September 25, 2015 - Marshall Coyle

Mattress Shopping 103

continued from home page…

My goal is to make you feel comfortable when you are trying to understand a written or spoken sales presentation. You will have a useful understanding of how the mattress business and mattresses themselves work. You will understand much of the jargon the salesperson (Retail Sales Associate) uses to sell you mattresses that are good news for him on payday, and often, not the wisest choice for you.  

You really don’t have to shop at all if you would prefer not to. You have a choice. You can simply fill out the survey offered on this page and wait patiently for me to recommend  mattresses that meet  your needs and wants as I interpret them. Your budget is the first thing I see on my screen when I make a list and go “virtual shopping” with your needs in mind. I have a large databank of who makes what, and a list of remaining excellent smaller, older, family owned factories that are willing to sell directly to the customer. Buying directly from the maker can get you the right mattress(es) at about half the price you can expect to pay if you buy from a retailer. Retailers charge you 2X or even 3X the price that they pay from the factory to cover their expenses and hoped-for profits. 

Sleep Like the Dead, a credible mattress datasite that collects statistics, has numbers that purport to show that the chances that you will be satisfied with your new mattress are around 75% if you shop in person, and 70% when you shop (without my help) on the Internet. The quickly-disappointed 25% of all in-person mattress shoppers may come as a surprise to you, but not to me.  Salespeople (RSA’s) rush you into making unwise decisions. The higher rate for the internet makes sense. Few Internet shoppers have any way of translating his or her needs into a particular mattress “feel”. Mattress sellers have no satisfactory way of describing “feel”.   When you answer 26 questions on my Survey and they are in front of me on my monitor, I can envision a live person or couple with specific needs. Matching your needs to the feel and abilities of mattresses that I am personally familiar with is relatively easy and accurate when you have done it for a lifetime. 

When I “virtually shop” for you, my success rate is statistically 99.5%. Read the questions on the survey and the reason for the accuracy will be self-evident. I ask the right questions. I know how to compare exactly what “feel” and support that you need, with many hundreds of capable mattresses.  It is not difficult for me to isolate the handful of good mattresses that are going to be perfect for you.

More people are living longer than ever, and more and more soft mattresses are being sold then ever.  Making a soft mattress is easy. Making a soft mattress that is supportive and durable as well as affordable is beyond most mattress makers. Most of these retail-store mass-produced mattresses start off feeling soft because of thick layers of synthetic memory foam that offer too-little real spinal support, and are too soon at the recycling center.  Using my store of knowledge, I find mattresses for you with strong, resilient, conformable innerspring coil cores, covered with naturally cool latex. The naturally cool foamed latex provides the soft surface with absolutely no chemicals, and the strong steel springs provide all the support you need without stiffness. These hybrid/latex/innerspring mattress constructions can and do last ten, fifteen, and twenty years, and often longer. Not the 4-7 years that you can expect at best from a major brand.     Genuine hybrid/innerspring/latex mattresses are hard to find in retail stores, and when you do, they are usually budget busters. The giant mattress makers make few mattresses using any latex at all because latex costs them so much more than petrochemical synthetic foam. Latex also lasts up to five times as long, and the profits nowadays come from selling you a new mattress every five years or so. Many new all-synthetic mattresses are being sold as hybrids even when they have no springs.   Genuine hybrid mattresses have a coil spring core topped with foam upholstery that is as thick as the coils are tall. A layer of soft foam on top of a layer of harder foam is not a hybrid and can’t offer the comfort or support of the genuine article. 

You can expect to receive a detailed email report with personal results from  your “virtual shopping” trip. You will be delighted to find a short shopping list accompanied by one of my overlong explanations of why I am recommending the specific mattresses. When, on rare occasions, I simply cannot find what you want or need within your budget limits, I find the next best.  I will never leave you hanging and I never compromise the results by being in a rush. Sometimes I can complete a search in twenty or thirty minutes, but I do not stop a virtual shopping  until I am satisfied that the outcome is as good as it can be. The overall process. including waiting your turn, can take as few as eight or ten days if you are pressed for time but when I am not feeling well it can take longer, so don’t depend on me. 

I cannot recommend any good mattresses for adjustable beds. Please do not ask me about adjustable beds or mattresses for them. Nowadays, because they are so much better than flexible edge mattresses , I only recommend innerspring/latex/hybrids with very strong seat edges that do not permit them to fold.  I suggest that you buy your adjustable bed from a reputable department store because when you find the need for service, you will be glad that you did. Please don’t ask me for any information about adjustable beds or mattresses that won’t break when folded. 

Further on in this lecture, if I don’t ramble off,  I will give you  some examples of how much mattress you get for how little money. There is always a mattress sale just when you need a mattress because mostly meaningless mattress sales repeat week after week seemingly forever. I am aware of a few  legitimate sales. Your newspapers and TV screens are always full of screaming sales.  Close to all of them are meaningless. A sleep shop or department store with thirty or fifty different mattresses displayed will offer four or five at a time for a seeming bargain, but legitimate reductions are rare. The “sale” bait mattresses are often very unappealing and placed next to something profitable that they really “push”. Factory-direct prices that are about half of the retail store price are not a sale. Only when a retail store is going out of business, or factory-direct seller makes a further temporary reduction would I call it a sale. Prices in retail stores such as a Macy’s are about 2X the prices at direct-selling factories.  Warehouse clubs, Walmart, Target, etc are about 1.5X but often have poorer quality. Luxury stores like Bloomingdales and high priced furniture stores can be about 2.5-3X the factory price.

If you wonder what the catch might be in someone knocking themselves out for total strangers, here it is. When I finally fully retired, still in pretty good physical shape around 20 years ago, I used to volunteer through a national service organization. I mentored executives at several local charities. Despite this somewhat passive activity that got me out of the house several days most weeks, Mrs. Coyle was continually urging me to get out of the house part of every day.     I started volunteering at, and to the extent possible, financially supported, a local no-kill animal shelter. NYC has many shelters and needs more. Few municipalities have adequate shelter capacity for abandoned strays. Despite the apparently improving prosperity  in some states, more pets than usual are being abandoned.  You may have noticed these gaunt and hungry animals on a street where you live, or on the depressing ASPCA tv commercials. While I was still physically able, I did anything from cage cleaning and dog walking to record keeping.

This volunteer activity, along with my adopting a sick abandoned puppy, kept me busy but did not provide much intellectual stimulation. I feared becoming another Alzheimer’s statistic and came up with a way to exercise my brain doing something that I know and love. Mrs. Coyle “approved”, and six years ago I started writing and communicating with people about my life’s work, mattresses. The “Old Bed Guy” idea came just in time because my health seriously started to fail and I really couldn’t help out in my local animal shelter any longer. But I could work a keyboard at first, and then dictate when my hands failed, and exercise my brain while doing some good for others.   I felt badly about leaving the pet shelter duties behind until I realized that I could still raise money for the abused and unwanted dogs and cats.

I was getting daily thank-you emails asking for an address or paypal name to send a token of appreciation.  I had a brainstorm and decided to seek donations to animal shelters from my grateful correspondents. It has turned out to be a real win-win. I am still helping the helpless and abused animals from my home keeping my brain highly stimulated.   If you want to express your gratitude for any help you may receive from me, please make any size donation to any no-kill animal shelter in your hometown or to the National ASPCA.  Please do not feel obligated. Even better might be for you to volunteer to occasionally walk the dogs in your nearest shelter. They are cooped up 24 hours a day. Few shelters have the funds to pay dog walkers. Some of the thank-you letters I have received over the past six years mention making a specific donation and I am a compulsive list maker; I estimate that I have raised well over $94,000+ in the last five+ years for the dogs and cats in no-kill shelters all over the country. I promise that the rest of this essay is only about mattresses.

When I finally retired from the business world after more than half a century of stress, I did a complete disconnect. I was tired of the self-induced pressure. We had adequate savings and planned retirement income.  I  made my last commercial “deal” and have stuck to it.   I now have no financial relationship with or any interest in any furniture or mattress business.  At this stage of my life, when mattresses enter my thoughts, my only loyalty is to you. My only compensation when someone appreciates their new mattress, found with my help,  comes from reading my daily thank-you letters that help fill up the in-box. When the mail mentions having donated to a shelter, I am all smiles. 

When you have submitted a filled out “Survey”, the following happens. I put your answers and comments up on my monitor and carefully study them.  I then seek out a mattress or mattresses from my own databank and/or the Internet that in my judgment most closely meet the following requirements: what you say that you want, what I believe you actually need. (often not always the same) The “actual need” is from my interpretation of what you have chosen to tell me about yourselves, and your sleeping and shopping history.   When this will be a shared mattress, making sure that both sleepers will have the best support and comfort. I have done this more than 20,000 times in the past six years, and it has never become boring. And the more I do, learning from experience, the more accurate are my comfort choices.

When I “virtually shop” for you, I will electronically visit websites from my carefully curated data.    I have been maintaining databases of who makes what for many years. I will only recommend mattresses from factories that I have personally visited within the last two years, and/or name-brand mattresses that I have personally tested in retail environments such as Macys.  If a mattress has no springs, or relies on memory foam for the comfort layer, it is on my no-no list.  Nowadays, I only recommend hybrid/latex/innerspring. I certainly will not recommend any memory foam mattress, not because for so many, they feel like sleeping in warm damp sand, but because their noxious VOC’s render them undesirable.  

I have not yet found any crushed,  vacuum packed, rolled and boxed or canned petrochemical synthetic foam mattress that is good enough or safe enough for my recommendation. Please do not write to me asking about the new mattress of the day.  In recent months, about 150 newby internet-only startups have appeared, mostly sourced in China, a few domestically, and almost none that I would want to sleep on.  Based on information on the web a brand called “Avocado”, made with latex and pocketed coils, comes closest to my definition of “good”. Unfortunately this faint recommendation comes with important caveats. The crushing and packaging has to damage the wire coils and it costs as much or more as does a far better innerspring/latex/hybrid mattress from a very well established factory-direct resource that comes uncrushed and with conventional white glove delivery.   Please do not ask about any mattress I have not written about yet. You can do a search on the home page.

Hundreds of newly established “Internet only” mattress peddlers are responsible for a spate of mattress disinformation. These rapidly growing cadres of “con” sites are selling similar well-tailored and highly overpriced bags of mostly mysterious synthetic foam. Almost every site shares the same comfort claim, “One firmness fits all” along with no street address. Offices are not necessary when you do business “in the cloud” and don’t expect to be around to deal with future warranty claims.  More than 200 new brands have appeared in the last 24 months. Some of these hucksters are really wonderful marketers, almost universally without a month of mattress experience, but with an excellent understanding of human nature. They know what millennial consumers want. They want to eliminate uncertainty and find a “hack” that gets them a better deal than their mothers will get in a store. This is the secret to advertising a boxed mattress for $500-$1,000 that is available in China for around $50, and sells without the “hype” on Amazon for <$150. Beautiful one-product websites are selling mattresses made of mystery foams for as much as $1,000. Not a better mattress, just “better” mattress marketing. 

Even Tuft and Needle, one of the lowest priced of the genre, and no better or worse than a Casper selling for hundreds more, builds around $300 into the price tag for the “free” services.  Casper IMO is overcharging by about $550.Hundreds of newly established “Internet only” mattress peddlers are responsible for a spate of mattress disinformation. These rapidly growing cadres of “con” sites are selling similar well-tailored and highly overpriced bags of mostly mysterious synthetic foam.  Offices are not necessary when you do business “in the cloud” and don’t necessarily expect to be around to deal with future warranty claims.  

CASPER REVIEWS: Casper Mattress Reviews Accuracy

TUFT AND NEEDLE REVIEWS: https://goo.gl/lBXUqe

SAATVA/loom and Leaf REVIEWS:https://goo.gl/WOYk6t 

LEESA REVIEWS: Leesa Mattress Reviews Accuracy .

