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The Great Mattress Hunt.... 01 Apr 2013 15:26 #1

  • sunlover1978
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Good morning,

Thank you for a fantastic site! We upgraded to a king sized bed and are replacing a Sterns and Foster Cardinham Plush queen purchased in 2000 with a 512 coil count and medium soft feel. Over the years it has developed minimal body impressions and is now slightly uncomfortable because of a slight back sway in the stomach sleeping position. Other than this, it remains adequate at cushioning and providing support. Husband is military and during deployments the children pile in bed so motion transfer is a point to consider. We would certainly appreciate any feedback/advice!

Can you recommend any local latex mattress fabricators? At this point I am leaning towards a DIY option from Foam Sweet Foam, Flobeds, or Sleep EZ or possibly the local Latex Bliss Elegance. The many details of the Great Mattress Hunt follow… : )

FSM-4 x 3” 100% Natural Talalay-$2,700
Value: Good customer service, good reputation, A+ BBB rating, 30 year full warranty at ½” loss, layer exchange option if necessary.
Risks: 18% restocking fee, lack of standard side/side customization, lack of paired foundation option.

Flobeds-3 x 3” + 2” convoluted 100% Natural Talalay-$3,100
Value: Great customer service, recommended by a friend, good reputation, A+ BBB rating, sides are customizable, company coordinates return shipping at lower than UPS going rates for returns and layer exchanges.
Risks: Warranty is less generous at 10/10 and 1”, convoluted layer is not a our preferred choice, paired pine foundation is overpriced at $579 plus $50 sh.

Sleep EZ-4 x 3” 100% Natural Talalay-$2,900 (before 5% discount)
Value: Good pricing, good reputation, A+ BBB rating, paired foundation is well priced, sides are customizable.
Risks: Warranty is less generous at 10/10, depression limits not stated.

Healthy Backs Latex Bliss Elegance-12” latex blend-$3,500 (after military discount)
Value: Local, 90 day return option, 180 day comfort exchange option, 20 year full warranty at ¾” loss.
Risks: Blended latex/value proposition

Personal Stats:
Myself-34 year old female, 5’4” and 120 lbs, stomach and side sleeper. Working with lupus and migraines so sensitive to odors and hoping to keep my bedding as free as possible from potential negative health triggers. A light sleeper and have difficulty returning to sleep once woken.

My husband-38 year old male, 5’8” and 150 lbs, side and back sleeper. Sleeps well regardless of surface : ). Tends to sleep hot so mattress temperature retention is a consideration.

Field Tests:
We’ve visited a few local chains and drove a distance to visit a Savvy Rest store. Because of the health concerns, I am not considering a memory foam purchase at this time but included these options in the field test as comparisons. Here’s what we found:

Sterns and Foster Cora-$1,800
Lower marks on cushioning, pressure point in hip becomes noticeable after 10 minutes of side sleeping. Did not ache in that time, but may over hours of sleeping or contribute to restlessness. Provided great support, comfortable in stomach sleeping position, spine remained in healthy positioning. Cover is cheaply made, mattress overall appears of less quality construction than our ‘00 S&F queen. No return option, limited comfort exchange.

Tempur-Pedic- No return option, limited comfort exchange.
Cloud Select-$2,750
Mid-range marks on cushioning. Initial feel is not welcoming however does a good job of cushioning hip pressure point in the 10 minute test. Support is adequate, back did not sway in the stomach position.

Rhapsody Breeze-$4,000+
My husband’s favorite. Nice initial feel, cushioning remains comfortable on hip pressure point in 10 minute test. Support adequate in stomach position, though felt there may be a slightly sway in back alignment.

Lacking in support allowing a back sway in stomach position: Cloud Supreme and even more so, Cloud Luxe.

Simmons ComforPedic Phenom Plush-$2,900
Great initial feel, excellent at cushioning hip pressure point in 10 minute side-laying test. Support adequate, did not detect a back sway in stomach position. No return option, limited comfort exchange.

Healthy Back/Pure Latex Bliss
Elegance-12” mattress, $3,500
1” Talalay 15 ILD, 4” Talalay 24 ILD, 6” Talalay 36 ILD, 1” High Density Latex 40 ILD
This bed was marvelous, tied for my favorite with the Savvy Rest 100% Natural Talalay. It provided fantastic cushioning, lumbar support, and maintained spinal alignment in stomach positioning.

Essence-10” mattress, $3,315
1” Talalay 15 ILD, 2” Talalay 24 ILD, 6” Talalay 36 ILD, 1” High Density Latex 40 ILD
A very nice experience, not as cushioning as the Elegance.

