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The Ultimate Guide to Buying the Perfect Mattress

And the top mattress brands to shop.

serena and lily bedding
Serena and Lily

As you already know, a great mattress is an investment. And for good reason—it's meant to last for several years. When you buy a new mattress, you're also investing in yourself and your well-being. After all, if you're getting the recommended eight hours of sleep every night, you're spending about a third of your life in bed. So, how do you know when it's time to treat yourself to a much-deserved mattress—and how do you invest in a mattress brand you'll love sleeping on for years to come? We rounded up everything you need to know before buying a new one to make it a total cinch.

Dive right in, or jump to the specific section you need.

    When Is it Time to Buy a New Mattress?

    If you're making any big lifestyle changes in the near future—for instance, if you're moving in with a partner and want to upgrade to a bigger mattress, or you're shopping for a grown-up bed for your child—it's obviously time to make the purchase. But if you're just generally not feeling your current set-up or wanting to upgrade, first consider how long you've had your mattress and how it's holding up. Which brings us to...

    How Long Should a Mattress Last?

    If it's been over a decade since you got a new mattress, it might be time to switch. Experts agree that mattresses should last around 10 years—sometimes even more, especially if it's a high-quality product and you take great care of it over the years. But in general, you want your mattress to last for at least seven to eight years, preferably ten. (Here are some mattress care tips to help yours last as long as possible.)

    That said, regardless of how long you've had your mattress, you should evaluate what shape it's in—how it looks and how it makes you feel—as the primary indicator of whether or not to get a new one.

    Signs Your Mattress Is Worn Out

    Linda Klein, president at Charles P. Rogers, tells House Beautiful there are a couple of major signs to look out for.

    • You're not being supported the way you used to be. "You'll see that your hips are sinking, and your shoulders and head aren't being held up properly," Klein says. "You're no longer getting the alignment you need." Klein notes that this does happen more quickly with all-foam or all-latex mattresses, which is why she recommends that most people choose a hybrid mattress.
    • The top layer has broken down, and the mattress has lost its responsiveness. No matter what kind of mattress you have, if the materials on the top layer of the mattress have broken down, leaving it feeling thinner and less comfortable, it's time for a replacement. You might even see lumps or a body impression where you typically sleep. With foam and latex mattresses, you'll know it's time if they no longer respond or bounce back when you put pressure on them, too.

      Types of Mattresses

      Whether you've purchased a mattress before or this is the first time you've ever had to shop for one, you need to know what kinds of mattresses are on the market. These are the main types you'll see as you shop—make your decision based on how you like your bed to feel.


      An innerspring mattress is a mattress that's primarily made up of metal coils, with a soft cushion around it. Over the years, these cushions have been made from anything from cotton to wool to feathers, Klein points out, so check if you have any sensitivities. These mattresses tend to be firmer and have some bounce to them.


      These mattresses don't have any metal coils inside but are made entirely of layers of foam or memory foam, a synthetic material (essentially polyurethane) designed to support your body and adapt to it. Rather than rest on top of a memory foam mattress, your body will sink in a little and be cradled by the foam.


      Latex is a natural material made from the sap of a rubber plant, but you can also find synthetic latex mattresses on the market. Rather than sinking in to the mattress like you would on a memory foam bed, the latex compresses and conforms to the general shape of your body while still having more bounce-back.


      A hybrid mattress is the best of both worlds. The bottom layer of the mattress will be innerspring coils, while the top layer will be either foam or latex, depending on which material you prefer. How it feels will depend on whether you choose foam or latex.

      Which Mattress Is Right for You?

      Before you buy a new mattress, consider the following. Each factor impacts the kind of mattress you'll buy, in both construction and material. Once you figure out what you want and need, factor in your budget to help you narrow down your options, then choose what feels right!

      Your Sleep Position

      You sleep position is the number one thing to consider when you're buying a mattress, because different sleepers need different kinds of support to sleep well and stay properly aligned.

      • If you're a side sleeper: Side sleepers have what Klein calls "negative spaces" (essentially, gaps between their side and the bed due to the curves in their body) that need to be filled in by their mattress in order to maintain proper alignment. For this reason, side-sleepers will generally prefer and do better on a mattress that's less firm, something with a softer surface, and a little more give.
      • If you're a back sleeper: Since back sleepers don't have those negative spaces to fill like side-sleepers do, they generally prefer a firmer mattress with a flatter, harder surface—that's why some back sleepers might not even sleep with a pillow, for instance.
      • If you're a stomach sleeper: If you sleep on your stomach, you'll want a mattress that's softer and less firm, much like a side-sleeper. Responsiveness in the mattress's surface is key for stomach sleepers, so that your body doesn't put too much pressure on your lower lumbar and keeps the correct space between your vertebrae, Klein says.

        From there, it's all about comfort. If you're a side sleeper who prefers a little added firmness, go for it. If you're a back sleeper who doesn't like your mattress to be quite so hard, get one with a softer top.

