Top 10 Mattress Shopping Secrets

Sharing is caring

Are you in need of a new mattress for your master bedroom, child’s bedroom, or guest bedroom but have no clue how to shop for a mattress? Read on for my personalized simple mattress-shopping secrets straight from the experts!

I may earn a small commission for affiliate links in this post at no extra cost to you. Please read my privacy page for more informationAs an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Table of Contents

Here’s a mattress shopping guide to answer the most popular shopping questions.

I recently spent time with several mattress experts from mattress factories as well as local brick-and-mortar retail stores to get the inside scoop on mattress shopping secrets.

RELATED POST: Check out these related posts if you need more inspiration for upgrading a child’s bedroom on a budget, guest bedroom essentials, or master bedroom upgrade ideas.

Mattress Shopping Secrets Pin

#1 Mattress shopping secret: Select your mattress size

Let’s look at different sizes of mattresses.

Twin (39×75)

Also known as “single.”

  • Ideal for: Children, the elderly, and small spaces.

Twin Extra Long (39×80)

Also known as “Twin XL” this size gives more room at the end of the bed over the standard length of a twin.

  • Ideal for: Tall children, teens, college students, the elderly, or rooms without much space.

Note: This is also the size when purchasing dual king adjustable beds.

Purchase two Twin XL adjustable bases and two Twin XL mattresses and you create a king.

This offers separate adjustments for couples (adjustable beds explained below).

Super Single Waterbed (46×82)

Typically found in a waterbed frame, this isn’t a popular size in today’s mattresses.

  • Ideal for: This is geared toward a consumer who needs to update a mattress that is currently being used with a waterbed platform base. In addition, those who want extra length and width over a standard twin or twin XL.

Full (54×75)

Previously known as “standard” or “double.”

  • Ideal for: Toddlers, guest bedrooms, teenagers, single people, the elderly, or for shorter-term usage.

Full Extra Long (54×80)

Also known as “full XL” this size provides more space at the end of the bed over the standard full.

  • Ideal for: Taller children, teens, the elderly, or small spaces.

Three-quarter bed (¾) or Antique size (48×72) or (48×75)

This unique size is best known in the antiquing world as a custom size.

It is a very customized size available for bedroom frames typically made before the 1950s. Not typically in stock, some stores still custom order this for consumers.

  • Ideal for: Consumers who have an antique and would like to use it in a bedroom.

Queen (60×80)

The most popular size mattress sold today. It offers a good amount of sleep surface for two people.

  • Ideal for: Couples, singles, children, guest rooms, or the elderly.

King (76×80)

The second most popular size of mattress sold today. It offers a good amount of sleep surface for two people.

  • Ideal for: Couples, singles, children, guest rooms, or the elderly.

California King (72×84)

Although the California king mattress is longer than a standard king, it is narrower. Surprising many consumers, a California king is not actually bigger width-wise, only lengthwise.

  • Ideal for: Tall people, consumers with oddly shaped rooms, couples, singles, children, guest rooms, or the elderly.

There are several things to consider before selecting your mattress size.

It’s best to measure your current mattress. Some consumers are incorrect about the size they have at home – this is especially true when purchasing a guest bedroom.

RELATED POST: If you are shopping for a guest bedroom – check out this related post for guest bedroom essentials.

Pro tip: Measure your space to see what would best fit with the other furniture you have in the room.

Pro tip: Take some masking tape and tape off a section of the floor that is equal to the size of your ideal mattress choice. This not only gives you a visual idea of how the mattress will look in the space, but it also allows you to open closet doors and dresser drawers to make sure everything fits properly in the bedroom.

#2 Mattress shopping secret: Visit a sleep shop in person

Have you ever purchased something online and it was nothing like you thought it would be when it arrived?

Did you read all the reviews and think it would be just fine?

That’s the thing about mattresses – what’s good for one person is not ideal for the next.

Mattress shopping secrets to visit a showroom

Always keep in mind that just because one consumer loves their mattress doesn’t always mean it’s great for everyone.

Each consumer has a different health need, body weight, and sleep type. For this reason, it’s best to go in person, lay down on a mattress at the store, and have a retail sales associate fit you with a mattress.

