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Buying a Mattress

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Locating the most comfortable mattress at the best price will help you have a good night's sleep. This page is about buying a mattress.


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Kelly Ann Butterbaugh
January 23, 2011

It's a pricey investment and you want to get the most out of it, but a mattress only lives so long. The average life expectancy is ten years for a mattress, but those with pillow tops die sooner. One chiropractor suggests a maximum life of seven years for pillow topped luxury. Since the pillow top is more expensive than a regular mattress, it hardly seems to warrant its cost. Yet, when is the right time to replace your mattress, and which one should you buy?

Choosing the Right Mattress

Mattresses are evaluated based on coil count and padding thickness. Opinions agree that coil count isn't the measure of the mattress as much as the padding. The sagging that typically sends people to the mattress store is caused by wear of the padding rather than the springs. The low end of the full mattresses count 312 coils; high end full mattresses have 400, though you could purchase a high coil count mattress made of thinner gauge wire. Mattresses aren't all that different, so choose the one that you like the best and take it home. Brand names and sales gimmicks are meaningless; comfort is key.

Comparison shopping for mattresses is nearly impossible. Companies rename their mattresses based on the stores that sell the products, making price matching impossible. Try to find the exact same mattress at two different stores; it's impossible. A common practice in the mattress sales industry is price reduction. The price on the mattress is rarely the price at which the store expects to sell the mattress; it expects to negotiate. The common mission is to sell the mattress with its counterpart, the box spring. While the two are designed to work as a set, if the box spring is not broken, there is no reason to replace it. In many countries it is common to skip the box spring altogether. You never hear your chiropractor telling you to replace your box spring; it's the mattress that he's worried about. Think about bunk beds, captain beds, and other designs. They use bunkle boards and a mattress, right?


The box spring is your choice, but it's basically a wooden box to support your mattress and add height.

Giving It Longevity

Common sense makes mattresses last longer. Turning, horizontally and vertically, and flipping the mattress regularly helps to gain even wear on the mattress. Likewise, keeping bouncing children and pouncing dogs off the mattress allows it to reach a ripe old age.

Aids such as mattress covers and good sheets that are washed regularly allows the materials to age gracefully. Remember, the padding of the mattress is what wears the easiest, so the better care it receives the longer it will last. Consider using a pillow top cover rather than a pillow top mattress. This will provide the comfort and when the pillow top wears it can be replaced for significantly less.

If your mattress starts to sag but your wallet sags heaviest, the tried and true fix of putting a board under the mattress will provide a valid solution to your problem. Be wary, however. This is a temporary fix at best. The minute the board slips under the mattress the mattress budgeting must begin.


When to Replace

One is bound to wonder if the seven to ten year lifespan of a mattress is the industry's way of guaranteeing constant sales. As long as consumers are alert to the one signal of mattress decline, the lifespan of a mattress can vary greatly. If you're waking up stiff or suffering from sudden back pain, it's time to get a new mattress. Your mattress should be comfortable and supportive of your spine.

A visual inspection of the mattress will show when it's time to replace it. If the mattress looks old, then it is old. However, it could be white and clean but suffer from inner turmoil. Sit on the edge of your bed. Does it sag or does it hold relatively firm as you sit? If it sags, then it has lost its vital support. What about the middle of the bed? Is there a dip? Do you roll towards your partner when you sleep? These are all signs of a failing mattress.

Comment Was this helpful? 2

March 17, 2005

When buying a mattress from one of the telephone/delivery mattress services, they all guarantee the lowest possible price. Try calling two, back and forth, a few times, and watch how they keep lowering their prices to beat the competitor!


By Jennifer M.

Comment Was this helpful? Yes


Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

August 11, 2006

I'm in the process of buying a new mattress and I just need some input on the ones really worth the money. What are they?

Jenny from Milwaukee, WI


August 12, 20060 found this helpful

I have the simmons Beautyrest, which I like. THis is my second one in ten years, because we lost the first one to smoke/water damage (and the movers broke the frame just before that). It is a firm mattress, but my DH has back problems and prefers the couch or floor! We have talked about trying the sleep number bed, but I think we'll have to win PCH sweepstakes first!

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By Linda (Guest Post)
August 14, 20060 found this helpful

I love the memory foam mattress I got for about b$500 from Walmart. com. Its not a pad, its the whole mattress.

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August 14, 20060 found this helpful

Denver matteress is the best. We had the very costly
simmons beauty rest firm and it was HORRID....


$2,500.00 we paid for it Simmons in about 1999 and kept it as they would NOT refund or exchange..
We love our Telluride/Denver mattress and it was
very well priced and so comfy. Go in and test away and check several places and get the one you feel
is best. Good luck.

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By Gepe (Guest Post)
August 14, 20060 found this helpful

The BEST BED I've ever had or slept on is a TEMPERPEDIC FOAM BED!!!! IT's wonderful!!!!! :) I'm spoiled now but, worth the money.It cost about $3,k for a king size, but worth every cent!!!!!! :)
Good Night ..........

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By Jan K (Guest Post)
August 15, 20060 found this helpful

The best bed I've ever had and still own was recommended by my lil; bro who is a chiropractor. It's a Select Comfort. had it for 10 yrs and it's still like new, unlike conventional beds where the foam breaks down after a couple yrs. Disassembled you can move it in a car (no struggling with bulky mattresses) and you use regular sheet sets on it. I have lots of back and neck pain and fibromyalgia and this bed has been wonderful. It has dual controls , so your bed mate can adjust the firmness level also. I'd buy thi bed all over again, but next time I'd get a king size!

