How to come out on top when buying a mattress

Consumer Reports
Finding a new mattress

(Photo: Thinkstock)

Five tips for choosing the best mattress, plus three new tricks for your old mattresses.

Getting a good night’s rest doesn’t have to cost a fortune.  Consumer Reports’ most comprehensive test of mattresses found models that performed well and cost under $1,000.

”You don’t have to spend thousands to get a great mattress,” said Bob Markovich, home and yard editor for Consumer Reports.  “Our first full performance ratings make it easier to find one that works for you and your sleep partner if you have one – and we found there are many affordable options.”

MORE AT CONSUMER REPORTS

Consumer Reports tested 12 models from Ikea, Sealy, Serta, Simmons, Stearns & Foster and Tempur-Pedic, plus Costco’s Novaform brand.  Simmons’ performance varied the most in this test.  The manufacturer’s Beautyrest Glover Park Firm Pillowtop (sold at Sears), a CR Best Buy at $780, topped the ratings of conventional, innerspring mattresses while its ComforPedic Loft Crestwood Luxury Plush, $1,920, earned the lowest scores among foam models and overall.

Overall, foam models fared a bit worse than innerspring mattresses in Consumer Reports’ tests.   The recommended Tempur-Pedic Tempur-Simplicity, $1,200, earned the highest scores.  But Sleep Innovations Novafoam Memory Foam Collection Serafina (Costco), a CR Best Buy at $900, virtually tied the Tempur-Pedic for $300 less. 

When it comes to mattress shopping, roughly 40 percent of surveyed subscribers said that they had buyer’s remorse. 


Finding a new mattress

Five Tips for Choosing a New Mattress

Consumer Reports’ latest tests confirm that more coils, fancier fabrics and frills found on pricier models don’t guarantee a better mattress.  And the best mattress isn’t always necessarily the firmest, even for those who suffer from pain.




  1. Try before buying. Don’t rely on softness or firmness claims – nearly half the mattresses Consumer Reports tested were softer than promised.  Gauge comfort by lying on any mattress in consideration.  Spend at least ten minutes on each side, back, and stomach – depending on typical sleep position.

    (See also: Consumer Reports best vacuums)

  2. Win the name game. Mattress makers offer some lines nationally.  Those available at major retailers like Macy’s, Sears, and Sleepy’s are typically exclusive to those chains.  And because retailers often change model names, it’s hard to compare models store to store so use Consumer Reports performance ratings as a guide.

  3. Consider the winter months. Using a temperature-controller chamber, Consumer Reports tests found three innerspring and three memory-form mattresses that were better at retaining body heat, which should help keep users warm when the weather turns cold without feeling clammy when it’s hot.

  4. Keep an old box spring if possible.  Replacing the box spring that goes beneath a mattress can cost anywhere from $150 to more than $300.  For those swapping out an innerspring mattress for a new one, keep the box spring if it is not sagging or damaged.  If switching to memory foam, a solid platform may be necessary to provide enough support.  However, for both foam and innerspring mattresses, some brands require consumers to purchase their box spring purchase to receive the full warranty.

  5. Don’t forget to haggle.  Most mattresses have huge markups that allow retailers to run frequent “sales” of up to 50 percent off.  But don’t wait for a promotion to save – one-third of Consumer Reports’ subscribers who haggled slashed $150 or more off the price.

Three New Tricks for Old Mattresses

People typically keep their mattresses roughly ten years before replacing them. Consumer Reports recommends tossing any mattress that shows sags or lumps.  For a mattress that looks serviceable but causes discomfort, try these quick fixes before buying a new one.

  1. Flip or rotate it.  Many older, conventional innerspring mattresses can often be flipped and rotated.  But models with an obvious top layer can only be rotated.  And those with different firmness levels for each sleep partner, including some memory-foam can’t be flipped or rotated.

  2. Check the pillow.  A firmer or softer one may be what it takes to nod off. Evaluate the firmness of pillows by putting them on a flat surface and compressing them to about half of their original thickness; the more pressure needed, the firmer the pillow.

  3. Top it off.  A mattress topper can improve a too-hard bed.  Consumer Reports tests have found that paying more for foam- and feather-filled toppers didn’t guarantee more comfort. 



