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How To Buy A New Mattress

Bai, Dorothy Li et al. Relationship between a pressure redistributing foam mattress and pressure injuries: An observational prospective cohort study. PloS one vol. 15,11 e0241276. 9 Nov. 2020, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0241276

how to buy a new mattress

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Lexie Sachs (she/her) is the executive director of the Textiles, Paper and Apparel Lab at the Good Housekeeping Institute, where she researches, tests and reports on fabric-based products ranging from sheets, mattresses and towels to bras, fitness apparel and other clothing. She also evaluates luggage, rain gear, disposable paper goods and baby products. Lexie has more than 15 years of experience in the textiles industry and a degree in fiber science from Cornell University. Prior to joining GH in 2013, she worked in merchandising and product development in the fashion and home industries.

Many people approach mattress shopping in the wrong way, by focusing solely on measures of firmness level or sleep position, considering only the price, or choosing materials and technology touted in an ad. But that approach might land you a not-so-comfy mattress that you could regret buying.

As the name suggests, an innerspring mattress uses a system of connected metal springs, or coils, to support the weight of your body. A top layer of soft, fabric-encased padding (aka the comfort layer) provides cushioning and contouring without the sinking sensation of memory foam. In general, a quality innerspring mattress offers good edge support, is more breathable (and thus cooler) than its all-foam counterparts, and comes in a range of firmness levels to accommodate a variety of preferences.

Most online mattresses come with a free trial period of about 100 days or so, if you buy it directly from the company. You might be required to try a mattress for 30 days before you can initiate a return, though. Third-party retailers, such as Amazon, department stores, and mattress stores, might have their own rules, whether you purchased the mattress online or in a brick-and-mortar store.

Consumer Reports has put nearly 250 models through rigorous testing to determine where they excel and where they falter. We challenge manufacturer claims, fact-check each spec, and compile the models into mattress ratings you can trust. From firmness level to heat retention to spinal support, we provide the data you need to shop with confidence.

Below, we take a closer look at specific mattress types to help you identify the right one for you. For more buying guidance about mattresses, read on to learn how to assess a mattress in a store and how our specific testing and ratings can help.

They allow you to adjust the firmness level with an electric pump that you control with a remote or a smartphone app. With queen- or king-size mattresses, you can designate a separate air chamber on each side, a great solution if you and your partner prefer different firmness levels.

That customization costs, though. While you can find a foam or innerspring mattress for as little as $300 (in our ratings, just three models fit that bill), the cheapest adjustable air mattress we recommend is 10 times that, at $3,000.

Innerspring mattresses are slightly more popular than foam mattresses among consumers: 58 percent of all recent mattress purchases were for innersprings or hybrids, says Martin Lachter, who oversees our member surveys on mattresses. For this reason, more than 150 of the 240 mattresses we rate are innersprings, which include hybrid models.

When it comes to mattresses, comfort is subjective. The best mattress for back pain could be firm for some people but medium-firm or medium-soft for others. When you lie on a mattress, ask yourself: Does my spine feel aligned or over-arched?

Beautyrest makes foam, hybrid, and innerspring mattresses that are available nationwide through mass-market chains, sleep-specialty chains, and furniture stores. Its lines include Beautyrest Black and Harmony mattresses. When you buy from its site, Beautyrest provides a 100-night trial with free shipping and returns.

The Original Mattress Factory makes its own foam and innerspring mattresses and sells them in more than 100 stores across nine states. There is no free trial and no returns, but you can exchange your mattress for a different model within the first year and pay 25 percent of the price of the less-expensive mattress.

Serta makes foam and innerspring mattresses available at mass-market chains, sleep specialty chains, and furniture stores. Any mattress purchased directly from comes with a 120-day in-home trial period. The company ships its mattresses free and offers free returns, too.

Where you buy your mattress determines whether you have a range of options to choose from, how knowledgeable the salesperson is, and how easy it is to return or exchange a mattress. We surveyed almost 4,000 CR members who purchased a new mattress between January 2021 and March 2022 about their mattress-buying experience, whether online or in-store, and how much they paid (and whether they haggled).

