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Re: The Serta iComfort mattress ... what's the buzz 15 Apr 2012 16:49 #281

  • jstephens
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Really appreciate all this information. We're planning to swing by the original mattress factory this week to try out their beds. Given we've had a good experience with them in the past and that the detail available on their website (specifics on each layer and such) I wouldn't be surprised if we ended up buying something (assuming one of the fewer models is a fit). It's impossible to get any useful information out of serta's site - just a bunch of "SomeWeirdName (tm) layer" with no description of the materials, sizes, densities, etc.

If we do pick up one of their beds will be sure to post thoughts once we've logged a month or two on it.

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Re: The Serta iComfort mattress ... what's the buzz 18 Apr 2012 21:37 #282

Hi Phoenix, first off, like many other '1st time posters' on this forum, I really appreciate you providing your input/knowledge on mattresses. I think this is a great forum/website and will recommend it to anyone I know who is looking for a mattress.

My wife and I haven't been in the market for a mattress for about 15 years. We spent $2000+ (can't even remember exactly it was so long ago) on a Spring Air mattress that obviously treated us well. Only in the last year or so did we start to notice the support was fading. Now, we're at the point where it's really causing us aches and pains, but that's only been the last couple weeks.

Any way, I stumbled across your site doing general research on a new mattress and I immediately found it to be very informative. Even though I don't know you from Adam, just reading your posts gave me confidence that you really knew this industry and I agreed with a lot of things you said about certain companies, etc..

Our focus has mostly been around getting a foam mattress. Not sure exactly why, other than we thought it might be fun to try one, along with the fact we're getting old (aren't we all) and these appear to be good options for back relief, etc..

We looked at the iComfort series last week @ Macy's and my wife really liked one of the models. This was before we found your site. Your feedback on the iComfort definitely steered me away and made me realize I need to do more research. The Tempurpedics are of course the popular choice, but their costs make me feel like there's just no way their foam mattress is that much better than the others. We did try out the Cloud Luxe and really liked how 'soft' it felt, much like how our Spring Air feels now (ha!).

I know your preference for foam is the Aerus and I looked at those a lot and was tempted to purchase solely based on your recommendation and cost alone. I also looked at others offered by Sam's and Costco. Most of these had really good reviews by people with the occasional bad review here and there.

Now on to the real point of my post (sorry, just felt compelled to lay some ground work). I also did some research and found a site called sleeplikethedead. This site had some good data compiled on feedback by owners and one brand kind of stood out to me based on their 'owner satisfaction' and that was bedinabox. Now I now you may be cringing in front of your monitor right now, but I decided to check out their site and models.

To cut to the chase (finally, huh?), I ended up purchasing a mattress from them for us and my teenage son. My main reasons were:
1) High % of owner satisfaction on sleeplikethedead (among the highest of any mattress, let alone foam)
2) US-based company. Don't feel comfortable knowing my mattress is made in China, just don't, I get enough 'junk' made in that country, including my new dining table in our kitchen which I absolutely can't stand. It's so cheaply-made but the price wasn't (note: stay way from Ashley furniture)
3) Certipur certified. Felt good to know their foam passes this industry standard.
4) Cost. Their mattresses are mid-level priced and we were able to get our queen bed and our son's full size w/platform bed + mattress covers for the cost of the iComfort we were looking at Macy's.

I know you don't have high marks for Bed in a Box and it seems to mostly be about the lack of 5lb. foam density in their foam. I asked them about this and they had a come back (of course). They state that older technology foam needs to be measured by this, but their foam is based on a newer technology and thus doesn't need to be as dense. They have a pretty good schpeil on their website about their foam technology. Now I know, this could be all talk, blah, blah, blah, etc.. but based on the happiness of their owners and their return policy, I decided to give them a shot.

I know too that the 5lb. density thing is good for longevity of the mattress. They did state that they've had a few mattresses that 'sank' after several years (4-5 or so), but that they would replace it if it did this within the first 10 years.