Copyright © 2006-2013 Consumers Union of U.S., Inc. No reproduction, in whole or in part, without written permission.
Sorry you didn't like this comment. Please provide a reason below.

Are you sure?
Rating failed. Try again.
Request failed. Try again.
We will promote constructive and witty comments to the top, so everyone sees them!
Sorry, we can’t load comments right now. Try again.

    Recommended for You

    • Entertainment Tonight
    • Mama June Transformation Pictures: See Photos From Her New Show!

      Mama June is ready to flaunt her drastic weight loss on From Not to Hot! The former Here Comes Honey Boo Boo reality star shed the pounds and dropped from a size 16 to a size 4 — and we can't wait to follow her in her new journey of surgery, weight loss, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle. (Photo Credit: Getty Images, Twitter) Earlier this week, she revealed how she was able to get in shape. “I just watch my portions and cut back on a lot of the carbs,” she said. “The one thing that I cannot live without is my grapes and cheese.” Her hard work has definitely paid off! Click through the gallery to see the new Mama June in From Not to Hot — and make sure to also watch the full trailer here!

      intouchweekly.com q
    • Papa John's stock crashes and it may all be because of the NFL

      Better sales. Better stock price. Not Papa John's.

      The Street q
    • Conservative provocateur James O'Keefe says he plans to leak 'hundreds of hours of tape' in CNN exposé

      Conservative provocateur James O'Keefe said Tuesday that he plans to release "hundreds of hours...

      Business Insider
    • Fit Mom Tammy Hembrow Shares a Photo of Her Loose Belly Skin Post-Baby

      Australian fitness trainer and mom-of-two Tammy Hembrow bounced back to having a flat tummy just weeks after giving birth to her second child, but she recently shared a photo that shows that her stomach isn’t perfect — and she’s totally fine with that. On Saturday, Hembrow posted a mirror selfie on Instagram that shows her holding her baby while wearing a crop top and gray leggings.

      People
    • Did A Jeopardy Contest Really Flip Off Alex Trebek? Watch What Happened

      Not everybody gets a chance to shine on national television, so it's understandable that more extroverted people take advantage of the opportunity by doing something that stands out. Some say hello to their mom, some wish a loved one a Happy Birthday, and some point one specific finger out in a showy manner. That's what happened when Stanford student Viraj Mehta re-appeared during Jeopardy!'s traditional College Championship, where there was definitely some bird-flipping going on while Alex was going through the contestant stories segment. Watch and judge for yourself.

      CINEMABLEND q
    • Dear Abby: Needy nephew should get help, get out

      DEAR ABBY: My husband’s nephew, “Jacob,” is 25 and always hanging around our house. He has had a hard time over the last four years. First, his mom committed suicide. Two years later his dad died in his sleep. My husband and I told Jacob we would be there when he needed advice about things. Well, he recently broke up with his longtime girlfriend, and he’s here at my house every day — even days he’s not working. He calls every afternoon to see what I’m cooking and expects to eat here every night. He also expects me to drop what I’m doing to go and clean his house and wash his clothes. I’m disabled, so it’s a struggle just to feed my husband and myself. He also sleeps here on the weekends if he

      Chicago Sun-Times q
    • What poison could have killed Kim's brother?

      The assassination of the North Korean leader's half-brother saw Kim Jong-Nam collapse shortly after two women shoved a cloth in his face. A. I don't know of a toxin powerful enough to act by penetrating the skin that would kill so quickly.

      AFP
    • Ben Simmons, Robert Covington react to Ersan Ilyasova trade

      On Wednesday, the Sixers traded Ersan Ilyasova to the Hawks in exchange for Tiago Splitter and a 2017 second-round pick, as well as the option to swap 2017 second-round selections (see story). "I want to thank Ersan Ilyasova for his positive contributions to this organization both on and off the basketball court," president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo said in a statement. The Sixers took to Instagram to express their appreciation for Ilyasovas leadership.

      CSN Philly q
    • Honey Boo Boo Talks Mama June's Incredible Transformation Following Weight Loss Surgery

      She said the change in her mother is so dramatic that people may think it's fake.

      Inside Edition
    • Teen charged with lying about being raped by college football players

      Two college football players who were suspended from their team last year and saw their scholarships revoked after rape accusations have been cleared by police after authorities say their accuser recanted her story. Nikki Yovino, 18, of South Setauket, NY, has been charged with second-degree falsely reporting an incident and tampering with or fabricating physical evidence in connection to an incident at a Sacred Heart University football party in October, the Connecticut Post reports. When pressed about inconsistencies in her original statement, Yovino admitted that she made up the rape allegations against the two football players in hopes of gaining sympathy from another man — a prospective boyfriend, according to an arrest warrant affidavit. Police said Yovino told them on Oct. 15 at a hospital where they responded for a sexual assault complaint that she attended a Sacred Heart football club party the night before at a house on Lakeside Drive in Bridgeport.

      New York Post q
    • Here's how much money you should have saved at every age

      By age 30, you should have the equivalent of your salary saved.

      CNBC
    • Chef José Andrés Addresses His Lawsuit with President Trump: ‘I Did What I Had to Do’

      For chef José Andrés, becoming embroiled in a legal battle with anyone—let alone the President of the United States—is brand new territory. Andrés found himself at the receiving end of a lawsuit from Donald Trump during the 2016 presidential campaign after he pulled out of a restaurant project in Washington, D.C.’s Trump Hotel. The move was a response to the then-candidate’s controversial remarks about Hispanic immigrants, which the chef claims made it difficult to attract staffers and customers.

      People
    • Caretaker performed sexy dance on 100-year-old with dementia

      SANDUSKY, Ohio (AP) — A caretaker at an assisted living center who police say was filmed performing a sexually provocative dance on a 100-year-old resident was doing it as a prank and trying to make the man feel good, her attorney said.

      Associated Press
    • ‘Walking Dead’ Shirt Pulled From Stores After Racism Complaint

      “The Walking Dead” has once again caused an uproar, and this time it’s not over onscreen gore or a shocking character death. The shirt in question bore the image of a baseball bat and the message “Eeny Meeny Miny Moe” — a reference to a scene from the AMC zombie drama in which Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) is deciding who in the protagonist group to kill. The historical use caused shopper Ian Lucraft to complain after spotting the shirt at a branch of the U.K.’s Primark retail chain.

      The Wrap
    • The Best Beauty Looks from London Fashion Week's Fall 2017 Runways (15 photos)

      Fashion month is in full swing. At London Fashion Week , designers didn't hold back when it came to creating hair and makeup moments just as memorable as their Fall 2017 collections. If the multiple crimped hair and bold eyeshadow sightings on the runways are any indication, expect these two '80s trends to experience a resurgence next fall. Here, we've rounded up all of the beauty looks you need to see from London Fashion Week's Fall 2017 runways. VIDEO: Get a Recap of London Fashion Week

      InStyle
    • VIDEO: Flooding drastically changes San Jose landscape

      Many residents, now stranded since the city of San Jose ordered mandatory evacuations in the flood zone, are asking if the city did enough to warn residents.

      KGO – San Francisco
    • The impact of the DeMarcus Cousins trade is getting worse for the Kings: 'If you burn an agent in this league, they do not forget'

      The Sacramento Kings stunned the NBA world by trading DeMarcus Cousins to the New Orleans...

      Business Insider
    • Mom's shocking photo of 10-year-old son depicts painful reality of cancer

      A mom posted this harrowing photo of her son to Facebook. This photo of a 10-year-old boy, bald, pained look on his face, standing in his pull-ups diaper while clinging on to the bathroom sink is quickly going viral on Facebook. The photo may not be pretty, it’s admittedly hard to look at, but it’s a raw depiction of what life is like for a cancer patient — which is exactly why the boy’s mother posted it.

      Yahoo Canada Style
    • A girl named Ehlena and a dog named Wonder win at U.S. Supreme Court

      The justices ruled 8-0 that Ehlena Fry, 13, and her parents may not be obligated to go through time-consuming administrative appeals with the local school board before suing for damages for the emotional distress she said she suffered by being denied the assistance of her dog, a goldendoodle named Wonder. The justices sent the case back to a lower appeals court to determine whether Ehlena's complaint involves the impermissible denial of a proper special education.

      Reuters