The Ultimate Mattress Buying Guide to Help You Find the Perfect Mattress
Thinking about getting a new mattress? Whether you’ve slept on the same one for years or you just want to try something new, finding the perfect mattress can be stressful and challenging for most. With so many options on the market these days, narrowing down one that you will sleep on every night for the next 5 to 10 years is a challenge.
The fact is, mattresses are huge investments. Think about it; you spend 8 hours a night, every night on this piece of furniture, so you want to make sure you're buying the best one.
Finding the perfect mattress doesn’t have to be a challenge anymore! In fact, you don’t even need to go to a mattress store any longer with so many companies offering mattress delivery online.
This is our easy to follow guide to help you find your new favorite mattress in only a matter of steps! We’ll cover the basics, what to look for, and what to avoid, and how to find the one that best fits your needs.
What’s Your Budget?
First thing’s first, you need to know how much you’re willing to spend on your new mattress before going any further. By knowing the ballpark range, you can narrow down potential options much easier without having to read thousands of mattress reviews online. When thinking of your budget, the word that should stick in your mind is “value”. Value is made of a few different components, and breaks down into a formula like this:
Value = (Quality + Durability + Feel) / Price
The total cost of the mattress will take all of those factors into consideration. It’s best to think about the price you pay as paying for all of those features combined, not just the basic sticker price. By thinking like this when you buy a mattress, you’ll get the most bang for your buck.
What are your size needs?
Are you buying this mattress for just yourself, or do you have a partner that will share it with you? The larger the mattress, the higher the price will be typically. You should also consider the size of your room. Most people want to have space to walk around, and if you live in a smaller apartment, for example, you might not have the space for a California King.
Now that you’ve determined your budget and the size you’re looking for, you can move onto the next steps where you’ll determine the feel and type of mattress that will best meet your needs.
What are your comfort preferences?
Since you’re going to sleep on this mattress every night for years, you want to make sure that it feels ultra-comfortable to your preferences. Everyone will be different because everyone sleeps differently. Some people will prefer sleeping on a super firm mattress, while others want to feel like they’re sleeping on a cloud. Let’s figure out where you fall on the comfort spectrum.
Because you sleep on your side, you need support from your mattress that will conform to the shape of your spine. For this reason, you should choose a mattress that’s on the soft to medium side of the comfort spectrum. This will ensure that your spine is aligned properly and helps eliminate potential aches and pains. Your shoulders and hips can sink into the top layer of the mattress, and it will feel like you're sleeping on a cloud in a sense.
If you sleep on your back, you’ll be comfortable with any type, depending on your personal preference. Do you prefer a soft or firm mattress? Think about the best mattresses you've tried in your life and work from there. The most important thing is to make sure that you don't have any back pain after sleeping and that your mattress will properly support your body.
If you sleep on your stomach, you’ll probably want a mattress that is on the medium-firm to firm side of the spectrum. Because you sleep on your stomach, you need a solid foundation to keep your back from bowing inwards which can lead to long-term pains. If you were to choose an ultra-soft mattress, you’re lumbar would sink into the mattress and will lead to extensive aches and pains.
All Position Sleepers
Do you like to toss and turn every night and alternate between all three of the sleeping positions? You’re not alone, and many people like to mix up their sleep positions from night to night. Our recommendation for you would be a medium to medium-firm mattress which provides the most versatility. You should also consider a mattress that has a responsive feel that will allow you to move freely as you switch between sleeping positions.
Let’s Talk About Personal Preferences
Sleeping positions are crucial to determining the comfort of your mattress, but your personal preferences should play a role in your decision also. Some people might think that they like a firm mattress but really would prefer a medium-firm mattress. On the other hand, some might think they like a soft mattress but could benefit from a medium level mattress. Let’s break down each of the options so you can understand each of the options better.
If you like to sink into the bed, a soft mattress might be for you. Soft mattresses are pliable and hug the body. This sensation is possible because of the softer top layers while the base of the mattress still provides the support and structure to hold the mattress’ shape. Back sleepers and side sleepers tend to prefer softer mattresses because they can conform to the shape of their spine, preventing aches and pains in the morning. Stomach sleeps should avoid soft mattresses since they won’t provide the adequate support needed to prevent the back from bowing inwards. If we were to rate soft mattresses on a scale from 1 to 10, they usually are around 3.
