How to Pick a Mattress

The last thing you want to do is shell out for a new mattress just to find it doesn’t last more than a few years. When properly cared for, decent mattress should last you a good 7 to 10 years. Shopping for a mattress largely comes down to your preferences for things like firmness and material, but there are a few additional factors you should consider when narrowing down your options.

Buying a new mattress is a significant investment, so it’s worth taking the time to make the right choice. Here’s what you need to know when you pick a mattress.

Where to Shop for a Mattress

When it comes to mattress shopping, you have two options. The first option is to pay a visit to your local mattress dealer and shop in-store. The second option is to shop for a mattress online.

As recently as a few years ago, shopping for a mattress in-store was the only option. Brick-and-mortar mattress dealers are everywhere and they offer some pretty great deals. If you prefer to try a mattress before you buy, or if you like to haggle on price, this may be the best option for you. The downside is your selection may be limited depending what store you choose.

If you want access to greater variety (and more competitive prices), shop online. While you can’t physically try the mattress before you buy, most online mattress companies offer in-home trials – some as long as 18 months. Wherever you shop, be sure to check the warranty and return policy. Even if you buy your new mattress online, most retailers will donate the mattress to a local charity and give you a full refund on returns.

pick a mattress

5 Things to Consider When You Pick a Mattress

With the rise of online mattress retailers, modern mattress shoppers have a wealth of options to choose from. Your options are no longer limited to innerspring or memory foam mattresses – now you can choose from cooling options like gel-infused memory foam, natural options like organic latex, and even hybrid models that combine the features of multiple different materials.

Here are the top 5 things to consider when shopping for a mattress:

  1. Your sleeping position
  2. How much you weigh
  3. What firmness you prefer
  4. Your preferences for material
  5. Your deal price range

Now, let’s take a closer look at each of these factors.

Your Sleeping Position

The position you sleep in is one of the primary factors to consider when choosing a new mattress. You need a mattress that will adjust to your body’s weight and position to keep your spine in proper alignment. Side sleepers tend to feel pressure on their shoulders and hips while stomach and back sleepers feel it in their lower spine.

If you are a side sleeper, look for a medium-firm mattress that offers strong contouring and pressure-relieving properties. Back sleepers may need a slightly firmer mattress that doesn’t sink under your hips, throwing your spine out of alignment. Stomach sleepers need something slightly softer (though not too soft) to provide the right degree of give under the hips to keep the spine aligned.

How Much You Weigh

Generally speaking, the more you weigh the firmer your mattress should be. Heavier sleepers need additional support to provide the contouring and pressure-relieving benefits of a good mattress. Lightweight sleepers may need a slightly softer mattress to keep it from feeling too firm. If you weigh more than 200 pounds, you may want to consider a mattress specifically designed for heavier sleepers.

What Firmness You Prefer

In addition to considering your sleeping position and body weight, your preferences for firmness should come into play as well. Not only does the firmness of a mattress determine its comfort level for you as a sleeper, but it affects the degree of support and pressure relief it offers as well. Keep in mind, however, that firmness level is subjective – it refers to the “feel” of the bed. Most manufacturers indicate the firmness of their products on a 1-to-10 scale.

Your Preferences for Material

Certain materials are firmer than others by nature while others are known for their cooling properties, pressure relief, or even durability. Traditionally, most mattresses were innerspring mattresses made up of rows of continuous coils. Modern innerspring mattresses typically utilize individual or pocketed coils which still give the mattress a little bounce and give but offer better contouring and support.

If you’re interested in more modern mattress materials, consider the various options for memory foam, latex, or hybrid models. Memory foam comes in a variety of densities and some types are infused with cooling materials like gel or copper. Traditional memory foam tends to run a little warm, so it may not be the best option for hot sleepers but other foams may be more comfortable.

Latex is a similar material to memory foam in that both offer strong contouring properties and pressure relief. While memory foam is fairly slow to respond to changes in position, latex is a little more responsive. It also tends not to run as hot and it can be natural or organic. Hybrid mattresses often incorporate a pocketed coil base with memory foam or latex comfort layers on top.

Your Ideal Price Range

No matter what your budget may be, you can find a mattress that fits your price range. That being said, all mattresses are not created equal and you generally get what you pay for. Cheap mattresses are made from cheap materials and they may not stand the test of time.

You don’t necessarily need to shell out for a premium mattress (which could run upwards of $3,000), but you shouldn’t settle for a poor-quality mattress based on price alone. By shopping online you can find great deals on modern mattress materials and you’ll have the added benefit of a risk-free in-home trial with free returns. Some companies offer in-home trials as long as 12 or 18 months.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which type of mattress is best?

There are many different types of mattresses, so the best option for you depends largely on your preferences and your sleeping position. Side sleepers do best with a medium-firm mattress while back sleepers need something a little firmer and stomach sleepers a little softer. Memory foam offers excellent contouring and pressure relief while latex has a little more give. Spring and hybrid mattresses offer excellent support and durability.

Is it better to sleep on a soft or hard mattress?

While your personal preference comes into play when choosing a mattress, experts recommend medium to medium-firm mattress, especially if you suffer from back pain. A mattress too soft won’t provide the support you need to keep your spine in proper alignment and a mattress too hard can create pressure points that leave you stiff and sore in the morning.

When should I replace my mattress?

With proper cleaning and maintenance, a mattress should last you between 7 and 10 years, depending on the firmness and materials. It’s time to replace your mattress if it starts to sag, develop indentations, or if you no longer find it comfortable. If you have a hard time falling asleep or tend to wake frequently during the night, those are additional indications it may be time.



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