I don't know, I felt this company was worth a shot. We'll see, I'll definitely try to report back on here (promise a much shorter post) after a few months and hopefully years. I just wonder what your thoughts are on their claims that 5lb.+ density isn't necessary if the foam is of high quality (or based on their technology). Just curious what you think and any other reason why B in a B is not a good choice. Thanks for reading! Ray

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Re: The Serta iComfort mattress ... what's the buzz 18 Apr 2012 23:19 #283

  • phoenix
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Hi rgham,

Thanks for a very detailed and researched post which IMO deserves an equally detailed answer :)

To answer some of your more specific and very well made points and questions ...

All of the American manufacturers are making some very good foam. while Aerus is my favorite (mainly because of it's published breathability specs which are the equivalent of some latex) there are also many other manufacturers that are making very high quality foam that also uses different methods to achieve breathability and other characteristics that are also very effective. I mention them a lot because they are quite easily available but they are by no means the only "good" choice ... only one that has some very good information released about it's qualities. I also agree with you about Chinese foams and while I can't in good conscience "disqualify" Chinese foam that meets the CertiPur standards for chemicals, offgassing, and durability, I would also personally choose North American foam over Asian foam given a roughly equal value choice.

The main point of your post though was about the Bed in a Box site and the claims they make about their foam density and about the value of customer testimonials.

First about their claims. They contradict every article and all the more research based information that is available deeper on the web about foam manufacturing including the information that is on the PFA site itself. Some research on this site (which is made up of the manufacturers themselves and which disputes their claims) will almost certainly be enough to dispel their claims much less the much more detailed information that is available with some deeper and more technical research into foam manufacturing. In my opinion, their claims are just factually wrong and my conversations with them have not inspired any confidence about their knowledge beyond what they have been told to say.

While foam density is not the only factor in foam durability when comparing similar foams, it remains to this day the single most important factor. Every manufacturer and resource I have talked with who has no vested interest in what they say and all the more technical information available confirms this and this applies to "new generation" foams as well as older ones. While their materials meets most of the guidelines for memory foam that I normally recommend except for density, they are in no way comparable to mattresses that use higher quality and more durable foams. Their claims contradict everything that I (and more importantly many others that I respect) know about the material science of foam manufacturing.

Next about online testimonials. While I recognize that "testimonial patterns" can be useful and can certainly be a valuable part of any research, it is also true that the vast majority of them are written early in the life of a mattress before most problems and issues have had a chance to develop and are also mostly written by people without a lot of knowledge about alternatives, mattress materials and quality, and without a frame of reference that includes the relative qualities of mattresses that they could have bought with the same budget. The sources of their "ratings" are reviews from other sites and forums which often than not base their reviews certain brands rather than specific mattresses (which can each have different layers and materials) and without the knowledge of what to compare their mattress to. Subjective reviews such as this have a huge range of variances and are often self justifying which IMO can often do more to confuse than they can to help. For example many of the reviews of "latex" mattresses are based on opinions about mattresses that shouldn't even be in this category and many of the memory foam ratings would have more to do with what is over the memory foam (quilting and ticking) than the memory foam itself even though the reviewer doesn't realize this.

So overall ... these reviews or consumer surveys are written shortly after purchase, take place in a vacuum of more specific and factual information about what is actually in the mattress they are reviewing, what the objective basis for their rating is, and what their mattress was compared to. Many don't even realize it seems what denser more conforming memory foam should actually feel like. They have some value but only to a degree and their biggest value is not so much to identify "good" mattresses but to help identify mattresses which clearly have problems which are obvious to even those who don't have real factual information about what they bought or the alternatives that were available to them.

In addition to this ... there are many places which include reviews of Bed in a Box which are not quite so favorable. There is also some question about how many of the online reviews for this particular company (and the source of the Sleep like a Bear ratings are from other review sites and forums) are planted by the company itself or it's representatives. It would be very easy to skew this type of rating system which was gathered from other sites which are the "target" of many fake reviews to bolster ratings.

Of course warranties are a whole other story because warranties only cover defects in construction or materials and since softening is not considered a defect (softening and impressions are separate issues and only impressions beyond a warranty exclusion are included in the warranty coverage) ... even though it may lead to a mattress that is clearly not suitable for someone to sleep on.

