The first place to start your research is the Mattress Shopping Tutorial linked in the top right corner.
Select the Search Forum tab above to gain access to answers to many mattress related questions.
Select the Ask An Expert tab above to reach out to any of our Expert Members for guidance and advice.
You have some great options in the general Milwaukee area and two of our manufacturing members are also within reasonable driving distance. They are included in post #2 here .
What I would suggest is that you make a list of the features that you need and prefer in a mattress and "rate" each mattress (say on a subjective scale of 1 - 5) against your needs and the preferences that are most important to you.
What you need:
This is about the two main functions of every mattress . They are ...
Pressure relief in all your sleeping positions and in all the pressure points of your body (most commonly hips and shoulders) ... especially on your side if this is one of your sleeping positions.
Posture and alignment in all your sleeping positions. This is about making sure that your spine is in its neutral alignment when you are completely relaxed on the mattress (which would normally involve at least 15 minutes on the mattress to "simulate" the pre-sleep state when your muscles "let go").
There are links to more information in step 4 the tutorial post about testing a mattress for support/alignment and comfort/pressure relief.
What you prefer:
This is about all the many preferences that are more or less important to different people and that are part of your personal "value equation". The most common of these (among others that may be important to different people) include ...
Microclimate, breathability and temperature control (perhaps the most important of the preferences). You can read more about the factors involved in temperature regulation here and more about microclimate here .
Slow or fast response materials and where in the range you prefer
Sleeping "on" vs "in" the mattress
Motion isolation with small and large movements
The ease of movement or movement restriction on the mattress for changing position and "other activities"
Edge support for those who sit or sleep on the edge of a mattress
"Roll together" for those who sleep close together in the center of a mattress
Overall "feel" (such as the difference between combinations that include the "feel" of innersprings and/or different types of foam in the comfort or support layers)
Durability of materials in the mattress
Durability of construction (such as one or two sided)
Quality and performance of materials and construction
Ability to open the mattress and exchange layers or make changes after purchase
Warranty and warranty exclusions (which are often more important then the warranty itself). You can read more about mattress warranties here .
Budget limitations and range
Price vs quality and "commodity" value of materials
Mattress only or foundation included (and the type)
Natural materials vs synthetic
The type of cover and quilting (if any) you prefer
Your choice of retailer or manufacturer:
This part of a consumers preferences and "value" is about the differences between buying from different retailers or manufacturers whether they are local or online. Who you buy from can in many cases be just as important as what you buy and are part of the overall value of your purchase. The ability to test a mattress in person for PPP (Pressure relief, Posture and alignment, and Personal preferences) for example can be important ... especially if it is done with the help of someone with the knowledge, experience, and integrity to help you make your best choices ... and some of the many other objective and intangible benefits that each retailer offers can make a significant difference in long term satisfaction with your choice.
The different "value added" options that go with the mattress (delivery, financing, bonuses like pillows or a protector etc).
Options after purchase (returns, comfort exchanges, layer exchanges, warranty returns, adjustments, after sale service etc. and the specific costs and procedures involved with each). This also means that if you aren't confident that a mattress is a good match for you in terms of PPP that you have some good options remaining in either a softer or firmer range and aren't "stuck" with a mattress that doesn't work well for you with few good quality/value options available to exchange for.
The knowledge and service of the outlet you buy from and their ability to help you choose a mattress that is suitable for your specific and unique needs and preferences.
The importance of supporting a particular retailer or manufacturer (for any other reasons that are important to you)
These and others could all be part of each person's value equation and the importance of each of them (except your two basic needs) may be different for different people. Some of these are easily overlooked and may only become an "issue" at some point after you have purchased the mattress. It always makes sense to think about all of them ahead of time.
I would suggest that you measure every potential mattress purchase against these needs and preferences (or the ones that are important to you) so that you have a common yardstick to measure every mattress against. This is much more effective than trying to set any particular mattress as a "standard" and trying to "match" what are often more vague (or difficult to objectify or accurately remember) subjective impressions as your point of reference. You can read more about "matching" one mattress to another in post #9 here and the other posts it links to.
This will help you make more meaningful comparisons and find much better quality and value and will increase the odds that your choice will be as good in real life and the long term as it seemed in the showroom or online.
