How To Avoid Buying A Bad Mattress, The Worst Mattresses & Mattresses to Avoid From an Industry Insider
Tired of spinning your wheels mattress shopping and worried you might end up with just another crap mattress, another slab of foam that you’ll have to wrestle back in a box to ship it back?
Want to spend 2 minutes and take our personalized mattress survey? Our CEO and senior editor, Marc Anderson, who spent 25 years as mattress designer and manufacturer will personally select handful of mattress options specifically suited just for you. You can cut through the hassle of mattress shopping and let a pro take the wheel.
It’s a common problem with many “bed in a box” mattress options, but after spending my career manufacturing these kinds of mattresses, I can help you avoid making a $1,000 mistake that wastes time and energy as well.
On this page, I’m going to teach you how to avoid buying the worst mattresses out there, and give you a few hand picked options that their owners love, mattresses that are worth the money, made with premium ingredients, and backed up with trial periods, warranties, and free return policies that are totally for real.
I’ve personally reviewed each and every mattress we recommend, including the company background, warranties, trial periods, and I’ve studied actual owner reviews, too, so you don’t have to second guess your purchase.
I’m Marc Anderson, and I’ve been a CEO in the mattress industry for 25 years. I’ve worked in the trenches as a mattress designer, fabricator, and online retailer.
I’ve also designed mattresses for celebrities, sports figures, and people with medical issues like back pain, arthritis, and even migraines.
And, I even consult with major companies today looking to create the latest and hottest mattress designs.
Read on if you want to truly understand just how the mattress industry works against you if you aren’t paying attention.
With hundreds of online mattresses and WAY too many mattress review sites run by commission hungry digital marketing firms (mostly owned by the very mattress companies they are schilling for), landing a great mattress at your front door might seem impossible.
Actually, with the help of a 25 year mattress industry veteran, the choices become a little clearer when you weed out the worst mattress options not backed up with owner reviews, excellent components, and solid warranties and trial periods.
Fact is, about 50% of the population in America hates their mattress…I mean if it were a car, they’d drive it off a cliff. It’s difficult enough to find a new one either online or in a retail store, and when you pull the trigger on a $1,000 mattress, there’s a good chance you’re going to hate it in a few months or so anyway. Why is this? Not to worry, I’m going to explain why.
Most importantly, I’m going to help steer you away from the traps that mattress predators use to sell you a really awful mattress, and give you some bullet points and tips on where to buy a really great mattress, and for a fair price, with a free trial period- and maybe some freebies thrown it. Let’s get started.
How Predatory Online Mattress Companies Package Their Product For Curb Appeal- But Not Much Else.
First of all, you need to understand that not everyone is physically designed to sleep on every single mattress out there. If you are typical height and weight, and are a side sleeper, and don’t have issues falling and staying asleep, then your options are certainly much broader, yes.
But if you are an athlete, or a person with back pain, or you are overweight, have sleep apnea or other medical ailments, there are particular brands that will work much better for you than the typical 10” slab of foam in a box.
Because competition is so fierce, online mattress companies often resort to garbled and confusing descriptions of their products, often with names like “Dreamfoam” or “Hyper-Advanced Cellular Mesh FlexFab Polymer Gel Pods” to lure you into thinking that their uber-advanced $2,000 mattress is going to levitate you above your bedroom.
They’ll spend millions on advertising, too, to get you to find their product, on web sites designed by Hollywood CGI and production wizards. And, the fact is, that we all have a sweet spot for tech and slightly complex gimmicks.
Many mattress products sold online are often identical on the inside, but have different outer coverings installed them with more features (like pillow tops, organic and upgraded fabrics, attractive piping and patterns that cost more, but offer little in the way of support and comfort).
Our recommendations consider all of the elements of the mattress and when we review them, we factor the value of added features to determine if it stays in each category we review and then offer to our readers.
Just remember that almost all mattresses are built using age old technology, where one layer is laminated to the next in cake like fashion. The real difference between the worst mattresses and the best is the kind of materials that are being used to support you, relieve pressure, distribute weight, and relieve pain.
It takes seasoned veterans to design a mattress that takes advantage of new technology too, like memory and gel foams that don’t sleep hot like the early versions did, specialized pocketed coil systems that can be rolled and compressed and then “pop open” without damage to them when you receive your mattress on the other end.