So overall IMO, Bed in a Box is a better choice than many other "cheap memory foam" outlets on the web ... but they are in no way comparable to higher quality choices that are available when consumers know more about what to look for and are aware of better outlets either online or in their area. I guess meeting 3 out of 4 of the memory foam guidelines is certainly better than many other choices :)

I of course have no issues if someone chooses a mattress with any materials of any density ... as long as they have the correct facts about that material and that the price they paid justifies the quality and durability of their purchase and they are happy with the value they received. Worse yet would be a consumer who purchases a Comforpedic mattress for example which used 3.5 lb next generation memory foam and is several times the price of the Bed in a Box and believed that they bought a higher quality mattress than they did.

Value is always relative to what something is compared to and to the needs, preferences, and "value equation" of each individual. My only real issue is that there is so much incorrect information on the web ... particularly from manufacturers who give information designed to make a lower quality mattress seem more comparable to a higher quality option ... that making truly informed choices based on objective and more factual information is much more difficult.

In case I missed anything ... this thread is also about Bed in a Box and Sleep like a Bear as well and also includes lots more information about different types of memory foam and their different qualities (besides durability) in general.

They are certainly a better choice than many "low budget" mattresses that are so widely available ... but I would hesitate to choose lower density foam when higher density "next generation" alternatives are also readily available at similar prices.

Phoenix
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Re: The Serta iComfort mattress ... what's the buzz 19 Apr 2012 15:38 #284

Well Phoenix, you've managed to really regret my decision and left me running with my tail between my legs! :) Seriously though, I really do appreciate your input and feel that I probably made a somewhat impulse decision to go with B in a B.

Most of that rash decision-making was due to the fact that our current mattress is causing me headaches, so I was in a bit of a desperation mode. We'll see how the bed works out. I'm pretty sure the bed purchased for my son will be sufficient enough for him for at least while he's still in our home (4-6 years), so if that holds true, I'll be satisfied with the purchase.

As for our mattress, again, if we get 4-6 good years and it then starts to sink, it'll make a good excuse to upgrade to a king and then we'll be back on this site to determine what the best options are at that point.

I did read through the thread you provided with that one person who was considering the Pac original. I had never been to the rocky mountain mattress site before, but that looks like a good option. Prices are reasonable and their foam seems to be very high quality (5lb density, etc..).

We still have the option to return our B in a B mattress after 60 days of testing. We'll have a fully-covered waterproof mattress pad, so if we're not happy, we can deal with the hassle of returning it and I'll be considering Rocky Mtn or others. Thanks again!

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Re: The Serta iComfort mattress ... what's the buzz 19 Apr 2012 16:54 #285

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Hi rgham,

In all fairness there is some good parts to what they offer as well. The most important of these is their use of a higher quality base foam than is the norm in a mattress of this budget range. They call it HR foam although it is just short of the HR qualification in terms of density (which is 2.5 vs the 2.4 they use) but it's close enough if the other specs (compression modulus and resilience) also conform to HR specs. Either way it is a good quality base foam and better than many mattresses in a much higher price range.

They use 2" quilting foam and synthetic fiber (some just have supersoft quilting polyfoam and polyester fiber while some have 3 lb memory foam in addition to the supersoft quilting polyfoam and fiber) in their mattresses (except for the pacbed original and pacdown) which would help to extend the life of the memory foam in the comfort layer below however this "extra" foam is a mixed blessing because it would also be subject to softening and the polyester fiber will compress as well. It will also reduce the ability of the memory foam underneath to conform to the body profile which is not necessarily "bad" but it will make the mattress less "memory foam like".

They offer a low cost "upgrade" to gel foam which uses a swirl pattern instead of particulate gel beads or particles which is a better version of gelfoam IMO and will likely strengthen the memory foam and make it more durable.

Like all memory foam and polyfoam ... it will go through an initial more rapid softening process followed by a more gradual softening over a longer time followed by a breakdown of the foam (which is where the impressions form). If you get past the initial softening without any issues of the foam being too soft for your needs and preferences ... then the odds are much better that your mattress will last you for a while :)

Since they have a 120 day return policy ... I would take a careful look to check for any noticeable soft spots and any alignment issues while you are sleeping after about 90 days which would cover the initial softening period.

Overall ... it's certainly not the worst choice that is available by far and while I'm not a fan of 3 lb memory foam ... at least it has some redeeming qualities.

