Mattress Comparison Shopping — How to Compare, Shop and Keep Your Sanity

When it’s time to go mattress shopping, how do you avoid getting confused? Salespeople will quickly take advantage of a confused state of mind, as you will be more easily led to a mattress THEY would like you to buy rather than one YOU really want.

Mattress Comparison Shopping Part 1: Research

The first step: Take your time. You’ll be sleeping on this mattress many years, if all goes well. It pays to make the right choice the first time.

Do your research. Find out what goes into making the best mattresses. If you decide that you want some top-of-the-line components, but that others are not necessary, you can then make some concessions. But at least you will be well-informed and well educated. Check out what goes into making the best mattresses here.

It is rare that a mattress salesperson will give you all the information you need — they are mostly trained to make a sale, so don’t depend on them for your knowledge.

Part 2: Comparison TEST

Decide what type of mattresses you want to test and compare.

If you are considering a different type of mattress from the one you have now, it is a good idea to test them out first with no intention of buying — leave your wallet (and checkbook and credit cards) at home.

  • First compare types. If you want to compare a pilowtop innerspring to a latex foam mattress or to a memory foam bed, and have no idea what any of these will feel like, make one trip just getting acquainted with the feel of each type. Take notes and compare prices. Write things down, because you surely won’t remember every detail.
  • Next: Mattress brands comparisons and comparing models of the same type of mattress. Once you decide you like a plush firm innerspring with memory foam padding, try out several brands that offer this type of bed. Same goes for all latex, adjustable air beds and all memory foam.
  • Make sure you try out all the firmness levels for each product line. Now is a good time to get the feel of these levels, for they will affect your sleeping comfort for years to come.
  • Ask for spec sheets, or if they are not available, ask for coil count, coil type, and coil gauge, and whether they use heat-tempered steel. Then do the same for the padding and fabrics.
  • If buying a specialty mattress such as latex or memory foam or adjustable air bed, ask for the specifics on them as well. Is the inner core latex or poly foam? Is it natural or synthetic? Talalay or Dunlop? What is the density and ILD of the latex or memory foam? How thick is the core?
  • If the salesperson gets off-topic or starts lecturing you on why you don’t need to know these things or why they don’t matter, just politely nod and say, “Yes, I know, but can you give me the exact numbers so I can compare?”
  • Then shop according to specs rather than by model names, as they will all be different at each retailer.
  • Test each mattress carefully, allowing at least 15 minutes per mattress (of course these are the ones you like — if you lie down on a mattress and know right away you don’t like it, no need to give it more time.)

For more info on how the best mattresses are made, click here…

Part 3: Prices

You’ve made up your mind? You’re ready to buy? Now it’s time to shop price. First go online and compare prices there. You won’t be able to do exact mattress comparison shopping on price unless it’s the same model, but get ranges and ballpark figures.

Then armed with your price comparisons, it’s back to your favorite retailers to see if you can negotiate for the price you want. If you can’t get the same online price (web-based stores are usually a bit less on average) but it’s close enough, and you like the customer service of the local people, why not? But if you can’t get the deal you want, it’s back to the internet!

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