Must Read Posts For All Mattress Shoppers

Mattress Shopping 103

YOU ARE INVITED TO READ THIS COMPREHENSIVE FACT-FILLED POST BEFORE  DECIDING ON ANY NEW MATTRESS

20 MINUTES FOR THE AVERAGE READER.   YOU WILL FIND THE  NECESSARY KEY TO COMPLETE YOUR PERSONAL SHOPPING SURVEY IN SEVERAL PLACES.

Especially if you would like to know which innerspring or foam mattress I think will be most suitable for your needs and budget.  I am, “as advertised”, just one cranky little old guy who knows all about mattresses. So expect a short wait for results. You can specify rush, but please, to be fair to everyone, only if you are practically sleeping on the floor.

Please note that the offer to help you is conditional on your completing the questionnaire and reading this essay.  Both, your quick read of this essay and your filling out the survey are all you have to do for me to help you one-on-one . You will understand the importance of the twenty minutes of reading when you have finished. It can make your next fifteen or twenty years that much better

 A “KEY” THAT YOU NEED TO COMPLETE THE SURVEY IS POSTED THROUGHOUT THIS ESSAY FOR YOUR CONVENIENCE…READ MORE

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A MUST-READ THIS BEFORE YOU BUY ANY MATTRESS 30 Minutes makes you an expert! (sort of)

You may have never seen so much usable timely information in one place. And lots more in following essays.

Welcome to my Old Bed Guy Blog. I am the often-crabby little old bed guy and have been involved in the bed and bedding industry for over 60 years, and life in general, for more than 85 years. I have seen most, and if I hang around a bit longer, may get to see almost all.  I deliberately and thoroughly shop the web, read trade papers, and on nice days, when I feel energized, I visit a route of many local stores ranging from foreign imports, high-pressure chain sleep shops, department and furniture stores, and local factories… READ MORE

2015 Mattress Ratings From Consumer Reports… 

Tests and results from a reliable source… READ MORE

Mattress Buying Short Cuts

Dear Mattress Seeker, For the past four years I have been personally  helping  any reader who asked,  to select their own perfect mattress.  The only requirement was that they provide me with answers about their life style, health, and special needs.   At the present time, age-related issues do not allow me the time to do so.  Possibly in the near future I can return to that time consuming and pleasurable task, but for now, you, except for all the information contained in this post, and the rest of the Old Bed Guy, you are on your own.  If you  go slowly and follow my suggestions, you will be a happy sleeper instead of a scam victim.   I collected the information in this post from thousands of  individual searches and sort of organized it so that a short reading  can get you started towards  a truly wise purchase… READ MORE

Trustworthy or Not? —Sleep Like The Dead, Consumer Reports , Mattress Underground

If nature abhors a vacuum, opportunists are always ready to make money by exploiting the fears to be found in the minds of almost all mattress shoppers.  And that is the message I am trying to impart in this post.   The mattress industry as a whole, has intentionally made it as hard as possible to comparison shop for a mattress.... READ MORE

Which Is Best: Platform Bed, Box Spring, or Foundation?

The simple answer is, “all of the above”, but there are rules. The accurate answer depends on the type of mattress that will go on top.  If you follow these simple rules you will get a lot more satisfaction from your new mattress and platform, foundation, or box-spring. A  box spring has a small number of…. READ MORE

Comments

  • Marshall Coyle Marshall Coyle says:

    Scott: I sent you a personal letter dealing with your interests. I am sharing this with other readers. No mattress maker can force you to purchase a matching foundation/box-spring to validate their warranty. Your responsibility is to provide a decent quality foundation with a strong flat top surface. I know of no foundations that can do the job well and last as long as or longer than the mattress. A good foundation has a top surface grid made of interlocking strong wire. This grid is supported by various shapes of wire formed to resist shock and to provide a tiny bit of resiliency. To my knowledge, one company, The Leggett and Platt Company in Carthage, Mo. manufactures and supplies all major makers with ready-to-cover foundation. L&P is a huge and “invisible” B to B supplier. They are global with most of the production import warehousing
    in strategically sited US factories to minimize shipping costs. It would be a challenge to identify mattress makers who still may make the innards of their own foundations or box springs. Beckley, Charles P. Rogers, Gold Bond, Shifman Brothers, and McCroskey are not the last standing complete makers, but I can not name any of the others.

    Leggett and Platt along with a major trade association recently added to the confusion by dropping most of the use of the word foundation. If the object under the mattress gets its support from formed steel in any configuration, it is now a box-spring. L&P supplies ready made coil box springs to almost all of the 600 mattress assemblers and some of the mattress makers.

  • Marshall Coyle Marshall Coyle says:

    Peter, I think that the Sleep Science folding platform bed, as that is what it really is, has the potential to be a useful product. It is about twice as costly as the dozens of all steel similar platforms you can see if you visit Amazon or Walmart with a search term, “metal bed spring”. Some of them are now well under $100. All are imported from China. Not always a bad thing, just almost always. I like the ease of assembly on the Sleep Science. I would be more accepting of it if more detail was available on the net. There is a YouTube video of the assembly process. I sat through it several times hoping to see what kind of supports will hold up the very thin looking plywood. Cheap foundations, the kind that have no formed wire or grid top, only wood and cardboard inside, are all something to avoid. This new-ish import, if made well, could be used on any one sided mattress, not just memory foam. Slatted foundations are subject to the slats having no more than 2.5″ of airspace between them when supporting an innerspring mattress.

