Searching for a New Mattress (First time buyer)

Hey I just stumbled across this forum and noticed there were some really knowledgeable people who could help me out. I currently have some no name queen mattress that came with my furniture and just have been experiencing back pain which I attribute to this low quality mattress. I’ve been experiencing this back pain for quite a while and slept in another bed on vacation about a week ago and noticed I didn’t have any back pain so I’m pretty sure it is because of the mattress I’m currently using, I’ve had it since last July and it already has serious impressions from my hip and shoulder since I’m a side sleeper.

The bed I slept on during vacation was a firmer mattress (found out it was a Simmons) and I was reading that a firm or medium-firm mattress would be best for my lower back pain.

My wife and I went to the store to test out a couple beds and see what ones we’d want to lean towards.

This is the one we were leaning towards:

It was about $1099 at the store so obviously it seems that we should look elsewhere for pricing. I haven’t heard of Enso before and couldn’t find too many reviews on it besides this link: What's the Best Mattress | Any one have or heard of Enso Sleep Systems?

Our budget is at most $1500 and we live in the Nashville, TN area. More specifically in Hermitage, TN.

I’m also hoping to get a bed sooner rather than later (by Monday if at all possible since there seems to be President’s Day Sales)

We’re looking at memory foam but really just open to anything that’s good for lower back pain and has decent quality to last us a good number of years. We also tried out some Sealy posturepedic styles. Any help would definitely be appreciated. Thanks in advance.

Hi Traxion,

The first thing I would suggest is to read tutorial post here and the pages on this site that it links to. This should give you some basic information to help you make some good choices.

Most of the better manufacturers and outlets don’t rely on fake sales and sell high quality mattresses at better prices every day of the year.

Enso mattresses are owned by Klaussner furniture. They are manufactured in China by a company called Zinus (which is a CertiPur certified manufacturer who also makes Spa Sensations, Night Therapy, Keetsa, Vivon and others) and uses mainly low to mid quality memory foam (3 to 4 lbs). In the case of the Dreamweaver … it’s 3 lb foam which I would avoid completely. They are made to look great but the known ingredients inside the mattress don’t measure up to the outside or in some cases are unknown (in this case the density of the support layers). Having said that … if the price justifies the use of lower quality or unknown ingredients and a potential purchaser is OK with the lowered durability and useable life that goes with lower quality/density materials … then there would be no issue.

They also have very poor customer service and after many attempts to reach them to clarify some of the contents of their mattresses and never once reaching a live person or having messages returned … I just gave up. A good rule to follow with memory foam is to never buy a mattress where you don’t know the quality of the materials they use. The risk of premature softening or breakdown is just too great when there are so many good choices that use known good quality materials and where a consumer can know exactly what they are buying. This isn’t a price which justifies the use of 3 lb memory foam IMO unless durability isn’t an important consideration.

Nashville is a rather difficult area because most of the local manufacturing is wholesale rather than factory direct and the one that is factory direct has a more limited range of mattresses (mainly innerspring/polyfoam). Post #7 here has a list of them along with a few retail outlets that carry brands that may be worth considering or may be worth a visit.

In cases like this where local selection and value is worse than most other areas, it is well worth considering a purchase from a manufacturer who makes high quality mattresses and specializes in selling mattresses on the phone or online across the country. They make mattresses that have options that allow them to be customized to different degrees for each person and have the knowledge and skills to help their customers make good choices. In this case … the goal of any local testing is not to buy a mattress but to test different materials and layering to get a sense of the the of mattress you need and prefer.

If your preference is in the direction of latex, a list of the manufacturing members of this site which sell latex mattresses online which allow their customers to customize a mattress to differing degrees are in post #21 here.

If your preference is in the direction of memory foam … then post #12 here will give you some better options.

Between the better local options and the online factory direct manufacturers I’ve listed … there’s no doubt that you should be able to purchase a higher quality and better value mattress than most of the people in Nashville end up purchasing.

I would take your time and not worry about “sales” as much as knowing how to find and purchase quality and value.