WHEN/IF YOU GO SHOPPING IN A RETAIL STORE, THE BELOW LINKS ARE USEFUL FOR COMPARING WHAT A SALESPERSON TELLS YOU AND REAL REVIEWS FROM OWNERS. 

SELECT COMFORT SLEEP NUMBER- 

https://goo.gl/PdqPKP.

TEMPURPEDIC REVIEWS

https://goo.gl/qkgwmc.

SIMMONS BEAUTYREST

https://goo.gl/1VY64L.

STEARNS AND FOSTER

https://goo.gl/ExRYAc.

SERTA PERFECT SLEEPER

https://goo.gl/NOY64z

SEALY POSTUREPEDIC

https://goo.gl/eAGst7.

AIRELOOM MATTRESSES

https://goo.gl/9m53t2.

The “mattress world” was much kinder and gentler in post WW2 1947 when I sold my first mattress. The industry, like many others, has almost completely remade itself since the dawn of the World Wide Web and Internet shopping and communicating. Very few mattress-selling changes are for the better.  However, when a shopper on the West Coast can find a far better mattress and value from a bona-fide factory direct resource on the East Coast, I can see a justification for mattress e-commerce.

All of the small factories that I electronically shop for you are in the greater NY area except for McCroskey Mattress in San Francisco, McCroskey is still soldiering on with antiquated machinery and unchanged manufacturing techniques selling 1890’s replicas to people in the highest of high tech in neighboring Silicon Valley.  Irony? 

If you indicate on the survey  that you do not want to shop on the Internet,  I will reply with choices available at retail prices at Macy’s and/or Bloomingdales stores.  No others and no factories local to you that I may have never visited or not done so in too many years. That is the best I can do for you.  If I can make the time, I will also shop the Internet in case you decide to save 50% or so.  Macy’s/Bloomies carries some better quality mattresses than do other national chains and I can  and do still regularly  check them out in their flagship NYC stores. Bloomies, owned by Macy’s often displays Macy’s best sellers around the country if there is no Macy’s nearby. If you ask me about mattress factories local to you, I know no more about any of them than what they say about themselves on their websites. I like to trust but verify personally. I can’t verify what your local store/factory claims because few such websites have the needed transparency for me to make very meaningful judgments. I will never resort to guesswork when dealing with a stranger’s comfort. While I like to trust,  I can only physically verify factories or retailers within an hour or two being driven around.  I have personally, anonymously, and recently visited all of the local-to-me companies that make the qualified mattresses that I will be looking at when I do my “virtual shopping” trip for you.

If you have the courage and desire to shop on your own, I suggest, actually  strongly recommend that you study the post that follows this rather long lecture. Marshall, Please Help me  is a little quicker read that names names and can really prep you to do battle. I have tried to be a thorough as I can to keep the shopping process as uncomplicated for you as possible, this lesson may be longer than you think a mattress course should be.   However, I do want to make sure that when you finish “Mattress 103” you will really be an educated consumer.

Alternatively you can just decide to fill out the survey if you do not want to go shopping and want me to do all the work. However, whatever level of work and risk you choose, it is still important to at least skim through this essay and get the entrance key. This 2-word key, “LATEX HYBRID” is a code that is the answer to the last question on the Survey that makes the results go live in my computer. The Survey and my “virtual shopping” is free but the two-word entrance key is necessary.   The entrance key will be repeated later.

Mattress shopping does not have to be traumatic for you. All anxiety should be gone if you ask me to “virtually shop” for you, but you might actually semi-enjoy jousting with RSA’s drooling on your credit cards, after reading this preachy lecture, but you will have to actually read the whole thing. There are all kinds of people in this world including this writer that actually likes to do what most people hate. I have been told that the major reasons for my odd avocation is because I really am good at it, and I really like people. I hate to boast, but I am really good.  But not completely sure when I watch the nightly news if I still like people.  

I can’t tell you much more about what to expect from a typical sales presentation, but I can tell you how to be a smart shopper besides really reading these two “how-to” essays.  You can not hurry the shopping experience.  You can not hurry the shopping experience.  I would say it three times if I thought it would help.  A typical retail store can have as many as fifty samples for you to try.  You will only get to try around six or seven in most cases.  The RSA asks you a few key questions and decides what he is going to hook you on from the slenderest of information.  Unless you are extremely persistent, you will not be shown anything in the price range you asked for. Be persistent.  You will be led to more expensive and much more expensive.  If you don’t bite, then you will be exposed to lower priced styles.  Everything you try will be loaded with petrochemical synthetic polyfoam and/or memory foam, so you don’t have to ask for it. You should ask for a latex hybrid because that is what you should want to buy.   If the store has anything with latex, the latex will almost only be a token slice, not thick slabs of the naturally cool latex.  You should always ask to read the white  “law label” for any mattress you get serious about.  It will tell you how much latex is in it, or if there is any at all.  

The reason that you need so much time is that if you are serious about finding a comfortable mattress, you have to spend at least 20-25 minutes quietly lying in one position waiting for the memory foam start to slump. You should wear as little clothing as possible for the actual testing. Comfortable and loose and no more than a layer between you and the mattress. If you can bring a pillow from home, you do not have to put your head on one that countless shoppers have used. Fortunately, this procedure, when well done, will get you a mattress that you well may be happy with for three or four years. Typical life expectancy for big-brands these days.   One version of the “Black” Beautyrest line, the ones with token latex, will last around seven or eight years.  A specific Aireloom, the only one I recommend at Macy’s should be good for at least ten years. The recommendation will be available in the next essay, MARSHALL, PLEASE HELP ME.  Always bring a pen and paper to record brand names and numbers.  Do not trust your memory. 

Haggling is always expected in sleep shops like Mattress Firm.  Start off by offering about half. This is too little, but it gets the ball rolling. The only thing for sure is that the salesperson (RSA) has a lot of leeway but when you pay less, he/she makes less.  Some sleep shops allegedly actually have negative commissions. They will let the salesperson write a sale even below cost to keep a sale away from competition, but the RSA gets dollars deducted instead of added to the commission check.   Haggling is not expected or very welcome in department stores but not unheard of.  If you are in a major branch, one where the buyer works, you can ask the RSA to find the buyer.  If he or she appears and you are buying a high priced mattress, or outfitting a whole house, it never hurts to try to chisel.  You might get a little something off and it costs nothing to ask.   Haggling is just about out of the question if you are buying at a factory and already getting a bargain.  Some stores  have clearance centers and you have a bit of a chance with discontinued or damaged goods.  Just remember, at any sleep shop, the “mattress professional” haggles every working day, knows his boundaries, and expects to win. Winning is making the sale and still getting paid some kind of commission. It is always based on how close they can keep you to the original “ask” on the price tag. You definitely cannot haggle in a big-box store like Costco, but you might in get a little bit knocked off the price in one of the huge furniture superstores that are opening around the nation.  

You may want to do as I do and “question everything” If someone tells you something that is not easily understood or verifiable, you should not rely on it. Just say, “I don’t understand!” if you don’t understand. Don’t worry about the salesperson’s feelings. He isn’t worried about your feelings, only your available credit card balance.  RSA’s,  are paid a percentage cut of each sale. No sale=no pay. Mattresses that have higher profits pay higher sales commissions. Low price mattresses pay only a percent or two, and high priced, often off-brands, can pay twelve or fifteen percent. It is all about making money, not how well you can expect to sleep. Sales commissions and bonuses on individual mattresses vary with profitability and are used to urge a salesperson into pushing the most profitable items for the store. When an RSA seems to be “pushing” towards a particular brand or mattress, it is usually a giveaway that he or she is paid more for selling that “push” item.

A skilled RSA in a typical retail store can easily take home more than 10% of what you paid for your mattress. These dollars go from your pocket to his or hers. This extra cost to you rarely, if ever, exists when you shop at a factory-direct showroom because these one-off stores are usually have an owner helping you, or a salesperson actually paid to do the right thing for all customers. The factory direct resources that I recommend are old established businesses because, among other things, the mattress quality doesn’t have to be exaggerated. It is common practice in these stores to pay a salary and a bonus for satisfying customers. Bonuses are for keeping the customers happy.  A salesperson would not last long at a factory-direct if their customers too frequently needed costly comfort exchanges. This helps the factory to keep the prices down for everybody. It is a win-win situation.     RSA’s in big retail stores and chains are worried about this week’s bonus and commission check. They tend to move around a lot from store to store. When you see better prices at a store like Sam’s or Costco, compared to Mattress Firm or Bedding Barn, this is because these “big box” stores do not pay commissions. You save this retailer’s commission expense when you buy at a “big box” store like Sam’s or Costco, and save even significantly more when you buy directly from a factory. Most “big box” stores display mattresses leaning against something and you cannot try them out.     

Unfortunately for you, this information is somewhat less valuable than it should be because these otherwise useful big-box stores almost never carry good latex hybrid innerspring mattresses or even let you lie down on sample mattresses. Big retailers tend to buy only from the two huge companies that dominate the mattress market. (Macy’s-Bloomingdales is an exception that gives you some better choices) The two duopolies that actually share 70% the marketplace, Tempur-Sealy and Serta-Simmons only use token latex for window trimming over or under layer after layer of petrochemical synthetic foam. Foams that they deceptively advertise as being cool. Even memory foam drenched with “gel” is hot or warm. Memory foam is different and inferior to latex. Only naturally cool latex cushions you comfortably all night and never traps you by sinking down as memory foam can and does.  Pushing you to buy these synthetic foams maximizes their profits while minimizing your comfort choices.

If you are seeking truthful, accurate, and often very wordy answers to your mattress questions you do have a few options. For one, you can choose to look for them right here on The Old Bed Guy blog, in the index of my posts in the column on the right or by typing a word in the search box on the left. This rarely works well, but when it does, it can be very helpful.   (Desktop version only) You can also ask any number of questions when you fill out the Mattress Survey.    I am sorry for any inconvenience but this is my way of dealing with increasing volumes of people taking the Survey.  Researching each survey and finding the most suitable mattress can be time consuming. You could post anything of interest in the comments after each essay, but don’t expect a prompt answer from me. If timing is important, you are better off using my email. I maintain my reputation for accuracy by never resorting to guesswork. The information you supply on your Mattress Survey tells me enough about you for me to answer almost any question relating to a suitable mattress for you. Chances are you can find the answer if you search this site. 

There are no mattresses where “one size fits all” no more than one pair of slacks fits all. Mattresses with softer surfaces tend to be liked the best, but not when the soft comfort layer is on top of a too-soft unsupportive foam core. Only innerspring is capable of providing good quality comfortable support. Mattresses without an innerspring core can only be comfortable cushions, and better than sleeping on a bare floor, but without springs can not give you the complete comfort of a mattress with good support under comfortable padding. You don’t see automobiles with foam springs because foam isn’t suitable. You do see a lot of mattresses with only foam in the construction and the RSA tells you that that one of the foam layers is for support, just like a spring. He/she is not being truthful.  If you want my opinion about a mattress described as being comfortable for everyone, just ask for it when you submit a survey.  Absent my having the information you provide in your survey, I would have to give half-answers or none at all. The simplest, quickest, and most efficient way for you to get answers about mattresses or sleep is to use as many words as you need in the comments section when you fill out your survey.   There are no word limits on the survey.

