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Dallas Buying Experience 25 Aug 2012 20:20 #1

First off, I just want to thank everyone for this site. While it can be completely overwhelming, the detailed information and insight provided here has been invaluable and really appreciated. That said, here was my experience:

Old mattress 12 year old S&F box spring that I am ashamed to say how much we paid for and now is riddled with dips and a source of pain for my wife and me.

Stats- Me 5'10" 155#- stomach and back sleeper, Wife 5'2" 120 (and curvy)- stomach, side, and back sleeper.

For fun, we visited a couple of mattress stores, really to test out a variety of beds to see if we could gauge our material preference and firmness requirements. Only thing I learned is used car salesmen and mattress salesmen are cut from the same cloth (and we met some very nice people- they just knew little about their product). This process yielded minimal results, except we did really like the YuMe bed with air conditioning!

Based on this site, we geared up to head to Ft. Worth for the sites recommended. First off, we visited City Mattress (www.citymattressfactory.com/). Very sketchy location and my wife wondered what I got her into. We tested all 6 or so floor model latex beds. We liked the firmness of the Covington, and the comfort of the poly foam/gel Bamboo bed, but ultimately we decided on the Covington Ultima, which combined a latex core with gel foam topper.
I was a little disappointed that the very nice sales lady knew very little about the mattress components and other details, especially given that it is made 15 feet from where we were standing.

Here is what I think I know about the bed:

3” gel foam topper – 6-8” Dunlop latex core (unknown ILD- I do have a call in on this) and 3” gel topper on the other side. 14” total mattress height

This bed seemed to be a perfect blend of very good firmness with a little plushness for comfort. We laid on it 3 separate times for extended periods and in different positions. No sinking in and good spinal alignment in all positions.

Location two- Original Mattress Factory (www.themattressfactory.com/Home.aspx). Again, sketchy location, but at this point we were in. They only had two floor models a medium 8” and a firm 10”. The medium was too squishy and the firm was way too hard (floor like). Something in the middle may have worked and they were clearly more than capable of making anything we wanted/needed, but this is exactly our problem- we don’t know what we need/want!
I was actually really surprised that the guy working knew very little about the mattress, components, makeup, etc. Their website is pretty complete, so I knew far more about their mattresses than he did. Again, despite the bed having been made 5’ away.

As an accommodation, we tried the firm (one side had ~1” topper) and we added a cover that made the bed more comfortable, but I just did not feel right about the bed or the cover. We left here a little disappointed, but with a clear understanding that they could build whatever we wanted (if we only knew). Their prices were a tad higher than City Mattress as well.

So here are my questions:

1. Any experience with the Covington Ultima?

2. Any thoughts on the gel topper? It really did seem to be a perfect blend of firmness and comfort for us (no sinking in feeling like the memory foam bed). We took photos of our backs on the various beds and the Ultima kept both our spines in a good neutral position.

3. What else are we missing?

Appreciate any feedback and again, really appreciate this site for helping us find value (cross of price and quality) in our bed hunt. We really feel like the quality at both these places blew away what we saw at the mattress shops and at about half the price.

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Last edit: by phoenix.

Re: Dallas Buying Experience 25 Aug 2012 22:16 #2

Hi CBS,

It's interesting to me that you encountered such a lack of knowledge. I have often come across manufacturers (some of whom I think highly of) that are not as well versed in the technical specs of the materials they use but know from their long experience, the "feel" and weight of various foams, and the long term feedback of customers which are better or worse. Of course they can get the specs if needed from their source but they are "experience" oriented more than "spec" oriented. From your description ... it doesn't seem to me though that you were dealing with either type at either location which is somewhat surprising although of course I could be wrong here.

3” gel foam topper – 6-8” Dunlop latex core (unknown ILD- I do have a call in on this) and 3” gel topper on the other side. 14” total mattress height


There are really two types of "specs" which are the quality specs of materials and the comfort specs of materials. Quality specs include the type of latex or the density of any polyfoam or memory foam in the mattress. These are important to know IMO. Comfort specs on the other hand include the ILD's of a material and while they can be important in an online purchase where you can't test the mattress and there is no other frame of reference ... they are not really relevant when you can test a mattress because what you feel and experience on the mattress is much more accurate than knowing ILD specs. Knowing these doesn't really make any difference in these cases.

In any case ... on to your questions ...

1. Any experience with the Covington Ultima?


No ... other than the description you provided or that is on their website. From your description and the site ... the 6" core is Dunlop latex which can be a high quality material although I would want to know if it was natural Dunlop (higher quality) or blended Dunlop (less costly but lower quality). The site says that they use 3" of 4.5 lb visco which is in between mid and high density/quality and would have a feel that many people liked (some would like this more than many higher density memory foams) but it appears that it has been replaced with gel memory foam which can also be a high quality material. I would want to know though whether the gel was infused with the memory foam (which can strengthen the memory foam) or used "particulates" or "pieces" of gel in the foam which I believe can lead to lower foam durability.