Thanks so much Phoenix.

I’m definitely now going to be ordering online now. One that caught my eye was . The reason for that is because I think from what I’m reading the higher the density of the memory foam the firmer the bed is. This bed has the 2 different layers of memory foam, 2inches of 5lb Sensus and 2 inches of 4lb Aerus, which would be nice as far as swapping between the two layers to make sure we have the right feel. Would having those split layers detract from the life of the bed since it’s not all 5lb memory foam like this bed?

I did try out a temperpedic at the store and was curious if you knew what rating their memory foam was so I can have a comparison in mind.

As far as delivery goes with most of the online sellers, do you also know about the possibilities of setting specific days for them to deliver because of our work schedules?

Hi Traxion,

There are a lot of variations in the chemicals and methods used to make memory foam which results in memory foams with different characteristics and feels even if two versions have the same density.

Besides the density, some of the variables include breathability, temperature sensitivity (the temperature range it softens or becomes firmer), recovery time, ILD (a measure of softness with lower being softer) , Sag factor (the rate a foam gets firmer with deeper compression), the type of polyols used (TDI, MDI, and plant based polyols), offgassing and smell, surface feel, cell structure, additives like charcoal and clay or others that can increase the foam density (sometimes creating a “fake” density without any of the benefits of increased density), the ratio of viscosity (like a fluid) and elasticity (like rubber) of each foam, and others including creep (which is the tendency of viscoelastic materials to get softer or internally relax more with sustained consistent pressure regardless of humidity or heat).

What this means in practical terms is that different memory foam formulations will feel different even if they have the same density. While density is the single biggest factor in foam durability, it is only one part of the story in terms of how a foam feels. There are a couple of general guidelines that you can go by however to some degree.

Lower density foams tend to be more breathable (more open celled) and faster reacting. They are less “stiff” initially (which is why people think they are softer) so they are less motion restricting but they don’t conform to the body quite as well as higher density foams that are more heat sensitive. This means that higher density foams are often thought of as firmer "because they take more time to soften and “resist” movement more because of their greater time delay but they are actually more pressure relieving once they have softened and conformed. They are also more restrictive in terms of the “sleeping in sand” feeling that many people talk about.

One of the reasons that 4 lb foams are being used as much as they are (like in the tempurpedic cloud series) besides the fact that in general they are less costly is because people seem to like the “softer” less restrictive feeling that they initially provide. While they are a little less durable than higher density foams of the same basic formulation, the tradeoff is worth it to many people. If I was heavier than average (starting at around 200 lbs or so) … I would begin to question the use of 4 lb memory foam because durability would be more of an issue or at least it would be important to know ahead of time that the feel I was looking for was worth the tradeoff.

All memory foam would be considered to be soft and most have an ILD in the range of about 9 to 15 (Tempur is on the higher end of the scale) and some go slightly higher into the upper teens. ILD is very misleading though with memory foam because it changes with heat and humidity so a stiff feeling foam can be very soft as it more slowly conforms to the body. It’s like the difference between slapping water or honey and slowly putting your hand into it. With fast movement they feel firm but with slower movement they feel soft.

Bear in mind too that a big part of how a memory foam mattress feels in terms of its “firmness” depends on the layers under the memory foam (usually polyfoam) and on the thickness of the memory foam. If a mattress had less than 2" or more than 4" of memory foam in it … I would begin to look even more carefully at the rest of the layering to decide on the suitability of memory foam layers that may either be too thick or too thin (both of which could cause issues in certain constructions and with certain people with different weights, shapes, and sleeping positions)

There are also different ways to make memory foam more breathable. These include different formulations to “open up” the cell structure and also mechanical methods to do the same. What happens with these is that the “window panes” or thin parts of the cells in the foam are broken while the stronger struts remain so the air can flow more easily. There is also a method of making memory foam that is used by Foamex (who makes Aerus and Sensus) called VPF or variable pressure foaming which can create more open celled foam which doesn’t require chemical or mechanical methods to create the more open cell structure. This is one of the reasons I like this particular foam but all of the American manufacturers (and most European and even some Asian manufacturers) are making better quality and more “customized” foams as their research and expertise improves. There are other ways that some manufacturers make more breathable or cooler foam as well such as punching holes in it or adding materials that are more convective and less insulating (such as gels) to the memory foam.

