Insider's Guide to Furniture & the Home Furnishings Industry

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What is the best mattress or mattress brand?

Recently I spent nearly 100 hours researching hundreds of different mattresses to find one for my personal use.

I was a mattress buyer for a large furniture chain long ago. During my 6 years in that position I purchased over $20 million of mattresses.

In my recent mattress search I was not surprised to find that there were almost no points of comparison among different mattress brands. That was true 30 years ago also.

However, I was very surprised to find that mattress manufacturers have also succeeded in making it virtually impossible to compare different products within their own brands.

There are now hundreds of different mattress models within each major brand. Many look alike, but all have different specifications with no help as to how they can be compared.

Mattress-stack

For example: Is a mattress with 1000 coils using 16 gauge wire better than a similarly priced mattress that has 850 coils with a 15 gauge wire?

Then there are different layers, densities and types of foam -- and a choice of firm, gently firm, medium firm, luxury firm, extra-firm, pillow-top, luxury pillow top, and on and on.

Many brand name mattresses had been “marked down” by 50 - 75% off . It was hard to resist such great "values." But they “looked” very similar to other mattresses that were the same price but not on sale.

Comparing different mattress models appeared to be impossible — except that there was one common measurement for all mattresses that actually could be compared.

After dozens of hours researching the topic I began to realize that identical looking mattresses had widely varying weights.

In almost every case, the higher the price being charged, the more the mattress weighed. This applied no matter what the original pre-discount “suggested retail price” had been.

For example mattresses “on sale” for $1000 marked down from $3000 almost always weighed approximately the same as $1000 mattresses that had not been marked down.

Mattresses that actually sold for $3000 always weighed substantially more than the discounted mattresses that claimed to have originally sold for $3000.

The weight of a mattress and the price it is sold at correlate very closely in almost all cases.

This conclusion was the result of dozens of comparisons I made among mattresses from three different major brands with widely varying specifications.

The few exceptions where a mattress is heavier than similar priced competitors represent the best values.

Once you have determined the weight of a mattress there are 5 simple steps to make an effective comparison and find the best mattress value:

5 simple steps for choosing the best mattress value:

1. Decide whether you have a preference between foam mattresses, innerspring mattresses or hybrid (springs and memory foam) mattresses. [This comparison system does not work for some outlying technologies such as air or water beds. Comparisons of different technologies (e.g. foam mattress vs. innerspring mattress) are inapplicable.)]

2. Decide whether you prefer a mattress that is soft, firm or somewhere in between.

3. Decide how much you are willing to spend.

4. Compare the weights of mattresses that fit the first three steps. The ones that weigh the most are the best mattresses.

5. The best values are those mattresses that are heavier than the competition but cost less.

I had been searching specifically for an innerspring or hybrid queen-size mattress that was 12″ - 14″ thick, made by an established brand name company with a cost of under $1000.

The mattresses I researched that were priced at $800 - $1000 typically weighed 80 – 100 lbs. I also researched several mattresses which were selling for approximately $2000 and found that these all weighed approximately 120 lbs.

This confirmed my theory that more expensive mattresses typically weigh more.

Many mattresses are sold at deep “discounts.” It quickly became apparent that the higher “suggested retail” prices were completely fictitious. Only the actual selling price should be used for the comparison.

Please note - Approximately half of the mattresses listed online did not include weights in their specifications.

I contacted manufacturers or retailers to determine the missing weights. In several cases no weight could be found so those mattresses were not included in my research comparisons.

Eventually I found a mattress that met my requirements that weighed approximately 20 lbs. more than any other mattress that I could find in my price range.

It was available in three different firmnesses, all with the same weight.

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