Blog > Mattress Buying Guide for 2023: How to Test In-Store
Getting a new mattress is a worthwhile investment in both your overall health and wellbeing. In the past decade, the online mattress industry has grown exponentially and is valued at billions of dollars; it’s easy to say that sleep, and making sure you get the best sleep, is a big business. There are hundreds of mattresses to choose from. Not only are there hundreds of mattresses to choose from, now you have to consider various materials and features designed for different sleep positions, body types, and allergies.
If you are shopping for a new mattress or are considering upgrading from your current mattress, it can be difficult to know where to start looking. How do you know you’re making the right choice? How do I know what mattress will meet my needs? What do I need to consider when testing in-store?
The following guide can help you decide what to look for and will help you ensure you find the perfect mattress. Read on to learn more about how to choose the best mattress for you and advice on how to test a mattress in stores.
If you think it’s time for a new mattress, you’re probably right! There are no set rules for getting a new mattress. The Sleep Council recommends replacing your mattress every 6-8 years. However, some mattresses, like latex mattresses, are known to last much longer (with a larger up-front cost). High-quality mattresses are more durable than cheaper quality mattresses made with lower-cost materials that can withstand more wear and tear.
Here are a few guidelines from the Better Sleep Council to help you decide if it’s time to toss your old mattress:
Once you’ve decided it is time for a new mattress, you might be wondering what to expect buying a mattress-especially if you haven’t bought a new mattress since the online mattress industry was launched. Today, there are more features of a mattress to consider than just price and size.
Here are a few things before adding a new mattress to your cart.
Comfort is perhaps the most important and obvious factor to consider when getting a new mattress. Testing out a mattress in-store is the best way to judge and test the comfort. This isn’t an option for most online mattresses, which is why these companies offer excellent trials and return policies.
When deciding if a mattress is comfortable, consider your primary sleep position as well as the mattress’s firmness level. If a mattress is too hard or too soft, you will notice aches and pains and tossing and turning. While sleep position does correlate with mattress firmness level, what you think is comfortable is up to your personal preference.
Not sure what firmness level will work for your sleep position? Check out our sleep guides for more information.
If you tend to wake up hot and sweaty, this one’s for you. Many experience “sleeping hot” which is caused by heat retention of the mattress (this usually happens in memory foam mattresses). The good news is that you can now sleep cool as many new mattresses are constructed with advanced materials designed for cooling and maximum airflow.
For those who share a bed, you’ll know how annoying it is to be woken up by the mattress moving when your partner gets in and out of bed or changes sleep positions. Mattresses with poor motion transfer leads to disrupted sleep. If you’re testing in store, bring your partner with you and test it together–changing sleep positions and moving to test out the motion transfer.
Each mattress has varying degrees of edge support, or the maximization of surface area. Mattresses with poor edge support will make it feel like you are going to roll off the bed the closer you get to the edge of the mattress. If you sleep near the edge of the bed, strong edge support is a must. Hybrid and innerspring mattresses usually have the best edge support. Cheaper memory foam mattresses offer less edge support.
A mattress is a big investment and you’ll want to get the best value for your money. When it comes to online mattresses, there are many that are cheaper than name brand mattresses but are of a comparable quality. It is best to purchase a mattress that will last and one that you will find comfortable. Certain materials will also last longer than others. For example, latex, innerspring, and hybrids are more durable than memory foams.
If you are concerned about exposure to chemicals and VOCs, it’s a good idea to do some research on the company’s website to see where they source their materials. Certain mattresses, especially cheaper memory foams are made with materials that contain VOCs, or volatile organic compounds that emit harmful chemicals. If you suffer from allergies, asthma, or have sensitive skin, make sure to review the materials in the mattress you are considering to avoid irritants.
Online only mattresses are priced significantly lower than mattresses. This makes it easier to find a quality mattress at a reasonable price. As we mentioned earlier, online mattress companies can charge less due to decreased overhead. While online mattresses are cheaper, you can find a mattress of comparable or even better quality than more traditional mattresses in retail stores.