The Sensus is a denser slower reacting foam which is very high quality but not as breathable as the Aerus. Aerus also comes in 5 lb versions but this is much more difficult to find. I personally think that the combination would be a good idea for those who weren’t sure about how they would feel on slower reacting denser foam in terms of heat or freedom of movement and I personally would give up some durability for the feel of a layer of 4 lb foam (or a more breathable and faster reacting 5 lb foam) … although others may make different choices. The combination of 4 and 5lb foams would be somewhat like the Tempurpedic cloud series.

In terms of support … all memory foam is soft which is why it is never used in the support layers of a mattress. There is a difference between them though in how long they take to soften so some clearly feel “firmer” than others and some even have a higher ILD and support factor so they don’t sink in quite as far as others. In general … an ild difference of a few lbs is not really noticeable.

The different Tempurpedic foams tend to be a little less breathable, a little “firmer”, a little slower reacting, and a little more temperature sensitive than “average”. They are in the upper quality range for their density and have a wide variety of well thought out layering patterns but there are many people who prefer the feel of other memory foams. They are also one of the most expensive as I’m sure you know which is why I consider them to have lower value than many other memory foam choices.

I spent some time this morning updating the Nashville post that I linked to and talked with several of the choices on the list (mainly because I was having a hard time believing that Nashville really was such a mattress desert :)).

If you were looking in the direction of latex … I would suggest you test the Pure Latex Bliss and the Jamisons to get a sense of different layering that would work and then use them as a prototype for an online purchase.

If you are looking in the direction of memory foam (which it seems you are) I would be tempted to make a few calls to some of the outlets that carry alternative brands to see if they carry anything similar to what you are looking at as there are more local memory foam choices than there are latex choices.

I would do this on the phone and ask questions like …

Do you carry any memory foam mattresses that use a layer of 4 lb memory foam over 5 lb memory foam without any polyfoam over the memory foam?

Is your memory foam North American made?

Is your memory foam CertiPur certified*? (this is a testing organization made up of mostly American foam producers which tests for chemicals, offgassing, and durability to some degree. They did this to differentiate themselves from some of the poor quality asian memory foam that was flooding the American market).

ADMIN NOTE:*Removed 404 link|Archived Footprint: & replaced with latest CertiPUR list

What is the density of the polyfoam support layers under the memory foam? (it should be a minimum of 1.8 lbs and better yet if it’s 2.0 lbs or higher). The typical ILD of the polyfoam layers underneath will be in the range of about 28 to 36 so if they know this too it’s a bonus but it’s a support issue not a quality issue. This will give you a better idea of the firmness of the support layers.

How much does it cost in ____ size mattress only? (if they carry a mattress that sounds interesting).

What kind of cover (ticking) does it have? (stretcheable knit fabrics are the best as they can stretch to accomodate the form shaping ability of the memory foam better).

The advantage of making a few calls like this is that if there was something that sounded interesting at a reasonable price … you would have the chance to actually lie on it. I would do this on the phone though so I didn’t have to drive around and spend hours of my time. The outlets that won’t tell you what you want to know (including prices) aren’t worth your business anyway when you have good online options.

I would also take some time to talk with some of the online options I listed. They are mostly very knowledgeable and helpful especially about the “feel” of their specific mattresses.

So hopefully this will help a little. Now that you are looking online … even though you’re in a bit of a more “barren” area in terms of factory direct manufacturers … you still have the chance to get the best possible quality and value.

I hope I’ve covered most of the questions that are important to you but if not … feel free to keep them coming.


I’d actually prefer to buy locally if at all possible. Jamison style mattresses are looking promising so I’m going to go to the closest retailer tomorrow and give then a look and feel. Thanks a lot on that Nashville post too. I appreciate all your help.

