One of the most important pieces in the mattress shopping puzzle is the knowledge, service, experience, integrity, and transparency of the manufacturer or retailer you are buying from and more than any other factor this can make a difference in finding a high-quality mattress that is perfect for your individual needs and preferences. Most of the advertising done by major brands and chain stores that consumers are exposed to when searching for a mattress is more about managing perception than it is about promoting real value. In the industry in general, marketing stories have replaced factual information, assembly line mattresses and lower quality materials have become the norm, and good value is becoming more and more difficult to find. It's no wonder that the mattress industry, in general, has a reputation that is among the worst of all consumer purchases. This site and our forum are part of the efforts of many good people in the industry to change mattress shopping from a difficult, confusing, and unpleasant chore into a pleasure that leads to better and more informed choices.
Fortunately, there are much better alternatives to the major brands, mass-market retailers or chain stores, and marketing techniques that are the main source of this reputation. Consumers often don't know or hear about these better alternatives however because they are often smaller manufacturers who sell factory direct or through better sleep shops that depend more on word of mouth and customer satisfaction over many years than on massive advertising budgets. The best of these have a combination of qualities that make them very different from the rest of the industry.
The first of these qualities is knowledge. If the outlet or person you are buying a mattress from is an expert in the materials, construction, and layering used in a mattress, and how to fit a mattress to your unique needs and preferences, this can save you many hours of personal research and even more time spent shopping store to store only to hear stories that create more confusion and frustration than they do to educate and inform.
The second of these qualities is value. Without knowing the materials and layering in a mattress, there is no way to make meaningful value comparisons between different models with similar materials that may have different names or are manufactured by different companies. Most of the more heavily advertised stores and brands are much more focused on discouraging comparison shopping than they are on giving a consumer the information that makes meaningful comparisons possible. Being able to trust that the value of the mattress you are considering compares well to similar mattresses that may be available to you is an important part of buying a mattress and merchants that are transparent about the components and materials in their mattresses and who are able and willing to tell you the layering and "ingredients" and why certain materials and designs are better than others are the ones who are saying "we are proud of the quality and value that we offer and we want you to compare". Most of the industry is based on preventing these types of comparisons rather than encouraging them.
The third quality is service. This is all about the willingness of the person you are dealing with to use their knowledge of different materials and how to fit a mattress to your individual needs and preferences to help you find your perfect mattress within your budget range. They won't oversell or undersell you for the sake of making a profit and they will give you truthful and accurate information about why the mattress may work for you, how long you can reasonably expect it to last and work well for you, and why the mattress is priced the way it is. The commitment to your understanding and satisfaction starts before the sale and doesn't end until you are satisfied with your purchase.
In essence .... these better outlets are owned and run by what I call "mattress people" rather than "money machines".
At The Mattress Underground, we are aware of the large majority of independent wholesale or factory direct manufacturers in North America. Some of these have little (or sometimes no) web presence even though in many cases they have been quietly manufacturing high quality and great value mattresses for decades. Our mattress research includes many hundreds of hours of investigation into materials and construction and many hundreds more of lengthy conversations with many of these manufacturers and the retailers that carry them. Because of this hands-on more objective research, we have been able to identify some of the best independent manufacturers sold either factory direct or through smaller sleep shops based on a combination of the materials they use in their mattresses, their construction methods, their knowledge of what makes a great mattress, their willingness to educate rather than "sell" their customers, their ability to customize a mattress choice to the particular needs of a customer, their before and after-sale service and integrity, and their willingness to help their customers choose the best mattress for their needs and preferences within their particular budget. This is all in combination with price and value that are just not available elsewhere. While smaller independent manufacturers who sell factory direct or through better retailers as a group are usually the best source of quality and value, our membership list of independent manufacturers and retailers are part of a growing group who are happy to compete with the "best in the industry" in terms of quality, value, and service.
The business membership of this site is by invitation only and is only offered when we are satisfied that what they offer puts them in the upper tier of mattress manufacturers and retailers across North America. Those that choose to accept this invitation and become members have also come to know me and this site and wish to help support and share the information, values, and ideas that are expressed here. They recognize that their support of The Mattress Underground is part of what can help change the direction of the industry by raising awareness of those who make and sell high-quality mattresses, are completely transparent about what they sell, and help educate consumers about what really makes a great mattress instead of "sell" them. They have also agreed to provide a bonus or discount to the consumer-members of this site (those who have made at least one post in our forum).
Membership is not offered or accepted lightly and the logo which indicates our recommendation and their membership is in recognition of the fact that they have the knowledge and experience to help their customers make informed buying decisions and are among the best choices in the industry.