May 2, 2014 - Marshall Coyle

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

“If a mattress review site is paid by mattress makers, can you place your faith in their recommendations? ”                                                                                                                              

snakeoil

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.  I do not have to go into detail as every single one of the dozens of useless how-to-buy-a-mattress articles that appear regularly in your favorite newspaper and magazines, always start off by telling you about the same mattress being sold under numerous names, and every other possible trick used by stores and some websites to convince you that the name-brand product they are selling is exclusively sold by them.  This lack of truth is the most common denominator to be found in print and internet and TV mattress advertising you are exposed to. The only truly “Exclusively Ours” mattresses are sold by factory-direct stores that literally assemble them from bought components(most), or actually manufacture them from house-made components. ( A very few, and I identify most).   A third, and very new and often the most troublesome category are the “miracle” mattress sites; Saatva  , Keetsa, Casper, Leesa, Yogabed, and more than 200 other Internet-Only newbies.   The USP, the Unique Selling Proposition and the one that makes it even more important for you to do research at honest, knowledgeable advice sites that work for you, not the mattress sellers, is that when you buy from this class of retailers, you are always promised a superior buying experience.  And the actual ordering and delivery process usually goes very smoothly. Generally speaking, most of them keep their promise.  That is the only good part. To your frequent misfortune, while the delivery and post delivery service is as expected, the mattresses are very very  frequently a cause of buyer’s remorse.  Many crushed, rolled, and boxed mattresses are  only made well enough to survive the trial period.    You are often given as many as four months to try out the mattress and return it with little or no extra cost.  When you pay from $500-$1,000+ for a vacuum packed mattress that can be bought from Amazon without all the BS starting for as little as $150 (including free delivery and pickup) and go all the way up to about $280 at Amazon for the equivalent of a $1,000 snake-oil peddler’s offering. The Amazon delivery experience is usually first rate. I have heard that the pickups vary significantly from source to source. When you live in a large city, the possibility of actually getting your unwanted mattress picked up is much greater than less densely populated areas.

If only the mattresses were crafted as well as the advertising copy that describes them they would quickly put the old-fashioned retail stores out of business.   However, as of December 2017, none of the above mentioned mattresses in my and many other’s professional opinions rise even to mediocre. Casper, Leesa, and Tuft and Needle, early entrants to this scam-like mattress marketing do garner good ratings in the current Consumer Reports tests.  Hundreds of other newbies do not.

The style and method of selling and promoting  really do resemble the Snake Oil patent medicine peddlers now only residing in our history books.  These modern peddlers might someday get smart and realize that you can not fool all the people all the time, and start importing and using  better quality  synthetic foams.   Unfortunately, in this world, the real world, you have no government entity looking out for your welfare when it comes to mattresses.  The Federal Trade Commission has successfully prosecuted only three of the dozens of memory foam peddlers that  were so untruthful, and with such known carcinogens that the government was moved to act.  But the bar is very high for prosecutions, and what you have to do is to make sure where the foam comes from, and what is the reputation of the company offering it to you.  This is not easy to do without enlisting the help of trustworthy review sites.  Sites that work for you, not for the mattress sellers and makers that pay  SLTD for their praise and recommendations.   Finding these sites is easy.  Consumer Reports (CR),  The Old Bed Guy(OBG), and Sleep Like The Dead (SLTD) to name three.  Each take a different tack, but by spending adequate time on all three, improves your chances of getting a comfortable and durable mattress within your budget.

SLTD  has a large amount of usable information accompanied by almost as much unusable. None of it exists to earn payments from the sale of mattresses. You have to visit The Mattress Underground to see information designed to get you to buy from someone that pays kickbacks to them.   You won’t find it on SLTD or the OBG.  Some of the information on SLTD, mostly about accessories, links to Amazon to make ordering convenient for you and profitable for SLTD. And that’s OK because they go out of their way to tell you about this source of income.  What is not so good is that SLTD gets rather large payments for placing  paid mattress ads right on the homepage of their website.  It really can look as if SLTD is endorsing some of the worst possible mattress choices.  SLTD’s hard-working owners are youngish (to me!) people doing this as a business and are entitled to make a living.    Sleep Like The Dead is a compilation, a mass (mess) of statistics.  Statistics are only as good as the information that is used to create them, and Sleep Like The Dead , no matter how hard they try, cannot change the fact that they do not know how to accurately find and interpret mattress reviews.  They primarily rely on external sites that exist mainly get complaints,not product praise. Happy people rarely bother to post about their happiness.  SLTD also visits various forums and chat rooms seeking people commenting about mattresses. It should be no surprise to know that most mattress posts are also complaints.  Most people buy “mass produced” mattresses. That is why they are manufactured in large quantities. And apparently, also why they are designed and made more for profit at the expense of long term customer satisfaction. Few people bother to vent and complain when they are happy.

The most significant reason that you cannot rely on SLTD to pin down information on a specific mattress or brand is that the  “open sources” that form part of their opinions are so packed full of paid-for-praise, that the accuracy of his percentages needs to be wondered about.   Still SLTD so much better than most of the alternatives. If you use it for generalities, things like ” do innerspring mattresses sell as well as memory foam?, Or “is it better to shop in person?” but  not for any one individual mattress brand search, you will get the most useful help. That is where you should use Consumer Reports.  You cannot actually find your perfect mattress on SLTD, and might even find yourself inadvertently seeking a hot and smelly memory foam slab, not because it is good, but because of basically flawed information gathering.  Most of the phony mattress reviewers somehow lead back to synthetic foam mattresses of various kinds.  Not all are memory foam, but almost all are.   The methodology is published on the website and is as far from unbiased as one can get.  The site’s owner picks and chooses  and publishes what makes sense to him.   Useful statistics are never cherry picked.  It is a stab in the dark for the most part.  But a million times better than TMU.

