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A Simple Mattress Buying Guide – How to Choose a Perfect Mattress

how to choose a mattress
Sep 15, 2020

In this article, we are going to offer you the most detailed guide on how to choose a mattress that will be perfect for you. Here you will find the following information that will help you to improve your night’s sleep:

  • When you should change your mattress;
  • What are the most common types and sizes of mattresses on the market;
  • What factors you should consider when choosing a mattress (sleeping position, weight, firmness, thickness, etc);
  • Average costs on most popular types of mattresses;
  • Average lifespan of each mattress type.

The main factors to consider when choosing a mattress

The process of selecting the most suitable mattress for you is not that difficult. Here are the main factors that you need to consider - remember them and you’ll never miss the perfect mattress:

  • Mattress’s size
  • Type of a mattress
  • Density, thickness, and firmness
  • Price of a mattress
  • What kind of sleeper are you
  • Lifespan of a mattress

Now let’s dive into each factor and discuss them all in detail.

Mattress sizes

There are 6 most popular mattress sizes, and below you can find them all. Please, kindly note that different brands may have slightly different dimensions.

Size nameDimensions (in)Dimensions (cm)Suitable for
Crib27.25” x 51”69.2 cm x 129.5 cmA baby only.
Twin38” x 75”97 cm x 190 cm Ideal for one person, even though two people may fit. Very often, a Twin mattress is purchased for kids or bunk beds.
Twin XL38” x 80”96.5cm x 203cmPerfect for tall teenagers, single adults, or if you have limited available space.
Full53” x 75”134.5cm x 190.5cmIf you like to cuddle with your partner, a full mattress is going to be perfect for you. It is also suitable for single young adults.
Queen60” x 80”152.5cm x 203cmOne of the most common choices. It is perfect for a master bedroom. It is a large mattress that can fit two or more people
King76” x 80”193cm x 203cmThis mattress will surely make you feel like a king! A huge mattress that can fit a family with a pet or a large group of friends
California King72” x 84”183cm x 213cmThe most luxurious option available on the market. For those who want to feel free while sleeping. An excellent choice for anyone

How to choose the needed size that will fit the room perfectly?

You can start with getting the dimensions of the room and consider the number of other furniture, and then block off the needed space in your room with the tape - if you need a Queen, block an area of 60” x 80” and see if it fits well. Then perform some actions in your room - anything you usually do, and see if you can do it freely without feeling cramped.

You should consider the furniture you want to purchase in future, too: it may influence your choice of the size as well. Also, think about the most important thing: do you need more space or a more luxurious bed?

Most common types of mattresses

Memory foam mattresses

Memory foam offers comfortable sleep, excellent spinal support, and movement isolation. It mainly consists of polyurethane foam or foam infused with gel to absorb heat. It is perfect for people who are not hot sleepers, who have problems with back pains, and do not want to disturb their partners during sleep. The price range on memory foam mattresses - $600-$1,35 and more.

Pros

  • Foam is very durable, meaning that you will enjoy a great lifespan of the mattress
  • Ideal for side and back sleepers
  • Great movement isolation

Cons

  • Not ideal for hot sleepers due to high heat retention
  • Usually very heavy and difficult to relocate
  • At first, the chemical-like smell can be annoying

Innerspring mattresses

Innerspring mattresses usually have individually encased coils or pocket coils, offset coils, bonnell coils, or continuous wire coils. They can be made from titanium or steel. Innerspring mattresses are ideal for people with back pains, stomach sleepers, and people with asthma or allergies. Innerspring mattresses are usually quite affordable - you can find a mattress that costs around $200, but a more or less good mattress price is $500-$1,000 and more.

Pros

  • Great edge support
  • Less likely to have an odor
  • No heat retention
  • Adequately priced
  • Good for stomach sleepers

Cons

  • Not the best motion isolation
  • Innerspring mattresses are most likely to sag quicklier than the other types<.li>

Latex mattresses

A latex mattress consists of two layers – the first layer is thick and comfortable latex foam, and the second layer is an even thicker foam that creates a supporting foundation of your bed. Latex is great for people with allergies and hot sleepers. A latex mattress can cost you $700-$6,000 depending on size and quality of the material.