If you aren’t a fan of sinking all the way into a bed, a medium mattress could be the choice for you. It is the balance between soft enough to sink in a little bit while remaining firm enough to provide more support. Medium mattresses will have enough support from the base layer to keep your body stable as you sleep with a plush top that slightly hugs your body and conforms to your spine. This type of mattress is best for people that alternate between back and side sleeping with minimal stomach sleeping. When rating this type on the same scale from 1 to 10, it would fall around a 5 right in the middle.
This option is by far the most popular amongst most people. It feels a tad bit firmer than a medium mattress but isn't like sleeping on a brick floor. It is the most comfortable for all types of sleeping positions and people of different weights and sizes. If you have a partner, this could be the best option since it will likely meet both of your personal preferences. Although the base layer of the mattress will be on the firmer side, the plush top will add the necessary softness for a comfortable sleep. We would rate medium-firm mattresses a 6.7 on a scale from 1 to 10.
Do you hate sinking into mattresses? A firm mattress is probably your ideal solution then. These mattresses will give the best support and won't have any "give" allowing you to sink into it. It is ideal for people that like to feel "on" the mattress rather than sleeping "in" it. Stomach sleepers will enjoy this type of mattress the most since it prevents the back from bowing inwards. On a scale from 1 to 10, this one is rated at an 8.
The Different Materials Available
So now that you've narrowed down your price and comfort preferences let's discuss the different materials available. Decades ago, there weren't many options available, but these days, you have endless material options. Each has its own list of benefits and finding the type that's best for you comes down to a few different factors.
The most common mattress types are Hybrid Mattresses, Foam Mattresses, and Innerspring Mattresses. Each of these options is different than the next with a unique list of pros and cons. Let’s take a look at each so you can narrow down the best choice for you.
The most popular of all are foam mattresses which are made with several layers of foams, all serving to provide a different purpose and adding to the overall comfort level. Typically, foam mattresses will use a combination of memory foam, poly foam, and latex foam. The base layer will be dense to provide more structure and support, while the top layers will be softer and allow the sleeper to sink into it. These mattresses are great because of minimal motion transfer, perfect if you get up before your partner and don’t want to disturb them. One downside of this type is that they tend to trap heat.
Hybrid mattresses are basically the combination of both worlds. When you choose this mattress, you'll have the support and structure from the innerspring, while the top foam layers will give the soft feel of an all foam mattress. These are a great choice for people that want to try a foam mattress without committing to one. The heat distribution is usually excellent with this type; however, you might feel some motion transfer because of the springs.
These are the traditional type that you’ve probably used before. The core of the mattress is made with a coil system of springs, while the top layer features a pillow top for softness. These mattresses are very durable and provide tons of support. They also dissipate heat well along with a springier feel, making it easy to jump out of bed in the morning.
Different Foam Types
Although some might think that all foam mattresses are created the same, the type of foam the manufacturer uses will have an impact on the feel and durability of your new mattress. To help you narrow your search down even further, let’s take a look at the different foam types.
The first type is memory foam. This foam will conform and hug the shape of your body. It has a slow response time, leading to the "memory" name as your body will leave an imprint for a few seconds after getting up. Memory foam is great for relieving pressure points and will distribute your weight evenly. Keep in mind that it will warm to your body heat.
The second type is latex foam. Latex foam is naturally springier than the other options and is ultra-breathable to help cool you as you sleep. It is incredibly durable and easy to move on, which is great if you tend to switch sleeping positions throughout the night. Keep in mind that because this material is more durable, it is typically more expensive than the other two foams.
The third foam type is poly foam. There are a few different types of feels, and the quality varies in this category of foam. This type is less expensive than the other to foam types but can mimic the feel of the other two. This foam is less durable than the other options but might be a good choice if you aren't sure if you're willing to splurge on a foam mattress.
The Choice is Yours
Hopefully, our mattress buying guide has helped you learn more about the options that are available to you, and how to narrow down your choices. There are literally thousands of mattresses available on the market, but only one perfect one for you. Follow the tips in this guide and finding the perfect mattress for you should be much easier than before! Make sure to check out our reviews of specific mattresses as you shop!