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September 15, 20060 found this helpful

We recently purchased a TempurPedic bed. We'd surfed the net looking at them, we order the free video and sample of foam, we looked in the mattress stores at them, we asked around. We have not regretted purchasing this bed. I don't hurt when getting up in the mornings, with my back, like I had been for the last year with our old mattress. My husband doesn't snore as much as he did before with the old mattress, nor does he moan and groan in pain (had some vertabrae & cracked ribs a few years ago) when turning over in bed, as he did with the old bed. All in all we get a much better sleep. No regrets at all.

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By aunt katie (Guest Post)
September 25, 20060 found this helpful

we swear by Stearns and Foster. Bought one 20 years ago and just had to replace it this year. A little more money, but well worth it. These babies are built to last.

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October 7, 20060 found this helpful

The BEST BED I've ever had or slept on is a TEMPERPEDIC FOAM BED!!!! IT's wonderful!!!!! :) I'm spoiled now but, worth the money

ME TOO!!! LOVE IT, LOVE IT, LOVE IT. Will never buy another kind again. Like sinking into a fluffy cloud. Well worth the money.

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May 21, 20070 found this helpful

We have a serta. I go to bed & wake up in the same position where I use to toss & turn all night due to back pain from AS & FM. It was around the 2 thousand dollar mark but we got it on sale for 1500.00.

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By xencoder (Guest Post)
April 6, 20080 found this helpful

I bought a very expensive Denver Mattress double pillow top California King, it has been replaced 3 times. Each replacement was for a different kind of Denver Mattress bed, I am down to a Queen Drs. Choice which is going to be replaced because it failed. The only thing I can say good about Denver Mattress is the 15 year warranty, they just keep replacing the bed when it fails. I still have 7 years on my warranty.

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By Mike (Guest Post)
June 7, 20080 found this helpful

I have a Sleep Number with a leak in the bladder and no way to fix it. The pump is cheap plastic made in China. Any air mattress with a pad on top would be just as comfortable. Sleep Number is a severely over priced gimmick.

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June 7, 20080 found this helpful

We have a Sealy Postropedic with a 10 year warrently. We had it replaced after 2.5 years.... and it needs to be replaced again after another 1.5 years.

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By chelsea c (Guest Post)
December 7, 20080 found this helpful

fox mattress in holly hill fl. nothing compares to the quality of this mattress. i've owned them all and this is by far the best ever, great price, great service

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By Sandi (Guest Post)
January 8, 20090 found this helpful

We bought an expensive Simmons 14 months ago. Within the last couple of months, it developed a 'divet' on my husband's side and is sagging at the foot about 2 inches. An inspector was sent out tonight and he was so informative.

First, the wood on the box springs (which we purchased with the mattress) is warped. The inspector told us that mattress/box springs today are built to last 2 maybe 3 years - that's it!
Don't spend more than $700 or $800 for the set, get a 10 year warranty, found out if the coils are 13 gauge in the mattress and 6 gauge on the outer edges, and don't buy pillow top - they are horrible.

Don't get foam - because everyone 'sweats' and after a few months that causes the foam to start cracking. I don't know if Simmons will honor the the 10 year warranty - I read online they make numerous excuses to avoid honoring the warranty. If Simmons doesn't honor the warranty - we are going to donate the bed to Catholic charities and go buy another at Sam's or Costco or Hobo's... per the inspector's suggestion.

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September 13, 20090 found this helpful

Has anyone bought from these people. Cause a company I thought was decent just gave me a triple that shocked me.

1. my bed broke and because of physical impairments I cannot do a lot of lifting or much else. All I know is I heard a metal crack (have you ever heard metal crack? Not fun when you sleep on it)
2. the girl who first took my call, decided to do little more than give me a number to Leggett and whoever...another unhelpful company.

3. When I called back the 2nd girl was more unhelpful and actually gave me lip. Now, I would think after saying I want your manager she would be happy to hand me over, but she tried to assist further. So I had to repeat myself.
4. I was told the serial number was at the edge of the bed (meaning I had to move the bed to find it). So the manager said I'll send someone out to find it (this is better, IMO) However, I called them because I finally found it tucked into all their documentation, so I didn't want a salesman who wasn't being paid to have to go out of his way.

5. The 2nd manager called and told me I'd have to run through a checklist. I ask how I'm supposed to get this "checklist" he says I'll fax it. I ask to where? He says well you could go to your local grocery store. In shock I say and how will I get there? (no car) He was quiet and said "well we're trying to help", I said no, you are trying to frustrate me. He also went off on the fact that no piece could come through the mattress, because of the size, and I'm supposed to know this at 10 pm at night?
6) I call another number hoping for the corporate and am frustrated (I'll admit) but when I tell the guy I'll looking for corporate he says, "I can try and assist you" I said no, I want corporate (I guess I gave attitude) so he says you don't have to give me attitude...what?

I have put in a formal complaint, and until I get this bed fixed I'm sleeping in a recliner. $1400+ in the hole and I'm thinking either law suit or having a friend break down the piece of crud and chucking it in front of the store I purchased it, making sure the metal piece that broke is taped to the door itself.

Thanks for the rant time. Don't purchase anything ever from Denver Mattress because their customer support isn't.

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Answer this Question...

February 16, 2011

How can I save money on mattresses?

By fina from Tyrone, OK


February 16, 20110 found this helpful

Look for sales in the ads; call some stores. Where I live there is a store called something like Hotel Liquidators, they sell used furniture, mattresses, etc. from hotels. From what different people have told me hotels are required to change their mattresses before they start to show wear. The store here also sells new items, but I haven't checked the price. Look on Craigs List, freecycle, etc. A lot also depends on what you want in a mattress.

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