When selecting a size for your new mattress, most people will go with the size that fits their current bedframe. If you want to upgrade to a larger size, it is important to consider the size of your room, the sleeping surface area of the mattress, and if you are on a budget deciding whether the mattress size is comparable to or worth the price.
Here’s a rundown of each mattress size available. Not all mattresses will be available in each size, especially Twin XL or California King.
Measurements: 72” x 84”
A California King is the best fit if you want a bigger mattress on par with a King-size but want a longer length. This mattress measures 72” x84” is ideal for taller people who want more leg room.
Measurements: 76” x 80”
Most people want a large, comfy mattress in their master bedroom that can fit two adults as well as the occasional child or pet. The most popular choice for couples and families, a King-size mattress is the widest size available and is large enough for two adults enough space to extend in luxurious comfort.
Measurements: 60” x 80”
A queen mattress is by far the most popular mattress size on the market. With a measurement of 60″ x80″ a Queen-size mattress provides enough space for two people to sleep comfortably. This mattress is an excellent pick for guest bedrooms and smaller-sized master bedrooms.
Measurements: 54″ x 75″
A full mattress is ideal for single sleepers that want more space than a Twin size or for as well as couples with limited space. Full size mattresses are recommended for growing teenagers who are too big for a Twin or Twin XL but don’t have room for a larger mattress. This size is a popular choice for guest bedrooms.
Measurements: 54″ x 75″
Twin XL mattresses are most commonly found in dorm rooms. Try a Twin XL if you want a longer length than a regular twin bed. This mattress size is perfect for growing kids who need some more leg room. While a Twin XL is smaller than a Full, it is the same length as a Queen-size mattress.
Measurements: 39″ x 75″
If you need to save some space or have a smaller bedroom, a Twin mattress is your best bet for both space saving and budget. The smallest mattress size available, a Twin size mattress has much more versatility for designing your space and positing the mattress and bed frame. Running low on space and need to share a bedroom? Two Twin mattresses will help preserve space and provide each person with their own space without overcrowding.
When deciding a new mattress, the first aspect to consider is the type of mattress you want to buy. With even more mattresses than ever available for purchase, it can be difficult to decide which one to select. Read on to learn more about each type of mattress, pros, cons, and features.
This is probably the type of mattress most people think of. The traditional innerspring mattress is constructed with and supported by coils and padded fabric and upholstery like foams or fibers. Other types of mattresses like memory foam and hybrids have grown in popularity, but the classic innerspring is still a popular choice.
Considering an innerspring mattress? Here are a few additional factors to consider.
When it comes to innerspring mattresses, a coil is more than just a coil. There are four different types of coils in innerspring mattresses:
Coil gauge refers to the overall thickness of the coils. Mattress coils are measured in numbered increments, with the average ranging between 12 to 15; the higher the number, the thinner the coil. Thinner coils give the mattress a softer feel while lower gauge, thicker coils give the mattress a firmer feel.
When shopping for an innerspring mattress, make sure to check the coil count. Higher quality mattresses have more coils than lower quality mattresses. Double-check the coil count against the gauge of the coils because if a mattress has a high coil count, the coils might be thinner. Make a note of coil gauge so you are sure to buy a mattress with the firmness you want.
Some innerspring or hybrid mattresses can be flipped, while others can only be rotated. Comfort layers are installed on top and bottom of the coil system in a two-sided, flippable mattress, while the same layers are built on top of the coil system on single-sided mattresses.
Along with innerspring mattresses, foam mattresses are some of the most popular, especially in the online mattress industry. Foams easily fold into boxes, are cost effective, and provide the equal support and pressure relief of an innerspring mattress without the bouncing feeling of an innerspring coil system.
When shopping for a foam mattress, it is important to consider the type of foam material and the foam density. Here’s a rundown of the types of foam used in mattresses as well as foam density to help you choose the best option for you.
