Buying a new mattress?
We've got your back!
Are you in the market for a new mattress? The first
thing you should do is make sure you really need a new one. As Jeff
Foxworthy might -- but didn't -- put it, you know you need a new
Your current mattress is 8 to 10 years old. Deduct a bit if yours
gets an especially heavy workout, such as the kids using it as a
trampoline. Add a bit if you have a super-premium bed you've
subjected to no undue stress.
up on your bedroom floor and thought, "Man, that's the best sleep I've had
You awaken stiff and sore. Sure, it can be caused by conditions
other than a substandard mattress, but you wouldn't be the first
person to realize, upon getting a new one, that you didn't have
a bad back, just bad bedding. Look for physical signs of wear and
tear -- not just the obvious sprung springs, but things such as
uneven firmness and sloped edges.
Types of mattresses
All right, it's established: You need a new mattress. There are
five basic types of mattresses on the market. Costs, as you will
see, vary depending on the type of bed you end up buying. We priced
queen-sized mattresses, which is the most-popular size sold, and
found prices as high as $1,700 and as low as $100.
Innerspring mattresses are the crowd-pleaser. Nothing much new here,
except for the ultradeep models, especially those featuring plush
pillowtops and Eurotops. Sheets are now sold to accommodate mattresses
up to 25 inches deep.
Maybe you've heard that "coil count" is
important, but in a recent study on this topic, Consumer Reports
suggests that any count above 390 in a queen-size mattress should
be fine for most folks. Another consumer source pegs the number
at 375-plus. Coils come in differing thickness, and the heftier
ones will offer more support (cross sections of mattress can commonly
be viewed or depicted at showrooms). Pocket springs, named for the
way they're encapsulated rather than interconnected, are well-suited
for couples who don't wish to disturb each other. The "pockets" restrict overall mattress
In general, expect to pay about $800 for a good-quality
queen set, which includes mattress and box spring.
These are the new guys on the block. Memory foam is the stuff of
many newer beds, notably the Tempur-Pedic. There are no springs
to be sprung from these heat-sensitive, body-conforming mattresses,
though a supportive box spring is partnered. Expect to pay about
double what you would for a good-quality traditional innerspring
set, around $1,700 for a queen.
Also popular are latex mattresses, prized by those
with allergies or asthma, as they're naturally hypoallergenic and
resistant to dust mites, the cause of many a sensitive sleeper's
misery. You'll pay, very roughly, $1,200 for a queen.
You know Lindsay Wagner's sleep number (she's a 35, she tells us
in ads), but do you know yours? Learn what yours is, and how it
suits you, by ambling into a Select Comfort Sleep Number showroom
and, with the use of a remote control, adjust the firmness of your
test mattress anywhere from zero to 100. A major selling point is
that each partner in a single bed can enjoy his or her own setting.
Those who really like to customize their beds with additional accessories
may wish to consider the Sleep Number option. Prices for these are
also, very generally, in the $1,700 range for a good-quality queen-size
mattress plus foundation.
The all-cotton earthy futon you may have used in college to save
space in the dorm now has such options as innerspring coils, which
should not interfere with its flexibility or multifunctional use.
This may be a good option to consider for those in small apartments
or those with modest budgets. A futon and frame can be had for as
little as $100 and even top-quality sets are still frugal compared
to most other conventional beds.