Forty-one percent made their purchase online compared with 43 percent in 2019-2020 and 45 percent in 2020-2021. This is a significant shift in how CR readers have historically purchased mattresses. In 2015, for example, only 14 percent of mattress owners said they bought them online. And while shoppers tend to be about as satisfied with online sellers as they are with walk-in ones, we also found that, on average, virtual shoppers paid less for a mattress than those who shopped in person.

We incorporate comfort and owner satisfaction ratings from our member surveys into the Overall Score of each mattress. We also use these survey results to help us determine the brands that will leave you happy with your mattress.

Two surveys inform our mattress buying guidance: One tallied the experiences of CR members with the nearly 67,000 mattresses they bought between 2012 and 2022. The other asked nearly 4,000 CR members about their shopping experiences across multiple mattress stores.

If you have a back or neck condition, talk to your doctor or physical therapist about what he or she recommends. You should aim for the neck and low back to be in a neutral position while lying on the mattress. This promotes good spinal alignment. While doctors are not mattress experts, they know your medical history and may have good advice from that point of view.

While sellers will label mattresses as "orthopedic" or "medically-approved," there is no medical organization that officially certifies mattresses to carry these labels. Mattresses may have orthopedic-friendly features, but no medical group verifies these claims.

Think twice before buying a hard or firm mattress. Some research has shown that the best mattress for low back pain is a medium firm mattress rather than a firm mattress. 1 Radwan A, Fess P, James D, et al. Effect of different mattress designs on promoting sleep quality, pain reduction, and spinal alignment in adults with or without back pain; systematic review of controlled trials. Sleep Health. 2015; 1(4):257-67. doi: 10.1016/j.sleh.2015.08.001 There is a difference between firm support and firm feel. You want firm support with a comfortable feel. Comfort will be determined by your personal preference.

Pay little attention to what mattress companies say about themselves, as they have to market their own products in a positive light. Seek out unbiased reviews from people who have purchased the mattress you are interested in. Read a mix of positive, negative, and middle-of-the-road reviews.

Many mattress companies have a trial period, guaranteeing free returns within a certain time frame if you are unsatisfied with their product. Make sure you read the fine print and understand all the details.

Before you buy, verify that there is a warranty for the mattress, in case it breaks down or is defective. Often a good mattress will have a minimum of a 10-year full replacement or non-prorated warranty.

King-sized or California king mattresses are made for master bedrooms and offer plenty of space for couples. Keep in mind that moving a mattress this large can present some challenges if not done the right way.

You need just enough firmness to properly support your spine and other parts of your body. Firmer mattresses are usually preferred by back and stomach sleepers because they tend to provide better spine support. But excess firmness can cause uncomfortable pressure points and prevent your spine from maintaining its natural curve while you sleep.

On the other hand, too much softness will sag under the middle area of the spine, which can cause poor posture and lead to back pain. This is why a softer mattress is usually better for side sleepers.

Innerspring beds are prone to sagging and allergens, are noisy, and have a bouncy effect some people find uncomfortable. While memory foam mattresses tend to feel hot, can have an unpleasant chemical smell, and is prone to body indentations.

If your mattress budget is a bit larger, consider adjustable air beds, multi-zoned beds, and waterbeds as potential options. An adjustable air bed may be expensive, but it allows you to adjust your mattress to be as firm or soft as you want.

If you find adjustable beds too expensive, a multi-zoned bed is a good alternative. These mattresses are designed with different support zone layers. Hunt for a mattress that is softer at the hips and shoulders, but firmer at the mid-spine area.

Knowing what to look for in a mattress will steer you in the right direction when it comes time to make a decision. Remember that you will spend more time on your bed than any other furniture item in your home. A small amount of time spent researching your mattress choices can guarantee your comfort and well-being for years to come.

In this guide, I will go over the basics of selecting the correct mattress. Elsewhere on the site, I will go into more detail on each of these topics and more, but this will be enough to get you started. If you just want a recommendation, check out some of our top picks below. 041b061a72

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