Buying A New Mattress: What’s Worth Paying For?

Written By Mary Beth Eastman
Last updated July 31, 2018

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Money Saving Tips
July 31, 2018

Simple. Thrifty. Living.

If you haven’t purchased a mattress lately, the experience can leave you dizzy. The choices seem endless and include memory foam, pocketed coils, and hybrid models. You will see firm, plush and pillow top mattresses and endless variations on coil numbers and gauges.

As if that weren’t enough, you will be shown electronic bases that allow you to adjust your mattress to fit your body. Currently, mattress dealers can make your head spin with all the shiny objects they have in their showrooms. Before you buy, you need to determine what’s worth paying more for — so you can save money by not spending on what you don’t need or want.

If you choose a coil mattress, the number and thickness of the coils largely determine your sleeping experience. A high number of coils offers you excellent, long term support. Fewer coils equals less support. A pocketed coil is one that is individually wrapped so it can operate independently of the other coils, allowing it to conform to your body.

The gauge or thickness of the coils is also important. A high gauge number, counter-intuitively, means the coils are thinner and provide a softer night’s sleep. A lower number means a thicker gauge. Some experts recommend a pocket coil mattress with 14 gauge and between 850 and 1050 coils for the best support balance. The only way to be certain is to try out various models yourself. Higher coil count models with individual pockets cost more money, but they usually offer a higher level of comfort and durability as well. That could be worth it for the longevity of your purchase.

While you can choose a mattress that is constructed completely from memory foam, many models combine coils with a foam top. The thickness of this foam depends on whether the mattress is a firm, plush, or pillow top. A firm model will have a thinner layer of foam, giving you more support. If you find a firm model too hard, you may need a plush model, which has more inches of foam on top of the coils. A pillow top mattress actually has a pillow-like layer on top that allows you to literally sink into your bed.

Models with more memory foam cost more money, but it’s a wasted expense if you dislike soft and super-soft mattresses. Choose a firm if that’s what feels good to you. You’ll save money and sleep well.

While investing in mattress extras can add to your comfort, make certain that you put your money into a high coil count and the right coil gauge. Also, pay only for the amount of memory foam that works for your sleeping needs. The highest-priced model in the store can be your worst nightmare if it’s too hard or too soft for you.

You may also consider buying from stores other than mattress dealers. What you save by buying at a membership club like Costco could offset the membership price.

About the Author

Mary Beth Eastman

Mary Beth Eastman serves as the content manager for Simple. Thrifty. Living, where she is dedicated to helping readers use money and credit wisely. Mary Beth believes that access to the right financial information paired with a growth mindset are essential tools for getting out of debt and building wealth. Mary Beth has a degree in Journalism from Bowling Green State University and has focused her 20-year journalism career on putting readers front and center, carefully considering their concerns and presenting information that will help them in their everyday lives. She has won numerous statewide journalism awards. Her writing on personal finance as been featured on numerous websites in addition to Simple. Thrifty. Living, including Huffington Post and Lexington Law blog. Mary Beth resides in Pittsburgh, Pa., with her family and two rescue dogs.

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