– Mattress Research Findings
1. Owner satisfaction
3. Pain relief
4. Buying online
5. New vs traditional brands
7. Longevity / lifespan
8. Heat retention
9. Motion isolation
10. Initial odor
12. Pillow tops
14. Large & small people
– How Best To Use This Site
– About Our Mattress Research
– Why Trust Us
Find a mattress that's suited for you in as fast as one minute with our unbiased mattress selector.
Choose up to three mattresses to compare ratings, prices & specifications.
Do not assume that you will be satisfied with a top-rated mattress type or brand. Learn about a bed's characteristics, pros & cons before purchase to ensure that it suits you personally.
Select a mattress type for detailed analysis and ratings.
See the mattress types compared in 24 additional ways.
The chart below includes many of the more popular and / or widely available brands (in alphabetical order). Select a brand for detailed ratings.
|Loom & Leaf
|Serta (memory foam)
|Stearns & Foster
|Tuft & Needle||79%|
COMPARE ABOVE MATTRESSES AND MORE in our side-by-side mattress comparison.
DON'T SEE WHAT YOU'RE LOOKING FOR? Search our mattress ratings using box below.
To soften or revitalize an existing mattress, consider a topper. A topper can provide the benefits of a new mattress for a fraction of the cost. See our mattress topper reviews based on over 52,000 owner experiences.
Mattresses of various price points have some important differences.
|Up to $700 (queen)||$700-$1800 (queen)||$1800+ (queen)|
|Lifespan||5.2 year avg||6.9 year avg||7.9 year avg|
|Where sold||mostly online||stores and online||stores and online|
|Daily Use / Limited Use||62% / 38%||84% / 16%||95% / 5%|
|Materials and design||mostly simple||simple and advanced||often advanced|
|Firmness||mostly med to firm||soft to firm||soft to firm|
|Thickness||5.5-13 inches||10-15 inches||11-17 inches|
|Warranty||9 year avg||12.5 year avg||12 year avg|
SEE THE FULL ANALYSIS at our mattress price comparison.
Those mattress types that provide above-average support, pressure relief, and durability are less likely to cause back, hip, and shoulder pain.
SEE THE FULL ANALYSIS at our mattresses and (back) pain relief research.
Buying a mattress online has important similarities and differences to buying in a store.
|Buying Online||Buying From Store|
|Try before buy||D||a||Manufacturers that sell online seldom have their mattresses available in stores to try before purchase.|
|Satisfaction likelihood||C||c+||All other things equal, owner satisfaction rates are mostly similar whether the mattress is bought online untried or from a store following a try out session.|
|Price||b||C-||Purchasing a mattress online can save as much as 20%.|
|Durable||B||C||Consumers often report better durability and long-term comfort from mattresses bought online.|
|Customer service||B+||C||Customer service from online mattress retailers tends to be better in every way.|
|Full service delivery||D+||A-||While some online retailers offer full service delivery, FedEx or UPS is often the delivery method. Full service delivery is usually offered by store retailers.|
|Old bed removal||D||A-||Unlike store retailers, online mattress retailers seldom offer old mattress removal.|
|Easy returns||c+||B+||Return ease and convenience can vary significantly for online mattress retailers.|
|Return cost||B+||C-||Returns fees for store retailers tend to be more common as well as more substantial.|
SEE THE FULL ANALYSIS at our buying a mattress online: what to know research.
The mattress industry has changed significantly in the past five years.
This change is due to the emergence of many new mattress brands / companies, most of which operate exclusively online. Notable examples include Casper, Leesa, Tuft & Needle, and Purple.
These new mattress brands differ from the older, established and traditional brands – such as Serta, Sealy, Simmons, Tempur-Pedic, Sleep Number – in many ways as indicated below.
|Newer Brands||Older Brands|
|Time in business||D+||A||The traditional brands have been around for decades, while the newer brands on average are about three years old.|
|Available in stores||D||A||Newer brand mattresses are sold almost exclusively online vs older brand mattresses which are sold mostly in stores.|
|Owner satisfaction||B-||C||On average, newer brand mattresses have 78% owner satisfaction vs 73% for older brand.|
|Mattress longevity||C+||c||Durability / longevity for newer brand mattresses tends to be at least fair. For older brand mattresses, it is on average about fair but can vary considerably by brand|
|Price||b||C-||On average, newer brand mattresses cost about $900 vs about $1800 for older brand.|
|Perceived value||B-||C-||Older brand mattresses tend to have lower perceived value due mainly to their above average prices and often questionable lifespan.|
|Model variety||C-||A||The newer brands usually offer one to three models – in contrast to older brands which offer more.|
|Customer service||A-||C||The newer brands usually place emphasis on providing strong customer service.|
|Old mattress removed||D||A-||Newer brand mattresses usually are delivered via FedEx or UPS meaning they don't often offer old mattress removal.|
|No-strings full money back||A||D+||Older brand mattresses are more likely to incur a fee for a return.|
|Specs disclosed||B||D+||The newer brands tend to be more open about the specifications of their mattresses, such as layer thickness, material composition, and weight.|
|Marketing sophis- tication||A-||C+||The newer brands tend to place high emphasis on marketing which includes defining a target consumer and creating compelling websites and messaging.|
|Marketing accuracy||C-||B||The newer brands are more likely to use exaggerated claims to describe their beds such as "perfect," "world's best," and "universal appeal."|
The following shows the firmness level that tends to be suitable for average-sized people depending on their body type; your own personal preference may differ.