Made from a synthetic material called viscoelastic polyurethane foam. Memory foam is ideal for those suffering from back pain as the material is known to promote improved spinal alignment. When selecting a memory foam, make sure to pay attention to the foam density. The density of memory foam is measured in pounds per cubic foot.
Low-density foam measures 3.5 lb/cubic foot and under, medium-density measures between 3.5 lb up to 5 lbs, and high-density foams are 5 lb or more. The higher the density of the base layer, which is often the thickest part of the mattress, the better support the mattress will provide. Density has nothing to do with the firmness of a mattress. However, higher-density foam mattresses provide more support and are more durable than lower-density foam mattresses.
Latex and latex foam mattresses are growing in popularity due to their eco-friendly properties, increasing availability, and longevity. Latex mattresses provide a similar level of support as foams. Latex is supportive, does not retain heat like many memory foams, and the firm surface does not give that “sinking” feeling common in foam mattresses.
These mattresses are usually made with all-natural latex derived from the rubber tree. Synthetic latex is sometimes used as well. Latex is “turned” or processed using two different methods; the Talalay method and the Dunlop method. Both methods of turning remove impurities and pollutants. While the processes are similar, the end product results in different latex textures.
Adding gel to a foam memory foam mattress is another way manufacturers add additional features to their products. The gel is supposed to help dissipate heat, making the mattress cooler and more breathable. Gel materials can also be added for additional support.
Many mattress stores provide exclusive foam materials with names that are unique to them. This is due to the fact that foam manufacturers can produce custom foam blends or combinations for particular retailers. These materials are layered into mattresses and will come in a range of densities and can have additional properties like added support and cooling.
Hybrid mattresses are a combination of a coil system, foam layers, or natural fibers. When people want the advantages of both a coil system and foam, like comfort and support, they lean toward hybrid mattresses. Hybrid mattresses are a popular choice due to their construction and ability to provide the durability and support of springs, as well as the pressure-relieving and body-conforming properties of foam.
Instead of steel coils or synthetic foams, natural mattress manufacturers often use materials like wool, organic cotton, and natural latex. The use of these natural fibers and materials is becoming more popular for the eco-conscious consumer. Since these fabrics are more costly, these beds will almost always cost more than foam or innerspring mattresses.
Natural fibers mattresses are resistant to mildew, mold, dust mites, and bacteria, making them an excellent choice for allergy sufferers and those with sensitive skin. If you want 100% natural latex in your mattress, you’ll need to do some extra testing and research to make sure the mattress is made with authentic natural latex.
Not to be confused with an inflatable mattress, adjustable air mattresses are made with built-in air chambers. The air chambers inside the mattress are connected to a remote that allows users to add or remove air from the mattress. Adding or removing air changes how soft or firm it becomes. Foam or natural fibers are often used in these beds for added comfort and support.
It’s probably been a few decades since you last saw a water bed. However, this 80s throwback trend is still used by many sleepers. Waterbeds have a water chamber as the main support structure and are available in two styles: hard-sided and soft-sided.
A hard-sided waterbed has a water chamber within a rectangular wood frame. A soft-sided waterbed has a water chamber contained within a rectangular frame of rigid foam that is zipped within a cloth casing in a soft-sided waterbed. If you are curious about waterbeds, you can find some updated versions of the classic bed online.
Some mattresses are already equipped with a top. If you want extra support on your mattress, you might want to consider adding a mattress top. You’ve probably heard of, or are even sleeping on one of these mattress toppers.
Looking for some added comfort? Here’s a rundown of each mattress top:
When considering a new mattress, sleep position is often overlooked. Your sleeping position has an impact on the overall comfort of your mattress and your body. No matter how you sleep, we can help you find the ideal mattress that best fits your sleeping style.
A soft to medium-soft firmness mattress with an equal combination of support and body contouring is the best option for side sleepers. A memory foam mattress is a good option as it conforms to the body and relieves pressure. An innerspring mattress with a soft top layer, or any mattress designed to alleviate pressure points in the upper body and hips, is another choice.
