We're going to give it to you straight. A quality mattress that meets your needs and preferences is likely to run you at least $1,000 for a queen size. That’s a lot of money—but consider that you spend a third of your life sleeping and that your mattress purchase should last for 8 to 10 years.
There are mattresses available at all price points, but the quality of cheaper mattresses — especially ones sold at major mattress chains — has declined over the last 10 to 15 years. That means you can still walk into a store and buy a queen size mattress for $500, but unless you can sleep on anything, there’s a decent chance you will ultimately be disappointed. The good news is that you shouldn't need to spend more than $2,000 unless you're looking for a specific feature or brand, so don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
When determining which mattresses are a match for your budget, you’ll want to take into account the mattress’ durability over time. If a cheaper mattress needs to be replaced in just a few years, it will cost you more in the long run. But if you choose a mattress that will last longer, you’re getting better value for your money and perhaps spending less over time. Two important ways to get a quality mattress that fits your budget are to choose a mattress that will last, and to make sure you get the best possible price. We can help you do both.
The mattress industry association has recently been quoted as saying you should replace your mattress every 7 years, and there is even talk about starting to promote the message that people need to get a new mattress every 5 years! We still think a good mattress should last 8 to 10 years. And fortunately, there are still mattresses that will. Here’s how to choose one.
In most cases, longevity problems relate to the top layers of the mattress (e.g., foam padding) not the underlying support layers (e.g., coils). By far the number one complaint related to durability issues are complaints about the surface integrity of a mattress—its ability to resist body impressions or lumpiness. Sometimes people refer to this as “sagging,” but the truth is that any ruts or valleys that form in a mattress are usually due to a failure in the upper comfort layers, not in the underlying support layers. This means that your focus while mattress shopping should be on assessing the quality of the top comfort layers.
With foam mattresses, durability is most closely tied to the “density” of the foam (not how hard or soft it is). It can be difficult to obtain information about a mattress’ foam density, and even harder to interpret it. Durability-minded shoppers can instead look for a mattress that contains minimal inches of padding but that still delivers adequate pressure relief and supports your spine in proper alignment. Another good rule of thumb is that mattresses with two-sided construction tend to be more resistant to surface integrity issues.
Consumer reviews are a good way to steer clear of mattresses that fail quickly, but they won’t necessarily help you determine which mattresses last the longest. That’s because most mattress reviews are either for products that are too new to determine their longevity (e.g., less than a year old), or they are for older products that are no longer on the market. Product specs for any given brand typically change every year, and new components and construction introduce new uncertainties with regards to longevity. That said, brands with a history of putting out high quality products that receive fewer durability complaints are likely to continue putting out high quality products to protect this reputation.
Mattress durability does not necessarily correlate with price. For example, mattresses with more layers of padding will almost certainly be more expensive, but unless they use higher quality padding, this may also make them more prone to develop body impressions.
Prices in the mattress industry are known for changing all the time, so it really pays to do a little research on prices before you buy. Finding a great deal can bring a higher quality mattress into your price range. Spend a little time with your favorite search engine to find the best price on the models you’re interested in. You can also shop around by phone, asking several retailers for their best price.
Whether or not you purchase your mattress from the retailer with the best price, knowing the lowest price a mattress is being offered for gives you leverage in negotiating with the retailer of your choice. Similar to car dealers, most mattress stores (including some department stores) offer negotiated discounts as a matter of practice, meaning that the salesperson will be prepared to negotiate a price with you when you’re ready to buy.