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Consumer Reports Offers Tips for Mattress Shopping

Posted June 14, 2007

— How well did you sleep last night? If the answer is not so well, maybe you need a new mattress.

A good mattress is critical for getting a good night's sleep. But shopping for one can be confusing. There are so many decisions to make, such as coil count, price and feel.

Consumer Reports recently took on the task of mattress shopping.

"There's an incredible range of mattress prices,” said Mandy Walker, with Consumer Reports. ”For a queen size, you can pay anywhere from $600 to thousands of dollars."

Consumer Reports says manufacturers generally slice the mattress market into four price categories. Promotional mattresses go for $500 or less, premium for $500 to $1,000, luxury for $1,000 to $2,000 and ultra luxury for $2,000 and up.

“Once you're familiar with the industry's price categories, you can do some comparison shopping within those ranges,” Walker said.

Consumer Reports found furniture stores tend to beat bedding specialists. For example, a median price for a queen-size mattress is $600 at a furniture store and $720 at bedding specialists.

But specialty shops like Sleepy's or Dial-a-Mattress offer deep discounts and usually offer better sales help.

Consumer Reports found that you don't have to pay top dollar to get a comfortable mattress. Extensive testing shows all but the cheapest mattresses are fine for most people, and really high coil counts are overkill. But most importantly, never buy a mattress without trying it out first.

“You want to take off your shoes and spend at least 15 minutes actually lying on the bed,” Walker said. “Five minutes per side, five minutes on your back. And if you spend any time sleeping on your stomach, five minutes in that position, too."

Consumer Reports says most mattresses need to be replaced after eight years.


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  • snowwhite46 Jun 16, 2007

    I found the best option was to go to Sam's Club and buy one of there 4" foam mattress and put on top pf your bed and it works great.. It may my bed feal like a new bed.. I only had to spend $149.00 for it. My grandkids love it so much I also went and bought them one each for there bed.... Try it!!What do you have to lose...

  • sw Jun 16, 2007

    I have the same problem... bought a new mattress 3 years ago for $1500.00 (queen size) Memory foam, pillow top, the works. Our old mattress was really bad so this one was very different. I don't know what the problem is, but it feels like your sleeping in a hole. I've put in a warranty claim, had to pay $60 (reimbursed if they replace the mattress), someone came out and put a string across the mattress, took a few pictures, and left. It's been 2 weeks now and I still haven't heard back from anyone. Now if the springs don't support any longer, what is a string going to tell you? Guess I'm out another $60. And this was from a mattress store.

  • gopanthers Jun 15, 2007

    Nursevg8 - Let your inlaws use that Mattress. They may never want to visit again. LOL

  • wrkmnjnc Jun 15, 2007

    TeachermanZ: What did you purchase? I need to start shopping for a mattress, and your choice will give me a starting point. Thank you.

  • turkeydance Jun 15, 2007

    5 minutes on my right side, 5 on my left, 5..on..my..back,

  • Gatsby Jun 15, 2007

    Original Mattress Factory beats them all...

  • TeachermanZ Jun 14, 2007

    My wife and I recently shopped for a mattress. Spending that much time on each mattress is very time consuming, but we did it. We are very happy with our final purchase.

  • nursevb8 Jun 14, 2007

    Regardless of how long you lay on a mattress in the store, that is not helpful. I bought an expensive mattress, with the memory foam and down pillowtop. I could have returned it within 3 months, but I was still hoping it would be OK. WRONG! It is too soft, the memory foam makes you lay in a hole and is difficult to even turn over. So I am at a loss but sleeping well on an old gray and white striped mattress, the ones that weigh a ton. Nice and firm. Have had the other 3 years and it will never be comfortable as the good old one!