Savvy Rest- No return option, limited comfort exchange.
100% Natural Talalay 3 x 3” layers-$4,000
Initially did not enjoy the active feel of the foam. However after the 2 hour visit and laying on the dunlop, talalay, and combo beds, this one became my favorite.
• Top layer 22-24 ILD, middle layer 30-34 ILD, bottom layer 35-40+ ILD
Initial feel is welcoming, if a bit bouncy. Provides outstanding hip pressure point cushioning. Support is great, back is well aligned in stomach position, lumbar is well supported. Tied for my favorite with the Latex Bliss Elegance.
• Top and middle layers 30-34 ILD, bottom layer 35-40+ ILD
My husbands preferred choice among the 100% Talalay options. He was not thrilled about the active bouncy feel and overall prefers the Tempur-Pedic Rhapsody Breeze feel. I felt it to be a bit lacking in initial comfort feel but doing a great job at cushioning my hip pressure point in side testing and great at spinal alignment in stomach position.

100% Dunlop 3 x 3” layers-$2,900
Love the initial sink feel to these beds, reminds me of laying on a well loved quilt. However, the Dunlop beds allow me to notice my hip pressure point connecting with the bed within the 10 minute side test, though it does not ache in this period.
• Top layer 22-30 IDL, middle layer 31-39 ILD, bottom layer 40+ ILD
Great initial feel, some hip pressure point cushioning and spine remained in alignment during stomach position. Lost marks in the hip pressure point cushioning compared to the 100% Talalay. Very similar in cushioning and support results to the S&F Cora tested above. Preferred the feel of the latex to the springs.
• Top and middle layer 22-30 ILD , bottom layer 31-39 ILD
Great initial feel, moderate hip pressure point cushioning, back sways slightly when in stomach position.
• Firm-Top layer
Initial feel is not as welcoming, hip pressure point is more obvious, lumbar support is decreased. Back does not sway in stomach position.

Combo 3 x 3” layers, 100% Talalay over two layers of 100% Dunlop-$3,250
This offered a middle of the road option. Better at cushioning than the 100% Dunlop but less so than the 100% Talalay.
• Top layer 30-34 ILD Talalay, middle layer 31-39 ILD Dunlop, bottom layer 40+ ILD Dunlop
Welcoming initial feel, great initial cushioning of hip pressure point but towards the end of the 10-minute side position test, could notice slight pressure on hip point. Great support, back remains in alignment in stomach position also providing lumbar support.
• Top layer 22-24 ILD Talalay, middle layer 31-39 ILD Dunlop, bottom layer 40+ ILD Dunlop
Welcoming initial feel, overly active, good cushioning overall but support is less comfortable with slight sway in back in stomach position.

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Last edit: by sunlover1978. Reason: typo

The Great Mattress Hunt.... 01 Apr 2013 19:03 #2

  • phoenix
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Hi sunlover1978,

I have to say I'm impressed with the testing and evaluations you have done. That's particularly true when I read some of the comments you have made such as "great initial cushioning of hip pressure point but towards the end of the 10-minute side position test, could notice slight pressure on hip point." which suggests you are paying close attention to the more subtle cues of your body and using them to "predict" your longer term experience.

If you do decide to go in an online direction your testing will be a very useful model.

Can you recommend any local latex mattress fabricators? At this point I am leaning towards a DIY option from Foam Sweet Foam, Flobeds, or Sleep EZ or possibly the local Latex Bliss Elegance. The many details of the Great Mattress Hunt follow… : )


I'd be happy to let you know of any I'm aware of ... but I couldn't see any mention of your city or zip.

A couple of general comments as well ...

The flobeds convoluted layer is 2" not 1" but they can provide custom choices as well.

You are both very light and it's not likely that you would need 12" of latex. This also seems to be re-inforced by the fact that the 9" Savvy Rest was your favorite and your husband's favorite latex option. Because of this I'm wondering why you are looking at 11" - 12" versions from the online vendors you are considering.

I would also consider the mattress separately from the foundation. There is certainly no harm in buying a mattress at one place and a foundation at another.

Since you are also considering the PLB Elegance ... this indicates to me that you may be OK with blended Talalay as well in which case the layering choices you are considering would be available to you in blended Talalay as well from some of the merchants which would save you some cost.

Other than this, you seem to have identified all the pros and cons very well and it would seem its just a matter of more conversations with each manufacturer and eliminating some of your choices once by one ... even though they may all be good ones.

... and of course letting me know your city or zip in case there are any other local options :)

Phoenix
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Last edit: by phoenix.

