If all bed-buying questions were as easy to answer as this one, there would be no need for Beds.org. When you shop for a bed, for whatever reason you can justify, you should try every bed, from the budget-priced entry level model to the exclusive store brand to the top-of-the-line national retailer. Even if a bed is out of your price range of not available in the size you need, there may be a retailer online which will get you a very similar design in the size you need, or at a price you can afford. There is almost no hurdle which cannot be overcome in this day and age. The staff at Beds.org has almost 20 years evaluating beds professionally and we have seen models which are over $3000.00 from the leading national brand sell for less than $1000.00 from online-only retailers. Just like many other industries, a large portion of the production cost of a bed is advertising. A higher advertising budget can only be achieved by adding to the final price of a bed. Therefore, a large company with millions of units sold per year and thousands of employees on its payroll will have to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars every year advertising their product. If you take an online store with a few dozen employees, their advertising expenses per year may be less than the national brands monthly expenses. Overall, the beds could be identical, but the final price will be far lower from the online-only sho
So what is memory foam, latex foam, innersprings, and the other technologies used to make a mattress? Let’s look at each one for a moment. Latex foam is a type of foam derived from the sap of a rubber tree. The refined and treated sap is poured into a mold, and the resulting foam is called latex. Latex foam has been around for ages, but only recently has the bedding industry fully begun to utilize this wonderful foam in widespread applications. Latex has a very defined feel, and with a little experience you will know latex within seconds of pressing into a mattress. Latex is naturally cool and springy, and will have a very even feel as you apply pressure. Typically latex used near the top of a mattress will be plush and soft, but it can also be very firm and supportive. Usually you will only see the firmer grades of latex foam used as support layers, well beneath the surface of the bed. The feel of latex when you slide your hand across the surface will be very smooth and fin, much like a fine fleece. Although latex foam is cool to the touch, it will retain some heat as you sleep. Most latex foam mattress makers have one or more ways to counteract this by using ventilation in the foam itself.
Memory foam is similar in feel to latex foam when you rub your skin across its surface, but the feel when pressure is applied will be totally different. Memory foam is only used as comfort layers in a mattress, and relies on bulk support from latex foam, springs, or polyurethane foam below it. The dramatic difference in memory foam compared to latex foam is that memory foam will exactly mimic the shape of the object being pressed into to, and memory foam will briefly hold the shape of that object before returning to its neutral position. This gives memory foam the unique capability of providing even support on an uneven surface. To give you an example, if you press a small piece of wood into memory foam, you will see a flat impression remain for a few seconds. If you were to use your hand and wrist to press into memory foam, you would see individual impressions for each finger, as well as a replication of the shape of your wristwatch in the foam. High quality memory foam will even show a difference as subtle as where your fingernail joins your finger. The main objection to memory foam is that it is, like any foam, an insulator. Foam will hold heat and cause you to sleep warm. There is technology which uses ventilation techniques to combat this problem.
Waterbeds are a technology which has been used for decades, and at one time was revered as the best type of bed to sleep on. Waterbeds have pros and cons, just like any other bed. Waterbeds can be supportive, and are also available in many types, such as waveless and chambered. A waveless waterbed uses a spongy type of filler in the bed which prevents the water from waving, or sloshing, inside of the water bladder. A chambered waterbed may be able to provide increased support in some zones by increasing the amount of water in that specific chamber. A waterbed would either require an electric heater, which is a large heating pad underneath the mattress, or would sleep very cold.
Spring beds come in two main varieties – individually pocketed coils and spring networks. A spring network is simply a collection of springs which are connected by metal guides or rods. An individually pocketed coil spring mattress has a series of springs, each contained in a fabric pocket. The spring network is cheaper and less labor intensive, and would generally be cheaper to produce. An individually pocketed spring system uses a fabric cover for each spring, but those covers are generally sewn into a long ribbon of spring cases. Although the springs are still interconnected, they can flex more independently. This typically means that an individually pocketed coil spring mattress will be more comfortable than a spring network bed will be.
The last major category of beds is adjustable airbeds. There are several models of adjustable airbeds available, and most or all will use an automatically controlled pump with a remote to set the pressure inside the bed. The pressure inside each chamber of the airbed will directly impact the firmness. This gives you the capability of changing the firmness on a whim, as you need it. Some models may have the capability of adjusting zones of the bed independently, while other models will use memory foam or latex foam to enhance the feel of the bed overall. From time to time, you will come across other types of beds. For example, you could find a foam mattress which is not memory foam of latex foam, and you may also see some down (feather) beds, or maybe even the occasional wool or horse hair bed. These types of beds are quite uncommon, and if you find them it will certainly be in a specialty shop. Never-the-less, you should check them out! If you see a type of bed or mattress which we have not discussed, or if there is a type you would like to see us review, please click here to go to our contact page.