    I hope, for your sake, if you are getting a new mattress, that you are not experimenting with the super-cheap imports now being sold by Amazon and other large stores. Many have bogus labels claiming that they are American made. They are not. The glowing five star paid-for reviews are mainly made(written and placed) from India and Pakistan. The people who sell these mis-represented mattresses used to pay five dollars for five star reviews, but now, the same people who work the call centers in South Asia are coining cash writing reviews for as little as $1. You can go to http://www.fiverr.com and see how the process works. This has turned me off from believing any review that can not be verified. Most internet sites with customer reviews that are quite trustworthy are from sites that have real businesses. Real land addresses, real reputation. Macy’s or Penny’s and most other real stores only post reviews from people who have bought the product from them. The other ultra-phoney reviews are all over Yelp and Google.

    Marshall Coyle

  • Roger says:

    Hi Marshall,

    I wanted to see if it is true that a new mattress needs “breaking in” period.

    Do new mattresses really need time to break in? And if so, how long?
    If a new mattress is much harder than the one in the store, doesn’t that mean that it will continually soften over the life of the mattress?

    Thank you! – Roger

    • Marshall Coyle Marshall Coyle says:

      Good new mattresses should not need breaking in. And if they do change characteristics very rapidly, over a period of a few weeks, this is not a good sign. Unfortunately, many of the largest mattress makers, upon the request of the store, will build special floor samples for display purposes. These can sit in the store for many months getting abused with hundreds or thousands of backsides plumping down and loosening up the interior. So the sample feels softer than when the bed is delivered. If this is the case, your mattress will break in, and continue to soften until time to replace.

      If you spend enough time reading the posts in the Old Bed Guy, you will learn how to buy a mattress with good springs and superior latex filling/padding. These wear out so imperceptibly that they often last at least fifteen or twenty years before wear is severe.

  • George says:

    Good Day Sir,

    I am having a hard time finding a mattress that doesn’t feel as if it is trying to kill me when I wake every morning. I bought a CR membership, read through a ton of data, read about the testing & reviews & came away a little concerned about some of their “recommended” mattresses. Mostly because a found many complaints about sagging or lack of firmness on many of their higher rated items & alternatively, I found some low rated items, like mattresses from Saatva that seem to have nothing but positive reviews from CR’s very own members. I have tried many items from numerous retailers & am now considering some smaller local manufacturers like the Mattress Factory in Fort Worth Texas, not to be confused with the Original Mattress Factory, who seems t also have a lot of complaints from consumers to the BBB.

    At any rate, I am hoping you might be able to help me find something I can count on, constructed with solid engineering design & materials, that can enjoy for the next decade.

    So I am emailing you now, in the hope that I might finally get a decent nights sleep.

    Thanks for all your insight.

    Regards,

    George

    • Marshall Coyle Marshall Coyle says:

      Check the new Consumer Reports 2015 and my posts on Saatva and some of your answers will appear. I do not know of any Texas mattress maker that resembles the Original Mattress Factory in quality, but I have heard of one with a similar name that apparently does not. Lower prices come with the lower quality.

  • Barb says:

    Hello,
    I love your website! Just wondering if it is necessary to buy the box spring when replacing a mattress when the current box spring is like new and will end up at the landfill-seems rather wasteful? Also am thinking of,in the near future, purchasing a platform bed which i believe does not require a boxspring. I am looking at the MARSHALL Rest Assured IV Essence Tight Top or the MARSHALL Rest Assured IV Verve Pillow Top but can’t decide which to purchase. Can you tell me about SOY foam as they both contain this product.

    • Marshall Coyle Marshall Coyle says:

      Dear Barb.
      If your old box springs are real box springs, with real coils, and are not just a hard boxlike foundation, my answer is maybe. You are buying very expensive mattresses that are engineered to be used on a complementary flexible box spring. A good box spring does not normally outlast the mattress it is under. If you do own what once was a good box spring, one with resilient coils, you can tell by moving the mattress away and pushing down on it, sitting on it, pushing a knee into it. If when you push, it yields, you once had a good box spring, but it is more than likely worn out anyway. If you have no qualms about buying such a costly mattress, please buy the matching box spring.

      The soy is a completely other story. Usually bad, but far from always. If the foam comes from Carpenter or Hickory and has up to 30% soy, this is a good thing. I am running out of ways to tell my readers to be wary of most chemical foams. The word “soy” refers to a fabulous plant that can be made into food, plastics, truck tires, and even chemical based upholstery foams. I did not know that this venerable company is using these materials. My fault. I am NYC based and slipped on this. Should you want my freely offered virtual shopping experience. Send me answers to the seventeen questions I have posted all over the place. I will find you at least as good, that is not as easy as you think, probably better, and, if possible, padded only with clean and naturally cool latex. The easy part is getting you a much more reasonable price. I know that you appear to have asked me to decide between these two, but absent details about the person or persons who will be sleeping in it, I have no way to determine the appropriateness of either. I do know that if you buy from Marshall, you have to be prepared to spend, and not getting the matching box springs is a mistake, probably a costly one.

      I await an email at oldbedguy@gmail.com with all of the appropriate data to get me started virtual shopping for you.

  • C & T says:

    Spent much money five years ago on a Sears-O-Pedic and it sags and I’m sleeping on coils. The job of choosing a new mattress is overwhelming. My husband and I are in our fifties, work on our feet (12 hours shifts). We need firmish for him and pillowtopish (for side sleeper hurting hips – and everything else for me). We’ve narrowed down to Stearns & Foster Lily Rose Plush pillow top, Kingsdown Valentina- felt good for the price, Simmons Recharge, or I found one Shifman pillowtop flip in our price range. Help and thanks

  • Karen Frieze says:

    Md ear Mr Coyle,
    I just read your update Feb 5th which answered all my questions? I now have a new starting point thanks to you.

