I get asked a lot..."How do you recommend shopping for a new mattress?" Wow, that's a loaded question!
First of all, you want to have a plan. If you don't, you will end up chasing marketing and sales and the only one who wins that race is the mattress store. You will end up getting caught up in emotional messages or buying something based on price and likely not know what you are sleeping on or the quality of the materials. Do you love mattress shopping? If you don't, like most of us, I recommend following this advice so you don't have to do it again in 5-7 years.
5-7 years? Remember, most major retailers will tell you that you need to replace your bed every 5-7 years. That's because most major brands build their mattresses with low density foams and polyester fills which do not hold up over time. And realistically, they want you back in the market every few years.
The first step to shopping for a new mattress, especially here in the Berkeley San Francisco Oakland San Jose San Rafael area, because there are lots of stores and lots of messages, is to hit the net. The internet has lots of information, if you know where to look. First, start with Yelp and find out which stores in your area have a good reputation. Avoid stores with numerous complaints about customer service or quality. Next, look at independent review sites, such as MattressUnderground.com or SleepLikeTheDead.com. Avoid Consumer Digest or Good Housekeeping; those are paid sites that give reviews to advertisers.
Look for companies who offer extensive information about their products, pictures and pricing. Don't drive to a store to only be ambushed by prices out of your budget. If a company is upfront with their pricing, then you can shop before you head to the store. What are you looking for on these websites? You are looking for claims and valid, credible, USA accreditation to back up those claims. Look for consistent pricing, for full disclosure about sourcing and ingredients. You wouldn't buy food with "trust us, it's good for you" as the ingredient, yet that is what many of the mattress manufacturers and mattress stores would like you to do.
When shopping you will encounter to types of foams; memory foam and latex foam. The big difference between the two materials is that memory foam absorbs energy and latex rubber deflects energy, or bounces. Now, don't be fooled by false claims! There is no such thing as natural memory foam. There is only latex, memory foam, and a combination of memory foam and plant oils, like latex, soybean oil or castor bean oil. There are all wool beds, cotton futons and such, but when it comes to foam, there is no new breakthrough, just more fancy marketing, also known as snake oil salesmanship.
Now that you are armed with information and have found stores online, head out during the week, in the evening, to avoid the rush and crush of customers on the weekends. Mattress stores are less crowded and more relaxed during the week. I recommend choosing 3-5 mattress stores. One of the reasons you are able to avoid the weekends is because you have found mattress stores online who don't do crazy sales. Always ask for the best price available and ask if there are any promotions just past or coming up. You don't want to be surprised to find your mattress on sale one week after you purchased.
Shopping for a natural mattress or organic mattress can be tough, but with a little planning and research, you can be sleeping well on a new mattress in no time!