Many of the SLTD editorial essays are obviously written by someone who makes a best try to write trustworthy and serious how-to essays.   Unfortunately, these essays suffer from a flaw, the same as mine do. We are both opinionated. We are both judgmental (although they say they are not) and while my judgment often parallels the opinions at SLTD,  I often completely disagree with their advice.  GIGO is what we called it when I studied statistics in B school.  Garbage in=Garbage out.  The editors at SLTD feel a lot more favorable about petrochemical synthetic foams than I ever could.  Yes, synthetics with the CertiPur seal might be less unsafe than uncertified synthetics, but only nice naturally cool latex deserves to be called absolutely safe. Latex never outgases, and memory foam always does. VOC’s are never completely benign. I have a post with a list of CertiPur approved foams that you can find in the index on the right side of the home page.

How about me, the  Old Bed Guy, and what I can do and can’t do.   I  will not blindly recommend any mattress when writing this blog.  I will tell you how to make your best decision.  I do praise a handful of mattress factories that stand out in the race to the top of the quality pyramid, and even more rarely praise any individual mattress. At the time of writing, I praise a the Simmons Beautyrest Black Lillian, a Macy’s exclusive, The Charles P. Rogers Estate Powercore that Consumer Reports rates as the number one of all tested innerspring mattresses.  I also like another Macy’s exclusive, “Hotel Collection by Aireloom Vitagenic Holland Maid Latex Luxury Firm” , a real mouthful. Consumer Reports likes it less than I do.  This mattress is very well made, and while it has some synthetics that I do not care much for, it has quite a bit of latex that I do.  I estimate that it will last twice as long as most current major brand mattresses, 8 or 10 years instead of four or five.  Only at Macy’s.

I never say never, but do not bend when asked about a mattress I have never touched. Macy’s flagship store is only minutes from my front door and they have stores in most major shopping areas if you want to see and try what I like for yourself. They are my go-to store when trying to find mattresses that can be in-store tested in most of the country. I like to find and  endorse high quality hybrid innerspring mattresses. My highest praise goes to pocketed coil innerspring hybrids with all, or mostly all cool latex foam for the comfort layers.  Until 2017,  the selection of mass produced hybrid innerspring mattresses was “not many”.  This seems to be the year of the innerspring hybrid. The Consumer Reports best rated innerspring mattress, an Estate Powercore is a true latex hybrid.  Most of the high scorers are hybrids. CR should add a test to rate VOC’s coming out of the tested mattresses. Shoppers concerned with their health could at least see a choice between latex mattresses that do not outgas anything, and various memory foams that outgas molecules from the various noxious petrochemical substances that are omnipresent in this synthetic memory foam.

And for those who question why I do what I do.   I hope that it will not soon be. ” I did what I did” as I have definitely passed my “use by” date.

If you wonder what the catch might be in someone knocking themselves out for total strangers, here it is: When I was healthier and still in only in my seventies, I used to volunteer myself and donate my money to a neighborhood no-kill animal shelter. I volunteered five or six days most weeks doing whatever was needed and I could. Mostly dog walking. The paid staff cleaned the cages!  Now as I can barely walk myself, I can still donate, just not as much as the animals need.  That is “the catch”.   If you want to express your gratitude for any help you may receive from me, please make any size donation to a no-kill animal shelter in your hometown or the National ASPCA.  Nothing else. From the many thank-you letters I have received over the years that also mention that the reader made a donation, I estimate that I have raised at least $79,000+ in the past six years, mostly benefiting local shelters.

Consumer Reports is the gold standard or product information.   They have been running tests on all kinds of consumer goods since I was seven years old.  Consumer Reports mission is to provide shopping comfort and knowledge for their dues paying members.  They never take kickbacks from any manufacturer or seller of any product. The only nit that I have to pick is that when testing mattress durability they use testing machines that were designed for the Cornell School of Hospitality in the 1920’s, long before latex or synthetic foam was used to pad innerspring mattresses.  CR chooses to ignore one inconvenient fact: these, the only available testing machines can only determine the strength (or lack of) for innerspring units.  Solid synthetic or natural latex foam, air, or waterbeds can not be meaningfully tested on these machines, but CR seems to pretend that they can. These non-coil foam or air mattresses that they test are unaffected by the heavy rollers that will eventually break any kind of coil spring. Because cloth pocketed coils are the most flexible, they almost always come out on top of the innerspring tests.  I ignore their ratings on synthetic foam and air mattresses as they are meaningless in the real world.

TMU,The  Mattress Underground, a modified chat room is moderated by the mythical bird that arose from the ashes, “Phoenix.  She is a highly gifted and prolific writer and knowledgeable businessperson.   This site features a few essays signed by the pen name, Phoenix,  purporting to advise the unknowing how to shop for the unknown. Sometimes her “advice” is presented as a post from a reader. Pure BS.    All of her essays skillfully and gently flow with praise for an exclusive group of tribute and dues paying mattress sellers. TMU is paid by mattress sellers. Can you picture always getting 100% honest advice from a broker representing the seller when he or she is trying to make a sale?    Check the site for the membership page.  These mattress sellers are financially different than the other five thousand places where you might buy a mattress.  These stores and sites, all alone in the industry, pay regular dues to the Mattress Underground for general praise, and an agreed on commission when they make a sale.  The rest of the industry are on the outside looking in and get few to no recommendations, mostly “no” recommendations.   Nothing for nothing in this dog-eat-dog world.