    I can’t thank you enough for all the valuable HONEST information you give with the your only interest if to HELP THE CONSUMER. Your information is invaluable.

    I can’t believe that I have been on the MARTRESS UNDERGROUND thinking he had the same motive of you.

    If anyone is looking at my comment , it is REAL. I have been turned, confused, misinformed for months and now I have the information and confidence to go out in the world and find my new MATRESS.

    Gratefully,

    KAREN F

  • scott says:

    Hello Old Bed Guy,

    First off thanks for all you do to help us get better beds at better prices.

    My question revolves around the Charles P Rogers Powercore estate line which I saw getting such a good rating. I see they make the 5000,7000, and 9000. I also already know that the higher the number comes with extra foam and gets softer. Every bed brand I have looked into seems to have a comfort scale of 1-10 which helps me determine softness. Do you have any idea where these 3 models would fit into a comfort scale of 1-10 ?

    Don’t want to get to firm or to soft but in speaking with Charles P Rogers they tell me the 9000 is the bestselling model of the line, so it can’t be that soft. My wife and I are both side sleepers and she prefers something firmer and I prefer something softer. Does softer equal more settling in the future ? Every bed we buy is great for 3-4 years and then not so much. We get body impressions on both sides of the bed first and then the comfort goes downhill real quick

    Thanks in advance

    • Marshall Coyle Marshall Coyle says:

      Dear Scott,
      There is no answer that I can supply about the firmness designations without lying as badly as the websites that use them. There is absolutely no science or language that can properly describe or compare firmness. One person’s soft is another person’s firm. It is all and only opinions. These 1-10 scales might sell mattresses, because they have the right look, but all they do is offer a crutch that is too long or too short for the person who needs it. A mattress expert, can read the specifications of a mattress and when they are complete and accurate will now exactly how it feels. He will also know how persons of different weights, ages, height, health, life style, and more, will be a fit for any knowable mattress.

      I answered an email today from someone who read my blog and picked up the phone and ordered from a nice store. In his email, which was not a complaint, but asking for help to make the situation better, he pointed out that he weighs three times as much as his wife. He likes their new bed, but she just floats on top not making a dent. I advised them to buy a super soft natural latex topper from Amazon and pay for overnight delivery. His wife deserves instant improvement. And even if the store they shopped at had had firmness designations, nothing would have changed.

      Your final sentence is very telling. “We get body impressions on both sides of the bed first and then the comfort goes downhill real quick”. It tells me that you have never had any latex, or a modern design one-sided mattress. Because you bought what I call “retro” mattresses that lasted 4-5 years, I am also close to positive that you underspent and/or bought in a small local shop. This may not make a whole lot of sense to you, but the mattress “mavens”that read this website will understand. Most small cities throughout the South and Appalachia as well as the Rust Belt have small local mattress factories that have never been financially able to upgrade their machinery, and thereby to make non-sagging mattresses that are so available elsewhere as spelled out in this site, also elsewhere.

      I do not want to name names here and make it even tougher for these hard working local makers. And, a handful of local factories like Gold Bond, Gardner, McCroskey and others, have been able to leave the twentieth century behind and now make good latex hybrids. People who own latex hybrids do not need to replace them every five years. I do not expect to live that long, but our 14 month old hybrid, will easily make it into its twenties if anyone is still using it.

      Many, actually most, softer synthetic foams are structurally weaker than firmer ones and you are quite correct. Nevertheless, the degree of softness in latex foam has no bearing on durability at all.

  • Buzz Coren says:

    Hello Marshall: We took your advice and visited Colton Mattress today, and bought both a king and full beds, different styles for different rooms, and await delivery in one week. Our experience dealing directly with the manufacturer gave us more confidence we were buying from a reputable source who backs up their merchandise. Hopefully we’ll be sleeping much better very soon and will get many good years out of these. Out of all the time I spent researching different possibilities the time spent reading your posts felt the most instructive and honest. Thanks for all this free counsel you’ve put out there to uneducated, bewildered and often gullible buyers, you’re a great guy.

    • Dear Buzz Coren,

      I always appreciate a meaningful thanks, but I do not want to take credit where it is not due. I did not recommend Colton mattress. I might have if I knew more about them, but their website has too little information about their products to for me to have any reason to recommend them. Not price, not quality, and not content. The site skirts around all of these issues. Praising oneself is not helpful, when I am dealing in real issues of comfort and support. There are numbers and descriptions found on websites that permit me to be confident when making a recommendation and these were not present when I visited the site on your behalf. I most certainly hope that you ordered wisely, and that they had the components needed. From their site, the photographs indicated superior skill in sewing a straight line, and that indicates a level of caring about the product, but there was not a single solitary comprehensive description or factual listing of the components or manufacturing techniques of any of them. This does not mean that they are one of the scam sites I rail about, the one’s with no land address and a history shorter than my last vacation, not at all. They appear to be a nice local company making or more accurately, assembling mattresses from parts purchased from jobbers or importers. They do not make any of their metal parts such as springs, and they are very limited to that which is easy and commonplace. Most of my recommendations go to innovators who actually make, not just assemble mattresses. The only assembler who gets a nod from me when due is the Original Mattress Factory when my correspondents are very financially challenged and price trumps all other needs, but still want something better than a Sams or an Amazon Chinese import.

