Questions about Major Mattress Brand Manufacturers.

Prior to researching Mattresses here, my wife and I were really leaning towards buying a Stearns and Fosters Mattress. My mother in law really likes hers and has been trying to get us to buy one.

Luckily, I found this site and was directed to the Original Mattress Factory, which seems to be a very transparent and trustworthy innerspring Manufacturer. We really like their Orthopedic line.

I have read quite a bit on this site (I’ll admit, I haven’t gone into all the details though) and I have a few questions about some of the major manufacturers…I’m basically trying to get some more ammo to help convince my wife and my mother in law that OMF will be the better choice (obviously they are cheaper, but that argument does’t always work due to the ‘pay for what you get’ argument).

Since it seems that Tempur-pedic owns Sterns & Fosters, as well as Sealy, are they all manufactured in the same place? Does anyone know where they are manufactured?

From what I am gathering about Stearns & Foster, Sealy, Simmons, etc… is that the main concern is that aren’t transparent about their materials. Does this necessarily mean that they aren’t using quality materials? What about their craftsmanship? Do they breakdown easily? Is the consensus that they hold up for a year or so and then break down?

We laid on some nice S&F mattresses that my wife and I liked. They have a very convincing brand image, and with the added opinion of the inlaws trying to steer us towards a S&F mattress, it’s making the decision not as easy as I’d like it to be.

If money wasn’t an issue, are S&F mattresses still not as good as something like a OMF mattress? Or are they still good, just overpriced?

Hi broken1812,

There is a lot of information here but the first place I would start is the tutorial post here which has all the most important information, steps, and guidelines that can help you make the best possible choices … and know how and why to avoid the worst ones.

Post #4 here was also from a member that was trying to “convince” their other half about the same things and the links I included in my reply would also be well worth reading.

No … they have many factories across the country and internationally.

The major manufacturers make hundreds of different mattresses so it’s not always possible to generalize about all of their mattresses (outside of suggesting to avoid them completely) but lack of transparency and/or lower quality materials and/or poor value relative to other similar mattresses can all be issues depending on the specific mattress. It’s normally very difficult to find out meaningful information about the materials they use (lack of transparency). If you are successful in finding out (which often requires some very time consuming research or “inside information”) then you will normally find that in most cases they use lower quality materials in their comfort layers which is the main reason you see so many complaints about soft spots or impressions in their mattresses. In those cases where you are able to verify the use of higher quality materials they are generally priced much higher than many of the smaller local or regional manufacturers.

Even on the forum here there have been many cases of higher end Stearns & Foster mattresses developing soft spots or impressions in about 3 - 5 years (or sometimes sooner) that aren’t covered by their warranty (as you can see in post #174 here … only visible impressions that are deeper than the warranty exclusions are covered by mattress warranties). The reason for this is almost always the use of lower quality/density foams in the comfort layers of their mattresses.

The only site I know that lists all the specifics of the major brand mattresses they carry is Jordans here and if you look at the materials inside the major brand mattresses they carry and compare them to the guidelines here you will see many specific examples of the use of low quality/density materials in the Sealy and Simmons mattresses that they carry … even in the higher end. This would be typical of their similar mattresses that are sold around the country (it’s not just the versions that Jordans carries in other words).

It would depend on the specific mattress you are looking at but in most cases the quality of the materials in the comfort layers (which are usually the weak link of a mattress) would be lower and I would avoid them based on the quality/density of the materials alone.


Hi broken1812, just thought I’d add my .02 worth. During a lot (months) worth of researching for a new mattress, a lot of complaints were made about Stearns & Foster and one of the most recurring one was forming a ‘ridge’ down the middle. Most likely due to couples sleeping, softening in the upper layers on either side of the mattress. I agree with Phoenix that it’s hard to validate user reviews or complaints, since it could be any number of things - lack of rotating a mattress, the foundation, actual product defect, low grade materials etc. Although with so many saying the same things, I would start to wonder about the pattern. I don’t know how old your mother in law’s mattress is, if it’s an older one it may have been built better than what’s available right now. As I understand, most major mattress brand’s quality has gone downhill noticeably in the past 10yrs.