Phoenix  instructs her readers to tell the cooperating stores when you place your order that you heard about them from the Mattress Underground.  Why?  You are told that this is for you to get a discount?  Total bull.  This is the tip off for a pay-off to TMU. Money is the only language spoken at the Mattress Underground. If you place your trust in the Mattress Underground, your chances of getting good bedding at a good value are a roll of the dice.  Ironically, I recognize one or two, maybe three halfway decent and reliable old names on the TMU paying-dealer’s list, and I am uncomfortable putting them all in the same pot.  However they are only a very few, so “luck” will be elusive.

The forum on The Mattress Underground site, populated with questionably real and imaginary mattress experts, is entertainment for anyone who actually knows what goes in the not so complicated making of a good mattress. You would think that the discussion is about a new kind of interplanetary propulsion, not a flattish bag of petrochemical foams. You take The Mattress Underground gentle nudging at your own risk. You might just get lucky, but the house always wins. Some of the advice is ludicrous, because it is obviously so blatantly skewed, but a typical mattress buyer has no clue about the deceptions.  I am sure that it is some of the most imaginative mattress writing that money can buy, but, unfortunately, the money  that pays for it is coming from the wrong side of the table. For a more scientific study of how to understand what you are mostly reading on  TMU, I suggest the following Canadian scholarly study. TMU

Bed Buying Tips / Bed Value / Bedding / Casper / Estate Powercore / Keetsa / Mattresses / Misc Bed / Old-Bed-Guy / Pin and Needle / Saatva / Sealy / Serta / Sleep Like The Dead / The Mattress Underground / Tuft and Needle / Tuft and Needle / Wood Beds Amazon / body impression / Consumer Reports / five star review / iFoam / Keetsa / Memory Foam / Saatva / Shifman / Sleep Like the Dead / Talalay / The Mattress Underground / Visco foam /

Comments

  • Marshall Coyle says:

    I never say never, and do not bend under any kind of letter-writer’s pressuring when asked about a mattress I have never touched. If I have not touched a mattress, I will not recommend it. Two exceptions are the Sertapedic Chiswick and the King Koil for special needs sleepers mentioned below because their specifications are obvious at both ends of a spectrum.  And I think that these recommendations when used by the intended “target” sleepers is a kindness to them.

    Macy’s flagship store is only minutes from my front door and they have stores in most major shopping areas if you want to see and try what I like for yourself. They are my go-to store when trying to find mattresses that can be in-store tested in most of the country. I like to find and endorse high quality hybrid innerspring mattresses. My highest praise goes to pocketed coil innerspring hybrids with all, or mostly all cool latex foam for the comfort layers.  Until 2017,  the selection of mass produced hybrid innerspring mattresses was “not many”.  This seems to be the year of the innerspring hybrid. The Consumer Reports best rated innerspring mattress, a Charles P. Rogers Estate Powercore is a true latex hybrid. So are most of the high scoring innerspring mattresses.  Most of the highest scorers are hybrids. CR should add a test to rate VOC’s coming out of the tested mattresses. One high rated solid latex, and One top rated innerspring will be the only mattresses to pass. Even the Sleep Number air bladder mattresses depend on synthetic foam for most of the comfort. Shoppers concerned with their health could at least see a choice between latex mattresses that do not outgas anything, and various memory foams that outgas molecules from the various noxious petrochemical substances that are omnipresent in this synthetic memory foam.

    I have a special needs mattress to recommend that I personally would never want to spend 30 minutes on, but for someone who needs its special qualities, it should be high on your list. This is made by the nice people at King Koil local franchises who have recognized that millions of Americans are overweight and very overweight. They fail to tell you on their website how hard their mattresses for the truly obese really are, but for heavier people who are tired of buying new mattresses seemingly every Monday and Thursday, these hard mattresses will be a blessing. Soft latex toppers help for lighter weight co-sleepers.   For the really obese, a group that few mattresses are made for– see links to:King Koil Hard mattresses for BMI numbers 44 and above (Coming after 6/21) These King Koil Extended Wear mattresses are for BMI numbers 44 (approx) and above.If your BMI numbers are 44 – 64 or slightly above, your best bet may be this King Koil special line of hard and strong mattresses. Designed to survive the extra wear and tear under a weight that a more flexible mattress will fail under. Comfort should not necessarily be part of your original expectations if you are much lighter and you are going to share this bed with someone who needs a hard, strong bed. You should eventually get used to it. It is not like sleeping on the cellar floor. It has hard springs and hard and reasonably thick synthetic foam padding.   Latex (not memory foam) toppers may be needed for your lighter weight co-sleeper. No matter what language KingKoil uses in print, the ”Extended life” mattresses are hard, harder, and hardest.  

    This is a work in progress and the links will be available after 6/22

  • Colette says:

