How to Buy a New Mattress

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In this throw-away age where so many goods are disposable and get replaced often, there are few purchases for our home that we keep for a long time. One of the biggest buys we have to commit to is our bed, as most mattresses last at least five to ten years. 

A quality mattress can have such a huge impact on how much sleep you get each night, you don’t want to buy the wrong bed and then regret it. Consider these top factors when you next go shopping.

tips for buying a mattress

Level of Softness

One of the biggest things you need to work out when buying a new mattress is how soft or hard you want it to be. Everyone has different tastes, so think about your current bed fits your needs. Always test mattresses in-store or risk having to send it back.

People who prefer a firmer base (often those with a bad back) are advised to opt for a memory foam or latex mattress. Quality options will have higher density and thicker foam to stop you from sinking too much into them. Many memory foam and latex mattresses today have different layers of materials in them, with heavier ones on the bottom to provide support, then cooler offerings on top to boost comfort. 

Those who like a bed with more bounce should consider an innerspring mattress. These types feature interconnected yet individual coils with their own “pockets.” They’re very durable as a result. If you want a plush top, choose a pillow-top product or a firmer, properly-quilted mattress and then add a replaceable topper to it. You can change these toppers over time as the plushness compresses and reduces. 

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Note, too, that many brands now have a focus on creating hybrid-type mattresses that give buyers the motion isolation benefits of most memory foam and latex products, with the buoyancy of innerspring cores. This can give you the best of both worlds. 


The material used to make mattresses is important too. What to look for comes down to your personal preferences and body, but keep in mind things like temperature, allergens, and chemicals. For instance, differences in mattresses can also have an effect on how hot you get during the night. A cotton mattress is likely to be quite breathable and therefore make it easier for the air to flow between your skin and the environment, leading to a lowered temperature. On the other hand, foam and latex mattresses typically hold in body heat, especially when they’re designed to be super soft – in this case, more of your body sinks into them. 

If you have asthma or allergies to worry about, foam and latex beds might, however, be right up your alley. While all mattresses are now designed to be resistant to dust mites and mold, foam and latex products are typically seen as more inherently antimicrobial. Also, if you’re wary of having products in your home made from materials containing or sprayed with lots of chemicals, be on the lookout for certified mattresses that promise to be free of chemicals or to provide a reduced level. For example, there is the CertiPUR-US certification for foams, GOLS for latex, and Oeko-Tex for other fabrics, like cotton. 

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Sleep Positions

Consider the positions you sleep in when choosing a mattress, too. If you’re a side sleeper, you may like a soft foam mattress, innerspring product, or other mattress designed to provide pressure relief, with built-in relief points around much-needed areas like the shoulders and hips. Any surface that supports body weight will help though. 


People who sleep on their backs need a mix. If this is you, look for a mattress that provides support but also has some give so your spine will be kept in better alignment. Most mattress types should work for you but test them carefully to see what feels most suitable. As for stomach sleepers, they generally steer clear of memory foam as this can make them feel smothered. Firmer beds, such as dense foam or firm inner springs, can be well suited to people who sleep on their stomachs. 

Other things to investigate when buying a new mattress include:

  • The size 
  • Separate panels for those sharing beds who like different sleep/rest positions
  • Likely longevity of products
  • Warranty and return policies

Buying a new mattress for your home is a big decision that takes time and care, particularly with the vast number of products on the market these days. As long as you consider all the relevant factors and don’t let yourself get pushed into a mattress that doesn’t work for you, you should have many well-rested nights to come.