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Simmons and Serta offer the top picks, but they're far from perfect

While innerspring mattresses are the most common type of mattress on the market, they also have the fewest satisfied owners. SleepLikeTheDead.com reports that just 62 percent of innerspring owners are happy with their mattresses compared to about 80 percent of those who own other types. Site editors say the subpar rating directly correlates to subpar durability. At least one in four innerspring owners says that within three years, the mattress developed significant problems with sagging that made it less comfortable.

Even mattresses that get good durability ratings in lab tests don't always hold up well with home use. In one recent independent test, our Best Reviewed Simmons Beautyrest innerspring outperforms all other mattresses, both innerspring and memory foam. It provides very good spinal support for side sleepers and moderately good support for back sleepers, and holds up very well to durability tests in which a heavy roller is repeatedly passed over its surface. Moreover, another Beautyrest model that doesn't rate as well for support still gets excellent marks for durability.

At SleepLikeTheDead.com, however, this brand has an overall approval rating of only 63 percent, and more than half of the complaints are about durability. Owners often love the mattress for the first year or so, saying it's supportive, relieves back pain and improves sleep. Users particularly like its pocket coil design, which places each coil in a separate fabric sleeve to reduce motion transfer. But at least one in four owners say the Simmons began to sag within the first few years, developing indentations from the weight of their bodies and often causing discomfort and pain. On average, users replace their Beautyrest mattresses within six years, usually because of sagging.

We found similar comments about the Serta Perfect Sleeper, the second-best performer overall in the same professional test. It's rated somewhat better for back sleepers and not as good for side sleepers as the Simmons Beautyrest, and doesn't hold up as well in durability testing. At SleepLikeTheDead.com, the Serta has the same 63 percent approval rating. Owners generally find it comfortable at first, but about 20 percent say their mattresses began to sag within the first three years, reducing its comfort and support.

These numbers are slightly better than for the Simmons mattress, but the average lifespan of the Serta is no better and it isn't as good at isolating motion. However, Serta Perfect Sleeper mattresses are more affordable on average, ranging from $1,000 to $1,400 for a queen set while Simmons Beautyrests may cost as much as $5,100 for the mattress alone.

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