How to choose the best mattress for you

Choosing a mattress can be a difficult task for even the most seasoned shopper, and that’s because few of us know what makes a good one. Be wary of any retailer that tries to sell a mattress based on one or two qualities. A too firm or too soft mattress is not ideal for most people, so most quality mattresses fall somewhere in the middle. If you’re looking for a mattress to help solve a specific problem, such as back pain, look for one that has a pressure-relieving comfort layer that cradles the body and relieves pressure.

How to choose the best mattress

Do You Need a New Mattress?

It’s a question that plagues many a sleep-deprived consumer: do you really need a new mattress, or can you make do with an old one? The answer, as they say, is “it depends.” (It’s true of pretty much everything in life, right?) While you certainly don’t want to sleep on a mattress that’s so worn it feels like you’re sleeping on the floor, it’s worth considering whether the mattress will last much longer before you replace it. You may be able to get another year or two out of it if you’re willing to make a few adjustments.

After seven to eight years, you’ll probably need a new mattress. Of course, this depends on the quality and material of the mattress (we’ll cover the types and materials later in this article). If you have back or neck pain, you should consider replacing your bedding.

What is Your Budget? 

Buying a mattress is an investment. Over the course of a decade, an average person will spend a third of their life sleeping—and most of us are going to spend much longer in bed than that. It’s not just about picking out a mattress: it’s about picking out a mattress that’s right for you. Mattress companies want you to think that there’s only a couple of main options and that you’re either going to go for a firm or a soft option.

Buying something for several thousand dollars may not be within everyone’s budget. Luckily, there are many online options you can select from, ranging from $500 to $1200. Additionally, Black Friday bed deals (and Cyber Monday) can result in more savings.

You shouldn’t confuse extra money with superior quality. If you think the online options are somehow inferior to the ones in stores, you are wrong. Stores are known to inflate prices by up to 1000%.

Main questions about mattress

When considering how to organize the content for this resource, I decided to divide it into five sections, each one focusing on answering one of the primary questions you need to ask about mattresses. Here are the 5 questions you should answer :

How old is your mattress?

What Sleep Position Do You Prefer?

What firmness do you need?

How much do you weigh?

What type of mattress do you need?

How old is your mattress?

The first question to consider is how old your mattress is. This can determine whether or not you need a new one. Generally, your mattress will need to be replaced if you’ve had it for over 8 years. However, this is not a standard by any means.

If you’re experiencing new pains in the morning, are you having trouble finding a comfortable position at night, or have you noticed new dips in your mattress that can’t be fixed by rotating it regularly, it might be time to say goodbye to your old bed.

What Sleep Position Do You Prefer?

The mattress you choose depends on the type of sleeper you are. An innerspring mattress is a firm mattress made of coils that provide soft, medium, or firm support, while an air mattress is a firm mattress with an air chamber that provides soft, medium, or firm support. (The firmer the mattress, the more support it provides.) 

When you’re choosing a mattress, consider which sleep position you’re in most often, and choose a firmness level that will provide enough support for that position.

Back Sleeper

I have found that back sleepers prefer mattresses that occupy a range of 5.5-7/10 on the firmness scale, with 1 being the softest mattress in the world and 10 being the firmest. For reference, 6.5 is typically considered to be a standard level of medium firmness. 

Side Sleepers

When it comes to side sleepers, they require deep pressure relief at their shoulders and hips. This means they’ll typically prefer a softer mattress that contours to their curves to prevent discomfort throughout the night.

For me, softness is anything between 4 and 10 on a firmness scale. We are comparing these measurements to the industry standard of 6.5 for medium firmness.

Stomach Sleepers

Those who stomach sleep will need a mattress that is ultra-firm to keep their hips in line with their shoulders. A soft mattress will cause the hips to sink out of alignment, so they should look for highly supportive models.

Combo Sleepers

Lastly, there are combo sleepers, those folks who combine all three positions, creating a cozy smorgasbord of comfort. This is a common sleeping style, which calls for a mattress that can provide comfort on the back, side, and stomach. 

What Mattress Firmness Do You Need?

