Mattress Buying Tips

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Tips on Buying a New Mattress
There are a number of things to consider when you are considering a mattress purchase.  These include, among other things, Comfort, Support, Size and Warranty.

COMFORT - Sleeping on a comfortable mattress is key to getting a good nights sleep – it should not be too “plush “ however.  Very soft mattresses sometimes feel quite comfortable at first but they can leave you sore and aching in the morning.
SUPPORT - A mattress needs to provide the right level of support.  The right level of support alleviates pressure on the joints and helps keep the spine in the correct posture.  But be cautious not to get something too firm.  A mattress that is too firm will actually place more pressure on key areas of the body.

SIZE -  Mattress size is important in getting a good sleep - If you are a fairly large person and have ever had to sleep in a single you will understand.  You need room to toss and turn and stretch out.  Also you will notice that a King and Queen are a little longer than the standard or double – if you are taller the extra few inches helps.

WARRANTY - Most quality mattresses come with a lengthy warranty – often 10+ years (the more durable the mattress the longer the warranty – usually).  But if you have a 20 year warranty this doesn’t necessarily mean the mattress will still be comfortable or provide effective support in 20 years.  If you have purchased from a good/reputable company the warranty should help you if there are any kind of product defects that arise.

There are a few different kinds of warranties as well – pro-rated and non-prorated (you should understand these). A non-prorated warranty covers the full replacement cost of the mattress during the full term of the warranty.  A pro-rated warranty will only cover a percentage of the cost of mattress replacement and this percentage becomes smaller as the mattress gets older.

CONSIDER THE MATTRESS SET - Mattresses can be bought in a set.  A set includes the mattress and the box spring.  A specific mattress is usually designed for a specific box spring and as such they are typically purchased together.  The value of the box spring is that it provides a flat and even support surface for the mattress and it will extend the life of your mattress – sometimes significantly.  It is often worth purchasing the set. 

You can put a new mattress on an old box spring but the old box spring is often worn (compressed areas, dips, lumps) in the same areas as the mattress you are replacing.  This approach is not a good idea as it can damage the new mattress.

Note:  One thing to watch out for when mattress shopping is the fact that different retailers will have the same mattress but with different names.  This is hugely confusing for the consumer and it is indeed done on purpose.  This practice limits your ability to comparison shop.  It is an area of great frustration/confusion for the consumer (not to mention the reviewer) and fortunately it is not practiced in too many other products.  For more details on this practice read our comprehensive study titled Are Mattress Companies Misleading Consumers?


- Part 3:  Mattress Maintenance
- Part 1:  Mattress Guide





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