Calling each of the manufacturers or retailers first with some good questions or information about what you have already tested and what is important to you will help you find out what they offer that may be in line with what you are looking for and your conversation can also give you a sense of what to expect and the knowledge and service of the outlet if you decide to visit them. In most cases ... a first step that includes the choices of outlet and knowing what is most important (for you) in a mattress can be a bigger part of both short and long term success than choosing the mattress itself.
Hope this helps
Hello! Name is Chris and just stumbled across this website to get the best out of the my new Mattress. Phoenix seems you really know your stuff and now I'm a little concerned, because I just picked up a full size Sealy Optimum Destiny. What your input and feedback on this mattress? When I went, I liked how the bed felt and after trying others I went with this one. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks
You asked ... but I'm not sure you will like the answer
Unfortunately there is no way to know (yet) about some of the specifics about the quality of the Optimum because Sealy doesn't provide much of the information about the quality of the foams that are in it. Like with furniture when you are comparing similar pieces that use particle board covered with veneer, MDF or other higher quality materials also covered with veneer, or real wood ... lower quality products can have the same function and look as higher quality products but are not as durable and won't keep their performance or look for nearly as long.
In general ... the major brands use lower quality and value materials in their mattresses in every budget range and use marketing methods that are more about stories and advertising than they are about providing the type of information that consumers need to make more meaningful comparisons and better value choices.
In almost all cases ... factory direct local manufacturers or local sleep shops that carry more local, regional, or independent brands will sell mattresses that use better quality materials and will last much longer than anything comparable made by the larger manufacturers. While low quality and high quality materials may have a similar "feel" and in some cases similar performance in the highly managed environment of a typical chain store or mass market outlet ... the lower quality materials that replicate the feel and performance of higher quality mattresses will not last nearly as long. Warranties (which are mostly a marketing tool) don't cover the loss of comfort and support which is the main reason that a mattress needs to be replaced because these materials are designed so that any permanent impressions won't go beyond the warranty exclusion regardless of the amount of softening. Mass market outlets also don't generally have the skill or knowledge to help people make their best long term choices and depend on marketing "stories" and "fake sales" and many other techniques to sell their mattresses while telling people very little about the real quality of the materials in their mattresses.
So unfortunately you have purchased a "unknown" quality mattress which would take some digging to find out the real quality of some of the main materials in it. One thing that is known for certain is the name on the label on the mattress and this is one of the biggest reasons people buy them. This name (and other major brands) is a license to sell products that have lower quality and value hiding behind marketing stories, advertising copy, and sales techniques.
The main product of the larger manufacturers is not so much mattresses but "profit margin" and this "product" is sold to their main customers which are chain stores and mass market outlets that depend on this to feed the many mouths of a much longer supply chain and infrastructure. They are mostly "responsible" to shareholders and investment groups that demand a return on their investment and their research is mostly centered on ways that they can fabricate or design cheaper lower quality materials to feel and perform like higher quality materials ... at least in a showroom. Local manufacturers or better sleep shops that are privately or family owned are responsible to their customers and reputation for long term quality and value and spend little on advertising. Their reputation over generations sells their mattresses for those fortunate enough to know about them.
As a case in point you can look at the Optimum line itself.
The basic Destiny model includes ...
Quilt - Top of Mattress contains outlast: Outlast is one of many cooling technologies that are used in mattress covers and some type of cooling cover is part of most memory foam mattresses. Nothing particularly unique here.
2" OptiCool Gel Memory Foam Featuring Outlast Technology: This is a 3.7 lb gel memory foam which is on the lower end of the memory foam quality/durability range (NOTE: Jordans here lists this as a 2.5 lb memory foam which would make it worse yet). It is infused with outlast microcapsules which is one of many cooling technologies used in memory foams. Nothing particularly special here except that the density of the gel foam is low and it has particulates added to it.
Comfort - Padding Layers
1" OptiSense Memory Foam: which is a 4 lb density regular memory foam or "mid quality".
Correct Back Support System
6" Sealy OptiCore: This contains 2" of 1.5 lb 20 ILD polyfoam over 4" of 1.5 lb 32 ILD polyfoam which is lower quality/density foam for this budget range (although some other higher budget mattresses also use it in some of their mattresses including Tempurpedic).
1.5 lb foam is usually the quality of support foam that is used in lower budget mattresses and isn't really a desirable density for a mid budget mattress much less a higher budget mattress (thanks to Jordans for the specs of the cores used in the Optimum lineup here ).
