Purchasing the best mattress brand is an important part of shopping for many, but can be difficult to determine. One of the most important things to remember is that it can and does take time to do the necessary research, and there truly is no singularly best brand for everyone. Taking the time to thoroughly research about beds prior to ordering a new one . Savvy shoppers know the importance of research and comparison shopping and use these methods for major purchases including choosing the best mattress brand.
1) Understand the Mattress Industry
When trying to determine the best mattress brand you will need to know how the mattress industry works, what to look for and how to find unbiased information. It’s important to note some of the following before delving into researching the features:
- The top mattress manufacturers own the vast majority of the market and are probably the names you have heard of the most often (Simmons, Tempurpedic, Sealy, Serta). Serta and Simmons are owned by the same parent, and Tempurpedic owns Sealy as well. The majority of the mattress industry is highly consolidated, but there are still many options available to consumers locally and online worth considering.
- The most recognizable brands spend a considerable amount of money on advertising, which filters through to higher prices for consumers. Those who work on a dealer model also face additional markup in retail.
- In many showrooms, its not uncommon to have inflated markup in order to promote 50 and even 70% off sales. Look more at the actual product and its price relative to others rather than the discount amount.
- Brand name and big prices don’t necessarily translate into quality. There are significant variance in quality between and within lines, as big brands often license various manufacturers to product using their brand name. Similar but slightly different lines can also be manufactured for specific retailers and sold at different prices. You might be surprised to know that luxury brands like Tempurpedic, Duxiana and Hastens often fare no better than mid-range lines in reviews.
- Another note about prices – for many retailers they are flexible. While a few like Tempurpedic have stringently set prices, many retailers will bargain with you to drop the price or add extras like pillows or sheets to sweeten the deal. It never hurts to ask, at any rate.
- Understand in advance that a nearly identical mattress may be sold under one name through Store A and under a different name to Store B. The top “S” mattress manufacturers often do this to provide each store their own line, but also to make it difficult to compare the different lines for pricing purposes.
- Know that salespeople are often biased when it comes to suggesting the best mattress brand. They often work on commission and may push higher priced mattresses, or there may be incentives to push on brand over another in multi-brand showrooms. While their advice can be helpful in learning what a store has to offer, stick with the facts and what you actually want when shopping.
- Buying a mattress online can net you considerable savings. Why? Well, operating a website is much cheaper than operating a physical showroom, which means less overhead. Because online retailers aren’t just competing with one or two other stores, they also have to be more competitive on prices and earning your business.
- Always look for owner mattress reviews, but realize that they may not always be honest. Third-party verified reviews are best, because in these systems an outside company (like PowerReviews) matches reviewer emails to customer emails and identifies who actually bought what they are reviewing (to weed out paid or competitor reviews). Testimonial-style reviews (where the mattress company posts a few glowing letters from customers) are often handpicked from the most glowing reviews, and may not give a full picture.
2) The Best Mattress Brand Depends on The Type
Perhaps the biggest dividing line of which will prove to be the mattress brand is the type of mattress you are looking for. While innerspring mattresses may be familiar and widely available, you may be surprised to find out they receive the lowest scores in owner satisfaction surveys. Thus, it can be worth learning about alternatives in your quest for the best bed. Here is a brief overview of the major mattress types and few of the best-rated brands in owner reviews and surveys.
Memory foam of all types ranks highest in consumer satisfaction, around 81-83%. Developed to alleviate pressure, the material responds by contouring and yielding, allowing the spine to rest in a natural position. There are three primary types of memory foam (gel, plant-based and traditional), which we compared before in our Battle of the Memory Foam Mattress Technologies article.
- Amerisleep (plant-based foam)
- Serta iComfort / Simmons Comforpedic (gel based foam, rate similarly)
- Tempurpedic (classic memory foam)
Latex mattresses overall rank second in satisfaction, a point or two behind memory foam, though all-natural latex mattresses actually tend to outrank memory foam by a couple points. Latex contours and relieves pressure like memory foam, but offers a more resilient feel and greater durability. Within the latex category, you will see 100% natural, blended and synthetic latex in a variety of configurations. (We looked at latex mattress brands in depth here.)
