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Is it unheard of to buy a mattress piecemeal? 06 Mar 2016 12:43 #1

I'm currently in the market for a mattress in the Austin, TX. area with a budget of about $2,000 for a queen. I am a 5'11 205lb male. Problem is I haven't found any mattresses at retail here in this price range that don't have any weak links, according to the information on this site. As I am visually impaired and can't drive, making multiple trips to other cities like Houston or San Antonio is not an option, and I am loathed to spend that much for a mattress online that I haven't laid on.

So at first, I thought maybe I'd order one of those 'bed in a box' mattresses or buy a cheaper one locally for about a grand or so, with the expectation that I'd have to replace it in a few years. In other words, instead of spending $2,000 and hope to get 7+ years out of one, spend $1,000 and hope it lasts half that long, then do it again in 3-4 years. At that point in time, my hope would be that self-driving cars would be a reality, then I'll be able to go all over the state and get whatever mattress I want.

However, since the site states that it's more important to have better durability in the comfort layers, I thought maybe I can find a decent innerspring around town for a grand or so, then get a really good latex or memory foam topper online, and replace that whenever it goes bad, while keeping the innerspring as a foundation. Does this sound like the dumbest idea ever? :)

If that might actually work, would the consideration for buying the innerspring part be the same? As in, would comfort level be as important if I know I'm not going to be laying directly on it? On the mattresses I have specs for around here, I haven't seen any so far with a coil gauge of 14 or lower. The VAST majority of them are 15, even on one that costs $2,000. There was one at 14.5, selling for about $400 at Denver Mattress - '650* Alternating Zoned Coils, 14.5 Gauge Twice Tempered Steel.'

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Is it unheard of to buy a mattress piecemeal? 06 Mar 2016 13:17 #2

Hi worknman,

I'm currently in the market for a mattress in the Austin, TX. area with a budget of about $2,000 for a queen. I am a 5'11 205lb male. Problem is I haven't found any mattresses at retail here in this price range that don't have any weak links, according to the information on this site. As I am visually impaired and can't drive, making multiple trips to other cities like Houston or San Antonio is not an option, and I am loathed to spend that much for a mattress online that I haven't laid on.


Subject to confirming that any retailer or manufacturer on the list is completely transparent (see this article ) and to making sure that any mattress you are considering meets the quality/value guidelines here ... the better options or possibilities I'm aware of in and around the Austin, TX area are listed in post #2 here .

So at first, I thought maybe I'd order one of those 'bed in a box' mattresses or buy a cheaper one locally for about a grand or so, with the expectation that I'd have to replace it in a few years. In other words, instead of spending $2,000 and hope to get 7+ years out of one, spend $1,000 and hope it lasts half that long, then do it again in 3-4 years. At that point in time, my hope would be that self-driving cars would be a reality, then I'll be able to go all over the state and get whatever mattress I want.


I would keep in mind that the price of a mattress will often have very little to do with the quality and durability of the materials in the mattress and there are many mattresses that are under $1000 that use very durable materials.

While there is no way to quantify how long any mattress will last for a specific person or predict exactly when you will decide to replace it because it is no longer suitable or comfortable for you (because this is the only real measure of durability or the useful life of a mattress that really matters) because there are too many unknowns and variables involved that are unique to each person ... if a mattress is well inside a suitable comfort/support range and isn't close to the edge of being too soft when it is new (see post #2 here ) and you have confirmed that it meets the minimum quality/durability specs that are suggested in the guidelines I linked then it would be reasonable to expect a useful lifetime in the range of 7 - 10 years and with higher quality and more durable materials like latex or higher density memory foam or polyfoam (in the comfort layers especially) it would likely be in the higher end of the range or even longer and the chances that you would have additional "bonus time" would be higher as well.

There is also more detailed information about the many variables that can affect the durability and useful life of a mattress in post #4 here as well.

The mattress shopping tutorial also includes several links to lists of many of the better online options I'm aware of (in the optional online step) that include many different types and categories of mattresses in a wide range of budgets, firmness levels, and with different return/exchange policies that may also be well worth considering.

However, since the site states that it's more important to have better durability in the comfort layers, I thought maybe I can find a decent innerspring around town for a grand or so, then get a really good latex or memory foam topper online, and replace that whenever it goes bad, while keeping the innerspring as a foundation. Does this sound like the dumbest idea ever? :)

If that might actually work, would the consideration for buying the innerspring part be the same? As in, would comfort level be as important if I know I'm not going to be laying directly on it? On the mattresses I have specs for around here, I haven't seen any so far with a coil gauge of 14 or lower. The VAST majority of them are 15, even on one that costs $2,000. There was one at 14.5, selling for about $400 at Denver Mattress - '650* Alternating Zoned Coils, 14.5 Gauge Twice Tempered Steel.'


Although this can be a good strategy if you can test the mattress/topper combination in person before a purchase ... you can see my comments about choosing a firmer mattress first with the intention of adding a topper later in post #2 here .

In most cases I would avoid this approach because of the uncertainty involved with two purchase choices instead of only one and choosing a topper that would be suitable in terms of PPP (Posture and alignment, Pressure relief, and your Personal preferences) for a specific person on a specific mattress can sometimes be almost as difficult as choosing a mattress that doesn't need a topper in the first place. I would generally focus on choosing a mattress that is likely to be a suitable match without a topper (again unless you can test the combination in person or you are purchasing both online as a set and they both have a good return/exchange policy) and then use the option to add a topper as a "backup" strategy in case your choice doesn't turn out as well as you hoped for rather than a "primary" strategy.

It can also be more costly than just buying a mattress which includes the same materials as the topper as a layer inside the mattress itself and you would be avoiding the risk of having additional materials in your base mattress that you may not need or that may be lower quality foam (that can soften or break down more quickly) or that may be softer than what would be ideal for a transition layer under a softer topper. At the very least I would make sure that the topper has a good exchange or return policy so there would be less risk of buying a topper that doesn't turn out as well as you hoped for in combination with your mattress. I would also make sure that you can find out all the specifics of the materials inside the base mattress so you can make sure it meets the quality/durability guidelines here and that there are no weak links in the mattress.

Having said that ... if you do choose a suitable mattress/topper combination which turns out to be a good "match" for you in terms of PPP then it does have the advantage of being able to replace just the topper without replacing the entire mattress if it softens or breaks down before the upper foam layers in the mattress (which is likely because a sleeping system will tend to soften or break down from the top layers down) or if your needs or preferences change over time and a topper can also help extend the useful life of a mattress underneath it as well.

Is it unheard of to buy a mattress piecemeal?


You can see my more detailed comments and reply to the same question in post #2 here .

Phoenix
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