There have certainly been many changes in the industry in the last 15 - 20 years and many if not most of them are for the worse … especially when it comes to the major brands (see post #3 here and post #3 here along with post #12 here and post #404 here among others on the forum that have discussed this).
The good news is that there are still many smaller local manufacturers that are still making the type of mattress you are describing (and other types of high quality and good value mattresses as well).
[quote]Long story short, I am looking for a firm mattress made of coils. I have been sleeping on my friend’s foam mattress for the past few weeks while I’ve been shopping and it has reaked havoc on my back. I found the following mattress at Denver Mattress which I thought was a good deal/find, but after reading through the articles on your website and the consumer report on Simmons it sounds like this mattress may fall apart in a few months. I also can’t find reviews for this mattress or even a listing on the official Simmons website regarding this mattress which makes me think something may be off.
I’m assuming that you’ve read the mattress shopping tutorial here which includes all the basic information, steps, and guidelines that can help you make the best possible choice … and perhaps most importantly know how and why to avoid the worst ones.
Two of the most important links in the tutorial that I would especially make sure you’ve read are post #2 here which has more about the different ways to choose a suitable mattress (either locally or online) that is the best “match” for you in terms of “comfort” and PPP that can help you assess and minimize the risks of making a choice that doesn’t turn out as well as you hoped for and post #13 here which has more about the most important parts of the “value” of a mattress purchase which can help you make more meaningful quality/value comparisons between mattresses in terms of suitability (how well you will sleep), durability (how long you will sleep well), and the overall value of a mattress compared to your other finalists (based on all the parts of your personal value equation that are most important to you).
While I can’t speak to how a mattress will feel or how different mattresses will compare in terms of comfort and PPP for someone else … outside of “comfort” and PPP the most important part of the value of a mattress purchase is durability which is all about how long you will sleep well on a mattress (although durability may be less important if you are only planning on keeping your mattress for a year). This is the part of your research that you can’t “feel” and assessing the durability and useful life of a mattress depends on knowing the type and quality of the materials inside it regardless of the name of the manufacturer on the label (or how a mattress feels in a showroom or when it is relatively new) so I would always make sure that you find out the information listed here so you can compare the materials and components to the quality/durability guidelines here to confirm that there are no lower quality materials or weak links in a mattress that would be a cause for concern relative to the durability and useful life of a mattress before making any purchase.
Denver Mattress themselves make some good quality/value mattresses but the major brands (such as Sealy/Stearns & Foster, Simmons, and Serta) that they also carry tend to use lower quality materials in their mattresses than most of their smaller competitors that will tend to soften or break down prematurely relative to the price you pay and I would generally avoid all of them completely along with any mattress where you aren’t able to find out the type and quality/durability of the materials inside it (see the guidelines here.
While other people’s comments about the knowledge and service of a particular business can certainly be very helpful … I would also be very cautious about about using other people’s experiences or reviews on a mattress (either positive or negative) as a reliable source of information or guidance about how you will feel on the same mattress or how suitable or how durable a mattress may be for you and in many if not most cases they can be more misleading than helpful because any mattress that would be a perfect choice for one person or even a larger group of people may be completely unsuitable for someone else to sleep on (even if they are in a similar weight range) and reviews in general certainly won’t tell you much if anything about the quality, durability, or “value” of a mattress for any particular person (see post #13 here).
This would really depend on the person and your own risk tolerance because different people can have very different criteria and very different opinions about the “value” of buying a used mattress. At the very least I would make sure that you have tested the mattress very carefully (hopefully using the testing guidelines in the tutorial) to make sure that you are confident that it’s a good match for you in terms of PPP. While the mattress you are considering is most likely a comfort return (or worse yet a warranty return) … it could have other “hidden” issues so it would depend on how you feel about sleeping on a used mattress or how you feel about the risks involved in buying a mattress where you would have no recourse if there are any defects in the mattress and/or you needed to replace it or if your sleeping experience indicated that the mattress wasn’t a good match for you in terms of PPP. There would be very little value in buying a mattress if it’s not a good match for you in terms of PPP and you don’t sleep well on it no matter what the price or the quality and durability of the materials inside it or the mattress as a whole.
If you are considering buying a used or returned mattresses then there is more here and here and here that I would read that may be helpful as well.
IMO … buying a mattress that someone else has probably returned for “unknown” reasons would certainly be a very risky choice when you have absolutely no recourse after the purchase so it would really depend on your risk tolerance and whether the risks and/or the higher cost compared to the other options that may be available to you would be worth it to you.
Gel memory foams (and other types of gel foams) include a very wide range of different materials with different formulations so they aren’t just a single material with the same temperature regulating properties but there is more information about gel foams in general in post #2 here and the posts it links to. In very general terms … gel and/or other thermal conductive or phase change materials can have “some effect” on on the sleeping temperature of a particular material but how much of an effect they will have and how long the effect will last will depend on the specific formulation of the material and on the “combined effect” of all the other materials and components of the sleeping system including your sheets, mattress protector, and bedding. Gel materials tend to have a more temporary effect when you first go to sleep at night or over the first part of the night than they will over the entire course of the night.
The better options or possibilities I’m aware of in and around the Austin and San Antonio areas including Denver Mattress (subject to making sure that any mattress you are considering meets the quality/value guidelines I linked earlier) are listed in post #2 here.