This provides the consumer with a customized mattress fit for their individual needs. Even if you are shopping for a child’s bedroom – it’s still best to go in person.

RELATED POST: If you need more information on kids’ bedrooms – check out our related post on upgrading your child’s bedroom on a budget.

#3 Mattress shopping secret: Forget about brands and labels

The mattress industry is saturated with hundreds of brands and they really don’t mean as much as a consumer may be led to believe.

One surprising fact: Mattress manufacturers (brands) likely purchase coils, memory foams, fabric, wood, and standard foams from separate vendors (meaning they are not made at the mattress factory).

Mattress shopping secrets to shop in store

Many brands are putting the exact same components in a mattress, but marketing them differently.

  • Take for example Brand A buys a coil unit from a vendor. That same vendor sells the same coil unit to Brand B – the end result is the same exact coil unit in two competing brand-name mattresses.
  • They are only marketed differently for brand recognition.

Mattresses are only assembled at the manufacturing plant. Mattress components arrive from a variety of vendors only to be packaged at the factory.

With that said, if the components are similar – you are often paying for the brand to advertise and promote its product.

It’s not necessarily better – just has more advertising dollars behind it.

#4 Mattress shopping secret:
Decide what type of mattress fits your sleep needs

Before deciding what kind of mattress, you would like to sleep on – it’s good to understand the different types of mattresses.

In yesteryear – the selection was quite limited. You went to a store and got a firm, flippable mattress. There were firm, firmer, and firmest to pick from.

Mattress shopping secrets from a store

In today’s mattress world, the choices are endless. There are traditional coil mattresses, hybrids, all foam, air mattresses, one-sided and two-sided mattresses, etc.

So, let’s dig a little deeper into the four main types of mattresses.

Coil springs and individually pocketed coils without specialty foam

Coils have been around for what seems like forever. There are two types featured in today’s mattresses: Traditional steel coils and individually pocketed coils.

  • Think of the traditional coils as old-fashioned and typically bouncy, metal springs. This type of mattress is best for single people, guest bedrooms (short-term usage), and children – as there can be lots of motion transfer among sleepers.
  • Individually wrapped coils provide support but also isolate motion transfer. In addition, it helps to reduce rolling together among sleepers and overall motion in the bed. This type of spring is usually found in today’s better mattresses.

All Foam Mattresses

Not all foam mattresses are created equal. It’s important to verify it’s CertiPUR-US Certified and contains better components like the Malouf Wellsville mattress.

Featuring ultra-cooling, moisture-wicking adaptive covers, this isn’t your average bed in a box.

Known to provide added pressure relief, gel memory foam is superior at isolating motion transfer as well as providing excellent spinal support to the user.

Do you sleep hot?

Try the I Love My Mattress proprietary Out Cold Copper technology pillow to sleep cooler tonight.

The foam actively absorbs excess heat and triggers evaporation of excess moisture, while their Perfect Fit Advanced Memory Foam eliminates excess heat. This helps create a comfortable, clean, cool, and deep sleep.

There are many types of foam that can be used in today’s mattresses.

We’ll focus on the main two:

Memory Foam

Memory foam is known for its pressure-reducing properties. It can mold to the body through the consumer’s personal body heat.

When the cold air hits gel memory foam in the morning – it returns to its normal shape.

There are many things infused into memory foam for cooling such as gel and graphite.

Latex Foam

Latex foam has been around much longer than almost any other specialty foam making it a long-time mattress staple.

Known for being temperature-indifferent, latex is also hypoallergenic.

An ideal choice for allergy sufferers, latex also provides a little extra support and pressure reduction to the mattress user.

Hybrid Mattresses

This has become an industry buzzword in recent years. By definition, a hybrid is something that has been created by combining two other things.

In the mattress world, a hybrid is taking springs and adding specialty foam such as memory foam or latex.

Note: There are two types of hybrid mattresses – quilted and non-quilted.
For great sleep check out the Wellsville 14 Inch Hybrid mattress here.

Air Mattresses

Blow-up air mattresses are what you would find for spare bedrooms, campers, or temporary usage.

