace it.
I have been looking at several companies in the bed in a box space just mainly for seemingly more affordability and great return policies. I have not been able to sleep well due the current state of my current mattress so finding the “right one” is important to me. I did go to a nearby Mattress Firm and try some of the “S” brand beds and laid on several just to get an idea of the types that I may like and different options there are. I seemed to gravitate towards the Hybrid beds the most. The two I seemed to like in the store were the Tempur Pedic Pro Adapt Hybrid medium and the Sealy Silver Chill Hybrid Firm.
I saw someone post some specs of those two and aside from price being pretty steep on those models, the comfort layers seemed to use lower quality foams and 14-16 gauge coils. I am not sure how long they would last.
Information on us: Me and my Girlfriend are about 5’4 and weigh around 200-225. She sleeps mostly on her back or stomach and I am a combo sleeper but mostly on my back and stomach as well. I sleep a little warm but I’m not sweating unless it’s the summer in KY as I live in a second floor condo that can get pretty warm. She does have rheumatoid arthritis but mostly just in her wrists and knees. However we both have back and neck pain and need something with a solid support. I prefer a more firm mattress as well.
I have been looking at Brooklyn Bedding Aurora, Signature and Bloom models and the people there seem to say to go with the aurora. I am worried that the coil gauge is only 16 but they are 8" pocketed coils. I have also looked at Wink Bed, Purple Hybrid, Nest Alexander Hybrid and Bear Hybrid. The only local manufacturer near me is Bowles Mattress and they can get pretty pricey but I have not had the time to make into their store to talk to them.

I was hoping the lovely people here could help shed some light and offer some recommendations on what you think would be best or what route to go. I know only we could determine what’s best for our PPP but I feel a little lost in the minutiae of it all.

Thank you!

Hey Austin:

I’ll do my best to answer a few of your questions that are in my wheelhouse. Much of what you’re asking for is to have someone pick out /differentiate quite a few different mattresses for you, which isn’t what I do. But maybe some others on the forum could offer a few insights to assist you in those areas.

If you’re very specific about comfort, testing something out in person may be of primary importance to you. Many brick and mortar stores also offer return policies, although testing in person can alleviate the need for this. “Seemingly more affordability” is a good statement, as some of the largest boxed bed companies may “seem” to offer more affordable products, but when you analyze the quality of componentry, they actually don’t compare well to many of the non-boxed products, as well as some of the smaller boxed-bed products. It’s paramount that you learn about the quality of componentry to make an accurate analysis of a product. Be sure to study the mattress shopping tutorial offered on the TMU website to assist you with that.

If you’ve read a bit here on the site, you’ll already realize that unfortunately most of the models of the “S” brands don’t tend to offer the higher-quality, higher-density flexible polyfoams that tend to be more durable. Again, it’s important that you learn about every layer of material in any mattress you’re considering, and at a minimum acquire the density of the foam. That way you’ll be able to make an informed and educated choice, or at least logically compare items.

As for a “hybrid”, I wouldn’t compare/contrast mattresses based upon that term, as it’s become so diluted by salespeople and mattress brands as to have little meaning. I recently wrote a Beducation blog post on the genesis of the hybrid terminology that you may find interesting. Again, focus more upon componentry than nomenclature.

The innerspring unit isn’t generally the weak link within a mattress. You should primarily focus upon the comfort materials.

Sleeping prone (on your stomach) generally requires a surface comfort on the “firmer” end of the spectrum, or at least something that doesn’t allow for too much sag that would exaggerate your forward lordotic curve of your low back. This doesn’t mean you need to sleep upon a brick, but I’d suggest avoiding something too heavily padded or too plush on top. Back sleepers usually need something that allows for some contour of their seat and shoulders, but not so much that they’re sleeping in a hammock. In general, look for something with a good support unit that helps promote a more neutral alignment, then something using “just enough” padding to get the job done, and with your specific mass concentration make sure the padding material is higher density and not overly plush in nature for increased durability. How plush is of course subjective, and these are general sleep ergonomics recommendations.

Overall sleeping temperature depends upon a myriad of things and there’s quite a bit of detail about it here on the forum. The items closest to your skin will have the most dramatic impact for temperature and humidity control. Good sheets that wick moisture and breathe well are important, as well as a breathable mattress pad. Softer mattresses will tend to sleep warmer than harder mattresses, as all material insulate to an extent, and the more you’re “in” a mattress, the more you’re insulated and the less surface area you have exposed outside of the mattress for heat exchange. Keep the relative humidity in your condo low and of course do your best to keep the room temperature in the mid-60s or so. Industry claims of “cooler sleep” tend to be exaggerated quite a bit by salespeople and take a bit of truth and stretch it to the point that you think you’re going to need a heating pad to stop from freezing to death. A bit of skepticism is warranted, but not cynicism.

I’m sorry to hear about the arthritis. I wish there was a mattress that could cure this, and if there was, I’d be on it as well! Taking note of how your girlfriend holds her wrists at night (some people flex at quite severe angles while sleeping) can assist with that (some even wear soft wrist braces when sleeping to stop from flexing too much). Sleeping prone can exacerbate knee pressure, so avoiding that “weak” sleeping posture can be assistive. It all depends upon the origination of the pain in the knee and the level of flexibility in the joint that might cause distress while sleeping. Back pain usually arrives from environmental reasons (previous injuries, level of strength and flexibility, weight, etc.) but can be exacerbated by a poor mattress and a poor (prone) sleeping posture. Neck issues are also quite diverse, but a properly fitted pillow promoting a more neutral alignment with a new mattress can do wonders.