      I apologize if I wrote so unclearly that you took an “I don’t know”, to mean otherwise. I also, had no data on your needs, as you chose not to reply to my questions, so with this purchase, you are on your own. I never substitute wishful thinking for real knowledge. It never has worked for me, but if it works for you, then, happy sleeping.
      Marshall

  • scott says:

    Marshall,
    Just wanted to update on what I ended up buying based a lot on what you have written on your site. I first determined what type/style mattress we would be most comfortable on and which would last the longest ( hopefully). I determined that a Latex hybrid would be the best for us. I then needed to determine who would make my hybrid. I settled on Charles P Rogers . Lucky for me the NJ factory is about 15 minutes from Me. I visited the factory/showroom 3 times before I was willing to give them my $2200.00 for a King Powercore estate 9000. The salesperson was very knowledgeable and not pushy at all. The factory is small and clean. Two things really stuck with me walking thru the factory. First was they were making springs on site. Second was the lack of chemical smell in the factory. There was no real odor despite the stacks of foam and mattress’s . No off gassing going on at all. I purchased the set and it was delivered today at the time agreed to. Can’t wait to get sleeping on it. It was a very good purchase experience and I think I got a really high quality mattress. Anything else with this quality would have cost $5000,00 or more and still wouldn’t be as good. I’m so glad I didn’t pull the trigger on a Savatta a few weeks back.
    Thank You !!!

  • Steve Chojnacki says:

    My wife and I are searching for a mattress for our 4 year old daughter. We purchased a loft bed, which per manufacturers specifications can accommodate up to an 8″ thick mattress, leaving approximately 5″ from the top of the mattress to the top of the rail. We would like to buy a quality mattress, but don’t recognize any of the brand names when searching for an 8″ thick (+/-) mattress. We’ve had our daughter lay on different mattresses, she indicated she likes a softer mattress (luxury firm / plush?). Unfortunately most mattresses which are 8″ thick are listed as being firm. If needed, we’d consider a mattress slightly thicker than 8″ (9″ to 9 1/2″) and incorporate other safety measures if meant we’d get a quality mattress that matches our daughters comfort preference. I am hoping you might be able to offer some suggestions or recommendations. Maybe we’re not looking in the right places? Thanks in advance.

    Steve

    • Marshall Coyle says:

      Dear Steve Chojnacki,

      What your daughter “wants” is not as important as what she needs. Until her skeleton stops growing in approximately 17 or 18 years, her soft and malleable bones should be on a mattress that feels closer to wall to wall carpeting with a nice latex rug cushion under it. When you see a beautiful young woman in her twenties or thirties with gentle to severe curvature of the spine, her parents may not be aware, but their choice of a mattress suitable for an adult, not a growing child, may have needlessly been responsible. I sense that you read as little as you could in my blog, or you would not be using the words “firm” and “brand name” in the same sentence. There is, as I must have said fifteen times, absolutely no relationship between the english language and any way to to measure the firmness of a mattress. The absence of anything like science in mattress testing and description is a bonanza for mattress sellers, and as long as people such as yourself have knowledge put in front of you on the proverbial silver platter, and ignore it, because you may think that you are too busy, you will respond to paid advertising and paid reviews.

      The same shopping farce will be repeated again in a few years when your first mattress prematurely dies, if it isn’t already sagging. Because the need is for a four year old, and not yourself, I am going to bend my rules to about never publishing such a brand-specific recommendation. Also, to your credit, you did not mention the word foam. So, maybe I was too harsh in judging the amount of energy you expended. I never ever ever would consider putting a child on a synthetic foam mattress. If you as a sentient adult want to subject yourself to the noxious and believed mutagenic outgassing from a memory foam mattress, that is between you, and eventually your lawyer. And, although I regularly identify and recommend suitable natural latex hybrid innerspring mattresses, and would do so here if one existed, but none do with a required 8″ max. A latex mattress of 8″ or under with an ILD or density of 40+ would cover your responsibility to provide a suitable surface for her to grow up on. (not in).
      However, any solid foam mattress of any kind is only half a mattress in the absence of suitable support coils. Coils being the operative word. Often sold are latex topped solid synthetic foam cores that being out the worst in both kinds of foams. I know that you asked for a “brand name”, and I apologize for the absence of Charles P. Rogers consumer advertising. If you are a N’yawker and visit their historic Chelsea showroom, you can see an extensive display of their print advertising. Most is in archives, but the walls in their hand-made brass bed room are decorated with ads from 1855 until the Civil War. You might see other periods as well. I have not been to this showroom in almost two years and some of historic exhibits are occasionally re-done. I do not know if Consumer Reports news stories or actual reviews count as establishing a brand name. Nevertheless, of the first four best rated innerspring mattresses this year, only half of them were from this little known company. The coils in this unrated Chelsea are clones of the CR recommended St.Regis.

      A larger concern for you is the guard rail. If it is too high from the top of the mattress to the bottom of the rail, she can get her head trapped underneath. If the top of the rail is too close to the height of the mattress, she can tumble over, or easily stumble if jumping around. These concerns are part of my negativity of your using a loft bed for such a wee one.

