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How to Choose a Mattress: Ensure It's the Best You Can Get

Beds are important - each individual person is going to have their own, specific preferences when it comes to the surface they sleep on. That’s why it’s very important - crucial, even, - to learn how to choose a mattress.

Choosing a mattress doesn’t have to be a difficult process, though! There are many misconceptions related to the process of going to a shop (or browsing online), seeing all the different options and mattress features, and having to somehow instantly know what you want.

How to choose a mattress: a bed with pillows.

In this guide, I’ll teach you how to choose a mattress that would last you for more than a year or two. We’ll talk about some common rules of thumb, go through the entire process, touch on the main things that you should consider, and so on.

By the end of this article, you should have a pretty good foundation of information on how to select a mattress that’s best for you.

Alex Savy

Sleep Science Coach

How to know if the mattress is suitable for you?

The most obvious sign that a mattress is right for you is that you fall asleep almost instantly and don’t spend much time getting comfortable. Also, with a suitable mattress, you should wake up well-rested and feeling no muscle pain or stiffness.

Why Learn How to Choose a Mattress?

The natural first question that you might have is “why should I learn how to choose a mattress, in the first place?”.

While it might seem trivial for some, learning “what mattress is best for me” is a very important point in the entire process of picking out the right product. There are a few reasons why that’s the case.

First of all, choosing a mattress isn’t the same as going to the shop and trying to pick out a candy bar. A proper bed will serve you for up to a decade and sometimes even more. Imagine spending a decade sleeping on a surface that’s uncomfortable (or even bad for you) every single night! You’d probably become a completely different person solemnly because of that.

How to choose a mattress: mattress shop.

Just as you would do when picking out a new car or a place to rent, the process of how to choose a mattress should be a responsible one. If you put in the time and the effort in becoming more knowledgeable on the topic, you’ll thank yourself later.

Another big reason why you should learn how to pick a mattress somewhat ties in with the first one - health concerns.

An increasing amount of people suffer from back, shoulder, neck and hip pain every single year. It has become “common” to talk about back problems when hanging out with your friends or colleagues - the amount of sitting that the average middle-class citizen does during the day is partially responsible for that.

What many people don’t know, however, is that the bed you sleep in often plays a big role in your back health preservation[1]. Furthermore, if you’re smart about choosing a mattress that’s right for you, it’s very likely that you’ll be able to eliminate these problems, altogether!

With all of that said, let’s move on to actually talking about how to choose a mattress.

Picking Out the Right Bed - The Essentials

While various mattress-related terminology can get confusing, choosing the right mattress doesn’t have to be difficult at all. To make things as simple as possible, we’ll talk about some of the most important criteria that you should pay attention to when you’re in a mattress store online or in real life.

The criteria aren’t outlined in any particular order, unless stated otherwise. Additionally, just so you could have some points of reference, I’ll give you examples of some of the best mattress providers that represent the specific criteria we’ll be talking about.


First up, the obvious - the size of the bed.

Most of the time, this is going to be the very first thing that people consider when looking at how to choose a mattress. Since there is a ton of different situations for why you might be purchasing a mattress, there is also a significant amount of sizes to pick from.

If we were to look at the statistics, it seems that the most popular size for a mattress is the Queen one - it’s big, but not the biggest option in the market. Queen-sized mattresses are perfect for couples - in most cases, they accommodate two people very well, and there is still space left for comfort.

How to choose a mattress: Casper.

When it comes to Queen-sized beds, Casper would probably have to be one of the leading mattress providers. The company offers a foam mattress that will be perfect for anyone who likes to sleep on a softer surface.

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Mattress types are often the topic where people tend to get lost the most. There are many different ways that a mattress might be designed and built, and if you want to really learn how to choose a mattress, you’re going to have to know the difference.

Thankfully, this topic doesn’t have to be difficult.

A pretty good rule of thumb is to remember the 4 main types of mattresses - foam, innerspring, latex and hybrid ones. Each of these groups have their own specific pros and cons, and they encompass the majority of the best mattresses around.

  • Foam beds are usually very soft and isolate motion well, but they might sleep hot and have weaker edge support. Memory foam has back-healing abilities, so if you do suffer from this problem and are trying to find out “what mattress is best for me”, do look for this material in your future bed. Provider-wise, Nectar if often considered to be one of the best memory foam mattresses around.
  • Innerspring mattresses used to be the norm, but now, there’s less and less of them left in the market. This doesn’t mean that they’re bad, though - on the contrary, if you like responsiveness and firmness, an innerspring mattress is likely going to be great for you.

