The search for the perfect mattress can be overwhelming. Reason being, there are too many mattresses to choose from, all made of different materials, offering different levels of comfort for different people and too much personal analysis to do.
You are thus advised to arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible about mattresses when shopping for one. I am therefore going to share my knowledge in this field focusing on the different types of mattresses, their pros and cons and also, who they are best for.
Types of mattresses/ models:
These are the most widely used mattresses by far. They feature coil springs that offer great support. For innerspring mattresses, you will most likely come across:
Open Spring Mattresses: These are also known as either continuous coil mattresses or open coil mattresses. They contain numerous springs all coiled from one long piece of metallic wire. They also feature a border wire or rod to help maintain the shape while providing structure. They give great value for money.
The only downfall with them is that their sides are not hand-stitched, rather, they are machine-stitched. They are also lighter than most other models hence easy to turn. Most people pick them for less used beds, mostly guest bedrooms because they are less supportive if used occasionally.
Pocket spring mattresses: These are made from small individual springs that are housed in their own pockets of fabric thus they are more luxurious. This design enables each of the springs to move independently thus providing more and better support compared to the open spring mattresses.
They come in soft, medium and firm versions and they’re more breathable compared to latex or memory foam mattresses. Thus, if you hate sleeping hot, you can get one of these for better breathability.
They also make a good option for people who are sharing a bed because the separate springs cater for their different weight and needs and don’t make you roll towards your partner unintentionally.
However, these are heavy thus turning them becomes quite a task and you sometimes they are filled with some natural materials that may agitate allergies such as lamb’s wool.
Note: If you have not done your homework right, you might fall into the trap of “more coils equals more comfort.” However, research has shown that this is not necessarily true.
Innerspring mattresses are plenty in the market with various variations. They come in various firmness levels, different pillow top fluffiness, and most importantly, broad price ranges. Thus, any buyer is likely to get one that fits their needs perfectly.
In most cases, innerspring mattresses lack a direct relationship between comfort and price. Some lack enough cushion required for proper support which results to aching backs. One thing for sure though is that most cheaper innerspring mattresses are cheaply made thus not worth the purchase.
Most spring mattresses offer firmer support thus ideal for most very overweight sleepers as they will not only sleep better but they will also get in and out of bed with ease. Also, research shows that spring mattresses make a great choice for almost anyone so if you are having a hard time deciding which one to get, you can have a deeper look in this category.
Check out the best innerspring mattresses here.
Memory foam mattresses are best known for contouring to the sleepers’ body shapes as they respond to temperature and weight thus better comfort. This has made them grow in popularity and most manufacturers and creating more of them.
There are also many memory foam toppers with different densities to meet many sleepers’ needs. Memory foam mattresses have hypo-allergenic properties thus people with allergic issues tend to buy them most. Due to the contouring properties, memory foam mattresses are also known for relieving pressure on the sleepers’ joints thus better sleep.
However, some people don’t like their sinking motion and also because they tend to get warmer as they are not as breathable. But, because they maintain posture and are best in aligning the sleepers’ spine horizontally for side sleepers, they are perfect for people who have back problems or need extra support.
Memory foam mattresses are the best for reducing pressure points while relieving pain as they mold to your body shape and they also maintain their posture. They also absorb movement, so again, they make a great choice for people sharing a bed as your partners turning and tossing won’t disturb you.
Memory foam mattresses are temperature sensitive because they mold with your body. Hence, they tend to get very hot as you sleep. Also, there is a huge complaint of the memory foam mattresses emitting an unpleasant chemical smell once opened even though it fades away with proper airing.
If you don’t have temperature issues, a memory foam mattress will be a great buy. Also, if you find most other mattresses to be uncomfortable, a memory foam mattress is almost a guarantee of comfort. Lastly, if you are dealing with chronic fatigue and muscle pain, a memory foam mattress can be of great help.
Check out the Best Memory Foam Mattresses.
If you are looking for a highly breathable mattress, a latex mattress will be a good choice. These mattresses are made of latex foam, and you will either get one made of natural latex, which has more buoyancy and elastic characteristic, or a blend of natural and synthetic latex.
Latex mattresses are best for comfort and durability, and those made from natural latex foam make a great choice for anyone with asthma or allergies. They are rather firm so they might not be a great fit for people who need really soft mattresses, but they offer uniform support for the longest time.
Most people will tell you that latex mattresses make the best buy and this has been proven over time. The mattresses have been on the market for many years, and most users are satisfied as they are made of the best materials. They are very firm and supportive, and they offer great comfort. And, unlike memory foam mattresses, latex mattresses push back thus offering more support.
Latex mattresses fall on the firmer side so they might not be the best for people who prefer softer mattresses.
Latex mattresses offer a great balance in comfort and support, and they are the best for relieving back pain. And, the latex toppers are great too so you can get either the mattress or the topper.