      She needs a hard innerspring mattress and I know of one and only one good enough for my great grandkids. All two of them, a complete matched set of twins, recently got their first grownup mattresses from “Grandpa Mattress” two years ago. They,the mattresses, not the beautiful children, are about 8″ tall, with a high count pocketed coil innerspring, with layers of CertiPur certified safe foams and natural fibers. It is not designed for comfort as an adult might feel it. It is purpose built to go on top of a daybed solid deck, the same, or almost the same as your new loft bed. It is designed to function as a trampoline or a dungeon floor, or whatever young minds care to make of the nice flat and slightly springy surface. It is called the “Chelsea” after the NYC neighborhood that has been home to the maker since 1855. (18, not 19). It is 8″ thick and comes in standard twin or daybed 33″ size. A completely unique product. http://www.charlesprogers.com/chelsea-p-527.html?cPath=4_237 In my experience it has never been wise to provide an upper bed, bunk, or loft, for such a young child. Children often lack good judgment, and the ease of jumping off such a bed has led to numerous urgent care visits. Your darling may, in your opinion, have a mature outlook about danger, and never gets a scrape or a bruise, but forewarned is forearmed. You may want the look but lack the square feet needed to achieve some decorating ideal, but there are plenty of nice trundle and other equally imaginative solutions.

      I wish I could wave my magic wand and change your floor plan, but magical thinking is the reserve of the “brand names”, not this tired and cranky old guy.

      • stefan K says:

        what is ILD or density of 40+?

        • Marshall Coyle Marshall Coyle says:

          Dear Stefan K, In re:ILD or density of 40+? ILD is an acronym for a standard test performed on foamed latex to determine how much pressure in pounds/feet will it take to compress the sample a specific amount, and/or how deep will a known size and weight test plunger sink into the sample. It is occasionally used to describe firmness, but as the words firm, soft, and similar, are completely subjective, using an ILD number to describe the “feel” of a piece of latex is subject to a whole lot of personal opinion. My personal opinion is that latex with a 40ILD should feel quite firm to most people. A slab of latex so described would require a companion innerspring unit as in a latex/innerspring hybrid to create a sleeping environment comfortable for most people. It could also be used with an expectation of success when supported by an old fashioned resilient coil box spring, but not quite as comfortably as in a hybrid with good pocketed coils.

  • Lou V says:

    Marshall,
    I just wanted to update you to tell you that thanks to your website and Consumer Reports review of mattresses we took the plunge and purchased the Charles P Rogers King Powercore Estate 9000 mattress and boxspring. It was quite difficult to get over activation energy to buy an item of this cost without trying out the mattress but your input along with the CR review helped me to take the plunge. After receiving the mattress yesterday I am very pleased with the quality and difference between this mattress and the 3 year old mattress that it replaced. The previous mattress was not an inexpensive mattress but was already causing lower back aches every morning due to sagging.

    • Marshall Coyle Marshall Coyle says:

      Dear Lou V,

      It has been a very long and featureless day. I was about to close up for the night, when I decided to check the incoming and noticed your letter of appreciation. I do what I do expecting no compensation other than the pleasure of being able to give back while I still can. Not expecting is not the same as not wanting. When I was in business my report card always had dollar signs. Now that I am in a money neutral situation, getting a thank you for my labors is the kind of report card and compensation that I value most. When I realize that the thousands of words I have agonized over and edited and re-edited have, at least in your case, did make difference. It is possible that age-related issues will force me to retire from this full-time retirement, but when I get such nice compliments, I am really re-energized. I had not previously seen the phrase, “activation energy”, and I can see how useful it can be when describing the state of mind of so many consumers. You know that you need a new mattress, but the labor involved in actually getting what you need as well as your money’s worth, takes more energy than you are capable or willing to invest.

      Thank you, Marshall

  • Lou V says:

    Dear Marshall,
    Giving back is an understatement! Your website efforts proved invaluable to me and I’m sure countless others who unfortunately don’t take the time for feedback. The activation energy statement is due to my background as a chemist and this particular item, namely mattresses, make a data-driven person like me cringe. Your logic and clearcut input around the science of the choice is refreshing. You certainly made a difference in my decision making through your efforts.
    Thank you,
    Lou

  • Paul Jones says:

    Thanks for your time and effort to provide the great mattress advice on this site, very helpful. Do you have any advice on a good quality 3 inch latex topper?

    • Marshall Coyle Marshall Coyle says:

      Dear Paul Jones,

      Not by brand name or supplier at this time. I suggest that you visit Amazon, search 3″ Latex Topper on “home and kitchen”. Be prepared for a whole lot of choices. Eliminate the Dunlop. (no explanation, would take to long, but you want one made by the Talalay process). Then read the four star reviews. So many of the five star ones are phony baloney. The one star are usually about shipping problems. If within your budget, always always prefer one with a cover. Latex has little tensile strength and tears easily. A covered one is a smarter investment, long term. Getting the right firmness for your individual needs matters. What you are putting on also matters. It is not going to do much for a worn out mattress. It will never make a too soft mattress firmer, but can soften the surface of a too-firm mattress. Absent knowing the weight of the sleepers and the age and condition of the mattress,and what you are trying to accomplish, I could not be more helpful even If I wanted to, and I do. You might want to return to main pages on this site and take the survey. In the comments, remind me that you are only looking for a topper, and then armed with useful information, I will help you further.

  • Jeff says:

    Hello Old Bed Guy,
    I really enjoy your blog. I have learned a lot.
    I was wondering if you have any experience or know anyone that has experienced true tried Thai Massage Mats or Japanese beds? I have tried sleeping on the floor, it does take awhile to get use to, but just need a little bit more padding and was thinking about buy natural latex topper (1-3″) and just put it on top of a platform bed or Japanese futon (4-6″)
    I’m just not sure I need to have a mattress that is 10″-15″ thick.
    Heck I have even read about people getting great nights sleep in a hammock.

    I am curious about a true Japanese Futon, sleeping mat or Thai Mat

    anyways I appreciate any help and guidance you can offer.
    Thanks again,

    Jeff

    Please do not post any commercial sites.

