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Berkeley Ergonomics vs. European Sleep Works 19 Aug 2014 16:22 #1

Hi all,

I am looking at getting a natural, chemical free mattress and I think I'm interested in the Berkeley Ergonomics or European Sleep Works models. In particular, their pocketed coil models seem to feel good to me.

I know these two companies used to be one in the same, but I guess a couple years ago they split and from what I've read on the web, BE basically uses more expensive coils than ESW, but they are otherwise identical. However, it looks like the latest "HDM" ESW models are updated/refreshed designs (eg - higher coil densities) while the BE designs haven't changed as far as I can tell. This has got me thinking which one is the better value as the price differences are significant. For instance, the ESW Alpine HDM is 1400$ in a Queen and has 2 layers of coils (1000/2000 arrangement and 1.5" of Talalay) while BE has the Interactive (1100 single coils but in alternating height/resistance arrangement and 2" of Talalay) for $1600 and the DC Swedish N (945/1500 arrangement and 1" of Talalay) for $1850.

It seems to me that ESW Alpine HDM = BE DC Swedish N and ESW doesn't sell an equivalent of BE Interactive so they suggest the Alpine HDM instead. So the ESW is 200-450$ cheaper.

Is the spring cost really that much of a difference at retail?
Are there other differences in quality/construction? Density of wool?
Are there opinions on whether the 2 layers coil design is superior to the 1 layer alternating height coil design?
Any experiences on long term comfort/wear of these microcoil layer designs with thinner latex layer?

Thank so much for any advice!

Joe

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Last edit: by jk.

Berkeley Ergonomics vs. European Sleep Works 19 Aug 2014 18:10 #2

Hi jk,

I know these two companies used to be one in the same, but I guess a couple years ago they split


Yes ... ESW has since begun to make their own mattresses which are similar to the BE mattresses they used to carry (see post #4 here and post #9 in the same topic.

The raw material costs that a mattress manufacturer pays for their materials or all the other factors that are part of the final cost of a mattress isn't something that you will be able to find out and isn't really a meaningful way to compare mattresses anyway (see post #4 here ). This type of "value comparison" will only take you down the rabbit hole into an endless number of finer and finer details and more intricate research without ending up with the more quantifiable answers you are looking for anyway (assuming you can even find out the detailed information you would need to know in the first place and then be willing to go through the learning curve involved to learn enough to be able to "translate it into meaningful terms). Just as one example, one mattress may have more wool and one may have less but the mattress with less may use a different breed which is more costly or has a different feel or performance or may have a organic certification that can also make it more costly. Cotton fabrics also have a wide range of price differences and different components that are similar (such as two different types of pocket coils or microcoils) may have a different "feel" or perform differently in combination with the other materials and components in a mattress and while they may also have a different cost, a manufacturer may choose to use one or the other because they produce a mattress that has a certain feel along with the other materials in the mattress that are closer to the design goals or target market of the mattress.

There is more about the most important parts of the "value" of a mattress purchase in post #13 here but it really boils down to #1 which is suitability (how well you will sleep on a mattress), #2 which is durability and how long you are likely to sleep well, and #3 which is all the other parts of your personal value equation that are most important to you.

All the mattresses at both ESW and Berkeley Ergonomics use high quality materials and none of them have any weak links in their design in terms of durability. The most important part of how they compare would be based on your own careful and objective testing for PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and Personal preferences) is the most effective way to compare them.

With their mattresses that have a "similar" (but not the same) design and components it would be reasonable to consider them to be close equivalents in terms of durability even though they may feel and perform differently. Some of the other factors involved in the durability and useful life of a mattress relative to each person (see post #4 here and the posts it links to) will probably play a bigger role in the useful life of each mattress than any differences in the components they use.

I would treat any differences between them in the finer details of their materials and design as less important and would compare them based on all the objective, subjective, and intangible parts of your personal value equation that it's possible to know or feel and that are most important to you.

Phoenix
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Last edit: by Phoenix.

Berkeley Ergonomics vs. European Sleep Works 19 Aug 2014 19:42 #3

Hi Phoenix!

Thanks for your informative reply, and especially those links. I had seen some of that before in my searching but not all of what you linked, so that's a big help.

I think what you say makes sense overall. I do still wonder about the long term quality/value difference between the alternating height springs of the BE Interactive design versus the ESW (European Sleep Works) microcoil layer design. I would think that the microcoil layer would "wear the latex more evenly" if that makes any sense while the alternating height would introduce stresses on the latex that could lead to earlier wear. And it is interesting that ESW has not retained that design in their lineup while BE claims it is their most popular.

So, if those two models "feel good" to me and meet the other aspects of my value equation (ie FR free), I was hoping you or someone else who has had one of these models for many years might relate if they have had any long term wear issues with the BE Interactive design in particular, but equally with the ESW microcoil design if my intuition is actually the opposite of reality! :)

Thanks so much for the helpful feedback, even just googling information this website has provided my with lots of helpful pointers...