    Hi, I just read your site. I have been researching mattresses the past 6 months and it makes my head spin. I was going to go to one of the companies to try out a mattress that TMU referred to in its site until I read your site today. Even though I’m 54 years old I got scammed by the good reviews and have regrets and horrible back pain that I’m going to physical therapy for. It was reading all the good reviews on a mattress from Wayfair. It was called Serenia sleep medium firm. The law tag only said Jeffco. You’re right. Now I rely on the negative reviews. I wrote mine about the mattress. It was some kind of foam and memory foam not even stated on the tag. Hard as a rock. I cried with neck and shoulder pain the first three nights and went out and purchased at least 15 different combination of pillows but that didn’t work. I then tried a 2″ talalay topper. It didn’t help the to soften this bed and I got stuck in it and it was hot all night. I then purchased a all wool topper $$$. It did nothing to soften the bed and it was still hot all night. The last topper was a 2″ cooling gel memory foam. It was the best for 4 weeks then it turned to toxic marshmallow mush and I got stuck in that when I tried to turn in bed and it also became hot. All this in six months then my back went and I realized we were now in a ditch in a very hard mattress. We have a queen bed and platform frame. After researching and trying mattresses, we decided to go with a king size frame and bed for more room and comfort. I’m 5’7″ at 150lbs. and my fiance is 5’11” at 210lbs. Just a week ago, my fiance purchased a king frame and a Simmons Beautyrest Black Katarina Luxury Firm Pillowtop from Pilgrim Furniture. It was the only bed I was comfortable on in the three weeks we tried mattresses together other than a Natura latex that we colided into eachother in. We didn’t sink in the middle of Beautyrest bed when we hugged each other in the showroom floor of Pilgrim Furniture. It’s a we thing when trying out beds. A bed feels very different when you have a partner and we didn’t want a bed where we would sleep in a ditch/hammock/sag again. Well Marshall my first night was hot and sweaty on that new Beautyrest mattress. The second morning I awoke on my back in a ditch a really big ditch so big my back went back out of alignment. This is a $2,500.00 mattress. I want to know what you know about law tags. My fiance took a picture of the law tag on the mattress at Pilgrim Furniture of the one he ordered. After I told my fiance how bad the mattress was already, he looked at the law tag on ours and compared the two. They were different specs. The description and model name were the same but the specs and other wording and place where it was made and other numbers were different. We went back to the furniture store that day and they tried the exchange tactic. I refused to play that game. My fiance referred back to the specs as we discussed this with the manager. Again, exchange. I refused. We got into a very loud discussion and so I told the manager if he got me the mattress with the same specs as the one on the showroom floor that we originally ordered then we would exchange. The manager said he couldn’t have his service men open all the mattresses to try to find one with the same specs! At that point he gave it away and we got our refund. We weren’t expecting exact specs but specs that were close. Also the showroom floor mattress said “Class A Warranty” and ours did not. Very very discouraging. We gave away our rock foam toxic bed and are sleeping on a coleman air mattress until we can find a mattress that’s a mattress. I had a Stearns & Foster bought over 10 years ago and it was fantastic for years but I understand that that company went downhill as well as the others. We also went thru 4 mattresses from Bob’s Discount Furniture. Oh my goodness all four sagged within a year and a half. They did replace the mattresses with a tax and small fee each time. Same mattress each time and they all sagged and slept hot and off gassed. It was a pillowtop. Some kind of hybrid I forget the name. Had to be made in China. They are now discontinued. Some sagged in the middle and elsewhere. After the fourth one sagged we finally took the credit and bought a recliner from them instead of their mattress. Bob’s tried to replicate the Tempurpedi with their Bobopedic which off gassed wicked. I can’t even try those beds out without feeling the pain and dizziness and after affects. Anyway, I can’t keep sleeping on an air mattress and going to physcial therapy. I want my life to be healthier than this. I’m just at a total loss as to what mattress to get. I was honing in on a latex but I read that a dunlop core and talalay top not glued was the ideal construction but your site says coils and latex. I will keep reading your site and see if I can find where I can submit my request to you and maybe you can help. Thank you. I learned very much from your site and the hard way. I hope you are in good health and God Bless you for thinking of others.

  • Harvey Adler says:

    Hi. Would be very interested in your input on Shifman, Royal Pedic and Vispring coil mattresses regarding quality and use of chemicals.

    • Marshall Coyle says:

      I have given some quality time to researching the chemical aspect of these brands at your request and believe that ViSpring and Royal-Pedic are assembled with no or minimal chemicals. All three brands are generally opaque about the possibility on all or some of the various models, but Royal-Pedic is a bit more forthcoming. I suspect that the apparent lack of transparency is why you took trouble to ask me. Royal-Pedic offers a domestic organic cotton padded mattress that is available without chemicals if you have a “doctor’s note”. Does this imply that the others have chemicals? I don’t think that Royal-Pedic is deliberately clouding the picture and they do mention a layer of “French Wool” directly under the top ticking for some styles. Wool from anywhere is used by very many mattress makers to provide flame-proofing insulation sufficient to pass Federal Flammability Regulations as well as those from California.

      https://www.thecleanbedroom.com/royal-pedic/, A retailer lists a number of Royal-Pedic mattresses and weirdly expensive toppers that they claim are free from chemicals. ,

      Shifman has two collections that I would like to think are chemical free owing to their website materials list. They are “The Masters” and the “Vintage”, their most costly innersprings. The upholstery materials, cotton, pashmina(goats wool), and “wool” in the “Masters” tend to be chemical free and a layer of wool is often used instead of chemicals to make a mattress capable of passing the test. I have no way of knowing about chemicals that may be used in the Vintage to pass the tests. These two lines feature very high quality hand-tied box springs. Equal to the best available over a century ago. They also make a “Pure Comfort” collection that is exceptionally thick solid foamed latex over a mass-produced off-the-shelf coil box spring. Not a peep about flame safety. A fourth, the “Quilted Collection” is related only by name, not quality, to the other Shifman products. It is a mass-produced sui generis quality with synthetic foam typically found in mattresses a small fraction of the price.