    • Marshall Coyle Marshall Coyle says:

      Dear Jeff,

      Whatever Floats your boat. Billions of people still sleep on the floor in one room huts every night. However, some of us “lucky” first worlders have choices. You could sleep on what our society believes to be comfortable and healthful, or sleep on what “they” have to sleep on. I can assure you, from frequent visits to family in Japan, that anyone who can afford a western mattress, sleeps on one. Rich Japanese with feelings about tradition often have a small tatami room with a rice straw floor and a cotton futon for guests. I have slept on such authentic beds numerous times. It can be better than a saggy crummy worn out western mattress, but does not hold a candle to a nice brand new innerspring/latex hybrid such as the one I choose to sleep on tonight.

      I am removing the links that you inserted as they smack of commercialism. I could sell ads on this site as do most advice sites, but prefer keeping everything non-commercial.

  • Pat says:

    Hi, Old Bed Guy:
    The info on your site is very informative.
    I went to Charles P. Roger’s showroom to check out the powercore estate
    and decided to buy the King. The salesman told me that these mattresses are more
    rigid that the old ones. My current king mattress is 17 years old and I remember the 2 guys had to squeezed the mattress thru the 2 turns on stairway to the 2nd floor. The salesman also said that they could deliver the mattress in 2 pieces and assemble it on site which is $200 more. I want to get your opinion on this option. The estate 7000 that I want to get is 14 in ch thick as opposed to the 9 in of my current mattress.

    Thanks
    Pat

    • Marshall Coyle Marshall Coyle says:

      Dear Pat,

      You are not the first correspondent to tell me how Charles P. Rogers was able to solve a problem that no one else could. High quality mattresses such as the Powercore have a lot more padding and more and taller springs, so they have grown thicker and weightier. Rogers sends qualified people to your home and they can assemble the mattress just as well as in the factory. The only negative is that they have a mileage limit. I do not have details.

      This company has had more than a bit of hand labor experience in the past century and half +. A retail store and/or any mass producer could never offer you this kind of old-fashioned service. You are lucky to have found them, not just for the mattress that you will soon be enjoying, but because they have a policy with products AND services, either perfect or not at all. This is possibly why Consumer Reports has them as best in multiple categories. I am proud of myself because I “discovered” them long before Consumer Reports did. CR has a national audience and until not long ago when Rogers started to offer their decorative beds and a range of hand assembled mattresses, they were just a special place for New Yorkers.

      Have no worries about the in-home assembly. Once assembled it is exactly the same as if it was done in the NJ factory. Once the great big mattress, now one piece, gets placed on the 2 foundations, which are easy to deliver, and will last at least as long as the mattress, it will stay in place needing no care except occasional good vacuuming. A benefit that comes along with the Rogers mattress is exceptionally long wear. At 17, it should be still going strong, so you will not have to go through this again. Not for a very long time.

      We thought about the height issue and ordered a low platform bed from CPR so that it would be a bit closer to the floor for the benefit of our aging dog. She has never “slept over”. Without being asked, when both of us are in bed and the lights go off, she pads off to her own latex doggie bed. A side benefit of the platform was finding enough storage room underneath for four large plastic boxes from Bed Bath and Beyond. We have downsized to a small apartment and space is at a premium.

      Rogers sells a solid mahogany unbelievably sturdy and well finished simple style for almost as little a matching foundation and metal bed frame. Sometimes they also have special combo prices. All the Powercore’s are designed to eliminate the jiggling or motion transfer when your partner moves or gets up. And it works. But when you switch from a metal bed frame with wheels to a solid mahogany padded platform bed, it works even better because the metal bed frames can move slightly and the platform not at all.

      Happy Sleeping,

      Marshall Coyle

      • Amy says:

        Hi Marshall,
        After checking out Charles P. Rogers on your recommendation this winter (I do hope you’re feeling better!), my husband and I purchased the 9000 and we both absolutely LOVE it, so thank you! As for Pat’s question above, we have a very narrow hallway with a right angle to get to the bedroom in our new house, and after discussing things with the very knowledgeable salesman in the NYC showroom, we realized that there is no way a king-size mattress would be able to fit since modern mattresses don’t really bend around corners like the old, thinner mattresses did. So we went for the “put together on site” option, and it was great — you’d never know it wasn’t one solid mattress!
        So not only did we get an amazing mattress from a quality company who solved a problem we didn’t even know we had — we later realized that if we had ordered a king bed from any other place, it would not have fit on delivery and then we’d be really stuck!
        So thank you for everything!!!
        —Amy

        • Marshall Coyle Marshall Coyle says:

          Dear Amy,

          I always appreciate a nice thank you. There really is no substitute for the kind of experience I bring to these discussions, and it concerns me that I really do not have a whole lot more good days left. I am trying to sharply edit all of my hard to read through essays, and write some new ones. I am hanging on the idea that a better and more clearly written blog, one that has more information with fewer words, will continue to help for a few years after I will no longer be around watching the computer morning noon and night.

          Marshall

  • Jeff says:

    OBG, I WISH I had read your site before purchasing, now I regret it. I didn’t do a lot of research other than searching for a local mattress store. I ran across Keetsa and was impressed that they were eco-friendly. I got my mattress from FedEx last night and was struck by a wave of chemicals! My whole apartment stinks like chemicals. I started researching a bit and found some comments on sites that said they are made in China, that they use petroleum foams and a mixture of chemicals for fire retardant. I am flabbergasted that in this day and age companies can get away with saying they are eco friendly when in fact they are not. What recourse do I have? Their website says 25% return fee, and that seems like a rip off since I bought under false pretense.

