Ultimate Guide to Buy a Mattress
There’s a lot to consider when you’re looking for the perfect mattress. Aside from your budget, you need to think about what type of mattress will support you best. If you share your bed with a partner, their needs should be considered too.
And not every mattress works for every person. Some bodies prefer the feel of foam or latex, but others think air mattresses or coil construction sleeps best.
Each of these unique constructions may affect your own comfort level and your partner’s comfort, too. So if you’re fighting over sleep–and where you will sleep–how can you find a mattress that feels great for both?
When you’re hunting for a mattress for two people, here’s how to meet in the middle for a full night of sweet dreams:
- Consider mattresses with trial periods (typically 90 days)
- Visit mattress stores to do a test of different constructions and research your options with online brands
- Choose a mattress construction that will adjust to the pressure points of the body (foam is a great choice for pressure relief and comfort!)
- A mattress topper can be a great addition to one side of the bed (for those who like a softer bed)
Of course, these days, buying a mattress isn’t always as simple as walking into a store and picking one out. To help you out during your hunt, we’ve assembled the ultimate guide to mattress shopping!
When to Buy a New Mattress
If you’re getting an average of eight hours of sleep every day, that’s a full third of each day spent in bed. Needless to say, mattresses take on a lot of wear and tear. And, according to the National Sleep Foundation, you should be clocking between seven and nine hours each night.
While mattress warranties tend to last between 10-15 years, most mattresses should be replaced much sooner than that. The Better Sleep Council recommends swapping out that mattress after seven years as they start to lose some of their comfort qualities.
Ultimately, when you need to replace your mattress depends on how you use it and how you feel when you wake up, among many other factors. Do you wake up feeling sore and uncomfortable? Chances are an aging mattress is the culprit.
Of course, before you jump straight to replacing your mattress first rule out other possible offenders like your pillow, sagging foundation, or old mattress topper. If you still suspect your mattress is the problem, look for other telltale signs of a worn out mattress like permanent sagging or lumpiness that seems to perfectly outline the shape of your body even when you’re not in it.
Mattress Types You Can Choose From
In general, there are three major categories of mattresses with a few subcategories that offer variations on materials and inner structure.
The innerspring mattress is the classic. It’s the traditional choice that most of us grew up sleeping on.
It features steel coils arranged in different patterns inside the core of the mattress. It offers a bouncy feel that’s firmer and more supportive. It also tends to be more breathable and cooler than other types of mattresses since the coils allow for more air circulation throughout the inside.
The downsides, though? Those coils can break, and pop a hole through the top of your mattress. Especially if kids use the mattress for a trampoline. And steel springs tend not be be as comfortable or pressure relieving as foam or memory foam.
Depending on the construction quality, coils can be amazingly supportive or just a bouncy nightmare. Before buying coil mattresses, test it out first.
Foam and Latex Mattresses
Foam mattresses are a great choice for sleepers who prefer to be “held” or “cradled” while they sleep. Foam molds and shapes itself to fit around your body.
There are three main types of foam mattresses: memory foam, poly foam, and latex. They all offer a soft feel and elastic structure but perform differently in a mattress. Memory foam tend to give you a sinking and trapped feeling. Latex is often bouncier and has a springy feel (and tends to be significantly more expensive for a quality product), And Poly foam tends to be in the middle – a little bouncier than memory foam, but more ‘cradling than latex. These differences is primarily in the materials used to make them.
Foam is made of viscoelastic polyurethane while latex is made from, you’ve guessed it, latex, which is also eco-friendly.
So what are the downsides? Some memory foam construction can feel very hot and make sleeping uncomfortable, while a good quality latex mattress is often 2-3x the cost. A good compromise is poly foam, especially with cooling tech incorporated into the design (like 2920Sleep mattresses!).
Why settle for one when you can have both? Hybrid mattresses contain both foam layers and steel springs or coils. They offer the soft outer shell of a foam (or latex) topping with the sturdy bounce and support of an innerspring mattress.
The adjustable airbed is the more sophisticated cousin of the blow-up air mattress. Airbeds allow you to adjust the firmness to what suits you best.
If you want a firmer bed on Monday and a soft bed on Tuesday, that’s no problem! A built-in electric air pump will let you fill or release the air inside the mattress.
Airbeds also have additional padding like memory foam mattress toppers. For co-sleepers, more advanced models will also have individual controls for each side of the bed so each person can have their side set to exactly the level of firmness they want.
Some couples like this type of construction, because both partners can adjust the bed to their comfort level. However some users complain of hearing the air pumps at night, or the equipment breaking.
How Much Does a Mattress Cost?
The cost of a mattress naturally depends on the type of mattress you’re buying. Innerspring and foam mattresses are the most affordable option while hybrids, latex, and adjustable air mattresses are on the pricier side.
Before you begin mattress shopping, though, you need to set a budget. There are dramatic price differences between mattress sizes, brands and construction. You really need to know how much you can spend before you venture online or into stores.
Without sacrificing quality, a good mattress at the lower end of the price spectrum will start at around $900 and upwards for a queen size. To have a wider selection of options and features to choose from, you will need a budget of at least $2000. If money is no object and you want all of the bells and whistles, $5000 should cover it.
What Size Mattress Should I Buy?
You obviously cannot–and should not–buy a mattress that takes up your entire bedroom. If your room is small, a King will dominate the floor leaving little space for any other furniture. Measure your bedroom so you understand the dimensions that limit your space.
So how do you know if you are buying the right size mattress for your room? Consider:
- The size of the entryway (the mattress has to fit through the door)
- The size of your bed frame (a King won’t fit a Queen frame)
- How it fits in the room (it shouldn’t overtake the whole room)
- Your budget (it shouldn’t cause you to overspend)
If you purchase an innerspring mattress in-store, you need to make sure it will fit through all of the halls and doorways on the way to your bedroom as well as in the room itself. If you order a “mattress in a box” from an online store, your only concern will be choosing the correct size for your bed frame.
Here’s a chart with the standard dimensions for each mattress size.
How to Buy a Mattress to Fit the Room & Your Comfort
Of course, the size of your room should determine the size mattress you select. If your room is on the smaller side and you need a bed to fit two, opt for a Queen instead of the larger King. Full size mattresses could work, too, depending on how much space you need.
If you only need a bed for one person–maybe a kid’s room–opt for Twin, Twin XL or Full. Teens may be more comfortable with either a Twin XL or a Full.
While a Twin XL offers more length (and leg room!), the Full provides more width. So taller kids and teens should opt for Twin XL, and those who move around in their sleep may be more comfortable sleeping on a Full.
What about if you’re buying for a guest room? Assume that the bed will need to sleep two and opt for a Queen; this is a comfortable choice for many couples. And remember that since guest rooms are used less frequently, that mattress will likely last much longer.
How to Buy a Mattress on a Budget
The biggest factor in determining the size of the mattress is, unfortunately, budget. As the mattress size increases, so does the price. This is why it’s so important to understand your financial limitations.
Yes, that expensive King might feel and look luxurious. However, if it’s thousands of dollars outside of your price range, you might have to opt for something smaller or with fewer features.
The good news, though, is that many online mattresses tend to be less expensive as they don’t have the cost of retail stores and commissions. So you may find a mattress online that is similar to the one you saw at the store for a fraction of the price.
Always price compare a retail store’s prices with online prices. And since many mattresses offer a trial period, there is less risk. So you can try that less expensive mattress without worrying that you’re stuck if it isn’t quite what you wanted.
Many companies also understand that a mattress is an expensive purchase. For this reason, many mattress companies offer payment plans. When you shop at 2920, you can apply for a payment option that allows you to break that large purchase price into monthly payments.
Just be sure to budget that new payment into your monthly expenses!
How to Buy a Mattress In-Store
When buying a mattress in-store or at a showroom you have the chance to test out a few different options. Of course, lying down on a showroom mattress isn’t going to give you a complete picture of what to expect when you take it home, but it can help you figure out your preferences.
Spend a few minutes lying down and moving around on any bed that sparks your interest. Buying in-store also gives you chance to look at all the options.
Buying a Mattress Online
Most mattress retailers offer online buying options and some are exclusively available online. Be sure to review the refund and exchange policy very closely.
Many retailers will offer a trial period of 90-100 days which gives you plenty of time to try out your new mattress and return it penalty-free if it doesn’t work out. Mattresses ordered online typically arrive compressed in a box and expand rapidly when the box is opened.
But how do you know what you’re buying online? Since the online experience lacks the ‘seeing’ and ‘feeling’ of in-store shopping, trial periods are even more important.
And so are online reviews and mattress specs! Review all the specs about the mattress. Typically, online companies focus on product descriptions to help buyers understand–and get a ‘feel’–for their products.
Online reviews are a great resource, too. Read them all, but understand that reviews are personal opinions. However, both negative and glowingly positive reviews can help you assess a company and its products.
When you buy a mattress online, the set-up can sometimes throw buyers for a loop. Boxed mattresses self-expand, and buyers don’t always realize that the inflation could lag a bit. While they’re fine to sleep on immediately, it may take 1-2 days for the mattress to fully settle in until you get a sense for its final support and comfort qualities.
Don’t be concerned if it takes a little while for the mattress to expand to full-size. It also isn’t uncommon for the corners to take longer to pop up.
However, here is a list of reasons of concern and you should contact the company–if you notice:
- A hole in the foam
- A lack of expansion after several days
- Any deep indentations
- Size irregularity (that is, the Queen isn’t a Queen but a full). You might have been sent the wrong size!
Like any big purchase, buying a mattress requires a little extra research and bit of shopping around to find the right fit. But given how much of your life you spend in it, all of that extra work is worth it for a good night’s sleep.
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