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Purchasing a New Mattress

When shopping for a mattress wear shoes you can get in and out of easily.

  • Test the mattress by laying full-length out on the bed. Try it out like you're going to use it, and spend some time on it to see how it really feels. If you feel silly, just think how silly you're going to feel when you don't sleep comfortably after spending all that money!
  • Note the gauge of the wire as well as the coil count. The smaller the #, the heavier the wire is.
  • Always buy box springs at the same time. They are made to be a set.
  • Use a heavy-duty bed frame with good center support.
  • Stick with a name brand.
  • Don't assume that a higher price means a better mattress.
  • Stay away from department stores - they're always higher and sometimes the name-brand companies make mattresses to fit the store's specifications. You might not be getting the mattress you think you are. Look for a mattress warehouse or factory.
  • Remember that all "pillow top" mattresses will get body impressions (except latex toppers.)
  • Make sure your mattress has a non pro rata warranty of 10 years.
  • Shop around, compare delivery prices, and find out if the company will remove your old mattress for you.
  • Buy a mattress with a minimum of 312 coils (fine for children), with 540 being the absolute best. Full-size should have at least 300, queen-size at least 375 and king-size at least 450.
  • Check factory specifications closely.
  • For the bed to be right, it should yield enough for you to sink slightly, but not too much, into the bed. LIE DOWN on the mattress, preferably with your sleeping partner, before you buy. You're not going to be bouncing up and down on the edge of the mattress with you get home!
  • For a dry bed, choose a mattress with comfort layers made of latex and insulating pat made of coconut fiber. Stay away from wool because wool can grow mold when damp that could trigger asthma problems.
  • A mattress should be an innerspring at least nine inches thick. Don't buy budget when you're buying a mattress. A good mattress will last you 10 to 15 years and will end up costing only pennies a night even at the high-end prices. Shop smart, but don't scrimp.

Mattress Terms

  • Foundation - absorbs the shock of daily wear and provides support and durability.
  • Core - provides support for the body and can be spring, air, foam or water.
  • Upholstery - Adds comfort and cushioning.
  • Coil Count - the number of coils in the mattress. High coil count gives better contouring while lower coil count if firmer.
  • Contour - how the mattress coils conform to the body for comfort.
  • Box Spring - supports and cushions the mattress.
  • Innerspring - the inner support of the mattress composed of hundreds of wire coils held together by wire or cloth.
  • Wire gauge - thickness of the wire coils. The thicker the wire, the less flexible the coils.
  • Comfort level - can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer with Plush being soft and fluffy, Firm being standard cushioning and Pillow top being a mattress with extra layers of cushioning.
  • Non pro-rated warranty - a manufacturer's warranty against defects.
  • Pro-rated warranty - offers less coverage based on the number of years in the warranty.

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