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Re: The Serta iComfort mattress ... what's the buzz 28 Jun 2011 11:07 #16

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I've been following this discussion as well. My husband and I purchased a Simmons Beautyrest Pillowtop mattress about 6 years ago. We thought name brand equated to better quality and durability. However, we were disguested that after a couple of years there was this huge dip in the center of our mattress. My husband is 200lbs and I'm 120lbs. He has been complaining for years about being uncomfortable so we finally decided to replace it. We looked at Tempurpedic and iComfort instore and were interested in finding out more information. We're cautious about dumping another $1500 in a poor quality mattress and unsure where to begin the search. What would you suggest in our situation?

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Re: The Serta iComfort mattress ... what's the buzz 28 Jun 2011 21:03 #17

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I was also shocked and disappointed at the misinformation, deceptive business practices, and in some cases outright lies that were so common in the mattress industry and this was the primary reason for the continuing research and the hundreds of hours of conversations with mattress manufacturers that eventually led to this website.

In general terms, I would focus more on mattress materials and construction than on brand. These ingredients are "common" to all mattresses even though many manufacturers try to sell a "story" rather than the benefits of a particular material. Usually this "story" is a coverup so that consumers will perceive a "benefit" in the use of lower quality and less expensive materials. In other words they are buying the story rather than the mattress materials.

Larger national brands simply cannot compete with smaller local brands primarily because of the length of their supply chain. Each step of this supply chain needs to make a significant profit and the end result is a mattress that uses similar or even identical materials to a local brand but is priced much higher. Local brands have a much smaller supply chain and far less "profit taking" steps between manufacture and the consumer. While it is true that the major national brands may purchase their raw materials for slightly less, this does not come close to making up for the many "profit taking" steps along the way to a consumer purchase. The goal of most major national brands is to use "half true" stories to replace openness and transparency about the materials and construction methods they use. They also use deceptive practices (such as having multiple names for the same mattress) to discourage any comparison of materials and construction. Unfortunately, they are so pervasive that consumers have come to accept the stories rather than take the time to do some basic research into mattress materials. Celebrity endorsements are another version of "selling a story" which is used to replace real consumer education.

In the "Mattresses" section of this website, there are several "layers" of information which can be used to make a good mattress purchasing decision. The " basic functions of a mattress " overview is a good place to start and each section after that has an overview and then more detailed pages about the different parts and construction methods of mattresses for those who wish more details.

Tempurpedic is a good example. While there is no doubt that they use good quality memory foam and make good mattresses, the days when they were the only high quality memory foam are long over and there are many memory foam mattresses which use high quality memory foam and construction methods which cost far less. Much of their popularity is because of a very large advertising budget and a consumer perception that they are somehow better than other memory foams. The facts and an unbiased comparison with some other memory foams does not support this perception however many consumers hear so many horror stories that they are not sure who or what to believe any longer and take the "safe" route. This website is an attempt to correct this. Even the "space program" story about memory foam is only half true as the development of memory foam for use in space was abandoned and it was never used ... even though NASA did do the original research in this material. Tempur took this research and developed the memory foam we know today and over the course of years other companies did the same. Memory foam itself has many disadvantages along with its advantages and tends to be a love it or hate it material. The advertising surrounding it is also filled with half truths an misleading comparisons. A more detailed analysis of memory foam generically can be found here www.themattressunderground.com/our-articles/memory-foam-pros-and-cons.html

So the place to start in my opinion is to use the "mattresses" section of this website to do some basic research, ask lots of questions, avoid retailers that are not open and transparent about the materials they use and their specifications ... no matter what the stories they may attach to them, and to find the best materials and construction for your specific needs and then talk to factory direct outlets (including the members of The Mattress Underground when you believe it is appropriate) to find the best value for the type of mattress and materials that you find works best for your specific needs and budget.

While all local or regional manufacturers are not necessarily "wonderful" and it is true that some of them use similar practices to their larger counterparts ... as a group they are far and away better value than their larger national competitors and better yet they are usually owned and sold by "mattress people" who really are interested in giving you accurate information and great service. The manufacturers which I have invited to be part of this site are the beginning of a group of local manufacturers and factory direct outlets which I have come to know and trust over the course of my research and conversations and are committed to providing accurate information and helping you find a mattress that fits your needs rather than one that fits their desire for greater profit alone.

