Sleep is crucial to our well-being as humans. While our ancestors were content with a pile of straw, today most of us would not feel rested after a night’s sleep so close to the ground. The quality of our sleep is important and that quality depends on what we are sleeping on.
Luckily, we live in a society where mattresses are nearly a necessity. From different sizes and materials to new technologies, mattresses come in thousands of options. As a large purchase for many people, the selection of a brand new mattress is a big deal.
Here are a few things to know before taking a look at the best mattress companies.
In the United States, the most popular mattress size for adults is the Queen; however, there are six standard adult mattress sizes:
A few other less-popular U.S. mattress sizes are as follows:
Of course, there are also smaller sized mattresses for babies and toddlers. A standard sized crib or toddler bed take the same mattress size. Crib and toddler bed mattress sizes vary, but are generally about 51-53 inches long by 27-29 inches wide, with 52 in by 27.5 in being the most popular size.
Many cribs even are convertible, allowing you to purchase one crib that will then be adjusted into a toddler bed with low side rails to protect a child from rolling out of the bed. Just make sure that you check your crib’s specifications, or, if you already have the crib, measure twice and shop once.
Some companies make specialty mattresses that are meant to be flipped, providing a firm support for babies and more cushioning for a toddler. There are also smaller sized mattresses for mini-cribs and bassinets.
Not all mattress companies make mattresses smaller than a Twin.
Most college dorm room beds are size Twin XL. If you are shopping for a new mattress for your upcoming big move, keep this in mind and double-check with your school.
In the vast world of mattresses, there are specialty sizes and materials for recreational vehicles like campers and boats, as well as trucker cabins. Some stores like Denver Mattress carry several sizes meant to work with RVs, boats, and semi-truck cabins. We do not directly cover this in our ratings.
The most popular mattress types in the United States are innerspring mattresses, foam mattresses, and hybrid mattresses (a mixture between the two).
Most mattress companies recommend using some type of support under your mattress, whether it is a box spring, platform bed, adjustable base, or another type of mattress foundation. Many warranties also necessitate the use of some approved support option.
A box spring is a mostly hollow box made out of wood or metal and covered in foam or fabric, made to support the full surface of your mattress. Originally, springs were used to help absorb movement. As mattress technology advances, the trend is to have a mattress foundation which is just a supportive frame without the springs of a typical box spring.
An adjustable base or platform bed is another support option. Adjustable bases include a flat, supportive surface that is hinged, allowing you to raise and lower the head or foot of the bed, or both. Think of a hospital bed, but at home, and available in more sizes than just Twin.
Most platform beds are made so that a mattress can sit directly on top of the platform, so a box spring or mattress foundation isn’t needed.
Many beds listed as a platform style bed actually do require a box spring. If you’re shopping for a bed online, be sure to read all of your bed’s specifications and see whether it will need a box spring. If you can’t find the information online, call the company, noting the SKU or model name and number of the mattress. You don’t want to get a new bed delivered and then not be able to use it.
Third-party retailers sell mattresses from different brands, all in one place. Manufacturer direct mattress sellers make their own mattresses and sell them directly. Usually, these retailers just sell their products online, but sometimes they have local showrooms.
A mattress is a significant purchase for most people. For this reason, most companies offer some type of financing. One trend is to use an in-store credit card or a common third-party financing provider, like Affirm or Synchrony. Many offer 0 percent financing for a certain term like 6, 12, or 24 months, if your payment is made in full. A common interest rate is 29.99 percent.
The longer the in-home trial, the better. Most people spend one-third of each day (and their life) on a mattress. A quick try-out in a showroom, or even a carefully researched decision cannot tell you what your body can tell you after a full night’s rest on your new mattress. How many of us have fallen asleep comfortably on the couch, only to wake up later to find our bodies sore and stiff? More importantly, your body may take one to two weeks to adjust to your new bed.
Check to see if an in-home trial is offered before you buy. Many companies commonly offer a 100-night guarantee, with the promise of an exchange or refund. Keep in mind that it may not be totally free. Some companies charge restocking fees, re-delivery fees, or exchange fees.
This type of policy is becoming common, but some retailers are slow to catch on. If you have a go-to mattress or furniture store, at least check to see what kind of guarantee is available. If you are a bargain shopper and you find the perfect mattress, you want to be informed of your return options, or lack thereof.
Most mattress manufacturers offer a warranty. Understand what is and what isn’t covered under your warranty before your purchase, especially if the warranty is an add-on purchase. Most mattress manufacturers employ limited warranties covering defects. These don’t cover misuse, accidents, or anything that goes against the proper care and use instructions. If your mattress is sagging because it wasn’t properly supported with an approved base or if you haven’t used an approved cover, etc., there may be issues with your claim. A standard ten-year warranty is offered by many companies. Some even offer lifetime warranties.
The standard procedure is to report the issue; then a specialist will be sent to you to determine if your claim is covered by the policy. If a true defect is found, your mattress will either be repaired or replaced. Some warranties include small service charges.
Mattresses come in many different pricing tiers. Generally, a new mattress can run from about $100-$2,000, depending on technology, materials, brand prestige, and of course, size.
Of course, there are luxury options that cost much more. In our company and brand profiles, we try to break down prices by the number of queen size mattresses under $500 and over $1,000, to try and get a feel for price range and options.
Mattress shipping and delivery depends on the vendor, the type of mattress, and sometimes, the cost of the mattress.
In general, a mattress can be delivered to your house in one of three ways:
Many mattress retailers prefer ground shipping because it is the cheapest. If they can ship it cheaper, then they can pass off additional savings to you, the customer. Factory-direct retailers strive to specially package their mattresses for shipping via UPS or FedEx. They use machines to compress air out of the mattress and compact it into smaller boxes for shipping. This is especially true of memory foam mattresses.
Mattress can also be delivered by an actual delivery team, often referred to as white glove delivery. These will be from your local mattress store or via a third-party delivery team. This type of large parcel delivery is convenient because the company is often able to remove your old mattress for a small fee.
Even if you shop at a local furniture or mattress store near your home, chances are they won’t be able to deliver your mattress for one to seven days. If you want it immediately, you can take it home yourself. You may need to sign some kind of liability paperwork stating that if it gets damaged on the way home, it isn’t covered by the warranty.
Shipping can be anywhere from free to hundreds of dollars. This depends on whether you get the mattress shipped via ground or via a white glove carrier. It can even depend on how many flights of stairs your delivery needs to be carried up manually.
Give it a couple weeks. It can take one to two weeks for your body to adjust to a new mattress and your new mattress to adjust to you.
Always check to see if an in-home trial is offered. Most direct to consumer companies offer at least 100 days. Department stores or specialty retail stores are less likely to offer mattresses on a trial basis, so ask before you buy. Mattresses can’t be resold after being returned. This is why there are so many strict policies about mattress returns. Be sure to check on this before you purchase.
Most mattresses last about 10 years. A good indicator is the manufacturer's warranty length. We have seen mattress warranties that last 1, 3, 5, 7, 10, 12, 15, 20, and 25 years, as well as lifetime warranties.
Whether you sleep on your side, back or stomach can affect which mattress is best for you. In general, people who sleep on their side need a softer, more conforming mattress than those who sleep on their stomach or back. Check out our in-depth articles on side, back, and stomach sleeping positions for more information.
You should look for a mattress company with a quality product and options, solid warranty programs, a flexible in-home trial, a good reputation in the industry, and positive reviews from industry experts and consumers. We have researched retailers and manufacturers from across the country and gathered customer reviews to help you choose the best mattress options available.
February 24th, 2020
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