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Going around in circles... 07 Mar 2013 16:45 #1

  • petshots
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First, Phoenix, thanks for this great forum! I have learned so much, and what you do here is a wonderful service!

My husband and I have been married for almost 10 years, and we bought our mattress when we married. It served us very well for a long time, but either it or us have changed too much (100 lbs between us and 3 kids later...). It was a two-sided, very plush pillow top coil mattress which I feel we have taken very good care of. There is no visible wear on it--no dips or soft spots that we can tell, but about a year ago, we both started having some back pain and discomfort. While pregnant with our last baby, I would sometimes even go climb in my 5 year old's new, firmer mattress so I could sleep. About six months ago, we bought a gel memory foam topper to bide time until we could get a new mattress. It has definitely helped, but now we need to replace the old one.

ETA--I am primarily a side sleeper, and my husband is generally a back sleeper, if that is important to know.

Additionally, my husband went back to school, and so our means are very modest. We can't afford to purchase a mattress anywhere near the cost of the last one we bought. If possible, we'd like to stay under $1000.

A local mattress liquidation store in town sells the Enso mattresses. We just absolutely fell in love with the Galaxy when we were there. And the price is right. However, I wanted to do some research and find reviews before making a purchase, found this site, and now I am thinking that it may not be a great choice for us because I'm worried about the construction or the wear on it. My husband is a big guy--he's only 5'6", but weights 260lbs. I'm much slighter, at 5'4" and 120 lbs. He prefers something that is "super soft" and I like something that has more support--I get hip pain if my hips dip at all. We felt like with the Galaxy that we were both getting just what we needed. But if it is only going to last a short amount of time, then it isn't worth it.

After reading, we decided maybe it wasn't a good choice, and are now wondering about is latex. I have a lot of allergies and it seems like it might be a good choice, and seems like it would be supportive enough for me. Also, because of my husband's size, it seems like it might hold up better than the memory foam. But there doesn't seem to be anywhere near us that we could try out a latex mattress, so I don't know if it would give him the "softness" he needs.

Then I called the mattress store to ask about densities in the Galaxy, and they said they are in the 4.3 range, which seems like a durable number, and so it might last. But I just don't know!

If the Enso Galaxy is not recommended because of quality issues, is there another cost effective similar mattress that might work, or should we instead look at latex? And if latex would be a better choice, is there a good place to start?

I hope this makes any sense at all! Thank you for reading!

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Last edit: by petshots. Reason: more info

Going around in circles... 07 Mar 2013 22:21 #2

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Hi petshots,

A local mattress liquidation store in town sells the Enso mattresses. We just absolutely fell in love with the Galaxy when we were there. And the price is right. However, I wanted to do some research and find reviews before making a purchase, found this site, and now I am thinking that it may not be a great choice for us because I'm worried about the construction or the wear on it. My husband is a big guy--he's only 5'6", but weights 260lbs. I'm much slighter, at 5'4" and 120 lbs. He prefers something that is "super soft" and I like something that has more support--I get hip pain if my hips dip at all. We felt like with the Galaxy that we were both getting just what we needed. But if it is only going to last a short amount of time, then it isn't worth it


There are several things that are important when you buy a mattress. The first of these is of course that its comfortable (which is more about the pressure relief and what you feel when you first lie on the mattress). The second is that is is supportive which means that it keeps your spine and joints in their neutral alignment in all your sleeping positions. This tends to be about what you feel when you wake up in the morning (with or without back pains stiffness etc). You then need to make sure that it includes your preferences (overall feel, motion separation etc).

The final step though is the one that can be the most difficult because it's the one that most larger manufacturers and retailers are reluctant to provide. This step is to make sure that you know the details and the quality of every layer in the mattress (not just the overall rough number but the specifics of every single layer). This will help you assess if it will provide the things you can't feel in a showroom (such as sleeping temperature) and most important it will help you identify any weak links in the mattress and help you assess how long the comfort and support might last and give you a much better idea of the relative "value" of the mattress as well (higher density materials are more costly).

