Mattress Buying Guide

How to Shop for a Mattress

In This Article

Mattress types | Firmness | Support | Body Types | Sleeping Positions | Pricing | Types of Pain

Health experts indicate that getting good sleep contributes to a person’s health and happiness. The quality of sleep that you get depends on your mattress. Sleeping on an uncomfortable and unsupportive base causes not only sleepless nights but also achy mornings.

Today, you can find different types of mattresses from different manufacturers. Having multiple options makes the process of choosing the right mattress quite difficult. In most cases, looking through the available options raises many questions.

Buying a mattress without researching and having adequate information causes customers to make the wrong choice. You have to ensure that you get the value for this sizeable investment. The following tips will help you know how to choose a top-performing mattress from the many options available in the market today.

Mattress Types

The first step to choosing the mattress that suits your needs is to know the different types available in the market and their characteristics. Foam, latex, and innerspring are the most common popular types. Initially, innerspring was the mainstay in homes, but advanced technology has enabled manufacturers to introduce other kinds.

People recognize the modern types of mattresses for their dynamic performance. In addition to that, they are more affordable and easily accessible, mainly due to the online mattress industry. Understanding each type can be the foundation for a successful search.


innerspring mattress
(Image Credit: Saatva)

This mattress type has coil-based layers and support system. The role of the coil is to offer additional support. They also assist in breathability and cooling by promoting free airflow.

Innerspring mattresses also have an elastic and bouncy sleeping surface. However, these mattresses do not relieve pressure. They are also not affordable, which makes them an excellent choice for shoppers on a budget.


latex mattress
(Image Credit: Avocado Green Mattress)

Latex mattresses have recently become more popular. Recent surveys indicate that approximately 2% of Americans use these types of mattresses.

An all-latex mattress has latex rubber layers. Most clients prefer this mattress type because of its durability, responsiveness, moderate contouring, and ability to bounce. Some manufacturers use natural and organic latex. You should consider purchasing this mattress type if you are eco-conscious.



memory foam mattress
(Image Credit: Casper)

These mattresses are purely made of foam. However, they lack coils. Foam mattresses are perfect for couples and side sleepers due to the pressure relief and contouring it offers the users.

Manufacturers use different types of foams to make these foam mattresses, but memory foam is the most popular. A study conducted in 2008 demonstrated that people below the age of 59 prefer using these mattresses. They offer a high level of comfort, cushioning, and contouring that prevents back pain.

Another characteristic of foam mattresses is their ability to retain heat. For this reason, they are excellent options during the cold seasons. However, they start sagging and sinking, especially near the edges as foam layers deteriorate.


hybrid mattress
(Image Credit: DreamCloud)

Hybrid mattresses are made up of a foam comfort system and innerspring support core. The comfort layers usually include foam, latex, or micro-coils.

Hybrid mattresses retain less heat and provide adequate bounce and contouring. They can be an excellent fit for different sleepers, depending on the technology the manufacturers used to make them.




(Image Credit: King Koil)

An airbed uses an air chamber as its support core. You can consider increasing or removing air from the mattress to gain your desired level of firmness. The advantage is that you can control the pump through a remote or smartphone instead of doing it manually.

Additionally, you can set a different firmness level on each side of the bed. This characteristic makes airbeds a preference for couples.



A waterbed is a water-filled mattress that is put inside a wooden frame or strong foam. Most people prefer using it because they can warm and cool the water inside to their preferred temperature. Waterbeds are also softer and more elastic than regular mattresses.

Their downside is that they do not offer enough support. However, researchers indicate that waterbeds can effectively relieve back pain. You should understand that these mattresses require occasional patching and regular maintenance to avoid leaks.


Firmness is another vital element to examine when searching for the perfect mattress. It describes how the mattress feels under the user’s body. The preferred level of firmness is a subjective measurement because it often depends on an individual. However, most people prefer mattresses that are not too hard or firm and not too soft.

The standard mattresses have a firmness level of between 1 and 10, whereby 1 is exceptionally soft, and 10 is extremely firm. Those with a scale of between 4 and 6 have medium firmness. The findings in a 2010 study indicated that medium-firm mattresses relieve pain and offer high-quality sleep.

It is wise for customers to understand the difference between firmness and support because they use them interchangeably. The two are different because a soft mattress can be more supportive than a firm one.

Support Level offered

Different types of mattresses offer various amounts of support. For example, foam mattresses provide better support to individuals with low body weight, while coiled mattresses offer enough support to those with higher body weight.

Support is also a subjective measurement. Some people want to sleep on mattresses that make them feel cushioned, while others prefer those that allow them to rest firmly. Coil systems provide stronger support to keep the user on, rather than in the mattress. Understanding your preference will help you choose the perfect mattress.