Back sleepers will be the most comfortable on foam or hybrid medium-firm mattresses. For optimal comfort, back sleepers need a mattress that provides solid end-to-end support to keep their neck, shoulders, and tailbone aligned.
If you sleep on your stomach, you’ll probably prefer a firm mattress. An excessively soft mattress will cause you to sink too far in, causing your body to overheat and your spine to mis-align. Consider a firm innerspring mattress or a firm foam mattress if you sleep on your stomach most nights. Both can help avoid overheating and provide the comfort you need.
Many have trouble getting into a comfortable position at night that prevents them from getting the sleep they need. Often, these problems can be caused by or eased by a particular mattress. Here are some common sleep problems and some mattress-related solutions.
When you’re sweaty and uncomfortable, it’s tough to get to sleep. If you live in a hot climate or simply sleep hot, avoid buying a plush mattress. These soft surfaces conform to your body and retain body heat. Try an innerspring mattress with coils and springs that allow for easy air circulation. For even more cooling, choose a mattress with a top layer consisting of materials such as cooling gel and copper.
Nothing is more annoying than tossing and turning while trying to sleep If you’re a restless sleeper, you’ll need a large mattress that’s comfortable and accommodating for multiple sleep positions. Think about getting a pressure-relieving memory foam mattress. If you sleep with a partner, choose a mattress with a medium firmness to reduce motion transfer.
When you have allergies, getting a good night’s sleep can be difficult. Itchy eyes, a sore throat, coughing, or a runny nose can keep you awake. If you have allergies, a latex mattress might be the best option for you. This hypoallergenic alternative is soft and breathable, as well as naturally resistant to mold, dust mites, dander, and bacteria. To keep the whole body adequately supported and make it easier to breathe, select one that is medium to medium-firm.
When you’ve finally decided on a mattress, the next step, if you choose to do so, is to try out the mattress in-store. Testing a mattress is more than just lying down for a few minutes; there are several more considerations that you might want to consider. Here are a few tips.
Find out about the trial duration, warranty, and shipping and return policies for the store or brand. Sometimes, the store and brand have different policies. To get the most out of your purchase, double-check the store vs. brand policies. This can help you save money and get your money back if you decide the mattress isn’t the best fit for you.
Most brands offer a trial of about 100 days. This is the ideal time to get used to your new mattress and see how it improves your sleep quality.
To measure the feel of a mattress, experts recommend lying down for at least 15 minutes. Studies show this time is ideal to allow your body to adjust to the bed and judge the bed’s ability to contour to your body. Customers who spend 15 minutes or more testing a mattress are ultimately happier with their choice than those who spend less time, according to Consumer Reports.
The firmness and support of a bed are two of the most important features to consider during the mattress testing process. Be sure to pay special attention to density versus firmness, especially if you are testing a foam mattress. The firmness of a mattress is ultimately determined by your personal preferences and sleep position. You can only find this out by testing.
One of the best ways to learn more about a mattress or any other product is to read customer reviews. You can find reviews on consumer blogs, social media comments, and product websites. It’s an effective way to learn about a product’s consistency and how it’ll work over time. SleePare offers unbiased, in-depth reviews on multiple beds and bedding items. You may also check best-rated mattresses and top-rated pillows based on customer and professional satisfaction scores.
Along with reading reviews, professional sleep experts, like the team at our showrooms, can offer useful insights into the quality or efficiency of a sleep product. Most mattress stores or distributors employ salespeople who have worked in the industry for a long time. So, if you’re stuck with a lot of choices, follow their advice. They can inquire about your preferences and budget before assisting you in selecting an appropriate item.
This might not work at every store, but it’s worth a shot. Most stores have fixed prices and won’t honor this request. Certain specialty chains will be more willing to give you a lower price during major sales. To save money when shopping online, you can easily find a coupon by searching online or signing up for the brand’s email list.