Also, the layers on top of the mattress you’re buying need to be well thought out. Textiles and padding materials like wool, organic cotton, bamboo, Tencel (a breathable, cooler fabric for hot sleepers) are all on the menu as an option- and each manufacturer we review has a slightly different option, since no two bodies are exactly alike.
A few things all mattress shoppers want is a supportive mattress that doesn’t cave in or mash down over time, one that offers uplifting pressure support and buoyancy, making it easy to turn from side to side, and a mattress that will not sleep hot. For couples, the ability to sleep cuddled up without sinking is important, too.
Competition is furious in the online mattress game- some much so that up to 50% of the money you shell out for a new mattress doesn’t actually go into the mattress itself, but in the marketing, advertising and huge commissions mattress companies pay to review sites and salespeople to promote their mattresses.
It costs an enormous amount of money to get you to a web page to spend two minutes to look at a particular mattress brand. Let’s say you find a mattress that sells for $800 in queen. Out of that $800, about $400 is used for advertising and marketing, and to pay review sites to promote the brand heavily. The cost to ship a mattress to your door “for free” is about $100 , fixed expenses, payroll, web site costs, etc, are about $150, which leaves $150 in materials to actually build your mattress!
This means that out of that $800 you’ve forked out, only about 19% of it is used in the materials that make up the mattress itself! This is typically the underlying reason why many mattresses fail within months from either shoddy workmanship, or inferior components that simply mash down, split or crack, dry out, form ruts or depressions, and end up being returned or simply thrown out.
Bottom line- you’re going to end up paying $800-1000 for literally the worst mattress money can buy. Why not take advantage of a mattress manufacturer, who spent 25 years in the trenches designing and building the most popular mattresses in the industry- to help you choose the BEST mattress out there?
The fact is, there are MANY companies that will take that $800-1000 and spend as much as $500-600 on quality components and expertise to deliver a great product- but, it takes an expert to be able to evaluate the materials, the textiles, the factories and third party facilities where these mattresses are made, the stability of the company, and other factors.
Many Mattress Review Sites Are Run By The Mattress Companies Themselves
Further, as you will discover below, many of the so-called “mattress review sites” out there are actually owned by the very mattress companies they promote!
Click here to learn more about these web sites that have bread crumb trails leading right back to the mattress brands they write “impartial reviews” for.
These predatory review sites are largely owned by digital marketing companies, with little or no experience in the mattress industry.
How can you avoid ending up with the worst mattress ever? Take a look at my bullet points below to learn more. In the meantime, if you want to get right to it and check out mattresses I recommend by category, you can jump to my most popular pages for many options that I have vetted after careful reviews by owners, evaluation of the materials and technology used in their fabrication, and recommendations by professionals in various fields.
Dissatisfied and angry customers are eager to post reviews when it comes to problems with mattresses, likely because a mattress is an intimate product that takes a lot of time to research and choose.
Watch out for these problem products or red flags in order to make sure you get a mattress that is well made, will last, is comfortable and supportive, and is backed up with a solid trial period and warranty.
Want to know how to avoid the worst mattresses you can buy? Here’s our insiders guide to mattress shopping to give you some basic knowledge and tips, and to help you avoid scams when shopping, especially online:
How To Avoid Buying the Worst Mattress
1. Before You Buy, Understand that Most Mattress Review Sites are Actually Financially Influenced or Owned by the Mattress Manufacturers Themselves.
This is probably the most common mistake made by newbie mattress shoppers. You probably weren’t even aware that most of the mattress review sites that pop up on the first page of your search for “best mattress reviews”” are actually heavily influenced, or even owned, by the very mattress companies they promote! So, naturally, their #1 choice for “best mattress ever” is going to be the one they manufacture and sell online.
And it’s likely not going to be the best mattress in its category, and you’re probably not getting the best deal. Sadly, there are about ten very large mattress and consumer product review sites that were either purchased by other review sites, forming a kind of “mattress review site conglomerate”, or were given money by certain mattress manufacturers to influence their reviews and choices. These sites are well known, and I always recommend steering clear of them if you want truly unbiased reviews. You can read my page which discloses mattress companies and their relationships with prominent mattress review sites.
In fact, our site is the only mattress review platform that is owned and operated by someone who was actually in the bedding business, as both a manufacturer and mattress designer and engineer.