The Great Mattress Hunt.... 01 Apr 2013 19:19 #3

  • sunlover1978
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Thank you very much for the feedback! Yes, I may look at reducing the mattress size and decreasing cost. I did come across the post on foundations, is there one in particular you like above the rest based on quality? This bed thing is something I hope to do only rarely : ). Some of the manufacturers indicated a plywood base is fine, but the vast majority seem to feel a latex mattress should breath and therefore recommend/sell slatted platforms, what is your opinion?

We are currently living in Maryland, 21140.

Sarah

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The Great Mattress Hunt.... 01 Apr 2013 22:19 #4

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Hi sunlover1978,

Yes, I may look at reducing the mattress size and decreasing cost. I did come across the post on foundations, is there one in particular you like above the rest based on quality? This bed thing is something I hope to do only rarely : ). Some of the manufacturers indicated a plywood base is fine, but the vast majority seem to feel a latex mattress should breath and therefore recommend/sell slatted platforms, what is your opinion?


My thoughts are in the foundation thread you mentioned here along with post #10 here which suggests a firm slatted foundation with gaps between the slats of less than 3" would be fine. There are several there that would qualify and I will leave the choice between them to your preferences. I would choose one of these unless there was a compelling reason for a solid foundation (such as wanting an adjustable bed which I myself have so I couldn't choose a slatted base).

We are currently living in Maryland, 21140.


The better options and possibilities I'm aware of near you are in post #2 here .

Phoenix
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The Great Mattress Hunt.... 02 Apr 2013 03:52 #5

  • wheezer
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Thanks to Phoenix's advice, we went to one on the list here in Maryland today. It's in or near Columbia. The Mattress Organic. Phone 1-410-730-2575. I think it's also called Rhinetec. He's done lots and lots of research and will set up an appointment with you to show you the pure latex and let you try them. He sells them in 3 layers of 3 inch pure latex and you can choose the layering. He's very knowledgeable and patient. But there are only three versions to try, so I'm a bit confused as to what I want to order. He offers both dunlop and talalay-prefers the latter, but sells mostly dunlop.
Also tried Healthy Back in Annapolis and the Mattress Store in Annapolis and had to eliminate them because of my sensitivities to chemicals. (fire retardant, polyfoam,)etc. I'm extremely impressed with your reviews and find them helpful.

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The Great Mattress Hunt.... 02 Apr 2013 20:18 #6

  • sunlover1978
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Hi!

I returned to test the PLB Elegance today and found to my sadness, it allows a slight sway to my back. I didn’t notice this during my first test because my back was already sore that day—thank you rotten current mattress! Today I tested the PLB Essence, and while it looses marks on the initial welcoming feel, it does a great job of spinal alignment. Short pressure point observation seemed good, but need more time with that aspect.

As I continue my analysis, could you elaborate further on the average ILD? Is it the average ILD of the entire mattress or the average ILD of the first 6 inches, cushioning + perceived support? As I narrow my choices, if I calculate the average ILD for the mattresses I prefer, can I use this to better select DIY mattress layers from Sleep EZ or others by matching up the average ILD’s? My attempt at averages is below : )

How does the sag factor calculate in? How do I determine/calculate it?

Durability is an important factor in my decision process. Ideally I would like 10 years of consistent performance, without any or only minimal loss in support, given my stomach sleeping position. Natural/Organic is another important factor because of my autoimmune health concerns. As I weight these possibly conflicting goals, what am I sacrificing in durability to choose the 100% NR talalay vs. the blended talalay? Is this still an issue given our relatively low/well distributed body weight? Is there ways to mitigate decreased durability by selecting a higher ILD 100% NR talalay—of course without compromising cushioning and support functions?

Is there a comfort/durability benefit to selecting the 12” vs. the 9” NR talalay? There is a $300 price difference from Sleep EZ between the options. This could be a less expensive than a future purchase of a replacement layer if the top layer becomes compressed or less supportive. It also allows for more combination options without needing to exchange a layer.

If my top softest layer compresses or develops a body impression, can I swap it down in the mattress configuration? My concern would be that the now upper layer will reflect the body impression due to the lack of support from the compressed layer below.

My attempt at averages:
Sean at Sleep EZ recommended the following configurations for a 9” and 12” 100% NR talalay:
Top layer-19-20 ILD, middle layer-30-32 ILD, bottom layer 38-40 ILD
Average total ILD: 29.81, Average top 6” ILD: 25.25

Top layer-19-20 ILD, 2 middle layers-30-32 ILD, bottom layer 38-40 ILD
Average total ILD: 30.12, Average top 6” ILD: 25.25

The Savvy Rest averages for the 100% NR talalay in first post are:
Average total ILD: 31, Average top 6” ILD: 27.5

The PLB Essence blended talalay:
1” of 15 ILD, 2” of 24 ILD, 6” of 36 ILD, 1” of 40 ILD
Average total ILD: 32, Average top 6” ILD: 28.5

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Last edit: by sunlover1978.