    • Marshall Coyle Marshall Coyle says:

      Dear Jeff,

      I am so sorry for you also, with the internet so crowded with faux mattress-advice websites, it is a miracle that, even after the fact, you succeeded. Keetsa is within their legal rights to withhold the 25%. And we both know that this is a fact. You would have to take them to court for satisfaction and maybe that would be the right thing to do. When you read the OBG site, it is hard to miss the reading about the current class action suit against Tempur-Sealy International from buyers who are convinced that the same chemicals found in Keetsa made them seriously ill. A major point of law in this suit is whether or not a foam mattress maker owes it to the consumers to disclose the chemicals before the sale is made.

      I am sure that the owners of Keetsa are following this trial waiting for the hammer to fall on them also. You might want to find the appropriate URL’s elsewhere on the OBG blog, learn a bit before it is too late. Pleading ignorance will not make you or your family well once the damage is done. You can complain to the Consumer Products Safety Commission and the Federal Trade Commission, both involved in this kind of issue. Ask yourself how the owners at Keetsa would react to a letter from you making a last demand for a total refund in the light of your planned complaint to agencies charged with policing this kind of conduct. You might just hit a nerve and cause them to mend their ways, starting with you.

      You also should really do an hour or less of useful reading right here on this blog, and, of course, take advantage of the opportunity to let me help you select your replacement mattress. You will find references to a questionnaire or survey all over the blog. It is the only way to reach me for one-on-one help and depending on how busy I am, and well I feel day-to-day, in can take a week or so for you to find out what mattress(es) I think suit you and your budget the best.

      And last thought. I suspect by your email address that you are a captive of California. Good deal. California has a consumer protection agency with teeth, and you should start a process even before the Federal agencies. California might actually do something for you.

      Good luck, and please stay in touch-

      Marshall Coyle

  • Andrew says:

    Hi Marshall, I love your website; I’ve been interested in mattresses and how they are constructed ever since I’ve been an adult and had the displeasure of spending a small fortune, only to be left with saggy back breaking, uncomfortable mattresses after only a few years. I recently read your article about foundations/box springs. I have a 7 year old Denver Dr.s Choice mattress and it’s held up a bit better than other innerspring mattress I’ve bought over the years. It’s sagging a bit, so I took the leap and sliced it open and replaced the cheap foam with 2 inch medium latex topper. WOW, what a difference. It’s better than it was brand new. However, it still has a bit of sag in the middle. I thought after reading your article, that maybe I should add plywood between the foundation and the mattress. I confirmed that this set indeed has a foundation with no springs. There are gaps of up to 3 square inches in the steel “grid” that makes up the foundation, so I thought the plywood would add some rigidity and support. Boy did it ever; it made for great support but I ended up with hip pressure point pain. My main question is, even with a rigid steel wire foundation that has virtually no give, plywood makes it much stiffer; do the gaps in the surface from the steel wires allow the innerspring system to sort of settle through and give some cushioning to the mattress? Thanks very much and sorry for the long question!

    • Marshall Coyle Marshall Coyle says:

      Dear Andrew,

      I admire your persistence and hate to be the bearer of not such good news. Seven years ago you bought a middling quality mattress, from a “promotional priced” local maker, that was designed to maybe last five, six, or even seven years. Real talk, not advertising. The coils lose their temper, and foams their resilience. You never bought latex in the first place, and now with the topper, you realize that no all foams are alike. And I can’t blame you for not getting original advice from me because this website is only about five years old. The people who take my recommendations get fifteen twenty or more years of comfort. The only good thing left from your purchase is the semi-flex torsion bar grid top foundation made by Leggett and Platt for Denver Mattress and hundreds of others. This foundation is a durable as an anvil. You need a nice brand new top rated latex innerspring hybrid like I sleep on, and can save the cost of a new foundation, as your old one should be fine. Your present mattress is sagging directly from the worn out coils, and you can not fix them. You might want to return to any page in the website, open the questionnaire, follow instructions, and in couple of weeks, will have a well thought out series of recommendations for your next mattress. Please mention the topper you own, where it came from, Talalay or Dunlop, thickness and ILD (firmness). Knowing this information I will save you some extra money by getting a mattress that would get real benefit from this specific topper’s qualifications.

      Marshall Coyle

  • Gail Hutcheson says:

    We are thinking about a Shifman firm pillowtop mattress and box spring.
    Read your site and see that they are one of few who make their own product.
    Would you recommend this mattress ?

    • Marshall Coyle Marshall Coyle says:

      Dear Gail Hutcheson,

      The answer is a qualified maybe. Since I know nothing about you as you apparently have not filled out the requested survey, and because Shifman assembles at least 22 different pillow top mattresses with names similar to when they were in their heyday. Only not the same quality or construction. Some are still very very well made and some are awful.

      Certainly one or more may be good for you. It is doable, but only with enough information,and now I only know about the mattresses, not the potential sleepers. Be aware: The mattresses labeled Shifman “Quilted” or “Anniversary” in no way represent the quality that the former owners put into all their products. That is why the current Consumer Reports has savaged their tested Shifman. Because of a proud history, everyone thinks of them as being so great, and when they turn out a piece of junk so a store can advertise a “cheap” $3,000 Shifman, it is worse than when a mass producer known for the junk, makes a similar mattress. Shifman does not manufacture any of their own springs, but still buys high quality from a small producer.