        Your Body's Individual Needs

        There are a number of bodily considerations to factor in when you're thinking about getting a new mattress. Do you tend to sleep hot and your current mattress doesn't do much to help prevent the night sweats? Do you have an injury or chronic pain condition that affects your sleep? Think about how you snooze—beyond the position you sleep in—and make sure you're taking all your preferences into account. It might mean you'll want to stick to a specific material, construction, or firmness level to make sure your mattress really supports your unique body.

        Your Partner and Their Needs

        If you live with a partner or are moving in with a partner, it's essential that you wind up with a mattress that makes you both happy. If the two of you have similar sleeping styles and needs—maybe both of you sleep on your sides, but one of you sleeps hot—then you'll have an easier time finding a mattress and you can figure out what will suit you both. (In that example, a mattress with a softer top that's made with a breathable material will likely be your best bet!) If you have vastly different sleep styles and needs, you may want to look into a bed that's adjustable on both sides so that you can both sleep comfortably through the night and feel satisfied with your mattress purchase.

        Buying a Mattress Online

        Buying a mattress online might seem scary, but more and more brands are selling online—and more and more customers are turning to online shopping to find the right mattress for them. The best thing you can do? Read reviews—and use them wisely—and do your research.

        • Look for unbiased reviews. Jeff Chapin, co-founder and chief product officer at Casper, says to look to unbiased sources like Consumer Reports for reviews. "You should look at how the reviewed mattresses rate relative to who you are, like body size, how hot you sleep, etc.," he explains. "You should also look for objectively-compared information, like what tests were used to say one mattress has better ergonomics, durability or thermal properties." As Chapin points out, the best review sites will share their methods, so focus on reviews that discuss the product, what it's made of, and how it makes customers feel over reviews that talk about things like cost or delivery.
        • Know what you're buying. Reviews aren't the only thing to consider. "It's also important to know that you’re purchasing a great product overall," says Ali Bowen, senior brand manager at Stearns & Foster. "When it comes to mattresses, how they are made and the materials used should be a key part of your decision. The materials that make up a mattress on both the outside and on the inside do impact its comfort and durability in the long term, but what makes a mattress comfortable should be considered alongside other key factors."
        • Consider customer service. Of, course, customer service is key when you're buying anything—online or not. Klein suggests shopping at brands that have experts on-hand to answer your questions and who can help you find a mattress that really suits your needs. If you feel good about the brand, have gone through the reviews, and understand what the mattress is made from and how that will impact your sleep, you should be able to find a mattress you love—even if you've never tested it out in person.
        • Give it time. In the event that your mattress purchase doesn't work out for you, most brands offer a long trial time and a generous return policy. Just don't decide your mattress is a bad fit after a night or two before you make any returns, especially since returning a mattress (which can't be resold) isn't the most sustainable option. Allen Platek, Tempur-Pedic's vice president of new product development, advises taking full advantage of the time you have before the return policy is up, because it takes time to adjust to a new one. "Mattresses are like a new pair of shoes," he says. "You have to break them in."

          Caring for Your New Mattress

          Once you've found a mattress you're happy with, take care of it! Then it'll last as long as possible and extend the life of your purchase—and for that, you'll sleep better at night.

          • A mattress protector is good idea. If you're not already using a mattress protector, you might want to change that. (This one is waterproof, hypoallergenic, and just $30!) A good cover or protector will keep your mattress cleaner, keep bedbugs out, and protect your mattress against spills, especially if you purchase a waterproof one (which Platek suggests if you've got kids or pets.) "If that's not an issue, I would invest in a pad that covers the mattress but doesn't affect how the mattress that you bought feels," Platek says. "For instance, if you have a firm mattress, don't go out and buy a two-inch-thick mattress pad that's going to make it a plush bed, just get a covering that will protect it and go from there." Why? You won't get to fully experience the mattress you picked out if you get a cover that totally changes its feel.
          • Rotating your mattress is a must. Rotating your mattress is important because if you don't, over time your mattress will wear more in the spot where you sleep than the rest of the mattress, and you want it to wear as evenly as possible over time. That means rotating the mattress head-to-foot every three to six months—Klein suggests rotating every quarter in the first year, then at least twice a year after that. And she adds that if you use a box spring, you should be rotating that, too. "Even the foundation should be rotated head-to-foot once a year," she explains.
          • Don't forget to clean it! Platek has a hot tip for an easy way to keep your mattress clean: "When you take the sheets off of your bed, when you take the mattress pad off of your bed, vacuum the top of your mattress," he says, noting that this will help get rid of any potential dust mites and dead skin cells. Otherwise, make sure you're following your mattress's care instructions.

            If you're ready to start shopping, check out some of our favorite top mattress brands below. And remember, finding the perfect mattress for you is just that: finding the right one for you. As clinical sleep psychologist Dr. Shelby Harris, PsyD tells House Beautiful, buying a mattress "really is so personal—there is no one-size-fits-all mattress." And finding the "sweet spot," she notes, is sometimes about finding the perfect combination of mattress and pillow. "It really is trial and error, and there's no one best mattress for everyone."