2. Any thoughts on the gel topper? It really did seem to be a perfect blend of firmness and comfort for us (no sinking in feeling like the memory foam bed). We took photos of our backs on the various beds and the Ultima kept both our spines in a good neutral position.


The choice between slow response materials (like the gel memory foam) and fast response materials (like latex) in a comfort layer is really a matter of preference. If the answers to the previous questions were the ones I wanted ... then it appears that this mattress is a good "fit" for you and the materials are good quality. The fact that it is double sided would be a "value bonus".

3. What else are we missing?


In terms of manufacturers there is one more option but if they involve a drive for you then I would call them first to discuss your experiences so far to see if they have anything that may be suitable for testing.

It seems to me that you prefer the "feel" of the slow response gel memory foam in the comfort layers over the fast response of latex so I would stick with what your experience says best fits your needs and preferences. The only things that would be "missing" would be the questions I mentioned just to make sure about the quality of the materials and if the answers indicate higher quality materials and you are happy with the performance, feel, and price of the mattress ... then it seems to me that it would make a good choice.

All of the choices you have mentioned are far and away better quality and value than anything you would find in a major brand or mass market outlet. Once your choices are between "good and good" in terms of quality and value, and all your final questions are answered ... then any final decision based on what I call PPP (Pressure relief, Posture and alignment, and Personal preferences) would be a good one :)

Phoenix
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Last edit: by phoenix.

Re: Dallas Buying Experience 25 Aug 2012 22:58 #3

Seriously, amazing that you respond here so quickly (and completely).

I have sent some follow up questions to City Mattress and have reviewed my notes. Here are a few adds:
1. the latex is "dunlopillo" latex. Still not sure what that means aside from what I learned from the Dunlopillo website.
2. I was told it was gel infused foam. Again, trying to confirm with company. I think that is the part that concerns me the most.

A few comments on your response:

Staff Knowledge- I have to say, I found this be really be disappointing. Maybe because I was so primed and ready to learn and discuss the mattresses, but I just expected more. I am sure both of the places we went have people that can answer my questions, unfortunately that is not who I met today. Again, both places the people were very friendly and helpful...just not knowledgeable.

Slow v. Fast- this is probably the best description of our issue. I think ideally we are right in the middle. The memory foam was too slow and we did not like the sinking/deep cradle feeling. On the other end, the firm latex was very supportive but also a little too unforgiving on boney pressure points. Not uncomfortable but not necessarily what either of us described as comfortable (although my concern is whether long term this is better for us).

The gel foam seemed like the goldilocks fit- just right. Of course, the fact it felt both very supportive and comfortable to both of us made me immediately suspicious! I am very concerned about the longevity and durability of the gel foam. That said, the company was clear about its warranty and customer support. If we are not happy, they come to us and fix it. That plus the fact that we have it on both sides seems like a bonus.

My wife is clear that her #1 is the Covington Ultima (really #2 was not close in her mind). I think after spending all day between these beds, I agree that the Ultima was a clear winner in our house. That said, I have sent all my questions to the company and when I hear back I will relay to this site. Also, we'll share our experience once we finally decide.

The number of bad reviews for foam over latex has me fairly concerned, especially about compression, dips, etc. That said, at some point, I think you are right that we are picking between good and good and we need to let our bodies decide.

Thanks again for all the guidance.

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Re: Dallas Buying Experience 26 Aug 2012 00:36 #4

Hi CBS,

Gel memory foams in general are an emerging category of foam and while they don't have long term results in real life to show ... it certainly appears that they have some attractive qualities and some of the testing on them is promising. In the "better" versions ... gel can add durability, breathability, and a faster response to memory foam which many people prefer to the slower response and heat issues of some of the "more traditional" types of memory foam. The gel can also add some support qualities to memory foam (in comparison to other memory foams only because all versions of memory foam including gel is too soft to be used as a support layer).

There are memory foams without gel that have these qualities as well but in the current market environment where every manufacturer is rushing to come out with a gel material to "keep up" with the interest Serta has created with the success of its iComfort line ... the gel memory foams with these qualities can be easier to find. In other words ... there is lots of hype and exaggeration about gel memory foams but there is also some substance to them and they can make a good choice.

The mattress you are looking at is also two sided which adds significantly to the longevity of the comfort layers in a mattress (the foams in the upper layers are the "weak link" of a mattress and can soften more quickly than the deeper layers) so this is a real "value bonus" as well.