Phoenix
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Re: The Serta iComfort mattress ... what's the buzz 19 Apr 2012 19:34 #286

Thanks, that does actually make me feel a little better about my decision. We didn't break the bank on this purchase, but at the same time, it was enough that I expect some quality years. I'm also usually pretty anal about my purchases and like to get the best item at the best price.

We did go with the gel upgrade in both our bed (13" Silk Elegance) and our son's (11" Pac Original), so hopefully they'll give us a few years of good support and sleep. I'll definitely be watching it like a hawk to see how it responds in the first 120.

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Re: The Serta iComfort mattress ... what's the buzz 17 May 2012 01:41 #287

  • Fetichini
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Am I glad that I came home to do some research first! I was so close to buying an iComfort, it just felt so good on the showroom floor, and the salesman had me convinced it was the best technology on the market! Boy was he wrong.

I just wanted to say thanks Phoenix for all the great information here about natural talalay latex rubber mattresses, and also thanks to everyone who helped contribute to this thread. Reading it front to back changed my mind about the iComfort and the entire mattress industry! I seriously think this thread has decreased the sales for iComfort drastically. Good job Phoenix!

After doing an extensive amount of research I located a mattress store near my house and fell in love with the Pure Latex Bliss 8 inch queen size mattress. Has anyone else purchased this brand? What do you think about them? Did I make the right decision? I still have a few days to change my mind before it gets delivered.

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Re: The Serta iComfort mattress ... what's the buzz 17 May 2012 03:37 #288

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Hi Fetichini,

Wow ... that's a lot of reading considering this is by far the longest thread in the forum :)

Pure Latex Bliss makes a high quality line of mattresses that are among the best quality and value IMO of the nationally distributed brands. They are among the better choices of mattress that are sold through retail outlets and I have mentioned them frequently in the forum.

While they may not be quite in the same value range as some of the factory direct manufacturers across the country ... they are certainly a good choice compared to almost anything sold in most retail outlets and will keep their qualities and last a long time compared to most mattresses that use lower quality materials, especially in the upper layers. I would choose them in a heartbeat over the iComfort line even though they are a different category of mattress.

Getting a mattress that is just what you need and prefer is also important and price is only part of the "value equation" of course but outside of local factory direct manufacturers ... they are among my favorite manufacturers. They are also helping to raise awareness of the benefits of latex in general and are showing many of the larger brands how a latex mattress should be made (without several inches of lower quality foam on top of the latex).

If you are happy with the way the mattress performs (in terms of pressure relief, alignment, and your preferences) and it certainly appears that you are, and you are happy with the price you paid ... then I think you made a good choice.

Phoenix
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Re: The Serta iComfort mattress ... what's the buzz 21 May 2012 13:51 #289

  • Immortal216
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I was looking at the icomfort line and my g/f had her heart set on the renewal refined i talked to you Phoenix and you gave me a run down on the different models. Well the renewal refined is going back because it is a tad too soft for my back i just ordered a 13000 from Sleepez which you have recommnded on this forum and Shawn was very helpful in the layer suggestions for both me and my g/f.
I wanted to update some information on the serta renewal refined it appears that the energy gel foam is latex. The reason i say this is because i looked at the Law tag and it said that 53% was poly foam with gel 22% was latex with gel and the remainder was just polyfoam. If this is incorrect then dismiss what i just said i just wanted to give some insight to what the law tag said on this specific model.

I will be gikving an update on the latex bed when i have slept on it for awhile. :)

Again thanks for all the helpful information you have provided on this site.

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Re: The Serta iComfort mattress ... what's the buzz 21 May 2012 17:03 #290

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Hi Immortal216,

I'm grateful that you took the time to check the law tag. I haven't had the chance to personally test the Refined series and check the law tags myself so your information is very helpful.

I took a look around the internet as well and while almost every retailer has the same basic Serta description ... Sit N Sleep is the only one I found that has more detail and they are saying that it is Talalay latex. Since there are only two producers of Talalay and because Serta uses LI latex in some of their mattresses, that opens up the possibility (or even probability) that their "gel energy foam" is the new GL fast recovery Talalay.

While of course this is a better quality material ... the prices they charge are still out of line ... but at least it's nice to know that it is better quality than "gel infused" polyfoam.

Thanks for the report. I appreciate it.

Phoenix
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