By Jill Cataldo, CTW Features
What can you tell us about buying a new mattress? I’ve heard there are certain brands that aren’t made as well as they used to be.”
— Mark T.
Much as modern appliances don’t seem to last nearly as long as older varieties used to, many modern mattresses are also not built the way they used to be. We purchased a new mattress recently and having gone through this process not too long ago, I’m happy to share what I learned along the way.
When we started thinking about replacing our mattress, I talked to multiple friends who’d recently purchased new mattresses to see what they thought of theirs. Most of them were dissatisfied. Several friends mentioned that their new mattresses had quickly developed deep “sinkhole” type indentations that were not covered by the manufacturers’ warranties.
I was alarmed by this because mattresses cost thousands of dollars. I started reading reviews of multiple name-brand mattresses, only to find a plethora of negative comments and reviews about the mattresses not lasting long. Unfortunately, buying a “name brand” also doesn’t necessarily translate to quality anymore. I learned that just two manufacturers make the five most well-known brands of mattresses.
The three biggest choices available for mattresses are traditional innerspring, foam or a foam hybrid, or airbeds. We were solely interested in an innerspring mattress. We like to feel cool when we sleep, and we’re aware that many foam mattresses feel hot when you sleep on them. Additionally, our daughter had a memory foam mattress from that lasted three years, at which point the foam degraded to the point where it was no longer comfortable.
In fact, we learned that foam degradation is the leading cause of the indentations that plague many modern mattresses. One of the reasons that innerspring mattresses are failing more is that many are no longer constructed as double-sided mattresses. Traditional innersprings were constructed so that turning and flipping the mattress over regularly would give the springs and padding on one side a chance to rest and recover while sleeping on the other side.
I wanted another double-sided innerspring, as our previous one lasted 20 years before it became uncomfortable. However, it’s difficult to find double-sided mattresses now. Single-sided mattresses are what we found at each mattress store we visited. They were touted with the benefit that you “don’t need” to flip the mattress over anymore.
The real reason you don’t “need” to flip these mattresses anymore? They can’t be flipped. They’re typically constructed with a large amount of foam padding to create above the spring coils, and the padding is only present on one side. It’s much cheaper to construct the mattress in this way.
In fact, you can find some very eye-opening videos on YouTube of mattress owners cutting their single-sided mattresses open after the foam padding fails to show just how much inexpensive foam is inside these mattresses.
This quote from Bedroomsandmore.com aptly describes these new, no-flip mattresses: “Mattress companies make ‘no need to flip’ or ‘can’t flip’ mattresses to save on their own costs, not to give you a better night’s sleep or make your life easier. The introduction of [these] mattresses in 2000 is an insult to consumers who can now expect three to five years out of their new mattress. That’s one third of what can be expected from two-sided mattresses.”
Our search led us to explore smaller, local mattress companies that still make double-sided, flip-able innerspring mattresses. We chose one in our community that builds each mattress on site, to your specifications. The price of the mattress was not much more than we would have paid for a single-sided one from a chain store, but this mattress has a 12-year warranty instead of the single year most large name brands offer. Our sales representative said we should easily get 15 years or more out of this mattress too.
There are companies like the one we found all over the United States making similar mattresses. For a list of them, visit my website at jillcataldo.com/mattress.