Young Adult Looking to Purchase First Mattress


I stumbled on to this website a few months back when I decided I needed a new mattress and always like to make informed purchases. I am a 23 year old recent college graduate who is settling into his career in a new home (joint purchase with parents as a retirement/investment property for them). I have been sleeping on the same extremely worn-out innerspring for around 8 years that was my parents even before then; its time for something new. I am 5’ 9", 155 lb., side/back sleeper looking at a queen size. After stumbling through your typical mattress selection I gathered some of the valuable knowledge here and realized independent mattress manufactures are the way to go for not only quality but value.
I’ve checked out my two local options in Maine, Daly Bros. and Portland Mattress Makers. After trying their full selection out I can tell I really like the feel of medium firmness latex mattress. At Portland Mattress I believe the firm was 42 ILD and medium 34 ILD, these numbers seemed high for the adjectives used but I know the medium with slightly more give was nice. While I certainly found what seemed to be products of equal high quality, I’m leaning towards Portland Mattress Maker due to both local convenience and also the fact that they do have a comfort return policy that Daly Bros. does not. While they are the slightly more expensive option I was told that any of their comfort returns that are brought back within 30 days are then sold at a clearance rate of around 35% off. This sounded great, until I realized the higher end line that I am drawn towards never seems to get any returns (I suppose that’s a good sign?) and I just can’t wait forever. At the very least I was offered 10% off putting both companies in the same range.
So now that I’ve jabbered on, here is my concerns I’d like to have addressed. If I’m making a big purchase, which between $1500-$2000 I would consider this one, I’d like to know its something thats going to last. Is a total latex mattress truly going to be that much more durable than a hybrid innerspring/latex? I feel as though I’ve read latex should be very durable, but the salesman mentioned when I was trying the hybrid that they are able to take it apart to either modify/repair problem areas if I have the need for that in the future. Also I was told that a boxspring may not be needed if I have a solid basic such as plywood on the frame to support the mattress. That alone could save me $200, but will saving the money now make it so I have to replace the mattress sooner in the future? The other option I have in the back of my head is the Dreamfoam I discovered on Amazon and have seen some positive comments on here. I do not remember trying any foam/latex top mattresses; how different is this going to feel compared to solid latex or even the hybrid innerspring/latex? At $600 for a queen it seems like a steal, but I will also most likely have to pay to disposal of my mattress (which Portland Mattress Makers would do for me) and there’s no option to head down to the store if I have issues and consider a return.
I feel like I have so many questions and I’m all over the place, but I’m hoping you can supply me with some information to give me peace-of-mind in my decision.

Hi Seanmells,

You are certainly going in the “best” direction by finding a quality manufacturer outlet and then deciding on a mattress. This is by far the most effective way to make a high quality value purchase.

Yes this is a good sign IMO and typical of local manufacturing where there are very few returns because they tend to have very educated customers and any “mistakes” can usually be fixed with a fairly minor adjustment.

Latex is among the most durable of all materials used in a mattress and in basic terms the answer is yes and no. They will have a different feel and latex in the ILD’s typically used in a base layer is more durable than most innersprings but the support layers would not be the weak link of either mattress. The upper layers are subject to more mechanical compression and wear no matter what the material and also tend to use softer material so they will wear faster than the deeper layers. this is the advantage of having a manufacturer with the ability to replace this layer if it wears or softens faster than the support layers. The difference is more a matter of choice. There are many who will sleep on nothing else than a latex core (and if you are used to this then nothing else will do) and others who will tend to prefer the different response that can come from various types of innerspring systems. Both would be very durable (assuming a quality innerspring which both companies would use).

There are many factors involved in the durability of any material though including latex and softer latex (or any material) that is used in the upper layers of a mattress will soften faster than firmer layers that are used deeper in the mattress. Some of the many factors that are involved in the durability of a mattress (no matter what materials are used) are in post #2 here. There is also more about the durability of latex and some examples in this article.

A solid, even, non flexing base is all that is usually needed for a latex mattress unless it was designed for or tested on something else (like a tension adjustable base or an active innerspring). I tend to prefer a slatted base though because it is more breathable and a little less “risky” for moisture to become trapped in the contact area between the mattress and the foundation. Latex is the most breathable of the foams so the risk is less than with other materials but my personal preference would still be to use a slatted base. In terms of actual performance and durability of the materials it would be fine (assuming you tested the mattress on a solid non flexing base).

There are other factors involved in this choice including the person on the mattress (and the heat and moisture they generate), the climate, the humidity levels of the room, the quilting/ticking of the mattress and others including the preferences and the “risk tolerance” of each individual so this involves a range of options and choices rather than being a black and white choice. I tend towards the place in the range of more airflow and breathability and less risk. I personally would go in this direction as a temporary budget measure and replace it down the road even though there are others who will say that it would be fine for the long term.

There are several factors that would determine how different this would feel including the firmness levels and thickness of the layers, the quilting foam and materials used in each mattress, and the difference in the “feel” of latex vs a polyfoam base layer. Latex is more elastic (and point elastic) and has a greater ability to take on and adapt to different profiles and positions and also has a different feel (it is more “springy”). It also has a higher compression modulus meaning it has a greater range of soft with shallow compression and firmer with deeper compression than polyfoam. It is also more durable although ths is not as big a factor in the deeper layers. They are both “fast response” foams and some types of polyfoam will be closer to latex than others but overall the polyfoam … assuming similar ILD’s … will be less responsive, adaptable, and less lively.

I agree it is a very good value but as you mentioned there are also tradeoffs involved in buying online with no returns (although there is a choice of comfort layers with the dreamfoam) and buying locally where you can test a specific mattress and all the many parts that make up the overall performance and feel of a mattress. This is one of those cases where you are choosing between “good and good” and would be a matter of personal preference based on the parts of your “value equation” was most important to you and your willingness to take some “risks” in exchange for saving some money.

I hope this has helped but if you have more questions feel free to post them. I would keep in mind that you are in a place that all your choices are good ones and avoid the tendency to think in “better/worse” terms and think more in terms of your personal preferences and which of your choices and tradeoffs are most important to you.


Thank you very much for your quick and thoughtful response. Looking back it seems like I may have already made my decision. I know I liked the all latex mattress the most out of everything I tried, and between the fact that it is a local company with a good warranty as well as a two sides mattress it seems it may be worth the extra cost. It looks like I just missed out on a Memorial Day sale as I was busy working…I’m going to head down and see what I can do.

Hi Seanmells,

Most local manufacturers are very responsive to “reasonable requests” and don’t have the “major sales” or rely on “sale price marketing” to sell their mattresses so I would certainly ask. :slight_smile: