August 9, 2019 12:00 PM PT

How to Choose a Mattress

Read more about Mattress

Buying a mattress? You'll have plenty of options. Read on for ways to find the best type for your needs and budget.

Many mattresses claim to last 8–10 years. However, it may be time to shop for a new one if:

  • Your mattress has a dent or sinking area
  • You don't feel fully rested when waking up
  • You wake up with aches and pains

Here are a few factors to consider before you start shopping:

Sleeping Position
Do you sleep on your side, back, stomach, or a combination of all three? Each sleeping position requires a different type of mattress.

For instance, side sleepers need a soft mattress that provides support to pressure points, while back and stomach sleepers need a firm mattress to support the body.

Firmness
The mattress industry uses a firmness scale of 1–10.

  • 1–2 are very soft
  • 3–4 offer a little more firmness (ideal for side sleepers)
  • 5–7 are medium-firm and good for combination sleepers
  • 8–10 are best for stomach and back sleepers

Temperature
If you tend to freeze or sweat at night, you'll need a mattress that caters to your need for a cooler or warmer surface.

Health Concerns
If you have allergies or asthma, you may need a mattress made of a specific material. For physical ailments, you may require a mattress that offers support on specific pressure points.

Does Your Weight Play a Role in Choosing a Mattress?
Typically, the more you weigh, the thicker or firmer the mattress should be to feel comfortable and for the mattress to last. Choose a mattress that supports your body weight rather than allows it to sink in.

How Much Should You Pay for a New Mattress?

Setting a budget for a mattress can be difficult, especially with all the options at your disposal.

$1,000 is a Benchmark
If you know $1,000 is way outside your budget, stick to foam or innerspring mattresses. If you can comfortably afford $1,000 or more, consider options like latex, hybrids, and airbeds.

Expensive Doesn't Equal Quality
Price alone is not a measure of the quality, durability, or longevity of any mattress. Research your options in stores and also read brand reviews online.

Budget for Applicable Fees
Most stores will charge fees for delivery, set up, and removal of the old mattress. Some stores include the fees in the price of the mattress, while others charge separately.

Know Your Options

Before you shop for a mattress, familiarize yourself with the different types available. You can choose the best fit based on your preferred sleeping position and preferences.

Here are your choices:

Innerspring
These mattresses contain coils that provide support and a little bounce. You can choose from a variety of mattress tops, giving it a different feel. Typically, the more coils, the firmer the mattress.

  • Continuous Coil
    Mattresses contain one big coil throughout the mattress. These mattresses tend to have a longer life span but remain affordable.

  • Pocket Coils
    Are individually "pocketed," which helps reduce motion when two people share a bed.

  • Offset Coils
    Set up to avoid squeaking while providing extra support.

Do More Coils Mean a Better Mattress?
Mattresses with more coils should have more support, but the coil material matters. If they are made from thin material, it may not matter how many coils are in the mattress—the level of support will not be adequate.

Memory Foam
Memory foam provides an extra layer of cushion designed to make you feel like you are sinking into the bed. Once you get up, the foam expands back to its original position. Memory foam is often ideal for side sleepers or those with aches and pains.

Gel
Memory foam mattresses tend to be dense, which means there is little airflow throughout the mattress. Gel infused into memory foam, however, helps to dissipate the heat, keeping you cooler and comfortable. Gel mattresses are suitable for individuals who struggle with temperature regulation.

Latex
Latex is a natural material used to make mattresses. It offers a similar amount of pressure relief as memory foam, but with less cushion. Latex tends to be bouncier than memory foam, though.

Hybrid
A hybrid mattress combines coils with memory foam to give you a comfortable middle ground. If you have a hard time choosing between the firmness of an innerspring and the cushiony feeling of a memory foam mattress, a hybrid may be a good option.

Pillowtop
A pillow top mattress is a good option for those looking for extra cushion. You can choose from a variety of materials to suit your needs, such as a cooling or a latex pillow top.

Adjustable Bed
This type is an innerspring or memory foam mattress that adjusts its position to your needs. Adjustable beds are good for those with physical issues or who have trouble finding a comfortable sleeping position.

Edge Support Matters, too
If your mattress doesn't have proper edge support, you may have difficulty getting out of bed. Edge support can also keep you on the mattress when you sleep. When choosing a mattress, sit on the edge to ensure that it has proper support.

What Size Mattress Do You Need?

A mattress should fit comfortably in the room and be a good length for your body. If you share your mattress, consider the room you'll both need to feel comfortable.

The following sizes are standard for each mattress type:

MattressDimensions
Twin38" x 75"
Twin XL38" x 80"
Full53" x 75"
Full XL54" x 80"
Queen60" x 80"
Cal King72" x 84"
King76" x 80"

Shopping for a Mattress

You can shop for a mattress in-store or online. Shopping in the store allows you to:

  • Test Out the Mattress
    Take your time testing out each mattress. Make sure you lie down the way that you sleep and spend a few minutes in that position. Don't feel pressured to get up.

  • Discuss the Price
    The price you see on a mattress isn't necessarily the price you have to pay. Mattress retailers often have as much as 50% wiggle room in the price.

  • Know the Warranty
    Make sure there's a warranty in place for manufacturer's defects, such as coil defects, so that you can get a new mattress should you end up with a lemon. Most warranties are much longer than the actual life of the mattress, so there is no need to pay extra for a 25-year warranty.

Know the Terms
Ask about any trial periods or return policies that accompany the warranty. Is it a full refund, an even exchange, or something else? Many mattress stores give you up to 120 days to change your mind.

If you don't feel the need to test a mattress in person, consider buying online. You'll typically save a few dollars this way because you cut out the middleman.

How to Make Your Mattress Last Longer

Buying a mattress is an investment. Read on for some tips to protect yours.

Rotate
Rotating your mattress at least every three months puts less stress on one side of the mattress. If you rotate it four times a year, each area will have time to restore itself.

Change Your Bedding Weekly
Cleaning your bedding weekly can prevent sweat and oil released from the body to leak into the mattress, causing the fibers to wear down faster.

Add a Mattress Pad
To protect your mattress even further from body sweat, oils and even spills, consider adding a mattress pad. Some mattress pads add an extra layer of cushion and comfort to the mattress.

Don't Jump
If you have kids or pets, allowing them to jump on the bed can damage the mattress.

Bottom Line

Choosing a mattress is a big decision. To find the best one for you, try different types in person and research online before making a purchase.

More from CreditDonkey:


How Long Does a Mattress Last


How to Get Stains Out of Mattress


How to Buy a Mattress

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