October's Consumer Reports features a review on something most people find frustrating, and almost everyone asks me about: buying a mattress.I've written about this chore numerous times, and offered lots of tips
to making it as painless and inexpensive as possible (though my jaw still drops at the fact some retailers can sell a mattress for tens of thousands of dollars; as you're about to find out, price doesn't always matter).
Unfortunately, many people put off replacing
their old, dirty, dust-mite-laden mattress for as long as they can because, well, the thought of shopping for a mattress just doesn't sound like fun. There are other ways we'd rather spend a weekend. And though our backs would disagree, mattresses often don't break beyond use.
Which is why I love to read research and reports like the one Consumer Reports just put together based on more than 17,000 online subscribers who bought a mattress in the past few years and dished about their experience. Here are the highlights:
- Which brands won out? Tempur-Pedic, Original Mattress Factory brand, and Select Comfort (then Denver Mattress, Simmons, Kingsdown, Serta, and Sealy).
How's that for an idea of what to look for during your next mattress-buying adventure? The one caveat that even Consumer Reports can't remedy, though, is price. You'll always find a sale somewhere on mattresses, and trying to make sense of the "suggested retail price" among different manufacturers can make your head spin.
So shop with your wallet and your back in mind. Oh, and one more myth to bust that Consumer Reports highlights: The best bed is the one that's most comfortable to you.
Older backs don't necessary need firmer beds. There have been no
well-controlled studies to indicate the best firmness overall. A few of my own tips to add to the mix:
- Take your own pillow with you. Use it when you test drive a mattress.
If you fall into heaven when you test out a new mattress that's just shy of $1,000, grab it. On the other hand, if your back seems to only like expensive tastes, well then. Consider it a worthy investment.
Michael J. Breus, PhD