-> Since 2008
-> Unbiased
-> Independent

Don't Buy a Mattress Until You Read These 16 Research Findings [why trust]

April 5, 2018

We've so far spent 6,100 hours gathering 27,200 mattress reviews from over 900 sources. Here is a brief summary of our trustworthy research findings.

On This Page

Mattress Research Findings
1. Owner satisfaction
2. Price
3. Pain relief
4. Buying online
5. New vs traditional brands
6. Firmness
7. Longevity / lifespan
8. Heat retention
9. Motion isolation
10. Initial odor
11. Weight
12. Pillow tops
13. Sex
14. Large & small people
15. Warranties
16. Returns

How Best To Use This Site
About Our Mattress Research
Why Trust Us

Mattress Owner Satisfaction

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.

Avg model
under $500
Avg model
Avg model
Avg model

Mattress Type Ratings

Select a mattress type for detailed analysis and ratings.

Mattress Type
Owner Satisfaction
Memory Foam

See the mattress types compared in 24 additional ways.

Mattress Brand Ratings

The chart below includes many of the more popular and / or widely available brands (in alphabetical order). Select a brand for detailed ratings.

Mattress Brand
Owner Satisfaction
King Koil
Loom & Leaf
Sealy (innerspring)
Serta (innerspring)
Serta (memory foam)
Signature Sleep
Simmons (innerspring)
Sleep Innovations     76%
Sleep Number
Stearns & Foster
Tempur-Pedic    81%
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.

Do You Really Need A New Mattress?

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 51,000 owner experiences.

Mattress Price Comparison

Mattresses of various price points have some important differences.

  Up to $700 (queen) $700-$1800 (queen) $1800+ (queen)
Owner satisfaction 68% 74% 73%
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.

Mattress Types & Pain Relief / Prevention

Those mattress types that provide above-average support, pressure relief, and durability are less likely to cause back, hip, and shoulder pain.

mattress discomfort comparison chart

SEE THE FULL ANALYSIS at our mattresses and (back) pain relief research.

Buying A Mattress Online Vs Store Buying

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+ Contrary to popular belief – all other things being equal – mattress 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 more consistent in its responsiveness, speed, quality, helpfulness, and professionalism.
Full service delivery D+ A- FedEx or UPS is often the delivery service offered by online retailers, while 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.

New Vs Traditional Mattress Brands

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 established and traditional brands – such as Serta, Sealy, Simmons, Tempur-Pedic, Sleep Number – in many ways as indicated below.

  New Brands Traditional Brands  
Time in business D+ A The traditional brands have been around for decades, while the new brands on average are about three years old.
Available in stores D A New-brand mattresses are sold almost exclusively online vs traditional-brand mattresses which are sold mostly in stores.
Owner satisfaction B- C On average, new-brand mattresses have 78% owner satisfaction vs 73% for traditional.
Mattress longevity C+ c Durability / longevity for new-brand mattresses tends to be at least fair. For traditional-brand mattresses, it is on average about fair but can vary considerably by brand
Price b C- On average, new-brand mattresses cost about $900 vs about $1800 for traditional.
Perceived value B- C- Traditional-brand mattresses tend to have lower perceived value due mainly to their above average prices and often questionable lifespan.
Model variety C- A The new brands usually offer one to three models – in contrast to traditional brands which offer more.
Customer service A- C The new brands usually place emphasis on providing strong customer service.
Old mattress removed D A- New-brand mattresses usually are delivered via FedEx or UPS meaning they don't often come with full service delivery (set up, old mattress removal).
No-strings full money back A D+ Traditional-brand mattresses are more likely to incur a fee for a return.
Specs disclosed B D+ The new 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 new 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 new brands are more likely to use exaggerated claims to describe their beds such as "perfect," "world's best," and "universal appeal."

Mattress Firmness Guide

For People of Average Size (130-230 Pounds)

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
medium-firm 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
to medium-firm
medium-firm medium-firm
Wide shoulders with less wide waist & hips medium medium
to medium-firm
medium to
Wide shoulders & wide hips with less wide waist medium-soft
to medium-firm
to medium-firm
medium to

SEE THE FULL ANALYSIS as well as firmness suggestions for people of above- and below-average size at our mattress firmness guide.

Mattress Longevity

Mattress longevity or lifespan can vary especially by mattress type.

mattress longevity comparison

SEE THE FULL ANALYSIS at our mattress longevity comparison.

Mattress Heat Retention

About 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.

mattress heat retention comparison

SEE THE FULL ANALYSIS at our mattress heat retention research.

