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About to be married, need help buying mattress! 09 Feb 2012 17:39 #1

Hello! I have been browsing the site for a few days now, and finally decided to post my own questions/dilemma in the hopes of getting personalized help.

First, the background:

I am getting married next month. My fiancee's current spring-coil mattress is over 25 years old. My spring-coil mattress is even older than that, if you can believe it.

She is 5'1 and 100 pounds. I am 6'0 and 250.

She doesn't like mattress that are firm, but she doesn't like "too soft" either. Personally, I hate firm and prefer soft.

We're looking for a King size.

We're in the central Georgia area.

The dilemma:

I am a planner who likes to research things, but there are too many things to research!

- At first, I was looking into memory foam. The problem is neither of us has slept on a memory foam bed for more than 15 minutes, so we don't know if we will like it. We also don't know if we'll be one of those who "sleep hot" on them. Tempur-pedic is out of my price range, but I have looked at Sera's iComfort series and Enso's "The Natural." I like Enso's price ($1,300 for a King), and two of my siblings bought Enso's in the past year and love them. However, I worry about them wearing out in a few years.

- My father regularly stays at Hilton Garden Inns for business, and told me about the "Sleep Garden System" mattress in their hotels. Natural Form makes them. He says they are nice, but it's difficult to find reviews on them. And I have no clue how much a King would cost.

- Lately, I have wondered about going the "hotel" route. I've never yet had a bad night sleep in a nice hotel. Hotels like Hampton and Hilton have nice box-spring mattresses on the firm side, and then cover them with lavish toppers and comforters. So, maybe getting a Simmons Beautyrest Elite that's on the firm side, combined with a down topper from Pacific Coast, would do the trick?

As you can see, I'm all over the map. Any suggestions??

Thank you in advance for the help.

Kevin

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Last edit: by typesomethingwitty. Reason: typo

Re: About to be married, need help buying mattress! 10 Feb 2012 01:18 #2

Hi Kevin,

Congratulations on your upcoming marriage first of all! I would agree that it's time for a new mattress :)

I think that the first thing I would suggest is to eliminate the worst choices which hopefully will make it easier to focus on the better ones. The guidelines in this article will hopefully help.

I would also tend to avoid memory foam if you are not certain about how you feel about it. There are several reasons for this. First of all ... with larger weights, memory foam may not be as durable as you would hope. If you do decide to go in this direction I would make sure that it was 5 lbs density at a minimum. Secondly ... and I'm being diplomatic here ... memory foam is not as "motion friendly" as other types of foam and many people rate it lower in terms of the other activities that can happen on a mattress because it can hinder movement. Finally, as you mentioned it can sleep hot for some people depending on many factors including the type of memory foam, the materials over the memory foam, and the thickness of the memory foam layers.

While the Garden Sleep System by Natural Form or SAT bed (self adjusting technology) may be one of the better air bladder mattresses ... I would tend to avoid all of them for the reasons in this article . Bear in mind that an air bladder is only a support system and uses the same comfort layers as any other mattress so the air bladder should be compared to the qualities of other types of support rather than by how comfortable they may be because the upper layers are a big part of the comfort of a mattress.

I would also make sure that you are buying from an outlet who will tell you the type and quality of each layer of a mattress you are considering because that is the only way you can know the weak link of the mattress (which layer is likely to soften and degrade first) which will determine the life of the mattress. The heavier someone is the more important that more durable layers are used in every layer of a mattress but especially in the upper layers. This is also the reason I would avoid major brands and chain stores because they will generally use lower quality foams and not disclose the details of the foams and materials they use.

Different weights will perceive different firmness levels of the same foam or material very differently. A feeling of softness is partly dependent on how far someone one sinks into a mattress and heavier people will often feel a firmer foam as being just as soft as lighter people will feel with much softer materials. Because of your weight differential, what is called a "side to side split" construction may work well for you. This is offered by many local manufacturers at little to no extra cost and can "customize" each side of a mattress for different needs and preferences. I would also make sure that you test mattresses together as how a mattress feels can be greatly affected by a sleeping partner ... particularly if there is a weight differential.

I believe that by far the best knowledge, quality, value, and service is at local factory direct manufacturers or at smaller sleep shops that carry local or smaller national brands. They will tend to offer mattresses that use higher quality and more durable materials at better prices.

I didn't know which city you are closest to so I did a search centered around Macon and looked within about 100 miles for factory direct manufacturers or outlets which may offer better value. The list also includes the Atlanta region. They include ...

griffinmattressco.com/ Local factory direct manufacturer in Griffin who makes more traditional polyfoam/innerspring mattresses in a lower budget range. He uses a minimum of 1.8 lb polyfoam with only thin layers of 1.2 lb polyfoam in the quilting which is higher quality than many major manufacturers use in mattresses with much higher prices.

www.tuckermattresscompany.net/ Local factory direct manufacturer in Tucker, Ga. A husband and wife team who make mattresses that also use higher quality materials including latex at lower prices. NOTE ADDED: Oct 23, 2015. Their website appears to be down but their contact information is on their facebook page here .

www.realpages.com/sites/mcdanielmattress/index.html Local factory direct manufacturer in Atlanta. They make a range of mattresses including memory foam, latex, and innersprings.

www.originalmattress.com/locations Regional factory direct manufacturer with an outlet in McDonough (and many all around Atlanta). They make a range of mattresses which includes memory foam as well as latex and traditional mattresses with good value.

verlo.com/ Regional factory direct manufacturer with an outlet in Peachtree city. They make a wide range of mattresses and are transparent about the quality of the materials they use inside them.

info.ikea-usa.com/ Store in Atlanta. Makes a range of mattresses including latex and innerspring. See post #3 here for some of the better choices here.

