How to Choose a Mattress: Complete Mattress Buying Guide

13 min read
13 min read

It’s no doubt that a mattress plays an important role in giving us a good night’s sleep. But what happens when you have to buy a new mattress? The question of how to choose a mattress can become intimidating as there are things like texture, material, availability, firmness, and other things to consider. Buying a mattress is not a piece of cake when you do not know anything about them. 

This article shares some light on mattress types, what mattress to buy, what type of mattress is best for you and what to keep in mind when buying a bed. You know, the one that understands your needs and gives you nothing more than uncompromised comfort. 

How to Pick a Mattress

No matter the reason, when thinking about what mattress should I buy, there are a few things to keep in mind. Determining how much you want to spend on your mattress or what features you wish to have can help you decide the right mattress for you. How do you choose a mattress depends on the following points we’ve mentioned below. 

  • Check Your Preferred sleeping positions: Your sleeping position says a lot about your mattress needs. From firm to soft, the market is filled with many types of mattresses. Make sure you understand which mattress makes your body comfortable, as there are different mattresses for different sleeping positions. 
  • Choose the Mattress Type: Hybrid, innerspring, gel, memory foam, air mattress are a few popular mattresses available in the market. Explore them in detail as they might help you understand the features and benefits of each. 
  • Try looking for Pressure Relief & Body contouring: Some mattresses have this feature and make it easier for you to find a mattress that supports your bones properly. Check the firmness level of the mattresses to understand this better. 
  • Check the Support Needed For the Body: People have different needs when it comes to finding the right mattress. There are various types of supporting mattresses available in the market. Make sure you explore them once. 
  • Confirm the Mattress Height You Need: Your room size and your mattress dimensions are equally important when it comes to choosing a mattress. Make sure you note these details and find a mattress accordingly. 
  • Make Sure There is Motion isolation: For couples who need their space, choosing a motion isolation mattress can be the answer.  
  • Temperature Regulation is Important: A gel memory foam mattress is great for temperature regulation as memory foam tends to trap heat frequently.  
  • Hunt for Organic and Eco-friendly Materials: Are you the eco-friendly type? Well, there are various natural options available in the market. 
  • Look For the Right Budget: The most important factor in buying a mattress is the budget. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t step a toe out of line. Make sure you explore all the possible deals, offers, and prices before actually freezing the one. 

The points mentioned above are really important to consider when buying a mattress. Each point helps you to understand your needs better. Therefore, you should know what you need in detail.

Mattress Types

When you’ve just started looking for a new mattress, you’d realize there are so many options to choose from, so many materials to explore, and so many features to discover. It can be overwhelming at once, but it will be easier for you to choose once you understand the details. 

Not just the traditional comfort, there are mattresses in the market that offer dynamic comfort. Combined with new technology, some mattresses are more accessible and comfortable than others.

Most mattresses fall under these categories – foam, hybrid, latex, innerspring, gel, airbeds, etc. Each of these mattresses is great when it comes to providing comfort to the body. Let’s explore these types a little in detail to understand them better.

Foam – Most people know that these mattresses are made purely from foam. The major benefits of having a foam mattress are pressure relief, body contouring, motion isolation, and much more. These features make it a good mattress for side sleepers and couples. The firmness of a foam mattress is great, and people can sleep on them when facing body pains. 

Hybrid – Hybrid beds have two components one is innerspring, and the other is foam or latex. These are super comfortable and help your body to get the rest it needs. These mattresses provide a balance of body contouring with low heat retention. These features make hybrid mattresses the best type of mattress and ideal for sleepers who sleep in any position they wish to. 

Latex – Clear as the name, latex mattresses are great in providing motion isolation and are made from 100% latex rubber. Not just motion isolation, these mattresses are great for bounce balance and provide moderate body contouring. These mattresses are made from organic materials. Hence, these are a great fit for eco-friendly mattresses.  

Innerspring – These are the most traditional mattresses made with coils and springs to give the body the comfort it needs. While these mattresses were popular once, they lack pressure support and are now not the number one choice. These mattresses are more bouncer than others and have average motion isolation, but these come at pocket-friendly prices.

Gel – Combining gel and foam, you have a modern mattress known as the gel mattress. It is majorly popular over memory foam mattresses as it doesn’t trap air inside the mattress. With the gel pods, these mattresses are way cooler than others; thus it maintains a cool temperature and adjusts accordingly to the heat produced by the body.

