Do Expensive Mattresses Offer Better Sleep?

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     Do Expensive Mattresses Offer Better Sleep?

    With hundreds of mattresses and brands to chose from, the average shopper can have more than little trouble sorting the good from the bad. Some people assume that price is indicative of performance and potential satisfaction, with expensive mattresses seen as offering better sleep than cheaper options. In this article, we will look at a range of mattresses along with reviews and surveys to see how mattress satisfaction and price compare.

    What’s In A Mattress Price?

    You may wonder just how one company can sell a mattress for $300 while another sells for $30,000, and what makes these prices so different. The truth is that the cost of a new bed has many influences. From the materials inside to brand name, it can be helpful to understand how a mattress is priced.

    1) Materials

    The most obvious influence on the cost of a bed is the materials used within. Basic bonnell coils, pressed foam, lower-density polyurethane and fiber fill are all relatively cheap materials. More advanced coils made of higher gauge metal cost more, as do high-density poly foams. Low-density memory foam is less expensive to make than high-density memory foam. Synthetic/blended latex is cheaper than 100% natural latex, and the Talalay process of making latex foam is more costly than the Dunlop process. Textiles with natural fibers like cotton and wool are also more costly than synthetic fibers. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume mattresses with higher-quality coils, foams and fabrics (and those with higher amounts of expensive materials) will be more expensive than those with lower quality materials.

    2) Brands/Advertising

    However, the brand also plays a big role in how mattresses are priced. Some brands spring for a budget image and take slimmer margins. Others aim to project a luxury image, charging higher prices. Many major brands also have to factor expensive marketing and advertising costs into prices, in addition to production, warehousing and labor costs. As with most products, just because a brand chooses to price their products high doesn’t mean they automatically contain higher quality materials.

    3) Brand & Retailer Policies

    Some brands maintain fixed retail pricing for their products, meaning that every retailer must sell the bed at the same price. This is to preserve brand image and promote fairness among dealers. The retailer also plays a role, as they may mark up products differently. For example, some stores will inflate prices to offer dramatic “sales” and discounts that seem better than they appear.

    4) Time of Year

    When you shop can also affect price. Seasonal sales, end of year or seasonal closeouts and holiday shopping often mean reduced prices. This depends on brand and retailer of course, but near major holidays like July 4th or Black Friday, you could save significantly compared to non-sale times.

    5) Where You Buy

    Prices can also vary considerably between online and physical stores. Online retailers have much greater competition than the average local mattress showroom and may be inclined to offer more competitive deals and better return/exchange policies to get your business.

    Comparison of Cheap and Expensive Mattresses

    As you can see, a lot more goes into the price of a mattress than simply the quality or cost of materials. Aside from sleeping on a variety of beds, one of the best ways to see how expensive and cheap mattresses compare is to read owner reviews and experiences. There are several sources of mattress reviews online from brand and retailer websites to product review websites, and even forums and blogs.

    We looked at several brands of two of the more popular mattress types, innersprings and memory foam, to see how higher and lower-priced options compare. In the tables below, you will find the mattress brand and model, prices, specification details and owner satisfaction rates (the % of reviewers that are at least satisfied with their bed). Data is based on information and reviews from brand and retailer websites and independent consumer review websites.

    Innerspring Mattresses

    Here are a few popular innerspring mattresses from major brands and discount brands, ranked from most to least expensive.

    BrandModelSpecsPriceOwner Satisfaction
    HastensExcel IIdouble layer springs, horsehair, cotton, wool$8120+73%
    DuxianaDux 1011776 interlocking coils, latex topper, wood frame$480072%
    Stearns & FosterLux Estate651x2 pocket coils, latex and memory foam$219969%
    Simmons BeautyrestRecharge World Class Alexandria1000 pocket coils, gel and regular memory foam$149975%
    Sealy PosturepedicHybrid Cushion Firm825 pocket coils, gel memory foam$129974%
    Serta iSeriesApplause924 pocket coils, memory foam$124975%
    Simmons/WestinHeavenly Bed825 pocket coils$112569%
    Denver MattressMadison Plush576 pocket coils$59972%
    IKEASultan Holmsta484 pocket coils$54967%
    Signature SleepContour 8”480 encased coils$17990%

    Among these innerspring mattresses, the ultra-expensive mattresses rated slightly lower than the mid-range beds, while the cheaper beds largely rated a few points lower. Spring beds like Hastens and Duxiana that cost thousands of dollars usually are praised for good materials and construction, but will still compress over time and not everyone finds them comfortable or worth the cost. The “S-brand” beds between $1200 and $1500 were most likely to be seen as a good compromise between value and comfort, and the Serta Applause was actually chosen as a Consumer Reports 2014 pick. The exception to the trend was the cheapest mattress, which actually had the highest average review score. Reviewers primarily praised the value, and compared to the Ikea Sultan Holmsta mattress, the Signature Sleep Contour 8” has similar specifications buts costs $370 less. However, reviewers of the Signature Sleep acknowledged it was best for temporary use or kids.

