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08 Mar 2012 10:15 #1 by Phoenix

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 prices and value that is 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.


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20 May 2017 06:55 #2 by Sgk1289
fAre there any recommended stores closer to ambler, pa than Pottstown? I am considering an asteria mattress . But after reading your pages wondering if there are better brands to try. I don't want to order without trying the mattress out

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20 May 2017 11:33 #3 by Phoenix
Hi Sgk1289,

Welcome to the forum! :)

Are there any recommended stores closer to ambler, pa than Pottstown?


Just for clarity, I don’t make recommendations for stores unless they are a vetted member here of the site , but closest to Ambler you may wish to check out Mattress Unlimited in Montgomeryville, as they appear to have some Englander mattresses which may offer a good value, but their web site is incomplete and I would be sure to confirm the specifications of anything you might consider. I’m not personally familiar with this store.

Other than that, the closest would still be a bit of a drive to the east for you. Subject to first confirming that any retailer or manufacturer on the list that you wish to visit is completely transparent (see this article ) and to making sure that any mattress you are considering meets the quality/value guidelines here ... some of the better options or possibilities I'm aware of in and around the Trenton/Philadelphia/Wilmington area (including the King of Prussia area) are listed in post #4 here .

I am considering an asteria mattress . But after reading your pages wondering if there are better brands to try.


You can read a little more about Paramount (they make the Asteria for Bloomingdale’s) in post #2 here and the posts it links to. Unfortunately Paramount (or Bloomingdale’s) doesn't disclose all the information you would need to know to make sure that there are no lower quality materials or weak links in their mattresses that could compromise the durability and useful life of their mattresses and if a retailer or a manufacturer you are dealing with either isn't willing or able to tell you all the information about any mattress you are considering then I would avoid it because it would be a much too risky purchase.

Phoenix

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20 May 2017 11:52 #4 by Sgk1289
Thank you for getting back to me.

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20 May 2017 12:11 #5 by Phoenix
Hi Sgk1289,

You're welcome!

Phoenix

Researching for a mattress?... Be sure to read The Mattress Shopping Tutorial.
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14 Jun 2017 05:30 #6 by KDrew
I'm shopping for mattresses and seem to be heading for either latex or hybrid. I've read ratings but they seem possibly biased. Also, I'm in Naples, Fl and need to lie on these. Organic, high value and quality awa warranty and ease of return important. Thoughts?

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14 Jun 2017 13:01 #7 by Phoenix
Hi KDrew,

Welcome to the forum! :)

I'm shopping for mattresses and seem to be heading for either latex or hybrid. I've read ratings but they seem possibly biased.


When shopping for a mattress, the first thing I would advise you to do would be to read the mattress shopping tutorial here . I suggest reading it as you would a good book, referring to it and not attempting to memorize things.

To make things easier, in its simplest form, choosing the "best possible" mattress for any particular person really comes down to FIRST finding a few knowledgeable and transparent retailers and/or manufacturers (either locally or online) that sell the types of mattresses that you are most interested in that are in a budget range you are comfortable with and that you have confirmed will provide you with the all the information you need about the materials and components inside the mattresses they sell so you will be able to make informed choices and meaningful comparisons between mattresses and then ...

1. Careful testing (hopefully using the testing guidelines in the tutorial) to make sure that a mattress is a good match for you in terms of "comfort", firmness, and PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and your own Personal preferences) ... and/or that you are comfortable with the options you have available to return, exchange, or "fine tune" the mattress and any costs involved if you can't test a mattress in person or aren't confident that your mattress is a suitable choice.

2. Checking to make sure that there are no lower quality materials or weak links in a mattress you are considering relative to your weight/BMI range that could compromise the durability and useful life of the mattress (see the durability guidelines here ).

3. Comparing your finalists for "value" based on #1 and #2 and all the other parts of your personal value equation that are most important to you.

Regarding reviews, I am in agreement with you, and while other people's comments about the knowledge and service of a particular business can certainly be very helpful, I would always keep in mind that you are the only one that can feel what you feel on a mattress and I would be cautious about using anyone else's suggestions, experiences or reviews on a specific mattress (either positive or negative) or review sites in general as a reliable source of information or guidance about how you will feel on the same mattress or how suitable or how durable a mattress may be for you. In many if not most cases they can be more misleading than helpful because a mattress that would be a perfect choice for one person or even a larger group of people in terms of comfort, firmness, and PPP may be completely unsuitable for someone else to sleep on (even if they are in a similar weight range). Reviews or other people's experiences in general 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 ).

I'm in Naples, Fl and need to lie on these


Some of the better options or possibilities I'm aware of in the Port Charlotte, Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Naples, FL. areas (subject to making sure that any mattress you are considering meets the quality/value guidelines here ) are listed in post #2 here . You can check with the vendors listed there regarding the things that you listed which are important to you and see what they might have to offer.