Airbeds – Airbed mattresses are built with an air chamber that supports the mattress along with your body. This mattress comes with an in-built air pump that adds or removes air from the mattress with a touch of a button. You can control the air pump with your smartphone. 

This is as modern as any mattress could get. This new technology helps the sleeper decide the firmness of the mattress which makes it the best mattress to buy. What is a great selling point in couples is, the sleeper can control each side individually.

Mattress Firmness

While the mattress material is important in providing comfort, what is equally important is the firmness level. The softness and firmness of a mattress are not the same things. The firmness of the mattress is actually how hard or soft the mattress feels when you lie down. Do you sink in or stay up is what firmness is. 

The feel of firmness also depends on personal preferences. Did you know that firmness can be measured on a scale from 1-10? Let’s explore these in detail.  

Firmness Scale
Firmness
Best For
1
Extra soft
Side sleepers up to 130 pounds
2
Soft
Side sleepers up to 130 pounds
3
Medium soft
Sleepers under 130 pounds and side sleepers under 230 pounds
4
Medium
Back and side sleepers between 130-230 pounds
5
Medium-firm
Back and stomach sleepers up to 230 and side sleepers over 230 pounds
6
Firm
Side sleepers over 230 pounds, back and stomach sleepers over 130 pounds
7
Extra-firm
Sleepers over 230 pounds

The table shows the firmness levels of the mattresses, but there are other factors you should consider while buying a mattress, like your body weight, sleeping positions, etc. 

Sleeping Positions

The way you sleep says a lot about your sleep quality. Most people toss and turn throughout the night, while others prefer a single position. The importance of understanding the sleep positions is to help you decide which mattress is good for your body. 

If you are not sure what your sleeping position is, then pay a little attention to how you sleep or which position you prefer the most. We’ll be exploring different sleep positions to understand how they can help you choose the right mattress for yourself. 

Side sleeper 

Side sleepers need a lot of support on the shoulders and hips to relieve the pressure. Meaning, side sleepers have to choose a soft mattress that gives them deeper support. As side sleepers exert so much pain on their joints, they need a mattress that equally distributes their body weight. Hence, side sleepers need a mattress that has a firmness level ranging from 4-6

Side sleepers should prefer memory foam mattresses as these offer proper body contouring and support. 

Back sleeper 

Back sleepers are the ones who experience unnecessary tension in the shoulder and lower back. Choosing a too-soft mattress could sink the lower back, and choosing a too-hard mattress would create pressure on the shoulder and lower back. And for this reason, these sleepers need a medium mattress that understands their needs. 

The ideal mattress firmness for back sleepers would be something in between 5-7. These mattresses would lift and align the spinal cord in a neutral position. The ideal mattress for back sleepers would be a hybrid mattress as it can give them all the space and comfort they need during sleeping. 

Stomach sleeper 

Stomach sleepers are literally the opposite of side sleepers, and hence they need an ultra-firm mattress that would lift their hips and align their body while sleeping. As these sleepers put their major weight on the lower back, sleeping on a soft mattress would not be beneficial for them.  

When considering the firmness scale for stomach sleepers, it should be between 7-10. As the firmness scale is towards the harder side, the ideal mattress for stomach sleepers would be the innerspring or hybrid mattress. 

Body Type

On the first thought, you might be thinking how my body weight will help me in selecting a mattress? Truth be told, your body weight can be the deciding factor on which mattress feels soft or firm to you. And for that reason, you should know what the common body types are in detail. 

Light sleepers 

These are people who weigh up to 150 pounds. Since their body weight isn’t too much, these sleepers would need a mattress firmness level of 5-6. These mattresses are great when it comes to firmness. People who are really light in weight can choose a softer mattress of a firmness scale ranging between 3 & 4 because it is not likely that these people would sink into a soft mattress. 

Actually, these sleepers do not have any issues with both types of mattresses – medium and soft. In the end, it is all about your personal preference. Whichever makes you feel comfortable, you should pick that mattress.  

Average sleepers 

Average sleepers can also choose any bed – soft or medium-firm. These are people who weigh from 150-200 pounds. Those who are near 200 pounds should opt for medium-firm beds as these beds can give their body the necessary support, but not the soft ones as these beds might give them a sinking feeling. 

