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Lack of mattress info... 08 Aug 2012 23:46 #1

  • bludwig
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Hello everyone,

I've read all the literature on the guides to choosing a mattress on this site, and while I found it informative, the act of actually choosing the right mattress is a bit more cloudy.

I was having trouble understanding what I'm "feeling" with different models of mattress. I tried feeling which mattress gave me less discomfort on my pressure points, but I found that none of the mattresses felt uncomfortable. My girlfriend and I have found a couple that we don't agree on completely. We think they are both nice, but I preferred the feel of one, and she the other.

So I started looking to see what makes up these mattresses, but I am having trouble finding info and decifering the info I do find. Some of it looks like jargon names for materials.

Simmons Beautyrest Elite Sidney PF

and

Therapedic Opulence SPT

The top on the Therapedic felt thicker and a little more firm(dense?) while the Simmons' top felt a little flat... Soft, but flatter...

The Therapedic banner laid on the foot of the bed makes mention of 100% latex(layer I'm sure). It most resembled the Puretouch Line on their website .

This site breaks down the layers in the Simmons, but I'm not sure how to make heads or tails of the quality of material.

Can anyone lend a poor mattress novice some advice?

*Also, we are planning on checking out Croydon Mattress Factory this weekend, but I would like to try to figure out what we like and what they have that might suit our needs.

Thank you for all the info I've already learned from this site and the knowledge that's sure to come!
-Bill L.

*EDIT* Judging from a perspective of coil count/price being the higher the better. Budget wise, our IDEAL mattress from croydon falls on the Pinnacle 2020 . POSSIBLY the 2030, but we'd rather stay a little lower.

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Last edit: by bludwig. Reason: adding information

Re: Lack of mattress info... 09 Aug 2012 03:05 #2

  • phoenix
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Hi bludwig,

I've read all the literature on the guides to choosing a mattress on this site, and while I found it informative, the act of actually choosing the right mattress is a bit more cloudy.


I can certainly understand this and it's the main reason that I recommend finding the "experts" rather than becoming one. Mattress manufacturers will tell you that the learning curve never ends and even a few weeks of research into mattress design and layering will only barely scratch the surface. It's usually best just to know enough to ask better questions.

I was having trouble understanding what I'm "feeling" with different models of mattress. I tried feeling which mattress gave me less discomfort on my pressure points, but I found that none of the mattresses felt uncomfortable. My girlfriend and I have found a couple that we don't agree on completely. We think they are both nice, but I preferred the feel of one, and she the other.


You may be one of the fortunate ones that have a wider range of suitable choices. If you have spent at least 15 minutes (and longer if it's memory foam which can take time to soften) on a mattress completely relaxed and tested for pressure relief on your pressure points (usually shoulders and hips) and for alignment in all your normal sleeping positions (sensing any stress or tension in your back and having some else helping you who can help make sure that you are in good alignment) and you have also tested for preferences like motion separation and the overall "feel" of the mattress ... then the odds are good that your choice will be a good one. Of course there are still things that you can't easily test for in a showroom which is why it's so important to know what's in a mattress you are seriously considering because things like durability and even temperature regulation and other preferences can be better predicted based on materials than they can be tested for. It will also give you a way to make more meaningful value comparisons with other mattresses.

So I started looking to see what makes up these mattresses, but I am having trouble finding info and decifering the info I do find. Some of it looks like jargon names for materials.


Most of the major manufacturers don't want you to know what is in their mattresses and will replace meaningful and accurate information with marketing terms and "advertising jargon". This is usually a symptom that you are shopping in the wrong outlet which depends on marketing techniques rather than good information that helps to educate their customers. If you have to jump through hoops to find out important information ... then I would find somewhere else to shop. Would you buy furniture that you suspected used mostly particle board but nobody would tell you what was in it? This is the reason for the guidelines here which will help keep you away from the brands or outlets that either can't or won't tell you in plain terms what is in their mattresses.

If it's a foam for example ... it's either polyfoam, memory foam, or latex or various variants of one of these three. In most cases (but not all) if it's foam and it doesn't say memory foam or latex then it's polyfoam no matter what name they give it.

As an example ... at you can see here that the Beautyrest Elite PF Sidney has over 5" of unknown quality/density foam (5" of low density polyfoam and 1/2" of memory foam) above the coils. This is exactly the type of mattress that is subject to early softening and all the problems that can go with it.

