Sleeping 8 hours a day means you spend a third of your day laying in bed. That is reason enough for you to get a good mattress. A good mattress will prevent your body from experiencing discomfort that will result in fatigue and long term health problems.
If you’ve been shopping for a mattress recently, you would know how confusing it is to choose a mattress that is just right. There are several types, sizes, thickness, firmness and all that stuff that makes everything so confusing that you will end up overwhelmed. This buying guide will try to help you choose the best mattress that is perfect for you.
When Should You Buy a New Mattress?
There is no exact science on determining when to buy a new mattress. But there are ways to tell if you need a new one.
- If you have had your mattress for longer than 6-7 years, it may be time to change it, especially if your body has changed during that time span. However, if the mattress is still in good condition and you aren’t experiencing any discomfort when you wake up, there’s no need to buy a new one.
- If you recently got married or your partner is moving in with you, your twin, XL or full sized mattress will be too small for two people. Time to buy a bigger sized mattress. Here is a guide for couples.
- If you are experiencing any discomfort or pain when you wake up, it is a tell tale sign that your mattress might be a problem.
- And the obvious is when your mattress is showing signs of wear and tear such as sagging, lumps and other problems that are not covered by the warranty.
Is it Better to Buy Online or in Retail Stores?
You can buy a mattress the old fashioned way of going to a retail store or you can buy it online. Here are some advantages and disadvantages of both.
- Retail Stores
The biggest advantage of going to a retail store to buy a mattress is you can see, feel and try it for a few minutes. However, you should not decide which mattress to buy after laying on it for a few minutes. The feel of the mattress can change a lot over a short period of time, especially after it has been “broken in”. You need to test it for at least a couple of weeks, 30 days or more recommended, in order to get the feel of the mattress and decide if it is indeed the one that you need.
As for disadvantages, there are quite a few and here they are. First, you have to deal with a salesperson that may or may not have your best interest in mind. A salesperson’s primary objective is to get a sale and they are trained to get it. Another disadvantage is the pressure of choosing if you are the type that just want to get things over with.
The biggest disadvantage is the price. Retail stores have huge overhead expenses and all of these are passed onto consumers. The price of the mattress reflects all these expenses and you will have to pay for it if you decide to buy there.
Important: Don’t be fooled by “Mattress Sales or Discounts”. This is practiced by a lot of stores wherein they will show you the list price and beside it is the discounted price. The true price of the mattress is in fact, the discounted price, and the list price is just an inflated figure. This is done to make buyers think that they are getting a bargain when in reality, they are not.
- Buying Online
When shopping online for a mattress, one major disadvantage is that you can’t try the mattress. This is usually remedied by having a trial period wherein you get to test the mattress for X amount of days depending on the terms of the seller. If you are unsatisfied, you can get a full refund or you can exchange the mattress.
As for the advantages of shopping online, there are plenty. First, you get to do it at the comfort of your own home and you get to read reviews from customers that have tried the mattress that you are thinking of buying. You also won’t be pressured into choosing one by pesky salesmen.
Second, you can look at different mattress brands and product lines easily. Third, and the biggest advantage, is that there are sellers that offer very affordable mattresses because they have very low overhead. They don’t have unnecessary expenses and this allows them to offer very competitive prices.
What to Look for in a Mattress?
A lot of mattresses that are being sold today are full of features such as multi-layer designs, luxurious covers and more. These are great features to have and they can definitely enhance the overall sleeping experience but you shouldn’t decide which mattress to buy based on the extra features.
- Comfort, Support and other features
The two most important factors in deciding which mattress to buy are comfort and support. The best mattress that you can possibly have is one that can properly support your body to prevent back pain and be comfortable enough that you won’t toss and turn as you sleep. This allows you to have deeper sleep and you will wake up refreshed.
A basic mattress is composed of a support layer and a comfort layer. The support layer is the one at the bottom and its job is to make sure that your body is properly aligned while you sleep so you won’t develop body aches. The comfort layer is at the top and the one you actually sleep on. It should be able to relieve pressure off of your body as you sleep so that you can stay in one position for a long period of time.
As for how soft or how firm your mattress should be, it depends on your sleeping position. Choosing the right firmness level ensures that your body is properly supported so that you spine stays in a good position while you sleep.
