Mattress Buying Guide

Shopping online for a mattress gives you access to year-round competitive pricing so you don't have to wait for a mattress sale, and there's no shortage of types and sizes to choose from. However, picking the perfect mattress is ultimately a matter of personal preference. Use the helpful tips and information in this guide to cut through the clutter and find the best mattress for you.

Shopping online for a mattress gives you access to year-round competitive pricing so you don't have to wait for a mattress sale, and there's no shortage of types and sizes to choose from. However, picking the perfect mattress is ultimately a matter of personal preference. Use the helpful tips and information in this guide to cut through the clutter and find the best mattress for you.

1. Pick a Mattress Size

Your choice of mattress size mostly depends on two factors: how much sleeping area you need to be comfortable and the size of your room. The best mattress size is the one that matches your sleep style and space restrictions.

Illustration of woman sleeping on bed


39" x 74" — fits a single sleeper, great for kids' rooms

Illustration of man sleeping on bed

Twin XL

39" x 80" — fits a tall single sleeper, good for college dorms or older kids still at home

Illustration of man sleeping with his dog on bed


54" x 74" — good fit for couples with limited bedroom space or single sleepers with pets

Illustration of woman sleeping with her dog on bed


60" x 80" — most popular for couples, single sleepers with multiple pets

Illustration of couple with their baby and dog sleeping on bed


76" x 80" — extra width for couples with co-sleepers, couples with pets, restless sleepers

Illustration of couple sleeping on bed

California King

72" x 84" — added length for couples who are taller

If you're a single sleeper who wants to stretch out a little more than a twin mattress or a twin XL allows, consider a full-size mattress. For couples, the queen mattress is a popular option because it's spacious without taking up too much bedroom space. If you and your partner have to make do with a tiny bedroom, a full mattress can work, but expect it to be cozy. For even more sleeping space, a luxurious king-size mattress should do the trick, while a California-king bed provides a more comfortable sleep experience for those on the tall side.

2. Select Your Mattress Type

There are many more mattress options to choose from today than there used to be, which is great news for mattress shoppers. It means you have more freedom to choose a mattress that fits your personal taste.

Innerspring Mattress

Innerspring mattresses are constructed with coil systems that provide traditional structure and support. Today's coil technology improves upon long-standing designs for an unsurpassed level of comfort and quality.

Illustration of a person sleeping on an open coil mattress

Open Coil Mattress

An open coil mattress is made up of interconnected steel springs. Firmness depends on the gauge of the springs: a lower gauge means thicker, sturdier springs while higher gauge springs have more give and result in a softer feeling mattress. Open coil mattresses are typically affordable and have a shorter life span than other options, making them a good choice for kids or as a short-term solution for budget-conscious adults.

Pocket Coil Mattress

Also known as the individual coil or pocket spring mattress, this type of innerspring mattress has springs that are individually contained in a fabric casing. This enables the springs to move independently of each other, greatly reducing motion transfer and allowing your mattress to better contour to your body as you sleep. This improved construction also has a positive effect on mattress life.

Pillow Top

The extra layer of a pillow-top mattress looks like it may be loose, but it is actually stitched to the mattress underneath, giving the pillow top a floppy appearance around the edges.

Euro Top

A euro top is very similar to a pillow top except that instead of looking loose, the extra layer is sewn flush with the outer edge of the mattress.

Tight Top

Instead of extra padding, a tight top features a thick upholstered layer stretched tightly across the top of the mattress. This adds a touch of softness without the bulk of a pillow or euro top.

Foam Mattress

Foam mattresses have quickly become a preferred choice for many sleepers despite their fairly recent introduction. As with any mattress, there is no "one-size-fits-all" solution. Each type of foam has unique qualities that set it apart from the competition.

Basic Foam Mattress

Foam mattresses combine a high-density foam core with outer layers of soft low-density foam for a cloud-like sleep experience. Regular foam mattresses avoid the visco-elastic materials used in memory foam in favor of lightweight foam that makes the mattress more affordable. You will still "sink into" a foam mattress, but it doesn't respond to weight and pressure the same way a memory foam mattress does.

Memory Foam Mattress

Originally developed by NASA to increase comfort and support for space shuttle seating, memory foam revolutionized the mattress world with its unique properties. Memory foam is firm and supportive, but it also conforms to your body and adapts to your pressure points to relieve tension, aches, and pains. Choose from a variety of firmness options to suit your personal sleep preference.

Gel Memory Foam Mattress

Gel memory foam is simply memory foam that has been infused with gel particles or beads. The gel adds additional support and also draws heat away from the body, making for a cooler, more comfortable sleep experience.