- Astrabeds (100% organic Dunlop latex)
- Lifekind (100% natural Talalay & organic Dunlop latex)
- Habitat Furnishings (100% natural Talalay & Dunlop latex)
Waterbed mattresses are available in multiple configurations, with newer models allowing for waveless designs more supportive than early options. Hardside waterbeds are those designed to fit into high-sided wood frames. Softside waterbeds encase the water component in an enclosure, and may be used like a traditional mattress.
- American National (softside & hardside)
- Boyd (softside & hardside)
- Innomax (softside & hardside)
Finally, innerspring mattresses receive the lowest average ratings, with just slightly over 60% of people reporting satisfaction. While they can offer good support and comfort when new, the design predisposes them to early wear and the coiled support mechanisms can create pressure points and alignment issues.
- Sealy Brand (Bunnel coils)
- Serta / Simmons (rate similarly)
3) Decide What Factors Are Most Important to YOU
Finally, you’ll want to determine the features that are most important to your individual needs. This is where you will separate the best mattress brand options from the not so good. Some ideas of features you might want to consider when comparing include:
- Do you want a mattress that will last years, or do you need something dirt cheap just get by for a year or so?
- Are you concerned about sleep hot? People who naturally sleep hot may be more likely feel uncomfortable on traditional memory foam.
- Do you prefer a bouncy feel? If so, you may prefer innerspring or latex beds.
- Do you prefer softer beds or firmer beds?
- What size do you need? If you’re replacing an existing bed, measure to ensure you are shopping for the right dimensions.
- Are you comfortable with buying a mattress online? If so, you can find many more brand options and possibly save significantly over local stores.
- Do you have any special health considerations? If so, consult with your healthcare provider for recommendations.
- Do you and your partner have vastly different tastes in mattresses? Some beds can accommodate two separate firmnesses, like customizable latex mattresses.
- Are you sensitive to chemicals and smells? Volatile organic compounds can be released from chemically-created memory foams, synthetic latex, adhesives, and flame retardants. If this concerns you or you are sensitive to chemicals, consider more natural options like latex or plant-based memory foam.
- Can you wait awhile? If so, it can be in your interest to take your time researching and waiting for a good deal rather than making a snap decision.
- Look for an in-home trial of at least 90-days, particularly when changing to a new mattress composition. This should be transparent and hassle-free. Most retailers will charge return shipping or pickup fees, but shouldn’t charge excessive return/restock fees. If they offer no return policy, chances are they aren’t very confident about their product and thus not the best mattress brand!
- Compare warranties to learn exactly what is and isn’t covered. Most mattress warranties are limited or pro-rated, meaning their is a period of full coverage followed by partial coverage. They will also vary on what is covered and what exactly is considered a defect. For spring beds, look for at least 2 years of full coverage. For memory foam and latex, look for at least 10 years. Waterbeds often have very short warranty terms, but 1 year should be long enough to determine if there is a manufacturing issue.
- A cheap mattress is good for your wallet now, but might not be so good for your back or if it needs replacing within the year. Look at what you actually getting for the price (for example, with memory foam, you might look at the foam density, performance, and how much is in the bed). By going from a discount $500 model to a well-priced $800-$1000 mid-range model, you could get a bed that lasts considerably longer (again, just make sure the price reflects the quality).
- The country of origin where a mattress is actually manufactured can also be important as evidenced by the recent recalls of mattresses sold through major chain stores. One recent crib mattress recalled was imported from China and contained toxic chemicals illegal for use in the United States for years. US brands are subject to stricter environmental and labor controls as well.
Compare to Identify the Best Mattress Brand
Once you are familiar with the industry, the type of mattress you are looking for, and what it is you want in a bed, then you are equipped to compare your options and uncover the best mattress brand.
We recommend setting a up a chart or spreadsheet where you can take notes and organize the information you find. Make columns for the key features you want and details like price, foam density, warranty, etc, then put what you uncover about each brand in the rows. This is the approach we use when conducting product comparisons, and it helps keep data organized so you don’t forget who had what. And, once you are ready to buy, it will be easier to identify the best mattress brand by the options that meet your needs.
It can also be helpful to check owner reviews to get an idea of what others think about the beds or brand. Many retailers offer reviews on their websites, though for some you will have to look on 3rd party forums and consumer review websites. Ultimately, the key to determining the best mattress brand is recognizing that no one brand is best for everyone, and that the ideal bed will be the one that meets your personal needs while offering the best value.