      ViSpring is a highly specialized British product and I am certain is well made from high quality components. I have tried out various models sold in the NYC area and found all of them to be comfortable and one very much so. So good that it approaches the exceptional hybrid latex innerspring that is on my own bed. The least costly ViSpring that I tried out was at least seven or eight times the price of the chemical free hybrid/innerspring/latex set made in New Jersey that I look forward to every night. The only reason that I can see for buying a ViSpring, even if you might look forward to the exercise to be found when you turn the behemoth over monthly, is that you can boast of owning the most expensive mattress in your peer group. Sleeping on the same bed that Kate Middleton slept on may be important for someone. Buying the most expensive automobile or necklace may be out of the question, but for many people with more dollars than judgment, this brand should be good for some party conversations. ViSpring last year purchased Californian, Kluft, the parent company of Aireloom recently, and even more recently, a matter of months, a larger promotional price European bed company, Flex SA purchased ViSpring gaining control of a small high-price American and British mattress empire. I suggest that if ViSpring captivates you, that you take a look at the higher price range Kluft mattresses that also feature excess in everything you can see, but cost a bit less. I know nothing about any chemicals in ViSpring but assume that to bring them into our country they must pass muster for open flame resistance just like mattresses made by their American properties. It is either a natural fiber sock or chemicals. You will have to ask them.

      If you would like to know the suitability of any of these mattresses for you, all you have to do is to fill out the free quick survey available on the home page and mention the brand/style you are interested in. It would be a shame if you invested so much money only to find that the mattress is a poor fit for you or your co-sleeper.

  • Teague loomis says:

    Hi Mr. Doyle-

    Your website is great. I agree 100% about Mattress Underground. I spent some time on that site. At first I was pleased to have found it but soon realized what the scam was. He must make a ton of money.

    Anyway I’m wondering if you are still providing mattress recommendations via email? I sure could use some direction. I don’t want to bother you if you aren’t feeling well ( I know what that’s like).

    Teague

    • Marshall Coyle says:

      Dear Mr.Loomis,

      Thank you for your kind thoughts. If you want a mattress recommendation I will be happy to oblige. All you have to do to start the process is to fill out the survey on offer on the Old Bed Guy home page-upper left. I only make recommendations when I have sufficient information about the specific needs of the people who will be using the mattress. I will keep a lookout for your survey.

      Marshall Coyle

  • jim knocke says:

    I purchased a Tempurpedic mattress from Mattress Firm. The strong chemical smell resisted every trick known to man, air out in a room for days, air out in a sunroom for weeks and walking on them.

    It costs $149 to have them come and pick up the mattresses; if you try a second set $149 to deliver and $149 to pickup. Gets expensive.

    They offer $0 interest, bit In my case, they had us sign loan papers which they passed through our bank.They do not hold any responsibility as your debt is with the bank!

    We found a comparable mattress on Amazon DynastyMattress New Cool Breeze 12-Inch HD GEL Memory Foam Mattress for Adjustable Beds-SPLIT KING Size $668 delivered. Very comfortable, but had to be aired for three days.

    • Marshall Coyle says:

      Dear Jim Knocke

      Three strikes and you’re out! Strike one!. I can understand anyone taking advantage of what looks like free credit and dealing with a mattress chain that apparently has the largest number of customer complaints of any place that sells mattresses just to get the free credit. But free credit is rarely free. There are so many clauses in the fine print that almost nobody escapes unscathed from unexpected large charges. strike one is buying your Tempur-Pedic in the wrong place. I have advised in at least two places in this blog that if you’re going to ignore my advice about the evils of memory foam and buy a Tempur-Pedic, the only place you should buy is from a Tempur-Pedic store or on the Internet from Tempur-Pedic directly. Tempur-Pedic gives wonderful service, and most of the retailers do not. The price is always the same because Tempur-Pedic will not sell to any retailer who undercuts the price.

      Strike two is buying a so-called comparable memory foam because it isn’t comparable. The only thing comparable between the two mattresses are the noxious fumes that you and your family will be breathing at your own risk. Tempur-Pedic is a much higher quality product than any of their knockoffs. Not enough higher to justify the pricing but the extra price can give you a few years longer use before the depressions or holes underneath where you sleep make the mattress unusable. Your bargain mattress at Amazon will more than likely be in a landfill in a couple of years. and that is a good thing, because maybe by then you will have learned a little bit more about mattress buying.

      Strike three is buying Tempur-Pedic in the first place. Anyone who sleeps on  almost any variety of memory foam (a  mixture of mostly petroleum with about one third various, (mostly noxious chemicals) is condemned to inhale various gas molecules to some degree however small. They will almost always find that the mattress gets warmer and harder as it melts through the night from their body heat. Odors can vary from negligible to unbearable, odors can be masked with even more chemicals, and  the outgassing is always there because that is the nature of the petroleum or part plant-based oil product. No matter what form of hyperbole the  mattress  and pillow sellers use to make you think that their memory foam  is cool or has some kind of health benefits, it  never is true and structurally cannot be. In addition, all memory foam outgases noxious suspected carcinogenic and mutagenic gases(VOC’s) virtually forever, even when and if any odor becomes  undetectable, and for as many centuries as it takes in a landfill because memory foam is not biodegradable.

      Marshall Coyle

  • Veronica says:

    I was a devoted follower of The Mattress Underground and used many of the other sites you mention. About 3 months ago I read your article on the Mattress Underground and found it difficult to believe. They always seemed to give me good reasons why the mattress I wanted was good or perhaps should not be considered. I had asked many questions about one manufacturer, but somehow was given only fair a fair response about them. I checked their list of memberships and this company was not there. A short time later I wrote again and this time there was more praise for the company. I also wrote and asked about another mattress company that was getting very good reviews by Consumer Reports and was told to be careful about some of the materials they used were not something they could recommend. I decided to check some of those who are on their list of recommendations and I found some of them who were offering the same materials as the mattress they found questionable. The only difference, my company which they were not so happy about was not a member, I also checked on the company that had gone from so, so to recommended and there they were a member. I was very disappointed. I still go to them, but choose their words very carefully. I use SLEEPLIKETHEDEAD because they do give a lot of information and if you know what you want they are very helpful. I did ask you for a recommendation. I did purchase it for my aunt and it was great, a best buy I must admit. Some of us find $1,300.00, on sale, still just too high to pay even if it is great. Please consider some of those lower $700.00 mattress with a 10 year warranty, With your knowledge and skills for searching out good products, since we cannot afford the best, I know you will be able to find us some of those $700.00 mattresses. Thank you for all the work you put into helping people get the best products offered.