So the lowest level Optimum Destiny is a very basic 6" base + 3" memory foam mattress with 3" of memory foam made up of 2" Opticool and 1" of 4 lb Optisense" memory foam with some gel cooling technology in the top layer of memory foam, a cover with some cooling technology, and a base layer that uses inferior density foam that should only be used in much lower quality mattresses. This base model is already overpriced IMO ... especially for a mattress where the quality and durability of the memory foam materials need to be taken on faith alone and is produced by a company which makes low value mattresses throughout their lineup.
If you look here you see will what happens as the models go "up the line" from the already overpriced Destiny base model.
All the models are similar in basic construction (memory foam over a polyfoam base) except that the Optisense memory foam used in each model up is an inch thicker. The Vibrant may also use a higher density memory foam in the mix to create a different feel and performance. Once you reach the middle of the lineup ... the basic support core is replaced with a different multi density support core which is higher quality and made up as follows ...
Sealy multidensity Opticore Plus: Top Layer - 2.5" Convoluted Foam 2.2 LB 32 ILD, Middle Layer-5/8" Foam 1.5 LB 32 ILD, Bottom Layer-3" Convoluted Foam 2.2 LB 32 ILD, 3" Full perimeter foam edge 68 ILD. This fabricated core creates a different feel and also adds a firmer foam on the edges for edge support.
So the basic differences are that each model up adds another inch (1") in total of OptiSense memory foam layers under the 2" of 3.7 lb Opticool gel memory foam and from the middle of the lineup (The inspiration) the basic polyfoam core is replaced with the multi density Opticore.
The extra inch of memory foam carries some hefty price jumps as you move up from the entry level Destiny (1" of OptiSense $1074 queen size).
Destiny + $400 = Radiance which has 2" of the 4 lb OptiSense memory foam
Radiance + $300 = Inspiration which has 3" of the 4 lb OptiSense layering plus the multi density Opticore.
Inspiration + $500 = Vibrant which has 4" of the 4 lb OptiSense layering with the possibility that part of this 4" uses a higher density/quality memory foam to give it greater firmness (no retailer has been able to confirm the density in this model)
Vibrant + $500 = Elation which has 5" of the OptiSense layering and is the softest model of the lineup.
The only other differences are the slight variations in the design of the cover.
While there is a difference in cost between lower density memory foam and higher density memory foam and between a higher quality/density core and a lower quality one ... the entry level model is already overpriced and it is very unlikely that between $300 - $500 an inch extra can be justified no matter what the differences are for each model but particularly for an extra inch where the differences are unknown. Basically from the base model to the top model you are paying $1700 for 4" more memory foam of a possible different mix of unknown densities, a better support core in the top 3 models, and a slight difference in cover design. The numbers speak for themselves.
All of these are overpriced although the middle of the line where the higher quality base is added may represent the best value of a low value lineup. This value of course is only relative to the rest of the lineup ... not to other similar mattresses ... and would only make a difference if this particular mattress "fit" the needs and preferences of a particular person in terms of pressure relief and alignment.
As more of the "unknowns" come to light ... I will add to the specs here but already this is just another in a long line of major brand mattresses that are either unknown or lower quality and poor value mattresses that are nicely packaged in marketing stories used to justify higher profit margins and prices.
This is exactly why I generally recommend to avoid all major brands . You will find the same type of "value" in all of them as they work hard to increase profit margins by selling stories rather than quality materials.
The Los Angeles list is in post #2 here .
I would suggest some preliminary phone calls first to describe the general type of mattress you are looking for. I never visit any outlet ... even if they are right next door ... until I have talked to them first to get a sense of what they offer and the level of service and knowledge of the outlet. Half an hour on the phone can save you a hours of testing time. For example you would be looking for memory foam that was on the cooler side of the memory foam range if you are committed to the feel of the actual material itself rather than just liking a particular mattress (such as the Optimum) but could also be happy on other materials that offered similar pressure relief, support, and preferences of "feel". This will not only save you a lot of time but will give you a good sense of who to visit that may have mattresses you want to try and what to expect when you go there.
Post #7 here has some of the better options in the Nashville area. There are more factory direct manufacturers around Huntsville (within 100 miles) though than there are in Nashville although there are also some better retail options in both areas that are closer.
Do you have a particular type or style of mattress that you are looking for?