Mattress Support System

When selecting a new mattress, customers should consider the support system they plan to use. Placing the new mattress directly on the floor can cause mites and other contaminants to build up. Additionally, most mattress brands cancel the warranty of buyers who fail to use a suitable support system.

You can find different support systems in the market today, suitable for different mattresses. The most common ones include;

Box spring

This support system has a slatted wooden frame and fabric encasement. It also features steel springs that absorb shock from the mattress and provide additional reinforcement. Box spring is appropriate for bulky and high-density mattresses that cannot fit in other support systems.


This support system features a frame and side rails to hold the mattress. If you intend to use foundations, you should consider purchasing a mattress that fits perfectly. It makes it more supportive and prevents it from sagging through slat spacing.


Considering the texture of the mattress can also help you make the right choice. It is possible to feel this texture as you lay on it, even after putting sheets or mattress covers.

Some mattresses have patterns that provide a unique “feel.” You should select an item that feels comfortable. However, the texture is a subjective factor that depends on the client’s preferences.


Customers who are sensitive to strong smells should consider this factor. It refers to the strange odor that new mattresses have.

The increased popularity of the mattress-in-a-box technology has encouraged brands to compress and roll mattresses in a box when dispatching them to customers. Once the buyers open the package, the mattress inflates fast and releases a strange smell.

Manufacturers always indicate that the smell is as a result of the chemicals they use to make their products flame-retardant. Sometimes it also signifies that the mattress is free from heavy metals and toxic chemicals.

You might find it difficult to sleep on the mattress after unwrapping it. The great news is that this unpleasant odor usually disappears after several days. You can check customer reviews about off-gassing before purchasing a mattress.

Mattress Size

If you want to know how to choose a mattress, ensure that you consider its size before purchasing. This factor is important because it plays a vital role in determining how comfortably you sleep. For example, bigger mattresses are an excellent choice because they allow you to spread out and sleep in different positions throughout the night.

These large mattresses also offer a higher level of comfort and coziness than smaller ones. The size and price of the mattress are directly related because the price always increases with the size.

Mattress Height

The height of a mattress often ranges between 9 and 14 inches. Standard mattresses are 10 inches high, while budget mattresses are 9 inches high or less. Luxury mattresses have a height of approximately 13 or 14 inches.

Tall mattresses might be too firm for people with low body weight. Additionally, they can make movements in and out of the bed harder. This information suggests that the mattress height that you choose depends on factors like your weight, desired support, and movement range.

Your Body Weight and Shape

Your body type also influences your choice of mattress. If you have a lower weight of approximately 130 pounds and below, you are less likely to sink in the mattress. You should consider purchasing a softer one because it will offer sufficient contouring.

On the other hand, people weighing more than 130 pounds should select a mattress based on their sleeping positions and designs. Foam, latex, and hybrid types are solid options because they offer adequate support.

People weighing more than 230 pounds should opt for the firm and responsive mattresses that allow easy on-top movement. Softer mattresses can affect their spinal alignment and cause severe back pain. They should also have a thick comfort system and be made of high-density materials for durability.

Apart from body weight, other factors like the size of the hips and shoulders should also influence your mattress choice. For example, people with broader shoulders should consider purchasing softer mattresses that offer more contouring.


Considering the mattress’s adjustability can guide you in choosing the perfect mattress. Adjustable mattresses are better because you can change their position and firmness to achieve your desired level of comfort and sleeping experience.

Some clients, especially those with one sleeping position, do not find the need to purchase an adjustable mattress. You should consider this factor if you and your partner disagree on the proper description of a “perfect” mattress.


Some mattresses last for more years than others. A mattress is a considerable investment, and you do not want to keep replacing it after every year. Selecting one with a longer lifespan will save you a lot of money and stress.

The longevity of a mattress often depends on various factors, such as quality, material, and size. A mattress serves the users for as long as possible if the manufacturers are attentive to its quality.

Therefore, you should consider researching and purchasing a mattress that can endure more tear and wear and that can support you for approximately ten years.

Sleeping Positions

Every person has their preferred sleeping position. Considering this element is necessary because nobody wants to purchase a mattress that does not support them properly.

Back Sleepers

These are people who sleep on their backs. They need mattresses that will support them and keep their spines aligned properly during sleep. If you are comfortable napping on your back, you should consider purchasing a firm foam or hybrid mattress to achieve better rest and comfortable sleep.

Side Sleepers

Some people find comfort napping on their side. However, this position can put a lot of pressure on various body parts like the hips and shoulders, especially if you are sleeping on a hard mattress.

If you are a side sleeper, you should purchase a soft mattress to relieve pressure and cushion your body. Good examples of such mattresses are memory foam. Others like pillow-top ones are perfect because they offer both comfort and support.

