Hi, I’m new to the site and really appreciate all the research you’ve obviously done on the subject. I am in the market for a new mattress and am not sure what, exactly, I should be looking for.
I like the idea of a visco-elastic mattress for the support and comfort with minimal movement, but have also been researching using Tatami with a traditional Japanese Futon (which seems like a good way to go except for the excessive maintenance requirements for this type of mattress).
I would like help making a good selection, so here goes:
I’m 5’10" 200lbs, and tend to be mostly a stomach or back sleeper. I’ve purchased/slept on mostly name-brand mattresses up to this point and, after reading a few posts, am coming to realize that the not-quite-fully-informed feeling I always leave the mattress store with has some basis in reality. It always feels like a “used car” buying experience to me.
Anyway, I’ve looked at Restonic, Sealy, and Tempur-pedic so far. I really like the Tempur-pedic feel, but they’re so expensive as to be out of my range. I am looking in the $1000 range, but would like to get under that if possible. The Sealy I tried was the basic model below the “Optimum” model line and felt quite comfortable and supportive, though not on the same level as the Tempur model. The restonic is very reasonably priced and fits my perceived needs as far as comfort and support, but I’m not as familiar with that brand, so have been hesitant to “pull the trigger” so to speak.
I prefer a firmer mattress with a lower-profile “comfort” layer on top as I tend to get hot when the mattress is too “deep” (like with euro-top or pillow-top models).
Also, I notice that you seem to have quite a bit of information on local retailers/wholesalers/manufacturers, so I’ll let you know that I live in South-Eastern South Dakota (Sioux Falls) and am willing to travel up to a couple-hundred miles in order to find something that works for me.
You are certainly not alone in this feeling and there are many who think that buying a mattress is worse than buying a used car. It’s especially difficult because most outlets can’t or won’t tell you what is in the mattress in terms of materials (and it’s the materials that you sleep on not the brand) and secondly even if they did there’s not a lot of information widely available about which materials are better quality and which are not. For example how many people know that 1.2 pound polyfoam is not a material you want in your mattress but 1.8 or even 2.4 lb polyfoam can be much better. All you normally see in the descriptions when you can get them is “polyfoam” and this means little without the density information. Same with memory foam where density is the most important part of durability and longevity.
It’s like buying furniture when someone won’t tell you if it uses cheap particle board, higher quality MDF, or better yet real hardwood or some of each and where. If someone would only tell you how great it looked or how about some of the functions (like how smoothly the drawers opened) and not how long it would take before the beauty and function would fall apart or the risk that even bumping it in a certain spot could chip the particle board then you would still have no idea of what the piece of furniture was really worth no matter how well it functioned when i5 was new or how nice the veneer may look.
I’m glad you mentioned this because researching where to buy is a more important first step than researching what to buy or trying to “design” your mattress by specs. By researching the outlets first and finding better factory direct manufacturers or smaller sleep shops who are materials (not brand) oriented and are more focused on educating their customers than “selling” them … your odds of buying a much better quality/value mattress that better suits your needs and preferences become much better. These types of outlets will carry a range of better quality mattresses that sell for a lower price than anything you will find in a chain store or in a larger brand and the best part is that these outlets already know and are happy to share what you would otherwise have to learn. This is the reason for the guidelines here which will help you avoid most of the traps of mattress shopping.
There are some general guidelines here about height/weight/body shape and some here about different sleeping positions but these are starting points only and general guidelines based on “averages” which may apply to groups but not necessarily to individuals who have their own unique needs and preferences. Your own personal testing with the help of an “expert” who understands the intricacies of how each person will respond to different types of mattresses and how the mattress layers and the person interact together will always be more accurate than trying to make decisions based on theory or the “specs” of a person or a mattress.
Of course quality specs such as the type of materials and the density are critical in order to know the quality and value of a mattress but the “comfort specs” which determine how well a particular mattress will perform for each person are best done in person with the help of a knowledgeable person who is good at “fitting” a mattress to each person or in the case of an online purchase with the help of the manufacturer who knows every detail of their mattress and has the customers and experience to know how specific mattresses interact with certain people “on average”.
The research I would suggest besides your research into the better outlets and how to find them is in the tutorial post here (read it like a good book rather than study them like a course textbook) so you will have some basic knowledge of materials and construction of a mattress so you can ask better questions and understand the answers better. It’s unfortunate that if you spend an hour or so reading these that you will likely know more about the meaningful parts of mattress information than the majority of people who sell mattresses outside of the types of outlets I was referring to.
There are a couple of factory direct manufacturers in the Sioux falls area that I’m aware of…
http://www.comfortking.net/ Factory direct manufacturer in Sioux Falls, SD and Fargo, ND. They have a very interesting site that is impressive because they have a video showing the manufacturing of every mattress they make. They make a range of innerspring mattresses that use various combinations of comfort layers using high density polyfoam, latex, memory foam, Somnigel buckling column gel, and microcoils on top of several different types of innersprings and would be well worth including in your research.
http://bedsbydesign.net/ Fargo, ND. Sioux Falls, SD. They are another local manufacturer that make a range of mattresses that use various combinations of innersprings (including pocket coils), good quality polyfoam (including high performance polyfoam), and memory foam. They also have some “unusual” names for their materials and imply that they are using “synthetic latex” in their mattresses when the material is actually a high performance polyfoam which is a good quality and durable material and has many of the properties of latex but it’s not latex at all (it doesn’t contain any natural or synthetic rubber) and is less costly then either synthetic, blended, or natural latex. When I talked with the owner he insisted that it was “OK” to call or imply that the polyfoam they use is “synthetic latex” and used an analogy of synthetic oil vs regular oil and spent a great deal of time trying to justify their descriptions (or implications) but of course I completely disagree and I consider their descriptions to be misleading and factually incorrect. You can verify that there is no latex in their mattresses by checking the law tags (which don’t say latex). They do make some good quality and durable mattresses but I would make some careful value comparisons with other mattresses that use similar materials rather than comparing them to other mattresses that really do use latex.
There are also two other retailers that may be worth considering in the next post.
There are two other factory direct manufacturers that are significantly further away in the Omaha area …
There is also a list for the Lincoln/Omaha area in post #2 here and for the Minneapolis/St Paul area in post #2 here for those who may wish to include some additional options in their research and don’t mind a longer drive.
When I have a chance tomorrow I’ll take a look at some local retail outlets and perhaps make a few calls because a quick scan shows there may be some reasonable options there as well (see next post).
Well it wasn’t exactly “tomorrow” but I did have a chance to do some research in the Sioux Falls area besides just the factory direct manufacturers and there are a few other options there as well that may be worth including in your research.
http://www.bedsandbeds.com/ Carries Corsicana and Glideaway (Sleep Harmony) both of which can have better value than mainstream brands. I talked with Josh there and he is knowledgeable and understands the importance of knowing what is in your mattress, “educating” his customers, and helping his customers make appropriate choices for their body type, sleeping positions, and preferences. There are some good value choices here but be cautious and make sure that you can find out the quality of the materials inside your mattress because Corsicana isn’t known for providing foam specs for their mattresses. (NOTE ADDED: check because it looks like their lineup and the manufacturers they carry has changed)