|Side Sleep||Back Sleep||Stomach Sleep|
|About equally wide shoulders, waist & hips||medium to
|Wide waist with less broad shoulders & hips||medium-firm||medium-firm To firm||medium to medium-firm|
|Wide hips with less wide waist & shoulders||medium-soft
|Wide shoulders with less wide waist & hips||medium||medium
|Wide shoulders & wide hips with less wide waist||medium-soft
SEE THE FULL ANALYSIS as well as firmness suggestions for people of above- and below-average size at our mattress firmness guide.
Mattress longevity or lifespan can vary especially by mattress type.
SEE THE FULL ANALYSIS at our mattress longevity comparison.
At least 8% of people report that their mattress holds heat and sleeps hot to a degree that undermines sleep quantity / quality. Some mattress types have more heat-trap potential than others.
SEE THE FULL ANALYSIS at our mattress heat retention research.
A mattress with motion isolation localizes or absorbs a person's movement, such as getting in / out of bed and changing of positions. A mattress lacking motion isolation sends a person's movement across the bed to possible disturb their partner.
SEE THE FULL ANALYSIS at our mattress motion isolation comparison.
Off gassing is an odor or gas that a mattress may release when unpackaged due to its chemical composition. Some mattress types are more likely than others to have a problem.
SEE THE FULL ANALYSIS at our mattress off gassing odor research.
The different mattress types can vary considerably in weight.
The advantages of a heavy mattress is that the mattress often feels and looks substantial and expensive. A heavy mattress is also more planted and less likely to move on its base requiring adjustment. The disadvantages of a heavy mattress is that they are comparatively difficult to transport, move, maneuver and handle especially for one person. Heavy mattresses are also often more expensive to ship.
SEE THE FULL ANALYSIS at our mattress weight research.
The following table compares pillow top and non-pillow top mattresses based on actual consumer experiences. The findings apply mostly to innerspring mattresses.
|Pillow TOP||non- pillow top|
|Longevity/ durability||d||c||30% or more of pillow top mattress owners report significant sagging taking place within three years vs about 17% for non-pillow top mattress owners.|
|Support||C||B-||Pillow top sagging can undermine support and cause back pain. Edge support can be lacking for pillow top mattresses, especially softer models with thicker tops; eurotops (tops that taper near the edges) perform better.|
|Easy to maintain||d||c+||Pillow top beds often require more (head to foot) rotation to maintain proper support / comfort and avoid sagging.|
|Affordable||c-||B-||Pillow top beds are on average at least 25% pricier than non-pillow top beds.|
|Conforms / adaptive||B||D+||Pillow tops are more likely to contour well to one's body and thereby reduce pressure and excessive firmness – especially for side sleep.|
|Side sleep friendly||B||C||Side sleepers – especially those of average to below-average size – tend to be more satisfied with pillow top beds at least initially as they usually provide the softness that these sleepers prefer.|
|No sleeping hot||c-||b-||About 9% of pillow top bed owners vs about 5% of non-pillow top bed owners report bothersome heat retention.|
|Easy to move on||D+||B||Soft pillow top beds with at least two inches of memory foam can provide significant resistance to changing positions and getting up.|
SEE THE FULL ANALYSIS at our mattress top comparison.
The different mattress types can have good, fair, and poor aspects in regard to romance friendliness.
|Air||Foam||Hybrid||Inner Spring||Latex||Memory Foam|
|No noise / quiet||D+||A||B+||C-||B+||A|
|Ease of moving on||B||B-||C-||A-||C+||D|
|Entire top suitable||D+||C-||B+||C||B-||C-|
|Holds up to use||D+||B||C+||D+||B+||A-|
SEE THE FULL ANALYSIS at our mattresses and sex research.
Among other factors, mattress thickness is an important attribute that small and large people should consider.
|Mattress Thickness||Large People||Small People|
|6 inches||poor||good to fair|
|8 inches||fair to poor||good|
|10 inches||good to fair||good to fair|
|11 inches||good||good to fair|
|13+ inches||good||fair to poor|
SEE THE FULL ANALYSIS at our mattress guide for large & small people.
The useful lifespan of a mattress tends to be a fraction of its warranty length.
|Warranty Length||Average Lifespan of Mattress|
|5 years||4.6 years|
|10 years||7.1 years|
|20 years||8.1 years|
SEE THE FULL ANALYSIS at our mattress warranties: what to know research.
The main reason people seek to return their mattress is due to its firmness being unsuitable for one's personal preference, body type, and or sleep position. Less common reasons include heat retention, bothersome off gassing odor, and unsuitability for romance.
Chart: Main reasons for seeking a mattress return
SEE THE FULL STORY AND ANALYSIS at our returning a mattress: what to know research.