Some local retailers that are in the area and carry mattresses that may be worth considering (depending on their willingness and ability to provide you with the specifics of all the layers and components in their mattresses) and the brands they carry I would consider as a "possibility" include ...

www.elementsofrest.com/ Atlanta, GA. They sell several component mattresses that use pocket coil modules with different firmnesses that can be used in different configurations and either memory foam or latex comfort layers can also be rearranged and zoned in different configurations as well. Rearranging the individual modules allows for a range of fine tuning options after a purchase.

www.mattressbliss.com/ Atlanta, GA. Atlanta Mattress. They carry a range of more premium mattresses including Pure Latex Bliss, Mattress Bliss, Posh & Lavish, and Magniflex along with VI Spring and Hypnos (which are ultra premium manufacturers).

naturalsleepandhome.com/ Retailer in Atlanta that carries Organicpedic (OMI) latex mattresses as well as Pure Talalay Bliss (Talalay latex), Naturepedic component mattresses, and Natura. All of these are high quality mattresses that use good quality materials but I would make sure you make some careful value comparisons with other latex mattresses because they are in more premium budget ranges. They also carry Anatomic Global memory foam mattresses and I would make sure you are able to find out the density of all the foam layers in these so you can make more meaningful comparisons with other mattresses if you are considering these.

www.facebook.com/TheGreenPearOrganicMattresses Retailer in Alpharetta that carries Savvy Rest latex mattress which is a high quality component mattress with a zip cover that allows you to choose the number of layers and the type and firmness of each layer but once again I would make sure you make some careful value comparisons because they are in a higher budget range than other similar component latex mattresses.

www.naturalmattressmatters.com/ They are a new store in Johns Creek, GA that carries Savvy Rest, Berkeley Ergonomics, Organicpedic (OMI), and Soaring Heart mattresses (see this topic for some feedback)

cantoni.com/ Retailer in Atlanta. Carries a private label version of Berkeley Ergonomics (see this topic ) and Vi Spring (ultra premium mattresses).

www.mattressusaatlanta.com/index.html Retailer in Norcross, Alpharetta, Kennesaw, Gainesville, GA. Carry Pure Talalay Bliss, Southerland, and Park Place mattresses. Be very careful here that you aren't "steered' towards major brand mattress which they may promote or to mattresses where they aren't able to provide you the specifics about what is inside them or belittle requests for information that they may not be happy to provide.

mattresssandysprings.com/ Atlanta, GA. American Bedding, Golden

www.mattresspluskennesaw.com/index.html Kennesaw, GA. Jamison..

www.achooallergy.com/ Atlanta, GA. Royal-Pedic. Pure-Rest.

americasgreenstore.com/ Tucker, GA. Talked with her and they carry Suite Sleep latex mattresses and focus on people with MCS and chemical sensitivity issues.

www.pattersonfurniture.com/index.php Roswell, Lilburn, GA. Jamison

www.sitnsleep.net/ Carrollton, GA. Jamison including latex, innersprings, and gel memory foam.

samfranklins.com/index.html Cartersville, GA. Symbol.

www.discountcityinc.com/index.php Cartersville, GA. Symbol.

There is also some feedback about some of the Atlanta options in post #1 here (thanks Diderot :)).

Your "best" first step may be to think of a mattress as different types of materials which are layered together in different ways to create different "feels" in terms of pressure relief, support, and preferences. These are generally materials that provide pressure relief in the top of a mattress and support in the lower layers. These are the two basic functions of a mattress . The most common materials used in the comfort layers of a mattress are here and in the support layers are here . I would use the local outlets to help you decide which materials you may prefer rather than focusing on brands. Once you know your materials preferences ... then it becomes much easier to compare different mattresses by comparing the materials. I would completely avoid any outlet which is either unable or unwilling to tell you what materials are used in each layer of their mattresses. If a mattress uses either memory foam or latex it will say so and if there is a foam which doesn't say one of these it will almost always be polyfoam in which case knowing the density of the polyfoam used (and most won't know) becomes very important.

Once your local testing has helped you decide the materials and types of layering that you prefer in general, then the listed outlets are where I would focus my time and efforts (unless a local outlet happens to carry a mattress that uses high quality materials that you like and also has great value). I would do some preliminary work on the phone by describing your preferences, circumstances and "stats" to get a sense of the level of knowledge and helpfulness of each and the mattresses they recommend may be worth trying that use the materials that you prefer and in your budget range. After this you will have a good sense of the shorter list you may want to visit in person and test mattresses.

By focusing on materials rather than brand, you can get to the "overall feel" you prefer using higher quality "ingredients" ... and you will be much better prepared to make more meaningful value comparisons between different mattresses.

Phoenix
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Last edit: by Phoenix.

Re: About to be married, need help buying mattress! 10 Feb 2012 16:36 #3

Wow, I didn't expect such an in-depth response! It'll probably help if I break things down point by point.

Phoenix wrote:
Congratulations on your upcoming marriage first of all! I would agree that it's time for a new mattress :)


Thanks!

Phoenix wrote:
I think that the first thing I would suggest is to eliminate the worst choices which hopefully will make it easier to focus on the better ones. (...) While the Garden Sleep System by Natural Form or SAT bed (self adjusting technology) may be one of the better air bladder mattresses ... I would tend to avoid all of them for the reasons in this article .


Good idea. I think the Garden Sleep System is the worst option, if for no other reason than I cannot go to a store or showroom to try out the mattress. You can only order them from Natural Form's website. To test one out, you need a friend who already has one...or rent a room at a Hilton Garden Inn. Call me crazy, but spending $130+ to rent a hotel room JUST to test out a mattress hurts my frugal head. And then, of course, are the reasons you mentioned in your article.

Phoenix wrote:
I'm being diplomatic here ... memory foam is not as "motion friendly" as other types of foam and many people rate it lower in terms of the other activities that can happen on a mattress because it can hinder movement.


