Written by Anne-Marie Hays | Last Updated November 1st, 2019Anne-Marie Hays is a Content Management Intern with Best Company. She enjoys comedy, hates crowds, and loves that you are reading this bio.
With hundreds of mattress retailers and thousands of mattresses to choose from, sometimes it can be a little daunting to try and separate the wheat from the chaff. At Best Company, we try to make big decisions like buying a mattress a little easier. To help guide your search, we have gathered the following tips from industry experts:
Consider how you sleep
“The most important consideration is your sleeping position; side sleepers need a soft to medium mattress while back and stomach sleepers need a firm sleeping surface. These kinds of surfaces will keep your spine aligned and help you wake up without pain in your back.” — Leslie Fischer, Founder of Sustainable Slumber
“Be mindful of the kind of sleeper you are. While shopping, let your store associate know if you're a side sleeper, if you overheat when you sleep, and other details about your sleep routine. The more they know, the more they'll be able to help accommodate your needs.” — Erin Fausel, Lifestyle Blogger, American Freight Furniture & Mattress
Check for certifications
“There are no federal regulations when it comes to mattresses other than CFR1633 which is a burn test (ie the mattress can't catch on fire for x number of minutes). As a result of that, mattress manufacturers can put whatever they want into a mattress cover and call it a mattress as long as it passes a burn test. Including components that are toxic to your health. Look for mattresses which use components that have third party certifications. For example: foams that are CertiPUR-US Certified, Glues that are Green Guard Certified, etc” — Jonathan Prichard, Founder and CEO of MattressInsider.com
“A growing number of consumers want to be sure the flexible polyurethane foam used in their bedding (and upholstered furniture, too) is certified by the not-for-profit CertiPUR-US program. Certified foam is your assurance that the foam meets rigorous standards for content, emissions, and durability and is analyzed by independent, accredited testing laboratories.” — Helen Sullivan, Communications Counsel for CertiPUR-US, in the article "Seven Tips for Buying a New Mattress"
Support vs. comfort
“I'm currently working for a mattress firm, and I've often seen customers make the common mistake of thinking that the firmer the mattress, the better the support. But in reality, firmness and support aren't the same thing. Support would refer to the feeling you have in a bed when your entire body feels comfortable, aligned, and in harmony. You can have a soft bed and still be completely supported. Depending on their sleep styles (e.g., on your back, on your side, on your tummy) and whether they have any health conditions (e.g., bad back, bad joints), different level of firmness would offer the right support to different customers. Because of that, I would ALWAYS recommend that customers should visit mattress stores and try the mattress out in person before committing to purchase.” — Vi Trang, Sleepy’s
“There is a widely-believed myth that a very firm mattress is the most supportive mattress. They are great for stomach and back sleepers because it keeps your spine aligned. If you are a side sleeper, a soft and medium mattresses can also be very supportive. It all comes down to how you sleep. If you are plus-sized, you should choose a mattress that is extra thick — 13 inches or thicker.” — Leslie Fischer, Founder of Sustainable Slumber
Research mattress materials
“If you are ready to upgrade your mattress, take the time to research what materials your mattress contains. The better quality and more natural materials your mattress is made with, the longer your new mattress should last and the better you should sleep every night.
Organic mattresses are made with organic and non-toxic materials instead of conventional and chemically questionable materials.
Consumers should consider organic mattresses as a way to avoid unnecessary exposure to harsh chemicals.” — Barry Cik, Founder of Naturepedic Organic Mattresses
“In general, I have found that people absolutely love their latex mattresses; they have a cult-like following. They do not contain metal and will not conduct electromagnetic waves. They are also very eco-friendly. They are made from the sap of rubber trees. They do not off-gas. They can be more expensive but are very long-lasting and have the longest warranties in the industry.” — Leslie Fischer, Founder of Sustainable Slumber
“As the bed in a box craze got started with companies spending millions of dollars to bring awareness to the space, many sleepers immediately thought a memory foam mattress would be perfect for them. While they are great beds and conveniently delivered to your front door, sleepers over 200 pounds probably won’t be provided with the necessary support with an all memory foam mattress. The key to getting a great night of sleep can be broken down to spinal alignment. When our spine gets out of line, we develop pain in the hips, back, and neck as our body instinctively tries to bring everything back into alignment.
Thus, do your research before purchasing a mattress. These days you can purchase an incredibly high quality mattress online, but just make sure it fits your body composition and sleep preferences.” — Bill Fish, Certified Sleep Science Coach and Co-Founder of Tuck
Think about your partner
"Size matters. If you're sharing a bed, you should buy at least a queen-size mattress. A healthy person moves 40 to 60 times a night and makes lots of full-body turns. For sound sleep, you need freedom of motion." — Helen Sullivan, Communications Counsel for CertiPUR-US, in the article "Seven Tips for Buying a New Mattress"
“Your mattress should be six inches longer than the tallest person sleeping in it.
Partners should be able to rest both hands behind their head (elbows sprawled) without bumping into each other.” — Mark’s Mattress Buying Guide
“...I would suggest that a buyer look at the MORPHIIS Mattress because it’s THE ONLY MATTRESS that allows each sleeper to customize the firmness of each side of the bed with 64 options for each sleeper.
Does it make sense to you that a person of 230 lbs that is 6’3” is going to like the exact same mattress as someone who is 5’1” and 110 lbs? Well, that’s the business model of CASPER and the bed-in-a-box industry. They want you to believe that the ONE PERFECT MATTRESS they have chosen will satisfy every person IN THE WORLD. It defies all logic. “ — Earl Takefman, Morphiis
Think ahead about transport
“Don't forget about getting your mattress home. It's easy to get so caught up in debating on which bed you want to sleep in tonight that you forget that most mattress stores won't deliver to you for two weeks or more (and delivery will cost $100 or more). It's tempting to offer to bring it home yourself by tying it to your roof or renting a truck, but both options could end in disaster or at the very least, dirt on your brand new mattress. If you're eager to sleep on your new mattress that very night, try a reliable service like Dolly that pairs you with trained Helpers who can move your mattress home that very day — for a fraction of the cost of the mattress store.” — Miranda Benson, Marketing Coordinator at Dolly
CertiPUR-US Participating Retailers
Consumers Advocate|What’s the Best Mattress for Me?
Mark’s Mattress Buying Guide
Morphiis|Mattress Myths Exposed