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            the best mattress brands to shop
            proadapt tempur pedic mattress

            Tempur-Pedic has been known for its signature memory foam mattresses since the foundation of the company in 1992. The brand has multiple mattress offerings—with some hybrid options—to choose from, along with pillows, mattress toppers, adjustable bed bases, bedding, and more. As far as the return policy goes, its mattresses come with a 90-night trial. And, Tempur-Pedic was rated No. 1 in customer satisfaction with retail mattresses by J.D. Power in 2019.

            BUY NOW Tempur-Adapt Mattress, $2,999, tempurpedic.com

            avocado green mattress

            Avocado is newer on the market but prides itself in offering high-quality all-natural mattresses made in California. For instance, the Avocado Green Mattress, seen here, is a hybrid made with GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standard) certified-organic latex, wool, and cotton, along with 1,414 pocketed support coils. Or go with the vegan option, which is made without wool. The brand's mattresses come with a one-year sleep trial and a 25-year warranty.

            BUY NOW Avocado Green Mattress, $1,399, avocadogreenmattress.com

            Charles P. Rogers
            charles p rogers mattress
            Charles P. Rogers

            Charles P. Rogers has been in the mattress business since 1855. Yes, you read that right; the brand has been around—and building a loyal customer base—for well over 150 years. Its current mattress offerings are all hybrid mattresses, made with natural latex (although there is also a memory foam hybrid if you prefer) and sturdy innerspring. Charles P. Rogers has experts on staff to help you choose which mattress is right for you, and each mattress comes with a 100-day trial period for returns.

            BUY NOW Real Bed Mattress, $999, realbed.com

            casper mattress

            The first brand to make the bed-in-a-box trend happen back in 2014, Casper has multiple mattresses to choose from. Its Original all-foam mattress is its most popular offering, but it recently revamped its entire mattress line to include some new all-foam and hybrid mattresses, based on years of customer feedback. Casper mattresses come with a 100-night risk-free trial.

            BUY NOW Original Mattress, $931, casper.com

            Stearns & Foster
            stearns  foster mattress
            Stearns & Foster

            Another long-time staple in the mattress business, Stearns & Foster has been around for more than 170 years, with a selection of premium mattresses all hand-crafted in North Carolina. Each mattress comes with different options for you to customize to your sleep style, so you can choose the firmness of each mattress model (and if the pillow top if it has one.) The brand's mattresses come with a 10-year warranty.

            BUY NOW Lux Estate Hybrid Pollock Mattress, $2,799, stearnsandfoster.com

            saatva mattress

            Saatva currently has six different mattresses to choose from, including options made with latex and/or memory foam, hybrids, and even a mattress that's designed specifically for growing kids. The website has a quiz you can take to determine which of their mattresses will work best for you, for easy shopping. That, and a 120-night trial return policy.

            BUY NOW Classic Mattress, $1,299, saatva.com

            Tuft & Needle
            tuft  needle mattress
            Tuft & Needle

            If you're an all-foam kind of sleeper and want a mattress that's super affordable but still high-quality, Tuft & Needle has you covered. The brand currently offers three mattresses, including two all-foam options and a hybrid. The Original mattress is designed to keep hot sleepers cool and comfortable and has more than 19,000 5-star reviews to back it up. Plus, Tuft & Needle offers a 100-night trial and a 10-year warranty.

            BUY NOW Original Mattress, $625, tuftandneedle.com

            Sleep Number
            sleep number mattress
            Sleep Number

            If a super-adjustable bed is what you seek, Sleep Number has your back—literally. The brand has been around since 1987, and all of its mattresses are controlled either by a special remote or a smartphone app to make sure that you and your partner are always comfortable in bed. Just take the quiz to find your perfect Sleep Number, and adjust your number as needed with use. Sleep Number offers a 100-night trial and a 15-year warranty.

            BUY NOW 360 c4 Smart Bed, $1,299, sleepnumber.com

            sealy mattress

            Yet another long-standing trusted mattress brand, Sealy has been around since 1881. The brand launched its signature Posturepedic technology in 1950 and has been making even more comfortable mattresses ever since. Sealy currently has five different mattress options to choose from, including an affordable mattress-in-a-box, a cooling memory foam mattress, a line of innerspring mattresses, another line of memory foam mattresses, and a hybrid line.

            BUY NOW Hybrid Performance Mattress, $1,399, sealy.com

            purple hybrid mattress

            Purple's mattresses aren't quite like anything else on this list, and that's because the brand uses its own special, innovative material, and technology. Its mattresses are made with what the company calls the "Purple Grid," which is a soft, supportive, and durable material that features temperature-neutral gel. Purple offers a 21-night trial period for returns. And, in 2019, J.D. Power awarded Purple the No. 1 spot in customer satisfaction as far as bed-in-a-box mattresses go.

            BUY NOW Purple Hybrid Mattress, $1,799, purple.com

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