The Ultimate Mattress Buying Guide

author Jodi
Jodi King

May 15 2018 comments- 42

Getting a good night’s sleep is a bigger physiological need than most people know. If you don’t get an adequate amount of sleep every night (8 hours on average), your energy levels will likely be low for the majority of the day. Moreover, if you develop a habit of not going to bed around the same time every night, you may run the risk of developing a sleeping disorder or worse. Being comfortable in your bed is just one part of ensuring that the sleep you are getting is of high quality; the other is sleeping very deeply. Non-restorative or non-REM sleep can be as bad for your body as lack of sleep, as you aren’t able to give your bodily organs the rest that they require. This is especially important because between 50-70 million Americans of all ages suffer from sleep-related problems.

As we mentioned, a necessary prerequisite for good sleep is a comfortable, supportive and durable mattress. Depending on your favorite sleeping position, body weight and preferred support level, you should choose the mattress that best suits your needs. In this article, we will discuss some of the factors that you should consider before buying your perfect mattress. But first, let’s take a look at some criteria to consider when searching for the right one:

Durability

There are plenty of factors that you probably didn’t even know about that can affect how you experience a mattress, ranging from size, motion transfer, pressure resistance to sinkage and softness. If you analyze before you buy and select the mattress that meets your personal needs, you will be more likely to keep the mattress for a long time.

Sleeping Position

Most people sleep either on their backs, stomachs, or sides. Depending on your favorite sleeping position, you should choose a mattress that is designed specifically to provide you with the ideal sleeping experience.

mattress buying guide

Customization

Some leading mattress providers (like Saatva) also give you the ability to customize your mattress according to your specific needs and preferences.

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These aforementioned points are only 3 of the countless reasons why you should continue reading as we offer suggestions for how to choose the right mattress:

Is it the right time for you to start?

If you aren’t able to get a substantial amount of high-quality sleep every night of the week, then you should start questioning the effectiveness of your mattress. For example, if it’s a cheap mattress and you have gotten some years out of it, then it’s likely time for a change. Even if you paid good money for your mattress, but it now seems worn out and unsupportive, you need to start looking for a new one. Never compromise on a good night’s sleep; even a single night of sleep deprivation can lead to performance impairment that’s equal to that caused by blood alcohol content of 0.1% – which is above the legal driving limit.

What are your options?

Once you have decided that you need a new mattress, the next step is to find out about all the available mattress types. In general, there are 9 different kinds of mattresses: memory foam, gel, innerspring, pillow tops, water bed, air bed, latex, adjustable base, and hybrid mattresses. All of these have their own unique features, and you should consider the type that will be best for your budget, needs and sleeping habits. Hybrid mattresses are normally crafted using different aspects of one these 9 mattress types, so it’s always worth exploring this option.

mattress buying guide

Motion transfer and disturbance

This factor is particularly important if you intend to share your bed with someone else. The motion transfer of a mattress can be defined as the amount of disturbance caused by the movement of a person on one side of the mattress to the other side of the mattress. For example, with mattresses with high motion transfer, if a person on the left side of the mattress moves or turns, the person on the right side might be able to feel it. This can lead to disruption in sleep.

Firmness

Even though it’s recommended by sleep experts that you get a mattress with medium firmness if you want to relieve back pain and have a great night’s sleep, there’s nothing wrong with going for a softer or firmer mattress, depending on your preferences. Just make sure that you inquire about the mattress’s firmness prior to purchasing.

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Warranty

Another obvious factor you need to consider is the mattress’s warranty. Some vendors offer a lifetime warranty, while others offer protection for only a few years. Make sure that you are aware of and satisfied with the warranty offered so you can have peace of mind that your investment is protected.

Try before you buy

A lot of the leading mattress vendors offer sleep trial periods for their mattresses, which gives you the luxury of trying a mattress out before committing to buying. If and when it’s offered, make sure that you try before you buy.

Temperature control and breathability

Your mattress should have high breathability and an ability to regulate temperature. Normally, mattresses that are good at temperature control have thin, breathable covers made up of soft materials like wool and cotton. Some mattresses also allow you to control your mattress’s temperature, making them adjustable to your temperature preference.

Final Word

When it comes to getting a good night’s sleep, you should never compromise! A poorly rested body can be vulnerable to many medical risks. In order to sleep peacefully and adequately, you need to get yourself a mattress that is a good fit for your body and sleep style, and that supports it in the best way possible. In this article, we shared some of the most important factors that you need to consider before buying a mattress. Whatever you do, ensure that you try out the mattress for several weeks before paying for it. Be sure to go for the mattress type that has been built specifically to cater to your specific needs.

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Questions & Answers

Guest
Carl

I’m 6’3” , 300 lbs I have a king mattress, but worn out.i would like to try a foam gel. I’m also on a tight budget.oh I’m 68 year old also lol. What kind of mattress would recommend? Thank you!