  • Jen says:

    Hello

    My name is Jen. I am a mattress sales associate at a family owned store in the midwest. I love reading your blog. I have spent the last 20 years in the health and wellness business. My father was a furniture man for 50 years and last year i decided to retire from my business and enter the world of furniture. I was introduced to the mattress industry first and I fell in love with it. Its all I focus on. I study every chance I get and have learned so much just reading through all you write. I am a huge fan of latex (not a huge fan of memory foam). I also still like traditional innerspring mattresses as well. I utilize my 20 year background in antomy studies as well to do mattress fittings. I know the body extremely well which is an assett for our customers.
    I just wanted to say thank you for your writigs and your shares. I would love to speak with you sometime if that would ever be a possibility.

    Thank you

    Jennifer

    • Marshall Coyle says:

      Dear Jan, I wish you nothing but the best in your profession, even though I fancy software is doing a terrible job of expressing I’m trying to say. If you have not yet methodically read through the old bad guy blog, you are missing the essence of the contemporary industry. most major makers have downgraded their quality so that consumers have to buy every 4,5 or six years instead of 15 to 20 like their parents had to. you also have to be very careful of selling noxious memory foams because we live in a litiginous society. you and you work for a large company help people that memory foam is safe, and the brand you are selling is loaded with formaldehyde and 51 others noxious gases, you find yourself named in a lawsuit. Learn how to use the CertiPur website. learn how to use body mass index.
      \\ I Really can’t communicate anymore. Maybe you want to write back in a few days.

      Marshall Coyle

  • Jasmine says:

    Your surely right Marshall. We had a Ortho flippable when we were young it lasted over 10 years. We were young too!
    What Mattress’s do you believe that are made well Marshall? I trust you. Would you say the ones made with good intersprings that are made well? I have seen Mattress to go talk about the innersprings, I have watched and I still have no idea which mattresses are the best!
    I do think a Latex Topper is a good choice for a to firm mattress. Can I find a Mattress that I can ever sleep on without a Topper, I do not truly think I can since sleeping on one.

  • Jasmine says:

    Marshall,
    Biggest mistake the Mattress companies ever made was quit making the Good Flippable mattress! The reason behind this proved to be a disaster. I have yet to see a good long lasting Mattress made since they quit making the Well made Flippable Mattress that lasted long then ones that are not Flippable now!
    Sealy went down hill in Mattress making then it seems many followed right along. Yes , the Mattress made with Coils are better, the proof is how long these well made Mattress last. I do hope the Integrity of these Companies come back. Thank you for the Education.
    Jasmine

    • Marshall Coyle says:

      Dear Jasmine,

      Jasmine, I hate to argue, but you are wrong in your nostalgia for the two sided mattress. A well made one sided mattress, aside from saving people from hurting themselves turning the monsters, can actually last a lot longer. The issue is not one or two side, it is an issue of quality and the major mattress makers, the SertaSimmons, and Tempur-Sealy (and S&F) that make 75%+ of all mattresses, are not turning out the high quality that they used to. Now, all you seem to see with brand names are bags of synthetic foam. Many without even an innerspring unit. These mattresses are lucky to last 4-7 years and many are done with in three or four. If they made two sided, then half the padding goes on each side, and the mattresses are less good.

  • Jasmine says:

    Marshall,
    I really appreciate your advice and information. That also looks like a really good company for toppers. My friend Barb had already completed a survey for me under her email address and has not received anything about mattresses. I think it was under her Sunny email address. She had in all the information about what mattress I was looking for. I think I might need to replace my mattress and I am looking for a mattress that is made with coils as I agree with you on that. I looked at the one you and your wife bought and it is beautiful, but looks like it is a bit too firm for both of us to sleep on. I’m not real sure of which mattress company that I could rely on to make a good mattress locally, although we have one place that makes mattresses and has for many years. However, When he made one for my son years ago when he was young it was hard as a rock; so I am a bit leery of buying from him cause he does not make inexpensive stuff, it always is priced relatively high. Marshall I trust you to just give me a couple of ideas if you could, if not then maybe I’ll just have to fill out the survey again or just go ahead and buy a good topper for right now. I’ve had a 3″ dunlop latex topper for 8 years and I’ve loved it, It was soft but it has depressed quite a bit and made my back start hurting. It came from a company though that said it would last 20 years, I dont think so myself. I sincerely appreciate you dropping a link that I can put my faith in. Thank you so much for your response and I am so glad you feeling so much better. My sincere regards from my heart. I am hoping you get this soon.