Almost all mattress review sites were created by content writers and marketers who have little or no knowledge of components, textiles, manufacturing and lamination processes, and other technical elements that are part of the craft of mattress making. With little understanding of the craft of mattress making, consumers end up with poor advice, and the sense that all mattresses sold online are basically the same. Nothing could be further from the truth. Don’t get scammed!
2. If It Seems Like It’s Priced Way Too Low, There’s a Reason for That.
You’ll see an add for a mattress on Amazon, or on a web site, and you can grab it for $279, as an example. Seems like a great deal, the mattress is attractive with a pretty outer covering, it’s really thick, it seems to get good reviews. It’s a limited time offer, too, so you’d better order it now. Big mistake.
Promotional mattresses are typically sold for a limited time only, often as seemingly too good to be true bargains, offering during major holiday sales. Typically these beds are rarely made in the USA, and if they are tagged that way, look closer.
The tag on a terrible mattress might read “Assembled In The USA”, which means the foam and the textiles were likely shipped on a container vessel, exposed to extreme heat, and mashed into the container, both denaturing the materials and compressing them and reducing their performance ability to a very short lifespan. These mattresses are typically from mainland China or other countries.
They are usually priced at almost too good to be true prices, are extremely basic in design, usually imported, and contain inferior ingredients that are designed to fail quickly. Typically a “loss leader item”, their real purpose is to bring you into the store or get you to nose around a website to buy a far more expensive product. Unfortunately, even the more expensive models are likely made using the same inferior components.
A more attractive outer fabric covering with a quilted top piece, for example, might motivate you to buy the so-called “better” product. Rule of thumb, if you’re getting ready to click on a $249 mattress, I can assure you that you’ll be replacing that bed in months, maybe less.
Since promotional mattresses tend to be limited in availability and through description, it can be tough to research reviews or accurately compare them to other beds. These mattresses are typically priced very cheaply, because they are made using the worst components you could possibly build into the product, have limited warranties, no return policy, and have a short lifespan, sometimes months instead of years.
They will often fail within 6 months, developing ruts and indentations, or simply falling apart, usually along the edges of sewn materials. If you can’t find third party reviews, bail out of the cart immediately.
As a manufacturer who is familiar with what it costs to make a decent mattress, our senior editor, Marc Anderson states rather bluntly, “If you are paying less than $600-800 for a queen size mattress, you could be buying a glued together slab of foam wrapped in a sack that might last a year”, and he further notes that the odds of getting a warranty or a return policy that sticks is probably zero.
“Quality components made under the right conditions with proper technique and materials costs money, and there are expectations that a consumer must follow, unless you want to be hauling mattresses into your bedroom every six months.”
With the exception of guest beds that are rarely used, and kids beds, very inexpensive mattresses (under $500 or so for a queen) generally tend to have worse overall ratings compared to mid-priced or more expensive beds (in the $800-$2000 range).
It is important to carefully read reviews by customers who have owned the brand, and compare prices online with similar products so you know which mattress brands to avoid. You can also check out our own Trusted Dealer page, where we have reduced over 250 mattress options to a handful of recommended beds that have been evaluated by our team, and each one of our curated selection of mattresses has been personally approved by Marc.
Inexpensive mattresses can feel comfortable and supportive initially, but over a short period of time, failure of components, including sinking, cavities and gulleys, and compression quickly renders the mattress unusable. Remember, mattress components come in many levels of quality, density, and sources, like anything else.
Spending $800-1000 on a mattress generally insures that the manufacturer is likely using better components. If the reviews by actual owners reflect the the durability and the comfort and support of the bed with at least four star ratings consistently, you’re at least in the ballpark of having good success with your mattress.
As a manufacturer, you can buy a container load of high quality American made foam, for example, for $10,000, enough to make 100 mattresses. You can also import a container of the same volume of foam in much lower quality for $4500, that will have 10% of the lifespan of the domestically made material.
We suggest asking directly if any of the components used in the mattress you are considering are imported or domestically made. These types of mattresses also tend to have less warranty coverage, meaning they will likely need to be replaced much earlier.
3. Mattresses That are Excessively Thin Offer No Support and Often Fail Within Weeks
In the mattress world, whenever you hear the term “low profile”, be forewarned. It’s likely going to be hard, tough on hips and shoulders, and flat out uninviting. Thinner mattresses tend to be really unpopular, especially with side sleepers and larger individuals. This is because the comfort layers in the bed are not thick enough to provide proper pressure reduction and lateral load distribution, and fail to provide enough support between the sleeper and the coils or support foam to prevent pressure points.