I actually wondered about that. Will definitely keep this in mind.

Phoenix wrote:
I believe that by far the best knowledge, quality, value, and service is at local factory direct manufacturers or at smaller sleep shops that carry local or smaller national brands. They will tend to offer mattresses that use higher quality and more durable materials at better prices.


And therein lies the rub for me...

First off, thank you so much for the links to factory direct manufacturers. While I don't doubt for a moment they would provide the best bang for my buck, I have two dilemmas with them...

1) None of them are really that close to us. The closest is about 90 minutes away. That may not sound too far, but...

2) We have less than 60 days to finish planning our wedding (we're having a very short engagement). Taking a Saturday to look for mattresses in Atlanta would be considerably more than a minor inconvenience.

All that to say...

It may be worth it to us to spend a few hundred more for a "major brand" at a local store, since our time right now is so valuable.

With that in mind, are there mattresses from any name brands that are good quality (even if their price might be higher)?

What about Simmons Beautyrest Elite? Two local stores carry them. One has a "Beautyrest Elite Cabo San Lucas" in a King. Another has a "Beautyrest Elite Copacabana". Each features Simmons' "900 Smart Response Pocketed Coil", and the Cabo San Lucas one has a top layer of MicroGel NxG memory foam, which I've read here on the forum is good quality.

Do you have any experience with Springwall mattresses? They are a Canadian company, but a local mom-and-pop furniture store exclusively sells their mattresses. They seemed to know a lot about their mattresses, and were proud of the fact they were endorsed by the Canadian Chiropractic Association. They do seem nice, but I can find little information about them online. Their top of the line mattress in the store is a "Springwall Jakarta BPT" that has a coil count of 2,496 in its Queen sizes. It also has 1.5" of pecell foam, 2" of convoluted eurotrex foam, 1" of visco foam...and more (my hand began to get tired writing down notes!). A Google search for "Springwall Jakarta" brings back nothing. The store has other Springwall mattress with 800 and 640 coil counts.

What is your opinion of Enso Sleep System memory foam beds? A local store is selling their "The Natural" bed for a price I like. Is their memory foam good quality? What is its density?

In short...

Any more insight for a guy who may be forced to buy a name brand out of convenience? I still want good quality.

Thank you so much!

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Last edit: by typesomethingwitty.

Re: About to be married, need help buying mattress! 10 Feb 2012 21:55 #4

Hi typesomethingwitty,

The first thing I would do is to either include or exclude memory foam. That will narrow down your options. I would test local mattresses (just for general feel) that use memory foam in the comfort layers (tempurpedic, iComfort, and many others) just to get a sense of whether this is a direction you want to go.

1) None of them are really that close to us. The closest is about 90 minutes away. That may not sound too far, but...

2) We have less than 60 days to finish planning our wedding (we're having a very short engagement). Taking a Saturday to look for mattresses in Atlanta would be considerably more than a minor inconvenience.


Understood. This leaves either local options or an online order. Local options have the advantage of being able to test them specifically for PPP. Online options that use what you like in your local testing as a blueprint for a mattress (where you can choose your own layers to come close to the mattress you liked) will often have much better value and quality but are a little "riskier" because it's not always possible to create an "exact" match. Depending on your budget range though and the type of materials you prefer ... they can often save you more than a few hundred.

With that in mind, are there mattresses from any name brands that are good quality (even if their price might be higher)?


Most of the name brands ... and many of the smaller national brands that may be available locally ... have mattresses that are higher quality than others in their line. Even more important than this though is that the mattress not only has higher quality materials but is suitable for your height/weight and sleeping positions. Even the absolute best mattress in the world may be completely unsuitable for any particular individual if it isn't layered right for their needs and preferences.

The way to cut through brand issues is to focus on manufacturers or outlets (even locally) that are more transparent about their materials. This way you can minimize the use of lower quality polyfoam, choose higher density memory foam (or lower quality in much thinner layers where necessary), or choose latex (almost all of which is higher quality than polyfoam). These are the three main types of foam used in mattresses. The "emerging category" of gel foams are mostly a variant of memory foam. In general (with exceptions of course) ... smaller brands have better value than larger brands but the way to tell is by focusing on the materials and the transparency and knowledge of the outlet you are dealing with. Endorsements ... whether by celebrities or associations are really only a marketing tool and have nothing to do with how good a mattress is and "unique" materials in a mattress usually aren't nearly as unique or proprietary as a manufacturer would have you believe. These too, like using multiple names with very slight differences for the same mattress, are almost always methods of "differentiation" based on stories rather than facts and used to justify higher prices because they make meaningful comparisons much more difficult.

The innersprings in the major brands (or the models that use innersprings as the method of support) are rarely the problem. The biggest issues in the major brands are the foams that are used above the innersprings and the springs will usually be fine long after the foam softens and degrades beyond what is suitable for sleeping on. One strategy is to buy a firm mattress that has the least amount of foam above the innersprings and then buy a high quality topper and use that for the comfort layer. This way if it wears out you can replace the topper rather than the whole mattress. It's hard to find a mattress though that only has a very minimal amount of higher quality firm foam in the comfort layers. You can read a little more about the 4 main types of innersprings here .

In essence ... with the mainstream mattresses that are likely available in local outlets ... I would focus on higher density memory foam or latex in the comfort layers (only because the third option of high quality polyfoam is so hard to come by in these mattresses) and then use firmer HD or HR polyfoam, good quality innersprings, or latex in the support layers. This would be the "simple version" of the type of mattress that are most commonly available. Any unknown foam (that doesn't say either memory foam or latex) will almost certainly be polyfoam.

Do you have any experience with Springwall mattresses?