    How to choose a mattress: Saatva.In the innerspring mattress category, Saatva has to be the leader by a longshot - the company offers some of the best old-schooled innerspring products around.
  • Latex mattresses are seemingly the new trend around the corner. They are often cooler an more responsive than foam beds, but also not as firm as innerspring ones. When it comes to providers, Avocado makes great organic latex mattresses.
  • Finally, a hybrid mattress can be a mix of any other two (or more) materials packed into the shape of a bed. Hybrids are often the solution for many people who want the best of both worlds - they tend to combine the better qualities of each of the mattress categories, which is what a lot of people are looking for, in the first place! By popular opinion, the New Purple mattress is one of the best hybrids to hit the market.

As you can see for yourself, picking the right material when you’re learning how to choose a mattress doesn’t have to be difficult - all you have to do is remember these four mattress categories and you’re set!

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Specific Requirements

While this is more of a subjective criterion, it’s equally as important as the rest.

Each individual person looking at how to select a mattress is going to have some specific requirements for their new bed. These will differ for everyone, but there are a few bigger groups that are worth mentioning.

Back Pain and Spine Alignment

I’ve already mentioned this, but quite a few people are going to be looking for a mattress that would eliminate their back pain and align their spine. Depending on what type of a sleeper you are, different mattresses are going to suit you better - back sleepers might need a firmer mattress, while side ones should look for a bit of a softer surface that would let their hips and shoulders sink a bit.

As far as back pain is concerned, though, the general consensus is that the before-mentioned Nectar is going to be one of the better options.


While it’s not all that common, some people might have (or even develop) allergies to some of the materials that are used in the construction of the mattress. There is a pretty simple way to avoid this, though - latex.

Latex mattresses - especially organic ones - are often seen as the best bet for people who have allergies and need a specific type of a bed. Once again, if you’re interested in an organic (or even vegan) latex mattress, you should keep your sights fixed on Avocado.

Temperature Preference

Temperature neutrality is often one of the more important features for people who are looking at how to select a mattress. Honestly, it’s rather rare to find a person who would prefer to sleep warm - most people turn towards cooler mattress options.

How to choose a mattress: New Purple.

As far as cool mattresses go, the New Purple is going to be your best bet. With their special technology, the company behind the mattress has become famous for providing its customer with one of the best cooling mattresses in the industry.


Finally, sex. Couples that are trying to find out how to pick a mattress are usually concerned with this aspect, in addition to everything mentioned above.

Innerspring mattresses are most well-known for providing the couples with that extra needed bounce to their relationship (both literally and figuratively speaking). You’ll find that the before-mentioned Saatva is one of the best choices in the department mattress provider-wise.


Up to this point, we’ve covered many different criteria, aspects and features surrounding the process of learning how to choose a mattress. Now, in order to help you to better understand how to pick a mattress, let’s quickly run down the main things we’ve talked about.

In order to find out “what mattress is best for me”, you’ll have to make a few decisions. First of all, the size and type of the mattress. Sizing will depend on whether you’re looking for a bed for yourself, or are there any more people involved.

Type is a bit of a more difficult subject, and will depend on your specific wants and needs. Allergies, temperature neutrality, the need for edge support, responsiveness and material are just a few of these - you should really think about your priorities, and perhaps even list them down and see which mattress type fits them best.

How to choose a mattress: memory foam.

Finally, after you know how to choose a mattress, all that’s left to do is to purchase it and sleep happily ever after. However, what if you’ve actually made a mistake and you see that you don’t really like your new bed all that much..?

Don’t worry - most of the high-tier mattress providers have what are known as “sleeping trials”. These are special time periods (usually 100 or 120 nights) during which you can return the mattress for a full refund. So, even if you do make a mistake, it’s not the end of the world!

A final point worth mentioning is that you should always read through the best mattress reviews before fully committing to purchasing a mattress. It isn’t rare for people to accidentally purchase a bed that literally breaks down in the first couple of nights - this could easily be avoided by reading through and using reviews as a guide, though.


If there is one single thing that you’ll take out of this “How to Choose a Mattress” guide, it should be this - choosing the right mattress for yourself is a responsible task. Too often do people brush it off as a “no biggy”, only to soon become utterly disappointed with their new product, and have to go through the process of changing it yet again.

Quality sleep will help you to not only feel better, in general, but will also aid in the memory and concentration departments[2]. That said, in order to get that quality sleep, it's important to purchase a proper mattress - that's why this guide is important.

Other than that, if you’ve read the entire tutorial up to this point, congratulations - you now know how to choose a mattress that will serve you for many years to come!

If you ever find yourself between a rock and a hard place when trying to decide on the optimal product, you can always come back to this article and use it as a point of reference for all of your future mattress-related purchases.

I honestly hope that this “How to Choose a Mattress” tutorial was useful to you, and that you will now feel more confident when venturing out to purchase a new bed. Don't forget to check out our other tutorials, too - who knows, maybe they hold the secret inspiration that you need to make the final decision between two great mattress brands?

Alex Savy

Sleep Science Coach

Contributed By Alex Savy, Sleep Science Coach

Alex Savy is a Sleep Science Coach certified by Spencer Institute in January 2020. Alex has been into the science behind sleep and how sleep affects different aspects of life for quite a while. He ...