Phoenix

Researching for a mattress?... Be sure to read The Mattress Shopping Tutorial.
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17 Jun 2017 21:12 #8 by iwriter
Hello I was looking at one of your recommended Mattress Stores.. the Latex Mattress Factory. I get the impression that it maybe better for me to buy 3-3" toppers one firm, one medium and one soft. The idea that one size fits all may not be what I need. I get the impression from Dunlap that is going to be firmer even in the softer version. I have tried lieing on Dunlap and Talahay in Kansas city where I live. I am 5.7 and 165 and sleep on my side. The total cost is about 1000 dollars with the latex mattress factory and they have a topper that is rayon and cotton... has any one tried the soft on top and medium and then firm on the bottom combination? THe price is great.. but I could not find any reviews of it. I know Mattress underground recommends the store so that does count alot. Perhaps Phoenix did a review on that mattress or in particular the 3 piece topper combination mattress? Also what about the myessentia Bionda? Is it worth the price? I live in KC so there is no place to try the mattress out. And I am not sure if it is all natural or not? I did like the airloom in regular stores but the price was a bit steep. I do like soft but when it sinks too much it bothers me slightly... for instance memory foam. My preference by far is to have totally natural products... Price is also a consideration. But it maybe worth biting the bullet to get something special. I tried Talahay and it seemed slightly better than Dunlap but it was a slightly harder to turn over. The cooler the mattress the better for me... which is a another consideration. So any help you can give me on the Latex Mattress factory would be great... I do go to San Fran at the end of July so I could perhaps go to the My essentia store.. Thanks a bunch for your help...

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18 Jun 2017 09:45 #9 by Phoenix
Hi iwriter,

Welcome to the forum! :)

Much of what you’re asking in your questions deals with me “picking out” or making specific suggestions for you regarding a mattress, which is something that I’m unfortunately not able to do. I can certainly help with "how" to choose, but it's not possible to make specific suggestions or recommendations for either a mattress, manufacturers/retailers, or combinations of materials or components because the first "rule" of mattress shopping is to always remember that you are the only one that can feel what you feel on a mattress and there are too many unknowns, variables, and personal preferences involved that are unique to each person to use a formula or for anyone to be able to predict or make a specific suggestion or recommendation about which mattress or combination of materials and components or which type of mattress would be the best "match" for you in terms of "comfort", firmness, or PPP or how a mattress will "feel" to you or compare to another mattress based on specs (either yours or a mattress), sleeping positions, health conditions, or "theory at a distance" that can possibly be more reliable than your own careful testing (hopefully using the testing guidelines in step 4 of the tutorial) or your own personal sleeping experience (see post #2 here ).

What I can do is make some more general comments on some of the other topics you’ve brought up that you may find useful. First, I’ll recommend that you start your mattress shopping experience with a review of the mattress shopping tutorial here .

I was looking at one of your recommended Mattress Stores.. the Latex Mattress Factory. I get the impression that it maybe better for me to buy 3-3" toppers one firm, one medium and one soft. The idea that one size fits all may not be what I need.


What you’re describing is a component-style system, where layers may be chosen and rearranged to achieve different levels of comfort. These systems are quite popular with latex (and sometimes memory foam), and a firm/medium/soft combination is one of the more popular ones. Many of the site members listed here offer such component systems (as well as others online), and if you’re curious about such an arrangement I would recommend a detailed phone conversation with the manufacturer, at which time you can express what comfort level you’re attempting to achieve, and they can ask more question about your physical characteristics that can assist them in making a recommendation of certain layers that they honestly believe will work best for you.

I get the impression from Dunlap that is going to be firmer even in the softer version


At a similar ILD, Dunlop will tend to feel a bit firmer than Talalay especially in the uppermost layers, as Dunlop “firms up faster” than Talalay when compressed beyond 25% or so has a higher compression modulus).

The total cost is about 1000 dollars with the latex mattress factory and they have a topper that is rayon and cotton... has any one tried the soft on top and medium and then firm on the bottom combination?


While other people's comments about the knowledge and service of a particular business can certainly be very helpful, I would be cautious about using anyone else's suggestions, experiences or reviews on a specific mattress (either positive or negative) as a reliable source of information or guidance about how you will feel on the same mattress or how suitable a mattress may be for you. In many if not most cases they can be more misleading than helpful because a mattress that would be a perfect choice for one person or even a larger group of people in terms of comfort, firmness, and PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and your Personal preferences) may be completely unsuitable for someone else to sleep on (even if they are in a similar weight range). In other words, other people's experiences in general won't tell you much if anything about the suitability or "value" of a mattress for any particular person (see post #13 here ). All latex will tend to be a durable material, so I Would again suggest a phone conversation with a knowledgeable manufacturer or retailer regarding your needs (and information about any all-latex combinations you’ve tested in person) and use their experience and advice.

