Top tips when buying a new mattress

There's a lot to think about when buying a new mattress, which isn't helped but the sheer amount of choice on the market. Do you want a latex mattress? Perhaps one with pocketed coils? How big is a Californian king anyway? Luckily, there are a number of factors that you can judge each mattress by so that you can find the right fit for you.

In this article, we'll take a look at the various questions that you may ask yourself whilst on the lookout for a new mattress. Finding the best mattress is essential to help you get a good night's sleep and lead a healthy lifestyle, so it's important to make the right decision.

It's a good idea to base your mattress expectations on your natural sleeping positions, your body weight, and personal preferences when it comes to the feel of a mattress. There are plenty of mattresses on the market that cater to specific sleep positions, as well as hot sleepers, people who need pressure relief and shoppers looking for a soft or firm mattress. This means that you will need to think about whether you want a bouncier mattress or one that you can sink into at the end of a long day.

Continue reading for our guide on what you need to consider when buying a new mattress.

Top tips for buying a new mattress

When buying a new mattress you'll need to consider what kind of mattress you want, as well as the budget you have to play with. You'll also need to factor in the size of the room where the mattress will be kept, as well as the height and sleeping position of the person using the mattress.

With all that in mind, let's look a little deeper...

What is the best type of mattress?

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There are many various types of mattress materials with varying levels of support and comfort. Individuals usually have their preferences over the materials and structures as they create different firmness levels and buoyancy.

Latex mattress

This is often a natural material made from sap from the rubber tree, although latex can also be manufactured. A latex mattress usually has more bounce than other types of mattresses and is more responsive than innerspring alternatives. Latex mattresses are often preferred by eco-conscious individuals or those that are prone to allergies as natural latex is hypoallergic and free of harmful chemicals.

Memory foam mattress

This foam is designed to contour to the individual's body, which can help to give pressure relief. Memory foam mattresses are one of the most popular types of mattresses as they give good support and are hypoallergenic because they are resistant to dust mites and other allergens.

Innerspring mattress

An innerspring mattress uses coils, usually made from steel, to give the necessary bounce and support. The coils compress under movement, whilst air can freely flow between the coils with good circulation. Innerspring mattresses are one of the most affordable mattresses on the market thanks to their basic design.

Hybrid mattress

This is a combination of different types of mattresses, such as memory foam with pocketed coils. This means that consumers get the benefit of structured support, as well as the comforting softness of a cushioned top layer. There's also the possibility to get a combination of factors to suit each individuals' needs, such as cooling gel memory foam to keep the temperature down, combined with innerspring coils for structured support.

It's often a good idea to buy a mattress topper as a way of changing the feel of a mattress without spending too much money. Mattress toppers come in a variety of styles and sizes to fit different mattress types.

What is the best mattress size?

There are a variety of sizes that mattresses come in, most predominately the following:

  • Twin
  • Twin XL
  • Full
  • Queen
  • King
  • California king
  • Split king

There are lots of factors to consider when choosing a mattress size as well as the height of the sleeper. The size of the bedroom has a major part to play in choosing the size of the mattress. It's usually a good idea to have around two to three feet of space around the bed, as this leaves enough room for furniture and walking space. The California king is one of the largest possible mattresses available at 2 inches wide and 84 inches long, which can snuggly fit into a standard master bedroom, although it won't leave much floor space.

Twin mattresses are usually better for children or adults who are under six feet tall. Full-size mattresses are a good size for adults sleeping alone, whilst a queen is ideal for couples or solo sleepers who are over six feet. King mattress sizes are a suitable option for couples who want to be able to spread out without disturbing each other, as is a split king, which can be divided to accommodate couples who require different mattress styles or bedding.

What mattress would suit my sleeping position?

Mattress firmness is a big factor when it comes to choosing the right mattress. A firmer mattress can cause a build-up of pressure, whilst a softer mattress can cause spinal misalignment. An individual's sleeping position should also have a major influence on a mattress purchase because the wrong product can cause joint or back pain, along with other health issues.