If you are a Consumer Reports subscriber you can look up current and past mattress test results on the Internet for a large number of mattress brands. If you are not a subscriber you can read the current Consumer Reports test results here: https://goo.gl/n02Byx .  CR gives test results covering results for things like relative suitability and support for six different body types, durability, firmness, and something they call “stabilization”. I seriously question some of their methodology, but I tend to question everything all the time. “In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king” and Consumer Reports is the only legitimate organization that even makes an effort. They do a much better job on car and appliance testing where actual numbers can mean something, not at all like a mattress.  I wouldn’t buy almost anything for my home without checking CR.   If your “virtual shopping” turns up a CR rated mattress, as often happens, I will attach the ratings to your report if I remember. You can trust that those with higher number ratings are superior to the others. 

The only important “con” about Consumer Reports, an otherwise almost indispensable consumer advocacy organization, is that they really can’t estimate the life expectancy or much else of any synthetic foam or air mattresses. Their archaic mattress testing laboratory relies on durability testing machines, almost my age, that were invented about 40 years before synthetic foam was even thought of. Their test machines are only designed to test wire-coil  innerspring mattresses for longevity. They roll a heavy powered roller simulating a very restless sleeper going back and forth until the innersprings break. Testing foam, synthetic or latex, or airbag mattresses give false results, Nevertheless, CR, apparently unwilling to make the investment in foam testing machines (if they even exist), just makes believe that they can, unafraid of being challenged. You can rely on the results of their innerspring tests, it is no problem because I only recommend innerspring mattresses, preferably padded with naturally cool latex.    Another “con” is the consumer mattress reviews.  An Internet-only mattress maker that boasts about high ratings but has a lousy mid 60’s rating on CR tests, seems to have figured out how to get their phony consumer reviews published by CR.  Reviews that stumble over each other for praise of a mediocre mattress. 

If you plan to shop on your own, you should still send in your survey mentioning your shopping intentions in a comments box. It doesn’t take very long and entitles you to receive advice by e-mails if questions arise when you shop.  Further questions will surely arise when you start “getting the treatment” by salespeople and decide to e-mail me for further advice, I will have your survey on file to be able to help. Please be sure to use the same email address for your survey and for your e-mail as I can only search for the surveys by e-mail address.

Summing up, I will recommend suitable mattresses for anyone who has submitted the survey that by now you know is linked to the home page.  

Sometimes you have to dig a bit below the surface to find truth in mattress advertising. It isn’t always in the big type. “The big type giveth and the small type taketh away”. My own proverb. When I read advertising that has terms and disclaimers in miniscule type on the bottom, even before I get my magnifying glass out, I just know that the tiny words take away the bargain or good deal in the big headline. Mattress and department stores are as bad as any and worse than most.

Very few mattress websites have verifiable or adequately complete information about the product, the services, or the company.   The worst of the worst sites are the hundreds of brand new Internet-only sites without any checkable history and/or even a listed street address. Every one of them seems to have “just invented world’s best mattress” (always false) and you can have it in your home without risk (often true). I rarely can find good reason to trust mattress reviews when posted on a site selling the product. Doesn’t mean never. However, I never trust or believe reviews when they are so full of praise implying a degree of perfection not on this earth. And with many identical  repeated sentences. I find it difficult to use “trust” and “review” in the same sentence.  I will try to explain exactly what I mean later on in this lesson.

I only recommend mattresses that I have personally examined within the past two years. I try to keep to a one year shopping cycle, but I have slowed down since 2015. Mattresses that are highly recommended by Consumer Reports that meet your needs will certainly be on your “virtual shopping” report. All of the value priced factory-direct makers that I have confidence in ship anywhere in the world and fully warrant their products. So, if you don’t live and shop in or near where I do, and want to “feel first” your recommended retail-priced mattress, a very specific model from Aireloom, or Simmons, or Sealy will only be available at your nearest Macy’s or Bloomingdales.

If you plan on shopping on your own, my primary goal is to provide you with enough high-quality information to protect you from even the slickest retail store commission salesperson.  It still pays for you to send in the survey so that I can match you a local retailer that I can possibly recommend locally to you. If you have no Macy’s, that is a problem I can’t completely protect you when you are out on your own, but I certainly want to give you the knowledge you need to protect yourself.  Shopping independently is still at your own peril. It is not only money; it is a lost opportunity for a few years to get the right new mattress.  When you shell out good money for a bad mattress, you tend to sleep on it anyway for a few years.

I am trying to do my best, but every time I catch on to a new sales trick, especially from the Internet-only sites, a new one appears from up their sleeves. My goal is to educate you so well that all the survey questions will make immediate sense to you. This will lead you to write the most helpful answers. And ultimately, if you shop on your own, to the very wisest choices because “knowledge is power”.    

When you have finished reading this “Mattress 103” and have any questions you can get answers by asking them on your Mattress Survey. For a relatively quick and well-informed answer, ask your question in  the unlimited comments box when you do your survey.   My e-mail address is oldbedguy@gmail.com and is only for questions that arise after you send in your survey.  If I do not already have your survey in my computer, I will wait to get it before answering. Sometimes the wait can be unreasonably long when you want your new mattress NOW. I am not being mean, just trying give only accurate informed answers. I have spent hundreds of hours writing and updating this site for years. I doubt if I have left many stones unturned. You can invest an hour or even two in educating yourself and have something useful for the future when I will not be here to help.  It currently takes about 8-10 days from your sending to my doing the first reading of your survey. 

When I started this mission six years ago I had high hopes but low expectations. Mattress shopping, difficult when I retired in 1999, had obviously become even more difficult. I blame the anonymity of the Internet almost entirely.   “Phony” sites working for mattress sellers and not for you provide most shopping information on the Internet. You can read a lot about how to know if a mattress site is not what it looks like by reading this essay. https://goo.gl/D9E9RR. Phony information sites have several different ways of getting paid for recommending a specific mattress or brand, but paid they get. The most obvious is when the site has discount coupons. If an information provider asks you to mention their site or name when ordering, you can be sure that it is about getting a commission for sending you (and your credit card) to them. Ironically you might still get a comfy mattress from a phony recommendation, but it will by accident, not intent.

Your survey entry key is “LATEX HYBRID”

You see this essay as written words, but for me it is the spoken word. More than two years ago I was literally floored by an uncommon autoimmune illness that selectively attacks joints and internal connective tissues. I first had it sixty years ago and in an even more virulent form. It is called “Reactive Arthritis” (ReA) interchangeable with an older name, “Reiter’s Syndrome”. It responds to steroids like more common forms of arthritis does and shares a name, but it is quite different. Painfully swollen hands and feet have has slowed me down but not stopped me. I healed a bit in the early months with heavy steroid doses, but have had to settle with “improved” but not healed.  I am blessed with mostly good health considering my age, but have had to accept that the pain and stiffness are permanent.  I may have to discontinue this blog in the foreseeable future, but will do my best to never surprise anyone. If I commit to a “virtual shopping” for you, you will receive it before I close down the shop.  

The daily letters of thanks that I receive helps to convince me that I am doing the right thing. I am not “paying it forward”, an expression so popular with millennials, but I am trying to pay it back.  I want to pay the community back for the good life that making, buying, and selling mattresses has long afforded to the two of us. And secondly, and maybe a bit selfish, as I mentioned earlier, I wanted to try to stave off dementia by keeping my aging brain exercised by doing what I like and know how to do well.  I have seen too many of my peers literally go to seed because “if you don’t use it, you lose it”. Helping fund animal rescue was an early weeks afterthought, but the success has surpassed anything that I thought could happen.

When you shop in a store, the likelihood that the salesperson is going to ask you much more than: “Have you seen anything in another store that you like?”” “How soon do you need it?” And what I like best and found in all the worst stores!! “What do I have to do to get you to give me an order right now?” If you are in a sleep shop this is a tipoff for you to start haggling, a battle you will lose, but not completely. A wonderful reason to let me guide you on the Internet. The salesperson can estimate your age, your height or weight, but is really more interested in your credit card number.

For about two million years or so, ever since our distant ancestors came down from trees, humans had no mattresses. Mattresses have only been commonplace in the Western World for less than 200 years. Almost 40% of humans globally still can’t afford even a cheap bag of synthetic foam. Science has found sleeping equipment in five thousand year old tombs of Egyptian pharaohs and Chinese emperors. The history of real mattresses does not go back much further than the 17th Century. Less than 400 years ago, only royalty slept on anything but the floor or the ground.   Forest dwellers used soft boughs to provide “comfort” and cave dwellers occasionally used animal hides, pine needles, or even leaves. Some jungle primates still do. For the last thousand years various populations have filled cloth bags with water reeds, feathers, leaves, straw, or even old clothes. Royalty have had flattened bags of feathers and down while the serfs slept on a floor of pounded earth. Farmers in the countryside, and the merely wealthy town dwellers in North America slept on bags of straw, wool, feathers or horse or cattle hair. These primitive “mattresses” were often on beds with tightly stretched ropes to support the overstuffed bags These beds lasted until about the end of the Civil War, not all that long ago. Most Americans lived in rural areas or very small towns in this country until the nineteenth century.

SURVEY KEY:  “LATEX HYBRID”

In the US, all mattresses were home-made until 1855 when an enterprising upholstered-furniture maker and brass bed importer in NYC started making horsehair mattresses for the emerging middle class, the wealthy, and the few better hotels in NYC. New York City was enjoying a huge boom owing to the opening of the Erie Canal, the gateway to the West, and all kinds of new businesses flourished. Top price in 1870 for an all-white horsetail mattress, the costliest, was still less than $5.00. The next half-century saw the invention of the successful innerspring mattress.  Surprisingly few improvements have been made since the twenties with the advent of latex foam rubber and the dubious improvement of synthetic foam in the seventies. Individually pocketed coils such as those in Simmons Beautyrests emerged around 1890 in Canada still leaving a lot of room for improvement. Improvement that is still happening. Pocketed coil mattresses are now commonplace across many price ranges and come in many qualities. Chinese innerspring mattresses selling on Amazon for a few hundred dollars have a few hundred pocketed coils and English and Scandinavian imports selling in many American cities for $50,000 have a few thousand individually pocketed coils. The only similarity between these two mattresses is the fact that both have support coils loosely attached to each other, not wired together. Such “pocketed” coils are to be found in all mattress qualities, and can be anywhere from near useless to absolutely superb. Coils tied together by flexible wire, another important late nineteenth century invention that is also quality variable, is infrequently used in high quality mattresses today.     A Macy’s exclusive Aireloom I praise deservedly a bit further on uses a “Holland Maid” brand wire-tied coil unit and is quite comfortable because of the quantity of latex padding. It is impossible to characterize a mattress as good or not just by the way the innerspring unit is assembled. But wire-tied innersprings “telegraph” motion every time a sleeper moves and tend to have a shorter life than individually pocketed springs. A mattress that includes the low cost, low quality wire tied Bonnell construction, along with two kinds of medium quality pocketed coils is called Saatva. It is more representative of the genre. Saatva Picture from the Internet 

This essay is not long enough to teach you even a little about innerspring units, but buying a mattress without one can be a real mistake. After World War One, Simmons™ and Charles P. Rogers™ were early adopters of the first really good individual coils. Both have since been making their own superior pocketed coils. Rogers Powercore™ is Rogers’ coil brand name. Leggett and Platt the major supplier of components to the trade also makes a very wide range of pocketed coils.   Most mattress companies nowadays are assemblers buying most mattress components from importers or jobbers. No longer house-made. Without their own spring making machinery, most buy varying quality-pocketed coils from Leggett and Platt™ maker of Body Print™. The L&P Body Print™ coils are worth looking for if you are shopping unknown mattress brands. They have some,  but not all, of the useful features of the Powercore™ that is proprietary to Charles P. Rogers. L&P in addition to a range of pocketed coils also makes a relatively cheap, less comfortable and durable Bonnell design spring unit when price is more important than durability. You can learn more about the Leggett and Platt pocketed coil systems here: http://www.beddingcomponents.com/pdf/innersprings/power-edge.pdf.     It is very hard to find a mattress anywhere that does not have any components from L&P, and many brands are assembled mostly with their bits and pieces.