Your mattress is the foundation of a good night’s sleep. Depending on your weight, sleep position, and other factors, you may need different mattress firmness to support your back, neck, and shoulders. Mattress firmness is a measure of how much your mattress will compress under body weight. If your mattress is too firm, you may feel uncomfortable pressure points when you lie on it and you may have trouble falling asleep.

If your mattress is too soft, your sleep may be disturbed by poor posture and by the body sinking into the mattress.

The firmness of a mattress can be described as hard or soft. While it may seem like an easy question to answer, determining how firm you need your mattress to be can be difficult.

You should consider your own definitions of a firm, medium, and soft, as well as your size, weight, and body type to determine the feel and firmness of a mattress. 

Mattress Types

If you’re just starting your search for a new mattress, you’ve probably noticed that the number of options can be dizzying. A helpful way to get your bearings is to first think about mattress types.

Almost all mattresses can be categorized into one of five types – foam, innerspring, hybrid, latex, or air mattress. Innerspring mattresses are the most well-known and have traditionally been the mainstay in homes across the country. However, in recent years, other types of mattresses have gained popularity.

Mattresses of this kind have become more dynamic, contributing to their expansion. As the online mattress industry has grown, they have also become more affordable and accessible.

Knowing the basics about each of these mattress types can serve as a foundation on which you can continue your search for the best mattress.

Foam: A foam mattress is a mattress made of foam. The mattress is usually made up of a firm foam on top and soft foam on the bottom. The two layers are held together by another piece of foam to keep the mattress from sagging in the center. The use of foam mattresses has increased in recent years, as more people are looking for a simple, comfortable, affordable way to sleep. These mattresses are made entirely of foam with no coils. They typically provide above-average body contouring, pressure relief, and motion isolation, making them well suited for side sleepers and couples. Among the foams used in these mattresses, memory foam is the most well-known.

Innerspring: An innerspring mattress is supported by coils and has few other layers. While the coils provide some support, innerspring mattresses often lack pressure relief. Their sleeping surface is plumper and has limited motion isolation. These coiled metal springs are placed inside of a mattress to provide support. Innerspring mattresses are often used in luxury hotels and other high-end establishments. Most people who do not purchase a high-end mattress for their home opt for an innerspring mattress, and there are a variety of these mattresses available.

Because of their lower price, these mattresses are more popular with budget-conscious buyers.

Hybrid: A hybrid mattress is a mattress that is made with a combination of two or more different types of mattress, typically memory foam, spring, and latex.

Hybrid mattresses are not a new thing, but they are becoming more popular by the day, and are becoming more common in mattress stores. Hybrid mattresses are perfect for people who are seeking that perfect balance of comfort, support, and luxury.

Hybrids have two central elements: an innerspring core and a substantial foam comfort system. The comfort layers can be foam or latex and sometimes even include a shorter layer of coils (called microcoils). These mattresses offer a mix of springing and contouring with low heat retention and, depending on their construction, can be well-suited for sleepers in any position.

Latex: When all layers of a mattress are latex rubber, it is called an all-latex or true-latex mattress. For simplicity, we’ll just use the term latex mattress. These offer premium springing and durability with moderate contouring. When made from natural and organic latex, they are the top choice among environmentally conscious shoppers.

Latex mattresses are known for their comfort, durability, and lightness. They are often recommended for people who want to avoid sleeping on innerspring mattresses. Latex mattresses are very popular with allergy sufferers: latex is all-natural and hypoallergenic, so people who usually react to chemicals and synthetic materials will often find that they can sleep more comfortably on a latex mattress.

How to Choose the Best Mattress for Your Weight

When you’re picking out a mattress, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by all the different options. Memory foam, innerspring, pillow top, coil count, and more—it’s hard to know what to look for. But one thing’s for sure: how heavy you are will have a big impact on which mattress is best for you.

That’s because heavier people place more weight on their mattresses than lighter people. (For example, a person who weighs 200 pounds will place ten times more weight on their mattress than a person who weighs 20 pounds.) 

There are mattresses out there that are best suited to each specific weight category, so let’s take a look at a few of them so you can evaluate what might work best for you. 

