What do you look for in a mattress?

We’re updating our mattress review and since it’s been a while since we last surveyed the Community, we’d like to take a fresh look at your criteria for finding a good mattress. There’s some info on how we test mattresses here, it gives you an idea of how we put together our test scores and includes factors such as comfort in a range of positions, wear and tear/sagging and temperature regulation so you don’t get too hot or cold.

What are your thoughts on the various test elements? Add your ratings to the list below - 1 being the least important, and 10 being the most important. You can also let us know your preferences in the comments, or tell us if there is something not listed that you would like us to consider.

How important is:

The mattress sleeping area firmness

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The mattress edges firmness

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The stability of the mattress when other people move around on the bed

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Spine alignment when sleeping on your side

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Spine alignment when sleeping on your back

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The length of time it takes for the smell from manufacturing to dissipate after unwrapping

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The heat distribution of the mattress (could make you hot or uncomfortable)

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4 Likes

Something which hasn’t been covered is the base the mattress is designed for. Is there really a difference between slat bed and standard base mattresses? Will mattresses work just as well when transposed between these?

Another related topic that I think will become more and more relevant to our aging population are the adjustable bed mattresses which are substantially different to ‘normal’ mattresses because they are designed to bend. What about a look at them too?

10 Likes

depth and weight. As some mattresses need to be flipped or rotated monthly a heavy deep mattress could be challenging. A weighty deep king would challenge many couples to flip and even a rotation could stress some for really heavy ones.

11 Likes

related to depth is also will ‘standard’ fitted sheets fit? We have different mattresses, and find a fitted sheet will wrap around and under one nicely, while on another the same sheet fits around but doesn’t go completely under, so the sheet doesn’t stay taut with movement.

9 Likes

Something else Choice could comment on is handles. Beds from yesteryear often had fabric handles stitched on the sides of the mattress to allow easy handling/moving. Most mattress which can be bought today are devoid of handles making their turning or relocation a more impracticable task. Knowing what mattresses have handles would be useful in the review.

14 Likes

My mattress company (Makin Mattress) specifically states the reason they do not add handles is that they are invariably ripped, and making them sturdy enough to last under pulling and flipping movements would be prohibitive in a practical sense.

The mattress (king) is light enough to grab onto, pull, and flip, without ripping anything so they may have a point, at least for their own products.

My previous mattress was a gel hybrid that did not need flipping just rotating, but weighed lots and while the handles never ripped, the seams adjacent to them eventually did.

Edit: From the Makin Mattresses website - Handles sewn into a mattress are not designed to support the full weight of a mattress. With mishandling, handles can be torn out which impacts the internal components of a mattress. To increase a mattresses longevity, Makin Mattresses have made the decision not to include handles…

5 Likes

Our first mattress we bought in the 1990s had handles…was turned regularly and relocated. It was very heavy double bed mattress (pillow top and spring). The handles never ripped and had a silicon tube like handle over the fabric attached to the bed. Our current mattress is similar (queen size though) with no handles and it is near impracticable to handle due to its size and weight, and inability to cling onto the fabric as there are no handles.

It could be an excuse of Makin to why they don’t add handles when asked (cost saving measure)…or indicates the quality of the sidewalls of their current mattresses.

5 Likes

If there are handles, why don’t they put a handle on either end to enable us to better move the flipping thing?

5 Likes

or it could be a genuine issue over the wider consumer base; also, economy might be more important today when so many consumers price shop first, and quality shop second so every few dollars matters more?

2 Likes

I think this is important as many mattresses have very specific conditions placed upon their warranty. E.g. Sleeping Duck warranty is void if you place it on a Queen or King base without a middle supporting beam and greater than 8cm distance between slats.
The warranty conditions can also vary wildly, some manufacturers allow a 20mm indent as “sagging”, others require proof of a much greater dip than this. So what might seem like a great 10 year warranty may be meaningless in real life practice.

But if I could have Choice add anything to their mattress reviews, it would be to test each mattress on an adjustable bed base. It seems to be a growing market, as meltam said due to ageing population, but also expansion of schemes such as NDIS and MyAgedCare which fund such beds. I’ve also noticed bed in a box manufacturers now selling adjustable bases to match their beds, this is a much larger trend in the US making its way here.

It is unclear to me what makes a mattress suitable for an adjustable base - I would think most mattresses nowadays with pocket springs and/or foam, and no edge wire would be suitable. But some mattresses from different manufacturers with the exact same composition make varying claims as to whether they can go on an adjustable base. As above, this might be related to conservative warranty conditions more than anything else.

These bases can be painfully expensive, so it would be good for consumers to have the power to pick and choose mattresses to fit, or even utilise their existing mattress, instead of feeling trapped by a sales pitch about why only X expensive mattress can match this adjustable base.

4 Likes

As I wrote in the second post in this topic, adjustable bed mattresses are constructed substantially differently to regular mattresses. They have to be able to bend at the bed’s flex points (mine has two). Regular mattresses are built in a rigid frame and aren’t very flexible (you would know this if you ever tried to get one around a tight corner).

If you put a regular mattress on an adjustable bed, the mattress would float in the air between the high points of the bed. If one then got onto the mattress it would bend down to some degree (like a leaf spring in a car), but would not conform to the adjusted position of the base of the bed. I imagine it would act like an ejector seat as you tried to get out of bed, as the mattress returned to it’s straight shape.

Also, you want a firm edge on the mattress so you do not slip off the mattress when lying or sitting at the edge.

I don’t know if it’s possible to test for sagging over time, but this seems pretty fundamental to me due to backache from saggy mattresses. At the very least please include manufacturers warranty with regard to sagging. I also wonder whether ‘pillow top’ mattresses are more likely to sag as they can’t be flipped?

2 Likes

It is done by what is simplistically a weighty roller device applied to the mattress with a high duty cycle to simulate long term use.

It is all described here

The reviews then have a sagging score, described as
image

2 Likes

Hospital, aged care and others have beds with multiple adjustments. Observation suggests they all use a rubberised/foam type mattress. The outer is a heavy duty waterproof rubber/plastic. The mattress all appear to be thinner than a standard mattress.

Looking to a mattress to suit adjustable beds, in particular for us older ones. It would be informative to be able to compare the models used in health care for comfort and value. They appear in the listings of products for the retailers who specialise in aged and disability care support products.

1 Like

I wrote recently that on Choice recommendation I purchased an Emma mattress. I reported problems - smell and being too warm, I purchased a “cooling mattress topper” but this did not help. I wrote to Emma about my concerns and still THREE months later - have not received a reply.
So please add customer service and satisfaction to your survey. Thanks

1 Like

Can the review also make a note of whether the mattress can be flipped to even out wear. Some mattresses have a “topper” which is only on one side, making it impratical to flip if you want consistent sleeping comfort.

Also, as has already been mentioned, is the depth of the mattress appropriate to properly fit a fitted sheet.

2 Likes

Emma would get a BIG zero if Choice did this

Mattress not too heavy for moving and fitting sheets.

2 Likes