Springwall is a smaller brand (Canadian as you mentioned) that tends to make more mainstream mattresses but also tends to use higher quality constructions and materials. Of course this will vary from model to model. They use continuous coil innersprings (like many of the Serta models) which are the lowest cost type of innerspring but they use higher quality versions of these innersprings. The one you are looking at has a very high "coil equivalent" which means that it would tend to be both stronger and more conforming than most continuous coils (they tend to be strong and supportive but less conforming types of coil). It would be a very high quality version of a less expensive innerspring. The specs of the Jakarta are on page 19 here . As you can see ... it has 2.25" of polyfoam (the foam that doesn't say memory foam or latex), 3" of memory foam, and .4" of latex. Some of the other "parts" of this mattress (like the flexolator and the cotton pad) are higher quality materials than are usually used for these purposes. I would want to know the density of the memory foam and preferably the polyfoam as well if I was considering this. You can see that the two higher models that use the same innerspring (page 20 and 21) use more latex. This is basically a memory foam over innerspring mattress with a little latex and polyfoam in the mix to "modify" the memory foam.

So overall I would do some initial work on the phone asking things like "do you have any mattresses that have latex over innersprings" or "do you have any memory foam mattresses which use higher density memory foam" or "do you have any latex mattresses without any polyfoam in them at all" and/or other "materials oriented" questions. The ones that are happy to go there with you and answer further questions like "what kind of latex does it use" or "do you know the ILD of the latex" or "what is the density of the memory foam" or "what type of innerspring does it use" or "do you know the thickness and density of the polyfoam in that mattress" and don't try to force you to walk through their front door before they answer some basic questions and seem happy to go into ingredients with you as far as they can are usually indicators of better quality or more knowledgeable outlets.

So the first step is to roll around on a few mattresses to get a sense of which comfort layer materials and which types of support layers you prefer in general. Then it's time to get more specific about the thickness and types of layering that best relieves pressure and keeps you in alignment (and feel free to post here if you need help with the "spec" part) and then the final step is to buy the mattress that has the best combination of materials at the best value ... regardless of brand.

Phoenix
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Last edit: by Phoenix.

Re: About to be married, need help buying mattress! 11 Feb 2012 20:38 #5

You write such in-depth replies! Thank you! Let me get right to it...

Phoenix wrote:
One strategy is to buy a firm mattress that has the least amount of foam above the innersprings and then buy a high quality topper and use that for the comfort layer. This way if it wears out you can replace the topper rather than the whole mattress.


I like this idea and have been debating it. The problem is we won't know how we like the final product until we've bought all the pieces (the firm mattress and the topper), put them together and slept on them. At least with the other strategies, we get to test drive the mattresses for a few minutes before buying. Just concerns me a bit.

What would you consider to be high quality toppers? Do you have any examples? How much do they generally cost (since I'll need to know to factor them in when choosing a firm mattress)?

Phoenix wrote:
The first thing I would do is to either include or exclude memory foam. That will narrow down your options. I would test local mattresses (just for general feel) that use memory foam in the comfort layers (tempurpedic, iComfort, and many others) just to get a sense of whether this is a direction you want to go.


An excellent tip, so I did just that during a shopping trip at Sears today. The Serta iComfort Revolution was there, so I laid down on it. I have to say... I really, really liked it. This was my first time ever laying on a memory foam mattress, so I don't know if it was the iComfort itself or the memory foam. But I liked it.

The question now is whether or not my fiancee likes memory foam...

Assuming she likes it, too, I can see this being the route we'll want to go. After BOTH having mattresses older than we are (hand-me-down spring mattresses), memory foam will make us feel pampered.

So, that begs the question: Which memory foam mattress to buy?

- I know The Original Mattress Factory is one of the manufacturers you recommended. I have read online that the firmness level of their only memory foam mattress (the "Serenity") is similar to Tempur-pedic's "Rhapsody" mattress. We could go test out the Rhapsody and, if we like it, plan an afternoon (in the midst of all the wedding planning) to drive to the nearest OMF, test out their Serenity mattress, and buy it if we like it. Or...

- We could go for one of the mid-range iComforts (either the "Genius" for $2k or the "Revolution" for $2.5k). Considering OMF's Serenity is also $2k in a King, the frugal part of me might have a difficult time paying the same amount (or more) for the iComfort. BUT, if convenience rules out, are these iComforts at least good quality (even if they aren't good bargains)? Or...

- I'll mention them again since the price is right: The Enso Sleep System. Their "Dreamweaver" mattress, which my sister owns and loves, is only $1.3k for a King. And that's without any President's Day sale that may or may not happen next weekend. What are your thoughts on Enso? Do you get what you pay for in this instance?

Thank you again for your help!

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Re: About to be married, need help buying mattress! 12 Feb 2012 04:16 #6

Hi typesomethingwitty,

I like this idea and have been debating it. The problem is we won't know how we like the final product until we've bought all the pieces (the firm mattress and the topper), put them together and slept on them. At least with the other strategies, we get to test drive the mattresses for a few minutes before buying. Just concerns me a bit.

What would you consider to be high quality toppers? Do you have any examples? How much do they generally cost (since I'll need to know to factor them in when choosing a firm mattress)?


I don't think this is an ideal approach and I would personally buy a "choose you own layer" mattress online than make a blind purchase of this type but if an outlet you are visiting carries an ultra firm mattress with only a few inches of firm polyfoam (maximum) over firm innersprings and also carries toppers that you can test on the mattress (high quality 5 lb memory foam or talalay or dunlop latex) ... then this approach may be worth considering as a good alternative to buying a more expensive mattress with thicker layers of either unknown or lower quality materials. 3" of the highest quality toppers such as latex or 5 lb memory foam or even gel memory foam should not be more than about $500 (and preferably less ... especially for the memory foam). If the outlet you were using charges a lot more than this then it may not be a viable option there. A firm mattress is not "enough" to do this with (many firm mattresses have more polyfoam than would make this approach successful). It should be "ultra firm" with very little polyfoam in it.