I hope this helps a bit and if you have any questions that are specific to your own needs or that you have not been able to find an answer to, I hope you will feel free to post them here. You are always welcome to start a new thread that is focused on your own search as well. If you do this then it would be helpful to include your sleeping habits (side back, stomach), height, weight and body shape, any special needs or issues (back issues, sleeping hot etc), your budget, and the city where you live.

Thanks for your post and welcome to our Mattress Forum!

Phoenix
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Re: The Serta iComfort mattress ... what's the buzz 19 Jul 2011 16:40 #18

Hello again,
I contacted the local manufacturers that you mentioned.
Omaha Bedding is wholesale only.
Midwest Bedding was very helpful and may be a decent contact for you.
They use a 5.3 lb. memory foam and have models with all foam construction and foam with inner springs.
The inner springs thing doesn't really excite me, and it seems his memory foam has a decent price.
(queen mattress set, under $900)
I also saw that Lebeda calls itself a manufacturer, and they have mattresses called the Visco Soft & the Visco Firm and also a latex mattress with a bamboo cover. have you heard of these guys?

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Re: The Serta iComfort mattress ... what's the buzz 19 Jul 2011 22:43 #19

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Hi Joe,

Yes, Lebeda is a regional manufacturer which sells factory direct in several states including Omaha. I should have listed them in my previous post but I had the state listed as NB instead of NE for them so they didn't come up on my search. I have talked with several of their outlets and the knowledge level varied with the outlet I talked with however they do have a cutaway of their mattresses in each store and have easy access to the information about the materials they use if the local store doesn't know it already. They would be well worth a visit. I talked with the Omaha store and their latex mattress (6" + 2" Talalay) was $1529 (mattress only queen size) which is quite reasonable and their Reve which has 4" of latex over an innerspring was $2149 (mattress only queen size) which seems a little on the expensive side although the lady I talked with there didn't seem to know a lot of the details so I didn't ask her why it was so much more than the all latex mattress. She did mention that it could be made with inner tufting (making it firmer as well) which usually indicates higher quality and construction methods.

If you do go there I would ask the details of the visco foam comfort layer they use (density, thickness, and manufacturer) and the type and details of the support foam polyfoam core as well. In one part the description they describe the core of both the visco soft and firm as being high resiliency polyfoam (meaning 2.4 lbs/sq ft and higher and a compression modulus of 2.5 or higher) while in another part of the descriptions they say it is high density polyfoam (which is the norm used by most manufacturers in the support core) which usually means 1.8 lbs/sq ft and higher. Higher weight foams of the same type usually mean better quality and greater durability.

Omaha bedding does supply some local outlets and also makes a line for Nebraska Furniture Mart so they may be worth checking out. While they are not technically "manufacturer direct", they do have a shorter supply chain which usually means better prices and better quality.

Thanks for your comments about Midwest. I'll call them and ask them a few questions to get a feel for them and how they make their mattresses.

Phoenix
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Re: The Serta iComfort mattress ... what's the buzz 20 Jul 2011 03:36 #20

I recently purchased an iComfort Genius (the firmest of the iComfort line) from a local mattress chain. After about 4 days I felt the foam already losing firmness. After 10 days, it was getting much worse, so I called the retailer and they let me return it for a store credit. I will be using the credit to get an adjustable base. Yeah!

Now that I have read some of the articles on this site, I want to buy a mattress from a local manufacturer rather than a chain. I called up a local manufacturer today (Custom Comfort in Orange County, CA) and was pleasantly surprised to hear that their pricing is very affordable.

Thanks, Phoenix, for providing your knowledge and insight.

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Re: The Serta iComfort mattress ... what's the buzz 20 Jul 2011 19:58 #21

soooooooo,
I called Lebeda and they lady there said their memory foam mattresses used a 3 lb. foam (I think I'll pass)
I am going to visit Midwest Bedding, they said that they use 5.3 lb. foam,
and I also called and will visit Happy Mattress, they use 5 lb. foam.(their brand name is Restonic)

Not sure yet, but I will give latex a try, the guy at Happy Mattress, like you prefers this.