Not all mattresses require a box spring. If you currently have a box spring, consider keeping your box spring if it isn’t broken and is still structurally sound to save money. However, some manufacturers require a box spring for full warranty coverage. Double-check the warranty before deciding on a mattress and find out whether to purchase a box spring.
When checking a bed, always go with your gut. If you don’t think it’s right for you, don’t do it! Even if other people choose a common brand, it may not be ideal for you. Don’t let a salesperson try to pressure you into buying a mattress that doesn’t work for you–don’t worry, this won’t happen at our showrooms! You are the best judge of which mattress is better for you.
The easiest way to determine the firmness of a mattress is to test in-store. Reading hundreds of reviews online can’t replace the sensation of touching and feeling the mattress. The firmness of the mattress is one of the first items to consider after the size. This is a matter of personal taste. It should be based on your level of comfort; there is no such thing as a universal standard of comfort.
Here are a few tips to help you test mattress firmness once you’re in stores.
This is the best way to decide if the mattress is for you. You wouldn’t test driving a car before buying it, so why would you treat a mattress the same way? Lie down for at least 15 minutes, get in your favorite sleep position, and feel free to take a nap! This should give you a clear idea of whether this is the mattress for you.
The terms firmness and support are not interchangeable when it comes to mattresses. Support is objective, while firmness is not. The firmness of a mattress refers to whether you feel the bed is comfortable to you or too firm. There is no one-size-fits-all solution. It is completely up to you to determine how it makes you feel.
The amount of support provided by a mattress indicates how well it helps the spine to retain its alignment and distribute weight equally. Poor support from a mattress can cause muscle aches, back pain, stiffness, and poor sleep.
When purchasing a mattress, it is important to consider both firmness and support.
Your sleep position is often overlooked when selecting a mattress. Each sleep position will benefit from a different firmness. Here’s a quick guide on firmness levels based on sleep position.
Side sleepers– a softer mattress is normally more comfortable for a side sleeper. The best mattress for side sleepers should mold to the body, relieving pressure on the hips and shoulders while also aligning the spine and allowing muscles to relax. Your mattress isn’t ideal for a side sleeper if you wake up with shoulder or hip pain.
Back sleepers– a medium-firm to firm mattress is usually the most comfortable for a back sleeper. Look for a mattress that can support your back and cradle your neck. Personal preference will determine the firmness and comfort level, but it must have adequate support for natural alignment and back support. Sleeping on your back allows the body to align itself naturally.
Stomach sleepers– sleeping on your stomach is known to cause back pain, but it can be difficult to break the habit. A medium-firm mattress is recommended for stomach sleepers. If a mattress is too soft, the weight of your midsection will place pressure on your spine, causing it to curve. When your back is out of balance, your spine loses symmetry, which can cause tingling and numbness in your arms, tossing and turning back and neck pains, and sleep deprivation.
Your weight has more of an impact on your mattress than you think, especially when considering firmness. Sleep and mattress experts recommend heavier people have a firmer mattress and smaller people to go with a softer mattress. A softer mattress could hug a heavier individual a little too tightly, causing an uncomfortable sleep experience. On the other hand, a smaller individual would not be able to sink in comfortably on a firmer mattress.
For taller people, a thicker mattress with better deep compression support is recommended.
Individual preference is no substitute for a numbered scale, but there is a numerical mattress firmness scale that can give you an idea of what to expect from a mattress. The scale ranges from 1 to 10, with soft, medium, and hard being the most common mattress firmnesses. If you can’t decide which firmness is better for you, the middle is the most common.
No one knows mattresses like the experts. At SleePare, our team is well-versed in all things sleep and mattresses. Our trained employees can help you find the best mattress for you based on firmness and personal preference as well as make suggestions to point you in the direction. Do your research online before heading into a store. Our team cares and wants to help you find the best mattress.
Buying a mattress is both a financial and health investment. Like most items, you tend to get what you pay for. Today, you can find a quality mattress that won’t break the bank, and it’s feasible to find a mattress that provides the best support and aligns with your sleep needs for a reasonable price.
Here’s an overview of what you can expect at each mattress price range in a Queen size.
