Condo Blues: How to Buy a Mattress

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

How to Buy a Mattress

Husband and I need to buy a mattress for our guest bedroom. I'd like a green mattress if possible. I also want the mattress to be comfortable.  Of course, as the saying goes not too comfortable, or my guests will never leave!

Mattress shopping is nothing short of stressful. Unlike a car, you can’t comparison shop when it comes to mattresses. There isn’t anything to stop a mattress manufacturer from making the same style of mattress and putting a different name on it for every store that sells it. In fact, it’s a common practice. The price points for the same brand of mattress sold under different names vary wildly from store to store too.

That’s why mattress stores can guarantee that you won’t find a cheaper mattress at another store and if you do, they’ll give it to you free! Because you may find the same mattress brand, you won’t find the same mattress model name in another store – the individual model names are proprietary to each store.

Mattress Shopping? Prepare to Be Screwed

It gets worse. When Husband and I were shopping for a new mattress for our bed, we found that the prices were different for the same mattresses in two chain mattress stores in the same chain.

Coil counts, and other such indicators of mattress "quality" are actually bogus talking points. All coil mattresses start with enough coils to be considered good quality. The number of turns or coils in a mattress after that doesn't make much of a different in overall quality, just personal level of comfort. Besides there are only two companies that make mattress coils and if you’re buying a coil mattress, it’s going to be the same coil quality as another maker who buys coils from that manufacturer. Of course, you won't know that because they don't - and won't - tell you that.

When it comes to buying a mattress, name brands really don’t mean much either. Often the big name brands rename and sell their mattresses as no name or as private brands too. The best advice is to pick a price range, lie down on a bunch of them, decide what you like best, and hang onto your wallet.

If you notice, just like buying a car, as soon as you look at a mattress the salesperson will “lower” the sticker price than what is advertised so it looks like you are getting a deal. Some even do that “let me talk to my manager” thing too. My advice? Buy a mattress on the last day of the month when a saleperson is willing to deal and “talk with their manager” about lowering the price a little more so the mattress moves out the door and they make their commissioned sales goal for the month. The same advice goes for buying a car.

I absolutely hate being played. And that’s what happens when it comes to buying a mattress.

Mattress Shopping is Not for the Faint Hearted

Shopping for a green mattress wasn’t any better. In fact, it was a little worse because we only found one in a local brick and mortar store to try. If I’m going to spend up to a thousand dollars on something, I want to see it in person. Especially when I don’t know what kind of mattress we like or need. The mattress we were replacing at the time was very old and so worn out that it gave us back problems.

It turns out, that for our own bed, Husband and I thought we needed a soft mattress. Depending upon the store and the mattresses we tried, we sometimes liked one tagged firm, semi-firm, or soft pillowtop the best. ARGH!

Just like using baking soda as deodorant, my brain wanted a green option and my back said, “No thank you. I need a different one.” We opted for the correct firmness for us, at a price that made us comfortable, and put an allergy ban cover on it to keep flame retardants and such at bay.

Have you purchased a new mattress? Do you think they took advantage of you?

Did you enjoy this post? Get more like it by subscribing to the Condo Blues RSS Feed  or to Condo Blues by Email.