If you see any warning signs, please let me know, otherwise I will let you know what we choose.

thanks,
joe

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Re: The Serta iComfort mattress ... what's the buzz 21 Jul 2011 03:34 #22

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Hi Joe,

Like you I would completely avoid 3 lb memory foam. This is because this low a density is the least supportive of all the memory foams (which is already the least supportive type of foam) and is almost certain to break down much more quickly than a higher density memory foam. I'm somewhat surprised that Lebeda would be using this in anything but their least expensive memory foam mattresses (read really cheap) however if what you were told is correct ... I would not consider buying a memory foam mattress from them.

I'm not familiar with "Happy Mattress" except for the fact that they specialize in Restonic from their facebook page however Restonic is a national brand which tends IMO to be a better value than many other better known national brands. The only issue I have found with them is that they are a group of regional manufacturers who do not always use the same materials in different areas of the country so the quality of their "same name" mattresses sometimes varies by region. If you are shown the specifics of the mattress construction layer by layer then of course you can easily determine the type and quality of materials they use. If they don't know ... then they should be able to tell you who their regional licensee is and a quick phone call to the licensee would give you the information you would need (I have found most of the Restonic licensees I have talked to quite helpful in this regard). The different licensees are on the Restonic website here (the page is a little difficult to find)
ADMIN NOTE:Removed 404 page link | Archived Footprint: restonic.com/nearretail.php

This varied construction by region is especially true in the Restonic mattresses with a latex comfort layer as some areas use up to 2" of polyfoam over the latex (even though some of these won't tell you this) while others only use latex without the polyfoam which of course means a higher quality mattress with less likelihood of body impressions. Their memory foam mattresses would not likely have polyfoam over the memory foam so would not have the same issue although different regions may use different qualities of foam in either the support core or the comfort layer.

If you have any questions after you have done some field testing at either Happy Mattress or Midwest ... feel free to ask.

Phoenix
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Re: The Serta iComfort mattress ... what's the buzz 28 Jul 2011 01:07 #23

Well,
i went to Happy mattress to check out both memory foam and latex mattresses.
you were right, the latex is leaps and bounds more comfortable than the memory foam.
Unfortunately, the top of the line latex was $2400ºº, the next lowest was around $2000ºº.
Is this too much to be paying for this kind of mattress?
The salesperson was knowledgeable and cordial, and we would like to get the top of the line mattress.
We could really tell the difference from price to price, but I'm not sure if I will kick myself for not spending an additional $400ºº for a 20 year mattress.
Do you have any input?

thanks,
joe

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Re: The Serta iComfort mattress ... what's the buzz 28 Jul 2011 01:56 #24

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Hi Joe,

I'm assuming that the mattresses you were testing at Happy mattress were the Restonic Latex.

What I would suggest is to use the "price no object" approach to testing their mattresses ... using the guidelines on this site to test for comfort/pressure relief and support/spinal alignment independently.

When you have found the mattress that works the best for these, then ask for the cutaway or "layer by layer" description of the mattress that was best for you and the mattress that was best for your wife (they could be the same or different). If they can not or even will not provide it ... then the manufacturer (Restonic) likely would. Make sure you are looking at an actual cutaway or printed description where the layers described add up to the thickness of the mattress (except for about an inch of ticking/quilting). Finding out that an 11" mattress has 6" of latex would still leave several inches of other material (polyfoam most likely) which could become the weak link in your mattress (especially if the polyfoam is in the comfort layer). I'd be happy to call them for you if this becomes necessary. I would need to know the model names of course to talk with the manufacturer.

Once you know this ... it would simply be a matter of "duplicating" that construction through one of the DIY (do it yourself) mattress manufacturers on the site, all of whom can build a mattress which is customized on each side to fit each of your needs. This would be covered by a single ticking (cover) so it would look like any other mattress.

It is almost certain that the final price you pay using this method will be hundreds lower than a retail store ... even one with good prices.

