10 Things You Need to Know Before Buying a Mattress
1. NEGOTIATE. You can – and should – negotiate price on almost all mattresses. Most major mattress brands (except tempur-pedic) have negotiable pricing and you will find it worth your while to haggle with the salesman. At the least you should be able to get your sales person to throw in some free pillows and/or sheets.
2. WARRANTY. Most mattresses come with a 10 year warranty. However, this warranty is void if the mattress has even the slightest stain on it. If you want to have a hope of using your mattress warranty at some point it is critical that you purchase a waterproof mattress cover. Some warranties also require that the bed be flipped every six months so ask your salesman about all of the details.
3. TAKE YOUR TIME! Don’t rush through the purchasing process. There are many different types of mattresses (innerspring, memory foam, air, water, futon) and even more manufacturers (Sealy, Serta, Simmons, Tempur-Pedic, King Koil, Spring Air, etc.). Don’t just lie down on a mattress for 10 seconds; take your time and relax on it, then try another. If you sleep with a partner be sure you bring that person with you to test. Lie on the bed facing away from your partner and see if you can figure out when he/she is getting in and out of bed.
4. FIRMNESS. Firmer is not necessarily better. There is a common sentiment that a firm bed is good for the spine. In fact, this is not the case. A very firm mattress doesn’t “give” which can force your spine to bend at the hips and shoulders. A softer (more plush) mattress can allow your hips and shoulders to sink into the bed slightly, keeping your spine straight when you sleep on your side. Don’t confuse firmness with supportive – they’re two different things. Like Goldilox, sometimes it’s best to pick the mattress that is not too firm and not too soft (plus) but somewhere in the middle: just right.
5. SIZE. Pick the right size for your height. If you’re a tall person (over 6 feet) you will probably want to go with a king size bed. If you’re extremely tall you will want to consider the california king size. The california king is slightly narrower and taller than the “regular” california mattress. For most couples under six feet tall, a queen size bed should provide enough space to sleep comfortably. For spare rooms or for kids rooms, consider a mattress or a space saving daybed used for seating and sleeping. These beds usually offer a trundle which can double as a storage drawer or when paired with a mattress can be used for additional sleeping capacity.
6. COILS. More coils are not necessarily better. As most salesmen will tell you when you first start shopping, the two main types of innerspring mattresses are interlocking coil and independent coil. Interlocking coil mattresses actually require fewer coils because the coils are tied together with wire. Independent coil mattresses require more coils because each one must work on its own to support you. The benefit of an independent coil mattress is that it is less prone to movement if your partner is getting in and out of bed. This can be an important factor to consider if you’re a light sleeper.
7. HYBRIDS. Sometimes a hybrid mattress is worth considering. The lines between the different types of mattresses have blurred in recent years with the advent of innerspring mattresses with memory foam, innerspring futon mattresses, and innerspring mattresses that have water chambers inside them. Don’t get sold on too much hype – the ultimate test is how it feels to you.
8. BUDGET. Decide on a budget before you go in the store. Mattresses are very expensive – it will typically cost you at least $800 for a decent mattress & box spring combo and many people spend $2,000 or more on a bed. As you test different mattresses you will undoubtedly notice that the more expensive the mattress, the more comfortable it feels. Mattress salesmen love to use the “this will last you ten years so it will really only cost you fifty cents a night to sleep on this $3,000 mattress”. While that’s technically true, if you don’t finance it through the mattress store or a credit card, you have to pay that entire fee before you sleep on it for one night! If you set a budget before you go in of, say, $1200, look at mattresses up to the $1600 range and then bargain for your price. If the sales person won’t take your offer go somewhere else. Sometimes if they see you physically heading for the door, $1200 will sound a lot better than no sale.
9. BRAND. Sometimes it’s worth it to go with a major brand. Smaller mattress retailers will sometimes try to sell you on a mattress that they claim is “just as good” as a major brand but at a much lower price. As with most things, you get what you pay for. Inexpensive mattresses are often cheaper because corners have been cut somewhere in the manufacturing process whether it’s the coils, the foam, the cotton batting, or the actual construction of the mattress itself. If you can afford it, you’ll likely get more miles out of a name brand mattress. 10. Don’t be afraid to push your salesman! Negotiating is uncomfortable and difficult for many people but it helps to know what you want and what you want to pay for it before you go in. Don’t hold back when asking your sales person hard questions about warranties, delivery fees, construction, and hidden charges. You’ll be much happier you asked the questions up front rather than getting burned when you see the bill or getting denied on a warranty claim. If you’re going to spend $1,000 be sure you don’t get taken for a ride. More tips to help you choose a mattress here.
10. DON’T COUNT ON A PILLOW TOP. Some customers assume that they can “fix” a cheaper mattress by throwing a pillow top on it. This may sound like a good idea but, particularly for innerspring mattresses, if you don’t have good support underneath the pillow top will just follow the curve of the bed. In short, a sagging mattress can’t be repaired with a pillow top. Keep in mind that a euro top is simply a pillow top that’s been permanently sewn to the top of the mattress.