April 24, 2017

Memory Foam Mattress Buying Guide: How to Buy a Mattress

Memory Foam Mattress Reviews

It isn’t often a person has to buy a mattress, which makes shopping for a bed feel like unfamiliar territory. You don’t need a memory foam mattress buying guide to learn how to buy a mattress, but a good one will save you time and money and get you the best mattress available.

How do you navigate a foreign landscape with perils abound? You need a guide to help you through, which is why we’ve taken the time to put this together. Review our tips and you will find the promised land of sound sleep. 

Memory Foam Mattress Guide

Memory foam offers many benefits over other types of mattresses. As a group, they have the the highest owner satisfaction rates of any mattress type. See how they compare:

Data from SleepLikeTheDead.com.

Owner satisfaction is a great indicator on the quality of a bed, as are testimonials in general. What do people who have tried other beds think about memory foam? Take a look.

Data from SleepLikeTheDead.com.

People who have owned both memory foam and innerspring mattresses overwhelmingly prefer memory foam, as the pie chart illustrates. Customers attribute their preference to a number of things. Longevity, motion isolation and pain relief are two of the most common reasons. Memory foam mattresses tend to last much longer and have far superior motion isolation than innersprings. 

How to Buy a Mattress without Getting Burned

If you know how to buy a mattress, you can avoid some of the pitfalls that accompany many inexperienced buyers. Mattress retailers are out to make a buck like everyone else. Pay attention to a few things and you’ll have no trouble. Here are some pointers to keep in mind when trying to buy a mattress.

Buy a mattress suited for your needs

What do you need to buy a mattress for? If you are shopping for a guest bed or a bed that will be used infrequently, you won’t need really a durable mattress, unless the sleeper is a heavier person. Some beds won’t hold up when used regularly. Memory foam mattresses with higher foam densities will be more durable. Check out this memory foam density guide for more information.

How many people will be sleeping on the bed? If you sleep with a partner, you may want some additional elbow room. A queen-size bed is a decent size for most people. If you are unsure, lie and the bed with your partner, place your hands on your hips with the elbows out and see if you touch elbows or go over the edge of the bed. You both should have room to assume this position without touching or having your arm over the ledge.

Do your mattress research

You should do some reading before deciding your bed. Memory foam mattress reviews are abundant on the internet, all you have to do is look. See what customers have to say about the bed you are looking at. Reviews that are verified via third party are more trustworthy because they are from actual customers. Websites dedicated to rating mattresses are a good source, too. We have tons of reviews for you to peruse.

Take your time while in the research phase and take in as much information as possible. Take detailed notes because there are too many details to remember and accurately compare. The internet is a good resource. See how the features of each mattress compares from the comfort of your own home. You can even make a purchase from many reputable online mattress retailers. 

Know your memory foam

Memory foam comes in many different types. You know about the varying densities, but did you know that some memory foams are made from petroleum and others are made from plant-based oils? If you are concerned about toxic or synthetic chemicals, you may want to shop for a plant-based memory foam mattress. These eco-friendly mattresses tend to sleep cooler than their petrol counterparts, also.

The three types of foam are:

  • Traditional – These are the oldest and most common types of memory foams. They are made from petroleum-based polyols. Also called synthetic foams, traditional foams sometimes have trouble with heat retention.
  • Gel – To help combat the heat retention problems noticed in traditional memory foam beds, manufacturers have deployed gels to help. The gels are either mixed throughout the foam material or in whole layers in the comfort and support layers. Though designed to help mattresses feel cooler, gel memory foam has about the same rate of complaints for heat retention as traditional. Each company uses different chemicals in the makeup of their gels and is difficult to get information regarding their components.
  • Plant-based –  A recent development, plant-based memory foams are a more eco-friendly version. They are made from soy-based polyols and are considered natural, not synthetic. Plant-based foams also have a more open-cell structure which allows for more airflow through the mattress. This keeps temperatures lower much better than gel. These foams also emit far fewer volatile organic compounds (VOCs) than their synthetic counterparts.

Wait for sales if you can

All retailers love holidays and mattress retailers are no different. Labor Day, Memorial Day, Fourth of July,Black Friday and many other days are notorious for big mattress sales. If you can wait, you should. Beds are hugely marked down on and around these holidays. While we cover mostly memory foam, Sleep Junkie does mattress reviews and sales of all types.

Try the mattress in your home

Busy showrooms are not a good place to try a mattress. You need to try your bed in the setting you will really use it in, while actually trying to sleep. This way, you will know for sure if the bed is a good fit for you. Many mattress companies have long trial periods. You should have at least 30 days to try your bed before you are committed to the purchase. We recommend 90 days to fully feel if a mattress is right for you. Many companies have return policies that allow for this. See how long your return policy is before committing. 

Check the warranty

Good beds have good warranties. Your warranty should be at least 10 years if you are buying a bed for regular use. Also check to see what your warranty covers. How deep does sagging need to be before they will replace it? If you use your own box spring is the warranty voided? These are important questions you need answered before you buy a mattress. Talk to the retailer if you can’t easily find the information. 

Do You Need a New Mattress?

Before you run off and make a hasty purchase, take a good look at your bed. Are you sure it is really time for a new bed? How can you tell? There are a few questions you can ask yourself to help you make the decision whether or not to say goodbye to your old mattress.

How old is it?

One of the first things to consider is the age of the mattress. If your mattress is over five to seven years old, it is likely you would feel better sleeping on a new one. Most mattresses won’t last much longer than seven years with regular use.

How well do you sleep on it?

Are you tossing and turning all night? Your body is trying to tell you to get a new mattress! Your mattress may uneven support which causes pressure points and reduces comfort. If you can’t get comfortable on your bed, start looking for a replacement.

How well do you sleep elsewhere?

Do you sleep better in hotel rooms or on your couch than you do in your bed? Typically a new environment can be more difficult to sleep in, but if you sleep better away from home, it may be time to consider why that is the case.

Do you wake up with aches and pains?

A poor mattress can be a literal pain in the backside. If you are waking up with a new pain in your back, your mattress is very likely the culprit. You should wake up refreshed with no more aches or pains than you went to sleep with, probably fewer. After all, that’s what sleep is for!

Is it lumpy or saggy?

After a long period of regular use, it is common for a mattress to develop lumps or become saggy. Mattress warranties typically will cover premature sagging, but usually it must be significant. They may measure it to ensure it meets the standards of the policy. Lumps and indentations will cause back pain from resting out of alignment. Larger indentations correlate with more pain.

Do you always end up in the middle?

If you and your partner wake up in the center of the mattress every morning, you may have one giant indentation in the middle, causing you both to roll into it. This is not good for spinal alignment and can cause back pain, though it may be better for your relationship.

Is it noisy?

A mattress should be fairly quiet. There is no reason for a mattress to make excessive squeaking or other noises, after all, they are designed for sleeping. If your mattress has gotten louder since you first got it, it may be indicative of problems of the inner-workings of the bed.


People who own memory foam beds are overwhelmingly satisfied. If that’s what you’re looking for, you should have no trouble finding a great mattress. There are many beds available and they just keep getting better every year. Take everything you know about how to buy a mattress with you as you try to find your bed.

Article Tags

Related Posts