Guest
Jodi King

If you would like a foam gel mattress, you should consider Nectar or DreamCloud. If you like a taller mattress, which can make it easier to get into and out of bed, DreamCloud is 15 inches tall. Nectar, on the other hand, is 11 inches tall. Nectar is lower in price, but both of these mattresses allow you to pay in low monthly payments by choosing “Affirm” as your payment method at checkout.
Here is our DreamCloud review: https://top5-mattresses.com/reviews/dreamcloud/ .
Here is our Nectar review: https://top5-mattresses.com/reviews/nectar/

Guest
June

If I love my current SWEDA mattress that is composed of urethane foam 49%, Latex 45%. What kind of mattress do you recommend?
I’m moving to a condo where the stairs only allow me to get a mattress in a box.
Thank you!

Guest
Jodi King

Check out the Mattress in a Box page to see the most recommended choices: https://top5-mattresses.com/mattress-in-a-box/.

Guest
Christopher Paras

Sleeping Position, you talked about typical positions, but what is best materials etc… for each?

Guest
Jodi King

Hi Christopher,
To learn more about the best mattresses for different sleep positions, we’ve got a great article for you called Which Mattress is Best for your Sleep Style? https://top5-mattresses.com/articles/which-mattress-is-best-sleep-style/ . Let me know if you have any other questions!

Guest
Florence Welch

It sure got my attention when you mentioned the importance of firmness in choosing a bed mattress in order to relieve back pain and ensure a good night’s sleep. My son is suffering from back pains due to his scoliosis. That is why we are looking for the right bed that is firm enough to minimize the pain he experiences from laying down.

Guest
Audrey Taylor

Time for a new mattress. I’m 70 years old, spend a lot of time in bed. Normally a side sleeper. Laying on my side now hurts my hips really bad.
I dont like the memory foam, as it let’s you sink. It feels creepy to me, I’d never get any sleep. It seems like all the mattress top layer if the memory foam. What innerspring pillow top mattress doesn’t have it?

Guest
Jodi King

You may want to consider the Saatva mattress, which provides 3 firmness levels that you can choose between. While their medium firm level is recommended for side sleepers, you can always choose their firmest comfort level to really avoid any feeling of sinking.

Guest
Nancy

We bought an EVE but it is far too hot for me .
I’m middle aged so realise that hormones are an issue . A thermoregulator topper does not help . My husband sleeps well .
What do you suggest ?

Guest
Jodi King

Are you located in the UK? We have a page full of UK mattress reviews at https://top5-mattresses.com/uk/. You should check out the Nectar mattress review. This mattress has a variety of cooling features, plus a 1-year trial period. If you don’t like the mattress, you can return it for free.

Guest
John Yager

I have a pillow top mattress with a box spring under it. Do I still need the box spring using one of the mattress in a box type mattresses? I am an 80-year-old man who has urinary incontinence and diabetic neuropathy such that I wake up about every 3 hours either to use my urinal or take medication for pain in my feet. The mattress I have has developed a swayed edge where I sit taking care of my problems. Which mattress in a box would you recommend? I need to get more sleep.

Guest
Jodi King

While a box spring isn’t necessary, you may want to keep your box spring or use some sort of foundation/base just to give your mattress enough height so that it will be easier for you to get into/out of bed. You may like the Nectar mattress (https://top5-mattresses.com/reviews/nectar/), which comes with a 365 night sleep trial and a lifetime warranty.

Guest
Ed Riley

I have a herniated disc at L5 and need an adjustable bed for good sleep. I sleep on my side. I don’t like a stiff mistress but need hs elf for my back. Any suggestions

Guest
Jodi King

I am not a doctor so cannot make medical recommendations. If you sleep on your side and want to choose the firmness of your mattress, you may want to try the Ecosa mattress. It comes with three layers inside and is designed so you can easily rearrange the layers at home. By doing this, you can experiment with different levels of firmness. You can read the review here: https://top5-mattresses.com/reviews/ecosa/.

Guest
Kay

I’m a stomach sleeper my pillow top mattress has seen better days what do you suggest. I wake up every morning with a sore back now

Guest
Jodi King

Hi Kay,
Great question! You should read our article, Which Mattress is Best for your Sleep Style (https://top5-mattresses.com/articles/which-mattress-is-best-sleep-style/). It sounds like it’s time for you to get a new one since you are waking up sore every morning. You should probably consider a firmer mattress, like Saatva, which allows you to choose your firmness level (read the review here: https://top5-mattresses.com/reviews/saatva/).

Guest
Sandy

We currently have a mattress and box spring. We will be purchasing a new mattress, should we also replace the box spring or doesn’t it matter ?

Guest
Jodi King

If your box spring has broken slats or seems to be sagging, it is a good idea to replace it. Many mattress brands, like Saatva, say that use of a box spring with their mattress is not required, so you also may be able to do without.

