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Best mattress type (eg gel/innerspring/foam)? 17 Jul 2014 06:47 #1

Hello,

Right now I'm trying to find out how people truly feel about different kinds of mattresses. For example, about half of people I have talked to that have slept on Tempur foam love it, and the other half hate it. The same can be said for the new cooling gel hybrid mattresses. I was curious to see if there was a demographic influence on this, and ultimately find out what people truly feel about their mattress type.

In order to figure this out, I have posted a survey to SurveyMonkey. Each person who takes it allows for a donation to charity, and I will follow up with the results once I receive enough. The link to this survey is here: www.surveymonkey.com/s/SG7N95W

Thank you so much!

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Best mattress type (eg gel/innerspring/foam)? 17 Jul 2014 10:25 #2

Hi Mattressman99,

Just for clarification ... are you doing this for personal reasons or do you have any direct or indirect connections to the industry?

While these types of surveys or reviews can certainly be interesting, they can also be quite misleading because they take very broad based and non specific information that doesn't take any details and specifics into account so you end up with "muddied averages". For example Tempurpedic has half a dozen different types of memory foam and some people may "love" one and "hate" another one and yet both of them would be included in the same "Tempurpedic" or "memory foam" category. In the same way ... even with mattresses that use the same materials and the same types of foam there is a huge difference between different types of mattress designs that use different layering combinations or different thicknesses of the same material and some people may love one model and hate another one even though they would even be in the same "subcategory" of say "Tempurpedic mattresses that use 5.3 lb memory foam". There are also hundreds of different types of memory foam made by other foam manufacturers that can have very different properties (such as temperature sensitivity, response time, or firmness level) from other types of memory foam and once again some people may "hate" some of them and "love" others even though they would all be in the same group.

The same would be true for every mattress category. There are many different types of latex for example that each have a different "feel" and there are also thousands of different designs of latex mattresses and it's very common that someone may try one "latex mattress" and hate it and then try another "latex mattress" that uses different types of latex or has a different design or firmness level and love it because it's completely different. Gel memory foams are another example where there are many significant differences between all the different types of gel foams that can each have very different properties or strengths and weaknesses compared to the others.

Innerspring mattresses have even more variety because they are so common in the industry and there are so many different types of innerspring that each have different properties and response curves along with thousands of different types of padding materials that are used over each type of innerspring that once again someone may try one innerspring mattress and hate it and yet when they try one that has a completely different design or type of innerspring or padding materials they may love it.

Another one of the risks of using this type of information as a basis for choosing a mattress is that people are also very different and if you choose a mattress based on the premise that "many people seem to like this type of mattress so I will probably like it as well" it can create unrealistic expectations because any individual (and for that matter most individuals) may be very different from the "average" of a group in terms of their body type, sleeping positions, and preferences and there is no way to know whether the specific mattress they are considering was even included in the group or has any weight in the results.

There are some review sites that amalgamate mattress reviews from all around the internet for example (such as Sleep Like The Dead) and then "rate" mattresses (and other products) based on these amalgamated reviews. In their case they "rate" innerspring mattresses (as a category) significantly lower than other mattress categories but this doesn't take into account anything about the specifics of the innerspring mattresses that are included in their statistics. There are so many innerspring mattresses made by major manufacturers for example that use lower quality materials in their comfort layers that these types of mattresses would "dominate" the statistics (and the lower satisfaction ratings) and skew the results and yet some of the best mattresses in the world use an innerspring construction and some of the smaller manufacturers around the country make very high quality innerspring mattresses that don't have the same "weak links" of the major brands. If people were to take these types of statistics to heart or put any weight on them because they don't know any better they could very easily lump a mattress they would otherwise consider into the broader "innerspring category" and end up not even considering a mattress that may have been the "perfect" choice for them.

Overall there is no "best mattress type" because there are so many variables inside each mattress category and each individual person and buying a mattress based on the perceptions of other people would be like buying clothes or shoes based on what other people like "on average" and when it comes to products where there are so many variables or subjective elements involved then the averages of any group is much too likely to be different in terms of "feel" or "fit" or preferences from the needs or preferences of any specific individual.

While I certainly wish you good luck with your project ... I would also caution anyone to take a very skeptical approach in using this type of information when they are looking for a mattress that is likely to be the best choice for them on an individual basis.

Phoenix
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Best mattress type (eg gel/innerspring/foam)? 17 Jul 2014 11:15 #3

Hi Phoenix,

The reason that I am doing this is for personal reasons. You are absolutely correct in the fact that popularity of a particular brand or model should not influence an individual's decision when selecting a mattress. I did not think of this when creating the survey - partially because I came up with the questions quickly, and partially because I didn't want people to have to answer 50 questions.

However, the answers I receive will give me a good idea of whether or not people like the current mattress they sleep on. For example, if a sufficiently large number of people currently have a hybrid mattress and indicate they want to purchase a hybrid mattress in the future, I can report that users of hybrid mattresses typically like the style enough to continue to purchase in the future. It's not an exact science by any means, you are correct.