The same holds true for the Therapedic (if you didn't mean the Serta Opulence Super Pillow Top). You would need to search online to find the specs if the outlet can't or won't give it to you and even then in many cases it will be missing the density of any polyfoam which is the most important spec so you will end up wasting a lot of time only to reach constant dead ends anyway. If you spend enough time ... once again you will end up finding out that in most cases the search for specs only confirmed what you suspected in the first place which is that the "unknown foam" for the most part is low quality

The top on the Therapedic felt thicker and a little more firm(dense?) while the Simmons' top felt a little flat... Soft, but flatter...


If you can't find out what is in the mattress to your satisfaction ... then what it feels like or how it performs is not so relevant. Again a particle board piece of furniture will look and perform much the same as the same piece that is made of real wood. The difference it won't last as long and doesn't have the same value. Cheap materials can feel good in a showroom ... they just don't stay that way for as long.

*Also, we are planning on checking out Croydon Mattress Factory this weekend, but I would like to try to figure out what we like and what they have that might suit our needs.


If you want to make the most effective use of your time ... do some preliminary work on the phone before visiting any outlet and "interview" them before you go there along the lines of this article. Make sure you will be able to find out the quality of the foam in the mattresses you test or there's not much point in goin there at all. In the case of Croydon for example ... they list their materials in their foam mattresses here . If you phone them first you can ask about the density of any memory foam and polyfoam they use to make sure they will give it to you. If you do a forum search on Croydon (you can click this) ... you will find that they may not be as open as they could be about their materials either and that there may be some better options available.

The most effective first step in mattress shopping is to first find the better outlets near you (and the Croydon search will give you a list of these) before you think too much about which mattress may be best for you. Do your testing in the places that will tell you what you are lying on ... or if they won't be prepared for the extensive time and research (and frustration) it will take to find out (or not) the information they should be giving you in the first place.

*EDIT* Judging from a perspective of coil count/price being the higher the better. Budget wise, our IDEAL mattress from croydon falls on the Pinnacle 2020. POSSIBLY the 2030, but we'd rather stay a little lower.


Perhaps most of all ... it's wise to avoid coil counting. Coil counts are only one of many factors that play a role in the quality and performance of an innerspring and it's not a great way to evaluate the quality of a mattress. It's the upper layers that are more important anyway because they are the weak link of a mattress. There's more about this in the innerspring information in the mattresses section of the site.

Phoenix
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Last edit: by phoenix.

Re: Lack of mattress info... 09 Aug 2012 10:52 #3

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Thank you very much for your help!

It's a tough thing to jump into something like this. So, I have a few more questions to try and get me on the right foot.

When calling places, should I be asking about what the layers are made up of? I'm not even sure I'd know whats good quality and what isn't. I might just need to ask about the materials and then look them up post-phonecall to determine their quality. I think you are right in saying that I'm looking in the wrong places. Although, there are way too many wrong places around me. haha.

Also, on coil counting. Is there a difference in quality between a 400 or so coil to a 900 or so? I understand the guage spring is important, but shouldn't the amount of them relate to quality? Or maybe it is the middle and comfort layers on top of the coils that make more of a difference in how much support you get?

Overall, I'm afraid I won't know what to ask and how to interpret their info on a phone call.

Thanks again for your tremendous help!
-Bill

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Re: Lack of mattress info... 09 Aug 2012 14:37 #4

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Hi bludwig,

When calling places, should I be asking about what the layers are made up of? I'm not even sure I'd know whats good quality and what isn't. I might just need to ask about the materials and then look them up post-phonecall to determine their quality. I think you are right in saying that I'm looking in the wrong places. Although, there are way too many wrong places around me. haha.


The main goal is to find out that they are willing to give you all the layer information (including the density of any polyfoam or memory foam and the type of any latex used). Some outlets won't provide this with a phone call because it often takes too much time to go through the layering of every mattress they carry when there are customers in the store but the goal is to make sure it's easily available if you want it (and you should want it). In the descriptions on the Croydon site ... they say they are using HR polyfoam in many of their mattresses which is a good quality foam if it really is HR but many manufacturers use the "HR" description incorrectly and really mean HD polyfoam which is lower quality/density. I would certainly ask them about the density on the phone but if they are unwilling to provide it on a phone call ... the most important question on the phone becomes ...