Even the lowest quality materials can feel "right" in a showroom but if the materials that provide the feel and performance are low quality/density ... then what you feel at the beginning won't last very long before it softens and changes. This is especially true where people on the mattress are heavier because lower quality/density materials just won't last with that kind of stress. Unfortunately most of the Enso mattresses use low or mid quality/density memory foam. In your husbands case I would make sure that there was no more than an inch or so of memory foam that was under 5 lb density (unless you choose to knowingly trade durability for the comfort of that mattress) and make sure that they provide you with the spec sheet that shows every layer of memory foam and polyfoam in the mattress and its density (polyfoam will have a different density range than memory foam).

A good retailer should also understand the importance of this information and be willing and able to tell you what the specs mean (just like a furniture retailer should be able to tell you the strengths and weaknesses of different types of wood or particle board or other materials used in the construction). Unfortunately the mattress industry as a whole discourages these kinds of meaningful comparisons so most people end up making a completely blind purchase and have no idea of the quality or durability of what they purchased. In many if not most cases the salespeople themselves also have no idea of the quality or durability or even real value of what they are selling and know little about mattress materials or construction besides what they are taught about the techniques to sell them.

The first place I would start to break out of the "going around in circles" syndrome is to spend an hour or two reading post #1 here and the information and links it leads to. This is the most important post in the forum and will help you avoid the worst choices and focus on the better ones. It will also help you connect with more knowledgeable people who will help you make the best possible decisions.

Once you have read this ... if you let me know the city or zip where you live I'd be happy to point you in the direction of the better options and possibilities I'm aware of in your area.

Phoenix
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Last edit: by phoenix.

Going around in circles... 08 Mar 2013 02:15 #3

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Thank you so much, Phoenix for your detailed response and help! I appreciate the time you took to respond.

I have spent the last few days reading through the link you posted, along with some of the other links that are posted throughout the forum. Thankfully, I feel like in our last few months of "shopping" we have eliminated a lot of the choices. Our choices are very limited here in town, and so we've tried out what is around us, also asked a lot of questions, even spent a night in a family member's bed to see if memory foam was an option, as we tried to thoughtfully determine our needs and wants. That's why I was so excited when the Enso seemed like a great match, even after a prolonged amount of time on it. But, then to learn more about the materials, and the likely issue of durability was a let down. :(

Of the places in town, I do feel like the salesmen at the mattress liquidation are the most knowledgeable and forthcoming with information, compared to the other furniture stores, but I can tell they definitely have their "spin" on things to make a sale. When I have asked questions about the durability of the mattress, they have been really reluctant to admit that my husband's size and the density might cause issue, instead pointing to the 20 year warranty. A warranty might be nice, but a mattress that doesn't need a warranty is even better. ;)

To be honest, I don't mind sacrificing some durability if we were only spending $7-800. But by some, I'd be hoping for 5-7 years of use, long enough to let my husband finish med school, when we would (hopefully) have the means to not have to choose to sacrifice anything because of affordability. My biggest fear is ending up back in the same position a year or two from now. I am also not opposed to making a mattress purchase online, provided I can really pinpoint how to fulfill our needs.

I guess we need to try a latex mattress, but haven't had luck finding any in town. Our ZIP is 83440. We are also possibly going to visit family a few hours away in a metro area next weekend, and thought we might be able to take advantage of the visit to try some things out then. The ZIP there is 84003.

IF we decide on a latex mattress, is there a density minimum that we should be looking for? Like the "no more than 1 inch of less than 5 lb/cf density foam" rule for memory foam?

Also, what is the minimum density number for the HDF base layer we should stick to?

Also, is there a height minimum for the comfort level that might be recommended for my husband's size? For instance, is 3" of latex or memory foam enough, or should we look for much more to keep him from "bottoming out"?

And one more question: Is it hopeless to think we could find a mattress that truly meets both our sizes and needs? Or would it be wiser to look for two twin mattresses to put together on a king frame?

Again, I really appreciate your help and guidance in this!

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Last edit: by petshots. Reason: clarify a question

Going around in circles... 08 Mar 2013 04:55 #4

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Hi petshots,

Of the places in town, I do feel like the salesmen at the mattress liquidation are the most knowledgeable and forthcoming with information, compared to the other furniture stores, but I can tell they definitely have their "spin" on things to make a sale.


There are many salespeople that can be very helpful and good to deal with and even informative but if they don't have knowledge of the actual quality of the materials in their mattresses then they have no idea of the quality and value of what they are selling and when they say "quality" it is just a word with little meaning.

