When you shop for a new bed, simply buying a high-quality product won’t guarantee that your needs are met. A good bed shouldn’t just be comfortable, it should improve the quality of your rest. It’s an important buying decision that the average American makes every seven years, you should make it count.

Comfort, durability, and cost are a few things to consider. You don’t have to spend an arm and a leg to save your back from the aches and pains of a lumpy, old mattress. Sleep affects your health, mood and productivity so don’t skimp on quality. Even if you purchase a high-end mattress for $1,000, the cost is just $125 per year over its lifespan and that’s a small price to pay for good rest. If you’re tired of waking up tired, here’s what you need to know about picking the perfect mattress.

Picking a Mattress That’s Just Right

Size is an important factor when choosing the right mattress. If you like to sprawl out, you won’t be as comfortable on a small mattress. There’s no need to stick with the same mattress size even if you already own a big stack of sheets for the bed. Your comfort should always be the highest priority. Here’s a list of the various sizes of mattress and their benefits:

  • Twin beds are popular and versatile. They measure 39 inches by 75 inches. This size is perfect for daybeds and bunks. Although single mattresses are best suited for children, they’re great for guest rooms when used alone or in pairs.
  • Whether you call it a full or a double, this is an appropriate size for smaller bedrooms or solo sleepers who like a little extra width. At 54 inches wide by 75 inches long, a full mattress is 15 inches wider than a twin but just as long.
  • Queen mattresses consistently represent between 30 and 40 percent of bed sales. A queen mattress is 60 inches wide and 80 inches long, which is ideal for two adults or solo sleepers who crave the extra room. This is the optimal size for most bedrooms.
  • A standard king-sized bed measures 76 inches wide and 80 inches long. You can attach two twin-sized box springs and mattresses to create a split-king that’s 78 by 75 inches. This configuration is 5 inches shorter and 2 inches wider than a standard king. Smaller mattresses are easier to move, and you can separate them for guests.
  • The California king was created in the 1960s by a Los Angeles-based furniture company that outfitted local mansions. This mattress is 72 inches wide and 84 inches long, so it’s 4 inches narrower and 4 inches longer than a standard king.

Pavel Mirchuk / Shutterstock.com

Mattress Materials and Styles

Today, you can choose from many unique mattress styles. Don’t limit yourself to conventional coil springs. There are exciting alternatives that you can try out in local mattress retailers, some of which we’ve listed below:

  • Nine out of 10 mattresses sold today feature traditional innersprings. However, this style has the lowest satisfaction rate. Only 63 percent of owners are happy with them.
  • Memory foam is increasingly popular. Body heat softens the polyurethane foam slightly so that it molds around your body. There’s also no need to flip these mattresses.
  • Latex mattresses are an eco-friendly alternative to memory foam. They are more durable and spring back rapidly. Even people who have latex sensitivities can use them.
  • Hybrid mattresses combine the support of innersprings with the comfort of pressure-relieving foam.
  • Air mattresses, waterbeds and futons may also meet your needs.

How to Choose the Correct Mattress Firmness or Softness

Did you know that mattress manufacturers use a 10-point softness scale? Lower numbers on this scale are firmer while higher numbers are softer. Mattresses designed for universal comfort measure between five and seven, so they are slightly soft while still providing a fair level of support. Although you should never sacrifice comfort, it’s good to remember that firm mattresses last longer and aren’t prone to sagging. Here are a few tips for selecting the correct firmness:

  • Softer mattresses are best for children and adults who have bony joints.
  • Firm and medium-firm mattresses are recommended for adults weighing over 230 pounds.
  • If you’re a side sleeper, choose a medium-soft mattress.
  • Stomach sleepers benefit from the moderate support of a medium or universal comfort mattress.
  • Medium-firm mattresses are best for back sleepers.

Average Prices for Popular Mattress Styles

Depending on your budget and the size that you’re purchasing, you might spend a few hundred dollars or a few thousand. More than 30 percent of Americans spent less than $500 on their current mattress. An additional 40 percent spent between $500 and $1,000.

  • Most customers are equally satisfied with mid-range and high-end mattresses.
  • High-end mattresses last longer than mid-range and low-cost products.
  • Lower cost mattresses rank better when they’re used occasionally or in a guest bedroom.

Before you shop for a new mattress, consider your budget, the level of comfort that you require and how often the mattress will be used. Here’s what you need to know about picking the perfect mattress for your budget:

  • Innerspring mattresses range from $200 to $2,000. The average cost is $940.
  • The average price of a premium air mattress is over $2,000.
  • Latex mattresses cost $1,600 on average.
  • The average cost of a memory foam mattress is $1,370.
  • Standard foam mattresses cost approximately $900.
  • Waterbeds and futons sell for less than $200 on average.

Top Mattress Companies

Mattresses from over 600 manufacturers are available in the United States. Some brands like Sealy have been around since the 1880s. Others were established recently. Approximately 70 percent of mattresses are sold by these five dominant brands:

  1. Sealy
  2. Tempur-Pedic
  3. Serta
  4. Simmons
  5. Comfort Select

Other Mattress Brands

Don’t overlook lesser-known brands. Newer companies work hard to offer superior products, excellent service and competitive prices. Some brands ship compressed foam mattresses directly to your home. Here are a few companies to consider:

  • Amerisleep
  • Bed in a Box
  • Brooklyn Bedding
  • Casper
  • Essentia
  • GhostBed
  • Helix
  • Leesa
  • Loom & Leaf
  • Purple
  • Saatva
  • Tuft & Needle

Six Things to Consider When Buying a Mattress Online

Buying a mattress online is an excellent way to save time and money. Follow these tips to enjoy a successful shopping experience:

  1. Check the shipping cost. Most companies offer free shipping or flat-rate delivery.
  2. Determine how long you have to try the mattress. Leading companies let you test their mattresses for up to three months.
  3. Find out if returns or exchanges are available. Usually, companies have third-party services that pick up unwanted mattresses for recycling or donation.
  4. Watch out for hidden fees that apply to exchanges or returns.
  5. Compare prices, products, and services. It’s worth paying a little more to work with a company that’s fair and responsive.
  6. Internet companies generally don’t offer free mattress removal. You’ll have to donate your old mattress or hire a disposal service.

You have so many options for choosing a comfortable, well-made mattress that will last for years. When making a purchase, keep the following in mind: take your time, weigh your choices, and check reviews ahead of time. If you purchase your mattress from the maker or through a specialty retailer, you’ll have time to try it in your home. That’s much better than testing it in a store where everything feels comfortable for a few minutes.