If I come there to try your mattresses and find a mattress that I like ... will you give me the specs of the foam that's in it including the density of any memory foam and polyfoam?

If they say yes ... I would repeat ... "including the specific density of every layer of foam ... not just a general description"?

If they say yes to this ... then they would be worth a visit.

Better manufacturers will be open about this and actually want their customers to know and will educate them about why the numbers are important. Others will give it out reluctantly (or not at all) or try to sidetrack you with non specific answers (which is what happened when I talked with them) which means they likely tend to sell mattresses based more on marketing stories than real information. This is often a sign that you may be overpaying for the materials in the mattress.

Also, on coil counting. Is there a difference in quality between a 400 or so coil to a 900 or so? I understand the guage spring is important, but shouldn't the amount of them relate to quality? Or maybe it is the middle and comfort layers on top of the coils that make more of a difference in how much support you get?


In an apples to apples comparison ... then their would be a qualitative difference between two otherwise identical coils where the only difference was the different coil counts yes, but this difference may or may not make a real difference depending on the construction and layering of the mattress. The thing is though that there are so many other factors that determine the quality and cost of an innerspring that coil counting really isn't worth focusing on without an understanding of all the other factors involved. It can do more to mislead you than educate you. Some of the cheapest coils to manufacturer (such as the continuous coils used by Serta and others) have the highest "coil equivalents" (they don't actually have separate coils).

Different types of coils will tend to have different coil counts anyway (as you read there are 4 different basic types of coils) and the gauge of the coil, the number of turns in the coil, the type of helical being used, the shape of the coil, and many other factors are all a part of what makes a good coil ... or more accurately a suitable coil for the construction of the mattress. Not only that ... the mattress construction above the coils ... including the insulator layers ... makes a big difference in the type of coil that is needed and it's performance. Most of the coils being used today are good quality and are not the weak link in a mattress so testing an innerspring mattress for deep support is more important than knowing the coil count.

In a better outlet though ... a good salesperson that has your interests at heart will "educate" you about this (and downplay the importance of coil count by itself). In the worse outlets ... they make a much bigger thing about coil counts and compare apples to oranges when they use coil counts as a marketing technique. Customers that are focused on coil counts in a store are easy prey for buying an overpriced mattress.

Phoenix
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Last edit: by phoenix.

Re: Lack of mattress info... 14 Aug 2012 19:51 #5

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Hello again.

I checked out Croydon over the weekend, found a mattress we liked, and I attempted to probe further into the materials! The salesperson that was showing us around had no idea, so I decided to send some emails. I asked about what materials made up this mattress and what quality they were(density). I got a response from a nice rep who gave me some slightly vague answers.

"It is a euro top with a foam encased pocketed coil unit, a heavy upholstery pad, high density foam and in the euro top is a layer of visco or memory foam. The memory foam is about 3" thick."

I continued to ask about the density ratings and measurements(how many inches of what), and got another vague but slightly better response.

"We use only foams that are a 1.5 or above in everything we make and the visco is a minimum of 3lbs."

At this point, I can see they aren't ready to just say X inches of this and X inches of that. The rep also asked if there was something special I was looking for in the mattress. I said,

"I was looking for a mattress with at least 4.0 lbs. per cubic foot for memory, and polyfoam at least 1.8-2 or higher...." "... Please let me know if the POK/6 has polyfoam under 2 or memoryfoam under 4,. If so, how big are the layers of them?"

The response I got seemed to be a little berating.

"Sorry, can't help you and I don't know any manufacturer that uses a 1.8 foam layer in their mattress. I use that on my top all polyurethane mattress, but I do not use it as a topper. As for a 4lb memory foam, my toppers are not 4 lb, they are 3lb. I do use 4lb, but it is for my all foam thermopedics.
Good luck in your search, I'm sure someone will tell you they have it in their mattress."

Initially, I thought to myself "Well I know where I'm NOT going to get my mattress". But then I was second guessing the ability for me to find a mattress with that makeup.

Will a mattress with memory rated at 4+ and poly rated at 2+ cost me more than $1500? I may be asking for too much when I couldn't afford that caliber foam. Granted the mattress in question was about $1000, I just want to make sure I don't sound unreasonable.

All in all, we are still going to check out more mattress places soon and hopefully find something suitable for our needs.

