How to Pick the Perfect Mattress

Settling on a mattress is a complicated process.

It’s one of those things that only comes around every few years, and if we’re really being honest, it’s not something a lot of us really want to put that much thought into.

We just want a good night’s sleep – is that so much to ask?

The thing is, though, it’s not quite as simple as that.

There are a ton of options out there to choose from, and it’s hard to tell what’s actually going to work for you.

You ask the mattress salesman, and of course they tell you the most expensive option is the best.

You look at the individual mattress companies, and they all just tell you to look no further, since you’ve already found the perfect find.

It’s a mess!

That’s why in this article, we do all the heavy lifting for you.

We’ve broken the entire buying process down into just seven easily-understandable factors.

Understand what’s on this guide, and you’ll be all set!

Factor 1: Mattress Price

If you’re like most shoppers today, you probably always have at least one eye on the bottom line.

That’s just the way the world works – we’re not made of money, and the last thing we want to do is spend too much on things we don’t need!

Pile of moneyWhile the exact amount it would be responsible for you to spend on a mattress is different for every person, there are a couple things you want to keep in mind before deciding on a price for your mattress.

How Much Does a Good Mattress Cost?

The average queen-sized innerspring mattress – by far the most popular variety of mattress on the market today – goes for around $1000.

You can go cheaper than that if you want, of course.

There are quite a few high-quality mattresses out there for under $700, mostly sold by online mattress companies.

You can sometimes even find some nice finds at places like Goodwill or on Craigslist, often for less than $100!

Mid-range mattresses, on the other hand, are usually considered to cost between $700 and $1800, while those on the higher end of things cost between $1800 and $5000.

Finally, at the very top of the scale, you have luxury mattresses – costing $5000 and up!

What These Prices Mean

While you typically can’t expect the same kind of performance from a cheap $50 garage sale find as a $3000 latex luxury bed, you should always keep in mind that what a mattress can do is far more important than the number on its price tag.

Always look at your mattress’s reviews before you make any final decisions, here.

Price is sometimes a pretty good indication of a mattress’s quality, but only up to a point.

For instance, according to, there’s absolutely no difference in average owner satisfaction for mid-priced mattresses and high-priced mattresses.


Of course, there’s always some difference in durability (which we’ll get to in a bit), but this is just one example of why price tags aren’t the end all, be all of mattress quality.

The best policy is always to look at these products on a case by case basis.

You can read our full article on finding the right mattress for your price range here.

Factor 2: Firmness of the Mattress

After price, firmness is probably the most important thing to look at when deciding on your mattress.

The majority of mattress returns happen because of incorrect firmness, so it’s important to get this right!

Important as it is, though, firmness is actually one of the slipperiest concepts in the mattress world.

Stone wall with a crack jagging throughIt’s an entirely subjective experience.

So while we do our best to compare mattress firmness across a range of different products, keep in mind that there’s always some degree of uncertainty in the buying process until you can actually lie down on the mattress itself.

(See our full article on finding the right mattress firmness here.)

There are several factors that can help you figure out the kind of firmness you need, though.

First of all, consider your body weight.

The lighter you are, the softer a mattress you’re likely to need.

Also consider your typical sleeping position.

Stomach sleepers tend to need firmer mattresses, while side sleepers do better with softer products.

Back sleepers, meanwhile, do well with pretty much any firmness, so long as it’s not ridiculously soft or firm.

Also keep in mind and health conditions you might have (like back pain), as well as your partner’s preferences.

Factor 3: Mattress Durability

Another thing to keep in mind when looking for the right mattress is your product’s expected lifespan.

The typical mattress tends to last between 7 and 10 years, but this may vary quite a bit depending on the quality of your purchase.

Latex mattresses, for instance, often last up to 15 years with proper care, while futons have a life expectancy of just five years.

So don’t forget to have a look at your mattress’s durability before pulling the trigger on your purchase.

It’s just part of making a smart buy!

Factor 4: Mattress Size

You also always want to be sure you’re getting the right size mattress for your needs.

If you’re sleeping alone, you’re probably going to want to go for a twin or double.

If you’re sleeping with a partner, on the other hand, will likely want to opt for a queen, king, or California king.

(Some couples could also go for a double, but it’ll be a bit of a tight squeeze).

A lot of this depends on you and your partner’s sizes and preferences.

The key here is simply recognizing and acting on your needs.

Factor 5: Heatiness

Another important factor to consider when purchasing a mattress is your tendency to sleep hot or cold.

Woman wiping the sweat from her faceMany people tend to sleep hot – that is, they get too hot during the night while trying to sleep.

Certain kinds of mattresses have better temperature regulation than others.

Foam mattresses, for instance, often have a tendency to trap in heat, leading to hot, uncomfortable nights.

Latex and innerspring mattresses, on the other hand, don’t tend to have as much of an issue with this.

Keep in mind that everything depends on your specific needs and the specific product you’re looking at, though.

Factor 6: Motion Isolation

Motion isolation is another vitally important factor to consider when deciding on a mattress, although it really only makes a difference if you’re sleeping with a partner – especially if your partner tends to get a little restless at night.

Good motion isolation means that the movements of each person on your bed are absorbed by the material of the mattress, so you won’t wake up no matter how much the other person moves around.

It tends to be highest in memory foam mattresses, although certain innersprings can do the job pretty well, too.

Check out our full article on getting the best motion isolation here.

 Factor 7: Mattress Warranty

Finally, you always want to have a look at your mattress’s warranty before deciding on your final purchase.

Although they might seem pretty straightforward when you’re not looking at the fine print, mattress warranties actually tend to be pretty finicky things.

While most mattress companies offer warranties for 5, 10, or 20 years, those almost never actually come into effect.

Basically, those are just there to cover glaring manufacturing issues with your mattress – things like bursting seams, ridiculous sagging, or structural failure in the coils.

But the thing is, a lot of the time your mattress will actually have become extremely uncomfortable to sleep on well before your mattress company will admit there’s an issue.

So instead of just looking at your supplier’s overall warranty, it might be even more important for you to have a look at their trial period.

A lot of mattress companies (online ones in particular) will give you anywhere from a couple weeks to a couple months of trying out their mattress.

During this period, you’ll typically be able to return your mattress either for free or for a small price.

That’s what you really want to be on the lookout for!

Building a Better Mattress

Now, we admit – it’s sometimes a little difficult to find a mattress that actually fits into all seven of these categories.

Say, for instance, you’ve found a really durable mattress at a bottom-dollar price, but it turns out it’s a little firm for your taste.

What now?

Thankfully, you actually have a couple options.

First of all, you should always make sure your pillows are up to snuff, so you’ll be getting the right degree of comfort and support.

If a pillow alone won’t do it, though, you might also want to consider investing in a mattress topper.

These can completely change the feel of your mattress – often at a super reasonable price!

Conclusion About Finding the Perfect Mattress

With all this information in mind, settling on your ideal mattress should now be a breeze.

Don’t rush yourself through the buying process, though!

Always keep in mind the kind of investment you’re making.

You spend a third of your life on your mattress, so it pays to get this thing right!

So just weigh your options fairly, and always keep informed.

You can’t go wrong!