Nowadays every major maker has a mattress or a line with pocketed coils. Even Tempurpedic has recently added a new “Flex” Tempur mattress with pocketed coils under the synthetic foam. Shifman may be the only holdout, relying on archaic wire tied units for their signature “wretched excess” enormously thick “Handmade” line. Wire-tied springs are fading away as I think they should. Simmons sells many qualities of Beautyrest™, all with pocketed coils, starting with the Recharge, the least best. Beautyrest Black™ with token latex padding, about 1.5”, is worth buying compared to other Beautyrests, not when compared to a good factory direct pocketed coil mattress with a better core and more and better latex padding.   Only those Black™ models such as the “Lillian” include latex amongst the synthetic foam layers and are worth buying with the noted comments. http://www.beautyrest.com/Black The “Black” line is not particularly good value, but the version that includes the token latex seem to last about twice as long as the typical four or five years lesser Beautyrests seem to be currently capable of surviving. Beautyrest names have a habit of coming and going. If the “Lillian” is not on the menu in your favorite store, just look for any Black Beautyrest that has some token latex. Usually the name starts with an “L”. 

In my opinion, some of the best of the pocketed coils are to be found inside the Powercore NANO2and the Black Beautyrest line. Charles P. Rogers NANO and NANO2. Major improvements have come at a glacial pace since Charles P. Rogers himself, and a few immigrant English workers made the first factory-made mattress in 1855 in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City. (England had factory-made mattresses before we did) Very few Americans now sleep on solid horsehair mattresses, a luxury to aspire to when horses and their waste filled our city streets. Some makers and retailers still “push” crushable fibers. Many poorly informed people pay inflated prices for crushable so-called luxury fibers such as silk, cashmere, wool, or alpaca over innerspring units. Plain ordinary wool by any name can be useful as it can replace chemical fire retardants but the luxury fibers are less than useless after a few years.  Animal hair and fibers used as a ploy to justify inflated prices are often accompanied by fancy hand and machine embroidery. These often-overstuffed mattresses such as most  imported ViSpring, Sovereign, Hastens, and domestic Shifman and Kluft brands require heavy lifting monthly and still rapidly develop “divots” when the fibers mat down faster than frequent mattress turning can keep up with. 

In 2017 absolutely no mattress you can buy is better than a well designed and well-made hybrid innerspring using individually pocketed Rogers Powercore™ coils innerspring support systems or Leggett Platt Body Print™ pocketed coils, either coil core only when thickly padded with naturally cool Talalay latex. 

Only the addition of layer(s) of thousands of shallow newly invented NANO™ Springs can possibly improve such a hybrid/innerspring/latex. These comfort coils add a degree of surface comfort not available from even the finest latex alone.  The addition of any kind or amount of memory foam diminishes mattress quality while increasing profitability. I never recommend any memory foam.  Latex foam was invented in my birth year, 1928, and has resisted changes ever since. The original process to change a liquid found in rubber trees into a spongy material was named Talalay after the inventor. Talalay competes with the lower cost Dunlop process; a method that makes harder foam better suited to sofa and transportation cushions. And now Pulse™ latex, a very recent invention makes a bouncier and possibly more durable form of mattress cushioning. Any of these latex constructions, including the less-desirable Dunlop, are superior to any and all synthetic memory foams for sleeping on.

Memory foam was invented around fifty years ago for a brand new NASA that was looking for foam to cushion astronauts during take off and re-entry. It had to absorb severe vibration, survive for less than an hour total life and hold the astronaut motionless in place by molding closely to the flyer’s back. It might have worked but was never used because NASA did not want to expose astronauts in a confined space to the VOC’s that “outgassed” continuously. Especially dangerous in such a tiny enclosed environment.  It was never used,  and latex was recruited to do the job.  A Swedish chemical company bought the patent and declared it to be a mattress and/or a pillow. The rest is history. The Tempurpedic mattress woke up a sleepy industry with what may go down in business history as the finest product marketing ever. Tempurpedic™ working with Brookstone, the national mall retailer, promoted pillows and mattresses at astronomical profits. Even though it is harder to imagine a mattress with lower labor or material cost, the Tempurpedic was priced at or near the top of the market. Encouraged by their success, Tempurpedic marketed their product to almost any retailer that would sign a contract to sell at the same price as Brookstone.  Price fixing at it’s crudest. If a dealer cuts prices below a Tempurpedic store or site, they will lose the profitable dealership. This win-win situation insures a profit for Tempurpedic and for the retailer. Only the customer loses. Some thirty years later, the price is still artificially fixed and the super-profitable Tempurpedic company has been able to buy Sealy™ and Stearns and Foster™ for “petty cash” and has billions of dollars left over to quash any lawsuits.  This winter, Tempur-Sealy stopped selling to Mattress Firm, a chain with more than 3,500 stores and their largest customer over what is believed to be a price dispute.  So don’t expect to find a bargain Tempur-Sealy mattress anywhere for now. 

The artificially high prices for Tempur™ products have created a whole industry making chemical foams being sold at more “normal” or realistic far lower prices.     “Tempur Material™” is proprietary to the Tempur-Sealy company. The exact formula is a closely guarded secret and will probably stay secret unless and until a judge orders them to make it public. Tempur-Sealy has been defending themselves against a conceivably game-changing class action lawsuit for several years. Most of the court action has been Tempur trying to protect the secrecy of their formula.   The plaintiffs, all who were sleeping on Tempurpedic mattresses  claim that their various illnesses have been caused by formaldehyde and other noxious chemical found in Tempur™ foam. Tempur-Sealy has been steadily losing but keeps pushing back. Their funds are almost unlimited and to lose the lawsuit is to lose what makes the company valuable. 

The knockoff foam makers and sellers are almost certainly lying when they claim to have an identical product. It may be better or worse, but not the same.  Tempur-Sealy USA can’t sue any of these parasites because to do so they would have to reveal their “secret” Tempur material formula in court. They are in a difficult situation but have the money to survive almost anything. I see an eerie similarity to the way that big tobacco bought off legislation and fought off lawsuits until too many people obviously died of smoking. I am not accusing Tempurpedic™ of making or selling carcinogens, others are suing about it, and I think that we should keep an open mind until the product is publicly tested. I neither sleep on nor recommend any memory foam for anyone.

Tempurpedic™ is very happy to sell to you a mattress directly from one of their stores, or their website at the same price as any of their retailer customers. No 50% factory-direct savings here. If you decide to buy any Tempur™ material mattress, it is wise to buy directly from Tempur™. These products can often require warranty service/replacement in the first year or two. Tempur™ uniformly gives good service to all complaints; their retailers are spotty, so buy directly especially as it is the same price. When/if you need a replacement under warranty you will probably get it without a hassle.

Anyone in decent health with reasonable weight and body mass index numbers, currently shopping for a queen size mattress, and with a budgets from about $900-1,100 for a basic comfortable and durable well rated hybrid/innerspring/latex to as much as about $2,500-$3,000 for the best top rated luxury queen hybrid/innerspring/latex made. Price spreads reflect sales.  Pricing is based on comparison shopping between 4/1/16 and 4/1/17 get intelligently designed and manufactured mattresses directly from a number of well reputed factories. A Macy price range for decent to good quality based on frequent sale prices would be from $1,800 to around $5,000 Obviously, to me, while mattresses in both price ranges can be pretty good, there are excellent reasons to buy the higher priced mattresses if you can afford them. My “virtual shopping” routinely finds mattresses selling for a fraction of the retail sale prices that you may have already been frustrated by. If you only saved a lot of money buying directly, that would be enough. But if you get more comfort for many years longer for a lower price. That is a real bonus. If you spend more than $3,000 on any queen mattress you are unwisely enriching a salesperson or company out of ignorance. Ignorance that should be no more when you finish reading this mattress buying course.

SURVEY KEY IS:  “LATEX HYBRID” 

Based on cost of materials, manufacturing, and overhead, no queen mattress is inherently or intrinsically worth more than about $3,000. Incredibly few are worth that much. Paying retail prices when you can buy for about half as much factory-direct is the most frequent reason for maximum overpaying. Retailers charge you 2X or 2.5X or even 3X what they pay at the factory. These middlemen need this extra layer of cost to cover all their expenses and a hoped-for profit. Internet-only bagged, squashed and boxed, foam mattress sellers like Casper™ charge up to 5 or 6X what these mattresses can cost them to make or buy  here or in Asia.  Read about the $100 mattresses at Amazon in the next essay.    Paying much less than $1,000 will get you a compromised mattress design, compromised in comfort or durability and usually both.

There are no miracles in mattress stores or on the Internet.  The nearest thing to a miracle is the < $200 queen innerspring Serta “Coralee”™ at Sears™, a mattress you will read about a bit later in this lesson. For the benefit of special needs mattress shoppers, shoppers I define as first-time young cash-challenged mattress buyers, as well as the growing body of obese people with very high body mass indexes and weight.   Neither the currently ( 1/27/17)  $180 Serta for beginners nor the overbuilt King Koil for obese sleepers also linked in the following paragraphs is what I would ordinarily recommend, but each in its own way does what is needed for people who need it. A place to lie down at night that actually has an innerspring core to give your spine some decent support and at a   price you can cope with. Neither necessarily meets my standards for comfort especially the King Koil. These are not luxury purchases.

For shoppers younger than 30 weighing less than 165# with a BMI under 25 who may be considering a Casper™ or one of Casper’s more than 250 bagged-foam competitors, I know of a genuine Serta™ innerspring that will provide much healthier and more comfortable sleep. Sears™ moves the price up and down mysteriously but never seemingly above $200. It is $180 as I dictate this. Why fall victim to an Internet-only snake oil website peddling seriously overpriced bags of crushed and boxed foam when you can buy the Serta Coralee at Sears for $180.00? This Serta™ is not a wonderful mattress, but more than good enough for until you can afford something better. I would certainly recommend it over either of the more expensive unconstructed bags of synthetic foam Tuft and Needle or the Casper.  Two years of use would be about maximum except for anorexics.  Please have no illusions. For this price, you are settling for almost the very bottom price of the market, but quite far from the bottom quality. Sam’s and Amazon sell much worse. Much.   This Sears exclusive is an honestly spelled out transaction.  No extravagant promises and much less noxious warmth or gases as those you are likely to get from many of the more costly “bed in a box”.

For the really obese, a group that few mattresses work well for, I recommend this: King Koil Hard Hard Innerspring Mattresses for People With BMI’s Over 45 and/or Weight Over #300.  This King Koil special line of hard and strong mattresses, designed to survive the extra wear and tear under conditions that a more supple mattress with “give” will not. Comfort should not necessarily be part of your original expectations. You should eventually get used to it. It is not exactly like sleeping on the cellar floor. Latex (not memory foam) toppers may be needed for your lighter weight co-sleeper. No matter what hyperbole King Koil uses on their website about comfort, the “Extended life” mattresses are hard, harder, and hardest.

The results of your virtual shopping are personal to you and only you and are formed by my experiential learning and insatiable reading. I share with no one and only keep your information until the next “housecleaning” usually monthly. I hope that you accept my recommendations in the spirit of goodwill that they I offer them. It would be wonderful if you helped out an animal shelter by volunteering or helpfully made a donation, but you have no reason to feel obligated. I am “The Old Bed Guy” and do what I do because I like to do it. Sometimes I have been known to lecture as you might find out when you read my personal recommendations. I am not being judgmental. I was probably more judgmental than many other nicer, less driven people when I was younger, but one of the few benefits of aging is learning to be tolerant.  So if I deliver a short lecture on another topic along with your mattress recommendation it is because I think I can make your life a little bit better out of bed as well.