Right now I'm simply trying to find out general market trends with the new styles. Many new styles of bedding have emerged this year, and more people are beginning to purchase them. As of now, my mattress is eight years old, and I'm apt to try new products - especially when it comes to the place where I sleep. That said, I wanted to see if people have tried out the new styles, such as Tempur's cooling gel or maybe even as high-end as the Sleep Number X12 model. Asking the sales associates in the store about products doesn't always result in truthful answers (in my experience anyway), so I wanted to see feedback from a large number of people.

On a side note, thank you for this forum. It is a great way to hear owners opinions and ideas first-hand from an independent source. Because on average people purchase mattress infrequently, it can be difficult to find a centralized location for reviews that aren't on the seller's own website. I think people trust independent forums more than they do vendor's, so this is an excellent knowledge base.

As I said before, I will post the results once I have a large enough sample size (thank you to the 20 that have taken the survey already). I'm not saying that people should base their opinions off of my results at all - a mattress is both a mattress and a tool, and due diligence should be undertaken by any buyer. The survey is purely one factor I will consider when purchasing my next mattress in the near future.

Thank you, have a great day!

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Best mattress type (eg gel/innerspring/foam)? 17 Jul 2014 12:18 #4

Hi Mattressman99,

Just as a suggestion ... it may be worthwhile to add some additional questions or make a couple of changes to your survey (if possible) that may produce some more meaningful or relevant information.

Some suggestions would be ...

1. How long did you take to test your mattress in the store before you purchased it?
A. 15 minutes or longer
B. 5 - 15 minutes
C. A few minutes (less than 5)
D. None ... I didn't lie down on it at all or I made an online purchase that I couldn't test first.

Comments: This will tell you more about how well they tested a mattress for its suitability or what I call PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and Personal preferences) before they purchased it.

2. How important were online reviews or reading about other people experiences in your purchase choice
A. Not important at all
B. A little important
C. Quite important
D. Very important
E. The most important factor.

Comments: This would help assess how much importance they placed on other people's experiences and feedback and would be interesting to relate to the first question.

3. Did you find out the specific type, thickness, and quality of all the materials, layers, and components in your mattress before making a purchase?
A. None of them
B. Some but not all of them
C. All of them

Comments: This will tell you more about whether they did any specific research into the type and quality/durability of the materials in their mattress or were relying more on "marketing" information or "brand shopping" or the length or a warranty to assess durability. In other words it will tell you more about the quality of the research they did and also the validity of the "mattress category" they used to describe their mattress.

4. Does your mattress include one or more of the following materials or components ...
A. Innerspring in the support layers
B. Innerspring (or microspring) in the comfort layers
C. Polyfoam
D. Memory foam
E. Gel memory foam
F. Gel material or foam other than gel memory foam.
G. Latex
H. Air Bladder
I. Water
J. Natural fiber padding
K. Synthetic fiber padding
L. Other (please specify)

Comments: This would require an answer that allowed someone to check more than one answer and would tell you more about the specific type of mattress they own and whether they researched or know what is inside it.

4. How important was/is a return or refund policy in your mattress buying decisions?
A. Online purchase ... Not important
B. Online purchase ... Somewhat important
C. Online purchase ... Very important
D. Local purchase ... Not important
E. Local purchase ... Somewhat important
F. Local purchase ... Very important

5. How important was/is an exchange policy (no refund) in your mattress buying decisions?
A. Online purchase ... Not important
B. Online purchase ... Somewhat important
C. Online purchase ... Very important
D. Local purchase ... Not important
E. Local purchase ... Somewhat important
F. Local purchase ... Very important

Comments: Both of these may provide more information about how confident they are in their testing and the suitability of their choices along with the risk they were willing to accept as part of their buying decision.

6. I would change "How old is your current mattress?" to ...
A. Less than 1 Year
B. 2 - 3 years.
C. 3 - 5 years
D. 5 - 7 years
E. 7 - 10 years
F. 10 - 15 years
G. More than 15 years.

Comments: This can help determine the suitability of their initial choice and allow you to better connect the influence of the durability of the materials and foam softening on their assessment of their sleeping quality.

7. I would also ask them to name the specific model of the mattress that they purchased because only naming the brand makes it impossible to identify anything about the mattress they purchased and doesn't provide any meaningful information because every manufacturer makes a very wide range of mattresses, some of which use very low quality materials and some of which use much higher quality materials.

There are probably others that would also add to the validity or usefulness of the results but these are a few that I thought of off the top of my head.

Phoenix
Researching for a mattress?... Be sure to read The Mattress Shopping Tutorial.
Click here for TMU Discount Codes if purchasing from Our Trusted Members.
For any mattress questions Ask An Expert on our forum

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Last edit: by Phoenix.

Best mattress type (eg gel/innerspring/foam)? 21 Jul 2014 12:50 #5

Hi Phoenix,

Much appreciation for your excellent suggestions. I hope to run this survey periodically to get a time series of data and will definitely update with your suggestions for the next go around. Many thanks!

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