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normal Approach to Mattress purchase and prospects

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08 Aug 2018 10:29 #1 by Doubleight

I'm a newcomer to the site and hope that I've found an appropriate place to post.

I’m looking for a replacement for my 11-year-old Regina firm mattress. I am a side sleeper with a BMI of about 24 who suffers from hip bursitis. I have a dislike of the feel of Memory Foam. After doing a couple of hours of research on your invaluable site, I visited a few stores in that were identified as possibilities by Phoenix in a post of 2012. (I understand that you’re not providing these lists anymore.) I wanted to focus on getting information about the component layers of the mattresses they had. I hoped that I would find salespeople who would meet my limited knowledge half-way.

I found the experience mostly frustrating, as I felt that I was speaking a different language from the salespeople. It wasn’t possible to use mattress composition as an entry point into a conversation: instead, I wound up just lying on a bunch of “firm” mattresses in a pretty ignorant fashion and then asking for their composition. One store, which sells locally made mattresses (Sleepmaster), told me that specs of their mattresses weren’t available because they were trade secrets. I learned simply that the mattress that felt best to me had a layer of 2-sided HD foam over inner-spring coils. I received information about some Restonic inner-spring mattresses, but some of the terms used for the upper layers are proprietary names that are opaque to me. The mattress that felt best (Biltmore Ornate Firm) has three layers: Quilt (1/2” gel foam + 1” extra firm foam), Comfort (2” AlumiLast® Memory Foam + 1” extra firm support foam), and Support (Twin Support Q5 individually wrapped coils). I’m not sure what kind of foam is being used in all cases, let alone its quality. The salespeople were helping me to be the best of their ability, and I don’t know that I’m likely to get more information from them.

I’d like to make an informed decision about a new mattress, but so far I’m not feeling great about my prospects. Should I look for other retailers that might take a different approach to sales, even if it means that I need to drive a couple of hours from my home? Or should I pursue the possibilities that I’ve found so far? I would be grateful for advice. This site is an amazing resource.

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09 Aug 2018 17:23 #2 by Foam Sweet Foam

Hi Doubleight!

Welcome to the forum! Sorry to hear the discomfort you experience from your hip bursitis. That is definitely something to consider since comfort and pressure relief will be key for sleeping hours at a time on your side.

Yes, memory foam is not the best material when it comes to needing support and less sinking in. It is great that you’ve started your research quest to make an informed purchase decision and have visited retail stores. Although it can feel tedious, it sounds as though it has already helped you determine what you do or don’t like, and therefore will help to steer you in the right direction. While there are a lot of different options to try, I would first recommend to focus on your material preference. From there you would determine your comfort level (pressure relief, plushness, alignment, firmness, etc.), then you can get in contact with an expert to guide you. Calling the manufacturer, asking for their specs and recommendation after disclosing the positions you sleep, any health issues, and other personal sleeping preferences, would be your best bet for determining if it’s a good fit. I would recommend that if you don’t find anything locally that has good quality and value, or is maybe too high of a price point, you could find something similar with a similar feel from an online manufacturer that provides same if not better quality materials.

The mattress that felt best (Biltmore Ornate Firm) has three layers: Quilt (1/2” gel foam + 1” extra firm foam), Comfort (2” AlumiLast® Memory Foam + 1” extra firm support foam), and Support (Twin Support Q5 individually wrapped coils). I’m not sure what kind of foam is being used in all cases, let alone its quality.


The specifications you listed are a good first step, however they cannot be meaningful unless you are able to know the quality of every layer and component (density, specs, etc). If a company does not disclose specs to you, then you have no way of knowing if your mattress will be durable or instead deemed unusable years down the road. Make sure you find out the information listed here so you can compare the quality of the materials and components to the durability guidelines here to make sure there are no lower quality materials or weak links in a mattress that would be a cause for concern. If you can provide specifically what is inside the mattress you are considering, I would be happy to give my input.

Please keep in mind that due to the online explosion of mattresses in the last few years, most manufacturers have become more transparent and consumer centric by disclosing the specs and details about their products while simultaneously allowing refunds, exchanges, and other customer friendly terms. More and more consumers make good online purchases provided they do their research and understand their needs and preferences.

Hope this helps! Please let me know if you have any further questions. Best of luck. :)

FSF Team

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10 Aug 2018 06:39 #3 by Doubleight

Dear FSM,

Thank you for taking the time to respond, and for confirming that I have so far been unable to get adequate information. I wonder if I could ask for a little more specific guidance.

