Before the mattress in a box revolution, most shoppers went to brick-and-mortar retail stores (either mom-and-pop locations or well-known, national franchises) to buy their next bed.
Because there aren’t any standard ratings for mattresses, customers had to go off of things as comfort preference, brand name, and whatever information the salesperson was able to pass on to them.
It wasn’t uncommon for models to come in different firmnesses. For example, Mattress Model A would be available as a firm, medium-firm (sometimes called luxury firm), plush, and so on. You would try these mattresses out in person and were recommended to spend fifteen minutes on them, ask a few questions, and make a decision. But your decision was mostly influenced by how the mattress felt when you were laying on it.
Enter: the bed in a box revolution.
High-quality products backed by generous sleep trials and warranties were now readily available, but the catch was you had to buy them online. To make the process easier, these new dot com companies leveraged free shipping and generous hassle-free, risk-free trials. To help their customers make a choice, they also were very transparent about the materials and design of their mattresses.
This created a need: people still wanted to know how the mattresses felt, to help reduce the chance of having to return their new mattress and start the process all over again. Some companies started opening brick and mortar locations, but affiliate marketing also became popular.
So, what’s the actual process?
Here is how our research and writing process looks, from a 30,000-foot view. Let’s say we want to research the best blankets for winter:
- Our writers read dozens of posts on blankets and the best blankets for warmth.
- They read the return policy, warranty, trial period, and materials used in the most common blankets they see.
- They read dozens of reviews by customers, specifically looking for reviews that call attention to poor craftsmanship.
- They look up alternatives: do you need a blanket for winter? How else can you keep yourself warm during a cold night? When they think they’ve found something, they chase down the primary source and make sure it’s credible.
- They write the article and edit it to a nice, clear article.
- Then the article gets passed through our editor who does some fact-checking and revising (as necessary).
- Then the article is published!
But why should I trust your process?
Sites, a little bit like this one, test brands and write reviews. However, this isn’t necessarily enough. After all, if an affiliate site lies on the mattress and describes it as “medium-firm” or “just soft enough,” they are, more or less, doing exactly what the traditional model did. They are selling on comfort preference. Reading a review written by someone who tested the mattress is just like the fifteen-minute showrooms of yesteryear– only part of the picture.
Why is this an issue? Because what feels comfortable for a moment isn’t necessarily good for a full night’s sleep. We have all fallen asleep easily on a couch only to wake up with a crick in the neck.
To bring you the most helpful information we can, Best Mattress Brand focuses on technology, design, clinical studies and sleep science, and reviews.
What do you mean by technology?
Companies use technology to create sleep-promoting products. Mattresses tend to come in four larger categories: all-foam, innerspring, latex, or hybrids.
Within those categories are subcategories.
All-foam mattresses can feature visco-polyurethane foam (known colloquially as memory foam) or more traditional, less expensive poly-foam.
These foams can be infused with gel, copper, diamond dust, and more.
When looking at the quality of foam, Best Mattress Brands considers the type of foam (memory foam outperforms poly-foam in terms of pressure-relief, whereas poly-foam tends to be cooler and more breathable than memory foam), as well as the density (which helps convey the amount of support) and the Indentation Load Deflection rating (ILD), which helps convey the firmness.
Innerspring mattresses are mostly evaluated by their coils. There are titanium coils, steel coils, two-in-one coils, braided coils, and more. When measuring a coil, the industry uses gauge. The higher the gauge number, the thinner the coil, so the lower, the thicker the coil.
Plus, we also consider the comfort layer or filling, which goes between the coils and you.
Hybrids are hard to define. There seems to be no clear-cut, agreed-upon definition. In our research, we’ve noticed a hybrid tends to be a near-even mixture of foam and coils. For example, an innerspring mattress may consist of 80% coils and 20% foam. A hybrid is more 50-50.
Latex mattresses need to be evaluated by the quality of latex, including the process by which the latex is made, whether it’s Talalay Latex and Dunlop latex. Plus, there is 100% natural latex and synthetic latex blends.
What do you mean by design?
Take all the materials above, and we still don’t have a mattress. Layering is essential. If you have coils on top, obviously, the mattress wouldn’t be comfortable.
If you arrange foam in one way it may become a heat trap; arranged in another way and it may be too soft.
So how a company designs its product is just as important as the materials they used.
What do you mean by clinical studies and sleep science?
A good mattress for one person may not work for another. Why not? Because sleep is intimate to your body (weight and shape) and needs.
When recommending products, Best Mattress Brand works to factor in sleeping position and pain (such as back pain, hip pain, neck pain, and more).
Side Sleepers: Most people sleep on their side. This is all well and good. In fact, studies have shown sleeping on your right side promotes a happy and healthy heart. But side sleepers are at greater risk for pressure points. This is because less of their body is on the mattress.
Back sleepers: Back sleeping is another healthy position, but it is not as common as side sleeping. However, if you are able to sleep on your back, your chances of blah blah are reduced.
Stomach sleeping: Stomach sleeping is the unhealthiest sleeping position and one we do not recommend. When on your stomach, your hips sink into the mattress and put pressure on your lower back. Plus, your neck is turned awkwardly, creating a contorted and misaligned spine.
Pain and other considerations
Side and hip pain: If you sleep on your side and are on a firm mattress, you may experience side and hip pain. The natural curve of your spine isn’t being supported, and pressure is applied to your side and hips, creating tension and aches.
Back pain: If your bed is too soft, your hips can sink and create pressure on your lower back. If your bed is too firm, your back will experience the same issue above.
Neck pain: Generally, this is more about your pillow. Side sleepers tend to need a pillow with a higher loft than back or stomach sleepers. This is to help keep your spine straight. Stomach and back sleepers usually prefer a much thinner loft imagine being on your back with your head propped up at the neck and you’ll understand why.
Sleep Apnea and snoring: While a comfortable mattress that keeps you on your side can help with both of these issues, our research shows an adjustable bed is a great solution for conditions such as sleep apnea, snoring, and GERD.
What do you mean by reviews?
Our writers and researchers do read the reviews– the reviews posted on the company’s page as well as reviews on other affiliate sites and on e-commerce platforms such as Amazon.
But, reviews aren’t as simple as you think. Ever see a movie a friend raved about only to find it disappointing? The same thing, on a much larger scale, applies to mattresses. Plus, searching through reviews has taught us most companies work very hard to get reviews early on in the sleep trial. This can lead to a positive review that is more about the company’s customer service and less about the product.
At Best Mattress Brand, we focus on the product and the claims behind the product.