Perhaps Phoenix did a review on that mattress or in particular the 3 piece topper combination mattress?


Per the information I listed previously, this isn’t a “review site” but instead a resource for how to select a mattress, so you won’t find any specific “reviews” on particular mattresses.

Also what about the myessentia Bionda? Is it worth the price?


You can perform a forum search on Essentia or Bionda here . The Bionda uses good quality Dunlop latex, but you may wish to do some careful value comparisons when considering this product, as it can be in a bit of a higher price point for other items providing “similar” componentry. While price is certainly important of course .. the "value" of a mattress purchase is what is most important and price is just one of many factors that can affect the "value" of a mattress purchase. There isn't a "formula" that can be used to assess or "calculate" the value of a mattress because there are so many different variables and criteria involved that can affect the price of a mattress that can each be more or less important to some people and not to others who may have completely different criteria or definitions of "value". The value of a mattress purchase is also relative to how a mattress compares to the other finalists you are considering or to other mattresses that are available to you in your area (or online if you are also considering online options). There are many reasons that a mattress that may be "good value" for one person or in one area of the country may not be good value for someone else that has very different needs and preferences or that lives in a different area.

There is more about the 3 most important parts of the "value" of a mattress purchase in post #13 here which can help you make more meaningful quality/value comparisons between mattresses in terms of suitability (how well you will sleep), durability (how long you will sleep well), and the overall value of a mattress compared to your other finalists based on suitability, durability, and all the other parts of your personal value equation that are most important to you (including the price of course and the options you have available after a purchase if your choice doesn't turn out as well as you hoped for).

And I am not sure if it is all natural or not?


The latex used in that mattress is all GOLS certified Dunlop latex.

I did like the airloom in regular stores but the price was a bit steep.


Yes, Aireloom mattresses can be quite expensive, but more importantly you need to make sure that you find out the information listed here so you can compare the quality of the materials before making any purchase. Unfortunately you’re unlikely to find out this information as it is not normally provided to consumers (you can use the earlier link to search for information about Aireloom on this site as well).

I tried Talahay and it seemed slightly better than Dunlap but it was a slightly harder to turn over.


Much of this will depend upon the softness (ILD) of the latex used within the mattress, specifically the uppermost layer. All latex will be quite resilient, but softer later can be more difficult to reposition on that firm latex. Latex will be easier to reposition upon than memory foam.

So any help you can give me on the Latex Mattress factory would be great...


As you’re already aware, the Latex Mattress Factory is a site member here and I think highly of their products and advice. If you are considering your own component-style mattress from them, I would strongly suggest a phone call to them directly with your questions and use their guidance on how to achieve a finished product that they think will serve you best.

I know you’ve already looked at some local stores in Kansas City, but just in case you missed a few…subject to first confirming that any retailer or manufacturer on the list you wish to deal with is completely transparent (see this article ) and to making sure that any mattress you are considering meets your specific criteria and the quality/value guidelines here ... the better options or possibilities I'm aware of in and around the Kansas City area are listed in post #2 here . There are a few who offer all-latex mattresses.

Phoenix

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20 Jun 2017 10:14 #10 by CFT221
I just want to add that we just bought a mattress from the Latex Mattress Factory. Certainly a lot of the decision making process is personal preference, but I wanted to add a couple things that are beyond that.

First of all, the people at Latex Mattress Factory were very helpful in the process of deciding what to purchase. And I actually changed my mind and wanted to change my order just before it shipped, and they were very helpful. My husband and I are just on the endpoints of their recommended weights for the soft/medium/firm, and I wanted to go a little soft on my side and more firm on my husband's side than they recommended, but decided to change back to the standard right before it shipped. And that was no issue.

Another thing to consider, is they have fewer choices on type of latex and ILD choices than some of the other places I looked at. Also, the cover is very basic (no wool topper part), so it has a slightly less finished look, I think, than some of the other, more expensive choices. We decided this worked just fine for us, though, and decided we would try as is and if we wanted something between us and the latex, we could purchase a cover separately. I think the quality is probably equal with the more expensive places, but these things I just mentioned play into the lower overall price.

We have been sleeping on the soft/medium/firm for two nights now. Actually my husband switched his side to soft/firm/medium and he likes that. I'm happy with the combination, although I was also happy with soft/medium/medium but I think I will stick with soft/medium/firm for now. For reference, I weight 115.

Hopefully this is somewhat helpful! If you have any other questions, feel free to ask.

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