The best place to start your research is the page you are on right now – or the mattress comparisons page – specifically the mattress type comparison. Once you have chosen a type, then choose a brand and model of that type. Then, if necessary, choose a seller of the mattress from the retailer comparison.
We've so far spent 6,100 hours gathering 27,200 mattress reviews from over 900 sources. See research sources & methodology for details.
Since we began reviewing mattresses in 2008, Sleep Like The Dead has never had a direct financial relationship with a mattress company (or companies). This means three things:
1. We have never received commission from a mattress company. In other words, we do not receive from a mattress company a percentage of referral mattress sales.
2. We have never received anything financial or material from a mattress company, including a free mattress to be evaluated. (Any mattress we evaluated was purchased by us.)
3. We have never had any type of partnership with a mattress company, nor are we owned or have we ever been owned in any part by a mattress company.
Sleep Like The Dead could make more revenue than we now do by having direct financial relationships with mattress companies. So why don't we have such relationships like nearly all other mattress review websites? It certainly isn't due to mattress companies not trying to forge such relationships with us. You should see our inbox!
The answer is that our unwaivering mission is to help the consumer the best we can by telling the truth the best we can. We know that this can only be achieved by being FINANCIALLY INDEPENDENT from mattress companies. In other words, our purpose is to be a true consumer advocate, not a marketing tool of mattress companies masquerading as one. We want to make a positive difference in the world, not merely line our pockets.
We use advertising to generate revenue to fund our research – and the ads are almost always for mattresses. These ads, however, are auto-generated and auto-selected by a third party – Google Ads – based on several factors. Sleep Like The Dead has never selected the advertisers nor the ads that appear. In addition, any revenue generated by the ads is paid to Sleep Like The Dead by Google, not by mattress companies. In other words, despite the presence of mattress advertising on our site, we remain financially independent from mattress companies.
Some pages of our website include affiliate links to mattresses sold at Amazon. The links do not provide Sleep Like The Dead with an incentive to be biased because we earn revenue from anything a person buys from Amazon through these links, not merely a mattress that we link to. In addition, any revenue generated from mattress sales is paid to Sleep Like The Dead by Amazon, not by mattress companies. In other words, despite the presence of links to mattresses sold at Amazon, we remain financially independent from mattress companies.
The table below compares Sleep Like The Dead to other mattress review websites – nearly all of which appear to be biased.
|Sleep Like The Dead||Other Mattress Review Websites|
|Direct Relationship With Mattress Companies||never||almost always|
|We have never had a direct financial relationship with a mattress company because it would prevent us from being a true consumer advocate.||The vast majority of other mattress review websites have extensive direct financial ties to mattress companies.|
|Revenue Source Encourages Bias||very little||usually very much|
|We use Google Ads which automatically selects and places ads on our site. This means we do not select who advertises on our site. This lack of direct financial relationship with mattress companies keeps incentive to be biased minimized.
||Other mattress review websites often receive revenue directly from mattress companies via referral programs or partnerships. This causes much incentive to practice favoritism in regard to which mattresses are reviewed by the site and how favorably a particular mattress is reviewed.|
|Evidence of Bias||no||almost always|
|Upon reading any of our reviews, it's clear that our method is to consider all relevant facts and not ignore anything good or bad. That we are unbiased is also shown by the fact that mattresses of non advertisers are our best rated or among our best rated mattresses. And we never make endorsements.||Other mattress review websites often reveal bias by providing "softball" reviews or by making endorsements. This is often especially true for mattresses that the sites earn the most revenue from via referral links including the offering of discounts / coupons to site visitors. (See other red flags of possible bias.)|
|Mattress Research Findings in Credible Media Outlets||yes||almost never|
|Our mattress research has been mentioned in The Wall Street Journal, US News and World Report, Barron's, Chicago Tribune, USA Today (The Best), NBC News, among many others.||For good reason, the vast majority of other mattress review websites are rarely in credible media outlets.|
|Valid, Reliable Research Method||yes||almost never|
|Our mattress reviews / ratings are based on over 26,000 mattress owner experiences collected from diverse, credible sources using a precise, unbiased methodology.||Reviews / ratings are often based on flawed methods such as personal testing. Or the method is unexplained, vague, or inadequate.|
|Transparent Identity||yes||almost never|
|At Sleep Like The Dead, we are proud of what we do and have nothing to hide, to fear, or to feel guilty about. So we have no reason to conceal our identity.||Nearly all mattress review websites hide their true identity in some way. For example, a WHOIS search often shows that the site owner keeps their name private and confidential.|
|We have been reviewing mattresses since 2008.||The median age of other mattress review websites is around 2-3 years.|
|Sleep Like The Dead is in many ways the "original mattress review website."||Much of the review criteria and research findings often used by other mattress review websites was originated by us.|
|In It For Right Reason||yes
|Sleep Like The Dead has always been primarily an outlet for personal interest in sleeping better and helping others to do the same. Making money has never been the main reason for its existence.||Most of these sites appear to have been created solely in an attempt to cash in on the referral programs by mattress companies.|
Our unbiased and independent mattress research is based on over 27,200 actual consumer experiences.