Thanks Phoenix. Yes, I'm leaning more towards the feel of the Sealy Optimum and the iComfort Insight. However, the more I learn about them from this site, the more I feel like I should stay far away from them. However, I haven't had any luck with the other stores in this area. But I am willing to travel within the 100 miles.
I amalgamated all the Huntsville posts in post #2 here . If you are willing to drive 100 miles or so there are some very good options available to you at the factory direct manufacturers that are closest to you and there is also a list of wholesale manufacturer that may have some better quality mattresses and how to find the local retail outlets that carry them. There are also some local retail outlets with the brands listed that may have better value.
Overall there are some very good choices available to you that would give you much better quality and value than either Sealy or Serta and have many options in memory foam (including gel memory foam).
Are you sure you've looked at all or phoned the many options in this list that are as close or closer to you than Nashville?
Take it from a very satisfied customer… you cannot go wrong with the Ultimate Dreams mattress from Dreamfoam Bedding on Amazon. My wife and I received ours last week Thursday and wanted to wait a week or so before I posted any kind of review. It is simply the best mattress I have ever slept on, but to put that statement in context, I have never had any type of ‘high end' mattress (innerspring or foam). You can check the previous posts on this thread; I originally came to this forum trying to research the Sealy Optimum. But after messaging Phoenix and reading other reviews, we decided to pull the trigger and purchase the Ultimate Dreams mattress. Now, don’t get me wrong, it was one of the harder decisions I have made. If I was going to drop a significant amount of coin on a mattress, I wanted to be able to test it out first. If I was wrong about buying a mattress online, the Wifey would have never let me hear the end of it! Well, those concerns were put to rest the very first morning waking up on this mattress. Not to sound too cliché about it, but it truly does have the perfect amount of comfort and support. Well, before I get too ahead of myself, I guess I should let you know that we went with a ‘7’ for our customized layer of 3” latex. I am 6’ 190 and my wife is 5’4” 120 and mainly back and side sleepers, but we also prefer a softer mattress.
Phoenix, I cannot thank you enough for the information you have made public knowledge. So many people, including myself, are so lost and ignorant when shopping for a mattress. I thank the good lord that I stumbled across your website and forum and didn’t drop $2100 on an ‘S’ brand mattress when we were able to get a great bed for $600 on amazon of all places.
Oh, and also in a previous post I mentioned that we bought our foundation from a local manufacturer and retailer where we live and it also has worked out great.
If anybody has any questions about my experience in shopping, comparing, and purchasing, I want to be an open book. I am no expert, but I know it is helpful sometimes to hear someone else's opinion.
Thank you so much for your help. I didn't realize there were so many located this close to me. I looked at another post where you referenced about 3 in my area. Hopefully one of these will pan out. I'm in despereate need of a good night's sleep so I really need to make a purchase soon.
There were several Huntsville posts and the one you saw probably only included the factory directs which are usually the best value in any particular area. Retail outlets often involve a bit more research and "work" to find out which of the mattresses they carry to "exclude" from consideration and it can also be more difficult to find out the layering and quality specs of the "better possibilities" you are considering there (some are much more knowledgeable and helpful in this way than others) but if you do some preliminary research online and on the phone at home before you decide on which ones to visit and "interview" them first along the lines of this article ... there can be some good value there as well. It may just take more time, effort, and research to find it.
I just realized because of the previous poster that I hadn't answered your post. Sometimes when I am replying to one post another one is added to a thread and I miss it. My apologies.
You've probably already read this (because you already know that I normally recommend local factory direct outlets or better sleep shops) but just in case and for the sake of others who may read this ... these guidelines will help you avoid most of the worst choices when you are shopping for a mattress.
Post #48 here has and analysis and some thoughts about the Sealy Optimum line and the reasons I would avoid it.
The overviews in the mattresses section of the site also has lots of information about different mattress materials that are used in the various parts of a mattress and "fitting" a mattress to each person's needs and preferences that may be worth scanning so you can ask better questions and will also help you to know when the answers you receive are more about marketing or are meant to help educate and guide you into making better choices.
Post #6 here has a list of some of the better possibilities in the Raleigh area.
Again ... sorry to take so long with this reply.
Post #143 here includes the better choices in the Tampa, Clearwater, St Petersburg area that I'm aware of.
I would also suggest reading this article before considering a major brand mattress whichgennerally use lower quality materials and have much worse value than most local factory direct manufacturers or better sleep shops who carry independent or smaller brands.