I know it is difficult to tell, with such little information, but do you think getting a mattress from Croydon isn't a good idea? The mattress is 16" thick with 3" of 3lb memory foam, which leaves 13" for springs and at least 1.5lb. polyfoam. Does this seem like a no-no? or do we need more info to say good or bad?

Thanks again, this is really helping me out tremendously!
-Bill

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Re: Lack of mattress info... 15 Aug 2012 00:27 #6

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Hi bludwig,

A forum search on Croydon (you can just click this) will bring up more comments about them and as you will see, I also ran into the same barriers that you did. For a local mattress manufacturer to be this vague and as you say even "irritated" to have to answer these types of questions is unusual to say the least. I was hoping that my experiences with them were not the norm but it appears that this is part of the "Croydon culture". There is no legitimate reason for this IMO because they order the materials that they use to build their mattresses and the kind of information you were asking for should be normal for a manufacturer. Some of my comments you will see in the forum search include (to give examples for others who may read this) ...

They also make mattresses using a range of materials but the value here is not quite in the same range as other local manufacturers. I also had some difficulty getting answers to my more specific questions and he is not as focused on materials and tends to generalities more than most most factory directs.

They seem to me to be producing good quality mattresses but I would have some questions that I would want to answer before before I could form a better opinion about their value. In a brief conversation with them I got the sense that they are not as materials focused as I would personally like to see and I would want to know the density of any polyfoam they are using, the type of latex they are using, and the density of any memory foam they are using. While they would IMO represent better value that similar mattresses that were available at mass market outlets ... they don't seem to be in the same value range as many other factory direct manufacturers that I have talked with and I would want to talk with him more and ask some further questions (that I had some difficulty getting answers to) before I felt completely comfortable with them. I personally don't understand why a mattress that is selling for well over $2000 (queen) would use 2" of 1.5 or 1.8 lb less expensive polyfoam in a quilting layer over either memory foam or latex. I am also curious why they are in some cases adding thick layers of polyfoam under a mattress that doesn't seem to need it (as in the Heavenly Sweet Dream). Overall I would want more information than I currently have to understand their design ideas and justify their prices in comparison to other factory directs.


From your responses from them ...

"We use only foams that are a 1.5 or above in everything we make and the visco is a minimum of 3lbs."


This means little to me. While 1.5 is better than the cheapest polyfoam of 1.2 or less ... it is still not great quality and I know many manufacturers that use this in their low end mattresses. If they are using better foam in their top end ... they should have this information available. 3 lb memory foam may be suitable for a thin quilting layer but I wouldn't consider a mattress that used it as their memory foam comfort layer unless it was in the very low budget range. While I understand that they may not offer this information to everyone because quite frankly it would not mean much to most consumers who don't know how to tell the difference between good and lower foam quality ... it should be easily available for those who want to know and ask.

"Sorry, can't help you and I don't know any manufacturer that uses a 1.8 foam layer in their mattress. I use that on my top all polyurethane mattress, but I do not use it as a topper. As for a 4lb memory foam, my toppers are not 4 lb, they are 3lb. I do use 4lb, but it is for my all foam thermopedics.
Good luck in your search, I'm sure someone will tell you they have it in their mattress."


All I can say to this is that he must not know many good manufacturers. It's also strange because on their own website they say that they use 5 lb memory foam . Is their own site not accurate?

Will a mattress with memory rated at 4+ and poly rated at 2+ cost me more than $1500? I may be asking for too much when I couldn't afford that caliber foam. Granted the mattress in question was about $1000, I just want to make sure I don't sound unreasonable.


IMO ... your expectations seem reasonable but you didn't mention the size you were looking for or whether your prices included a foundation or were mattress only and this could make a difference. Post #12 here has a list of online outlets that have better memory foam outlets (several of which are members here) and these can act as a rough reference point for a local purchase. While these are all very good value ... local purchases should at least be reasonable close to these. Of course the prices go up with the contents of the mattress so the thickness of the memory foam layers you want will affect the price but for a mattress with 3" - 4" of 4 lb or higher memory foam over a good 1.8 - 2.0 lb (or higher) base your prices seem to be well in the range (depending again on the size and whether it is mattress only).

