5 Mattress Buying Tips from Consumer Reports

By Chad Taylor on January 27, 2016

Some people wouldn’t buy without the full read, but here are 5 things Consumer Reports had to say about mattress buying!

5 Mattress Buying Tips from Consumer Reports

Consumer Reports tested queen-size mattresses (60”x80”) by running a 308-pound roller over the mattress 30,000 which they felt simulated 8 to 10 years of use. Here are 5 things they had to say.

  1. It’s hard to compare. Mattress companies make exclusive lines for many dealers. A shopper may try to compare, but it’s hard. When Consumer Reports went to 3 mattress chains and asked for a mattress comparable to 3 they had purchased at department stores, 5 out of 6 were “far off the mark”.
  2. Foam layers don’t necessarily make a better bed. When testing innerspring mattresses with layers of foam, the thickness of the foam was important. The mattresses that scored well had foam layers several inches thick – but even then performance varied.
  3. More coils are better? Consumer Reports tested mattresses with 600 to 1000 coils and found that just having more coils didn’t make the bed an automatic winner. The same was true of the different types of coils (hourglass, continuous wire or individually pocketed). None of the different coils proved to be “inherently better”.
  4. Gel is cool – or cooler. Maybe not. Gel-infused foam is supposed to provide a cooler night’s rest. Consumer Reports says that if the layer is buried in other layers, it’s not very effective. In fact, their research showed that while innerspring mattresses with a gel-infused layer slept cooler, the opposite was true with foam beds.
  5. Support the back. People who sleep on their back are encouraged (by the salespeople?) to look for special lumbar support. Mattress manufacturers can make a sales pitch based on special back support as they try to set their mattress apart from others. Consumer Reports showed no significant improvement when lumbar support was provided in a mattress.

Buying a mattress can be difficult. Price doesn’t necessarily mean comfort. Specifications change from store to store making comparisons difficult. One of the things you should look for when you’re shopping is a good return policy. Internet mattress retailers have led the way in extending the return time to months, not days. They know that when you change what you sleep on your body needs time to adjust – 30 days is recommended. The best way to know if a mattress is right for you is sleeping on it and judging how rested you are and if it’s helping do away with morning aches and pains. The Consumer Report information did not treat latex mattresses as a separate category, but they may overcome some of the common complaints. They have bounce for easy movement and are natural, hypoallergenic and breathable. You might want to give one a try!