Spooked by Serafina

First off, thanks for your very informative site. I wish I had stumbled upon it prior to making a first foam mattress purchase.

I recently had to replace an old coil mattress, and struggled quite a bit with purchasing a new one online. It is a daunting proposition, however one trip to a Sleepy’s (and dealing with their salesman) and I concluded that I probably couldn’t do that much worse going (somewhat) blind and online. Swayed by a Consumer Reports review, encouraged by Costco’s liberal return policy, and with a sale for $649, I purchased the Novaform 14" Serafina Gel Queen Memory Foam Mattress. I don’t remember ever sleeping so poorly! A few weeks in and I began to encounter friends who approach me with that, ‘are you okay’ look on their face. I called Costco for a return.

I hate to give up on the whole foam mattress concept, but am finding myself in something of a quandary for a few reasons. First, while a company like Costco makes returns fairly simple, the reality is it’s not all that easy. It can be a few weeks till they can pick up your mattress, and living in a small NYC apartment the logistics of getting a new replacement mattress may leave me with nothing to sleep on for a week. Of course, that may not be all that much worse than the Novaform was :silly: Further, were I to make another foam choice mistake, spending this much corrective time on it would just be mind boggling. I don’t want to make a career out of trying out, and returning, mattresses.

A second issue is price point. When opting for the Serafina I felt I had found something that was supposedly pretty good at a price I could afford. However, along with considering having to go for something of presumably better quality comes looking at higher prices as well. In many instances, the prices are significantly higher than where I started. I suddenly find myself looking at President’s Day sales for coil mattresses, and am grudgingly beginning to wonder if I need to give up the foam idea and go back to a conventional mattress. I had really hoped that would not be the case, but price wise its becoming an issue.

I’ve looked at a Brooklyn Bedding Aloe Alexis, and while it appears as if it may be a move up from the Serafina, it’s also double the price even with BB having a holiday weekend sale. Having read about Tuft & Needle on this site, I considered that but appear to see a number of people here that tried that and wound up no happier than I was with the Serafina. Besides, it leaves you achieving a price point by moving to a much thinner mattress, which frankly I don’t really find all that desirable. I’m a big fellow, and a 10" mattress sounds more like the stuff of bunk beds than what I’m used to.

So, I don’t come here expecting anyone to tell me what I’m to do. I guess you’d say it’s more about wondering out loud whether or not at certain price ranges you may be priced out of quality foam mattresses and will find better value by sticking with a conventional mattress? It’s a tough call but one I’d like to make this weekend while there are holiday sales to be found.


Hi Mr Mitch,

Just in case you haven’t read it yet … the first place to start your mattress research is the mattress shopping tutorial here which has all the basic information, steps, and guidelines that you will need to make the best possible choice … and know how and why to avoid the worst ones.

You can see some of my thoughts about buying a mattress from Costco in post #4 here.

You can also see some comments about the Consumer Reports mattress ratings and recommendations in post #2 here and in this topic. As you can see I (and most knowledgeable people in the industry) would consider them to be a unreliable source of guidance about purchasing a mattress.

There is more about the different ways to choose a suitable mattress (either locally or online) that can help you assess and minimize the risks involved with each of them in post #2 here.

There is also more about the most important parts of the “value” of a mattress purchase in post #13 here but choosing the “best mattress” for any particular person really boils down to 1. testing for suitability (either in a showroom or with a home trial period), 2. finding out and checking the quality and durability of the materials inside it, and 3. Comparing your finalists for value based on all the parts of your personal value equation that are most important to you.

It seems that the Serafina …

  1. Isn’t a suitable suitable mattress for you in terms of PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and Personal preferences). Costco isn’t good at providing this type of guidance but at least you can return it.
  2. I would guess that you didn’t find out and check the quality of the materials inside it but if you had known to check you would have found out that it uses lower quality/density and less durable materials inside it than I would consider (see the quality/durability guidelines here).
  3. While value is relative to the specific criteria that are most important to each person and to how the specific mattresses you are considering compare to each other … it’s very likely that there are better quality more durable mattresses available in this budget range that for most people would have better “value”.

The Alexis uses much higher quality and more durable materials than the Serafina and would also be a much more suitable choice for higher weight ranges than the Serafina. It also has the option to customize the firmness level of the mattress both before and after a purchase so you can “fine tune” the mattress rather than returning it. They also provide very good guidance to help their customers make the most suitable firmness choice on the phone.

The Tuft and Needle also uses high quality materials that would be more durable than the Serafina (but not as durable as the Alexis) and they also have a great return policy as well. There is more about the materials in the Tuft & Needle mattress in posts #2 and #6 here. One of the attractions of the “one firmness choice for everyone” style of mattresses is that they simplify the buying and decision making process which can be very attractive to some people and may be one of the most important parts of their “personal value equation”. With any retailer or manufacturer that only offers a single mattress though you will find that they will be the “best” match for a relatively small percentage of the population, a “good” match for a larger percentage, an “OK” match for a larger percentage yet, and for those that it isn’t a “good enough” match … they have a great return policy that lets you start all over again with choosing another mattress with little risk outside of the time you spent trying the mattress or returning it.

Both of these are members of the site which means I think highly of them and I believe they compete well with the best in the industry in terms of their quality, value, service, and transparency.

I wouldn’t pay to much attention to so called “holiday sales” because they are usually just a way to increase urgency and are more about marketing than anything else. There are high quality/value mattresses available every day of the year and there is no reason to wait or rush based on “sale prices”. There is more about mattress sales in post #5 here.

Overall … I would follow the steps in the tutorial one at a time which will give you your best chance of making a suitable, durable, and good value choice.

The tutorial also includes two links to some of the better online options that I’m aware of (in the optional online step) and posts #3 and #4 here and post #4 here also include some of the better lower budget online choices I’m aware of.

If you let me know your city or zip code I’d also be happy to let you know about any of the better local options or possibilities I’m aware of as well.