    Memory Foam Mattresses

    Below are some of the more popular high-end and discount memory foam beds, ranked from most to least expensive.

    BrandModelSpecsPriceOwner Satisfaction
    TempurpedicGrand Bed7.2” memory foam (4.0-7.0lbs)$749980%
    Sealy OptimumElation2” gel memory foam, 5” memory foam (4.0lb)$299980%
    Bed In A BoxSerenity Gel3” gel memory foam (3.0lb)$189986%
    Simmons ComforpedicBalanced Days1” gel memory foam (3.5lb), 3.5” memory foam (4.5lb)$180082%
    Serta iComfortSavant2.75” gel memory foam (3.0lb), 2” memory foam (5.0lb)$157481%
    AmerisleepRevere3” plant-based memory foam (4.5lb)$129991%
    Ashley SleepEllis Bay 15”6” memory foam (3.0-4.0lb)$120065%
    TempurpedicSimplicity2” memory foam (2.5lb)$109979%
    NovaformSerafina 14”3” gel memory foam (3.5lb)$80078%
    Comfort DreamsSelect-A-Firmness 11”2” memory foam (2.5-4.0lb)$39981%
    Spa SensationsMyGel 10”3” memory foam (3.0lb)$36080%
    On average, about 80% of memory foam mattress owners are happy with their beds, and many of the models we looked at fell along this average regardless of price. The most expensive mattresses like the Tempurpedic Grand and Sealy Optimum Elation, priced at $7499 and $2999, had no higher satisfaction than most of the less expensive options. The low to mid-range categories showed the lowest owner satisfaction, with the Tempur-Simplicity and Novaform Serafina falling slightly below average, and the Ashley Sleep coming in lowest. The cheapest mattresses, under $400, rated well on initial comfort and perceived value, but are not praised for long lifespans. The highest rated options fell in the middle of the price range, with the BedInABox Serenity model priced at $1899 coming in second, and the Amerisleep Revere priced at $1299 coming in first.

    How Much Does a “Good” Mattress Cost?

    In our comparisons, mattresses that rate best with consumers all-around, on comfort, durability and value, seem to fall in the middle range of price, with very expensive and very cheap mattresses coming in lower. Essentially, not everyone will like every mattress, but customers that spend $4000 or more have much higher expectations than they would of a cheaper product when it comes to quality and comfort. And, while many reviewers of cheaper beds like the affordable prices, durability and comfort often affect satisfaction. Consumer Reports 2014 mattress guide also highlighted middle-priced foam and spring options as the best values.

    While there is much more to choosing a mattress than price, owner reviews suggest that you don’t need to spend thousands of dollars to get better sleep, but that you should also skip very cheap beds at least when choosing your everyday mattress. On an innerspring mattress, you might expect to spend between $1000-$1500 to get a decent mattress with good quality materials and a decent warranty. For a memory foam mattress, you might expect to spend $1200-$2000 to get a bed with medium or higher density memory foam and a good warranty, with price largely depending on thickness of the memory foam layers.

    As always, you want to inquire about the details so you can compare and see whether or not the mattress offers a good value or not. An 8” mattress with an inch of low-density memory foam would not be a great value at $1200, for example, whereas a 12” mattress with several inches of medium density foam could be a good value at $1200. You always to check what quality of materials the manufacturer is using and the retailer’s policies on returns when shopping. Don’t make an impulse purchase that you’ll regret. Instead, set a budget and take some time researching your options in stores and online, then compare your notes to see which offers the best potential value and comfort for you. The main thing to keep in mind is too look beyond the price when shopping – a more expensive mattress does not always equate to a better mattress, and affordable mattresses are not always a compromise on comfort or satisfaction.

    Mattress Prices
    How much do you plan on spending for your next mattress?

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      One Comment

      1. Great review, but I still am confused? Wish someone would just deliver a mattress and I’d be happy. Thanks for your information.

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