These mattresses are great for providing medium firmness with proper supporting features. And for that reason, the mattress firmness level for average sleepers should be between 5-7. So, that’s why a foam mattress would be ideal for average sleepers. 

Heavy sleepers 

People who weigh more than 200 pounds are heavy sleepers. These persons should not opt for a soft mattress as these would definitely give them a sinking feeling instantly. Considering their body weight, these people need proper support on their shoulders, lower back and necks. Hence, innerspring or foam mattresses would be great for them. 

The mattress firmness level for heavy sleepers should be between 7-10. Since these people have heavy body weight, they should opt for a mattress that doesn’t trap air and has a thickness of 10-12 inches. 

Price

Investment in a mattress is a serious matter of comfort. At the same time, the pricing of the mattress either breaks or makes your deal. It would be wise not to consider the cheapest option right away. You should compare the features, differences, materials and other factors before buying a mattress. 

As each mattress has different features, its prices also differ. The lowest mattress price starts from $500, and it can go on up to $2400. Let’s have a look at the price table to understand the real difference between each mattress model. Who knows what you might end up discovering. 

Mattress Type
Price
Foam
$ 900 – $1300
Innerspring
$600 – $1100
Airbeds
$2000 – $2400
Hybrid
$1500 – $2000
Latex
$1600 – $2000

How to Choose a Mattress for Back Pain

A good posture is important for the ligaments, muscles, bones, and sleep. If you rest well, you are most likely to wake up fresh, relaxed, and stronger every morning. If your mattress is too firm, it won’t evenly distribute the body weight to support the bones. If the mattress is too soft, it will sink the body immediately. 

For people who suffer from back pain, the best bet would be to get a medium-soft mattress. People with lower back pain often find medium-soft mattresses comfortable as they can adjust accordingly. 

Now, this might sound strange, but people with wider hips should prefer sleeping on a slightly softer mattress, whereas people with narrower hips should choose to sleep on a firm mattress. 

The best way to choose a mattress for back pain would be to test it personally. Lay down on the mattress for a minute to understand which mattress fits you perfectly. The best mattress type, without any doubt, would be a memory foam mattress. These mattresses are great for body contouring and adjust to the body shape immediately. 

The best thing to do whenever in doubt is to ask the salesperson. They can guide you through the various collections and give you the right information. 

How to Choose a Mattress for a Child

Picking the right mattress for children is very important as you do not want to mess up their sleep cycle. Sound sleep also helps the children to grow properly. And you should know, children sleep in all positions and frequently change positions. Hence you need a quality bed that doesn’t compromise on comfort. Safety is also a major concern when looking for a mattress for your children. 

Depending on how old your child is, you should choose a Twin or Twin XL mattress. These are great for growing children. You can also buy a bunker bed for your children. These are compact in size and won’t take up much space. 

You can always explore the brick-and-mortar shop to know more about the children’s mattresses. They will all majorly point towards a twin mattress. These mattresses are safe and adjust according to your child’s sleeping positions.

How to Choose a Crib Mattress

Choosing a crib mattress is not that easy to choose as there are so many things to consider before buying one. Some of the key safety aspects of crib mattresses are: 

Make sure the mattress matches the standards of the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Also, the sizes of the crib mattresses should comply with CPSC, i.e. 27.25 inches by 15.25 inches in size with mattress thickness not exceeding by more than 6 inches. 

The crib mattress should be firm as toddlers tend to rotate throughout the night. This could ensure the safety of the child. At the same time, these are the primary things to look up in a toddler’s bed. 

There are other things to keep in mind when looking for a crib like: 

  • Easy to clean: Children can mess up the mattress easily. Hence it would be a plus point if your mattress was easy to clean. 
  • Lightweight mattress: As it is only a crib mattress, it need not be heavy. As mentioned above, the mattress should be easy to clean; hence it would be great if the mattress isn’t too heavy. 
  • Mattress type: When looking for a firm mattress, an innerspring or foam mattress is a great choice. Hence when choosing the right mattress for your child, you can choose from any of the two. The key point here is to choose a firm mattress. 

Reversible firmness: Any mattress with this feature has a different feel. As your child grows, they won’t need much firmness; you can simply flip the mattress to get the appropriate firmness.