1. the latex is "dunlopillo" latex. Still not sure what that means aside from what I learned from the Dunlopillo website.


Dunlopillo used to produce Talalay latex (along with Radium and Latex international) but now is only a brand name and no longer produces latex. They went bankrupt a few years ago and the name was fractured and is owned by about a dozen different companies in different areas around the world. Latex International bought much of their equipment and owns the rights to the name in the US (and several other companies) so any "Dunlopillo" latex in the US would now be Talalay latex produced by Latex International. "Dunlop" latex on the other hand is a method of manufacturing latex that is used by dozens of companies around the world and is different from the brand name "Dunlopillo". I know all of the similarities can be confusing. Talalay latex is a high quality material and you can read more about it in this article .

2. I was told it was gel infused foam. Again, trying to confirm with company. I think that is the part that concerns me the most.


Generally ... "infused" would mean that it is the "good stuff" but on occasion some will use infused to mean "infused particles" rather than two liquid polymer materials that are "poured" together.

So the bottom line is that if the answers to your questions are satisfactory (and it appears that they will be) ... then it seems that the Covington would make a good choice for you in terms of feel, fit, quality, and value.

The number of bad reviews for foam over latex has me fairly concerned, especially about compression, dips, etc. That said, at some point, I think you are right that we are picking between good and good and we need to let our bodies decide.


All of the three major types of foam (polyfoam, memory foam, and latex) have better and worse variants. Polyfoam comes in higher and lower densities as well as memory foam (and now it's offshoot gel hybrid foams) and even latex has lower quality versions (mostly synthetic Dunlop). Most of the bad reviews are about the lower quality/density versions of these foams. Low density polyfoam and memory foam in particular will soften and degrade much more quickly than the higher quality/density versions and they are the main reason for many of the poor reviews. Most of the major brands use too much lower quality/density versions of polyfoam and memory foam in the majority of their mattresses ... even in the higher price ranges ... as a cost cutting measure to increase profit margins because low quality foams can be made to feel the same as higher quality versions in a showroom ... they just don't last as long. Because these major brands dominate the market ... and because there are so many mattresses that use thick layers of these lower quality foams in constructions such as pillowtops and eurotops ... the negative reviews are justified but are more about the quality of the foams they use ... not the type of foam itself.

So overall ... I think you are on the edge of confirming that the Covington would be a good choice :)

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.
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Last edit: by phoenix.

Re: Dallas Buying Experience 27 Aug 2012 19:18 #5

Just wanted to update on the responses I received today:

1. ILD for the mattress was described as 32X36 (not sure exactly what this means)

2. Bed components= 6” FIRM LATEX is TALALAY 100% LATEX from LATEX INTERNATIONAL + 3” GEM, FOAM ENCASED (a little confusing here if the 3" is the same as the 4" of gel foam or something different)

3. Description of gel foam-, 4” MEMORY FOAM WITH BEADS OF GEL WHICH GIVES MORE AIR FLOW AND SLEEPS COOLER

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Re: Dallas Buying Experience 27 Aug 2012 19:43 #6

Hi CBS,

1. ILD for the mattress was described as 32X36 (not sure exactly what this means)


I'm not sure exactly what this means either but it could mean that the latex was zoned (higher ILD in the middle) or it could be specifying a range of ILD's for the layer. ILD is never exact and a rating ... even if it specifies a specific number ... is an average across the surface of different measurements and this "average" itself could also be in a range depending on the allowable variance when the latex is ordered.

2. Bed components= 6” FIRM LATEX is TALALAY 100% LATEX from LATEX INTERNATIONAL + 3” GEM, FOAM ENCASED (a little confusing here if the 3" is the same as the 4" of gel foam or something different)


I think the GEM may mean "gel" but I'm not sure. The site says that it uses 3" on top but your next comment indicates 4" so one or the other is not correct. Foam encased means that a foam layer (or an innerspring) is surrounded on all sides by a firmer foam for edge support. This is generally added to a base layer but on occasion it can be added to a comfort layer as well (although this is far less common).

3. Description of gel foam-, 4” MEMORY FOAM WITH BEADS OF GEL WHICH GIVES MORE AIR FLOW AND SLEEPS COOLER


This is the "particulate" or "bead" type of gel foam and would not be my first choice in gel memory foam. This current preference could change over the years as time provides more real life experience and feedback but at this point it appears that this is a less durable form of gel memory foam than the others I mentioned in post #10 here .

So you have one "less durable" feature (particulate gel memory foam) and one "more durable" component (2 sided).

I would probably call them to find out why the website is showing something different from their description and to fill in any other gaps because each email can often lead to more questions and end up taking way too long to get all the information you need.

Phoenix
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