Other mattress features are motion isolation, extra air channel layers for temperature regulation, flippable mattress with different firmness on each side, interchangeable layers and more. These are great features to have but you don’t need them all. You just have to choose which ones you will actually need and start from there.
Mattress warranty is important because it will allow you to have peace of mind for a big purchase such as a mattress. A longer mattress warranty is not necessarily better than a shorter one because different manufacturer’s provide different terms. Here is a complete guide on mattress warranties.
- Frames and Foundations
A mattress is best paired with a quality frame or foundation because it will allow the mattress to perform as intended by the manufacturer. If you are planning on buying a foundation with your new mattress, you should get one that meets the foundation guidelines set by the mattress manufacturer. A foundation that does not meet the guidelines can void the warranty.
Mattress Types – Which One Should I Choose?
There are several mattress types and all of them have their advantages and disadvantages. All of these will be able to offer support and comfort, the two most important things in a bed. However, some mattress types can perform better in certain areas and they offer extra features. As to which mattress type to choose, it is entirely up to your preference, budget and what features you are looking for in a mattress.
Main Mattress Types
- Memory Foam
Memory foam is a fairly new technology when compared to other mattress types. It is the best in providing comfort because the foam contours to your body’s shape as your body releases heat. However, one major drawback to this type of mattress is its tendency to act as a heat trap. Fortunately, manufacturers are actively trying to remedy this problem by designing their mattresses with additional layers of air channels or using gel-infused memory foam instead of the standard one. Continue
Latex is gaining popularity in the US in recent years. One of the reasons why it is not as popular as memory foam, air or spring mattresses is the price. It is an expensive material, especially if it is all-natural. However, we think that the price tag of a latex mattress is justified because of all the benefits that you will get. For starters, it is the most durable type of mattress, it can last up to 10, 15, 20 years or more. It provides comfort as well as a memory foam without the “sinking” feeling. Continue
An innerspring mattress is the most common and most widely used type of mattress in the US. The reason for this is familiarity and affordability. It is one of the oldest types of mattress and many people are used to having them. A high quality innerspring mattress can give you the proper comfort and support that you need without the hefty price tag. Continue
Choosing the right mattress means that you have to choose the right size. Below are the different sizes that you can choose from.
- Crib Mattress – Measures between 27 5/8″ to 28 5/8″ wide and 51 3/4″ to 53″ long.
- Twin – 38″ wide x 75″ long. Ideal for children and teenagers.
- Twin XL – 38″ wide x 80″ long. For children and teenagers that are bigger than average.
- Full – 54″ wide x 75″ long. It’s the same length as a twin mattress but wider. Ideal for single adults but lately, more parents are buying this size for their children.
- Full XL – 54″ wide x 80″ long. For single adults that are taller than the average person.
- Queen – 60″ wide x 80″ long. For couples that don’t require a large sleeping area. Also ideal for guest rooms.
- King – 76″ wide x 80″ long. The same length as a queen mattress but wider. Best for couples that are larger or if they prefer larger sleeping areas.
- Cal-King – 72″ wide x 84″ long. Practically the same as a king mattress but longer and narrower by 4 inches.
Protecting your Mattress
A mattress is a big purchase, especially if you buy one that provides the optimal comfort and support along with extra features. Normally, you want your mattress to stay in tip top shape for a long period of time so that it will give your body the best possible rest. Here are some tips that we would like to share to accomplish that.
Using a quality foundation can lessen the wear and tear on your mattress because a foundation can act as another layer of shock absorption. Your body weight can be evenly distributed between the mattress itself and the foundation.
Get a mattress protector. A mattress protector, also called a mattress pad, can protect your mattress from sweat, soiling, bed bugs and other liquids that can damage it. It can also help if you ever need to return a mattress or you need to use the warranty because manufacturers can void the warranty or refuse the return if the mattress is soiled.
These are the basic things that you need to protect your mattress. Here is a more in-depth guide on protecting your mattress.
Basically, the most important factors in buying a mattress are comfort and support and getting the right size. A mattress that can give you these is a good mattress. As for extra features and what type of mattress you should be buying, it’s all down to personal preference and your budget.