Latex Foam Mattress

Latex foam can be made from natural or synthetic ingredients and is firm, breathable, supportive, and hypoallergenic. The surface of latex foam is springier than memory foam and responds more quickly to changes in weight and pressure.

Hybrid Mattress

If you can't decide between an innerspring and foam mattress, why not get both? Hybrid mattresses combine a pocket coil innerspring base with layers of foam for the best of both worlds. Enjoy the time-tested support of an innerspring mattress with the additional comfort provided by foam, all in one mattress.

3. Know Your Sleep Style

Illustration of a person sleeping on their back

Back Sleepers

Back sleepers still need support, especially for the lower back. You want your mattress to be solid enough to give that support, but comfort is still important. Whatever type of mattress you choose, go with a medium-firmness for a good blend of support and comfort.

Illustration of a person sleeping on their side

Side Sleepers

Side sleepers can easily experience back pain and alignment issues without the right kind of support to alleviate pressure points. That's why a softer mattress with the ability to conform to your body is necessary. Both pocket coil and memory foam mattresses will be gentle on a side sleeper's pressure points.

Illustration of a person sleeping on their stomach

Stomach Sleepers

Stomach sleepers need a mattress that is firm enough to sleep on top of rather than sink into. For this reason, an innerspring mattress is recommended over foam. However, if you love the idea of a memory foam mattress, choose the firmest memory foam mattress possible without sacrificing comfort.

Illustration of a person sleeping on their back with pillow under their

Back Pain

Those with back pain can often experience relief of symptoms and prevention of future problems with certain kinds of mattresses. Ultimately, any mattress with conforming support will alleviate many types of back pain to some degree, but memory foam in particular has proven to be effective in soothing chronic aches and pains.

Find the Mattress of Your Dreams

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Firmness Selection

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Twin Mattress Icon

Size: 39" W X 75" L

Twin XL Mattress Icon
Twin XL

Size: 39" W X 80" L

Full Mattress Icon

Size: 54" W X 75" L

Queen Mattress Icon

Size: 60" W X 80" L

King Mattress Icon

Size: 76" W X 80" L

California King Mattress Icon
California King

Size: 72" W X 84" L

Foam Mattress Icon

In addition to memory foam and latex, some mattresses are made of polyurethane foam, which ranges in density from soft to firm.

Memory-Foam Mattress Icon
Memory Foam

Visco-elastic memory foam conforms to the body to relieve pressure points and provides comfort and support. It evenly distributes body weight to provide personalized comfort for all body types.

Gel Memory Foam Mattress Icon
Gel Memory Foam

All the benefits of memory foam with the addition of gel swirls, beads, or layers that increase air circulation, creating an optimal sleep temperature. The added gel layer also increases support over standard memory foam.

Latex Mattress Icon

Latex mattresses are made from either natural or synthetic rubber. These mattresses provide a firm bouncy support that is uniform throughout the mattress. The mattresses provide pressure relief.

Pocketed Coil Mattress Icon
Pocketed Coil Spring

Similar to a standard innerspring mattress, Pocketed Coil Spring mattresses feature coils enclosed in fabric pockets. Provides good back support and helps reduce the transfer of motion within the mattress.

Innerspring Mattress Icon

This design uses coiled spring to make the mattress both supportive and comfortable. Innerspring mattresses feature various foams and fibers on top to provide comfort at the surface.

Firm Icon

A Firm mattress offers the most support. It Is the best choice for back sleepers, or those with larger builds who need increased support, and do not want the sensation of sinking into the bed.

Medium Icon

A mattress with Medium firmness is ideal for most sleepers who need support, but also cushioning. Medium firmness mattresses are frequently chosen by side sleepers.

Cushion Firm Icon
Cushion Firm

A Cushion Firm mattress is very similar to a Firm mattress, but with added cushioning at the top. These mattresses have a plush feel with a firm, supportive base.

Plush Icon

A Plush mattress features extra cushioning, with a soft-to-the-touch surface. Softer than plush-firm mattresses, the plush mattress is popular with sleepers of similar builds and those who need less firmness.

Ultra Plush Icon
Ultra Plush

An Ultra Plush mattress has a very soft surface created by extra padding. It is the softest of the plush designations, but still offers plenty support.

Soft Icon

A Soft mattress has plenty of cushioning, and offers the least support of the mattress types. This mattress is a good choice for those who like to sink into their mattress.

Andrew Schneider
by Andrew Schneider
Mattress Specialist
NOVEMBER 16, 2016

Andrew's personal mattress preference is an innerspring mattress with a luxurious euro top. As a bed enthusiast, Andrew enjoys being in bed by 9 p.m. and sleeping in on weekends, but is staunchly opposed to the practice of eating food in bed.