Mattresses that Match Your Budget
What to Expect for the Cost of a Good Mattress

Last updated on February 8, 2019

We're going to give it to you straight. Expect to spend $800 to $2,000 for a quality queen-size mattress.

The good news is that a durable and reputable mattress should last 8 to 10 years, often longer.

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 decade. That means you can still walk into a store and buy a queen size mattress for $500, but unless you are the type of person that can sleep soundly on anything, there’s a decent chance you will ultimately be disappointed. 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.

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.

How to Choose a Mattress That Will Last

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.

Pay attention to the top layers

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. 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). Density is expressed as a measurement of pounds per cubic foot of material. A foam that weighs 1.5 lbs. or 1.8 lbs. per cubic foot is a lower density foam. We often see this type of foam at the bottom of the mattress as a support layer.

But at the top of the mattress, in the comfort layers (usually the top 2" to 5" of the mattress), we like to see foam densities in the 3.5-lb. to 5.5-lb. range. In our experience, these higher density foams are more durable, and more resistant to body impressions.

Most (but not all) mattress websites will list the densities of their foams, but some do not, leaving consumers to guess. Another good rule of thumb is that mattresses with two-sided construction (flippable) tend to be more resistant to surface integrity issues.

User reviews are unlikely to help

Consumer reviews are a good way to steer clear of mattresses that fail right away, 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.

Don’t assume that more expensive equals more durable

Mattress durability does not necessarily correlate with price. For example, taller mattresses with more layers of padding will almost certainly be more expensive, but unless they use higher quality padding (foams), this may also make them more prone to developing body impressions.

Getting the Best Price

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. If never hurts to ask!

If you are buying online, check GoodBed for discounts on specific brands, but also at local stores.

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