A soft mattress, such as one made from memory foam, is the best option for individuals who prefer to sleep on their side because the extra sinkage relieves stress around the neck and shoulder area. A mattress that is too firm causes concentrated pressure on the hips and shoulders, which are the heavier parts of the body when a sleeper is on their side. Soft to medium-soft mattresses are a good option for side sleepers, as well as light-weight sleepers. Heavier sleepers may be better using a medium mattress for the best possible support.

Individuals who naturally sleep on their front should look for a medium-firm or firm mattress. This is to ensure good spinal alignment by keeping the individual flat without too much sinkage. The main pressure points for front sleepers are the ribcage, thighs and knees, which don't need much cushioning. Memory foam, pocket springs and combination mattresses are suitable for front sleepers as they give enough firm support to the front of the body.

Back sleepers need good support for their back and spine, which is why medium to firm mattresses are an advised choice. Heavier sleepers should go for a firmer mattress so that they have the correct support and their spine doesn't sink into the mattress too much. As back sleeping is one of the healthiest positions to sleep in, individuals who sleep on their back can use most mattresses, from traditional spring to memory foam.

When should I buy a new mattress?

Most mattresses should be replaced every eight to ten years. This is usually around the time that the years of wear and tear have made a significant impact on the quality of the mattress and it may begin to sag or show damage in some areas. Mattresses with coils may also start to make noise, which can disturb sleep.

Mattresses are meant to improve sleeping quality rather than hinder it. As soon as a mattress starts causing stiff or achy limbs and joints, it's time to find a replacement. Sagging mattresses can cause stress on the body as it isn't properly supported, which can lead to long-term health issues.

Some mattresses can aggravate allergies or asthma, which is a sign that they need to be replaced. It might also be a good idea to change to a different mattress type, such as latex, which is hypoallergenic.

Certain materials break down quicker than others, which can affect the durability of a mattress. Memory foam tends to last longer than innerspring mattresses, as they can mold to the body of an individual and then return to their natural state once they move or leave the bed. Many mattress companies give a ten-year or more warranty on their products as a way of giving customers insurance that the mattress is covered for repairs or replacement over its expected lifespan.

A mattress protector can extend the lifespan of a mattress by protecting the top layers of material against splits and spillages. This can help to extend the lifespan of the mattress, although it mostly gives cosmetic protection, rather than protecting the supportive layers inside the mattress.

What is a good price for a new mattress?

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The average mass-produced foam mattress costs around $450, whilst luxury mattresses that are made using organic latex can cost upwards of $2,500. As with most other products, better quality products can cost more, but they usually have a better lifespan and don't need to be replaced as often as cheaper alternatives.

Larger mattresses tend to cost more money because they use more materials. This means that you can expect to pay more for a queen or king-size mattress, whilst a twin or full double will cost a few hundred dollars less. Mattresses that are made with specialist layers, such as cooling gel memory foam, can also push up the price of the product.

Memory foam mattresses can sometimes cost upwards of $1,000, but they tend to be more durable than innerspring mattresses and therefore better value for money. Natural latex mattresses are also more expensive as they are made using materials that are more expensive to source.

Mass-produced foam mattresses that are made from materials such as visco-elastic or polyester are usually some of the cheapest options on the market and can cost under $600. At the other end of the scale are mattresses made from natural fibers, which are often sustainably sourced and free of harsh chemicals, can cost over $2,000.

Shopping online can save you money as mattress companies don't have to pay overheads to run a showroom with staff. This means that the mattresses are stored in a warehouse and then directly sent out to the customer, which saves both the company and the customer money. Consumers can buy a mattress online for a fraction of the cost as it might have been if they had viewed a similar model in a showroom. However, there are some downsides to buying online as shoppers won't be able to feel what the mattress is like in person before they buy it.