I'm not sure what size of mattress you are looking at but even for a king size, the prices seem rather high unless they are about 11 inches or more and all latex (no other type of foam included) in which case it would be in the ballpark.

So the key once you have found the best construction for each of you is to find the "stats" of the mattress and then you can determine where the best value for that construction and layering can be found. In this case I doubt it will be Happy which would end up being your "testing grounds".

Feel free to keep any questions coming :)

Phoenix
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Re: The Serta iComfort mattress ... what's the buzz 28 Jul 2011 06:21 #25

The most expensive, and most comfortable mattress is all Restonic latex, 11" thick.

thanks,
Joe

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Re: The Serta iComfort mattress ... what's the buzz 28 Jul 2011 14:36 #26

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Hi Joe,

Do they have the layer by layer breakdown (thickness and ILD of each layer and type of latex)... and the model name?

I can't count the times I have seen someone being told that a mattress is "all latex" but once the layers are known it turns out to be "partly latex" or in some cases just a few inches of latex. The type of latex is also important as Dunlop is generally less than Talalay.

You can also look at the law tag (the tag on the end of the bed) which will tell you the percentage of different materials in the mattress ... although it won't tell you the individual layers.

Phoenix
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Re: The Serta iComfort mattress ... what's the buzz 28 Jul 2011 14:52 #27

The latex is talalay.
If I remember correctly they had:
all memory foam @$1000
memory foam and latex @ $1500
latex and some other kind of foam? @ $2000
all latex @ $2500

(all approximate prices from approximate memory)

i did see some cut-aways and the latex had holes in it.

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Re: The Serta iComfort mattress ... what's the buzz 28 Jul 2011 16:31 #28

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Hi Joe,

It possible that you may be getting some incorrect information here. For example there is no such thing as an "all memory foam" mattress as memory foam can only be used in a comfort layer and is completely unsuitable for use as a support core. Alll memory foam maufacturers use a thicker support layer of either polyfoam or in some cases an innerspring or latex foam under the memory foam and the memory foam is only the top few inches.

In the same way ... a mattress that only has a single layer of latex either in between other layers or on top of other layers will often be called a "latex mattress" and the sales people will often only be passing on the information they have been told which is sometimes completely wrong. Many times a sales person will not even know that the mattress they have been taught to sell as a "latex mattress" is not completely latex. This is why a cutaway or layer by layer description is so important. If there is even 2" of polyfoam hidden inside a latex mattress ... the polyfoam can become the weak link (depending on where in the mattress the polyfoam is and to some degree the type of polyfoam). This could result in a mattress that only lasts half as long as an all latex mattress. All latex foam does have "holes" from the metal spikes or pincores that are used to "set" or vulcanize the latex in its manufacturing.

The thickness of each layer and the ILD or each layer also plays a critical role in how the mattress "performs" in terms of both pressure relief (comfort) and spinal alignment (support).

If you know the model name of each mattress you are describing ... it should be easier to find out the specs of the individual layers.

It would also help to know the mattress size you are looking at as this would make a big difference in whether the prices you have been given represent good value.

Phoenix
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Re: The Serta iComfort mattress ... what's the buzz 10 Aug 2011 20:41 #29

thanking you in advance!
I went to Midwest Mattress and ordered a talalay latex mattress with a nice soft cover for about $900.
It will be done in about a week and I will let you know what we think of it after it's delivered.
The guy there, Mark, was aware of your site and he was a great guy to deal with. I also felt great about the deal, because i felt a bit more educated in my purchase because of you site. thanks,
joe

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Re: The Serta iComfort mattress ... what's the buzz 11 Aug 2011 03:14 #30

Hello Phoenix,

Your posts have been quite helpful. I'm looking for a new mattress and have been seriously considering the Serta iComfort, but it sounds like the novaform is the same mattress at a substantially lower price, from what you have said...

My question for you is on the life-span of the mattresses. The Serta iComfort has a 25 year warranty and the Novaform has a 20 year warranty. But from your posts, it looks like you're saying the foams in these mattresses are more likely to break down after 5 years. When the foam breaks down, does the mattress keep the same form such that the warranty wouldn't make a difference?

Thanks,

Sean

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