Guest
K. Williams

I am a side and back sleeper I also weigh over 300 lbs. I always wake up with severe lower back pain which last for as long as it takes me to walk around for about 5 minutes. But in that 5 minutes I am almost doubled over in pain. I like a firm mattress but I need to purchase something that will relieve my temporary pain and allow me not to dread going to bed at night Please help

Guest
Jodi King

I’m sorry to hear that you’re in so much pain. Since we don’t have any medical professionals on staff, we can’t tell you how to resolve your back pain. If you want to be able to choose the firmness of your mattress, however, you should consider Saatva. You may also find our article on the Best Mattresses for Heavy Bodies helpful.

Guest
Holly

My husband and I are on the heavy side and our current mattress that we bought from a local furniture store 3 years ago has now sank in on both sides with a bulge in the middle. I have a back problem from an accident so in looking for a good mattress that does not break the bank. Any ideas?

Guest
Jodi King

Given what you describe, you may want to consider Dreamcloud or even Ecosa mattresses. Dreamcloud is very supportive and comes with a 365-night trial period, so it will give you plenty of time to test it out without risk if you decide to return it. Ecosa is less expensive than Dreamcloud, and it’s almost like 3 mattresses in one since you can actually rearrange the internal layers of the mattress to get the desired feel. Keep in mind, however, that Ecosa has a shorter trial period of 100 days. Of course, as we are not medical professionals, we cannot claim… Read more »

Guest
Belinda Tafota

Looking for a comfortable mattress for a great nights rest in full or queen.

Guest
Jodi King

Hi Belinda,

Have you considered the Saatva mattress? It is available in both full and queen, plus you can choose your desired firmness level and height.

Guest
Kim Starnes

Looking for a king mattress that want develop a hump in the middle. Each side of our bed has a dip while the middle has a hump. We paid a lot for it not expecting this to happen. Any suggestion on the best king mattress to purchase? Thank you!

Guest
Jodi King

The mattresses that we recommend all come with great warranties that cover just the sort of problem you talk about. You may want to look into the Nectar mattress in particular, which offers a Forever Warranty that covers indentations of greater than 1.5″. You can read the full review of Nectar here: https://top5-mattresses.com/reviews/nectar/.

Guest
Susan

Great article! I am shopping for a new mattress. I am allergic to latex and see that many of these mattresses have a latex core. I am looking for a medium- medium/firm mattress.
Any suggestions would be helpful.

Guest
Jodi

Have you considered a memory foam mattress? https://top5-mattresses.com/memory-foam/

Guest
Sheree Grose

I have back and hip trouble what is the best mattress

Guest
Jodi

Check out our page dedicated to Back Pain & Mattresses! Saatva is a great choice since you can customize the firmness level to fit your preferences.

Guest
cassandra Cooke

I had a firm Temperpedic mattress. It was too hard and caused pain. So I bought the soft Temperpedic mattress. Still have a lot of pain – I think bc it’s not firm enough, and it sleeps hot. These mattresses were very expensive, hot, and not doing the trick. I am 49 and deal w a high degree of all over body pain (it’s tender to touch me pretty much everywhere) and have severe Daily back pain significantly interferes w daily activity. Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated. I’m desperate to find something that will aid with relief.

Guest
Lavada Marion

We need a extra long full mattress

Guest
Jodi

While Twin sizes come in extra long (Twin XL), full size mattresses do not. A Twin XL measures 80″ long whereas a full mattress usually measures 75″ long.

Guest
Carmen Alcantar

I sleep on my back, side and stomach

Guest
Ann

I weight 145, spouse 245, I have lower back issues. He tends to have neck and shoulder issues when sleeping. Not sure if a memory foam with cooling or hybrid would be better. Things we are looking for.. support, nothing that sleeps hot, chemical free, edge support, medium but still feels soft, Motionless when he moves, works with adjustable base. Tried puffy.. it’s ok but not for us, tried beauty rest legend.. sunk in an killed my lower back.. any suggestions. So say memory foam with cooling better… others say hybrid? Just ordered sealy chill silver but if it doesn’t… Read more »

Guest
Jodi

Hi Ann, since I’m not a doctor, I cannot advice you on how to alleviate your pain. You may want to consider the Saatva though. The addition of springs makes it a good choice for cooling (more breathability) plus you can choose the firmness level you desire.

Guest
Cindy

How was the Sealy Chill Silver?
Need a new mattress, have hip and back pain. I sleep all different positions.

Guest
Jodi

Hi Cindy, unfortunately since I’m not a doctor, I can’t make any medical recommendations. That being said, we do have a review of the Sealy Chill (also called the Cocoon) mattress! This mattress is available in your choice of medium-soft or extra-firm, so you can decide based on your preference. The medium-soft is generally considered better for people who sleep in multiple positions though whereas the extra firm is better for those who just sleep on their backs. Hope this helps!

Guest
Eugene Mahaney

Is a puffy mattress the best one?

Guest
Jodi

Puffy is a great mattress. They offer three different models, are made in the USA, and come with a trial period and free shipping. Which mattress is best for you will depend on your needs and preferences. For example, Puffy contains memory foam so if you don’t like memory foam, it would not be the best choice for you.

Guest
Twila Holmes

I’m looking for a mattress will pillow top on both sides.

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