These mattresses may look like innerspring mattresses, but instead of coils, they feature adjustable air-filled chambers with a top foam layer. Initially, air mattresses were used by people with spinal-cord injuries as they would lie in bed for an extended period but they later gained popularity among people of all walks due to their great features.
The mattresses allow you to adjust the air such that they are inflated to your desired firmness. They come with an attached electric pump for this purpose. You can also get one that allows you to inflate either half, mostly if you will be sharing it, to have the perfect comfort for each of you. However, adjusting the air can be annoying as the pumping produces too much noise, so you are advised to do it during the day.
Due to the option to inflate either half as desired, air mattresses make a great choice for people sharing a bed. Also, you are free to inflate it to the desired firmness hence a great all-around choice. Again, you can easily get an air topper for these mattresses just as you would for a memory foam or latex mattress.
Some people may not pump their air beds to the best firmness for their body or sleeping positions, and this may lead to discomfort or backaches. Again, failure to get an air mattress with multiple chambers might result to your bed popping up if you sit on the opposite end so you should be careful when shopping.
These mattresses make a great buy for people who share a bed but have different firmness preference as they can inflate either side to their desired firmness.
Check out the best air mattresses.
You will come across mattresses featuring most other materials found in the other major types. These are called hybrids, and they are constructed from various combinations of either memory, polyurethane foams, coils, latex or other materials. The main aim for this type of combination is to minimize certain cons such as heat or sinking while maximizing on certain benefits such as support and firmness.
For example, a hybrid mattress of memory foam and latex delivers great bounce, responsiveness and cooling thanks to the latex, while also providing great support and pressure relief from the memory foam. Separately, latex and memory foam have their major pros and cons but combined each extreme is either minimized or maximized.
The hybrid mattresses are best for any sleepers looking to rip the best from all worlds, i.e. support, cooling, and comfort. They make great a great all-around option for most sleepers.
Factors to consider when picking a mattress
Now that we have looked at the various mattresses that you are likely to come across in your search for one let’s look at the considerations that you should make to ensure that you are not partying with a raw deal.
As discussed above, mattress types are many on the market. Each has its unique features and various pros and cons. Thus, before making any step, you should understand the various mattress types as this is an eye-opener on what you should be looking for. Luckily, the information above is detailed so deciding which type to go for could be easy.
Different mattresses have different firmness levels. Also, mattresses from the same models will have different firmness level ranging from the very soft-soft, medium-firm, and firm-very firm. You might know the kind of firmness to go for from past experiences with other mattresses, but certain factors such as your weight, body size, sleeping positions, whether or not you have chronic pain among others will dictate the level of firmness you should go for.
Heavy people compress the mattresses more hence they tend to sink on softer mattresses. Also, firmer mattresses are more durable, so if you are going for durability, a firm mattress is what you should get. On the other hand, different sleeping positions: stomach, back, side or a combination, require different firmness because otherwise sleeping can be uncomfortable.
The easiest way to find the right mattress firmness is first to evaluate yourself and know the level of firmness that’s recommended for each factor.
Just to summarize on sleeping positions as I have touched on it in the firmness point, back sleepers should buy a medium-firm mattress, side sleepers should buy a soft-medium mattress, and stomach sleepers should buy a medium-firm mattress.
You are either heavy (230 pounds and more) and if you fall in this category, a medium-firm mattress will be ideal. Average weight ranges from 130-230 pounds and people in this category should go for the medium-firm mattress if they don’t have other conditions that would need a different firmness level. Lastly, we have the light people ranging from 0-130 pounds, and soft-medium firm mattresses will be ideal.
Even with all the consideration, the ultimate determinant of what mattress you should get is your budget. Luckily, the market has all the prices to offer. There are the cheapest and the most expensive mattresses, but there are also those that fall in between. In short, whatever your budget is, there is a mattress out there for you.
Mattress Shopping Tips
Lie down on it
Unless you are buying your mattress online, always take some time and lie down on it, ten minutes will be enough to guide your decision.
Check return policy
When shopping at a warehouse club or online, most of the time tryouts are not an option. In this case, you should pay more attention to the return policy. You should be sure if the store is offering a credit towards another mattress or a full refund if you are not satisfied with your purchase. Again, confirm if you will be paying for the pickup if you request an exchange or refund.
Try to negotiate the price
Give it a try. You never know. Also, you can ask for extras but most importantly, ensure that you are getting the best price there is on the market.
Understand the warranty
If you are not sure about any segment of the warranty, ask before buying the mattress. Understand what it covers and the conditions set for it to be valid at the time of claim.
On delivery day
You can get all excited about the delivery but take your time to inspect it thoroughly before accepting it. Inspect the mattress together with the box spring if you ordered one too. Also, ensure that it says “all-new materials.”