Any mattress your virtual shopping turns up is a mattress that I have seen and touched. If you don’t know by know that I have little faith in the sales pitches so commonplace on today’s Internet, and that I wish that memory foam had never been invented, I have communicated poorly.  My understanding of mattress quality was formed by more than 60 years of hands-on experience making and marketing quality mattresses.  Of course, I stay current with industry trends and happenings. Not all trends are negative for consumers, but in the last decade many seem to be. The latest really big mattress news that can affect what you may possibly sleep on is the purchase or mergers affecting all five of the largest American brands in the past two years.

One immense new multi-billion dollar mattress conglomerate, Tempur-Sealy International, consisting of Tempurpedic™, Sealy™, and Stearns and Foster™, is half of a duopoly controlling about 75% of the American mattress business. Simmons-Serta comprising both of their namesakes is the other half. This absence of competition greets you when every store you visit appears to have a sea of identical creamy mattresses. While you weren’t looking, early in 2016, an aggressive sleep shop chain called Mattress Firm™ bought up enough competitors including giant Sleepys™ to now sell one in every three mattresses sold in America. That is a lot of mattresses. Reinforced with new investment money from South Africa, Mattress Firm™ is still buying competitors. They only have 3,500+ sleep shops! This is not good for uninformed consumers.

There are still a few family or corporate owned smaller manufacturers competing hard for the remaining 25%.  I mostly rely on these small and long-established companies for mattresses worth recommending. I find it depressing to keep repeating searches for acceptable-to-me mass-produced mattresses priced within my readers’ budgets. A couple of Black Beautyrests approach my quality criteria. Approach, but don’t quite reach and they all will cost you too much because you have to pay retail. If you won’t feel cheated when their mattress needs replacing sooner than ten years, or mind perspiring a bit sleeping warm on memory foam, you may be happy with the right Black Beautyrest model. All “Black” models have the best Simmons coil system and some have a thin token latex layer. The springs provide excellent support and the synthetic foam tries. Only latex is latex. Unfortunately these “Black” mattresses also have many layers of mystery foam. Synthetic foam with fanciful coined names suggesting, “cool”. The other 99% of the “big name” mattresses do not even come close to deserving my recommendation. They are all far too loaded with petrochemical synthetic memory foams without the benefit of an excellent coil support system. This praise does not extend to any other Beautyrest series except “Black”, all relying on last-century coil technology.

Some of my favorite quality mattress choices, available nationally or locally are mostly crafted by a handful of long-established quality-first manufacturers. Three sell directly to the public and can ship anywhere. You do not have to go to them. E.S. Kluft, parent of Aireloom™, has more than 20 years of experience; Aireloom has been around for about 75 years. The most experienced is New York’s Charles P. Rogers, the most experienced mattress maker in the country, having been established 162 years ago in 1855. Marshall Mattress in Toronto and McCroskey Mattress in San Francisco bring up the middle with only a century or so of experience or each.  Aireloom™ is available only at retail and Macy’s has a lock on their best quality part-latex styles. They are very popular in higher priced California retailers, but you are much better off buying this brand at Macy’s. The makers I tend to recommend make one mattress at a time. The phrase “hand made” is meaningless because all decent mattresses have considerable skilled hand labor.

SURVEY KEY:  “LATEX HYBRID”

From statistics, I know that most people keep their old mattress for about seven years even if it wore out years earlier. If you bought your last mattress in 2007 you will find more changes than just the unsurprisingly higher prices. To me, the most significant change has been the invention and proliferation of what are commonly described as hybrid mattresses. There are so many of them that many advertisers noting the popularity have started to misrepresent any plain ordinary innerspring or solid foam mattress as a hybrid. A true hybrid has an inner spring unit and padding with each component occupying about the same amount of space. An ordinary innerspring mattress has much less padding and may require flipping. Also, prices seem to have increased at a slower pace than inflation making for some very good deals. Hundreds of brand-new petrochemical synthetic foam mattresses with brand names such as Casper and Leesa are cashing in customer discontent with the traditional bricks and mortar ways of selling mattresses. These newbies are selling their domestic and made-in-China mattresses for anywhere between $500 and $1000. All are all delivered crushed into a small box and are impossible to get back in the box after months   (or one hour) of trying out. Since a lot of comfort trials do not work out, this is something to consider.

SURVEY KEY IS:  “LATEX HYBRID” 

A common denominator of all of the newbies is that they lack an innerspring support core and the potential comfort goes along with the proven innerspring design. All of them, without exaggeration, are exceptionally poor value for what they are. You can buy virtually identical mattresses without all the hype from Amazon with more realistic price tags varying from $100 to $250 with the most clustered around the $200 level. These exciting new “one size fits all” chemical foam mattresses will cost you many hundreds of dollars compared to the legitimate pricing at Amazon. The fantasy that the returns are easy is just that, fantasy. Once the mattresses released from their crushed confinement and expand from little cushions into big mattresses over a day or two, they are like the genie in a bottle, never to get back in. Some will give you your refund if you donate the used mattress to a local charity and get a receipt in the mattress sellers name to be used for a tax deduction. The problem is that since the recent bedbug epidemics very few charities want used mattresses any more than you do. It is possible that this new potentially highly profitable way of doing business will find a way to solve the return issue, but the real problem is that most of them lack real comfort and support and cost as much or more then real mattresses do.

One mattress I stumbled upon while comparison shopping at Macy’s in NYC and is available in most Macy’s branches rises above everything else in Macy’s for quality, but is far from the most costly.  Macy Aireloom part latex hybrid innerspring mattress at Macy’s   The price may give you pause, however this true modern hybrid uses a hard and strong old-fashioned wire-tied coil spring support under a lot of latex and (unfortunately) some layers of synthetic foam. The chemical foam is CertiPUR certified. The soft over the hard traditional concept, similar to McCroskey Mattress as well as Shifman, makes for a durable mattress that will give reasonably good comfort for a wide range of body types and should survive for years for longer than anything else at Macy’s. I think that 8-10 years is a reasonable expectation, double the years of most big-brand’s 4-5 year comfort life expectancy.   You can pay more and get a lot less at Macy’s from the big national brands such as Stearns and Foster, Beautyrest, or Posturepedic. The name of this good mattress is a mouthful. “Hotel Collection by Aireloom Vitagenic Holland Maid Latex Luxury Firm Mattress Sets only at Macy’s” The link above is also to be found in the virtual shopping report I will send you after I study your survey answers.    Aireloom is a division of the E.S.Kluft Company.   Kluft mattresses priced up to about $25,000 can be seen at Bloomingdales. You can check out many real Consumer reviews of major brands right here if you wish by clicking on any of the following links.

My life expectancy estimates for the major brand mattresses comes from the comments of thousands of Consumer’s survey answers from their owners interesting comments and reviews:

TempurPedic Reviews        https://goo.gl/nwno59,                                Sealy and   Posturepedic Reviews        https://goo.gl/eAGst7,

Beautyrest Reviews           https://goo.gl/1VY64L                                              Stearns & Foster                  https://goo.gl/ExRYAc 

iFoam and Perfect Sleeper https://goo.gl/NOY64z

The possible price range for all new Queen size mattresses range from as little as < $120 at Sam’s Club or Amazon, to as high as $150,000 at Hastens!  The most sensible price range, one where you can find truly good value and quality for a hybrid/innerspring/latex mattress falls mainly between $1,000 to about $3,000. If you pay more than $3,000 for a 60X80 (and proportionate for other sizes) you are enriching strangers with no benefit for yourself. If you pay less than $1,000 or so, you will probably soon find yourself with buyers’ remorse, and you will be just as confused as you were when you entered the mattress maze. Mattress stores use every trick in the book to overcharge unwary customers.

When you visit your local retail mattress store, you will see mattresses displayed with labels from five or six “competitors”. The same workers make Sealy and Stearns & Foster on the same assembly lines. Tempurpedic owns both of these brands.  Serta and Simmons have recently been joined together and are now working hard to “homogenize” the two brands by closing and combining factories. Leggett & Platt of Carthage, Mo. is the component supplier of choice to almost every American mattress maker including some of the small family owned makers that I tend to prefer. The difference is that the most mattress makers nowadays buy almost everything ready to assemble. This is the major reason why there are few important structural differences between most of the mattresses you will find when you try to intelligently comparison shop at your local stores. Mattress makers that make their own better quality coils and other major components are few and far between and are worth seeking out.

Some people think that I am a mattress fanatic if there can be such a thing. And you have stumbled across this “fanatic’s” very personal website. This website is a bridge between your desire to learn, and my old-guy ethos and wisdom that permits me the pleasure of anonymously helping you.  We both benefit.   I actually enjoy transacting with you even when what you really need is nearly impossible to find. When a sleeper is 300# and the co-sleeper is only 95#, I really feel good because I know of mattresses that will work well. Both of them will have support and comfort, hopefully sleeping happily ever after. Most couples are not so much of a challenge for me, but the example above is far from the most difficult I have faced. Couples with wide weight disparities are rarely properly fitted when store shopping. Not because the salesperson is incompetent, although that often is the case, but because especially strong mattresses that can be comfortable for a lightweight are only made by a few smaller companies. Once you have filled out your survey, I can and will answer your email questions about mattresses, and occasionally, life in general. Just, please, not any politics!

Yes, I probably fit someone’s description of a fanatic, but what is important to me is that when I have finished translating your wants and your physical needs into a personal recommendation through “virtual shopping”, you will have a better chance than most of your peers of finding a mattress that is suitable for your needs.

Simple greed assures that it is almost impossible for you to find an excellent true hybrid innerspring mattress with genuine naturally cool latex upholstery when you shop or in the usual places. Genuine latex foam from rubber trees costs makers somewhat more than synthetic look-alikes made from the witch’s brew of chemicals made from fossil fuels. Most shoppers don’t know the difference between real and chemical foams. So why should a mattress maker pay for the real thing?  The big boys are grinding out millions of mattresses monthly without a shred of natural anything inside and doing very well financially.  Warm, hot, or smelly and gassy synthetics don’t seem to discourage shoppers from making wrong decisions. Most shoppers do not bury their nose into the floor sample that hundreds of previous customers have been on and just smell “store air”. And most stores only display the more profitable mattresses loaded with synthetics.

The major differences consumers see and use to make decisions are the price tags first, followed by labels that sound scientific. Shoppers doing so in retail stores are most influenced by salespeople gunning for bigger commission checks.   When you do find a good hybrid/innerspring/latex mattress in a local retail store it is rarely affordable. My expertise is helping you find affordable better mattresses directly from the people that make them.

SURVEY KEY:  “LATEX HYBRID” 

If you are nostalgic about a mattress that you fondly remember that was made before the big switch to no-flip styles seventeen years ago, a reversible mattress padded on both sides and needing to be turned monthly. (a back-breaking task that you were happy to usually put off to “next month) they do still exist. The reversible two-sided mattresses that are still made in small numbers fall into two categories. Inexpensive or expensive. Not much in-between.  High-end makers include Shifman, Kluft, Royalpedic, Marshall, ViSpring, Sovereign, McCroskey, and very few others that make expensive and good old-fashioned retro must-be-flipped-mattresses. The Original Mattress Factory anchors the low quality end. All together they do not amount to 2% of all new mattresses and are slowly fading away as people get tired of all the old-fashioned body impressions  and other drawbacks.   Most of these expensive retro mattresses are offered with handmade expensive box springs and are no better and no worse than they were 50 years ago with the exception of a few that are better because they have added latex padding. I doubt that many people searching for retro mattresses would be happy buying a brand new car that was no better than a 1930 model. If you are too young to remember, even Cadillacs, Packards, and Lincolns needed oil changes every 1,000 miles, new tires every 10,000, a fill-up every couple of hundred miles, and even if you paid $3,000 for the tippy-top of the line, you still felt every bump in the road. At the end of the process when I know that I have done my best to educate and inform, and if you still want the privilege of the monthly mattress turning ritual, just say so in the comments box in your survey and I will find a reversible mattress that meets your needs as closely as I can come.

