How to Buy a Mattress that’s Right for You

What to consider including coils, upholstery and brand

When shopping for a new mattress, you’ll want to try out many different beds

Since you spend almost a third of your life in bed, you want two things: comfort and a rejuvenating sleep. Both are possible if you buy the right mattress for you

Sleep expert Dan McKinley, vice-president of sales at Sleep Country Canada, offers the following advice:

Q. When do I need a new bed?

A. Your primary comfort comes from the upholstery, which fatigues over time. You should consider getting a new mattress when your old one reaches eight to 10 years of age. 

Q. How important is coil or spring count?

A. We recommend you consider the brand, the warranty length, and the quality of the mattress upholstery inside. Spring count may or may not be an indication of quality or durability. You can’t just go by a higher count being better – that’s absolutely false. 

Q. Which is better: connected innersprings, pocketed coils, or latex or memory foam? 

A. There is no superior technology; it comes down to a personal preference. Connected innersprings – when the steel is tied together – has the advantage of the largest selection and is a mattress suited to most preferences. It’s usually firmer and is the most common bed. Pocketed coils are individually pocketed [encased in fabric] and conform nicely to the body. They offer a more independent feel and less motion in a mattress. Latex or memory foam – what we call specialty bedding, including air chambers – is more tailor-made to the individual. They cut down on motion and increase comfort. 

Q. What’s the best way to buy a mattress?

A. Be prepared to spend time in the store lying down on the beds. You can’t shop for a bed in a catalogue. Wear something comfortable. Find a sales person whose knowledge can help you narrow down your selection. They might ask about your comfort preferences or if you experience any day-to-day issues that will impact your sleep.

Mattress Facts

  • A queen-sized mattress set can range from $350 to $5,000. Most premium mattresses are in the $900 to $1,400 range and offer comfort, support, and enhanced durability. 

  • More expensive specialty mattresses have the added benefit of reduced motion, better fabrics, and advanced technology to regulate body temperature.

  • The most overlooked part of a sleep system is the pillow. Choose one that is designed to support your head and neck according to how you sleep.

  • Ticking is the outside fabric you see and feel. Upholstery is the comfort layer on top of the support layer. The support system refers to the springs, coils or air chambers that hold the body up.

  • New mattresses never need flipping; they’re two-sided mattresses with just one sleep surface.

  • Mattress protection is a must as stains may void your warranty.

Originally published in BC Home magazine. For monthly updates, subscribe to the free BC Home e-newsletter, or purchase a subscription to the bi-monthly magazine.