When looking at any mattress, look for brands that use un-doctored photographs (photographic imagery) or samples of the product’s interior components and layers. While digital renderings illustrating the interior components of a mattress are “pretty” and well done, they do not precisely depict what the material actually looks like inside. Digital renderings only give you a sense of the layer makeups; why not just show it? This should give you pause and make you ponder why. Most times, it is because the material is simple and unimpressive. While not always the most inspiring feat of engineering, mattresses can be well built without being flashy or full of marketing glitz.
The short answer is: Yes. However, be cautious of misleading certifications. Important certifications for natural or organic mattresses include: GOLS,GOTS, OEKO-TEX and GREENGUARD GOLD. GREENGUARD GOLD is one of the most important of them all; let us explain why. It ensures that the fully assembled product has been measured for various pollutants, VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds), phthalates, and formaldehyde. Be wary of some certifications such as CERTIPUR-US as they are sponsored and created by the polyurethane foam industry. More on that here from a savvy reddit user who did some exhaustive research on CERTIPUR-US. It is important that all certifications are verified via true, unbiased third-party certification (laboratories/organizations). It is best when these certifications are readily presented and substantiated with documentation.
Some mattress retailers will create their own product model from commonly available raw materials and give these layers “unique” titles to make their products appear more sophisticated. This practice works to their advantage as the product becomes less shoppable making comparing “apples to apples” nearly impossible. These names are then trademarked by the manufacture or retailer for protection.
There are various foam fabrication techniques and formulas. However, the array of raw materials used in today’s mattresses is quite small and the pool of industry suppliers to choose from is even smaller. Some of this was explained well by that funny show Adam Ruins Everything. Some basic rules of thumbs when researching this aspect of mattress shopping include:
• You should be able to search google for the product name or foam type.
• A google search of the product name or bed name should return multiple results of retailers offering that same bed or material(s).
• Search results for a type of foam layer should return an array of brands that use that same foam as well.
This will allow you to find the best and most convenient purchase option. We can assure you that there is a very small number of truly unique, patented, proprietary mattress components used in building mattresses. Sadly, for most mattress retailers and brands these tactics are simply used to over glorify a common product or construction style. Total transparency provides a better expectation for overall product performance.
Almost all online mattress companies and mattress retailers will display a scale of firmness. It is on this scale we attempt to express how soft or firm a mattress is. This is typically a scale of 1-10. While it is important to look at this, one has to understand that comfort is subjective. These scales or ratings are not formulated by a single individual or standardized measurement. They are speculated by each brand. Most online retailers will rate their mattress intentionally as a 5 or 6 to simply appeal to a broader audience. This aspect is the single largest reason for customer returns or overall dissatisfaction. It is strongly suggested that you exercise caution with this. If your #1 priority is the perfect firmness level, it is suggested that you try before you buy. This will save you a lot of hassle. It is reported that well over 20% of online mattress purchases are returned. Purchasing a mattress online is widely reported as pain free. However, there are thousands of consumers that would beg to disagree on this after going through the process.
Star ratings are a great tool developed by websites. They provide basic insight into customer satisfaction with a particular brand, product or service. However, we must point out that almost all “mattress reviews” from consumers are given back to mattress companies within the first week or two of ownership. Is this claim able to be substantiated long term? A massive number of good reviews is great. On one hand, you should take into account that the vast majority of these reviews are not based on years of use and overall performance. On the other, reviews can be extremely helpful to get a good sense of the brand’s return policy, delivery processes, overall customer care and willingness to service its customers.