that a good nightís sleep is important for good
health, the right mattress can make all the difference.
mattress shopping can feel a bit like car shopping ó
you only need a mattress about every 10 years, and the
whole process is mystifying. With mattress shops
seemingly on almost every corner and nice-sounding but
meaningless names like "Endless Sleep" or
"Luxury Comfort," itís hard to tell the
difference between one mattress and another.
said the mattress industry purposely doesnít make it
easy for shoppers.
the trick with mattress shopping. There is no
standard," said Louis Ramirez, senior features
writer at comparison shopping website DealNews.
"What one company calls ultra firm, another calls
Welch, president of review website WhatísTheBest-Mattress.com
and a former consultant who worked with the mattress
industry, said the confusion between mattress names is
deliberate. Welch said in order to sell more products,
manufacturers will work with retailers and sell
essentially the same lineup of mattresses and give them
different names for different shops.
want to compete on their ability to sell; they donít
want to compete on price," Welch said.
are ways for consumers to do some price comparisons, but
"you have to be tenacious about it," he said.
shopping online or in a store, buyers should expect to
spend time researching.
benefit to going to a showroom is that sleepers can test
out how comfortable the mattress is, which Ramirez and
Kuperszmid Lehrman, deputy content editor for Consumer
Reports, said mattress comfort is definitely subjective,
saying they recently reviewed mattresses for support and
can tell you which mattress is supportive, but not how
comfortable it will be for you," she said.
shopping showrooms, start in the back of the store,
Lehrman said, as thatís where the less-expensive
models are located: The pricier pads are in front. Wear
comfortable clothes and lie on the mattress for 10 to 15
minutes, all three said.
said consumers can get some basic information from
statistic sheets, which the salesperson can print out.
This information should explain the components inside
the mattress, such as the number of coils, coil
thickness, known as the gauge, and the number of layers
of foam padding above the coils. It may also explain the
foamís material and whatís in the fabric covering
the mattress, called ticking.
the process in another store, choosing the same mattress
manufacturer, and test out the pads that were in a
similar price range at the other store. If the mattress
feels the same, ask the salesperson for the statistics
sheet on that mattress and then compare the two, Welch
it feels pretty close, youíll likely discover the bed
is very close to identical. The very least it will have
the same number of coils and the same gauge. The layers
of padding may be arranged differently, but
fundamentally itís the same stuff and thickness. The
ticking may be a different color or pattern," he
cautioned that shoppers can try to look at this data,
but the manufacturer may have made small adjustments as
they changed the names for different retailers that may
or may not reflect a difference in mattress performance.
really donít want you to leave the store. Itís not a
particularly fun way to shop, and youíre really
shopping blind," she said.
one thing a consumer canít do properly is compare
mattresses among brands, Welch said, adding that the
technology between the manufacturers is different.
offer information for online shoppers, but without
physically laying on the model, buyers run the risk of
the mattress being uncomfortable. Still, Lehrman said
several of their high-scoring mattresses were from
either warehouse stores or online sellers.
were also not only tops in scoring, but they were pretty
inexpensive and these places have very liberal return
policies. So there wasnít a downside to trying out
these mattresses to see if they worked for you. If they
work for you, thatís great. You found a mattress thatís
relatively inexpensive and donít have the hassle of
shopping at a retail store which is not a happy
scene," she said.
policies are key, whether shopping online or on foot,
the experts said.
want to be sure itís easy to return, know the length
of time for trying it out, and see if they are going to
charge you a restocking fee and if theyíre going to
charge you for transporting it back," Lehrman said.
shopping, try to negotiate, the experts said,
particularly at specialty stores. Wait for sales,
especially 40 percent or 50 percent off deals.
Competition for conventional innerspring mattresses is
the highest and will likely lead to more price-cutting;
salespeople are less likely to offer deals on memory
foam mattresses and air-filled mattresses, they added.
if dealers wonít budge on price, Ramirez recommended
trying other avenues. "You can always try to get
something out of them. Free shipping, a free set of
sheets. To get free shipping out of them, thatís
great," he said.