Ligh Sleepers

Despite lightweight sleepers all falling in the same weight category (again, typically at or below 150 lbs. ), there are differences in how they sleep. Therefore, I am going to provide recommendations for mattresses based on their preferred sleeping experiences.

Soft Feel: If you’re a light sleeper, you shouldn’t have any trouble landing on a soft mattress. You won’t have to worry about sinking through the materials as much as heavier sleepers. 

Medium Feel: Lighter weight sleepers may not sink as deeply into their mattress, making beds with super dense or thick top layers of foam uncomfortable for them. For this reason, I recommend purchasing a mattress that is .5-1 firmness points lower than the feel you’re looking for.

Firm Feel: Lighter sleepers interested in a firm feel will select mattresses with thin comfort layers. Usually, these sleepers don’t sink so deeply through a layer of foam, so don’t need to be supported by an ultra-firm foundation layer.

Average Sleepers

We’ll break down this weight range (between 150 lbs. and around 200 lbs.) into different firmness levels once again.

Soft Feel: This is similar to the requirements for light sleepers. If you weigh around 150 pounds, you can follow the same guidelines as stated earlier for lightweight sleepers. However, if you weigh over 200 pounds, you’ll need a mattress with plenty of cushioning on top.

Medium Feel: Since a majority of mattresses are designed with average-weight sleepers in mind and a medium firmness rating, there shouldn’t be a problem finding a bed that meets this requirement.

Firm Feel: For a mattress to feel firmer, reduce the comfort layer thickness and raise the support layer thickness. Average-sized sleepers will press into the mattress more than lightweights will, which means that they need the extra support in the base to achieve a “firm” feeling.

Heavy Sleepers

It is sometimes difficult for heavier people (persons who weigh more than 200 lbs.) to find a comfortable mattress. However, there are some tips you can use to find a mattress that will meet your firmness and support needs.

Soft Feel: For a softer feel, look for a tall bed that comes with thick top foam layers over a sturdy coil section. Heavy sleepers are likely to press deeply into their beds, so at least 4-5 inches of foam up top will help to cushion the pressure points.

Medium Feel: While the industry standard for medium firmness is 6.5/10, heavier people may prefer something in the 7-8/10 range, which would be acceptable for everyone else. What other sleepers find firm should be just right for those with medium-firm support needs!

Firm Feel: Lastly, if you sleep heavier, I recommend going for a mattress with an innerspring coil with a pillow top layer. Many firm mattresses are on the market today but focus on ones that range from 8-10 in firmness.

Mattress Pricing

Average Price Range

Pricing Of Popular Models



Casper Original ($995)
Tuft & Needle Original ($595)
Tempur-Pedic ProAdapt ($2,999)



Saatva ($1,199)
Zinus Quilted Spring Top ($260)



WinkBed ($1,599)
Dreamcloud ($1,299)
Brooklyn Bedding Aurora ($1,699)



Avocado ($1,399)
PlushBeds Botanical Bliss ($2,999)
Zenhaven ($1,899)

The mattress is the piece of furniture that gets used the most, making it an important investment in your comfort. At the same time, it can also be a serious financial investment, and the price is a key factor to consider when buying a mattress.

So what does the price of your new mattress really mean?

The list price is the most basic unit of pricing that manufacturers use to sell their mattresses. It is set based on a number of factors, including costs and research about the market. However, the price that you see is rarely what you will pay.

A useful exercise for most buyers is to think about their total bedroom budget. This includes a new mattress and any other accessories that may be needed, such as new pillows or bedding.

Mattresses range in price from extremely inexpensive, low-quality models to designer beds in the six-figure range. Excluding these outliers, most mattresses cost between $600 and $2,000.


As you shop for your next mattress, I would tell you to keep things focused on what you specifically need. This is a personal journey, so pay attention to what’s most important to you and how you sleep. If you do that, I’m confident you’ll find the perfect mattress. 

The first thing side sleepers should look for in a mattress is a medium-firm feel with the right amount of giving. Side sleepers need enough support to maintain their natural spinal alignment and enough give, so they aren’t getting sore muscles or pressure points from inadequate support. While a firmer mattress works for some, it may not work for all. 

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