People over 175-250 lbs really need something at least 8-10” thick, while those upwards of 300 pounds really need a mattress that is at least 14” thick. If you are side sleeper, and of typical height and weight, your ideal mattress will likely have at least 3” of cushioning material above at least 5-7” of supportive substrate foam, assuming you are buying a bed in a box type mattress available online.
Remember that a “bed in a box” mattress online is almost always at least 10” thick, as this is the minimal height for a base layer of supportive foundation foam which is typically 6”, and still allow for comfort layers like memory foam, latex, or even a coil layer which can be as little as 2” thick. Any way you slice it, you need at least 2-4” of comfort layers above the firmer piece, and typically better quality foam mattresses will be around 12” overall thickness
4. Foam Mattresses are Notoriously Terrible, and Here’s the Reason Why
Lower density foams, used as either the bottom support layer or the “comfort layers” up top, whether high density polyurethane or visco-elastic memory foam, are often associated with lower satisfaction over time when it comes to pain relief and pressure reduction. As a general frame of reference, a well made memory foam mattress will use 4 lb density foam (one cubic foot of the material weighs 4 lbs., a pretty easy metric).
For memory foams, low density would be considered under 3.5 lbs. Many manufacturers of memory foam mattresses often try to slip in 2 lb or 3lb memory foam, which can be immediately detected. It bottoms out and has no spongy, melting sensation that higher quality memory foam is known for. For polyurethane foam used typically in the base layers, a good density is around 5lb is ideal.
Since low density foams have a softer and more “open cell” structure, they are more likely to mash and offer a less buoyant feel than higher density foam. However, these foams are typically cheaper so they actually can be economical for infrequently used mattresses (beds you won’t be using for more than 3-4 years). Heavier people should consider a mattress made with denser foam, as firm as you can take it.
Remember, retailers need to mark up their product 2-3 times to really make any money. So, let’s say you find a mattress that sells for $499. The maximum amount of wholesale cost the retailer can afford to build into that bed is around $150. In a queen size bed, as an example, $150 in materials means sacrificing quality and opting for cheaper, low density foam layers or fabrics that are likely imported and not made by prominent USA textile houses of foam fabricators.
Astonishingly, even the most popular selling brands on the web, in order to build a low price point mattress to compete with the importers, have no choice but to import low quality ingredients.
Memory foam can vary considerably by density, thickness, and formula. Though in general, memory foam mattresses tend to earn the highest ratings, customers who complain the loudest and provide the lowest ranked reviews, typically have an issue with the mattress sleeping too hot or difficulty moving around on the mattress.
Because a company called Tempur-Pedic revolutionized the foam mattress category over twenty years go, and created a new market for “memory foam mattresses”, everyone has jumped on board, and there are dozens of web sites and hundreds of dealers on Amazon who sell their variation. In fact, most of them are total garbage. The problem is that the quality and the source for memory foam (which actually is just a specialized kind of urethane foam that has that strange but wonderful melting sensation) varies greatly, and is often imported.
Often, imported memory foam mattresses use inferior, low density memory foam that is 3lb density (meaning it is too soft and mashes flat) rather than 4-5 lb. density foam that provides a body enveloping feel without bottoming out. Make sure you ask for the technical specifications on any memory foam, as it is typically used as a comfort layer near the top of a mattress and will directly influence how the mattress feels and how it will perform over time.
Both of these issues are most closely linked with beds that use thick layers of higher density (over 5 lb) memory foam that is too thick as a comfort layers, or fail to utilize foam components that help reduce heat, like charcoal infused polyurethane, or cooling fabrics like Tensel or bamboo. Really, a memory foam mattress that sleeps too hot is generally not well thought out.
We have personally selected a handful of excellent memory foam beds in our Trusted Dealer program that help you find a memory foam mattress that will not sleep hot. All of our curated memory foam mattress dealers use higher quality memory foam materials arranged and designed with specialized support layers, along with very specific methods of construction.
These manufacturers and dealers also have sufficient expertise with the use of cooling textiles and other foams, to create mattresses that will deliver the benefits of memory foam that you can enjoy over span of time.
