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What Should you Look for When Buying a New Mattress?

There are lots of reasons to go mattress shopping. Sometimes it's because the old mattress is causing back pain. Sometimes you've worn the old one out and it sags and creaks under your weight. Whatever the reason, going into a mattress store or hopping online armed with a few tips is key for successful buying.


Perhaps one of the most important aspects of a mattress is its firmness level. Most mattresses have a firmness rating between one and ten. They tend to range between 3 and 8, with the average consumer ending up with a firmness between 5 and 7. Be aware that firmness and support are not the same thing; you can sleep on a mattress you feel is too soft yet still offers the right support.

Sleep position also has a lot to do with your notion of what is too firm and what offers the best support. The basic idea is this:

  • side-sleepers need softer mattresses

  • stomach sleepers need firmer mattresses

  • back sleepers need mid-range firmness

Your magic number depends on your personal sleeping position.


While you need to be aware of the firmness level and purchase according to your sleep position, you also want to make a decision based on the type of material because each offers a different level of support. There are many different mattresses available on the market today. They include:

  • innerspring mattresses

  • pillow-tops

  • air beds

  • water beds

  • foam mattresses

  • memory foam mattresses

  • gel beds

  • latex mattresses

  • hybrids with both foam and springs

The decision about construction is based on your personal sleeping preference. For example, if you don't want to feel the person next to you moving in the night, memory foam is famous for eliminating motion transfer. If you like the bed to bounce back quite a bit, then an innerspring mattress is your best bet. Do your research on these different types of mattress materials to understand what you might sleep on best.


Most mattresses come with at least a 10-year warranty. They differ in that some are full coverage warranties, while others have stipulations about what repairs or replacements they will make. Check with the manufacturer before buying to make sure you get the warranty you want. Many manufacturers offer longer warranties as well.

Shipping, If Buying Online

If you are buying a mattress online, you have to check on shipping cost. Many companies offer free shipping, but others do not. Make sure you aren't going to double the price of the mattress to have it shipped to your door when you hit "purchase."

Start shopping online before moving in-store so that you walk into a mattress warehouse armed with knowledge. If you want to see what a memory foam mattress might feel like before purchasing online, ask to see one. Although it's a big mattress world out there, you can narrow it down with a little knowledge.

As to where to shop for these mattresses, check out The Mattress Superstore, where you'll find the right mattress for you.

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