I know it is difficult to tell, with such little information, but do you think getting a mattress from Croydon isn't a good idea? The mattress is 16" thick with 3" of 3lb memory foam, which leaves 13" for springs and at least 1.5lb. polyfoam. Does this seem like a no-no? or do we need more info to say good or bad?


I would be very hesitant to buy any mattress with a combination of 3 lb memory foam and thick layers of 1.5 lb polyfoam unless a very low price justified it. I probably wouldn't consider it at the prices they are probably charging for it. I would also not feel great about dealing with a manufacturer that made it so difficult to get important information. They are missing the boat IMO.

The bottom line is that you were asking all the right questions ... but they weren't giving you good answers. This is exactly the reason the questions need t be asked and it seems to confirm my impressions from talking with them as well.

Phoenix
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Last edit: by phoenix.

Re: Lack of mattress info... 16 Aug 2012 22:41 #7

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Hello again!

This time I come bearing more promising results! I've emailed the Pottstown location, MagicSleeper. Finally! Some easy to get information. They cut right to the chase with decent information. I pretty much asked about a mattress that looked decent just to see if I could get the answer I'd want.

"Mattress specs from inside out in the following order:
941 pocket coil
2 3/8" High Densty 1.8 lb foam
1 1/2" of soft convoluted foam 1.8lb
1/2" crated hour glass foam (more dense in the middle portion)
3/8" memory foam on the top 4lb foam
Quilted top cover (I dont know the density of the quilt foam)"

At this point, now that I know I can get the information I need, I feel confident going there and trying out mattresses. So, from the specs listed above, I feel this is a good choice(queen by the way), it can be better, but it isn't a terrible choice, right? I'll take a look at a few in my price point while I am there this weekend, and hopefully find one that is great!

I will return with and update on my findings! Thank you again!
-Bill

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Re: Lack of mattress info... 17 Aug 2012 00:19 #8

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Hi bludwig,

This is the type of openness and transparency that impresses me. They even included this in an email rather than a phone call which is a higher level or transparency yet. Many manufacturers ... with some justifiable reasons ... won't provide this type of information in an email because of the high odds it is only someone doing some mattress "espionage" and just taking up their time or who is focused on specs alone and that may not have the knowledge to "translate" them into anything meaningful.

From my conversations with MagicSleeper though ... the mattresses that we talked about (or that were listed on their site) were good quality and value and when a manufacturer has a couple of good quality/value mattresses and is clearly committed to using the best materials they can in every price range ... then the rest of the lineup they manufacture usually reflects the same good value. This is the type of manufacturer that is proud of the quality of the materials in their mattress and wants people to know and be able to make meaningful comparisons and is the kind of manufacturer I wouldn't hesitate to buy from. They generally wouldn't have any "terrible" choices in any of the lineup they make. All of their mattresses in other words would use materials that are "price and value" appropriate. NOTE ADDED: They are also now a member of the site.

1.8 lb polyfoam is a much higher quality polyfoam and as their site description mentions is 50% higher density than the 1.2 lb polyfoam that is so commonly used in the industry. It is a good quality material, doesn't present the softening issues of lower density polyfoam, and in the right price range can be good value IMO. Even 1.5 lb polyfoam can be good value in the right construction and price range. The key is to make sure that the materials in a mattress are appropriate in the price range.

In reference to the comment from the "less open" manufacturer you were dealing with ... I guess there really are some manufacturers that "say" they use 1.8 lb foam (or even higher) in their mattresses ... and you have found one of them :)

Phoenix
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Last edit: by phoenix.

Re: Lack of mattress info... 17 Aug 2012 18:24 #9

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I'd just like to mention that as someone who has tried plenty of mattresses - coil count , gauge etc... are pretty irrelevant if you don't take into the account the whole picture. The padding pretty much effects the feel. I mean obviously if you got some crappy gauge like 15 or higher then nothing would matter. But in the general scheme of things most manufacturers are using around 14-14.5 gauge that make quality products. At that point the only difference is the padding and the type of innerspring. Just wondering though magicsleeper - where do they get their foam from?

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Re: Lack of mattress info... 17 Aug 2012 18:27 #10

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btw Phoenix you don't think an exception to this would be one of those microcoil units with like way over 1000 coils? I mean for instance would you figure something like that could use a softer gauge giving a softer feel but given the amount of coils also offer superior support while being softer therefore reducing pressure points? (the one i think berkeley uses)

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