Ding ding. You’re on a good track provided the componentry is a good quality and it’s not like the floor (see my previous comments above).

As I mentioned previously, the innerspring unit within the mattress is generally not the weakest link. The Signature uses the Ascension 6" in 13 gauge. The Bloom and Aurora use the Quantum in 8" that is 16 gauge along the perimeter (with a different geometry) and 13 gauge in the center. I believe this will all eventually transition over to the in-house Ascension coils from what I remember at Market. Regardless, focus upon the foam quality, and I would tend to give particular focus to the advice in a phone call with the manufacturer, as they will tend to have the best experience with what works best with their previous clients with dimensions/issues similar to yours.

You can most likely find the current specifications for these boxed-bed products on the forum. I don’t have current listings. Maybe someone else more knowledgeable with these products can be assistive. I’m not completely familiar with your local mattress company, Bowles. I have run across them before in some of my readings, and if I recall they did seem to offer some items using very high quality materials. But you’d want to investigate that directly with them. They seem to be transparent about materials.

Hopefully some others can chime in and give more complete details to your other questions. The best advice I can give is for you to sit down and read through the mattress shopping tutorial on this site, specifically focusing upon mattress componentry and what constitutes a higher-quality padding material. I don’t think you’ve read through this completely, as you seem to be focusing more upon the innerspring unit than the comfort material. Once you have that as a reference (not memorized), you’ll be in a much better position to make an informed decision.

Good luck!

Hey AustinKY,

Welcome to the TMU Forum :slight_smile: ! Thanks for your question.

Congrats on your mattress shopping journey :cheer: ! See that you’ve received good feedback from expert trusted member Beducation ~ Mattress To Go, thanks @JeffScheuer for your quick response and thoughtful answers.

There are several helpful topics on the forum to help guide you during your research and shopping, I will link several here for quick access. First to review is Phoenix’s classic Mattress Shopping Tutorial, a detailed and comprehensive version of the 5 steps involved in making the best quality/value choice. You will find "Mattress shopping quidelines- finding the best quality and value"helps sort through pitfalls and confusion of mattress shopping. Also, to Jeff’s point, store visits and mattress testing will be a critical part of understanding your comfort preferences for different materials, layering, support, etc., you can learn more about the benefits of making store visits in the article"Finding a great mattress outlet".

Have you had a chance to read through Jeff’s comments and do you have any updates on your mattress shopping? I’m going to move your question to the General forum, where other manufacturers and consumers can offer their thoughts too.


Thank you Jeff for your knowledge and help. I went back and read through a lot of the articles you pointed to, along with the post about the origin of the “Hybrid” term and marketability of it.
I tested some S brand ones as I had mentioned earlier for what I like which was a firmer mattress feel but was turned off by the price and quality. The comfort layers were subpar quality (although I did enjoy the covers of the tempurpedic) as you had mentioned and I’ve seen in the articles.
Today I went to Bowles which is a local manufacturer and retailer to see what they had to offer. Their website offered a pretty well detailed list of the construction of each model as well as the densities of foams and coil causes, even with micro coils.
I did find two that I really liked there and some of their construction seemed to use some higher quality material than S brand stores.
The comfort layers in the one we liked used:
1" polyfoam 1.0 density in the quilting layer with a PCM cover.
2" gel memory foam 4.0 density
2" convoluted foam 1.8" density
.25" insulator pad
6" high density 1.8 foam support layer

The only thing that’s bothering me is that according the Mattress durability guidelines article about picking layers in the comfort layer based on densities according to BMI, these are all on the lower end for me and my partners BMI.
However, we both did like the feel and pressure relief and overall support of this mattress.
They do offer that over time if it starts to feel like it’s not comfortable, they can take the mattress and exchange out the comfort layers for new ones or softer/firmer materials and I would cover the cost of the material plus a shipping fee (around $80 round trip). We both did like sticking to a local manufacturer but they are the only one in the area, and only place that outright shares what’s in their mattress and the specifications of the materials. It does seem that I do like a PCM or cooling cover (or at least one that is much flatter and not quilted it tufted too much). I also seem to gravitate towards some kind of layer of 2" memory foam or gel memory foam with a denser 2" polyfoam or convoluted foam underneath.


You’re welcome.

Yes, they seem to be quite transparent.

[quote]I did find two that I really liked there and some of their construction seemed to use some higher quality material than S brand stores.
The comfort layers in the one we liked used:
1" polyfoam 1.0 density in the quilting layer with a PCM cover.
2" gel memory foam 4.0 density
2" convoluted foam 1.8" density
.25" insulator pad
6" high density 1.8 foam support layer

The only thing that’s bothering me is that according the Mattress durability guidelines article about picking layers in the comfort layer based on densities according to BMI, these are all on the lower end for me and my partners BMI.[/quote]

I wouldn’t have too much of a concern with the componentry. The 1" in the quilt is compressed a bit with the stitching and there as a bit of a barrier between you and the memory foam to assist with some airflow. It’s a smaller amount of lower density foam. The gel memory foam is most likely one of the newer versions with an increased polyol content that tends to be more durable, and at 4# it’s were you tend to start at a better density. The polyfoam beneath that is all true higher-density at 1.8#, which is at least where you want to start to be.

This mattress is listed at a more medium-firm comfort, so it is designed to offer some conformation. With your higher mass concentration, you’ll have to expect a shorter comfort life and quicker change in support factor of any materials you choose (especially sleeping upon your stomach), so hedge your bets with higher quality materials, and something like this would tend to be at the beginning of a product using better quality materials.