Ask Andy: The mattress test

By Andy Wise - bio | email

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - It's hard to put a price on a good night's sleep, but shopping for a mattress can be a nightmare.

"I don't know what's good and what isn't," one shopper said.

"When shopping from store to store, nothing is consistent," said another mattress shopper.  "You can't tell what's a good value."

In most cases, no two stores carry the same mattress, making comparison shopping virtually impossible.

So what is the difference between a $2,000 mattress and a $1,000 mattress?  Consumer Reports said not much.

Testers cut through queen size innerspring mattresses from Sealy, Serta, and Simmons.  All were well constructed with very few differences.

Next, Consumer Reports had 54 panelists try out 14 innersprings, memory foam and adjustable air mattresses.  Panelists did a 15-minute "rest test", spending five minutes on their back, side and stomach.

"All the panelists felt that all the mattresses were at least moderately comfortable," said Tod Marks of Consumer Reports.  "But every mattress, regardless of price, regardless of type had its supporters and detractors."

The bottom line is that comfort is a personal preference.  That is why Consumer Reports does not rate mattresses.

The best way to try out a mattress is to spend at least 15 minutes in several sleep positions.

Once you find the mattress you like, watch for a sale or start haggling.  The experts at Consumer Reports said mattress markups are huge, so aim for 50 percent off list price.

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