Stomach Sleepers

Researchers and healthcare providers indicate that sleeping on your stomach is unhealthy. For example, it strains the spine, neck, and back, hence causing pain. Therefore, stomach sleepers should consider switching to a better sleeping position.

If you can only fall asleep on your stomach, you should ensure that you sleep on a mattress that supports your spine firmly. It should not be too soft because you will sink in it and wake up with stiffness. Firm foam mattresses are perfect for stomach sleepers.

Combination Sleepers

Combination sleepers are people who sleep at different angles throughout the night. They should consider having medium-firm mattresses that offer comfort and support.

The mattresses should also respond appropriately to movement to make it easier for you to switch from one position to another. Memory foam might not be perfect because its body contouring benefits might make you feel stuck on the mattress.


The mattress’s material should be a major determining factor during shopping. The market today offers mattresses made of different materials. For example, air mattresses use air while waterbeds rely on free-flowing water for support. The most common materials are latex, foam, coils, and memory.

The old-fashioned innerspring mattresses were made of metal springs. More research and advancement in technology have enabled companies to design mattresses with high-quality materials.

The description of the “best” material is subjective because it depends on personal preferences. For instance, some clients prefer gel-based mattresses, while others prefer memory foam.

Many mattress brands today use renewable and eco-friendly materials because they prioritize sustainability. Buyers should read the product descriptions to confirm this information. Some companies use clear language to make it easier for their customers to understand the types of materials used.

Motion Isolation

This factor is more essential for couples. A mattress with sound motion isolation can easily prevent you from feeling your partner’s movement during the night. Additionally, you can turn and stretch without waking the other person.

Researchers indicate that foam mattresses are more effective in isolating motion when compared to other types of mattresses. However, you can also select a hybrid mattress with wrapped coils if you do not prefer an all-foam one.


Price is an equally vital factor to consider when selecting a perfect mattress. A customer’s budget might limit their choice. The advantage of the mattress industry is that everyone can get what they pay for.

The price a person pays determines the features and quality of the item they get. However, an item’s price does not always define its quality, but you should be ready to make a considerable investment if you want to find a high-quality mattress.

Customers should consider trying out the mattress before purchasing it to determine if it offers the desired level of comfort and support. If you are getting it from a store, you can lie on it for several minutes in your normal sleeping position. Some brands offer a trial period, which is a benefit for online shoppers.

The Type and Nature of Pain experienced

Approximately 8% of the adult population in the United States experiences chronic back pain. Several factors, including unsupportive mattresses, cause back issues. This information means that people dealing with back or neck pain should pay attention to the type of mattress they purchase.

Selecting the perfect mattress for relieving back pain involves considering the pain’s nature and intensity and other mattress preferences. This process benefits the user by aligning the spine, cushioning the hips, and supporting the whole body. On the contrary, sleeping on the wrong mattress can cause more discomfort and increase the pain.

Lower Back Pain

People experiencing pain in their lower backs should consider purchasing mattresses that support their hips. The extra weight in this region causes it to sink deeper, especially if the mattress is not firm or supportive.

Upper or Mid Back Pain

If you are dealing with this type of pain, mattresses with several support layers are an excellent option. They provide extra firmness on the hip area, support the body better, and prevent sagging.

The mattress should also have enhanced shoulder support to ensure that the spine remains aligned during sleep. The mattress should also be softer on the head and neck area. Ensure that you compliment this mattress with a pillow that is neither too firm nor too soft.

Temperature Regulation

Your bed’s temperature plays a significant role in determining the quality of your sleep. For example, if it is hot, you will sweat and have challenges catching your sleep. It is also difficult to sleep in a freezing bed.

Cooling mattresses are specially designed to cool and retain conducive temperatures as you sleep. They contain various features, such as;

  • Gel infusions
  • Air cell
  • Open-cell foam
  • Moisture-wicking mattress covers

Checking through the product’s reviews will help you know whether these features function effectively or not.

Final Words

A comfortable mattress contributes significantly to a good night’s sleep. Sleeping on the wrong mattress type can interfere with the quality of your sleep and cause back or neck pain. A mattress is a considerable investment, and it is your responsibility to ensure that you get a valuable item.

It is difficult to define the best mattress with the many options available in the market today. The above techniques can simplify the process of selecting the perfect mattress. Customers should consider whether the mattress they want to purchase is durable, supportive, has an ideal size, and matches their sleeping positions.

Other determining factors include budget, firmness, motion isolation, type of mattress, and your body type. Everyone’s search is different, and you should pay attention to the elements you find more important. Finding the mattress that is appropriate for you and that fits your needs requires effort and patience.

Customers today can shop for mattresses online or in-store. Powerful Sleep offers guidelines that will help you land on the mattress that is perfect for you. You can browse through the available options if you are ready to choose. You can also send them a message in case you have any questions.

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