Must Read Posts For All Mattress Shoppers

THIS IS A MUST-READ ARTICLE BEFORE YOU COMMIT TO ANY NEW MATTRESS. 30-45 Minutes to knowing what you need about buying a new mattress

Welcome to the Old Bed Guy Blog. I am said 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 it all.  I deliberately and thoroughly shop the web, read trade papers, and when I feel up to it, visit a route of many local stores ranging foreign imports, high-pressure chain sleep shops, department and furniture stores, and local factories. For the record, I am based in Manhattan, New York, (not Kansas) and have easy access to almost every kind of bed store and wholesale showroom. When necessary, I can count on some old mattress and furniture buddies around the country to fill me in. I created this blog to help myself by keeping my brain exercised and give some payback to the mattress buying public that supported my family so well for so long…. READ MORE

2015 Mattress Ratings From Consumer Reports… 

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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 know you are a fan of. 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.

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