To be honest, I don't mind sacrificing some durability if we were only spending $7-800. But by some, I'd be hoping for 5-7 years of use, long enough to let my husband finish med school, when we would (hopefully) have the means to not have to choose to sacrifice anything because of affordability. My biggest fear is ending up back in the same position a year or two from now. I am also not opposed to making a mattress purchase online, provided I can really pinpoint how to fulfill our needs.


You can read a little more about the factors that are involved in the durability of a mattress in post #2 here . If there is a significant weak link in the mattress and you are "on the edge" of the mattress being too soft for you then in many cases the loss of comfort and support that comes from the softening of lower quality foams (which isn't covered by any warranty) can lead to the need to replace the mattress quite quickly (sometimes less than a year). It all depends on how long the mattress remains suitable for your specific needs and preferences of an individual person and on how quickly the materials inside it change from their original specs.

I guess we need to try a latex mattress, but haven't had luck finding any in town. Our ZIP is 83440. We are also possibly going to visit family a few hours away in a metro area next weekend, and thought we might be able to take advantage of the visit to try some things out then. The ZIP there is 84003.


Post #9 here has a list of some of the better options or possibilities in and around Idaho Falls which includes some that carry latex mattresses. Post #2 here has some of the better options in and around Salt Lake city. The most important part of dealing with any manufacturer or retailer though is to make sure that they will provide the details of every layer of a mattress that you are considering whether they are on a "list" or not.

IF we decide on a latex mattress, is there a density minimum that we should be looking for? Like the "no more than 1 inch of less than 5 lb/cf density foam" rule for memory foam?


With polyfoam and memory foam densety determines the quality so it's an important "quality spec". With latex ... density is what determines the softness and firmness not the quality so it's not important if you are testing mattresses locally. With latex what you would want to know is the type (either Dunlop or Talalay) and the blend of natural and synthetic latex. You can read a bit more about the different types of latex in this article . It's not uncommon for a latex mattress to have other foams on top in the quilting layer and this is where i would make sure that there is no more than an inch or so of other materials above the latex. Once you have 2" or more of polyfoam or louer density memory foam above above the latex then it could become the 'weak link" of the mattress. The goal is always to minimize or eliminate the use of lower quality materials in the upper half of the mattress especially (which are the layers most subject to softening and degrading.

Also, what is the minimum density number for the HDF base layer we should stick to?


I would not go below 1.8 lb density in the support layers unless you are in a very low budget range below around $500.

Also, is there a height minimum for the comfort level that might be recommended for my husband's size? For instance, is 3" of latex or memory foam enough, or should we look for much more to keep him from "bottoming out"?


There is a lot of information in the more detailed pages in the mattresses section of the site about different body types and sleeping positions and various types of mattress construction that can help give you some insights into this but it can be quite complex because every layer can affect the choice of every other layer in a mattress (in terms of both thickness and softness) and I would go by your personal testing not by "comfort specs". With all the variables involved and different preferences there are no easy "formulas". If you test objectively for pressure relief and support/alignment and it meets your needs and preferences then it's "thick enough". Getting overly involved in mattress design will more often than not end up taking the focus away from your own testing. It's always the "quality specs" that are most important instead of "comfort specs". Your body will tell you whether a mattress is suitable in terms of what I call PPP (Pressure relief, Posture and alignment, and Personal preferences) more accurately than any "comfort specs".

And one more question: Is it hopeless to think we could find a mattress that truly meets both our sizes and needs? Or would it be wiser to look for two twin mattresses to put together on a king frame?


No ... not at all. there are several ways to do this (some examples are in post #2 here ) but again I wouldn't get caught up in the technicalities of it other than to know that it can be done in several ways. With his heavier weight he will generally "feel" firmer foams as being softer than you will because he will sink into them more. Softness and firmness is always relative to the person. Connecting with more knowledgeable people who already have the knowledge and experience to help you so you don't have to learn what they already know it is the "best" approach. Who you buy from can be more important than what you buy.

Phoenix
Researching for a mattress?... Be sure to read The Mattress Shopping Tutorial.
Click here for TMU Discount Codes if purchasing from Our Trusted Members.
For any mattress questions Ask An Expert on our forum

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Last edit: by phoenix.
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