Read Full Bio...

Scientific References

Contributed by Alex Savy, Sleep Science Coach

1. Canadian Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health: 'Mattresses for Chronic Back or Neck Pain: A Review of the Clinical Effectiveness and Guidelines [Internet].'

2. Monika Schönauer, BSc, Annedore Pawlizki, PhD, Corinna Köck, MSc, and Steffen Gais, PhD: 'Exploring the Effect of Sleep and Reduced Interference on Different Forms of Declarative Memory'

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Recent User Reviews


Thank you for this very useful article. This is not an easy topic tbh!


Thank you for your time and effort!

Best time for replacing a mattress

Thank you for your info. I wanted to ask when is the best time for replacing a mattress 7-8 years or more? p.s. My mattres is foam type

Really awesome

hi, this article is really awesome. Really heplful

Keep posting

This post is definitely useful. It is very important to choose the right mattress so you won't have any problems with your back and spine.

Don't know how to choose

I wasn't aware it was soooooo hard!!! Thank you for your time, keep up the good work!


I had trouble with my previous mattress and it wasn't the best experience. Choose carefully and don't repeat my mistakes. Thank you!

buy mattress

a good article although you forgot to mention how important it is to choose a good shop to buy the mattress


As usual very straightforward and informative article. WELL DONE!


Hi, nice article... one thing to mention. As I know there is a special orthopaedic type of mattress so maybe possible to add such type or mention it somehow. Well anyway I agree with most of the facts here.

Great job!!

Well done. Very useful information I didn't even know about sleeping trials before lol anyway great job!!!

Hybrid mattress - best -

In my opinion hybrid mattresses are the best but they tend to be quite pricey. Around $2k for a medium size is an average price. Yea comfy but not everyone can afford it

Love it!

I love how detailed your article is. Lots of useful things to consider. Simply the Best!

All good

Ty ty

The best mattress

If you want to choose THE best mattress then I agree with the author = material is the main criteria here

thank you

I was wondering what kind of mattress should I choose and now feel more confident with my choice. Thanks!

6-7 years

Thank you for your guide .I agree that a good mattress can last for a decade but it is recommended to replace it more earlier - up to 6-7 years+

Thetype of mattress matters,

The most important criteria is the type of product. I was reading a lot about this recently. You have to know about different types before making a decision. Latex ones are getting more popular but... reviews are very contradictory. I recommend looking for a hybrid mattress or more cheap foam mattress. Good luck!!!


Good guide, everything is simple and clear

Nice guide

I'm glad I found your website. You have done an incredible job keep it up! Looking forward to your new guides...


Why should you learn how to choose a mattress?

Before going out and purchasing a mattress, it's important that you learn what types of mattresses suit you best. Also, many people have questions concerning where to buy a mattress, which brands are best, what size is the most optimal one, and so on.

What should you do with your old mattress?

If you're looking at ways of how to choose a mattress, you're likely also going to want to dispose of your old bed. There are a few ways of how you can do this, and oftentimes, mattress companies come and take your old bed away when you purchase a new one from them.

What is a memory foam mattress?

Memory foam mattresses are created mostly from polyurethane and have additional chemicals added that increase its viscosity and density. It’s also often called “viscoelastic polyurethane foam”. In order to create the air movement and let your body “breath” while you sleep, it has open foam bubbles. Memory foam mattresses are created in a way to adapt to your body curves and to also recover their original shape after you get up. Therefore, this kind of top mattresses offer you the feeling as if is created specifically for you.

Do top rated mattresses offer a money-back guarantee? Is there a catch?

All of the top mattress brands offer a money-back guarantee. The free trial usually starts from 90 to 100 nights, and if you don’t like the mattress, you can simply give it back. The majority of best mattress providers will not only give your money back but will also come to get it for free. If the mattress provider is reputable, there won’t be any catch - everyone understands that you have to try the mattress before knowing if it fits you.

What is off-gassing? Is it poisonous?

Off-gassing refers to the odor which comes from a new mattress. It’s the process that happens when volatile organic chemicals (VOCs) leak out of the mattress foam into the air. Those chemicals include both human-made and natural components, including formaldehyde, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), benzene, trichloroethane, and perfluorocarbons. Top rated mattresses will have zero or very minimal off-gassing. Many of them are sent to the customer already after the off-gassing. Is it dangerous, though? Even though the smell can be unpleasant, there’s usually only a very small amount of chemicals that can do no harm to your health.

How long do top rated mattresses serve?

The durability of a mattress depends on the provider and the quality of the materials used. Usually, you get a 10-year warranty, which will be valid in case of any defects. Normally, mattresses will serve you from 7 to 10 years, or even longer. Thus, when you buy the best mattress, you should take it as a long-term investment.