In addition, to blow-up mattresses, there are also every-night mattresses that feature air chambers with responsive technology to adjust to a sleeper’s every move during the night.

#5 Mattress shopping secret:
You really should buy the boxspring

Do you think a boxspring is just an “add-on” to the sale? This couldn’t be further from the truth. A boxspring is a foundation for the entire sleep set.

Boxspring/foundations do go bad with constant climate changes and weight – they are typically the first portion of the mattress set to deteriorate.

To ensure your new mattress is properly supported – always purchase the mattress and matching boxspring at the same time.

Note: This also helps to protect any manufacturer’s defect warranty.

#6 Mattress shopping secret: Consider an adjustable base

Do you suffer from acid reflux? Snore? Lower back pain? Do your feet swell? Watch TV in bed? Read in bed? 

An adjustable base might be the perfect addition to your new mattress.

Adjustable bases like this one allow the sleeper to customize their sleep position with the touch of a button.

Need the head higher? Need feet higher?

Just hit the button on this adjustable base and your personal sleeping position is achieved.

Do you and your sleeping partner have different sleep needs?

Do they want their head up and you want your head down but your feet up? Consider upgrading to a dual king adjustable bed like this one from Malouf.

When you purchase two twin XL (39×80 each) adjustable bases and two twin XL mattresses along with two twin XL sets of sheets and mattress protectors – you have dual adjustable beds. 

This base features several pre-set buttons along with adjustable height legs, USB cord plug-ins, and massage, and can be operated using the included remote or a smartphone app.

#7 Mattress shopping secret: Choose the right frame 

Make sure to consider what you will be putting your new mattress and boxspring on.

Most manufacturers require all queen and king sets to be supported by a heavy-duty frame that has a center cross bar for added support. 

Always make sure to pick a frame that can support the weight of the consumer. Not all frames are created equal.

Make sure to ask if there are 2.5-inch heavy-duty casters on traditional, Hollywood metal bed frames. Grab the best frame here for your mattress needs.

Note: Platform beds are extremely popular choices for the framework as they often create a gorgeous look in the bedroom and can contain added storage.

Just make sure they are supported by enough wood beams or better yet, a solid piece of wood across the entire framework. 

#8 Mattress shopping secret: Protecting your investment

Do you think a mattress protector is the store’s way of squeezing some more money out of you? Think again! 

A typical mattress warranty states: A warranty will be voided if there are any rips, stains, or tears and the mattress is not in sanitary condition or shows signs of abuse. This also includes sweat stains – which, surprises most consumers.

Depending on the mattress protector company, many like the Malouf Omniphase 5-sided protector, offer a matched warranty with the mattress if they are purchased on the same sales order and at the time of original purchase.

The Malouf Omniphase protector also provides moisture-wicking technology making it ideal for hot sleepers.

#9 Mattress shopping secret: Upgrade your sheets

If you haven’t purchased sheets in what feels like forever, it’s time to invest in some new ones.

There are a ton of great sheets available in today’s marketplace. One popular choice is microfiber sheets. This type of sheet is breathable, soft, and luxurious.

I have a set of these sheets in the driftwood color and absolutely love them. They even have a warranty.

#10 Mattress shopping secret:
It’s time for a new pillow

If you’re still sleeping on that pancake pillow from yesteryear – it might just be time to invest in a new pillow like a gel memory foam one with neck support. 

Most consumers don’t realize proper neck alignment begins with the pillow.

It’s important to select a pillow based on the mattress you are purchasing.

Always remember, not all pillows are designed for all mattresses or all sleepers so select the proper one for your needs.

For ultimate comfort and support upgrade to an advanced fit MALOUF Z Side Sleeper Shoulder Cutout Dough Memory Foam Pillow with Liquid Gel Layer-Queen in Blue.

This pillow offers amazing and unique support. Check it out here.

Let’s recap our mattress shopping secrets: We know to select the mattress size before leaving the house. It’s very important to visit a sleep shop in person and don’t get caught up in brands and labels. Decide what type of mattress fits your sleep needs and you really should buy the box spring.

Perhaps, consider an adjustable base, too. Choose the right frame and protect your investment. Upgrade your sheets and get a new pillow designed for your needs.