Pros

  • Latex is hypoallergenic
  • Has great ventilation
  • Good spine alignment
  • No dust mites
  • Great air ventilation

Cons

  • Can be quite expensive
  • Not all latex mattresses are 100% natural

Hybrid mattresses

A hybrid mattress consists of latex and memory foam layers, underneath of which one can find a firm and powerful support layer with coils and springs. Hybrid beddings are perfect for individuals with different demands and health conditions. An average cost of a hybrid mattress is $1,500-$3,300.

Pros

  • Combination of softness of foam or latex with firmness of coils works great for most people
  • Absence of heat retention
  • Great movement isolation
  • Good durability

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Usually very heavy and difficult to relocate

Pillow tops

Pillow tops can be made out of cotton, latex, wool, or latex, perfectly suiting for your needs and demands. Great for side and front sleepers. An average price starts from $1,200.

Pros

  • They are very durable - most people use them for over 7 years without experiencing any difficulties or problems
  • Ideal for side and front sleepers
  • Easy-to-move

Cons

  • Can cause sinkage and compression
  • Tend to sag pretty fast because of the soft top

Airbed mattresses

Airbed mattresses are suitable for not only outdoors or camps but can also be widely used in mundane life: there are just great luxury airbed mattresses that can compete with foam mattresses. They can be adjusted to different firmness levels, suitable for different sleepers. An average price for luxury airbed mattresses is $1,200-$2,500.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Can be adjusted to different needs and sleepers
  • Easy to relocate

Cons

  • Not very durable
  • High heat retention
  • The chemical-like smell can be annoying

Waterbeds

Waterbeds offer great body shaping and contouring, providing you with comfort and relaxation. It is perfect for people who have problems with falling asleep, as a soothing feeling of the water can help anyone relax. An average cost is $200 and more (waterbeds with a pillow top can cost $1000+.)

Pros

  • Great body shaping
  • Ideal for side and back sleepers
  • Water can be heated, providing additional comfort

Cons

  • Not durable
  • Can leak
  • Can lead to health issues if you use it for a long time

Density, thickness, and firmness of mattresses – how to choose your perfect bedding

Another three essential criteria that should be discussed are density, thickness, and firmness of your mattress. These three factors will define the comfort level of your sleep.

Firmness: how to choose the proper one considering weight and sleeping position

Firmness is a universally subjective factor. One may prefer firm mattresses, while others may want to find the softest beddings available. How to choose a mattress based on firmness?

FirmnessFirmness scaleHeight of sinkageSuitable for (weight/sleeping position)
Super soft1-23-5 inchesPeople who weigh less than 100 pounds.
Soft3-42-3 inchesIndividuals who weigh 100-130 pounds and side sleepers.
Medium5-61-2 inchesSleepers who weigh between 130-230 pounds. Perfect for back and stomach sleepers.
Medium firm7-8Less than 1 inchHeavy individuals who weigh more than 230 pounds.
Super firm9-10No sinkageHeavy sleepers who weigh at least 100 pounds, hot sleepers, back sleepers, stomach sleepers.

Density

Only foam-based mattresses can be organized based on this characteristic. A mattress with a higher density will feel more solid and much heavier than one with a lower density. Everything depends on your preferences and needs. The heavier the sleeper is, the denser mattress they should choose.

DensityWeight per cubic foot of foamSuitable for
Low3 poundsLight individuals who prefer to sleep on the back and side.
Medium4-5 poundsAverage individuals, who enjoy sleeping on the stomach, back, and side.
High5+ poundsHeavy people regardless of sleeping preferences.

Thickness

Usually, the thickness of a mattress is defined by its owner’s weight. Most of the time, heavy users prefer thicker mattresses that can offer great comfort and support, while people who are light may enjoy less thick beddings.

ThicknessThickness heightSpecialties
Low profile2-5 inchesGood for fold-away beds and cribs.
Slim5-8 inchesGreat for people with limited mobility and kids and often used for twin beds.
Standard8-12 inchesGood for queen and king mattresses; suitable for most adults.
Medium to thick12-20 inchesMost hybrid and foam mattresses fall under this category.
Thick20 inches and moreSuch mattresses are pretty difficult to move and quite rare; good for tall people

Which type of mattress match for different types of sleepers

Your sleeping habits play an invaluable role in defining what kind of mattress you should choose. This section will help you learn about sleeping positions, sleeper’s weight, and sleeping temperature that should be considered while choosing a mattress.