An excellent tip, so I did just that during a shopping trip at Sears today. The Serta iComfort Revolution was there, so I laid down on it. I have to say... I really, really liked it. This was my first time ever laying on a memory foam mattress, so I don't know if it was the iComfort itself or the memory foam. But I liked it.


Each material has a range of different "feels" depending on the type and density of memory foam or in the case of latex whether it is dunlop or talalay and the firmness level (which makes a huge difference). I would suggest trying out a range of different memory foams to get a sense of what they feel like as a group (the tempur cloud collection, the tempur contour collection, and the tempur HD collection would make good examples of different types of memory foam along with the icomforts and others) and the range of different feels in the group.

The Revolution has 2 different types of memory foam with an inch of polyfoam sandwiched in between. That's a LOT of soft form on top of a mattress (risking alignment issues).

Softer latex (in the comfort layers) if it's available is also a good idea to test to compare the "feel" of latex to memory foam. In the case of latex ... different firmness levels will also have a wide range of different feels but they will also have similarities as a group. Latex is much more supportive than memory foam in every level of softness.

Memory foam as a group is a range of "slower reacting" and "temperature sensitive" foams while latex as a group is "instant reacting" foam.

If you were in Macon for example ... it may be worth going to a place like this to compare the two materials. Jamison makes a range of talalay latex mattresses (I would call to make sure they carried them) which can be compared to the various tempurpedic collections (using different types of memory foam) and this should give you an idea of the general difference between the two types of foam. both are very pressure relieving but different in their feel. If you are not in Macon ... the Jamison site has an outlet finder to locate retail outlets that are near you. It may also be worth emailing Pure Latex Bliss and ask for a list of outlets near you as they also are a great way to test the feel of different types of Talalay latex layering. Badcock also carries a mattress with has 3" of talalay latex over a polyfoam support core and even though it also has 2" of polyfoam over the latex it would also give you a general "sense of latex" to a degree.

Keep a note of the models you like best so you can check the layering afterwards either online or here to see what materials and layers created the "feel" you like in either or both materials.

- I know The Original Mattress Factory is one of the manufacturers you recommended. I have read online that the firmness level of their only memory foam mattress (the "Serenity") is similar to Tempur-pedic's "Rhapsody" mattress. We could go test out the Rhapsody and, if we like it, plan an afternoon (in the midst of all the wedding planning) to drive to the nearest OMF, test out their Serenity mattress, and buy it if we like it.


Yes their memory foam mattresses uses similar materials (HD memory foam which is 7 or 8 lbs and "regular" 5 lb memory foam) and similar layering so the feel would also be similar (but not of course exactly the same). This type of firmer and denser memory foam would be slower reacting than the iComfort and feel quite a bit different even though it would still feel like memory foam (sinking in more slowly). If you did go to OMF .... I would make sure to compare their latex supreme to the memory foam.

I would seriously consider testing a few types of memory foam and latex and then going to the next step after you have compared the feel of different memory foams with latex. Because of your weight ... I would be VERY hesitant about buying any mattress which had less than 5 lb memory foam. This would exclude all the Enso's and while the iComfort does use two different types of 5lb memory foam ... the Gel memory foam layers would be closer IMO to the durability of 4 lb memory foam and any polyfoam in the upper layers would have a lower durability as well. I know that 4 lb memory foam may feel nicer (slightly faster reacting and not as motion restricting) but it is not a great choice for larger weights.

I would avoid layers that were thicker than you need (in spite of the temptation). The layer thickness that is most appropriate depends partly on your weight (which I know) and also a great deal on your sleeping positions (which I don't know). If your comfort layers are too thick or the support layers aren't firm enough ... you may pay the price with back issues from misalignment. The closer to the support layers you are the better (with just enough cushioning above the support to relieve pressure in your typical sleeping positions).

I would also test mattresses together rather than separately as it will feel different to both of you (but especially her) when you are on the mattress together.

Phoenix
Researching for a mattress?... Be sure to read The Mattress Shopping Tutorial.
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Last edit: by Phoenix.

Re: About to be married, need help buying mattress! 13 Feb 2012 16:26 #7

In case people don't tell you this often enough: You are extremely helpful! I really appreciate it.

Phoenix wrote:
(Regarding my "buy firm mattress and add topper" idea) If an outlet you are visiting carries an ultra firm mattress with only a few inches of firm polyfoam (maximum) over firm innersprings and also carries toppers that you can test on the mattress (high quality 5 lb memory foam or talalay or dunlop latex) ... then this approach may be worth considering as a good alternative to buying a more expensive mattress with thicker layers of either unknown or lower quality materials. (...) It should be "ultra firm" with very little polyfoam in it.


The more I read about a mattresses' "comfort layers" being the first things to wear out, the more I like and come back to the idea of buying an "ultra firm" mattress with a quality topper we could replace if/when the need arises.

Amongst "name brands", are there any "ultra firm" innerspring mattresses with very little polyfoam you recommend? Where do you recommend buying high-quality 3" toppers? What brands? (Or should I buy the topper we try at the store?)

Phoenix wrote:
Because of your weight ... I would be VERY hesitant about buying any mattress which had less than 5 lb memory foam. This would exclude all the Enso's and while the iComfort does use two different types of 5lb memory foam ... the Gel memory foam layers would be closer IMO to the durability of 4 lb memory foam and any polyfoam in the upper layers would have a lower durability as well. I know that 4 lb memory foam may feel nicer (slightly faster reacting and not as motion restricting) but it is not a great choice for larger weights.