Want more great DIY and everything home ideas? Be sure to follow us on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter for the latest posts, tips, and ideas.

Final thoughts

I hope these mattress-shopping secrets will help you the next time you are in need of a new mattress. Whether you need a guest bedroom, child’s bedroom, or master bedroom – the master is such an important part!

Your turn!

Do you have any mattress-shopping secrets you can share? What kind of mattress do you have at home? Let me know in the comments!

21 thoughts on “Top 10 Mattress Shopping Secrets”

    1. Hi Samantha! I know mattress shopping is confusing for sure! Thank you for reading!

  1. So glad I came across your blog. I am looking into changing the mattress I had for years. You provided some excellent tips on shopping for a good mattress. I will definitely bear them in mind when I shop.

    1. Hi Kevin! I’m so glad you found some helpful mattress shopping tips. I hope you find the perfect mattress. Thank you for reading!

  2. You must be a ‘fly on my wall’ because often when I read your articles I think they were meant for me! My husband and I were just discussing replacing our mattress and I had no idea where to start! Thanks for all the tips. 🙂

    1. Hi Stephanie!

      You made me smile about being a fly on your wall! I’m so excited you enjoy the articles and I’m able to offer timely tips for you! I hope your mattress shopping goes well and you’re able to use some of my top 10 mattress shopping secrets!

      Thank you for reading!

  3. There are a lot of options people can choose from nowadays. Honestly, I don’t know so many of them but only one that I like. So, it was good to know about these secrets.

    1. Hi Fransic!

      Mattress shopping is so involved – for sure! There are so many choices nowadays it can make your head spin! I’m glad you enjoyed some of my top 10 mattress shopping secrets!

      Thank you for reading!

  4. Chims

    Thanks for drawing my attention to the frames. Informative post.

  5. This is a super comprehensive post on purchasing a mattress. So much valuable information is packed inside. I love the way you honestly talk about mattress manufacturers. Thank you so much for putting together this valuable article!

  6. This is such a helpful post as buying the right mattress is SO IMPORTANT! It’s great how you break it all down. Will be referencing this in the future.

  7. Whitney Stewart

    I kind of wish I had a post like this as a guide for when I was looking for a mattress for my bedroom. I found a good one of course, but it would of been nice to have a better understanding if the better mattress search process. If that makes any sense. Lol! Thank you so much for sharing through! I’ll definitely be holding on to this!

  8. Thanks for sharing all this helpful info and tips about buying a new mattress. Hope you’ll write a similar one about buying a new pillow. I’m a side sleeping and as yet having found a pillow I love.

  9. Planning to get a new mattress this year and your secrets will be very helpful to my search. Point 3 about the branding is so important – the big name brands are not always the best. Love the info on the allergies (I have a dust-mite allergy) and the mattress protector is an excellent plan.

  10. Buying a mattress feels like a full time job! I finally found one I like and way less migraines. Great post!

  11. Whitney Stewart

    Man! I wish I had this guide when I was shopping for a mattress! It’s really overwhelming when you walking into a store and see all these different brands, styles, and comfort leaves. And that’s before you start thinking about prices! This is a great guide for keeping you on track and not get distracted. Thanks so much for sharing!

  12. Buying mattresses has always been so hard for me. They feel good, but then later… well, then they don’t. I think these tips are going to be a big help> I feel like I may have always been putting mine on the wrong base.

  13. I never get the right quality for a reasonable price when I go mattress shopping. I will use this as a guide next time. Thank you.

  14. Hehe….you have spilled the real secret here….visit the sleep shop, in person! You will be amazed by how many details the sales people withhold from you.

  15. Just now my M-I-L scolded me about mattress. I’m so bad at shopping them, I don’t understand half of it. Your post is kind of a good luck charm to me. I’ll follow your tips.

  16. I did not realize that there are so many types of mattresses. To be honest, I am not sure what to choose. Currently, we have a memory foam mattress and honestly, I am not so happy with it. We used to have all foam too but still not fully satisfied. Will try the hybrid one next time.

    Thank you for explaining the difference. I definitely learned something new today.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *