Serta icomfort Genius mattress

Hi DebbieK,

I think reviews can be more misleading than helpful depending on what they are reviewing.

I think they can be helpful if they are about the service at a particular retailer or outlet because most people can tell when they get good service or the people there are helpful. Of course your own dealings with them on the phone or in person will also tell you a lot about their level of knowledge and service and I would always talk with a manufacturer or retailer before I visit them.

Reviews about a mattress can sometimes be helpful if they …

Identify the specific mattress they are reviewing (not just the brand or model lineup), the specifics of the materials in the mattress, and have more information about the body type and sleeping style of the person writing the review, and there are enough of them to identify a wide ranging and consistent pattern about how a mattress feels to a specific group of people. Unfortunately most reviews are not specific enough and there is little information about the people who are buying them and even if there is … how a mattress feels to one person may be completely different from how it feels to the next person because of different body types, sleeping positions, preferences, and levels of sensitivity to different softness/firmness levels. One person’s firm is another person’s soft and a mattress that provides perfect comfort/pressure relief or support/alignment for one person or even a group of people may be completely unsuitable for the next person to sleep on … even if they have a similar body style . If there is a consistent pattern then it may at least give some indication that a mattress is firmer or softer than average.

If a review identifies the specific mattress they are reviewing and includes the other information that would make it relevant and is written at least a year after the purchase and there are enough of these … then it may give some indication of the quality of the materials that are used although 2 - 3 years or longer would be better here to identify any issues with foam softening or breakdown in the longer term (again if there are enough of them).

Reviews about a mattress can be mostly misleading if they …

Talk about quality or about “value” because I would guess that only about 1% or less of the population knows enough about the materials in a mattress to know which mattresses are high quality/value or low quality/value and the only way to know the quality of a mattress is if you know all the layers and components in a mattress. Once you know the quality of a mattress … the only way to know “value” is by making meaningful comparisons to other mattresses that use similar quality materials. Without knowing the quality of the materials in a mattress … price means nothing. You can’t feel the quality of the materials in a mattress (low quality and high quality materials can both feel good initially or in a showroom) … you can only know quality by knowing what is in the mattress

Talk about how a mattress feels because how one person feels on a mattress (whether they are talking about pressure relief, support, or their personal preferences) may have nothing to do with how the next person feels unless as I mentioned earlier there are enough reviews of a specific mattress that give an indication that for many people a mattress may be softer or firmer than “average”. Even this may not “translate” into how soft or firm it may feel for you and will tell you little about how well the mattress matches your needs and preferences in terms of PPP (Pressure relief, Posture and alignment, and Personal preferences). Some of the needs and preferences that can be important to different people and that each person may need to “test” or research for themselves are listed in post #46 here.

Quite frankly … most of the people that sell mattresses in the industry today have little real knowledge about the differences between a good quality and poor quality mattress and they certainly aren’t able to help educate their customers about the differences either. The exceptions … at least from a consumer point of view … tend to be in the group of smaller local or independent manufacturers that either sell factory direct or through better sleep shops where the focus is on real information and customer service instead of marketing techniques.

So while reviews can be helpful for certain things … in general they say very little about the quality or value of a mattress you are considering or how suitable it may be for your unique needs and preferences. Buying based on how other people describe a mattress can be among one of the worst ways to shop for a mattress IMO. There is also more about mattress reviews in post #13 here and in post #20 here.

Smaller manufacturers like Page Bedding tend to work through local word of mouth and with a typical local manufacturer you will find they use higher quality materials and will be more open about telling you what they are using in their mattresses (at least for those who ask). It is not uncommon at all to see fewer reviews about smaller local manufacturers even though they have been in business for many years. They don’t tend to cater to online purchases in most cases which I think is part of the reason that online reviews are often limited. Many don’t even have a website or have a website that has limited information.

You can see some thoughts about Bed-In-A-Box in post #2 here and as you can see they use good quality support layers in their mattresses but the memory foam layers are lower density than I would personally consider. I have talked with them on quite a few occasions and I think they are good people and sincerely want to provide good value to their customers … I just think that they made a mistake in choosing such a low density memory foam in combination with such a high density base layer. If I was going to purchase from them (and I believe there are better options available) I would choose the mattress with the thinnest layer of memory foam possible because at least with with thinner layers the effect of foam softening will be less of an issue over time.

If I was thinking about an online memory foam order … some of the better quality/value online memory foam sources I know of are listed in post #12 here.