More so than buying a mattress that is uncomfortable ("uncomfortable" has no meaning to me...I have been sleeping on a 35-year-old coil mattress!), my worry is buying a mattress that wears out prematurely (due to my weight or any other reason). Because of that, I'll eliminate Enso's mattresses and the iComforts from my list.

Does latex have an equivalent "5lb memory foam density" requirement I should look for, if we test latex and decided we like them?

Phoenix wrote:
Keep a note of the models you like best so you can check the layering afterwards either online or here to see what materials and layers created the "feel" you like in either or both materials.


That would be really helpful!

Phoenix wrote:
I would avoid layers that were thicker than you need (in spite of the temptation). The layer thickness that is most appropriate depends partly on your weight (which I know) and also a great deal on your sleeping positions (which I don't know). If your comfort layers are too thick or the support layers aren't firm enough ... you may pay the price with back issues from misalignment. The closer to the support layers you are the better (with just enough cushioning above the support to relieve pressure in your typical sleeping positions).


So this is another reason to rule out iComfort's "Revolution" (besides the foam density)? Laying on it was incredibly comfortable, but even as I was enjoying the "sinking in" feeling I wondered if I really needed to be sinking in THAT much. I could see alignment issues arising.

I am a back (and sometimes side) sleeper. From what I have read, I know back sleepers typically prefer plusher mattresses. My fiancee...I don't know. As I mentioned originally, we are what most would call old fashioned. I have zero idea whether she is a back, side or stomach sleeper. I will ask her.

Phoenix wrote:
I would also test mattresses together rather than separately as it will feel different to both of you (but especially her) when you are on the mattress together.


We will be doing that this Wednesday. From recent conversation, it appears she doesn't need/like as soft a mattress as I previously believed she did. This is good, since she is so much lighter than me..."soft" to her will feel super-duper soft to me. But I'll have a much better idea after Wednesday.

So...

At this point, I am liking the 1) ultra-firm mattress and add high quality 3" topper idea and the 2) OMF's memory foam mattress (if we like its equivalent, the Tempur-pedic Rhapsody...and if we travel to the nearest OMF one Saturday and like it in person) idea.

But out of convenience and budgetary reasons, and this may change after we mattress shop on Wednesday, I'm leaning towards idea #1. In which case, knowing which name-brand "ultra firm" mattresses are recommended will be extremely helpful!

Thank you again for your time and help, Phoenix.

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Re: About to be married, need help buying mattress! 14 Feb 2012 00:00 #8

Hi typesomethingwitty,

In case people don't tell you this often enough: You are extremely helpful! I really appreciate it.


Thank you ... it always feels good to hear it :)

Amongst "name brands", are there any "ultra firm" innerspring mattresses with very little polyfoam you recommend? Where do you recommend buying high-quality 3" toppers? What brands? (Or should I buy the topper we try at the store?)


This approach would only be worthwhile IMO if an outlet had both an ultra firm mattress and a topper in the same location so that you could test them together. If one has to be bought separately ... there would be no way to test them together until after you had bought it so it would make more sense to buy them both online because your options are much greater and the value would be better.

There are several ways to get to an "ultra firm" mattress with an innerspring which is what you would be looking for. Some involve an ultra firm innerspring with softer foam on top which would be called "ultra firm" because the foam is soft enough that a person would feel the firmness of the innersprings. Another way to get there would involve less firm innersprings but firmer foam on top so that the "ultra firm" feeling came from a combination of both the springs and the foam. The better option would be to choose a mattress with the "firm foam" approach with as thin a layer of firmer foam as possible) as the firmer foam would act as a "transition" between the memory foam and the innersprings.

These are very hard to find because a mattress that is suitable for a base layer would be firmer than most people would even consider buying and may still have more foam of the wrong type or firmness to be "ideal" for the mattress and topper approach. I would use this as a way to buy locally if an outlet had the "ingredients" and if actual testing of a mattress vs. an online purchase was a very strong preference even if it was significantly more expensive than other options. The goal would be to find an ultra firm that preferably had 2" of less of firmer foam (which would become the transition layer). A little more (say 3" of firm foam) would move it away further from the ideal but may still be worth considering. Many manufacturers make a mattress like this but because they are like sleeping on a rock ... not a lot of stores may carry them. It is easier to find a mattress like this by asking about construction (do you have an ultra firm innerspring mattress with 2" or less of polyfoam in it that feels like a rock) than by asking for a "name brand" because major brands tend to have many different names for the same mattress (in some cases several dozen).

A similar option that may have more benefits, fewer disadvantages (less unwanted foam) and better value and would give you a more traditional memory foam mattress would be buying a mattress that has removeable and exchangeable layers inside a zip cover. With a mattress like this ... there is no unwanted foam and the top layers are just as replaceable as a topper (unzip the cover, replace the layer, zip the cover back up). These type of "choose your own layers" are very popular but they are more common with latex than with memory foam. They also use polyfoam support cores rather than innersprings (like most memory foam mattresses including Tempurpedic and others). The "buy a firm innerspring mattress and a topper" approach would give you a "hybrid" mattress and would be great if you had a preference for the feel of memory foam over an innerspring rather than a more traditional memory foam mattress. Otherwise ... memory foam tends to do better with a foam support base. Post #5 in this thread which I just posted earlier today includes some links to some very good options with customizable memory foam mattresses.

More so than buying a mattress that is uncomfortable ("uncomfortable" has no meaning to me...I have been sleeping on a 35-year-old coil mattress!), my worry is buying a mattress that wears out prematurely (due to my weight or any other reason). Because of that, I'll eliminate Enso's mattresses and the iComforts from my list.

Does latex have an equivalent "5lb memory foam density" requirement I should look for, if we test latex and decided we like them?


