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Summary of Sleep Like The Dead's Unbiased Mattress Research, Reviews & Ratings [why trust]

July 27, 2017

We have so far spent 6,000 hours gathering 25,700 mattress reviews from over 1,000 sources. Here is a brief summary of our research findings.

On This Page

Mattress Research Findings
1. Owner satisfaction
2. Price
3. Pain relief
4. Buying online
5. New vs older brands
6. Firmness
7. Longevity / lifespan
8. Heat retention
9. Motion isolation
10. Off gassing 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 buying 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

MORE INFO: See the mattress types compared in 23 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
Bed in a Box
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 THE ABOVE MATTRESSES AND MANY 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 using a mattress topper. A topper can often provide the benefits of a new mattress for a fraction of the cost. See mattress topper reviews based on over 60,000 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
Thickness 5-13 inches 10-15 inches 11-17 inches
Warranty 9 year avg 12.5 year avg 12 year avg

GET THE FULL STORY AND ANALYSIS at 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

Mattress Sagging

Sagging occurs when part of a mattress, often the middle or center, becomes compressed and lower than the rest of the mattress. Sagging places a person's spine into a stressed and unnatural position – especially for side and stomach sleep.

The more that a mattress sags, the greater the likelihood that a person will experience discomfort or pain.

mattress discomfort sagging comparison chart

GET THE FULL STORY AND ANALYSIS at mattresses and (back) pain relief.

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  
Can try mattress before purchase D a Mattress manufacturers that sell online seldom have their mattresses available in stores to try out 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.
Affordable 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 than from those purchased from stores.
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- Online mattress retailers usually do not 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.

GET THE FULL STORY AND ANALYSIS at buying a mattress online: what to know.

New Mattress Brands Vs Traditional Mattress Brands

The mattress industry has changed significantly in the past few 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, Purple, and Helix.

These new mattress brands differ from the established and traditional brands – such as Serta, Sealy, Simmons, Tempur-Pedic – 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.
Customer satisfaction B- C On average, new-brand mattresses have 78% owner satisfaction vs 73% for traditional-brand mattresses.
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
Mattress Price b C- On average, new-brand mattresses cost about $900 vs about $1800 for traditional-brand mattresses.
Perceived value B- C- Traditional-brand mattresses tend to have lower perceived value by consumers due mainly to their above average prices and often questionable lifespan.
Model variety D+ A The new brands almost always offer only one model and firmness – in contrast to traditional brands which offer many models and firmness choices.
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-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

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

Mattress Longevity

Mattress longevity or lifespan can vary especially by mattress type.

mattress longevity comparison

GET THE FULL STORY AND ANALYSIS at mattress longevity comparison.

Mattress Heat Retention

About 8% of people report that their mattress retains heat and sleeps hot to an extent that undermines sleep quantity / quality. Some mattress types have more of a problem on this issue than others.

mattress heat retention comparison

GET THE FULL STORY AND ANALYSIS at mattress heat retention.

Mattress Motion Isolation

A mattress with good motion isolation localizes or absorbs a person's movement, such as their getting in / out of bed and their changing of positions. A mattress with poor motion isolation sends a person's movement across the bed to possible disturb another person.

mattress motion transfer comparison

GET THE FULL STORY AND ANALYSIS at mattress motion isolation comparison.

Mattress Off Gassing

Off gassing is an odor 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

GET THE FULL STORY AND ANALYSIS at mattress off gassing odor.

Mattress Weight

The different mattress types can vary considerably in their weight.

The advantages of a heavy mattress is that it often feels and looks substantial and expensive. A heavy mattress is also more planted and less likely to move on its base. 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


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 of ownership vs about 17% for non-pillow top mattress owners. Sagging, of course, can undermine comfort and support.
Support C B- Pillow top sagging can undermine support and possibly 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 need more rotation (head to foot) than non-pillow top beds to maintain proper support and 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 effectively to the sleeper's body and thereby reduce pressure points 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 often provide the softness for hips and shoulders that side sleepers prefer.
No sleeping hot c- b-

About 9% of pillow top bed owners vs about 5% of non-pillow top bed owners excessive heat retention.

Easy to move on D+ B Soft pillow tops beds with at least two inches of memory foam can provide significant resistance to changing positions on the bed and getting up off of it.

GET THE FULL STORY AND ANALYSIS at mattress top comparison.

Mattress Types and Romance Suitability

The different mattress types have several pros and cons in regard to suitability on this issue.

  Air Foam Hybrid Inner Spring Latex Memory Foam
Bounce C+ C+ C- A- B D
Comfort C+ B A- D+ B+ B-
Quiet D+ A B+ C- B+ A
Ease of moving on B B- C- A- C+ D
Position options C C+ A- B- B- C-
Entire surface 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

GET THE FULL STORY AND ANALYSIS at mattresses and sex.

Mattresses For Large & Small People

Among several other factors, mattress thickness is a key attribute that small and especially 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

GET THE FULL STORY AND ANALYSIS at mattress guide for large & small people.

Mattress Warranties

The life 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 7.0 years
20 years 8.1 years

GET THE FULL STORY AND ANALYSIS at mattress warranties: what to know.

Mattress Returns

The top reason people seek to return their mattress is that it has a firmness level unsuitable for one's personal preference, body type, or sleep position. Less common reasons include sleeping hot, persistent off gassing odor, and unsuitability for sex.

Chart: Main reasons for seeking a mattress return

top reason to seek mattress return

GET THE FULL STORY AND ANALYSIS at returning a mattress: what to know.

How To Best Use This Site For Mattress Research

The best place to start your research is this page – 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 25,700+ consumer experiences collected from over 1,000 credible sources. See research sources & methodology for details.

Why Trust Sleep Like The Dead's Mattress Reviews and Comparisons

Our mission is to help people make smart sleep-product buying decisions. This can only be achieved by providing unbiased, truthful, and hard-hitting information.

  Sleep Like The Dead Other Mattress Review Websites
Valid, Accurate Research Method yes no or questionable
Our mattress reviews / ratings are based on over 25,700 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 vague or inadequate.
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 1) consider all relevant facts and 2) 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 signs that a mattress review website may be biased.)
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 anywhere 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.
Time in Operation 9 years
2 years median
We have been reviewing mattresses since 2008. Sleep Like The Dead is in many ways the "original mattress review website" in that much of the format, review criteria, and research findings used by other mattress review websites was originated by us. The median age of other mattress review websites is around two years. Most of these sites appear to have sprung up solely in response to the emergence of referral programs by mattress companies.
Mattress Research Findings in Credible Publications yes usually no
Our mattress research has been mentioned in The Wall Street Journal, US News and World Report, Barron's, Chicago Tribune, USA Today (The Best), St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Toronto Star among many others. Other mattress review websites tend to generate limited positive media coverage.


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

About Our Unbiased and Independent Mattress Research

Our mattress research is based on over 25,700 actual consumer experiences. See our research sources and methodology for more information and why you can trust our mattress reviews.

Sleep Like The Dead receives NO COMPENSATION in any form from any company, organization or individual to affect in any way or degree the content or findings of our mattress research.

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