Hi Traxion,

FWIW … I think that the Pure Latex Bliss are one of the nicest Talalay latex mattresses out of all the more mainstream mattresses (although I also think the all latex Jamisons are also very nice). One of the things I like about them is that there is absolutely nothing above the latex and it has no quilting at all … just a very stretchy knit cover … which allows you to feel the latex more and there is less to interfere with the natural elasticity of softer latex.

Latex International produces a majority of the Talalay latex used in mattresses in North America (including the Jamisons) and they own Pure Latex Bliss. At first they denied it (I discovered the ownership connection in a hidden page on the Greek Dunlopillo site which they are also connected to through their purchase of parts of the Dunlopillo brand when they went bankrupt) and I posted about it in another forum I used to post in before I built this website. Later last year they announced they had increased their ownership to 100% so now it’s “official”.

In any case … their strategy I think is a good one. Their goal IMO was to make mattresses that taked full advantage of the properties of softer latex and to “teach” the industry how to best use latex and to reverse the tendency of many manufacturers to put other “stuff” over the latex (like polyfoam or fiber quilting or polyfoam comfort layers which detracted from the feel and pressure relieving properties of the latex). They also didn’t want to price the mattresses so low (and they could have) that the manufacturers who bought and used their latex couldn’t compete and stopped buying their latex. So by pricing a latex mattress in a way that would compete with more expensive memory foam mattresses, could also provide a higher profit margin for retailers, and outsell so called “latex” mattresses that used lower quality materials above the latex … they believed they could increase the use of softer latex by an increasing number of manufacturers who wanted to copy their success and increase their latex sales to manufacturers. In effect they were saying … either you do it or people will buy our matresses instead of yours even if they’re a little more. The strategy has been very effective and more manufacturers are making latex mattresses without anything above the latex and replacing polyfoam comfort layers with latex.

All of this is to say that they are very nice mattresses and their different models and toppers provide a wide range of options for different people, weights, and sleeping positions. They are also great (as are the Jamisons) because the specs are known so it makes it easier to approximately duplicate them for those who choose to. Outside of local manufacturers who make all latex mattresses at lower prices than the Pure Latex Bliss … they are among the nicest all talalay latex mattresses on the market. That’s not to say that the Jamisons aren’t also very much worth looking at as well, but most of the Nashville stores that I talked to didn’t carry their all latex models … only the ones that have latex in the comfort layers and what they call “Marriott” foam in the support layers (which is polyfoam).

The common story I heard in talking with several retailers I listed (and several of them turned into longer conversations) was that Nashville was a really depressed market and that a LOT of people were focused on the lowest budget range. My response was that there are always people who prefer to pay more for higher quality and better value … especially when they know how to tell the difference. I think I may have planted some “food for thought” in some of them who I think may look into having more latex options on their floor over time.

In any case … I thought I’d just add a few thoughts to the thread.


I did give a lot of looks to latex mattresses since your post and when I went to Snooze City after work to try out their beds unfortunately they didn’t have any Jamison’s or any brand latex mattresses for me to try out. I’m curious if this is actually one of the stores you called and talked to since the owner said he was actually going to get some latex mattresses in this weekend for the first time. I did ask my wife what she thought and she said she wanted to go with a quality memory foam since we knew more so what to expect with those.

I ended up choosing the Bamboo Royale

(Found out it has 4.5 lb density btw)

I gave them a call and talked to Vladimir over the phone who was really interested in informing me more-so than selling. Reminds me a bit of you actually. He answered all my questions, was knowledgeable about the product, and I pretty much had to ask him to take my money haha. I saw really great reviews on his service as well from other customers and he definitely lived up to it.

Specs wise I thought everything looked pretty spot on for what I should be looking for and quality wise everything look really good as well. They have a 120 day return policy for everything which is awesome and I even have the option to swap out the firmness of the top layer of memory foam for quite a while when I get the bed to make sure I have exactly the feel I want; I can even upgrade to the latex from the memory foam if I want to. Reviews on the bed were pretty much 90% positive on any site I saw and the prices were fair for what I felt I was getting, especially with customer service and the return period giving me added value.