  • Jasmine says:

    Thank you Marcia.
    I wrote this message on September 21, 2015.
    Just now found it! I searched this Websight for over 2 weeks trying to find it!
    Hope Marshall feels much better I have seen him answering others. That is a blessing he is so helpful and honest. I did the Survey and so did my friend Barb. Neither of us have received a answer.
    Are we asking in the wrong places?
    Here is my complete post again! Hope Marshall see’s this! Thank you.
    Message below.
    Jasmine
    September 20, 2015 at 10:46 pm
    Can you tell me whom sells good real 3″Latex Mattress Toppers, and or a 3 Layer Mattress of Real Latex that make a Good complete bed that is good!
    I ave heard of the TMU and have seen what you said with my own eyes.
    Now I am fearful of trusting anyone.
    Are there any good Mattress Companies left to buy from, concerned!
    Thanks so much

    • Marshall Coyle says:

      Dear Jasmine,

      Thank you for your concern. You must have received a return letter from Mrs. Coyle when my falls first started. I am slowly healing and walking with great care. Your letter is interesting in the fact that it gives me a topic to write more about, latex toppers. And also indicates that somehow even though I mention many good mattress companies wherever and whenever I have an opportunity, someone can still read and not see them. I have no answer for that. You certainly did not see the word, “INNERSPRING”, and seem to think that a layered latex mattress without a spring in the same cover can be good. It can’t. I have spent hundreds of hours explaining the benefits of hybrid latex INNERSPRING mattresses, and as far as you are concerned, the word “innerspring” is invisible. In the old days, before hybrids, actually before about the year 2000, if you bought a solid one layer good latex mattress and put in on top of a flexible coil box spring, you could have an excellent sleep set. But the box springs have disappeared and only scammers are selling the latex as being a complete good mattress without the innerspring unit that provides the support. In any event, I am feeling a whole lot better on many days, and would welcome helping you to find a suitable mattress if you send in a survey. In any place on the survey where they ask for comments, mention this letter.

      I hope that you are aware that NO topper of any description, thickness, or material will improve a worn-out mattress or a bad new one. The only practical use for a topper is to make a good bed that is too firm a little softer. More than an inch or two of latex is a waste of money. You can’t really get too much inside the mattress, but layering on top should be done slowly. Buy a 1″ soft 18-22 ILD latex of either kind, Talalay or Dunlop, if your mattress is too hard and try it a week or two. If still too firm, then get another inch. If you submit a survey that I get to, and take my recommendation, adding a topper is not only unnecessary, but can make the mattress less suitable for you. An honest merchant that sells toppers is to be found at:http://www.foambymail.com/LTX_T.html.

      As far as your question about “good mattress companies”, I suggest that you spend some quality time reading the “How To” essays like “Mattress 103” and the ones that follow. You will see many names listed. At last count, I think I name at least twenty.

  • Doug Knee says:

    Looking to buy a hybred mattress, which one would you suggest? Was looking at Stearn’s & Foster vs Denver Mattress Doctor’s choice but both have components made over seas Thxs. Doug

    • Marshall Coyle says:

      If you have a fondness for Chinese foams, especially the full flavored formaldehyde kind, you are couldn’t do better. if you want to my recommendation for a nice safe, affordable, comfortable, and healthful, all American mattress, you have to send in a survey. Our side door is temporarily closed, but the survey door is open.
      Marshall Coyle

  • kenner says:

    It’s a shame your site is so hard to find, I was marketed into purchasing a saatva mattress. we got the firm style, and in my opinion it was the cheapest feeling mattress I ever got. I compare it to the cheap springy one you feel in a mattress store, usually only shown in a twin model. We had 2 weeks of uncomfortable sleep, and sent it back. They were nice and gave me back my money. I would not recommend this product to anyone, and I truly wonder how all these people could walk in a major mattress store today, and tell me the Saatva is more comfortable. Points to them for living up to their customer service policy.

  • Marshall Coyle says:

    Karen,
    I understand your frustration and add it my own. I really do not have the strength to offer to make specific recommendations. I never found a quick and easy way to do the “virtual shopping” Recently I did a huge upgrade on the introductory essay, and the follow up, “Bed Buying Tips”. Anyone spending a quality hour or maybe even less, will have names of reliable mattress makers and seller, and will know more than most salespeople about what makes a good mattress and how to shop for and get one.

    It is to your good fortune that your S&F mattress is so old. They were still living up to their hard earned reputation fifteen years ago when Sealy took them over. Since then, they have, in my opinion, been on a race to the bottom. Now that both Sealy and S&F have pretty well made it to the finish and TempurPedic now owns both, I think that there will be some better quality mattresses forthcoming soon with these venerable names. But for now, the best advice I can offer is right in the beginning of the blog.

    If you take my advice and buy one of the new acclaimed latex/innerspring hybrids from the sources you can read about in “Bed Buying Tips”, make a point of telling the salesperson about your topper. There is no point in your throwing it away. Just buy one level firmer than he or she would ordinarily recommend. This can save you the cost of the topper and more, and get you a most comfortable new bed.

    I think that you were very fortunate in holding up with Saatva. No matter what your reason, it is not what you deserve or will appreciate after fifteen years of sleeping on a high quality mattress. You can be comforted in your choice if you read about how Saatva and others have in the past, and still do, scam the public by posting apparently paid-for good reviews on their own and actually buying back the bad reviews by giving money or something of good value to the disappointed buyer as well as a refund. Money talks, except not on this blog or Sleep Like the Dead, and old-reliable Consumer Reports.

    Marshall Coyle

  • Marshall Coyle says:

    Dear Mr.Farr,

    This Old Bed Guy has been working through health issues that can limit the quantity of available advice. Currently,and regrettably, I can only answer requests directed to my email, not to one of these posts which takes me a lot more time. I am not an expert on the current adjustable bed market. In the past, despite all manufacturer claims to “now be better”, I could never find any that were reliable enough to sell with confidence. If the vibrator does not self-destruct, any bolt or other fastener that can shake loose will. Corded or cordless controls are equally troublesome and are the #1 reason for a service call. oldbedguy@gmail.com

    Despite this negativity, when you can find an innerspring mattress that can bend and is as comfortable and supportive as those that can bend, but really should not be bent, then you can have the pleasure of owning one. No mattress with coils wired together such as the traditional Posturepedics or Perfect Sleepers are capable of bending without rapid failure. One sided Individually pocketed coil mattresses such as specially designated Serta, Sealy, Simmons, Kluft, Aireloom, and can be ruined in as little as one day. “Back when I was in business”, I did my best to avoid having to sell yet another bed doomed for failure, but was not above temptation to frequently try the latest iteration. My mattress of choice then and now is a springfree molded latex in an appropriate firmness. Such a mattress deserves to be used on flexible coil box spring, not a hard surfaced adjustable bed or a platform, but even with some meaningful loss of comfort potential when used on an adjustable, it is still somewhat comfortable and will not break from being flexed.