There are 3 "good" types of latex which are all exceptionally durable and would make good choices. The first is made with a process called the Talalay process and uses raw materials that are partly natural latex (NR or natural rubber) and partly synthetic latex (SBR). This is called blended Talalay. Talalay can also be made with all natural latex (no synthetic) and this too is very high quality. Finally there is a second less costly process called Dunlop which is a denser version of latex which is less "lively", less consistent in it's surface softness, and comes in fewer softness options (none of which are as soft as the softest talalay). Good quality Dunlop is also exceptionally durable and high quality but in this case I would only consider 100% natural Dunlop and would tend to avoid blended Dunlop. There is more about this in the article here . As the article mentions ... the only one of these three that I would hesitate with in terms of durability is 100% natural Talalay in the softest ILD's (below about 20 ILD). I wouldn't hesitate to use all other softness levels in any of these three types (NR or blended Talalay or NR Dunlop) and all of them are more durable than even high quality memory foam.

There are 5 manufacturing members of this site that specialize in latex mattresses that either offer a choice of comfort layers or that are "choose your own layer" types of mattresses. Post #21 here has a list and brief description of them if you decide to go in the latex direction instead of memory foam.

So this is another reason to rule out iComfort's "Revolution" (besides the foam density)? Laying on it was incredibly comfortable, but even as I was enjoying the "sinking in" feeling I wondered if I really needed to be sinking in THAT much. I could see alignment issues arising.


Yes ... this would be a good reason for most people to avoid it. Typical mattresses sales outlets today cater to the temporary and managed showroom feel of "comfort" rather than pressure relief, support, and preferences tailored to an individual. Their goal is usually to sell you more foam (meaning higher prices and more profit) with a story attached to justify the price rather than a more suitable mattress. There are always exceptions and there may be a few that do well with layers of memory foam that thick but in general mattresses that are bought strictly for comfort and with the idea that thicker is better will only feel comfortable for the shorter term and in the longer term will likely have issues with alignment/support and the premature breakdown of the mattress.

I am a back (and sometimes side) sleeper. From what I have read, I know back sleepers typically prefer plusher mattresses. My fiancee...I don't know. As I mentioned originally, we are what most would call old fashioned. I have zero idea whether she is a back, side or stomach sleeper. I will ask her.


Side sleepers actually need the thickest (plushest) comfort layers because there are more "bony protrusions" such as hips, the pelvic crest, and shoulders that need pressure relief and the "gaps" in the side sleeping profile that need filling in are bigger. Back sleeping needs thinner comfort layers (less plush) and stomach sleeping needs the firmest and thinnest comfort5 layers of all. There is an article here with some guidelines for different weights and an article here with some guidelines for different sleeping positions.

At this point, I am liking the 1) ultra-firm mattress and add high quality 3" topper idea and the 2) OMF's memory foam mattress (if we like its equivalent, the Tempur-pedic Rhapsody...and if we travel to the nearest OMF one Saturday and like it in person) idea.

But out of convenience and budgetary reasons, and this may change after we mattress shop on Wednesday, I'm leaning towards idea #1. In which case, knowing which name-brand "ultra firm" mattresses are recommended will be extremely helpful!


So now I've gone and given you an option #3 which may be the best value of all which is a "choose your own layer" in either memory foam/poly or latex with options available to customize both before and after purchase to reduce the risk.

Hopefully this LONG post has given you all the options you may ever need but if not keep the questions coming :)

Phoenix
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Last edit: by Phoenix.

Re: About to be married, need help buying mattress! 14 Feb 2012 15:35 #9

Phoenix wrote:
Thank you ... it always feels good to hear it :)


You're welcome!

Phoenix wrote:
A similar option that may have more benefits, fewer disadvantages (less unwanted foam) and better value and would give you a more traditional memory foam mattress would be buying a mattress that has removeable and exchangeable layers inside a zip cover. With a mattress like this ... there is no unwanted foam and the top layers are just as replaceable as a topper (unzip the cover, replace the layer, zip the cover back up). These type of "choose your own layers" are very popular but they are more common with latex than with memory foam. They also use polyfoam support cores rather than innersprings (like most memory foam mattresses including Tempurpedic and others). The "buy a firm innerspring mattress and a topper" approach would give you a "hybrid" mattress and would be great if you had a preference for the feel of memory foam over an innerspring rather than a more traditional memory foam mattress. Otherwise ... memory foam tends to do better with a foam support base. Post #5 in this thread which I just posted earlier today includes some links to some very good options with customizable memory foam mattresses.


Such mattresses exist?? I love this idea. The notion of having a mattress we could open up, her side of the bed having several layers of differing firmness levels and my side of the mattress having its own layers of differing firmness levels is highly appealing. If I wanted it softer and she wanted it firmer, we could swap a layer. I like this idea.

On the list of online resources you wrote in another thread that offered mattresses with interchangeable layers, would one make more sense for me than another? Sleep EZ's Select Sleep 10,000 latex mattress offers three 3" layers for $1,995 in a King. Overnight Mattress.com offers a wide array of memory foam and latex mattress (although their memory foam only is 4lb density), with their latex offerings ranging from $1,199 to $1,799 in King sizes. But, you can "only" interchange the top layer.

With our different sizes, having my fiancee's side different from mine could ensure neither one of us would have to make sacrifices.

In one of the other threads you linked to, you wrote:

Phoenix wrote:
King size all latex with a foundation and including shipping would be more than your budget but a latex hybrid (latex comfort layer and an innerspring or polyfoam support core) is still in your range. A very good option for this would be here . These mattresses have 3" of talalay over a 2.35 lb polyfoam base (high quality) and 1.5" of polyfoam in the quilting (which is just a little over the inch I usually recommend as a maximum but because the quilting compresses it and also because of the great value of these mattresses I would not make this an issue). They also offer a choice of ILD in the latex layer. I know the manufacturer of these well and think highly of them and once they make a few changes to their main site to bring it up to date they will be listed as manufacturing members here.


