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Mattress Reviews

By: Kelly Burgess on June 19, 2018

Editor's note:
The big news for this update is that mattress prices are coming down -- probably due to increased competition from online-only firms like Casper and Sleep On Latex. We review those, as well as more traditional choices like innerspring mattresses from Sealy, memory foam from Tempur-Pedic, and pain-reducing Sleep Number beds.

Sealy Performance Collection Review
Best Reviewed

Best innerspring mattress

Sealy's Performance Collection is the middle-of-the pack choice in the company's Response Line. The Performance Collection features Sealy's proprietary "Posturepedic" technology, which has been around (and popular) for years and has traditionally gotten good reviews for comfort in any sleeping position, with above average ratings for its all-over body support. It earns better-than-average ratings for durability (compared to other innerspring mattresses). Sealy Performance mattresses are covered by a 10-year warranty. See our full review »

Tempur-Pedic Mattress Review
Best Reviewed

Best memory foam mattress

Tempur-Pedic is the leading brand of memory foam mattress, and owners enthusiastically praise the comfort and durability of its multi-product line. The brand uses a proprietary foam that conforms to each person's shape, weight and body temperature, providing individualized support while reducing motion transfer -- meaning your partner's movements won't affect you. These mattresses are on the pricey side, but mattresses and flat foundations carry a 10-year warranty. See our full review »

Zinus Memory Foam Green Tea Mattress Review
Also Consider

Cheap memory foam mattress

The Zinus Memory Foam Green Tea Mattress earns ratings that are nearly as high as those of the much-pricier Tempur-Pedic (Est. $1,300 and up) -- making it a terrific value in this category. Owners give it props for comfort, even after months of use, although we did spot more complaints about the initial odor than we see with higher-end memory foam mattresses. Zinus mattresses are available in a variety of thicknesses and sizes.

Buy for $279.00
Casper Mattress Review
Best Reviewed

Best foam mattress

Casper is one of the original online foam mattress retailers, and the company's flagship mattress -- the Casper -- is still a top choice in that now-crowded field. This mattress offers a good balance of firmness, support and stability that makes it a good choice for almost any type of sleeper -- especially couples where one is a side sleeper, the other a back sleeper. Casper offers free returns in the first 100 days. See our full review »

Buy for $595.00
Sleep On Latex Pure Green Review
Best Reviewed

Best latex mattress

The Sleep On Latex Pure Green Firm mattress earns kudos for comfort for side and back sleepers of all sizes. It's 9-inch thickness is said to feel springy and cool, and yet it's durable; holding up well over eight years of simulated use. It also comes in a 7-inch thickness and a full range of sizes. Like Casper, Pure Green offers free shipping and free returns within the first 100 days. See our full review »

Buy for $795.00
Sleep Number Mattress Review
Best Reviewed

Best mattress for back pain

Adjustable air mattresses get the highest ratings for easing back pain of any other type, and Sleep Number mattresses are the top choice in this category. They are also a great option for couples with radically different sleep styles; especially if you add an adjustable base. Fully loaded, these are among the priciest options, but many owners report improved sleep quality when switching to Sleep Number. They come with a 25-year warranty. See our full review »

Types of Mattresses

Innerspring Mattresses

Innerspring has been the most popular type of mattress for decades and countless styles, features, and options are available. Models vary greatly in cost, from a few hundred dollars to several thousand. Price differences may depend on the number and size of the coils, the amount and type of padding, and details such as fabric and stitching. Compared with other types, innerspring mattresses tend to retain less body heat and come in a wider range of firmness levels. They do tend to transfer more motion, which can be a concern if you share your bed with a partner, but can be a plus during sex. They're also less durable and more prone to sagging than other types of mattresses. Most experts say innerspring mattresses should be replaced after 10 years at most, although six years seems to be the best timing to avoid possible discomfort from sleeping on a saggy mattress.

Memory Foam Mattresses

Made from visco-elastic foam, a type of foam that molds itself to the body, memory foam is most popular with those who like a firmer, highly supportive mattress. While the best-known manufacturer is Tempur-Pedic, quite a few companies offer less expensive versions. Memory foam is also a good choice if you have a restless partner as it minimizes movement transfer. Going from innerspring to memory foam can take some getting used to, but most who give it time say making the switch was worth it. Some people find that memory foam traps heat -- a complaint that many makers have addressed with the development of gel-infused memory foam, which is designed to create a cooler sleeping surface. Alternatively, wool mattress toppers, which are covered in a separate report, can help keep you cool. Another big issue with all memory foam mattress is off-gassing; most have an unpleasant smell when they're first unwrapped or unboxed. This bothers some people more than others, so we don't rate memory foam mattresses by that metric since it seems to be highly subjective.

Foam Mattresses

The foam mattress category covers all mattresses that are made of foam, but don't fall specifically into either the memory foam or latex category (see below). Often a proprietary blend of foams, foam mattresses have shot into the stratosphere of popularity thanks to the proliferation of online-only companies that have created foam mattresses primarily for sale on the internet, though a few can be tried out in person in some locations. Foam tends to trap less heat than memory foam, and tends toward a softer feel, so may be a better choice for those who prefer a softer bed. Most foam mattresses need some time for the initial odor to dissipate, but most experts say the off-gassing is not as bad as with mattresses made solely with memory foam.