You write:
"While there are a lot of different options to try, I would first recommend to focus on your material preference. From there you would determine your comfort level (pressure relief, plushness, alignment, firmness, etc.), then you can get in contact with an expert to guide you. Calling the manufacturer, asking for their specs and recommendation after disclosing the positions you sleep, any health issues, and other personal sleeping preferences, would be your best bet for determining if it’s a good fit. I would recommend that if you don’t find anything locally that has good quality and value, or is maybe too high of a price point, you could find something similar with a similar feel from an online manufacturer that provides same if not better quality materials."

How do I determine my material preference if only a few options are available for me to test? Are there some showrooms in the US that I could visit that would have many options, even if it might require a long drive on my part?

You write:
"Please keep in mind that due to the online explosion of mattresses in the last few years, most manufacturers have become more transparent and consumer centric by disclosing the specs and details about their products while simultaneously allowing refunds, exchanges, and other customer friendly terms. More and more consumers make good online purchases provided they do their research and understand their needs and preferences."

What I hear you saying is that I am going to experience more transparency if I place a phone call to a manufacturer. Is that correct? In your experience, is a manufacturer's rep willing to give me the advice about what's best for me that salespeople were unable to give? Do you have any tips for navigating the usual frustrations of a phone system? Is there a particular kind of person to ask for when I call an 800 number?

I understand that I won't be able to get detailed advice from you until I get more information. What I'm still wondering is how I am really going to be able to get more information.

Thank you for any additional help you can give.

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11 Aug 2018 06:57 #4 by Foam Sweet Foam

Hi Doubleight,

Let me dive right into your questions.

How do I determine my material preference if only a few options are available for me to test? Are there some showrooms in the US that I could visit that would have many options, even if it might require a long drive on my part?


Starting with local stores as you have is great. Driving a little further could also be worth your while. I would search on google in your surrounding area and visit another location or two that carries a potential type of mattress you are considering. You can then use TMU by typing in a “key term” in the Forum Search in a city or area you live close to and see what businesses have previously been discussed in that area that could be helpful for your search. Once you have a business or a few you are considering, you can read this article to confirm that the retailer or manufacturer is transparent with their products and meets Post #13 quality/value guidelines here . Local testing will first help you get a clearer sense of different materials and layering and also determine your needs and preferences. This coupled with your sleeper stats as you previously mentioned regarding body type, sleeping style etc. will help to make a good purchase.

What I hear you saying is that I am going to experience more transparency if I place a phone call to a manufacturer. Is that correct? In your experience, is a manufacturer's rep willing to give me the advice about what's best for me that salespeople were unable to give? Do you have any tips for navigating the usual frustrations of a phone system? Is there a particular kind of person to ask for when I call an 800 number?


This is why TMU is a great resource since they not only provide so much knowledge and information, but they have their Trusted Members who are all highly ranked and valued. A lot of these companies have a reasonable exchange/return in place and allow the customer to rearrange layers according to comfort needs. Most of these online manufacturers are very good at what they do, helpful, and can be fairly accurate with their recommendation for you. The more specific and detailed the information you provide to them, the better they will be able to help you make the best possible choice from the options they have available. Hopefully you would easily be put in touch with the correct person to have a conversation and get their recommendation. Press “0” if you have some difficulty to get directly in contact to a representative or call again later. Once you get a rep on the line, make sure you get all your questions answered! I think all the Trusted Members on TMU should be very responsive and much more consumer friendly than a typical Bed in the Box.

I understand that I won't be able to get detailed advice from you until I get more information. What I'm still wondering is how I am really going to be able to get more information.


Post #2 here has information about the different ways to buy a mattress (locally or online) that will be the best "match" for your preferences, body type and sleeping positions, and can help you to minimize the risks involved. You can also follow the steps outlined in the mattress shopping tutorial here . If a mattress is a good match for you in terms of PPP keep in mind that a mattress is only as good as the quality of the materials inside. This article will help determine the quality and whether it has any weak links in terms of durability.

In conclusion, search for local retailers, compare those to this site, find a few to go out and test, inquire and learn about the quality of the materials inside, know your preferences and stats, use the articles listed above to learn about the quality/durability of the materials, browse the trusted members on this site, then use all of this information to have a more detailed Q&A with a retailer or online manufacturer. These steps will help to determine your preference and will also educate yourself regarding the different companies and products/options they offer. Layer exchange programs or a return policy may be an important part of your personal value equation should you choose to go with an online mattress.

Best of luck! :)

FSF Team

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