This is the lowest price you can expect to pay for a mattress. Options at this price point are limited. In this range, you will find innerspring, foam, and probably a few hybrid options. Since the brand names might be unrecognizable, it’s a good idea to do some research before purchasing.
Since there are fewer coils and fewer dense foam layers, the durability will be less than that of more expensive options and will most likely provide less support and comfort. If you are serious about upgrading your mattress, it is best to spend a little more.
This is about the average price range for online mattresses. Numerous mattresses, including hybrids and memory foams, are readily available in this price range. They won’t be the most opulent models, but they’ll be made of high-quality materials and come with a fair trial and warranty period.
When paying up to $2,000 for a mattress, you can find mattresses made with more premium materials like gel-infused foams, latex, and organic options. Top-name brands and bed-in-a-box retailers, like the ones available to test at SleePare, should all have multiple models in this series, allowing you to compare options.
At this price range, you can find the most up-to-date and exclusive fabrics that are both durable and well-made. You can also find more natural options like latex and organic materials as well as certain smart mattresses. Mattresses in this price range are available online, at high-end stores, and everywhere else in between.
These are the most luxurious and high-end mattresses available. For $5,000 and up, you can expect exceptional craftsmanship and handcrafted mattresses made with the best materials like organic latex, high-end fabrics, smart technology, and coil counts in the thousands.
Since buying a new mattress is not an easy decision, there are many factors to consider. You want to know you made the right choice, paid the right price, and took home a quality product. Before making a final decision, here are a few additional considerations.
Like all other businesses, mattress manufacturers are in it to make money. Along with this comes upselling, salespeople, and advertising trying to convince consumers their product is the best. The mattress you choose is ultimately up to your personal preference. Just because social media or ads make a product seem like the best doesn’t mean it’s the best for you. Pay attention to what is comfortable for you, not everyone else.
With a shopping list of brands, materials, and/or features you are looking for in a mattress, you’ll be able to narrow down your search and find the best fit. This will streamline your decision and shopping process. Once in-store, the salespeople will surely appreciate the effort and decisiveness when shopping and selecting a product.
If you’ve always wanted to try out a hybrid or latex mattress, now’s the time! However, sometimes the tried-and-true classics are just what you need. Don’t scoff at the classics like innerspring or mattresses without additional features, these items are still around for a reason.
Higher-priced mattresses might be tempting due to their quality and longevity. If a luxury mattress is not in your budget right now, there’s no sense in emptying out your savings account for an upgrade. With all the options available, you will surely be able to find a mattress that fits your needs within your budget.
If you don’t want to buy a new bed frame, box spring, or sheets to fit your new mattress, then it is best to select a mattress that already fits your current bedding. On the other hand, if you want to upgrade your mattress and the rest of your bedding, go ahead! When shopping, double check and see if the mattress you need requires a box spring or foundation and factor that into your budget.
There are thousands of mattress stores around the country. Only SleePare offers you the best of both worlds; the irreplaceable experience of in-store testing and the innovative online mattress products at exclusive prices. Shopping at SleePare allows you to test the best online mattresses without the pressure of making a purchase then and there. Our showroom model allows customers the opportunity to both purchase online and test in-person with our exclusive coupons and discounts, thanks to our partnerships with the top online retailers.
Along with showrooms, SleePare’s website provides a wealth of information about mattresses, shopping advice, and sleep guides. Check out our popular comparison tool that lets you compare popular mattresses.
Buying a mattress is much more complicated than it appears on the surface. The better understanding you have about your sleep position, body, and preferences, the easier it will be to find the best mattress for you. There is no such thing as the ideal mattress that works for everyone. Remember to buy the mattress that works best for you, not everyone else. Take your time exploring choices and testing mattresses to find your perfect night’s sleep.
Emily Stringer is a Content Writer at SleePare. Emily has over five years of experience writing and conducting research for different industries. When she’s not writing, you can find Emily with her dogs in Lexington, Kentucky.