Mattress Buying Questionnaire

If you want me, Marshall,  to “virtually shop” for you as if we were visiting stores together,  fill out the questionnaire linked below so that I will have the facts I need to match you to the mattress you need.  There is no cost and no obligation and your information will be trashed as soon as I no longer need it to help you. I have never shared any information with anyone. I will respond via email to help YOU find the perfect mattress.

Please be aware that I am currently slowed down because of arthritis in my hands.   This means that if you really need mattress information right away, say so, I will believe you and do my best, but if you are just gathering information for the future, also say so as a kindness for the people who have an immediate need.


After I study your answers to this survey and determine what what mattress construction(s) are best for you, I then “virtually shop” the internet to find mattresses that meet your physical and financial need. I first search authentic  factory-direct sources that will sell to you without any middleman expenses. With some extra digging on my part, I can almost always match your needs to your budget. Prices at factories that sell direct to the public are usually half or less compared to name-brand retail and/or “sale” prices. If you have budgeted too little, I will tell you. If you cannot afford more, I will search for the best compromises. In any event, I will never ever recommend any noxious synthetic foam. I will also never recommend a solid or layered latex foam mattress without an internal coil spring core for support.   Solid latex mattresses used on hard platform beds or foundations is much less comfortable than when the same latex is padding in an innerspring/hybrid/latex mattress.    Thick, naturally cool latex, with a good innerspring support core (true hybrid) is what you should be thinking about, if you, like me, appreciate the benefits of latex.

Please note that I will not recommend any mattresses for adjustable beds. If you have an adjustable base or intend to buy one, please do not ask me to recommend a mattress.   Mattresses that can fold have been made without important structural parts that reinforce good flat-bed mattresses and will wear out very quickly.

I only recommend mattresses that will unquestionably last for a minimum of ten years.  When otherwise good mattresses have to fold and bend, the maker has to leave out certain structural parts that add longevity.   I also do not recommend any mattresses with air bladders such as the Sleep Number.   Air mattresses are all beautifully merchandised but imperfectly designed and made. When I “virtually shop” to find your “Goldilocks” mattress I do recommend excellent genuine hybrid innerspring mattresses upholstered with naturally cool latex as my usual first choices.   I prefer not to recommend any mattress with any petrochemical synthetic foam such as memory foam, but there are some special purpose mattresses with minimal synthetics that can meet the needs of some of my correspondents.  I am flexible on this issue, but not the bendy mattresses or the noisy motor leaky air mattresses.


  • Nancy says:

    Hello! I have filled out the survey and I am happy to wait patiently for your recommendation, but grump husband with back pain is less so. We would probably be fine with something comparable to our current mattress, the Simmons beauty rest Treasured Hope “firm” with euro top. (bought in 2007; doesn’t seem to exist anymore. Can you give me one or two models that would be comparable? If not, no worries, I will mollify him and wait for you to get to us. Really appreciate the service you provide. Made a contribution to the Potter League (no kill animal shelter ) in RI.

    • Marshall Coyle says:

      Dear Nancy,
      I am sorry to have kept you waiting and don’t have a very good answer for you to compound the problem. Simmons has nothing in production comparable to the quality they used to make only ten years ago. I have been ill for several weeks and the surveys have fallen behind. If you know the exact date + or – 2 days, email me using the same email address you used when you sent in the survey. This is The only way I can locate your survey, which I will search for and see what I can recommend. I also want to know (in the email) the brand name of the adjustable bed and when you bought it.
      All the best, Marshall Coyle

  • Dennis OConnor says:

    Hi Marshall,I was telling some friends about your site, but thought you had retired. We looked you up and saw that you are back generously helping people not get robbed. You helped us buy an excellent mattress two years ago, and we are most pleased with it. At the time, you were finalizing our recommendations and then you were hospitalized. I emailed your wife with our thoughts and prayers, and I never expected to see you back working so hard to help people you don’t know.
    So glad you are feeling better and best wishes for continued good health.
    BTW, we flew up to NJ to see where our mattress was made, and tested out the mattress right there. It was worth the trip to invest in a good nights sleep!
    The Old Food Guy

  • Oleg Erlikh says:

    Hi Marshal, I read everything you have on your Web site but I didn’t find any information on Chattam & Wells mattresses. We had one for 10 years but I have heard SpringAir bought out this line and I am not sure what it means. What’s your opinion on this?

    Thanks a lot, Oleg

    • Marshall Coyle says:

      Dear Oleg,

      There is no information because since I have started to try to educate people as a mission, you are the first and only to mention a need. This is just another instance of mattress companies obeying the law of the jungle. Chattam and Wells mainly existed as a means of unimaginative retailers to make more money on each sale by “pushing” unknown brands. Their main asset was a British sounding sort of elegant name and an inventory of printed and embroidered silk labels. When the major brands became better at protecting the profit margins of retailers, these secondary companies went belly up by the truckload. Spring Air acquired the name in bankruptcy and uses it for retailers who would like a brand less widely distributed than Spring Air. To my knowledge there is no particular reason for any consumer to want or need one. There are still about 500 small brands competing for this space with few to no original ideas. If you are mattress shopping, you might want to consider sending in my mattress survey as a thinking and shopping aid. Marshall Coyle

  • John Miller says:

    In January both my wife and I read all your information at and then each of us filled out the detailed survey and submitted it. Based on what you said on the website, we didn’t expect an immediate response but it’s now been over 7 weeks and we’re now (1) wondering if you’re still doing this service and (2) fearful that if you did respond, that it might have gotten caught in spam. I’ve whitelisted now so that shouldn’t stop your emails in the future.

  • Marshall Coyle says:



  • Suzanne Hume says:

    Dear Old Bed Guy,

    Thank you for trying your best to help people get sleep! I almost bought a mattress that would not work for me before I came to your site. Thank you!!!! Many of us live in pain and do our best to be productive in the world. I am a teacher and I really need a good mattress :) I dread going to bed because I wake up hurting. (I love liquid magnesium and alcohol-free liquid organic tumeric and Vitamin D3 from Amazon.) I have neck issues that effect my arms and loose ligaments along with fibromyalsia… So while I need a hard bed, I cannot sleep unless it is soft.

    I have a bunch of allergies and want to avoid chemicals and fire retardants. I am allergic to latex and do not want to take a chance on having any latex near me. I recently did another patch test to confirm. I don’t want to have it inside my mattress. I have too many other things going on.

    May God be with you! Thank you for trying to help people :) I love being a teacher, doing dog rescue and helping with environmental cleanups, thank you for your time!!! There are a lot of great people who are benefiting from your help!


    • Marshall Coyle says:

      Dear Suzanne,
      Your email address says a lot about you. I certainly do appreciate all your kind words. If you bought a mattress without latex, either it had no foam cushioning at all, or you are now sleeping on synthetic foam. When you read my essays, I am sure you noticed how I feel about synthetic foam. To the best of my knowledge, and I have done my due diligence, there are no known cases of latex allergy from latex foam used inside a mattress. Latex foam inside a mattress gives off no gases or molecules. In no way can it affect anyone with a known latex allergy. Rubber medical items such as gloves or dental dams seem to be the main culprits, and there is a school of thought that the allergy is connected with the Talc that these items are packed with them to keep from sticking together.

      If you have not yet found a mattress that works for you properly, causing you to dread going to bed at night, you can always avail yourself of the free survey to find out what I think is most suitable for you.

      Thank you again,

      Marshall Coyle

  • Hello Judy L,
    Since you keep posting the exact same review on a number of different websites under different names I am not sure if you are indeed a real consumer. In case you are, please note that we are sorry to hear that you regret your purchase of a Berkeley Ergonomics Bed.
    We go out of our way to make it very clear that our prime focus is function and performance, not organic certification. While our components are all certified chemically safe, mostly natural and some are certified organic we do our best to be totally transparent about our product and do expressively not make claims like “synthetic free” or “organic”. Please see our website (URL has been removed by policy) where we address FAQ’s like this and explain the why of our components.
    I also don’t understand why some assembly might have been required. Which model did you buy?
    Please advise which dealer you purchased your bed from so we can address any information gaps that might exist.
    Thank you.
    Andrea Karsten

  • Judy L. says:

    Just want to let everyone know that I purchased a Berkeley Ergonomic bed recently and regret it. When I sit on the edge, it collapses because there is no support on the sides. I also don’t think 2″ of latex is enough between me and the springs. Turns out the springs are all covered in Polypropylene even though I was told the bed was made from only “all natural materials”. I was also told the mattress cover was organic and that has turned out to NOT be true as well. For the price it was NOT a good buy. Because it is NOT synthetic free, chemical free, or organic, like I was told, I should have just bought from Sleep EZ and saved myself a few thousand dollars. The Berkeley bed reminds me of something you would get at Ikea. Some assembly required and very minimal. It is not a sturdy snuggly mattress and I would not recommend the Berkeley Ergonomic beds to anyone.

  • heather says:

    Key- latex hybrid.

    Been following this thread and thank fully you just saved me money and time. I was considering buy one of those Springs on Wheels to help reduce the height of my king mattress which is atop two twin bases on a frame.(I have Serta ISeries Vantage which I bought last year before knowing about this site. I’ve already exchanged it once…now I am out of time.), It sags, as you describe most people complain about.) So, I think I need to consider a platform as you describe above. However, I am looking for something that is not as expensive as the one you recommend above, and that has the capability to mount a head board to. Thank you!

    • Marshall Coyle says:

      Dear Heather, I am trying to communicate using dictation software and it is a mess, but much less so than the one you are heading towards with the junkie metal springs on legs that infests Amazon and overstock and Sam’s and Costco everybody else from $50-$300 and all the same junk. you may not want to spend money on good sleep equipment and that is your privilege, but you also forfeit the right to have a good night sleep every night. possibly you can find a way to rethink your budget and deal with the necessary before the fun or frivolous. I am not being judgmental, certainly not about you perfect stranger, but I have noticed a tendency through the years for people to throw a ton of money away on vacation and then find that they have to wear low-grade shoes, by outdated food, and worst of all, sleep on badly compromised mattresses and beds.
      Marshall Coyle

  • Marshall Coyle says:

    Dear Ryan,
    If you re-visit the Old Bed Guy blog and read the first three essays you will find plenty of recommendations including mattresses that will accommodate the large weight difference. Innerspring/latex hybrids of extremely good quality that meet your budgetary and support needs. “Mr. Coyle Regrets”, the first posting should have your answer. Look at the #1 suggestion and your shopping around should be over.
    Marshall Coyle

  • Joan Espinosa says:

    Dear Marshall,
    I read your essays and filled out and sent the survey on Sept 1. Since I haven’t heard from you, I’m concerned about what happened. Am I on your research list? I’m the still-active 75-year old California side-sleeper with back injuries, and frequent pain while lying down. I’m afraid I don’t recall which email address I gave; if you can’t find me by the one I’m using here, please let me know and I’ll give you another (I have three with the same ISP).
    I truly appreciate this rare opportunity and eagerly await your reply.

  • Vicki Youngelman says:

    I certainly hope you are well and happy. I am 74 years old and having a terrible time researching a mattress. Money is not the issue. I did order a 100% 3 inch all Natural Latex Mattress Topper to be placed on top of any new mattress that I will eventually purchase. The Latex Topper is coming from Habitat Furnishings. There is not one National Brand that does not have a myriad of horrific reviews. Including the Consumer Reports top picks. I like a softer feel but do not want to end up crippled from sinking to the floor!!!! I am a side sleeper and back sleeper. Not worried about motion issues as I am widowed. Waiting for you but don’s take too long as I am already old!!!!! Thanks Vicki

  • Jessica R. says:

    Dear Marshall,

    I just met a gentleman who is selling a “Visco Soy Therapy Foam” mattress. The company is called Best Rest USA. He says they are manufactured in Spain and the company has been selling mattresses in Europe for decades. He also claims that the mattresses will last for 12-15 years. The website says they have received Oeko-Tex certification. Is that as good as the Certi Pur that you recommend? Do you have any information on the reliability and safety of this brand? How about customer satisfaction? I have not been able to find reviews online. Thank you! Jessica R.

  • Marshall
    I am searching for a new mattress, alittle overwhelmed. I have some aches and pains related to arthritis …shoulders, back, and neck. I am VERY interested in a latex mattress even a latex/foam mix mattress bc I have heard very good things. I do not want another spring mattress, and I just had a sleep number …. I sleep on my side and my back depending on my pain….mainly my side. My zip is 37321. HELP!!!!!

    • Marshall Coyle says:

      Dear Lee,

      As you may have noticed, and actually noticed over and over again as it is posted twice on every page, you can get my personal, one-on-one help in finding a mattress that you need. But not this way. Please go back to the Old Bed Guy, any article, it doesn’t matter. Look to either side and you will see my invitation to help you, but only if you fill out the offered questionnaire. It would really be helpful to you if you sat and read at minimum, “Mattress 103”. A simple way to understand why you are having your shopping problems and WHY the Old Bed Guy only recommends mattresses that have springs inside under some reasonably safe padding. Only Latex is absolutely positively unconditionally able to made with no noxious gases. Never the less, many health conscious mattress makers are using chemical foams that have been tested by CertiPur USA approved laboratories and are as safe as synthetic foams can be. And that can be quite safe with some.

      If you slow down, and find the help offers, and answer the questions, and supply information about your pains, I will painstakingly help you. I really have little interest in BS “good things” that you may have read on a phony review site or from a commission salesperson. I never said such a thing, and neither has Consumer Reports. And we won’t as what you have heard may not be true at all. If you choose to take your mattress advice from someone who makes money from the process, you are on your own.

      Marshall Coyle

      Or if you just can’t find it , just try here:

  • Jennifer says:

    Hi Marshall –

    Quite simply put, I need something to hold up my mattress off the floor, preferably 10 – 14 inches to allow for ample storage. Do you have a recommendation here? I can certainly provide the details of my daily job if needed.


    • Marshall Coyle says:

      Dear Jennifer,

      If a solid mahogany enormously strong $500 platform bed with a solid lightly padded deck will do what you want, this is it. Plenty of storage under the 10.25″ clearance.


  • Jennifer says:

    Hi Marshall –

    Thanks for your response and sorry I was not more clear or did not use the correct terminology and did not give you my unique situation. I fly to a different city/country every night for my job. I am working on changing this but before 3 weeks ago, my “bed” was on an airplane seat or a different hotel every night. I subletted a different place every 2 months or so in different parts of the world for places I may need to layover several times a month and I used the bed that was provided (I am not affected by bed bug bites thankfully I am part of the 75% who aren’t – they are everywhere, all over the US, even in the nicest high end homes and hotels). If I lived a normal lifestyle in a spacious place, I would just leave the boxspring and mattress on the floor. However, I am anticipating my next job (based on demand and interviews thus far) will be in the city I just moved to and trying to set up a great bed situation for when I finally have a home again (after 8 years of constant travel!) I can either pay $100/mo for storage or I can store my office needs in roll out carts under my bed. A much lower priority/concern is I may need to move my bed 3 or 4 times this year and my timing is extremely limited. I often need to pay someone $250/hr to cover me to do what normal people do on nights or weekends. I looked up the Simmons semi flex online and it does not offer additional storage space at all nor provide an easier method of moving it. What I liked about the structures is it could be set up and torn down in 5 mins and I could carry it out to my car and drive it to a new place no problem. It also would save me $100/mo in storage costs, plus the time I would need to pull stuff from storage on a weekly basis on my way to external clients. Also, the testimony regarding the structures product above is now up to 17 cases across my network (people I actually know and have no involvement in this industry). In all 17 cases, they love the support and ease of set-up/moving and of course, the main advantage, the storage. In all cases but 2, it is two adults on the bed and in many cases they have a dog and small children often jumping into bed with them. They range from use for 2 – 4 years and no issues. Several of these cases are friends from college on a basketball team so they and their husbands are above 6 ft and much heavier than me. In two of the emails, I was told people tried 3 and 4 other metal structures similar to the one I sent and within a year, they broke (similar to your neighbors situation which sounds horrible!! I feel for them!). So, if I was looking to get my mattress off the ground and provide a good amount of storage but still have a great nights sleep/not damage the mattress much faster than typical, is there a base to my mattress that you could suggest? Or has technology not advanced to this yet? A huge bonus would be ease of set-up/tear down and moving but that would be far second to the storage space. I appreciate all of your honest help. It may be that I just need to pay the $100/mo storage because it is not worth constant sleeping issues or ruining an expensive mattress. Thanks a bunch for your help!!

    • Marshall Coyle says:

      Dear Jennifer, It may not be all your fault, but I am unable to carry your thought processes beyond any one sentence. In short, I have no real idea what you do. “Your situation” as you call it. Whey don’t you relax one evening and write me a not for publication essay that will clarify what you are searching for. And, of course, what progress you are making. So write a few simple declarative sentences. Name names and places. No guesswork,and you might just get a clear letter of advice. All the best for now, and sleep well. Can Bed Bugs work their way through Gore Tex?

      Marshall Coyle

  • Jennifer says:

    Hi Marshall –

    I just purchased a beautyrest black ava plush mattress and boxspring which so far I like. However, I found the following foundation “Structures™ Highrise™ folding bed foundation” and there are thousands of great reviews on it replacing box springs and providing good support. I wouldn’t believe any of the written reviews as many of them were probably paid but I now have several friends that replaced their boxspring with this foundation and after 3 years are just as happy, if not happier. I’ve seen some horrible foundations but this one seems legit. But I thought I would go to the candid expert before I returned my boxspring. I would keep both but my bed is way to high with both. I’m 5″0 tall and weigh 103lbs in a queen bed. No one else sharing the bed with me (at this point in life :) It seems from what I have read you are adamantly opposed to a foundation without a boxspring – did I read correctly?

    Thanks for the help!

    • Marshall Coyle says:

      Dear Jennifer,

      I do believe that you are mis-reading my essays. If you own a one-sided mattress,and you apparently do, any strong flat surface such as the excellent Leggett and Platt Semi-Flex that Simmons relabels as Simmons, are as almost as good as you can get. To get the best, best, best, almost overkill you could get a platform bed with a solid lightly padded deck. Then for not much more cash outlay, you will have a lower and stronger under-mattress support. The problem with the zillions of cheap Chinese springs on legs is that they break, even with your tiny weight. Your mattress is far from light, and the standards of welding where these springs come from is far less than the best. The reviews are a classbook example of the word phony. And yet, I have occasionally recommended one to a person with a particular need. I was talking to a neighbor one day while dog walking and she poured out her heart about how her thirteen year old developmentally challenged daughter just kept breaking one bed after another. Together, we opened up a computer to Amazon, and discovered dozens of similar springs on legs resembling your “structures” find, only mostly under $100. Then we visited Sams Club and found them still cheaper. This woman is living on public assistance and has troubles you do not want to know about. I found this one for around $80 that looked stronger than the others because of the way the slats are angled at 90 degrees. Then, because there is a nice neighborhood lumber yard, they “sold” her a scrap of masonite more than enough to cover the center third. Now we had a strong steel bed for well under $100. Her latex hybrid mattress has outlasted three other steel bases, but this one has survived for a couple of years so far.

      If your bed is too high, you can dump the metal frame and put the box spring directly on the floor. I would only buy the “Structures” thing if you are feeling lucky or charitable. It costs about $20 FOB Shanghai, and a lot of Americans are making needed profits by selling it to people who want to believe in miracles. I for one believe in my solid mahogany platform bed with it’s lightly padded solid deck that costs no more than a couple of good foundations. Your most sensible thing to do if you are sleeping well is stay put. You are cruising for trouble with this imported junk. Your friend should buy your lottery tickets for you because she is very lucky. The latest rumor about the Chinese cheap imported springs on legs deals with the world wide traveling bed bugs. They can live 800 days without a meal and a transpacific voyage is easy for them. I think that the infestations occur in California in the low end warehouses that pack and ship them. But who knows?

  • Sandra says:

    I was wondering why why the Shifman Anniversary mattress rated so low in Consumer Reports… I thought Shifman was one of the best.

    • Marshall Coyle says:

      Dear Sandra, You answered your own question. “I thought Shifman was one of the best” Had you written, “I thought Shifman isone of the best” Shifman for many generations was one of the best mattress makers around. They still make some very well assembled mattresses that would probably do well in the Consumer Reports test. The labels on the good stuff all have the word “Original” and all contain the same wire-tied (no pocketed coils yet) offset innerspring unit and all are inner-tufted. But as these retro mattresses are wonderful examples of wretched excess in the thickness department, and might even be described as being two mattresses, they are unusual and of limited appeal. Consumer Reports tries to test merchandise that real people with real money want to buy.

      Did you fill out a questionnaire to see what I think you should find appropriate for your needs, or are you relying on guesswork and information from commission salespeople?

      Shifman, in their wisdom, has created a “quilted” line. It is sold at prices about 400% above similar or better than from the Original Mattress Factory. When OMF produces a cheap quilted innerspring two sided mattress/foundation that they can sell for around $600, despite the poor physical test scores, still gets a best buy because of the low price. When Shifman makes something with equal or poorer specification for six or seven times the price. Shifman deserves even lower scores because the mattress that you are concerned with is completely non-competitive and designed to capitalize on the hard work the previous owners did to make the name mean something. This “quilted” mattress with a Shifman label exists for one reason. So that their high priced retailers can put a comparatively low price in a holiday ad. To me, it looks like classic bait and switch that you would expect to find in a sleazy sleep shop, but right now you will find in ultra high markup department and furniture stores.

      You can buy both of the two Consumer Reports top rated hybrid innersprings for the price of one Shifman Quilted and enough change to buy a set from OMF similar to the Shifman. Read my Mattresses for May, June, and July or future similar ones, and see what to buy, not what not to buy.

      Marshall Coyle

  • Susan says:

    Hello there,
    I really enjoyed reading ( most ) of your article. I have a four year old very active boy, so I usually do not get past the headline. My husband and I are looking for a new mattress, the one we are sleeping is a 30 year old mattress. We both like the Bueatyrest ultimate ultra plush top mattress, but way over our budget. The problem is everything feels good what we lay on, compared to what we have. We would like to keep it around two grand if possible. We live in area code 20106, Culperper Va. There are a couple of chain stores Sleepy’s and Mattress dicounters. We both are side and back sleepers, we will take any help we can get. Thanks Susan

    • Marshall Coyle says:


      Did you enjoy reading most of one article, or did you enjoy reading most of the articles. I don’t know whether to feel hurt that you didn’t finish a whole helpful article, or maybe had the good sense to not wade through dozens of arguably technical articles. They do happen to be there for a reason. I have made mattresses, after my family, the most important thing in my life. This Old Bed Guy website is the culmination of more than 60 years of knowledge waiting to be shared. I do not believe that anyone should sleep on a second-best mattress, and in almost every instance, should do his or her best to find one with few to no chemical issues. Hard to find such a mattress in a retail chain store, but you can find some in Bloomingdales and occasionally in Macys. Sears, Overstock, Pennys, fuggedabuoutit. (as we say in NYC).

      My suspicions that you really just skimmed one article and gave up is because on each and every page, up at the top, there is a link to a survey and a promise to answer questions like yours only when and if you answer the questions. The information you were so kind to include in this post is somehting that a salesman in a hurry might ask before he asks you what credit card you have, but not enough to actually help you find your “Goldilocks” mattress. So, if you want to become a smarter shopper, go back to beginning, visit the survey, take it, and wait a week or so unless you indicate a major need for quicker.

      Marshall Coyle

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