How To Buy a Mattress

How do you know you need a new mattress?

How to buy a mattress is easy… Like your favorite old chair or worn pair of shoes, your mattress can still feel comfortable long after it has lost its ability to provide your body with the proper comfort and support it needs. Here are a few things to consider when deciding whether it’s time to buy a new mattress and foundation and tips on how to buy a mattress:

You May Need a New Mattress if…

  • Your mattress is five to seven years old
  • You wake up with stiffness, numbness, aches and pains
  • You had a better night’s sleep somewhere other than your own bed
  • (such as a hotel or friend’s guest room)
  • Your mattress shows signs of overuse (it sags, has lumps, etc.)

Choose the right mattress…

 How to buy a mattress comes down to “the right mattress for a great night’s sleep is the one that meets your personal needs for comfort and support” There is no rule stating a certain type of mattress feel “For Back Problems” but before you start shopping for a new mattress, you will need to know some bedding basics. With some general mattress information on the variety of choices available, it will be easier to choose the right bed for you—and get a great night’s sleep:

Innerspring: The most widely purchased type of bedding uses the support of tempered steel coils in a variety of configurations. Varying types and layers of upholstery provide insulation and cushioning between your body and the spring unit, resulting in a range of comfort choices.

There are several types of innerspring units

Pocketed Coils

Pocketed Coils

  • The most popular priced is the Bonnell style coil unit that has a connection of continuous coils
  • Pocketed or fabric encased coil that lessens the motion transfer between two sleepers
  • Foam encased spring units feature support foam all around the springs to offer a more rigid edge and increased sleep surface

    Foam Encased Coils

    Foam Encased Coils

Bonnell Continuous Coil

Bonnell Continuous Coil








Foam:  Solid foam mattresses also offer a wide choice of sleeping sensations or “feels.” They can be made of a solid core or of several layers of different types of foam laminated together like visco memory foam. Advanced technology in polyurethane foams, refinements to traditional latex and the new visco-elastic (“memory”) foams have added to the choice of comfort, support and performance.

Combinations of the two:  A combination of innerspring and specialty foam is also a good choice.  You can benefit from the confidence in a traditional innerspring mattress while still getting some of the benefits of memory foam or latex in the top comfort layer. 

How do you buy a new mattress? 

Once you are familiar with the menu of mattress options available, start the shopping process at a store that you know and trust. Remember, it is important to have an educated salesperson who can guide you through the many choices in bedding to help you find the mattress that best meets your personal preferences. Once in the store, be sure to “test drive” your new mattress following the S.L.E.E.P. test:

How to buy a mattress

How to buy a mattress

Remove your shoes (if you’re a woman, it’s best to go mattress-shopping in jeans or pants) and lie down on several different models in various positions, especially the one you usually sleep in. And remember, those few extra minutes of focusing on the “feel” of different mattress choices can save a lot of time later.  Keep in mind as you test various mattresses that comparison shopping by model name may lead to frustration. You probably won’t find exactly the same model name in one store as you did in another. As with so many product on the market today, many retailers prefer to offer products that are exclusive to their store. For consumers that means more to choose from, and following the S.L.E.E.P. test will help you make the right selection.

Helpful Tips to Guide your purchasing Decision:

  • For proper support, a mattress and foundation must support the body at all points with the spine in the same shape as a person with good standing posture.

  • Ask the salesperson if they can show you illustrated or actual “cutaways” of the interior of the different mattress and foundation choices so you can see what’s inside. (This can actually be a misleading step because stores change models so often and factories do not update the cut outs so they won’t represent the bed you are necessarily buying)

  • Compare store services such as delivery, financing and removal of old bedding as well. Many retailers today offer mattress removal service as part of your purchase price or for a nominal fee.

  • Shop for the best value, not the lowest price. The best assurance for good mattress performance over many years is to buy the highest quality sleep set you can afford.

  • After selecting your new mattress, buy the manufacturer’s recommended foundation to support the mattress, as the two are designed to work best together. In fact, buying the mattress without its matching foundation may affect the terms of the warranty and could also compromise its level of fire resistance. You should never put a new mattress on an old foundation.

For more tips, please visit BetterSleep.Org