The timing of this major change in mattress construction for the major brand mattresses from two-sided to one-sided (Y2K) coincides with the start of the shorter life expectancy. It is a complete coincidence.   The shortened life is not because mattresses are padded one side only. It is because of the switch to cheaper synthetic materials.   The newfound mattress component killing the life expectancy of mattresses is the synthetic foam. This petrochemical foam is a filling making it possible to double profits by halving mattress life without making brand new mattresses look or feel cheap. The villain for you and the hero for the shareholders is latex look-alike, memory foam made of chemicals produced by    DuPont, The “Better Living Through Chemistry company, along with Dow, Monsanto, Cargill, and a handful of others. They start with petroleum or natural gas to make the chemicals that make the foam.  Even the finest synthetic foam is cheap compared to naturally cool latex. Plain and simple, that is the reason why more than 90% of all mattresses you can buy are loaded with synthetic foam, plain garden variety “foam” or the more exotic memory foams.   Synthetic foam has a predictably short life and singlehandedly made the shift from mattresses with an average life expectancy of ten years to a twice as profitable four or five years. This has altered a formerly dull low-profit industry to a “hot” investor’s choice. Big money has been snatching up one major brand after another and cutting quality to speed up the payoff.  Planned early mattress failure is why it is no surprise that most of the surveys I receive show that the reader is replacing a mattress less than five years old.

SURVEY KEY:  “LATEX HYBRID

Not every family-owned mattress maker sells directly. For example Gold Bond in Connecticut is an example of a small factory that does not sell directly to the public, but are capable of making some good mattresses with quality that rises above the big-store brands: http://goldbondmattress.com/.  They also make plenty of the low end, “sale priced” synthetic foam innerspring mattresses as well.  I try to include them in my recommendation for people living in parts of New England, where their retail customers operate. Gold Bond makes mattresses with different characteristics, at least outwardly, for every single retailer making it completely impossible for customers to comparison shop and for me to provide useful information.   For the convenience of my central New England readers that state that they do not want the savings on the Internet I may suggest that you find a Gold Bond retailer that you think may be on the level, but you are really on your own and will be paying full retail. I can’t list other regional manufacturers I like here, but when you fill out your survey, question 26: the comments box is where you can mention anything.

Marshall Mattress Marshall Website can be an excellent choice for Canadians with adequate disposable income and an aversion to ordering from the USA. They sell directly at 83 Bakersfield St. in Toronto and in are available at many Bay stores. No savings from factory direct pricing because of an apparent “arrangement” with Hudson’s Bay stores.

McCroskey Mattress, an old time family business in San Francisco makes the best factory-direct mattresses on the west coast, McCroskey website . They only sell from the factory store. They are more than a bit quirky, and a little bit costly but not outrageous, a bit too firm for my personal taste. Many my readers who own them really like them, especially after they get a recommendation from me for an appropriate soft latex topper to temper the stiff coils better. Decades ago, hard mattresses were in great demand. I am as guilty as anybody of having believed that “hard is good” back in the sixties, but I really do not understand why anyone would buy a hard mattress in 2017.

SURVEY KEY:  “LATEX HYBRID” 

Charles P. Rogers Est.1855 in NYC, an eighth generation, 162-year-old maker of hand made beds and hybrid/latex/innerspring mattresses is not one of the biggest but is one of the best. They only sell directly to the public. Pricing is extremely competitive. Queen-size hybrid/latex starts around $1000 and does not go all that high. Their St. Regis and Estate Powercore are Consumer Reports top rated and best buys with special mentions for couple compatibility. http://www.CharlesPRogers.com .  Disclosure: Mrs. Coyle and I sleep on a Charles P. Rogers really different Powercore latex hybrid NANO2, and yes, we paid full price in early 2016. The price has come down slightly as demand has increased.  What is just right for us is not necessarily just as perfect for you. That is why it is important for you to send in a survey and let me make a recommendation based on your individual or couple needs.  I really like hybrid innerspring latex mattresses. I know of no better mattress construction for most people. A high quality innerspring hybrid equals or betters any mattress at any price.

There are many other excellent mattresses mostly made by medium sized national makers such as Kluft Beautiful Mattresses (10 with latex), Royal Pedic from Beverly Hills, a very high quality small luxury line with lots of embroidery sold nationally in luxury priced venues. Kluft is the parent of Aireloom. Aireloom has many of the features of Kluft but with lower price tags. Much of the decorative sewing and animal fibers are present in luxury lines only to justify the stratospheric prices, but for people who can afford one, a well-chosen model will give pleasure for many years. Paramount, and a handful of others offer fast changing choices beyond my ability lay out in this post and none approach “affordable”. Many are belatedly starting to offer latex padding. Almost all now make mattresses that are all or part latex over a variety of coils. Shifman at Bloomingdales offers a selection of hand made and “machine made” mattresses. Shifman “handmade” are the only Shifman mattresses worth owning, and only if you do not mind the job of  “person-handling” a 250# mattress every month while watching the divots form anyway. That is the nature of mattresses made to 1927 specifications.     I do NOT recommend anything from the Shifman machine-made quilted styles. Consumer Reports definitively agrees with my low opinion of Shifman low quality, low end.

SURVEY KEY IS:  “LATEX HYBRID” 

I have not yet found any new  “Bed in A Box”, a compressed vacuum-packed mattress that is worthy of my recommendation.  There are now more than 200 of these, competing for the first purchases of gullible young millennials. Fewer than three of these 200 newbies have more than one year of experience.  This new technology may someday work out so as to be able to pack an innerspring without ruining it. Some are now trying with definitely mixed results.  At least a dozen startups are currently experimenting with trying to work out a way not to break the springs and a small percentage does survive. Amazon has dozens of memory foam mattresses in the $200 and under price range where they belong. Casper, the most visible of the spring-free petrochemical wonders was very well described to me by another industry watcher when it was first introduced, “The Casper mattress is a body impression waiting to happen”. They are out in the world for almost two years and this prediction appears to be quite true. However, Casper should be somewhat comfortable for heavier people, with BMI’s over thirty and birthdays under thirty. Nice young exercise deprived people who still believe in Santa will do best with a Casper.   www.casper.com does not rise to the quality, comfort, or serviceability needed for my recommendation.

The ultimate goal of the OBG mission is for you to sleep as comfortably as I do on a mattress suitable for your own personal needs. Comfortable and supportive long-lasting hybrid latex innerspring mattresses are within almost any budget. They come in a variety of support levels and surface comforts. Various hybrid models that I like will easily accommodate sleepers up to 300# + and properly support people with BMI indexes of 15-16 up to 40-45. Still heavier sleepers will be directed to purpose built harder mattresses

I am not a member of the “green”  “organic “ mattress movement and think that every website I’ve seen so far seems to have a business plan to make money by preying on consumers fears. Millions of mommies who are trying to protect their family from avoidable chemical intrusions do not know which way to turn and become victims. Very few mattresses currently being made use any chemicals to pass federal flammability regulations. Not to say that chemicals in good mattresses  never exist, but they have become rare. For a dozen years or more the opposite was true. Many mattresses were loaded with these chemicals.  Nowadays mattresses are flame proofed by the use of a layer of cloth material made of rayon. Most of this product is bamboo (wood) fiber. It all comes from China made without chemicals. China can do something right. Some other non-chemical fire retardant mattresses depend on the qualities of a layer of wool to pass the Federal Flammability testing. 

“Organic” mattress peddlers sell mattresses that are questionably sourced from wholesale organic suppliers. This is almost an oxymoron. The organic industry might be one step better than the synthetic foam industry as far as truthfulness. It really wouldn’t trouble me as much as it does but I hate to see people taken advantage of. The faux organic industry does so both financially from really overcharging, and from selling mattresses to gullible people who wouldn’t buy at all if they were advertised honestly.   I am happy to recommend mattresses made without any chemicals. All on my go-to list are chemical free. Some may have organic cotton filling or latex organically sourced but not necessarily a hundred percent organic on some minor component.

So far, at least from public information on the Internet, the only mattress on the market that I am aware of that uses any 100% synthetic latex is the very visible startup, Casper. They do not want to share with you that their thin slice of latex designed to keep their hot-sleeping memory foam insulated is a synthetic. It is a matter of semantics. Synthetic for some people, carries some ugly connotations.  Casper’s cleverly crafted language to get you to buy a mattress that is twice as expensive as a similar (not identical) Tuft and Needle depends on your perception of the value of natural latex. However, however, there is nothing natural in the Casper. My quality comparison in the previous thought is based on the current Consumer Reports tests. Tuft and Needle is a better value and I like the filling better. But neither mattress has any value except for entry-level millennials who may believe that they are better shoppers than their parents.

All of the previously named newbies excluding Saatva, but including Casper are missing a resilient steel coil support layer. Saatva sells uncrushed solid synthetic under another name, Loom and Leaf. I have no information from my readers yet about experiences with this heavily advertised mattress. I do not give much credence to their reviews but will wait until I hear some nice things directly. No foam layer can substitute for a spring. All of these squashed and boxed foam mattresses have a similar “dead” feeling as you sink in and eventually hit bottom.  If foam could really replace coil springs, then by now, because synthetic foam is so cheap, automobiles would have foam springs.   Nevertheless, the lucky millions who do sleep on good innerspring mattresses usually sleep better. And always sleep cooler; 28% cooler.  Kansas State  University Study of Cool Mattresses

SURVEY KEY IS:  “LATEX HYBRID” 

If you are curious why Tempurpedic is being sued and what serious health issues are involved, read it here: http://boston.cbslocal.com/2015/04/30/i-team-consumers-believe-mattresses-made-them-sick/

If the current class action suit against Tempur finds for the plaintiffs, there will have to be a timely and complete overhaul of the North American mattress business. The facts, to me are so plain. The chemicals used in making Tempur material, or what everyone else calls “memory foam” are mostly products of factories like Dow, Monsanto, DuPont, Cargill, Bayer, Monsanto and other huge chemical firms. These chemicals, such as MDI, an acronym for an unpronounceable silent killer, and formaldehyde, the chemical that is forcing a major change in the wood floor industry, are all known carcinogens.  Synthetic foams apparently can be made without all of these witches’ brews, but apparently for greater cost.   Synthetic foam can be made far more safe for human use, but at not trivial extra cost. When it becomes cheaper to make safe memory foam than to lobby Congress to keep restrictive legislation bottled up, then you can expect safer synthetics. I do not expect real change to seriously emerge until after the Tempur-Pedic trial is over.

SURVEY KEY:  “LATEX HYBRID” 

Ironically the people who sell the warmest, gassiest memory foams must know from the get-go that they are selling potential unhappiness, or much worse. Their moral compass seems to value a quick profit over building a long-term customer loyalty. When (if!) you are finished wading through this post, you will not need to hope and pray that you made a wise purchase. That is, of course, if you choose to take my from-the-heart advice. The below quote is taken from a legal opinion by judge H. Lee Sarokin (now retired) about 25 years ago. It concerned the government lawsuit against “Big Tobacco”.   I don’t have to change a word for what I see happening now with the biggest players in the mattress industry.

“All too often in the choice between the physical health of consumers and the financial well-being of business, concealment is chosen over disclosure, sales over safety, and money over morality. Who are these persons who knowingly and secretly decide to put the buying public at risk solely for the purpose of making profits and who believe that illness and death of consumers is an appropriate cost of their own prosperity!”

Federal Judge H. LEE SAROKIN

Mattresses are more difficult purchases for the average consumer than any other home furnishing or equipment. They are the blindest of all items and only a foolish shopper “will judge them by their cover”. My mission is to do my best to wipe away the deliberate confusion sown by all of the large mattress advertisers. There really is an unspoken and unwritten conspiracy to inflate the cost of most mattresses by making it as difficult as possible to comparison shop. When you see a label that says, “Exclusively for [store name], the only exclusivity can be in the color of the embroidery thread.

The mattress marketers call the practice of bulking up the height, or embroidering fancier quilted exteriors, selling to the “perceived value”. A mattress does not have to actually feel better or last longer, but if it is fatter, it looks like it costs more, so they charge more. In reality, overly thick mattresses are a major source of customer dissatisfaction. I know of no currently made mattress thicker than 16” that is worth buying. A mattress half that height can be quite good for many sleepers. If you can somehow disabuse yourself of the following common belief, you will be on the road to becoming an educated mattress shopper. “If it costs more, it must be better”. Many people believe that their beloved mattress brands are something special. These appearance changes are just another way to remove little bit more of your money.

A pillow top mattress can be hard, soft, medium, or virtually anything in the comfort department. All it really is an extra five minutes of sewing when the cover is being made. The worker by using dark thread skillfully creates the appearance of a separate pillow. The actual surface feel of the mattress is completely dependent upon what is inside directly under the covering. The real reason for the existence of the pillow tops is appearance. It is only is to make the mattresses appear to be more costly than they really are.

http://www.bloomingdales.com/buy/kluft-mattress .Are good examples of luxury mattresses. All of these are really very similar despite the large price variations. They have considerably more hand labor than the Aireloom line but are not better mattresses. They are what I think of as “show business”. Others call it “smoke and mirrors”. All have excellent pocketed springs; the only better springs on the market are possibly the new Powercore’s from Charles P. Rogers.   The eye-popping prices for Kluft are “justified” by decorative-only sewing, different labels, functional hand tufting that adds many months of time to the waiting period for the loose fibers to pack down (body impressions), and usually some $50-500 worth of some animal or vegetable fiber.   Bloomingdales business plan is built around selling luxury goods to the wealthiest 1% at a great profit. Macy’s prices are geared to the middle class. Both stores have the same ownership. Kluft/Aireloom are better priced in these two stores than in the sleep shops and furniture stores that also carry the lines. A problem is always how to tell the similar mattresses apart when most of the variations are mainly only visual.   Kluft and Shifman use the hand sewing and fancy animal and vegetable fibers that were available mostly to the wealthy more than a century ago, only now in 2016 to justify the price of so-called luxury mattresses. This can be characterized politely as bad value.  Kluft and their Aireloom division do not make mattress as good as some much more rationally priced mattresses that rely on 21st century spring inner-core and comfort spring technology.  Mattresses made with steel and latex that can be softer and stronger and are not subject to body impressions are a better form of luxury.

SURVEY KEY:  “LATEX HYBRID” 

Kluft, the parent company, uses the two brand names, Kluft and Aireloom, to avoid price comparisons between their department store and their furniture store customers, but they do not try very hard in this victimless deception.

Kluft, like Rogers, does not know how to make a bad mattress, but these two fine companies have taken two entirely different paths.  Rogers is staking their 162-year-old good name by keeping at the cutting edge of computer design and computer-assisted manufacturing. The result, in my opinion, is far better mattresses that cost less to manufacture because of partial automation and intelligent design. Mattresses that are also more comfortable and significantly more durable. It is not enough that you are saving more than 50% by buying at factory direct prices, but even at the lower prices you are getting a better product.

The current national average selling price for queen size sets is estimated to be around $1200 to $1500. These “average” mattresses needs replacing in four or five years, but are usually kept for about eight until the owner can’t sleep anymore.

Some well-made innerspring/hybrid/latex sets such as the top of the line from Berkeley Ergonomics should survive without sagging for about six to eight years or so with normal use. Their prices are set by their small national retailers not the factory, but average around $3,000-$4,000 for a queen set including the retail markups. I have tried them locally and can trust that I am giving good quality advice. However, If they sold factory direct, the price would be cut in half and be competitive. For the luxury of possibly finding a store near you and not ordering on the Internet, there is a price to pay. Any Kluft at any price is good for at least ten years. Oddly Kluft’s sets that cost as much as a small and not so small Toyota do not wear as well as their lower priced models. They are so overstuffed with crushable fibers that do just that, they crush. Most large cities have an upholstery shop that can fluff them up as needed for the price of a used small Toyota.

The mattress that we sleep on has no fibers, just lots of proprietary individually pocketed steel coils (Powercore) and 5000 shallow steel Nano comfort springs, layered between thick naturally cool latex. It will far outlast us, but for younger people, such a mattress used on a good platform bed, or strong foundation will surely last twenty or more trouble-free, labor-free years. The nicest part is that it cost us less than $3,000 including a rather nice sturdy solid mahogany platform bed. The platform’s deck is solid and lightly padded and the combination completely ends any vestige of telegraphed motion.  Don’t forget to send in your survey.

Kluft, in my opinion, a line that Bloomingdales pushes, are the best quality that they offer. Shifman Hand Made use wire tied Holland Maid innerspring units that come in three versions, hard, harder, and hardest, and transfer more motion than any other quality innerspring. Kluft uses a variety of behind-the-times individual pocketed coils in most of their line. Holland Maid wire-tied in a few numbers. Only the Rogers Powercore coils invented five years ago are superior to both and that is saying a lot for Kluft. Second best in a field of hundreds. Consumer Reports lists Rogers as making the very best tested innerspring mattress. To make it short, for you luxury mattress buyers with few or no budget restrictions, treat yourself to any Kluft that feels good to you and find someone younger and stronger to flip it at least once a month. No matter what other brand you can find at higher prices, and there are plenty from overseas, the Kluft line will reduce your savings account as well as any, and sleep better than most. For more practical shoppers, send me your survey. And I almost forgot. For you San Franciscans who may want a quality retro mattress that you can try before you buy, you have to visit a local institution, McCroskey Mattress. wwwMcroskey.com

Another mattress I find of interest is at Macys.   One of the very few Simmons Beautyrest mattresses with any latex at all. Simmons’s new Black Series (their best) Beautyrest, The Lillian Luxury Firm Pillow Top is in many of their larger stores. I tested it at the NYC flagship store.  If the sample has not been on the floor too long and tested by too many, crushing the topmost synthetic layer, it sort of mimics the feel that I like so much on the top rated Estate Powercore #9000 Latex from Charles P. Rogers. It isn’t identical and can’t really be because it is padded mainly with mystery foam, not thick layered naturally cool latex. However the synthetic foam, for its type, with Simmons’ best innerspring unit, has a nice feel and will sag or slump more slowly than the cheaper memory foams on lower priced Simmons products. The real difference that I feel (con) is that the Beautyrest coils have much less wire in each making them less supple. They move differently. The Beautyrest lacks the slow fluidity of motion that is built into a Powercore zero pressure support system. For what the Lillian is, a very good mass-produced individually pocketed coil mattress with plenty of padding, it feels quite good. I am a mattress professional and can easily feel the different mechanical actions, but unless they were side by side equally brand new, you wouldn’t know what to look for.   The Lillian can cope with a wide range of BMI types from about 18-40..  See it here: https://goo.gl/EHsRaj

It comes only as close as you can come in “feel” for any hybrid innerspring mattress constructed without the advantage of the superior Powercore2 innerspring construction and generous layers of only naturally  I am not suggesting that you run out and buy one, but you could do a lot worse.  In its favor, the “Lillian” does have a thin layer of latex that helps.   The Lillian should last   a good six or even seven years, not the four or five you can expect at best from cheaper Simmons mattresses.   It goes on sale every four weeks or so for about two weeks and on all the holidays. The sale price is usually about $3,600 for a queen set. The fictitious “list price” is $7,269. I doubt that anyone will ever pay list but anything is possible.

SURVEY KEY:  “LATEX HYBRID” 

Serta-Simmons and Tempur/Sealy between them, now make about 75% of all American and Canadian mattresses. Sometimes it can be hard to buy anything else, but not so hard when you follow my suggestions. On the other side of the showroom, when you go shopping, you may see the early fruits of the new company formed by TempurPedic. Tempur, as I mentioned earlier, bought Sealy and Stearns and Foster and is also in the process of making one company and a host of new mattresses.  The newest mattress being shown is called “Tempur-Flex”. Same old controversial chemical based foam but genuinely improved by the addition of low-profile pocketed coils. This is something they have needed from day one. Sealy seems to be making mostly or all pocketed-coil innerspring hybrids, putting their old-fashioned wire-tied hard springs to sleep, and showing a line of solid synthetic foam with no springs. I think by the end of  2017 you will not be able to tell Sealy/Simmons/Serta apart without a guide. Stearns and Foster is a stepchild and will likely be the last to see any tangible improvements. I did find a Stearns & Foster with some latex at Sleepys. Linked here: http://goo.gl/TgsFCg )

If you take the time to let me share my knowledge with you, you will learn who and how to trust. Especially why you should order from an established business with a street address and a history. We have varying amounts and quality of information about over 600 distinct brands. I continually search for any large brand nationally available innersprings with even a small amount of latex such as the Beautyrest Lillian.   The best value in a latex pocketed coil innerspring has to be the St.Regis Pulse from Charles P. Rogers.  Second best of all innersprings tested by Consumer Reports and a very good mattress available with latex. First best is also by Rogers but not in the $1,000 price range. (A few hundred more for “first best” )  The most complete and accurate compilations on my ever evolving data base are Aireloom, Shifman, Kluft, Serta-Simmons, Tempur-Sealy, Sleep Number, Gold Bond, Charles P. Rogers, Kingsdown, Carpe Diem, Vi Spring, Hastens, Duxiana, Dux, Stearns and Foster (Leggett and Platt, Serta, Marriott, Hotel Mattresses, Keetsa, Saatva, Pin and Needle, Casper, Original Mattress Factory, Beloit Mattresses, and Marshall Ventilated Mattress;  for our Canadian friends.

Please stick with the reading. There are a lot more articles on various details.  I am, as advertised, one little old guy who knows a lot about one topic and gets pleasure out of sharing it, but I no longer have the all the energy I had five years ago when I started this mission. If you do have questions, please try your best to keep them brief. If you have information to share, that is even better but no question, post them where appropriate for all to see. If you have been out shopping and think that you saw something wonderful and want to share, maybe you have, and maybe I can help other readers with your info. But first, read more on the blog.

If, after getting a little educated, you decide not to go it alone, for a real personal one-on-one evaluation of your needs and selection of the best mattresses for your you and your budget, here is the questionnaire key that will take you there.   HYBRID LATEX 

You can check out Consumer’s reviews of major brands right here if you wish by clicking on any of the following links:

Beautyrest: https://goo.gl/1VY64L                                            

Serta ifoam and Perfect Sleeper: https://goo.gl/NOY64z

TempurPedic: https://goo.gl/nwno59,             

Posturepedic: https://goo.gl/eAGst7,

Stearns&Foster: https://goo.gl/ExRYAc  

 

Bed Buying Tips / Bed Value / Bedding / Casper / Mattresses / Misc Bed / Old-Bed-Guy / Saatva

Comments

  • Alli says:

    HI! Thanks are the very informative article. It has been very useful in assisting my search for the perfect mattress! I did submit a survey yesterday (May 9th), but just realized i typed in the wrong key. I hope you can still process my survey.

  • Ron Glaboff says:

    This morning I woke once again to an abundance of lower back pain. Took a few tries in rolling out of bed, and dragged myself into my gym, where I tried to ease the pain to where I could stand upright.
    I had waited too long to begin the quest in earnest of finding a new mattress when my wife provided me with your website. There I filled in the information in #103
    You are an inspiration to me with your work for others on this site, as well as with the ASPCA, as I thought altruism was something from a bygone era.
    Thank you for your kindnesses to others.

  • Rob C says:

    Dear Marshall,

    Thank you for all the great advice on your website. I made the mistake of originally purchasing a purple mattress and have had hip pain ever since. I am now looking for a replacement which will hopefully allow me to sleep through the night. I took your survey a month or two ago and am hoping to hear back (hoping all is well with you.

    I live in CT and found a retailer that has a limited supply of Gold Bond mattresses, but appears that there aren’t many quality mattress shops nearby. I was hoping you could possibly give me some good alternatives (I am not opposed to purchasing online)?

    Also, we are redoing all of our bedroom furniture and need to buy a new bed. I read your post on this and wanted to see if you had any good suggestions? We were thinking of buying a set at Bob’s: As long as I am purchasing a solid platform hardwood bed (no slats / solid platform), with support in the middle, will I be ok? Thank you in advance for your help!

    • Marshall Coyle says:

      dear Rob C, your note is very interesting. if I didn’t answer a survey that you submitted a month or two ago, somehow it must’ve fallen through the cracks. Theoretically that’s impossible but lately the impossible seems to be happening quite frequently. Please resubmit your survey and ask the mattress questions from your note of 11/15 in the comments section. When you re-submit your survey, mark it “rush” and please email me with a message that you have done so. I will look for it and put it on top of the pile.

      Any bed with a solid deck is preferable to one with slats that may be flexible or spaced too far apart. if you are planning to shop at Bob’s it is in your enlightened self interest to read the following essay on my website: http://www.oldbedguy.com/2010/10/04/why-a-solid-wood-bed-is-always-superior-to-an-%E2%80%9Cengineered%E2%80%9D-wood-bed/. this will tell you how to avoid ending up with bedroom furniture dripping with formaldehyde. Dripping with is an exaggeration, but with so much of the Bob’s furniture made of glued together wood chips it can be a lot worse than the hardwood flooring also glued with formaldehyde glue that got Lumber Liquidators in so much trouble last year. If you have a specific product at Bob’s in mind put a link to it in the comments section when you do your survey.

      I am sorry for the messy typing but my hands are acting up again and this is what comes out one of the dictation program.

  • Jamee Lou says:

    Hello,

    Thank you, kudos, bravo, etc. for your dedication and all of your diligent work in providing this informative site. Your willingness to so selflessly share your incredible wealth of knowledge and expertise is a perfect example of someone who is “the real deal” when it comes to truly wanting consumers to have the benefit of the full truth, thereby enabling them to weed through the enormity of B.S. that permeates consumerism (and society in general) these days!

    Perhaps I missed it whe reading through your site, but is there a significant benefit in mattresses being two-sided/”flipable”? Do you have any thoughts on that aspect of construction?

    Thank you! And sending wishes for better health to you every day!

  • Bianca says:

    Dear Marshall,
    Thank you for generously sharing all of your experience and knowledge. I read mattress 103 and found great relief and pleasure in reading it. I, like so many others, have gone to web site after web site trying to research what mattress would be the best for our children (and our next). I filled out the survey and I am looking forward to the possibility of a response. More than anything I want to say, ‘Thank You”. I pray for you to have many more happy, pain free days and comfy nights.
    Sincerely

  • jeff Friedman says:

    Dear Marshall,
    My wife is a pretty notorious back sleeper. I prefer side sleeping. I looked at Sleep number and its too expensive I think. Looled at Kluft Aireloom, too expensive. European Sleepworks, don’t like the idea of putting a mattress on slats. Then looked at CR and saw review of CR Estate. Went to the site. It needs more work. But the Nano2 caught my eye. Like the idea of latex and coils. The minicoil topper being doubled sounds mighty comfy, but, with underneath support. Does not seem to be over-priced. We have a BMI of me at 27 and she at 26. We like medium firmness. I have had back surgery and prefer good spine alignment but also some plushness. Love the beds at St Regis Hotel. Will the Nano2 be a good choice? Thanks
    Jeff

  • Marshall Coyle says:

    dear Jack, as you may already be aware, I have had to put a hold on the surveys because they have piled up to deeply and it troubles my conscience to make people wait overly long. Most of the delay has been my trying to learn how to properly use some high-end dictation software, but I have given up on the properly part and I’m just using it. I will not keep you waiting any longer than necessary as you have already sent in your survey, so look for an answer in the next couple of days. Please do not communicate by post. Not going to work for a while with me but email is fine. I also am a tiny bit confused about your using the word black in connection with both Serta and Simmons. a quick Google will clear that up but I don’t have time for that right now and I am pretty sure you mean a Simmons Beautyrest black and not something from Serta. Simmons makes a black beauty rest that might be exclusively for Macy’s I’m not sure, and something very similar for sleepy’s, that contains a token layer of latex so that they can use the word latex in advertising, but not really as mattress improver. look for the black Asheville as that is the Macy number. If you wish to communicate with me, please do so by email only.

    Marshall Coyle

  • Jon Young says:

    Hi Marshall,

    We are newly married and I have been dealing with a few herniated disks due to wear and tear in the masonry business. I’ve calculated our BMI as 20-21. I’ve been reading your articles regarding selecting a proper mattress. It’s all so informational! We have some wedding gift to spend at our Canadian Hudsons Bay who have great sales on mattresses but may still be quite expensive. Kluft has been a name you’ve mentioned that is sold there as well as the hotel collection and marshalls. We are looking for something that will last for the first few chapters of our lives together. Any help in our first major purchase would be awesome! Looking forward to hearing your advice. Thanks.

  • Alan says:

    Happy New Year Marshall,

    I am looking to buy my son age 3 his first mattress and want to buy something that is quality and should last for him to grow with. He sleeps on his side mostly as well as his back so I am thinking plush. Any recommendations? Should I go cheap because he is still so young. My wife and I have slept on a plush Simmons mattress with Nova foam for years now and originally thought to get him something similar before I came across your site. Many thanks in advance.
    -Alan

    • Marshall Coyle says:

      dear Alan, I would like to try to help you, and in the case of a three-year-old really do not need a complete survey, but I have temporarily paused by one on one advice giving while trying to learn how to use this dictation software properly. I should be up and running with useful one-on-one advice by next week. Please, if you have the patience, send me an email with similar details and include the type of bed that you plan on putting the mattress on. Under those circumstances that I could conceivably imagine would anyone put a child with soft unformed bones on any other than a firm mattress. You cannot translate your grown-up needs and wants to the reality that a child’s skeleton depending on gender takes from 18 to 25 years to fully form. Forcing a growing child to sleep on a too soft mattress because it feels comfortable to you can do long-term harm to the child. Also can put a tiny dent in your pocketbook as most retailers get away with charging more for plush. Please do not post any more of these requests. I will not be checking them until back to speed but you can expect prompt answers if you use good old email.

      Marshall Coyle

  • Marshall Coyle says:

    Dear Sonny,

    There always has to be a first. I would love to be definitive in helping you, but after two years of my own sleeping on a 9000 with a post menopausal wife, and my body full of literally fourteen different pills every night, neither of us has felt any heat radiating from our mattress. To complicate an answer further, neither have any of the hundreds of comments letters including the usual “thank you” have said anything about heat. A few mentioned that it is cooler than their old mattress. I wonder if your old sheets are part synthetic. So many are. And king cotton still reigns supreme for sheets. Is your winter thermostat set high, or are you using the heavy comforter that spent the summer in the closet? Are you a menopausal woman? If you did send in A survey, I cannot find it, so I have only the facts that you sent in your letter. I suggested to examine all of your bedding for synthetics including the pillow th
    If you are sleeping on memory foam pillow your solution is at hand. Replace your pillow with a polyester fiber pillow that sleeps cool. do not remove the protector, but if you have cotton sheets experimented with adding an extra sheet between the protector and your top sheet. If this does not help please write to me this email address.

    Happy new year,

    Marshall Coyle

  • Marshall Coyle says:

    Retta,
    I would love to help you, but I only have one way, the right way. I need to work from a survey that gives me a lot more information than you have shared above. I am not doing the surveys for a few days while dealing with a health issue, but if you get one in, you can be assured of learning what I think is the most sensible mattress for both and each of you.
    Marshall Coyle

  • Dennis says:

    Marshall,

    I happened to find myself in the Rutherford area for work today, and stopped into the CPR showroom they have there to check out the NANO2. Long story short I ordered one then and there, fingers crossed that it will make it to my home before Christmas. You mention it is a paradox and that is a very apt summarization. It is (for me) hard to classify it as ‘plush’ or ‘firm’, since it has the comfort of a plush but the support of a firm. Truly amazing. I am confident that it will pass the wife test and that we will enjoy it for 20+ years! Thank you for devoting your time to this blog and for your personal responses, without this I would have ended up buying a mattress from one of the online upstarts and almost certainly go through a seemingly endless cycle of “try and return” that I see other people go through on mattress forums. Not good for a household with 3 small children where sleep is paramount, first and foremost! Thank you again!!

    Dennis

  • Chris Coffin says:

    Marshall,

    We bought a powercore estate 9000 based off of information on your website. it is obvoiously well made, but does not have the give that I would like in a bed, and I have found it painful as a result. I am plenty big (36 bmi and side sleeper) but have had back surgery and my hips just seem to need to sink lower to be comfortable. Is the nano2 softer? Will we feel more sink. We are returning ours and getting the replacement.

    Thanks for the hood work,
    Chris Coffin

  • Marshall Coyle says:

    Please send your mail to oldbedguy@gmail.com

  • Heath Miller says:

    Mr. Coyle,

    Thank you for all of the great information. I submitted the survey for my wife and me last night, but believe our decision may have already been made, solely on the information you have already provided. I anticipate going with a mattress that you recommend on your blog. Of course, I’m in no hurry and will see what your recommendation is ultimately; provided that their current sale isn’t anticipated to end anytime soon.

    Thanks again for all of your help and information.

    Heath

  • George Loukmas says:

    I need to replace a mattress that has been used for a guest room. However after reading your site I am wondering if I need to focus on our bed. My wife and I are sleeping on a Tempurpedic which I spent a bunch of money on around 8 years ago. I was living in Michigan at the time but just moved to Florida. I have had trouble getting a good night’s sleep but think that is more about other things than mattresses. Anyway, trying to get some of your advice. My wife is 5’2″ and 122 lbs and she sleeps on side and stomach and I am 5’10” and 180 lbs and sleep on back and side. I will probably move the Tempurpedic to the guest room and get this new mattress for us. Also, we live very near the Pittsburgh Mattress Factory in Ellenton, Fla. Wondering if that is a good option. Very interested in your feedback

    • Marshall Coyle says:

      I am sure you would like my feedback, “ain’t nothing like it anywhere else”, but I have to see your filled out survey before I can give valid advice. The window is temporarily open again and may remain open for two or three more days. It all depends on my health which is varying widely from day to day.
      Thank you, Marshall

    • Marshall Coyle says:

      Dear George,

      I was able to keep my survey window open for three days last week and it is now open. If you want to do it right this time, you have the opportunity at hand. Just revisit the http://www.oldbedguy.com and note the invitation to the survey. Of course, you also will have to read the appropriate materials suggested. Will save you many thousands of dollars compared to your previous actions, and maybe get you to think about the possible consequences of inhaling formaldehyde vapors. Won’t do much harm to an adult guest inhaling for a few days, but it is cumulative, and if you have already damaged any lung cells, it would be really smart to stop when you have this opportunity to get a safe bed as well as a comfortable one.

      Marshall Coyle

    • Marshall Coyle says:

      All questions must be submitted on a survey form available on most pages of http://www.oldbedguy.com Thank you. Mrs. Coyle for my recovering Marshall.

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