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What is the Best Mattress for My Budget?


Regardless of income, smart shoppers ask always themselves “what is the best mattress for my budget?”. Several personal factors must be considered when shopping for a new mattress. These include comfort, value, and price. Informed comparison shopping can save a significant amount of money on purchases. Understanding what materials and construction go into a bed helps the buyer make wiser choices. The difference between name brand mattresses and comparable ones are often nothing but the label, so getting the best mattress may not mean going with the best known brands. Arm yourself with information before shopping for a mattress to make the wisest financial choice that delivers value and comfort.

Mattress Basics

There are five basic elements of a mattress set that may be modified according to manufacturer and their separate lines. These include the following:

  • Ticking is used to cover the outside of the mattress. It can be made from a variety of materials such as damask, silk, cotton or polyester.
  • The stitching pattern used with ticking and padding will affect how the padding feels for pillowtops, with larger designs providing the softest feel.
  • Padding is used to soften the upper portion of the mattress on traditional pillow-top beds. It may be incorporated into the top of the mattress or as extra cushioning, and can be filled with poly-fill, wool, cotton, foam and more. The options brands tout as the best mattress typically have greater pillow-tops or foam thicknesses, which warrant higher prices.
  • Inner support portion of the mattress. Traditionally these have been innersprings, however memory foam, gel foam, latex and polyurethane foam are commonly used as well.
  • Box springs are used to support the mattress and provide even distribution of weight. They generally are covered in the same ticking and may be sold as part of a set. Alternative mattresses may use foundations, which have solid tops unlike boxsprings.

The edges on innerspring beds often feature stiffer sides, created with foam or springs which are placed closer together than in the middle. This helps protect them from sagging or wearing down, as people often sit on the edge while dressing or getting in and out of bed. Quality memory foam and latex will have nothing on the edges.

What Components Create the Best Mattress for My Budget?

As with any large purchase, comparison shopping can help value-conscious shoppers uncover significant savings in their quest for the best mattress. Arming yourself with information on which components make a mattress set comfortable and which are less important creates a smart shopper.

Mattress Support System

The inner support system is essentially the most important part of the mattress for comfort. On innerspring mattresses the wire gauge will determine the coil spring, with lighter weights being the springiest for a softer mattress. The shape the coils are rolled into, such as individual pockets, continuous or hourglass will affect the bed. Individual pockets will deliver a bed that moves less when one sleeper tosses and turns during the night. Understanding the type of innerspring construction that provides the support you desire is a key in choosing a mattress that will provide the desired comfort level at a value price.

Memory foam provides improved shock absorption as well as customized support. This type of foam is referred to as memory foam because it returns to the original shape and conforms to the sleeper’s body. Across brands, memory foam is consistently rated as the best mattress by sleepers. Virtually no difference exists between big name memory foam like Tempurpedic and that used in other high quality mattresses, just make sure to check density, thickness, and warranty when comparing. Differing density levels are available and these will affect how soft or hard the mattress feels. The benefit of latex and memory foam over coils is they provide pressureless support and last longer then pillow-tops and springs.

Mattress Cover

The ticking will most likely be covered 99 percent of the time with a mattress pad, sheets, comforter, bed skirt or bedspread. Colors are not an important consideration when purchasing a set as no one will see it. The cover on the mattress should be breathable to allow airflow, but other than that it likely won’t make a huge difference in sleep quality. Quality construction on the other hand, is imperative.

Pillow Tops

Items such as quilted pillow tops generally increase the cost of a mattress set. They certainly are soft and make the bed considerably more comfortable; however they are an area where budget conscious shoppers can save money. Ordering a basic model mattress with a separate topper may provide the same comfort level as the best mattress in the line at a lesser price. Mattress toppers are available in memory foam, latex as well as egg carton styles. While they are soft and comfortable they are not a replacement for a bed however.

So What Makes the Best Mattress?

So here’s the answer to your question: It’s the one that delivers the best comfort and support that you can afford. A general rule of thumb when shopping for mattress sets is to buy the best possible. Compare different styles at the top of your budget for the maximum comfort. If possible look at photos of cross sections that show the interior construction. Being informed with the tips presented in this article should help you answer the question of “what is the best mattress for my budget?”

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