5. Pre-Compressed Mattresses that you Buy Online Can Sit Around for Months in a Warehouse.
Another issue that should concern a “bed in a box” online mattress shopper is the condition and age of the mattress you’re buying, long before it is shipped to you. Manufacturers who buy in bulk quantities often get deals on containers of pre-rolled and pre-compressed mattresses that can sit for months in 100F+ degree containers stacked outside.
I have seen pre-compressed mattresses that have been stored in tropical temperatures for 6 months forensically examined so that you can see the kind of damage that stuffing and pre-compressing can do to a rolled mattress. You literally cannot unroll them, as the layers become permanently welded shut.
Heat permanently affects the condition of most polyurethane and urethane foam, and poor handling and storage can affect the performance, the spring back, and, if the foam has come in contact with moisture, there can be mold or mildew issues as well.
Always inquire (either with a chat or by calling the retailer) and ask- how long has the product has been sitting around, how soon before shipping will your mattress be rolled and compressed, and how are the mattresses stored? All foam products should be stored in climate controlled facilities so that the product is maintained at room temperature.
6. Avoid Buying Antiquated Continuous Coil Mattresses.
With coil or innerspring mattresses, one problem that can receive generate considerable complaints is too much motion transfer. This is an issue for couples especially, as one person’s movements can disrupt the other’s sleep. Couples should be careful about choosing an innerspring mattress, especially if there is a light sleeper involved. First rule of thumb, avoid continuous coil mattresses and buy a pocketed coil mattress. They are fantastic for back issues, side sleepers, and provide individual shock absorber like suspension that supports, cradles, and stabilizes your spine… but you need to know which mattress to buy.
A well made coil hybrid mattress, though, is an excellent option, offering great support and reducing motion transfer across its surface. Here is a link to several excellent mattress options made using coils and foam combinations that are proven to work.
The worst coil mattresses are made using what is called bonnell or continuous coils. Pocketed coils and hybrid beds with memory foam or latex layers on top as comfort layers, tend to have fewer issues with motion disturbances. You’ll pay more like $700-1000 for this type of construction, but you will not regret it.
7. Avoid Buying a Mattress with Terrible Warranties, Sketchy Return Policies, and No Trial Periods
One prominent complaint seen in the worst mattress ratings is often related to warranty issues. It is hard to gauge how a bed will perform over time even if you are diligent in your research, which is where the warranty becomes of paramount importance. Any given mattress typically is only useful for a fraction of the written warranty length as shown below:
Warranty Length vs. Average Useful Lifespan
5 year Warranty Actual Useful Life 4.8 years
10 year Warranty Actual Useful Life 7.1 years
20 year Warranty Actual Useful Life 8.2 years
For a middle grade and even a higher end mattress, you should expect to have at least 10 years of broad sweeping coverage during which the retailer will repair or replace defective beds at their expense. This is completely commonplace and not out of line, especially with the competitive mattress marketplace these days.
Most will also have extended pro-rated periods during which at least a portion of costs are covered, beyond the 100% replacement timeline of the warranty.
The important thing to seek out in a warranty is how deep ruts or indentations must be before the warranty offers full replacement as sagging greater than 1” can dramatically the performance of a bed. Sagging and indentations not covered by warranties is a very common complaint with many poorly reviewed and rated beds.
Make absolutely sure you get a mattress with at least a 90 day no questions asked, free return policy. The mattress industry, especially the e-commerce sector is extremely competitive. Anyone that is making a decent mattress out there knows that to compete and to stay in business, you have to build a great bed, and you have to back up your product with a bullet proof trial that is hassle free. There should be no return shipping charges, and you should be able to do all of this online, in seconds.
A lack of a return or well defined exchange policy can affect your satisfaction if the mattress you buy is not perfect. Many upset reviewers complain about being stuck with a mattress they don’t like or having to pay ridiculous fees for returns.
Especially when buying online, make sure you can either return or exchange the bed if you don’t like it for a reasonable fee. In most cases, these days, if you buy a bed online, there is typically no fee to return a bed or exchange it. Remember, allow yourself time to adapt to a new mattress.
It can take a few weeks to get nestle in and let your body get comfortable, so you should have at least 30-60 days to make up your mind. Some retailers will require you to try the bed for a certain number of days prior to returning, and we think this is and excellent policy.
Taking the time to research and compare mattresses makes it easier to find the perfect mattress for your situation. Armed with basic information, and with a little due diligence, you’ll be sure to come away with a great deal and a really comfortable bed rather than a nightmare.
Always inquire as to what the mattress is made of, compare to similar offers and mattress types, and don’t forget to look at retailer policies. Looking online for reviews can also help provide excellent information on qualities such as comfort, durability, and performance. Best part of it is that you can do your research without leaving your house.
Don’t get pressured into making a purchase. By shopping online you can avoid this for the most part. And don’t forget to check out our carefully vetted Trusted Dealer program. We have done the research for you on over 45 great mattresses. We considered over 250 option, and narrowed the list down. It’s well worth considering.
8. The Worst Mattresses are Either Too Soft or Too Firm: Get a Medium Density Bed
Mattress shopping is confusing for virtually everyone. It can be complex to decode different manufacturers’ terminology, which is often intentionally created to steer you towards the one mattress that they feature, often the higher priced model. Many mattress complaints wander the spectrum from beds feeling way too firm or far too soft. It’s also important to note that most mattresses made using strictly foam materials will soften slightly over time.
There is no foolproof formula for choosing the correct degree of firmness, but rules of thumb pretty much suggest that back sleepers should opt for medium-firm to medium beds, side sleepers medium to softer, bordering on plushy, and stomach sleepers should seek out something as firm as they can tolerate.
Side and stomach sleepers put pressure on a mattress in different ways than back sleepers. Softer mattresses provide the ability to sink into the bed for better spinal alignment.
It is important to observe that sleeping on your belly is not strongly medically recommended. This is because belly sleeping contorts the natural curvature of our spine, putting additional pressure on our internal organs, and can lead to restricted airways, limiting our ability to breathe without effort as we sleep.
Sleep studies find that people with back pain generally feel best on beds of moderate firmness. We highly recommend either memory foam or natural latex, as these materials help distribute load sideways, rather than down, reducing pressure points and helping to distribute spinal pressure away from the body.
Since manufacturers descriptions of firmness may be complete random and arbitrary, it can be helpful to look for what are called IFD/ILD ratings or read mattress reviews to see if there are any recommendations regarding degree of firmness.
These measurements are quite accurate and refer to the amount of weight needed to compress the foam a certain distance. ILD is the commonly used term of the two, standing for “Indentation Load Deflection” and is an industry gauge both for quality and application of the material for different kinds of mattresses.
As a rule, though, don’t get too caught up in ILD, stick with mattress density as it an easier system and for the average mattress consumer, gives you all of the information you really need to determine if you are buying a quality bed.
9. Avoid Overpriced Mattresses and Common Scams
Another complaint often seen in reviews stems from owners immediately assuming that they overpaid or have been scammed buying a mattress. Even when they find the bed comfortable, a sense that someone has paid way too much can overshadow all other qualities of the bed and strongly affect satisfaction and ratings.
Retailers are notorious for using sales tactics to exaggerate prices, such as making comparisons difficult or using subtle techniques such as exposing you to endless repetition of images and logos, all designed to make you familiar with the brand.
Often this “saturation carpet bombing” compels you to buy, and though you may not find your mattress wonderfully comfortable and supportive, you stick with it, because everyone else is buying it. This is well established with one or two of the top selling online mattresses.
“Expect to pay $600-800 for a decent queen sized bed. Using this guideline will generally work.”
The best way to prevent buyer’s remorse from buying one of the worst mattresses is to compare mattresses and read buyer reviews. Be sure to get the details on all components and layers and be leery when retailers won’t tell you- in detail- what is in the mattress they are selling – chances are it’s because the bed is not fairly priced compared to its peers. Stick to your budget constraints, too. Expect to pay $600-800 for a decent queen sized bed. Using this guideline will generally work.
After 25 years as a ceo and mattress designer, I learned all of the tricks of the trade!
I’m Marc Anderson and I invented, designed, marketed, and sold tens of thousands of mattresses both online and in retail stores. Did you know that the mattress industry is carefully designed to confuse you and to lure you into making an uninformed decision that maximizes the profit of the retailer?
Sounds like common sense, I know, and like any other business model, empathy is often left out of the equation. For one, when shopping for a decent mattress, we are conditioned to think that a good bed has to cost a couple thousand bucks. In fact nothing could be further from the truth.
When I was designing beds, I worked with a “toolbox” of about 10-15 components and bits and pieces, including the outer fabric covering. I wasn’t intentionally trying to hurt anyone, but I had a family and children, and I had employees and their children, and rent, and trucks, and lots of other costs.
So I endeavored to design mattresses that cost very little to make, and I would position them in strategic fashion so that I could maximize my return. Good business practice.
I was sure to design a quality mattress every time, and I bought only the best foams and coil systems and fabrics for my beds. I wanted to create happy customers that would come back, and that’s what happened.
Here’s the distilled version of my story. Turns out that a manufacturer can use precisely the same ingredients for the inside “guts’“ of a mattress, and simply swap out the outer fabric on two different models, say a simple cotton fabric on one, and then a quilted, plushy top on the other.
The mattress with the quilted plush top might easily sell for $1800. the less appealing model would likely sell for far less, say $900. That’s right, half the cost. This bait and switch method is using prominently in the mattress industry and was born on the floors of retail stores across the USA.
Today, the benefit of buying online is of course, the reviews. Make sure they are independent reviews, not generated by the web site and their own users. Use recognizable review companies like Google, Yelp, TrustPilot, and other entities.
Remember, avoid reading contrived reviews on sites that are influenced or owned by the mattress companies themselves.
An Industry Expert’s Curated List Of Mattresses We Reviewed- And Would Recommend To Our Own Friends And Family
1. The Dreamcloud Luxury Hybrid Mattress
The DreamCloud Luxury Hybrid Mattress is a 14” hybrid mattress with individually pocketed coils, a quilted cashmere top and is a firmer option needing support at hips and shoulders.
Overall, I’d give this mattress my highest accolades for a mattress that combines pocketed coils with gel/memory foam. We tested it and loved it.
For lower back, shoulder pain, and even numbness, it’s spine straightening characteristics will deliver relief.
We review this mattress on our Doctor Recommended Mattresses page as being a good investment in a mattress that delivers therapeutic benefit.
Priced at just $999 for a queen, I’d recommend it over most luxury mattresses that sell for $2500 and up. It’s an investment grade luxury mattress offered at a realistic and affordable pricepoint.
The DreamCloud Luxury Hybrid Mattress is a 14” hybrid mattress with individually pocketed coils, a quilted cashmere top and is a firmer option for people with back issues requiring more support.
Outfitted with a quilted cashmere top piece, and two layers of sink-right-in gel/memory foam, it’s the pocketed coil system underneath that keeps you floating on top.
It’s slightly softer than most hybrid mattress options, but it’s what your spine needs to keep oxygen flowing to tissues, by reducing pressure points-but with a more nestled, inviting, and sumptuous feel.
Wait, there’s more! ( I’ve always wanted to say that!): You’ll get a free sheet set, two free pillows, a free mattress protector, complimentary shipping, a 365 day no questions asked trial and a LIFETIME warranty with my exclusive link.
Designed to relieve pressure, sleep cool, and keep you lifted and buoyed on top of your mattress, rather than buried inside, but offering a slightly softer feel, The DreamCloud Luxury Hybrid mattress is my favorite hybrid mattress priced under $1,000.
Designed to provide lifting buoyancy, The DreamCloud Mattress sleeps cool and provides contouring to fill in void areas.
A bit softer and more yielding than most hybrid mattresses with similar designs, the DreamCloud Luxury Hybrid Mattress combines gel-infused memory foam, followed by a layer of denser poly foam.
The pocketed coils allow for a bit more body contouring and works for sidesleepers as well as back sleepers, aiding in pain reduction by properly distributing pressure.
Want even more luxury and a deeper, hugging sensation that has a more nest like feel? You can upgrade to the Dreamcloud Premier and get even more cushy softness up top, and sleep on a cashmere fabric top, quilted and designed to deliver “more comfort than Bezo’s yacht” (one of our reviewers comments). Check it out here.
With 2,840 verified Yotpo reviews, The Dreamcloud Luxury Hybrid garners a 4.6 out 5 star rating, pretty stellar – in my experience as a mattress engineer and designer. The materials used are top notch (I’ve used them in some of my own designs) and you’re covered by a Lifetime Warranty, a 365 night no questions asked trial period, and you’ll get free shipping.
You’ll score a set of free sheets, two DreamCloud pillows, and a mattress protector, too, when you use my link. Ship time is pretty quick, with beds shipping out within 5 days. Your Dreamcloud Luxury Hybrid Mattress is shipped using no contact technology, vacuum compressed and rolled, and easily unfurls and installs on your platform, foundation, or base (you can buy a foundation along with your mattress, by the way).
Your mattress is made as you order it, too, so it hasn’t been sitting in a box, pre-compressed for months. One of my personal favorites for comfort, support, and value. Mattresses using this design are often found in sleep clinics, where overnight sleep studies are done.
2. The Nolah Original 10” Air Foam Mattress: $899 In Queen
The Nolah Original 10” Mattress, at just $899 in queen, offers the pressure relief of their proprietary AirFoam™ without the hot, melting in sensation that old school memory foam delivers.
The Nolah Original 10” Certipur-US® certified mattress is scientifically proven to provide 4x less peak pressure on hips, shoulders, and back compared to high-end memory foam.
The company offers three models, but I personally like their basic model for its simple design, and the fact that while it is comfortably cushy, it’s not ridiculously soft, I’d say falling around 5-6 on a 1-10 scale, 10 being a carpeted floor.
You’ll be more on top of the Nolah Original 10”, rather than inside of it and that’s what owners love about it.Let’s talk about what’s inside the Nolah 10” mattress, their first model, and I’ll explain why their lineup is worth the money.
Up top is the 2”layer of proprietary AirFoam for pressure relief, and you’ll get minimal sink- no trapped feeling- but easy to turn on, and yielding to shoulders.
Underneath is a layer of “latex-like” material that is firmer and more supportive, keeping you up top. It’s an ingenious design, and it’s the model of choice if you rare price conscious and want the core benefits of a Nolah mattress.
Update: The Nolah 10” Original Mattress has recently been given an upgrade and it’s now equipped with a snow-white Tencel™ cover. Tencel is a naturally derived material that is super absorbent, lightweight, soft, and highly breathable, too. I’ve used it before in many of my own designs.
The foundation layer, typically there to give height to a mattress, and to provide the underlying support that keeps you from bottoming out, is 7” of breathable HD (high density) foam- of which I’m very familiar, and Nolah uses the proper density and grade that’s worth the money.
The Nolah 10” Original is astonishingly “uncomplex” in design, which means less likelihood of lifetime failure. It’s a one side up mattress, has solid edge support, and works well for snuggling couples. It’s also a killer mattress for sex.
3. The Nectar Mattress
The Nectar Mattress incorporates a 2” memory foam layer beneath its sumptuous quilted top. Most memory foam mattresses use what is called a smooth top, without any quilt or cush before you immerse in the memory foam beneath.
The quilted top adds a little more sumptuousness and a nest like feeling – Beneath that are two additional layers of support foam, and a 7” layer of high density foundation foam that won’t bottom out.
A memory foam mattress that employs several innovative gel and memory foam technologies. The result is sumptuous, supportive, yet yielding sleep without deep sinking. 11” finished height, 365 night period, lifetime warranty, and it sells for just $799 for a queen.
The reason? Thousands of solid reviews from real owners who swear by the brand.
Free shipping. Marc’s comments: A warranty that lasts forever? Right, it’s true, and they get away with it by using components that last. One of the most popular mattresses in the industry.
I’d give this mattress a firmness rating of 6.5, which means it has a medium-firm feel. However, at just 11 inches high, the Nectar mattress may not be suitable for larger sleepers. Heavier people, especially those who also prefer a softer feel, often benefit from a mattress that has thicker comfort layers. Opt out if you are over 225 lbs.
The Nectar Mattress employs a delectable outer quilted top piece, and immediately below, you’ll Netflix and chill on their gel memory foam layer, an adaptive layer of latex like bounciness and support, and a precisely calibrated foundation layer of HD foam that is made in the USA by a fabricator I used to use myself.
At $799 in queen, it’s a sweet deal, considering all of the freebies you get along with it- and it’s a mattress that will last.
I’d say, for the money, it’s a great deal. You won’t bottom into it or sink, even if you’re a larger person. It’s great for side sleepers, and when we tested it, everyone on our review team had lower back and shoulder pain- and got relief.
For other options, please check out my list of curated and trusted mattress dealers, all of whom I have vetted to make sure you are getting a quality mattress at a fair price