Mattress Motion Isolation

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.

mattress motion transfer comparison

SEE THE FULL ANALYSIS at our mattress motion isolation comparison.

Mattress Off Gassing

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.

mattress type out gassing comparison

SEE THE FULL ANALYSIS at our mattress off gassing odor research.

Mattress Weight

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.

mattress weight comparison

SEE THE FULL ANALYSIS at our mattress weight research.

Pillow Top vs Non-Pillow Top Mattresses

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.
Conforming ability 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.

Mattress Types and Sex Suitability

The different mattress types can have good, fair, and poor aspects in regard to romance friendliness.

  Air Foam Hybrid Inner Spring Latex Memory Foam
Bounce C+ C+ C- A- B D-
Comfort C+ B A- D+ B+ B-
No noise / quiet D+ A B+ C- B+ A
Ease of moving on B B- C- A- C+ D
Position variety C C+ A- B- B- C-
Entire top suitable D+ C- B+ C B- C-
Holds up to use D+ B C+ D+ B+ A-
Cleanup ease B D D D C- D
Total rating C C+ B- B- B- C-

SEE THE FULL ANALYSIS at our mattresses and sex research.

Mattresses For Large & Small People

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
12 inches good fair
13+ inches good fair to poor

SEE THE FULL ANALYSIS at our mattress guide for large & small people.

Mattress Warranties

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.

Mattress Returns

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

top reason to seek mattress return

SEE THE FULL STORY AND ANALYSIS at our returning a mattress: what to know research.

How To Best Use This Site For Mattress 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.

About Our Unbiased and Independent Mattress Research

Our mattress reviews and ratings are based on 27,200+ consumer experiences collected from over 900 credible sources. See research sources & methodology for details.

Why Trust Sleep Like The Dead's Mattress Reviews

Our mission is to help you make smart sleep-product buying decisions – and to sleep like the dead as a result. This goal can only be achieved by providing unbiased, truthful, and comprehensive information.

  Sleep Like The Dead Other Mattress Review Websites
Mattress Research Findings in Credible Publications yes usually no
Our mattress research has been mentioned in The Wall Street Journal, NBC News, US News and World Report, Barron's, Chicago Tribune, USA Today (The Best), among many others. The vast majority of other mattress review websites are rarely if ever mentioned in credible publications.
Valid, Accurate Research Method yes no or questionable
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 the flawed methods of personal testing or the accepting of reviews from site visitors. And in other cases, the method used is unexplained, or it is inadequate to provide valid results.
Revenue Source Encourages Bias very little usually very much
To provide our site with revenue, we use Google Adwords which automatically selects and places ads on our site. Adwords uses an auction to determine which advertisers / ads appear. 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 have direct financial relationships with mattress companies of their choosing as they receive revenue directly from them via referral programs. This arrangement 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 usually yes
To be unbiased means to consider all relevant facts and not ignore anything good or bad. Upon reading any of our mattress reviews, it's clear that this is our method. 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. Other mattress review websites often reveal bias by providing "softball" reviews which consist of providing mattress pros but few if any real cons. This is often especially true for mattresses that the sites earn revenue from via referral links including the offering of discounts / coupons to site visitors. (See other red flags of possible bias.)
Transparent Identity yes usually no
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. Most mattress review websites hide their true identity in some way. They may not provide on their site the full or real name of the person or people behind the site. And a WHOIS search often shows that the site owner keeps their name private and confidential.
Well Established yes
usually no
We have been reviewing mattresses since 2008. The median age of other mattress review websites is around 2-3 years.
Leadership yes
Sleep Like The Dead is in many ways the "original mattress review website." Much of the review criteria and even 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.


Top of page

Sleep Like The Dead's mattress research in The News –

Mattress Ratings You Can Actually Trust

Our unbiased and independent mattress research is based on over 27,200 actual consumer experiences.

See our research sources and methodology for more information and why you can trust our mattress reviews.

SLEEP PRODUCT RESEARCH: Mattress ReviewsMattress Topper ReviewsPillow ReviewsBed Sheet ReviewsWhite Noise Machine ReviewsSleeping Pill ReviewsSleep Hygiene Products

ABOUT SLEEP LIKE THE DEAD: Our StoryContactSitemapPrivacy Policy

IN THE NEWS: Sleep Like The Dead's research findings have appeared in such news publications as Barron's • Toronto Star • St. Louis Post-Dispatch • Edmonton Journal • Woman's World • The Consumerist • The Gazette • Ottawa Citizen

© 2007-2017 SLTD, Inc. • Copyright Violation Notice