When it comes to getting a good night’s rest, most people would agree that having the right mattress is essential. After all, a bad night’s sleep can leave you feeling groggy, sluggish, and just plain grumpy. A great mattress, on the other hand, can help you relax and fall asleep quickly and easily, so you wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day. That said, not everyone knows what to look for when buying a mattress. And if you’re in the market for your first one, then scoping out the options can seem downright daunting. To help you get started, or answer any questions you may have about the mattress buying process, we put together this guide. Keep reading to learn all about how to choose a mattress, as well as some important questions to ask yourself throughout the process.
What’s the Lifespan of a Mattress?
When you buy a mattress, it’s not just a one-time purchase. In fact, a mattress can last a lifetime, or at least several years, if you take care of it. The lifespan of a mattress is all based on how you take care of it. A good rule of thumb is to check the label to make sure it contains the materials the retailer claims. While most mattresses have a lifespan of around five years, you can expect better performance and longevity from a high-quality mattress. When it comes to buying a new mattress, you should aim for at least a seven-year lifespan. However, this is a very general guideline and may not apply to every scenario.
How Much Should I Pay for a Mattress?
This is likely the most important question of all! Simply put, you need to determine how much you can afford to spend on a mattress. While there are many affordable options available, you should avoid buying a cheap mattress simply because it’s affordable. Instead, buy a cheap mattress if you know you cannot afford to spend more. There is an old adage around spending as much as you can afford on anything that separates you from the ground whether it be a pair of good boots, car tyres or a mattress.
While there is plenty of evidence of poor value within the industry, by and large you do get what you pay for. That means the more you pay, the higher the quality of the mattress.
Remember, too, that the price of a mattress doesn’t just include the cost of the actual foam or springs—it also comes with the price of the bed frame and bed itself, if they’re not sold separately.
The Types of Mattresses to Choose From
Before you head to the store, you need to have an idea of what type of mattress you want. This will help you narrow down your search and save time, as well as avoid walking into a store and not knowing what to look for. There are basically three base layer support types within a mattress – Pocket spring, open coil of reflex foam..
Pocket Spring: “Offers good support and even distribution across the entire mattress. Firmness of your mattress can be determined by the pocket springs properties, size and shape rather than the amount of pocket springs. Many people avoid a higher number of springs as they worry that it makes the mattress too firm, however, this is a misconception. The truth is that the more springs the better, it’s as simple as that. The more springs you have the better the sprigs can contour and adapt to your body pressure as you move around the mattress. Springs should be firm for when you suffer from back-pain, but again, an amount of springs is necessary to apply adequate pressure to each part of the back in order to provide relief.” – Want Mattress
Open Coil: “This solution takes around 200-400 springs and attaches them together with a rigid wire frame. The problem with this is that while being linked together provides an amount of consistency through all areas of the base, it removes the ability for each spring to work truly independently to the one beside it meaning poorer distribution. Further to this, look at that spring count, 200-400? That’s in a king size as well bare-in-mind, so if you get a double or single you end up with even less. With such a low spring count you do not have the right support system in place to promote good coverage and distribution.” – Want Mattress
Reflex Foam: “The benefit of reflex foam as a construction is that it is cheap to produce and thereby sell and it also can be vacuum packed for far easier distribution. The vast majority of bed-in-a-box retailers like Eve, Simba, Nectar and Otty all utilise some degree of reflex foam base layer and they all get to make use of the easier logistics and reduced shipping costs that vacuum pack affords.” – Want Mattress
Note: The above support types have been covered in more detail here: https://www.wantmattress.com/sleep-advice/ultimate-pocket-spring-mattress-buying-guide
From there you now need to decide on the firmness. You can get varying firmness options regardless of which support layer you choose, as always, our preference will always be towards pocket springs, but budget will largely dictate what you end up with in this segment.
Once you know what firmness you want and which support layer will be most suitable, it’s time to look at the type of comfort layer you need. These options can vary wildly and there are a large number of different options to suit, whether you want deep and luxurious, soft or springy, or hypoallergenic. This comfort layer is more of a personal choice and mileage will vary relative to each person’s personal preference.
How Your Sleep Position Impacts Your Mattress Needs
If you sleep on your back or stomach, you’ll want a firmer mattress. If you sleep on your side, however, you’ll want a slightly softer mattress. When it comes to choosing the right mattress for your sleeping position, your main goal is to find one that feels comfortable and supports your body.
Back and side sleepers will generally want a firmer mattress with good support, while those who sleep on their stomach will need a softer mattress with more comfort.
Other Mattress Comfort, Customization, Reliability Considerations
Beyond the basics of firmness and support, there are several other features you might want to consider when choosing a mattress. These include:
Cover: While there are plenty of inexpensive mattresses out there, remember that you get what you pay for. If you’re able to spend a little more, buying a mattress with a higher-quality cover will significantly boost the longevity of your mattress and protect it from stains and damage.
Other considerations are around breathability, some covers are more breathable than others, promoting airflow and helping keep your mattress cool while you sleep.
Warranty/Guarantee: Make sure the mattress you choose comes with a warranty. You want to be sure the company stands behind their product, as well as guarantees their warranty will be honoured.
Firmness: While you want your mattress to be firm enough to provide support, you don’t want it to be too firm. If it’s too soft, you might end up with back pain. A good rule of thumb is to choose a mattress with a foam or spring tension that’s comfortable but firm enough to provide support.
Airflow: Keep in mind that a hot sleeping environment can be problematic. If you sleep hot, a breathable mattress will help keep you cooler.Also, generally avoid memory foam mattresses unless they feature specific materials or designs to offset the heat element that comes with this comfort layer.
Mattress toppers: If you have a new mattress that is proving to be too firm, it might be worth it to invest in a mattress topper. They’re made to fit over a bed mattress and provide additional sleeping surface area that can help soften the tension of the springs underneath and help side sleepers enjoy an otherwise too-firm mattress.
When to Shop for Mattresses In-Store Vs. Online
Now that you know what to look for, and what questions to ask yourself, it’s time to take a closer look at when you should shop for a mattress in-store vs. online. The short answer here is that it largely depends on your comfort and budget.
If you’re still unsure of the level of firmness necessary for you, given weight disparities among couples for example, or you want to try out different mattress models in person, then heading to the store is probably the best option. If, however, you have a tight timeline or want to buy a mattress online, then doing so is convenient thanks to numerous retailers that we feature on Want Mattress offering free next day delivery on thousands of mattresses.
A mattress is one of the most important pieces of furniture you’ll buy for your home. It’s important to take your time and research various options before making a purchase. While there are many great options available, the best mattress is the one that best meets your needs and meets them now.
While there are plenty of inexpensive mattresses out there, remember that you get what you pay for. If you’re able to spend a little more, buying a higher-quality pocket spring system combined with your comfort layer of choice and a good durable cover will significantly boost the longevity of your mattress and prevent dipping and settlement issues over time.