The Great Mattress Hunt.... 02 Apr 2013 20:27 #7

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May I ask Sunlover where she is trying these mattresses? I think she's in Maryland where I am. I am having trouble findingthe link that Phoenix sent originally.
Thanks, Wheezer

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The Great Mattress Hunt.... 02 Apr 2013 20:45 #8

  • sunlover1978
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Of course : ). You're welcome to email me directly as well: [email protected], we could commiserate about how challenging it is to find a fantastic mattress and then how much it costs!!

I've driven out to Vienna, VA to the Savvy Rest store twice. They have more combos to try than the location in Colombia according to Savvy Rest customer service. The blended latex by Pure Latex Bliss is over at the Healthy Back store in Annapolis. The other places I've gone are Sleepys and Mattress Discounters...not much to see there in the way of quality/value...\

Pheonix linked the post above with the DC locations. I'm still working on calling through the list. For knowledge, so far Mattress Traditions really stands out and has a few latex models on the floor, NR Talalay at $5,000 but it's two sided and 7" Dunlop at $3,000. Not sure if I'm up for the drive and the price is high enough to significantly decrease the value proposition.

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The Great Mattress Hunt.... 02 Apr 2013 21:17 #9

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I just spoke with Robert from AmericanFoamCenter with a showroom in Fairfax....think that will be my next visit! He has 6" 80/20 blended Talalay latex mattress cores for $1865 (king), 2" toppers for $519, and 3" toppers for $780. He also has dunlop options and both available at the showroom for demos.

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The Great Mattress Hunt.... 02 Apr 2013 23:21 #10

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Hi sunlover1978,

I think you may be crossing the line into becoming overly analytical and starting a learning curve that will take you months (or longer) before you end up buying a mattress.

As I continue my analysis, could you elaborate further on the average ILD? Is it the average ILD of the entire mattress or the average ILD of the first 6 inches, cushioning + perceived support? As I narrow my choices, if I calculate the average ILD for the mattresses I prefer, can I use this to better select DIY mattress layers from Sleep EZ or others by matching up the average ILD’s? My attempt at averages is below : )


Average ILD is not particularly meaningful. I use it sometimes to illustrate various points but it's certainly not something I would use as a way of choosing a mattress.

How does the sag factor calculate in? How do I determine/calculate it?


Sag factor is the ratio between IFD/ILD @ 25% compression and IFD/ILD @ 65% compression and is an indicator of how quickly a material gets firmer with deeper compression. More than that I wouldn't pay any attention to it. It would be a spec that a foam manufacturer may provide to you but wouldn't generally be available to a consumer. As an example of how technical this could be you could read post #26 here which is still not likely to have any practical benefit to you. I would work with people who already know what you would otherwise take months to learn and avoid the temptation to get as technical as you are. I would let the designers design and limit your own role to "reporting" what layering works best for you.

As I weight these possibly conflicting goals, what am I sacrificing in durability to choose the 100% NR talalay vs. the blended talalay? Is this still an issue given our relatively low/well distributed body weight? Is there ways to mitigate decreased durability by selecting a higher ILD 100% NR talalay—of course without compromising cushioning and support functions?[/quote

I don't think there is any way to give specific answers to these kinds of questions except to say "some". You are looking for a degree of specificity that probably doesn't exist and is relative to each person anyway. You can read more about the different factors that affect durability in post #4 here and the differences between 100% natural and blended Talalay in post #2 here . Many if not most things involving mattresses don't have specific quantifiable or certain answers and involve intuitive judgement or relative answers more than people are often comfortable with ... even though they are the only truly "accurate" answers.

Is there a comfort/durability benefit to selecting the 12” vs. the 9” NR talalay? There is a $300 price difference from Sleep EZ between the options. This could be a less expensive than a future purchase of a replacement layer if the top layer becomes compressed or less supportive. It also allows for more combination options without needing to exchange a layer.


You can read about the potential benefits of a thicker mattress in post #14 here . As you mentioned ... it also allows for more layering possibilities.

I would suggest that along wth your personal testing ... some extended conversations with SleepEZ or some of the other online manufacturers here will give you more meaningful "real life" information than months of analysis based on specs.

Phoenix

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Last edit: by phoenix.
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