A King latex mattress from this Amazon seller is $700. Assuming we like the feel of latex (we'll follow your suggestion to try one out tomorrow night when we're mattress browsing), this price tag is extremely, extremely appealing.

Two questions regarding this option:

1. This is probably a "duh!" question, but the $700 is for the mattress only, right? Do latex mattress need box springs? What kind of foundation do they go on?

2. As a couple who (as you know) is used to sleeping on 30 year old and 35 year old, respectively, coil mattresses, if we like the feel of latex we're likely going to LOVE this mattress if it's as good quality as you say. Should I just go this route and forgo the customization* (at higher price points) options in the mattresses we talked about above?

*(The entire mattress would be the same level of firmness (no "his side" and "her side"). We also couldn't open up the mattress to swap out layers, if the need arose. Is this correct?)

Wow, you must be getting tired of all my questions! Thank you so much.

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Re: About to be married, need help buying mattress! 14 Feb 2012 23:54 #10

Hi typesomethingwitty,

Wow, you must be getting tired of all my questions! Thank you so much.


I'm happy to answer as many as I can. For every question you have ... there will be many more reading (hopefully) with the same question so the more that are asked the more helpful the forum will be. Eventually many of the forum posts will be "revised" and aggregated into articles on the main site so people don't have to do quite as much searching and the information will be more "categorized" and organized.

Such mattresses exist?? I love this idea. The notion of having a mattress we could open up, her side of the bed having several layers of differing firmness levels and my side of the mattress having its own layers of differing firmness levels is highly appealing. If I wanted it softer and she wanted it firmer, we could swap a layer. I like this idea.


Yes, there many manufacturers that specialize in mattresses like this where you can "choose your own layers" and have each side of the mattress made differently. The link in my earlier post includes several like this which specialize mainly in memory foam and post #21 here lists the 5 manufacturing members of this site which specialize in shipping mattresses across the country with different types of "exchanges" available. 4 of these are "choose your own layer" types of mattresses with zip covers ... one that focuses on innersprings/latex and the other 3 mostly on all latex layers. There are differences between them in terms of differing levels of customization and different types of standard layering and the "degree of accuracy" that can be achieved but all of them have great value in their price ranges and they are an ideal choice if there are no local manufacturers in an area that offer similar value.

They also give people a chance to become more involved in the design of their mattress depending on the degree of research, testing and "risk" they are comfortable with. Some of my thoughts about the choices and tradeoffs that are involved in buying a mattress this way are in the last part of post #12 and in post #16 in this thread.

On the list of online resources you wrote in another thread that offered mattresses with interchangeable layers, would one make more sense for me than another? Sleep EZ's Select Sleep 10,000 latex mattress offers three 3" layers for $1,995 in a King. Overnight Mattress.com offers a wide array of memory foam and latex mattress (although their memory foam only is 4lb density), with their latex offerings ranging from $1,199 to $1,799 in King sizes. But, you can "only" interchange the top layer.


Just for the sake of clarity ... overnight mattress offers 3 different memory foam densities for the comfort layer of their mattresses (3, 4, and 5.3 lb), 8 different Talalay latex firmness levels, and a gel memory foam option (similar to the iComfort). Any of these can be exchanged for another at no cost after purchase.

The one that would "make the most sense" is the one that is most suitable for your personal PPP (pressure relief, posture and alignment, and preferences) in terms of layer thickness and layer firmness levels. Some general guidelines for different weights are here and for different sleeping positions are here . Of course all of this needs to fit within your preferred budget. Even the best mattress in the world may not be suitable for a particular person because of all the individual factors that make one mattress suitable for one person but not another.

SleepEz and the other "choose your own layer" types of mattresses that are available through the members of this site all offer different designs and degrees of customizing their mattresses. The different approaches involved in going in this direction are to A) either do enough field testing and research into layering schemes and how they interact with different heights, weights, sleeping positions, and preferences that you in effect design your own mattress and tell them what you want or B) go by their recommendations which are based on "averages" that people with similar body weights and shapes, sleeping positions, and preferences tend to prefer or C) a combination of both.

This is probably a "duh!" question, but the $700 is for the mattress only, right? Do latex mattress need box springs? What kind of foundation do they go on?


There's no "duh" questions ... only unasked ones :). Yes this is mattress only.

Do latex mattress need box springs? What kind of foundation do they go on?


Latex mattresses will do best on a firm, rigid, and supportive slatted or grid base unlike most innerspring mattresses which do best on a shock absorbing type of base like an innerspring or semi-flex base.

If the base is a foundation with wood slats ... the slats should be a maximum of 3" apart (preferably less).

If the base is a metal wire grid, then the grid should have a close enough pattern to support the mattress without the latex sinking into the grid.

There's more about some less expensive options in post #2 here and there's also a link there to a more detailed post with a wider variety of options.

As a couple who (as you know) is used to sleeping on 30 year old and 35 year old, respectively, coil mattresses, if we like the feel of latex we're likely going to LOVE this mattress if it's as good quality as you say. Should I just go this route and forgo the customization* (at higher price points) options in the mattresses we talked about above?


I think this depends entirely on the many factors in each person's "value equation". This is certainly a good option as long as the mattress is suitable for each person who will be sleeping on the mattress but the more customizable options can also be very desireable to many people because they they allow for a much wider range of layering and combinations of pressure relief, support, and preferences. How good is good?

In the end you are at the point where all your options are good ones and they really involve a choice of how many of the benefits that are available to you are important vs the price in time and money they will cost. At least with the online options there's little travelling involved (except perhaps for some local testing if you want to become more involved in the design of your mattress) and you can do your mattress shipping on the phone talking with some great people who are more than willing to share their skills and knowledge with you while you sip on your coffee :)

Phoenix
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