    So, although I will not advise you as to what latex brand is best on the internet, if you do not get involved in too much research, and simply find the best price from a site that actually is part of a real business, not just a site that peddles mattresses with nothing behind them, and do your best to avoid anything complicated, you will do just fine. No layers, no part some other kind of foam, nothing but a slab of natural latex of an appropriate firmness for your body mass index and personal preference. I can not stress too strongly that you avoid any sales pitches for hybrid latex, gel latex, or anything except the same stuff that came out 88 years ago and has not yet been improved.

    You should visit the website of the Leggett and Platt company. They make or import most of the adjustable bases sold under mattress maker names and have a lot to teach you. Price really does matter. They offer more than one quality, and name names of the bases. Spend as much as you can to get their best, but since it is sold competitively at retail, spend as little as possible when comparing apples and apples. Some of their beds may come from Europe, some from China, and some are sourced locally. Unlike mattresses, there is no correlation between geography and intrinsic quality.

    Last but far from least. Instead of buying an almost guaranteed sooner or sooner headache, and compromising a lot on sleep quality, buy a good flat bed. Invest in one of the many wedge contraptions you can get for a few hundred dollars, if you want to read in bed or sleep with your legs elevated. You really have no idea of how much more comfortable you can be in the 90% of the time or more that you will only be sleeping, not fiddling with a remote control. Send in another survey and be prepared to wait another few weeks if sleep is your first priority.
    And have a very happy and comfortable New Year.

    Marshall

  • Joey Ashley says:

    You nailed the Mattress Underground for sure. My hats off to the guy with one of the biggest scams on the internet. He called me shortly after I opened my retail store and asked me to be a member and pay the fee and then the referral fee every time he directed someone my way. I declined, if you think it is painful to read his long responses you should actually talk to this guy…. will take hours. I posted somethings on his site disagreeing with what he said and what did I get – banned for life as he put it. It is not a true forum as he only allows his opinions so to sway people to where he can make money. To his credit he is a very good writer and has created quite a good home based business being and “expert”. Thanks for writing.

  • sandy says:

    This is the BEST article – and most honest – that I’ve read. I want to buy 2 full beds – for approx. $500 each. In the past, I purchased Sealy; my queen bed is Simmons, which I’m happy with. I’ve read hundreds of complaints against Serta and Sealy — most are sagging. Which full bed would u recommend?

    NOTE: Sandy, I automatically erased the ad for a sleep shop that you hung on your letter.

    • Deborah says:

      I purchased a Simmons king Beautyrest Black Rosalyn in 2010. It sagged in the exact spots where we slept. The replaced it with a 850.. fee. About a few months later it sagged again. This initial replacement as they state in the letter is a one time courtesy. I am happy that Sandy like Simmons because I will never buy anything with that name again. I have purchased a series by Serta in King for another location in the firm and i live that bed. i am now in the market to replace the Simmons and have visited the store, Mattress Warehouse and do like the FEEL OF THE Tempurpedic to the tune of 4,000.00 dollars with a ten year warranty. I was reading about the Bed in a Bag on the website of Sleep Like the Dead and it says that this mattress has a twenty year warranty and is equivalent to the Tempurpedic. What does concern me is the gases that foam mattresses give off.

  • Paul Bullen says:

    I found an ad on the editing/writing part of Craigslist where a company was trying to hire people to write reviews. It’s clear that this company was engaged by product makers to arrange for people to be paid to write positive reviews.

    • Marshall Coyle says:

      Dear Mr.Bullen,

      Craigslist is far from alone in recruiting the willing to write false reviews. Yelp and Amazon single handedly, and not happily, provide a way for anyone who needs five dollars, more or less, to earn it by writing whatever the paymaster wants. If you want to see something so blatant that at first glance looks like a spoof, visit http://www.fiverr.com and search for writers. This very interesting, to me, service marketplace, seems to do big business connecting people who want to “something” with people who are willing to pay them for the service. When the sellers are from South Asia, as many are, an internet seller can buy dozens or hundreds of favorable reviews for far less than the cost of a dinner for two in a family restaurant. You can see the result sometimes in Amazon with fifty five star ratings on some obscure product that were all sent in the same day. These outsourced reviewers have access to almost-free computer programmers who can do the deed mostly robotically. Whomever said, “Trust, but verify” must have predated this phenomenon, but could not be more timely. All the more reason to confine your mattress shopping to stores that really exist. When you trade with a website or a presence on Amazon that does not have a bricks and mortar store, a warehouse with service personnel, a track record and history, the likelihood of your being fooled approaches 100%. You are wiser in trusting Walmart or Costco more than an anonymous vendor selling only on Amazon. As I keep on preaching, to this day, and I look continuously, I have never found a mattress review on the net other than Consumer Reports that is not doing it for the money. Any reader who wishes to see the money trail only needs to write to me with the URL and I will show him/her everything except the bank deposit slips. The bigger and more reliable they may look, the harder it is to find the deception, but with diligence, nothing can’t be found on the net.

      Lying reviews by paid lying liars may not matter with entertainment products, but mattresses are capable of making your life better when chosen wisely and do so for many years.

      Marshall Coyle oldbedguy@gmail.com

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