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Last edit: by Phoenix. Reason: edit for search terms

Berkeley Ergonomics vs. European Sleep Works 19 Aug 2014 20:44 #4

Hi jk,

I think what you say makes sense overall. I do still wonder about the long term quality/value difference between the alternating height springs of the BE Interactive design versus the ESW (European Sleep Works) microcoil layer design. I would think that the microcoil layer would "wear the latex more evenly" if that makes any sense while the alternating height would introduce stresses on the latex that could lead to earlier wear. And it is interesting that ESW has not retained that design in their lineup while BE claims it is their most popular.


IMO ... any differences in durability between them wouldn't be possible to predict to the level of specificity you are hoping for except in hindsight (and even that would be mostly subjective) and wouldn't be a significant part of a meaningful "value" comparison between them. Any small "theoretical" differences between them in terms of durability wouldn't be nearly as significant as the other parts of a meaningful comparison that are much more important and are possible to know. Just for the sake or argument and to make the point ... lets say that one of them ends up being 5% more durable than the other (and this isn't possible to know when two mattresses are so close in materials and design so its just a hypothetical example) ... but that you would sleep just a "little" better on the other one for slightly less time. This means that one mattress may last you for ten years and the other one may last you 6 months less (not factoring in that when you decide to replace a mattress also isn't that exact). I would personally rather sleep better over the course of 9 1/2 years than have a mattress that was less suitable for me and that I didn't sleep as well for that same 9 1/2 years just for the sake of being able to keep it for 6 months longer. The same concept would apply to very similar mattresses where the price differences were relatively small.

As you probably also read in the post about the variables involved in durability ( see here in particular) ... how long a mattress will maintain suitable comfort and support for one person can be very different from someone else.

Once you have eliminated all the worst choices and are down to finalists between "good and good" (which you would be if these were your two finalists) ... then a final choice will really come down to "best judgement" based on all the objective, subjective, and intangible parts of your personal value equation that are most important to you because neither one of them would be a "mistake" ... especially compared to the majority of the mattresses in the mainstream market.

I wouldn't foresee any long term durability issues with either one of them and and both are likely to last for a decade or longer but even if both mattresses were still in relatively good condition after a decade (which would be more than reasonable to assume in both cases), the limiting factor in terms of the useful life of a mattress and when you decide to replace it after a decade is more likely to be changes in the needs and preferences of the person sleeping on it as they age and their body changes than the durability of the materials themselves.

Phoenix
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Last edit: by Phoenix.

Berkeley Ergonomics vs. European Sleep Works 20 Aug 2014 03:57 #5

Thanks Phoenix... sounds like I'm nitpicking over details that I don't actually need to worry about :oops: I'm looking forward to the weekend to spend some time on these various models and hopefully find "the one" :cheer:

A follow-up question, if you don't mind. Have you heard about this idea of having a doctors prescription to obtain a chemical free mattress? It does say in 1633 that a prescription is the only way to circumvent the regulation, but there are some claims on the net that it also can be used to waive sales tax and use it as a write-off against ones income tax and possibly even having partial coverage from medical insurance. I have not been able to find out if these claims are actually true? And if so how one goes about it?

cheers!

Joe

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Berkeley Ergonomics vs. European Sleep Works 20 Aug 2014 11:41 #6

Hi jk,

It does say in 1633 that a prescription is the only way to circumvent the regulation, but there are some claims on the net that it also can be used to waive sales tax and use it as a write-off against ones income tax and possibly even having partial coverage from medical insurance. I have not been able to find out if these claims are actually true? And if so how one goes about it?


Bearing in mind that I'm not a legal or tax expert and am not qualified to give specific advice in these areas ...

The fire regulations (16 CFR Part 1632 and Part 1633) are federal and if you have a prescription from a doctor or health professional for a mattress without a fire barrier then a manufacturer or retailer that is willing to do so can make or sell you a non compliant mattress that doesn't have a fire barrier. Many manufacturers that sell these will be able to provide you with the forms they need that you can take to your health professional.

The sales tax regulations are controlled by the state but in most states that I'm aware of if your mattress meets the definition of a therapeutic device or appliance and you have a letter from your doctor or licensed practitioner that specifies the specific type of mattress you are buying and the specific disease or condition that is being treated then it would qualify as exempt. An example for the state of Texas is here .

Income tax regulations and whether you could include your mattress as a legitimate medical expense would be similar to the sales tax regulations in terms of eligibility and would be subject to the tax requirements for a form 1040 schedule A deduction

Coverage under medical insurance would depend on the specifics of your medical plan and for this you should check with your provider.

Phoenix
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Last edit: by Phoenix.

Berkeley Ergonomics vs. European Sleep Works 20 Aug 2014 19:13 #7

Thanks Phoenix... appreciate these info!

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