Latex Mattresses

Mattresses made of natural latex are eco-friendly, since natural latex is a renewable resource. Latex tends to be springier than memory foam mattresses and doesn't retain as much body heat. They are also resistant to mold and dust mites. Many latex mattresses go for several thousand dollars for a queen set, although some lower-end brands that incorporate synthetic latex and a less expensive processing method, or that use a core made from another foam material, such as polyurethane, can run as low as $300 (for a twin). Natural latex mattresses tend to have fewer issues with off-gassing.

Mattresses for Back Pain

Experts say that adjustable, permanent-use air mattresses may be the best choice for back pain sufferers. Don't confuse them with inflatable, temporary air mattresses though, (which we cover in a separate report); those aren't considered suitable for long-term use. Permanent air mattresses, such as those sold under the Sleep Number Bed label, have air chambers that can be adjusted to provide customized support, and are topped with padding. Some even allow each side of the mattress to be adjusted independently. Permanent air mattresses can be expensive, but tend to be quite durable because, while they rely on mechanical parts that can fail, those parts are usually replaceable.

The internet has shaken up mattress buying

Thanks to the internet, there are many fewer travel agents, print magazines, newspapers and brick-and-mortar stores. However, when it comes to mattresses, the internet has expanded the market -- and online-only mattress sales are exploding.

Up until our last update, we included online-only mattresses with the caveat that most experts recommend trying a mattress out in person, by lying on it in a store. We no longer include that caution, because experts now say if you know your sleep style and your firmness preferences, it probably doesn't matter if you order a mattress sight-unseen versus lying down on one for a few minutes. A lot of people aren't really picky sleepers either -- they can snooze just fine on any surface. For them, we recommend focusing on low prices and desired appearance.

Fortunately, online-only mattress companies are also making it increasingly easy to order a mattress and to return it you're not happy. Most have a more-than-generous time frame in which to try them out, too.

While foam mattresses are the ones most commonly bought online, some online-only mattress companies -- most notably Saatva -- sell innerspring and hybrid mattresses online. And more traditional mattress companies, such as Sealy and Simmons are getting into the act by offering online-only collections. The best news: online-only mattress tend to cost much less than comparable store-bought mattresses and there's no mystery about the "real" price.

How much is that mattress in the window?

In spite of the recent proliferation of online-only mattress companies, the traditional way of buying mattresses -- lying down on one in a store -- has not gone the way of the dodo. Whether it's from a department store or a retailer devoted to just selling mattresses, there are plenty of brick-and-mortar locations for you to try out your next bed.

There certainly are reasons to want to be sure that you're getting a mattress you love when you go shopping. People spend a lot of their lives in bed and poor sleep can detract from your quality of life. Beyond that, mattresses can be pricey -- in most cases at least $400 for a twin; $1000 or more for a queen or king -- and those are just the most basic models. Some cost two or three times as much, and sometimes more, depending upon features and type. And that number rarely includes the box spring or other foundation, if needed, so you'll also need to budget for the entire bed set, unless you're replacing a same-sized mattresses on an existing bed. And don't forget pillows and bed sheets, both of which we discuss in their own reports.

Figuring out exactly how much some mattresses cost can be difficult. The larger mattress companies like Sealy and Simmons have specific lines, as detailed on their websites, but those aren't the only mattresses they make. Big companies like that also manufacture hundreds of other mattresses for retailers with their own model names. That makes it almost impossible to compare apples-to-apples when trying to price out a mattress from the big names. That goes the same for standalone stores selling "factory-direct" mattresses. For example, you can't go to, say Mattress Firm and then to Mattress Depot and find the same beds (although they might be the same, there's just no way to tell).

We discuss price in more detail -- as well as how to get the best deal -- on our buying guide page. We also talk a bit more there about how we expect the traditional mattress market to change as it confronts the online upstarts.

Finding The Best Mattresses
Our Sources
"Mattress Reviews & Ratings -- Summary"
"The Best Foam Mattresses You Can Buy Online"

Along with the explosion of online-only mattress sales, there's been an explosion in expert reviews of these mattresses. It's always been hard to rate traditional mattresses because, as we discuss above, there are too many options in a line to be sure the various experts are testing the same mattress. That's not the case with foam mattresses targeted to internet buyers from makers like Casper, Saatva, Leesa and Tuft & Needle. Since these companies make only one model of each of their mattresses, it's easy to compare them against each other. Consumer Reports still reviews traditional mattresses, but they've also added quite a few of the foam, online-only mattresses to their testing. Wirecutter tests only foam mattresses. Another important resource for us -- perhaps the most significant -- is the detailed analysis of consumer satisfaction feedback at Sleep Like the Dead -- which has compiled more data about mattress satisfaction than any other site.

Of course, we also take into account owner reviews, but, like expert reviews, those can be limited when it comes to traditional mattresses. That's because there's no real way to determine if the model reviewed at Macy's is the same model that you see reviewed at JCPenney -- even if they are both, for example, Sealy innerspring mattresses. But there's plenty of consumer feedback for the online-only foam mattresses, so that was extremely helpful in making our picks. Factors including comfort, value and durability are included in our analysis. The result of our research is the best mattresses for your best night's sleep.

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Mattresses buying guide

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