Overall I want to thank you a lot for getting me in the right direction and I truly think I got a ton more bang for my buck with your help.

Just wanted to get your last thoughts on what I ended up going with. I’m still going to continue to read and hopefully help out others like you’ve done for me.

Hi Traxion,

I did call Snooze city (because they were listed as a Jamison outlet) but nobody answered the phone so I didn’t have a chance to talk with them. I’m glad to hear they are adding some latex mattresses to their lineup because the more choices there are in the area the better.

I think you made a good choice. Overnight mattress is is discussed in quite some length in Post #11 and onwards in this thread and I think highly of them. I had a very long conversation with Vladimir a few days ago and we talked about their mattresses, the industry, different materials, and also a lot about the new directions the company (Dock1) has taken lately which he (and I) think is a good one. I had the feeling that he enjoyed the conversation as much as I did.

They have some great options both before and after the sale as you mentioned and offer good value as well. Their 4.5 lb foam is also a good option I think for most people and would be a good tradeoff between the softer feel and less motion restriction of a 4.5 lb memory foam and the greater durability but firmer feel and motion restriction of a 5.3 lb memory foam. My personal choice there would be the Bamboo Breeze which is exactly the same mattress without the polyfoam on top which I tend to avoid as much as possible … although it will change the feel of the memory foam which some may prefer and can add some breathability to the top of the mattress.

Overall I think you did well and certainly better than most of your local options :slight_smile:


So seeing how my mishap with overnight mattress has happened. I obviously want to now choose a company that I’ll be able to trust. Out of the remaining places you recommended, are Rockymountain mattress, sleepwarehouse, and sleepez still going to be a safe choice?

Hi Traxion,

It’s always difficult to guarantee anything in the industry because of course if a company is in trouble … no matter what they may say or what their history is … when they go under (assuming this is what is happening to Overnight Mattress) … nobody usually knows till it’s too late. Even larger companies like Spring Air or very recently IBC (and many others) fail suddenly and only the insiders usually know it may be about to happen. In other words … everything is fine until suddenly it’s not.

Having said all that … the only companies I “recommend” are the members here (and Overnight Mattress was not a member). I of course often mention dozens of outlets which I believe offer better value products or at least are worth considering in mattress research but aren’t members here based my assessment of their products and on conversations with their employees (or occasionally their owners as well) to get a sense of their level of knowledge and service. I usually will also take a look around to make sure there are no obvious issues or if there are that the explanations for them seem reasonable. For example … Overnight mattress did have complaints but their bbb rating was A or A+ over time because they were always willing to deal with their complaints reasonably. They were also respected and mentioned in quite a few magazine articles because their company was innovative, run by three young and aggressive entrepreneurs who seemed to believe in what they were doing, and that seemed committed to the success of their company over the last almost 10 years or so to their company has been in business, and the products they offered had good value. It seems that they likely made some poor business decisions or overextended themselves and that lack of funding caught up with them. In other words … these types of unfortunate circumstances are difficult to predict if there are no obvious signs.

SleepEz is a member here which means I know the ownership and have talked with them enough to know that I not only think highly of their products but think highly of the people behind them as well. They have been around for many many years and are well known in the industry. I would certainly recommend them without hesitation.

I have also talked several times with the ownership of Rocky Mountain mattress and think very highly of them as well. They are a company that I would also be happy to have as members here based on both their products and my conversations with their ownership.

Sleepwarehouse is on the list because I like their products and have had enough conversations with them to know that they are also helpful and knowledgeable but I don’t know and haven’t talked with the ownership.

The odds of something like this happening to you or anyone a second time with a “known” company (which all of them are) just when you are buying a mattress would likely be close to nil but of course I completely understand the idea of once bitten twice shy (having been bitten a few times over the course of my life as well) so I hope this helps put your mind at rest at least a little.