Best Mattresses

The best mattresses for you are the ones that are most comfortable to you. If you have a health or environmental bent and want a mattress made of natural materials with no chemicals, you can add that to your list of what the best mattress is.

If you want to have fun, walk into a mattress store and ask a salesman, “What is your best mattress?” Then, just as he does, throw your hands up in the air and yell happily, “They’re ALL the best!” The two of you will share a laugh, and then he will get down to the deadly serious business of totally confusing you as to which ones are really the best mattresses.

One salesman will tell you that Sealy Posturpedic Crown Jewel Fletch Ultra Plush Pillowtops are the best mattresses; unless you have lower back pain, in which case the Sealy Posturepedic Crown Jewel Brookmere Plushes are the best mattresses for you. He will throw around arcane terms like “pocketed coil”, “Microtek foundation”, and “Fiberlux”. He will obscure the question with irrelevant features like “silk damask ticking”. Trying to find the best mattresses is worse than trying to find the best used cars, and almost as expensive. You can find a mattress that sells for $7,000, if you look hard enough.

The truth is, mattresses are commodities; 99 percent of the so-called “differences” between mattresses are nothing but marketing hype. However, there are some real differences between types of mattresses that you should know about when shopping for the best mattresses.

Coil spring mattresses dominate the market, leading many people to assume that coil springs make the best mattresses. They’re the favorite offering of “the three S’s” of the industry — Sealy, Simmons, and Serta — and of course Stearns and Foster. Naturally there is Koil King too. Everyone makes coil spring mattresses, so everyone must be making the best mattress, right? But what’s the difference between a Simmons Beautyrest Exceptionale Lenore and a Simmons Beautyrest Do-Not-Disturb Royalty Ultra?

Here’s a bit of disillusionment: the difference stops at their names. Mattress makers take exactly the same mattresses and slap different names on them for different retail stores. Why? So it’s harder for you to shop price.

Even the coil springs are made by the same manufacturer, Legget and Platt, for different mattress makers. How can there be any best mattresses when they have the same stuff inside? Coil counts, according to industry experts, are not good indicators of a mattress’ quality or comfort.

Are the best mattresses the firmest mattresses? Again, the dirty little secret is that it makes little difference whether your mattress is firm or soft. What matters more than how the mattress is built is how you are built. If you have back spasms, a firmer mattress will help a little. But the extra firmness may not allow the most comfortable sleep. You can hardly call that the best mattress.

Memory foam, or visco-elastic foam mattresses have an unusual ability to shape themselves to the body’s contours. But they start around $1,500. The average person can find a coil spring mattress that’s quite comfortable for hundreds less than that.

The bottom line is: ignore the brands and shop for comfort and warranty. That means the best mattresses for you are the ones that feel best when you lie down on them.