How to Choose a Mattress Topper

When you cannot find a new mattress of your choice, the next best thing you can do is find a suitable mattress topper. But why do you need one? A mattress topper sits on top of the mattress and is a bit thick. Since it is thick, it can change the way your mattress feels. Some toppers are able to add motion isolation; body contouring features to your mattress, while most toppers protect the mattress from wearing out. 

Mattress toppers are about 1-4 inches thick and are made from one single material. You’ll easily find these in polyester, cotton, latex, memory foam, wool, down, and other materials. When choosing a mattress topper, you should consider the following points: 

  • Your preferred firmness 
  • Prefered sleeping positions 
  • Bodyweight 
  • The type of material that suits you
  • Your budget 

Even if you choose to buy a topper, it should be realistic and practical. You know these won’t last much longer, but they will do the needful. A topper is just a cover; it will not change the features of your mattress; it can reduce or enhance them just a bit. Make sure you understand these things before you purchase a mattress topper. 

Summing It up

Now that you know the mattress buying tips, we hope you’ll be able to choose the right one. Each mattress is different and offers different features. You should know them in detail before deciding what type of mattress is best for you. 

Mattress comfort levels change with types and quality. Understanding your needs will help you understand a mattress better. We hope this article answers your questions about how to buy a mattress and what things to consider when buying a mattress. In the end, a mattress is all about providing the comfort you seek.

If you are looking for new stock, then May-June is the best time to buy a mattress. For those who are looking for sweet deals, they can buy a mattress during Dec – Jan. These are the holiday seasons, and you’ll find great deals on mattresses. 

It depends on your mattress and bed frame. There are some mattresses like innerspring and memory foam mattresses that do not need a box spring. First, you need to understand what a box spring does; then, you should proceed further. 

It is hard to name anyone as the best type of mattress as everyone has different needs. Memory foam might not be beneficial for everyone. Some people might find an innerspring mattress the best choice, while others might feel a gel mattress is the best. You should explore your needs and not take anyone’s word as your body and needs cannot be exactly the same as others. 

Yes. Memory foam is usually more durable than spring mattresses. These mattresses are modern and have more features than spring mattresses. These mattresses also have pain-reducing, body contouring, and motion isolation properties. On the other hand, spring or coil mattresses are bouncier than memory foam. Hence, it does not offer a pressure relief feature. 

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Meet Our Review Board

Each week our team researches, writes and collaborates with industry leaders to bring you simple easy-to-read sleep information.

David Bridge

Sleep Coach

Siddhesh Tiwatne

Sleep Coach

Authored by healh experts and journalists

Fact checked and science-backed

Medically reviewed by physicians

Meet Our Review Board

Each week our team researches, writes and collaborates with industry leaders to bring you simple easy-to-read sleep information.

David Bridge

Sleep Coach

Siddhesh Tiwatne

Sleep Coach

Authored by health experts and journalists

Fact checked and science-backed

Medically reviewed by physicians

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Disclaimer

www.sleepauthority.com is brought to you by Resident. Our company sells Nectar, DreamCloud, Awara, Level Sleep, and Home Well Designed. While we intend for this site to be an educational and useful resource for consumers interested in sleep-related topics, we also promote our family of brands – brands that we believe in – on this website. Where we have commissioned independent research and/or articles to support our content, we will state as such in the sub-heading of the article. Where we compare our brands and products against others, we will provide the review criteria as well as state our basis for choosing the “best” or “top” product in a link accompanying the comparison. Our aim is to assist consumers in choosing the best solution for getting restful and comfortable sleep and it is our belief that there is a Resident product that meets any sleeper’s needs.

Meet Our Review Board

Each week our team researches, writes and collaborates with industry leaders to bring you simple easy-to-read sleep information.

David Bridge

Sleep Coach

Siddhesh Tiwatne

Sleep Coach

Authored by health experts and journalists

Fact checked and science-backed

Medically reviewed by physicians

Meet Our Review Board

Each week our team researches, writes and collaborates with industry leaders to bring you simple easy-to-read sleep information.

David Bridge

Sleep Coach

Siddhesh Tiwatne

Sleep Coach

Authored by health experts and journalists

Fact checked and science-backed

Medically reviewed by physicians