As far as my own experience, I bought a Stearns & Foster Rose Hill pillow top queen around 11yrs ago and it was what I would consider ‘ok’. It felt fantastic to start, don’t get me wrong. Within the first 4-6mo, the ‘buttons’ (not a hard button, but a stitching pattern simulating a button) used to tuft the pillow top popped loose in several places leaving some areas looking like even ‘pillows’ while other areas became lumpy. The upper portion of the pillow top lost a lot of it’s ‘body’ and became quite soft and spongy within a year or two. It’s lived its’ useful life, but in all fairness it should have been replaced after 7-8yrs. I will say they covered the inner springs well since they still can’t be felt after all these years but the ‘comfy’ foam on top is all but non existent and has deep uneven impressions all over the place. Being a ‘higher end’ brand I expected more from it. It lasted only about as long any other decent mattress, it’s original ‘wow factor’ feeling was lost and became ‘nothing special’ within the first year or two. With the stitching coming loose in it all over I would say considering their brand image that quality control/workmanship were sub par to average at best.

A lot of companies rely on ‘brand image’. They spend a lot of resources, time and money on carefully crafted advertising to achieve the image they’re after. Whether they want to be viewed as ‘luxury’ or ‘fun’ etc. You said they have a very convincing brand image, and they do. Even though they don’t have as many commercials as other brands, they’re touted as ‘luxury’. The mattress tickings look beautiful in the show room, they use ‘classy’ color schemes, fancy embroidery/stitching, right down to their logo - subtle and elegant. It’s all part of the image they wish to convey and they do a good job of it. Unfortunately as well, a lot of older well established name brands are relying on the fact they’re established. Using the fact they’re a well known or household name and may have very well earned their ‘status’ or reputation years ago and continue flashing the brand while construction/quality has changed with the times. You’ll find this with a LOT of brands, everything from vehicles to tools, mattresses, you name it. Usually from people who have had a lot of experience with a particular brand. If there’s one commonality between most brands regardless of product, it’s the statement “I’ve used xyz product for the past 20-30yrs and they were made to last, but the version I bought is nothing like it used to be”. It’s an unfortunate direction most (not all) items have headed. Even down to materials like wood. How can you mess up wood, wood is wood.

Through research on materials to build a bed frame I’ve frequented a lot of wood working forums similar to this mattress forum with members who are extremely experienced in their craft. The consensus is that newer wood, while still structurally adequate, is often not as strong as it used to be, more prone to defects etc all due to the fact that newer wood coming from sustainable forests comes from extremely fast growing trees with much larger spaces between the growth rings. It doesn’t grow as slow/dense as it once did ‘naturally’. It’s the way of the world trying to keep up with an ever growing population fueling demand - make it faster, use less cost, make the process more efficient and if quality suffers it’s just a trade off.

You also mentioned you get what you pay for and I would take that with a grain of salt. It has truth, most disposable things are less expensive and you won’t pick up a diamond ring for $20. After speaking with several mattress retailers, they all had similar stories of people coming to them looking for a replacement for their $1200-1400 ‘luxury’ mattress they had just purchased a year ago, 18mo ago, 10mo ago. I’m sure most low to mid range mattresses would suffice and hold up decently for a year. Surely a high end “S” brand would last much longer, but that doesn’t always seem to be the case. Taking that into consideration, if a $500 mattress only performs for a year and a $1400 mattress only performs for a year then people were being charged an additional $900 for no real increase in benefit. Paying substantially more in theory should provide more in terms of quality/value etc but in reality it may just drain the wallet faster. Keep in mind as well that in some cases higher prices are intentional in marketing because it lends the perception that it’s ‘finer quality’ (it must be, it’s quite costly). In some areas I’ve had experience with, raising the price on various products actually helps them sell better since people think they’re getting something better than what they actually are. It’s a mental thing. I wouldn’t let price cloud your perception too much in the comparison of OMF vs Stearns & Foster but rather as Phoenix suggests, compare their construction and materials. You would think if a mattress is higher end, the company would be eager to disclose the quality of their materials taking pride in their product and excited to show off their excellence. Part of the ‘transparency’ factor when dealing with different brands.