      If your criteria in 2015 is to find a mattress made the way they did in 1915, or even 1949 when Mrs. Coyle and I briefly slept on the one we got as a wedding present from the original Shifman Brothers. I still remember how hard it was, and that was in an era when hard was considered good. At one time, my stores were the largest Shifman dealer in a very wide area. Today, it is Bloomingdales, some Macy’s and a handful of going-out-of business fine family furniture stores that do not want to have to sell Chinese furniture. I hope that if you shop for an automobile, you opt for a current model with all the safety features and unparalleled comfort.

      If you decide to ask the proper way with the survey’ questionnaire, please be patient. At this time the mail is coming in faster than ever and all I am is this little old guy, thankfully still getting older.

      In any event I am qualified to match you with any of the current retro-style inner-tufted and pillow topped Shifman mattresses but only as long as your survey information indicates that there are one or more mattresses that meet your needs and your budget. All you have to do is to go through my front door, the survey with the interesting questions that you can enter on almost any page of the Old Bed Guy. Once I have your story in front of me, you will find out what this expert thinks will be most suitable for you and any sleeping companion.

  • Sally from Georgia says:

    My husband and I are in full agreement to get rid of the STearns FOster monster king mattress which we bought in 2011 at a NY department store chain that ends in ‘dale. About one year into the use of this mattress, each side developed indented pools and there was a ridge from head to toe where the wood bridge was in the frame. I have just ordered a king sized St. Regis Charles Rogers mattress with standard box springs, mostly because of the reviews and because of CR 2015 as a best buy. I went to the Original Mattress factory in Marietta GA yesterday and sat on the various offerings – not too excited there. Then on to Mattress Firm to sit on the Sealys/Beautyrests/ etc. I hope that this new bed will help ease the body aches that we both have when sleeping and on waking up.
    Would you suggest adding in the gel/latex option to the bed? Since I ordered yesterday, it may be easy to adjust the cost which is a couple of hundred dollars more.

    • Marshall Coyle Marshall Coyle says:

      Sally, Dear Sally,

      If I didn’t want to be of help I would not knock myself out working all hours seven days a week. And as hard as I try, I still get letters from nice people who either did not read, or did not get my oft-repeated messages. You have to ask these questions through a functional front door survey/questionnaire. I know about all there is needed to know about the St. Regis. We slept on one from 2004 until 2014. I just over a year ago, tested the new gel and gel latex in the showroom before we compromised on the particular Powercore model “perfect for us”. This was our 65th anniversary gift to ourselves and no compromising was allowed.

      So, my opinions are from hands, or backs, or butts-on. So now you know that I am a self-styled St.Regis expert, but what do I know about you?. Your name is Sally, you overpaid in a high priced department store for a less-than-satisfactory Stearns and Foster (most models qualify), and now, after you didn’t bother to share your actual needs with me by using the freely offered survey questionnaire, you want me to put you in another mattress that, although will probably never sag, may or may not be ideal for you. Rogers makes three versions of the St. Regis, and five of the Powercore. All good mattresses, each of them is perfect for a narrow band of end users, and good for a mass. But also not good at all for some. So, please re-visit the http://www.oldbedguy.com blog, and note the offer to help discreetly tucked into the top corners of every page. While you are waiting to find out the real best choice, it is in your self interest to check out the Rogers platform beds. Price competitive with foundation and metal frame arrangements, and infinitely stronger and more attractive. We did our bedroom with one of their platforms in solid mahogany under $500 and really appreciate the storage space and the real or imaginary extra comfort that the solid padded top deck provides. If you only want Charles P. Rogers, say so on the survey/questionnaire. Otherwise, I may recommend from a wider choice of factory direct sellers, but never ever anything where, like the stuff you have so far been attracted to, absolutely no Volatile Outgassing issues. None. Please be candid with your answers as size does matter. I am never judgmental, but both of us would want this need for advice to be one time event.

      IF YOU STILL NEED ADVICE, PLEASE GO TO THIS LINK FOR ONE-ON-ONE PERSONAL ADVICE.
      https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/old-bed-guy

  • Sally from Georgia says:

    Dear Marshall, I sit aptly admonished and have completed the survey at the top of your site. I hope that your detailed response to me will help other kind-hearted mattress shoppers avoid what I failed to do – heed your excellent advice. I do not think there is much you can do for my husband’s snoring, however, except suggesting a cattle prod. I enjoy the math at the end of the posts. Sally

    • Marshall Coyle Marshall Coyle says:

      Dear Sally from Georgia,

      Even better than a cattle prod for gently reminding snorers to turn over, is to prevent them from sneaking onto their backs in the first place. Almost any body pillow large enough to permit the sleeper to fall asleep on his or her side, will help maintain the side sleeping position. I use one, I know that it works well, and although it is not necessary to give up on it when the habit is changed, it can be looked at as permanent or temporary. Amazon has a very nice selection. I use one that you can buy on the maker’s site, or on Amazon, brand name, “Comfort U”. Five years old and still as new.

      An important fact to know before you take Grandpa Mattress’s side sleeping advice, is that for it work properly, you must own a mattress with a soft top surface. Naturally cool Talalay latex as on “our” mattress choice works perfectly. When the top of the mattress is hard, like memory foam when compressed, just as the foam squashes down, so does the muscle and flesh resting on top of it. When the mattress surface is hard, the supply of oxygenated blood is cut off from nerves and muscles, and the sleeper starts thrashing and moving, sometimes waking up, until the brain is satisfied that the stoppage is over. A mattress can be good and firm, but still have a soft sleeping surface. People who sent in their questionnaires are always keyed in to such mattresses, but it general, most of the hybrid latex I recommend is a perfect combination with a body pillow. No more snoring from night one, and the former snorer wakes up a lot more wonderful in the morning.

      Marshall Coyle

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