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.
Mattresses - Introduction
In this section of The Mattress Underground (TMU) website you will find a great deal of basic, and not so basic information designed to help you understand everything you will need to know to find your perfect mattress. These sections, each of them written from a different perspective and covering different areas of mattress construction and choices, will reinforce each other and will give you an excellent level of knowledge about what to look for in a mattress that is perfect for you.
There are two ways to use this section and either way it is designed to be progressive in the level of detail and the depth of understanding you will have when you are done.
First for those that are in a hurry, simply read the overviews and then go shopping. The overviews will give you the knowledge you need to ask much better questions and to know when you are being told the truth and when you are being "sold" with misleading information. You will already have more information and knowledge than most people who sell mattresses. The overviews will give you the ability to make some very good choices with the help of a knowledgeable salesperson that you trust. You will know in general terms what they are talking about no matter what they choose to tell you. This is a good level of knowledge and information for those who wish to choose a mattress "with some help" and know of a person or retail outlet that is very knowledgeable and they can trust to help them.
The second method is to first read the overviews and then go back and read the individual pages in each section. This is the best way for those who want far more detailed information than the overviews and/or who want to do it all themselves. It is ideal for those who plan to buy a mattress without lying on it first, who have the time and desire to go into more depth, or who are simply curious about what makes up the absolute best mattress for their circumstances. Like the overviews, they cover information that you will rarely see anywhere else on the web or in a retail outlet but unlike the overviews, they go into them in more depth.
After reading the overviews, you will know and understand more about mattresses than most of the salespeople who will be helping you to buy one and you may find you will end up educating them more than they will end up helping you. After reading the more detailed pages, you may even be offered a job :).
Those rare outlets with the knowledge and commitment to service where this is not true (usually smaller and more specialized sleep shops and some factory direct local and regional outlets), will appreciate what you have learned and be able to help you use your knowledge in combination with theirs to buy a much better mattress.
Of course The Industry section of TMU website will also give you much more information about the types of retail outlets that offer the best value and questions in TMU forum can provide even more specific help here as well.
These "basic" sections and what they cover are:
1. The basic functions of a mattress. A detailed overview of the basic functions of a mattress. This is the best place to start.
2. Mattress support cores. An overview and more detailed pages about the 5 different types of mattress support layers and the strengths and weaknesses of each.
3. Mattress comfort layers. An overview and more detailed pages about the 6 most common types of comfort layers used in a mattress and the strengths and weaknesses of each.
4. Putting the layers together. An overview and more detailed pages about the 3 different ways the layers are combined, the other layers that will complete your mattress, and how they work together.
5. Your style, preferences, and statistics. An overview and more detailed pages about how your own individual differences and preferences can affect your choice of mattress and the materials in it.
6. Five steps to your perfect mattress. An overview and more detailed pages about a simple and effective method to take your knowledge "into the field" and use it to test different mattresses and find the one that is best for you.
In addition to these basic overviews (that you may discover are not so "basic") TMU Forum is always available to you if you come across anything that is unclear, have questions that need answering, or need advice regarding your own personal circumstances or mattress needs. We welcome you to join us there.
Welcome to our Mattress Forum !
Thanks for reminding me, and our consumer members/visitors of this “essential” information. This was one of our original posts, and it still remains a great place to start for a consumer considering the purchase of a new mattress!
After re-reading the article I see the need for some content and information updates as mattress material technology has evolved over the past 6 years. I am aiming to re-issue the “Mattresses-Introduction” post and some other "useful" posts in an updated form with all the links within by the end of this summer!
Thanks again for the "reminder" and hopefully when it’s completed (if you are subscribed to the topic) we can get your first-hand feedback!
Welcome to our Mattress Forum!
I've been researching the Saatva mattress but have now been dismayed by claims of false reviews.
I certainly understand your “dismay” in putting too much stock in reviews and attempting to discriminate between fake and legitimate ones. While legitimate reviews can offer some useful insights, as with many things, the process has been hijacked to a large extent by those with vested interests which are manipulating and using it as a marketing tool. Generally, other people's experiences won't tell you much if anything about the suitability, quality, durability, or "value" of a mattress for any particular person (see post #13 here ), and I recommend you avoid considering reviews as any sort of a reliable indicator of the appropriateness of any particular product for your needs.
I'm in search of a mattress that is similar to what my wife and I experienced at a Wyndham Resort. The mattress was a Beauty Rest Recharge (I believe made by Simmons). I wanted to know what you know of this mattress.
Beauty Rest Recharge is a Euro Top Firm Mattress manufactured by Simmonds using 8” of Pocket Coils and Memory Foams. Simmons doesn't disclose meaningful information about the quality of their materials except in generic terms so you couldn't make quality or value comparisons even if you find something that "feels" similar. With lower quality materials that soften or break down more quickly, the similarity in how they feel would also not be consistent over time. You can read a little more about trying to "match" another mattress in post #4 here but generally speaking you
“Hotel mattresses” tend to be lower quality and value than the consumer mattresses made by the same manufacturer in the same price range and more basic versions of the retails products that many mattress companies offer (which isn’t a good thing). One of the "secrets" to many hotel mattress is that they usually use a bedding package that includes a mattress pad or topper that is a big part of how the mattress feels and can also add to the durability of the mattress (replacing a mattress pad or topper can be less costly than replacing a whole mattress because a mattress or sleeping system will usually soften or break down from the top down). In many cases, the more subjective short-term experience of sleeping at a hotel is an improvement over the mattress that people sleep on regularly and this often "translates" into the perception that hotel mattresses are better than they are. They are a frequent source of buyer's remorse. They tend to be firmer products using softer “top-of-bed” materials to create extra plushness. There’s more good information about hotel mattresses in post #3 here .
I generally advise against the major brands such as Sealy/Stearns & Foster, Simmons, and Serta, as they all tend to use lower quality and less durable materials in their mattresses than most of their smaller competitors. This lower quality material will tend to soften or break down prematurely relative to the price you pay, which is why I would generally suggest avoiding all of them completely (along with the major retailers that focus on them as well) regardless of how they may feel in a showroom along with any mattress where you aren't able to find out the type and quality/durability of the materials inside it (see the guidelines here along with post #3 here and post #12 here and post #404 here ).
The first suggestion I would have is to make sure you have read Mattress Shopping Tutorial here and the posts it links to which have all the basic information, steps, and guidelines you will need to make the best possible choices. It will also (hopefully) help you avoid most of the worst choices such as the chain stores who generally know little about the mattresses they sell (except the marketing stories and techniques they are trained to use) and major brands who either don't disclose the quality of the materials in their mattresses or have poor value compared to mattresses that use similar or higher quality materials made by smaller local or regional manufacturers that are either sold factory direct or through better sleep shops.
Going through the information provided will most likely help with the “reset” process in looking for a mattress that is suitable. Please feel free to get back with any questions you may have.