Type of sleeperType of mattressType of materialFirmness level
Side sleeperFoam-based, hybrids with a soft top layerMemory foam, gel memory foamMedium-firm to firm
Back sleeperInnerspring, memory foam, hybridsIndividually-encased innerspring coils, pocketed innerspring coils, high-density memory foamMedium-firm
Stomach sleeperPillow top with thin topper and innerspring coils, hybrids with a firm upper layer, high-end latex-based100% natural latex, memory foam, innerspring coils with a thick comfort layerFirm
Hot sleeperInnerspring, hybrids without memory foam, latex100% natural latex, traditional innerspring coilsMedium-firm to firm
Light sleeperInnerspring, hybrids, foam-basedIndividually encased coils, memory foamSoft to medium-firm
Heavy sleeperHybrid, latex, foam100% natural latexFirm to extra firm

Average cost of mattresses: each type with prices

Let’s take a look at the cost of most popular types currently available on the market:

Type of mattressAverage price rangePrice for TwinPrice for Queen
Innerspring$500-$1,300 and more$600$1,050
Latex foam$1,100-$2,700 and more$1,000$2,000
Memory foam$600-$1,350 and more$500$1,050
Hybrid$1,500-$3,300 and more$1,150$2,050
Airbed$1,200-$2,500 and more$950$1,500

Where to buy a mattress: Online or offline?

If you have selected a type of mattress that you can afford, you should think about where to buy it. There are two ways: in-store and on websites.

Offline: pros & cons

Pros

  • You can touch and feel all mattresses you want.
  • You can get your mattress delivered right away after the purchase.
  • A consultant will help you choose the best mattress for your needs, and you will be able to see if the recommendations of the consultant are really suitable.
  • Stores often offer great return policies, so you can either exchange your mattress if something is wrong with it or just return the mattress after paying a fee.

Cons

  • The range of available mattresses in one store is often limited, so you may have to visit several of them.
  • Salespersons can be quite “aggresive” trying to seel a particular mattress to you.
  • There are usually very high prices for mattresse, as the owners of stores have to pay rent and the salary to the consultants.
  • One can find it difficult to choose a mattress in a store, as some of them actively promote particular brands and it may influence the choice.

Online: pros & cons

Pros

  • There are plenty of sales during holidays, which will help you save up to several hundreds of dollars.
  • You can compare mattresses easily and quickly.
  • It is possible to find coupons that will offer you an additional discount.
  • Popular brands have exclusive offers on special days - for example, famous companies sell off their mattresses each year on Black Friday or Labor day.
  • Online stores of mattresses are exceptionally popular today, which is why you will be able to find exactly what you need and choose among thousands of offers.
  • You can order a mattress from a store in Europe and have it delivered to your door in the US.

Cons

  • You will be able to feel and touch your mattress only when it arrives.
  • Returns and refunds may take a very long time due to delivery and online correspondence.
  • Some mattress online stores offer poor customer support, so you may not get help and advice you need.

Lifespan of a mattress and how to take care of it?

One should choose a new mattress every 8-12 years. Have a look at the chart with the average lifespans of each mattress type - the lifespan is pretty different.

One of the simplest and most important tips regarding maintaining a mattress is you should rotate it regularly. Every 3-4 months rotate your mattress. It will allow both sides to recover from being used and offer you an even longer lifespan. Avoid putting more weight on your mattress as it can ruin its structure.

Please, note: warranty does not show the real lifespan of a mattress! Some companies offer a lifetime warranty, and it does not mean that your new mattress will last for several decades and provide you with proper spinal support. You can check the actual lifespan of a mattress on the website of a mattress brand you choose.

How to choose a suitable mattress - conclusion

Let’s sum up what you need to know to choose the right mattress!

  1. What kind of sleeper are you? If you are a hot sleeper, then choosing a foam-based mattress is not a great option for you! Innerspring, hybrid, or latex are a more suitable choice.
  2. What is your weight, height, and body type? Heavy individuals would feel more comfortable while sleeping on thick and firm mattresses, while lighter people would prefer soft and beddings.
  3. How much do you wish to spend? Your budget defines the options that you have. If you can spend less than $700, then an innerspring or an affordable memory foam mattress is your choice. If you have a budget of $1,500, you can look for a luxurious innerspring bedding, a great latex or hybrid mattress, or expensive memory foam one.
  4. What is your preferred sleeping position? Whether you are a back, side, or stomach sleeper, you need to consider the firmness, thickness, and type of a mattress. Back and side sleepers usually prefer medium firmness while stomach sleepers like to sleep on firm mattresses.