Stearns and Foster Mattress — Best In Mattress Comparisons Or Unnecessary Luxury?

The Stearns and Foster mattress collection is considered a mid-luxury brand, not as high-end as say, Duxiana, but above the more commonly known brand names such as Sealy, Serta and Simmons.

Stearns and Foster is wholly owned by Sealy, so it is common to see these two solid brands together in the same retail outlets.

This mattress comes in three main product lines, or as they call them, collections:

  • The Traditional innerspring collection starts at a suggested retail price of $1399 for a queen size.
  • The Estate innerspring collection, the next step up in the “good, better, best” sequence has a starting price of about $1699.
  • The Lux Estate innerspring collection, starts at about $2199 for a queen size bed.
  • Golden Elegance, which tops out the luxury innerspring brand, starts out at a whopping $3999.
  • The Luxury Latex begins with a $1999 starting point.
  • Monogram Gel Memory, described as the “finest memory foam bed in the world” by the company itself, starts at $2999.

Keep in mind these names and prices may vary in the retail stores. You can find individual models of all these brands with some extra names added, such as Jeraldine II, Angie, and so on. The variation in prices is determined by added features such as pillowtop style, gel memory foam or latex foam padding. Sometimes price is determined by the oddly deceptive business practices of the mattress industry in general, as mentioned here….

How It Stands Out

So what makes a Stearns and Foster mattress stand out from other similar brands and models? Let’s start with the innerspring.

The notable feature of the Estate, Lux Estate and Golden Elegance collections is the IntelliCoil type of innerspring. This is a spring that has another smaller spring nestled inside the larger one. This structure is supposed to give you a bit of extra support — the theory being that your body is cradled by the larger outer spring, while the little inner one offers more firmness as your body sinks into the mattress.

It sounds logical and quite comfortable. However, the larger outside coil needs to compress quite a bit downward before you experience the pushing-up benefit of the inside coil. Some say this would only be an issue for heavier people, as a lightweight small or thin person might never push the springs down enough to activate the inner coil or notice any difference in comfort or support.

Also, the type of padding on top of the coils matters at least as much, if not more so, than what’s underneath in terms of comfort.

Does the InteliCoil make for a more durable, long-lasting bed? You might think so, as technically the coil count has doubled. However, the existence of a small coil nested inside a bigger one would not necessarily affect the wear and tear on the outer coil. One would have to know exactly how much pressure is transferred to the small coil at any time to measure any possible advantage. As mentioned, for many people, it does nothing.

Wire gauge, spring height, number of turns and quality of steel are the decisive factors in spring durability. Stearns & Foster excels in coil quality, using heavy-gauge all-tempered steel to make a bed that is built to last.

The least-expensive line, the Traditional collection, does not have InteliCoils, but is no slouch, as it does feature individually wrapped (pocket) coils made of the aforementioned sturdy tempered steel.

Padding Materials

Stearns & Foster offer luxury fabrics and padding. Most collections offer a choice of either memory foam or latex foam padding and either Smooth Top Construction or pillowtop.

As we have discussed elsewhere, pillowtop mattresses are not recommended by most experienced mattress buyers and experts. They have a tendency to cave in quickly, giving you the feeling that your mattress is worn out when in fact it’s just your topmost layer of cushioning being far too squishy and “plush” for its own good. Adding your own separate mattress toppers on a firm bed gives you flexibility in comfort without having to put up with a crater in an otherwise perfectly good mattress.

Fabrics

No one could accuse Stearns and Foster of skimping on their fabrics. They offer what they call “Cashmere infused” covering. What does that mean exactly? I’m guessing it is a fabric blend with cashmere. This is supposed to offer a smooth, cool, absorbent, luxurious sleeping surface. The problem, of course, is that most people need to put a mattress pad on top if they have any hope of keeping their “full 25 year” warranty intact and valid. Can the benefits of great fabric be felt through a mattress pad? It’s possible that the cooling and softness factors can still be felt, but probably not the silky smooth textures.

Warranty

As mentioned, Stearns & Foster offers a fine 25-year warranty. If you look at the numerous review sites, you will notice that most mattress warranties do not offer satisfying outcomes to those with the most severe complaints. Is this because the more disgruntled the customer is, the more likely he or she will vent some frustration on a review site? Yes, we have to allow for that. But mattress companies do not make it easy to use the warranty for obvious (bottom line) reasons. Stearns & Foster is no better or worse than average than their competitors in this respect. That is about the best we can say about them.

Thickness and Firmness Levels

Is the S & F a thick mattress? Yes indeed. From 12 inches to over 20 inches for their most cushiony Ultra Plush Golden Elegance models, this is a hefty and heavy bed with substantial edge encasing and tufted surfaces. Fortunately they offer a slim foundation to help lessen the overall height–otherwise some of us would need a ladder to get into bed.

Wondering what firmness level you should choose? The options are Firm, Cushion Firm, Plush and Ultra Plush. Cushion Firm and Plush are the best place to start, going up or down according to your own body type and preference. It is best to avoid Ultra Plush, as compression and caving will be inevitable and disappointing. This level also adds to the cost and thickness. Consider yourself warned!

Conclusion

So to answer to the question, is the Stearns and Foster mattress worth the price? It certainly is if you are comparing their innerspring collections to comparable product lines from other companies. This is a well-constructed, quality mattress that holds its own against similarly-priced competitors. However, whether high-end luxury features truly add up to more comfort and better sleep can only be determined by you, the sleeper, testing it out and experiencing the results.

Since most of the big-name mattress companies now offer a one or two luxury product lines, the gap is quickly closing in mattress brand comparisons. An expensive Simmons may now outrank a mid-range Stearns and Foster mattress in deluxe components.

It does seem that mattress companies are competing with each other in just about every possible category — innerspring, natural latex, gel memory foam — and with just about every possible component, such as pocket coils, variable support, edge casings, deluxe Eurotop and pillowtop firmness levels, luxury fabrics such as cashmere, cotton, wool, and silk.

There is so much competition, in fact, that the distinct features of each brand are becoming less and less identifiable. When you consider that in many cases, two big brands may be owned by the same company or equity fund… it’s gets even more difficult to know what, exactly, is unique about each bed—other than the endless stream of cutesy trademarked names.

If you are looking for the best mattress at the lowest price, you might consider the Simmons Beautyrest World Class… but then again, you may want to try out both. The Stearns and Foster line uses tempered steel coil in their mattresses, which adds durability. How long a mattress lasts determines its cost over time. The cheapest mattress may turn out to be the more expensive one in the end.

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