Consumer Reports: Rating new mattresses

January 7, 2014

Consumer Reports put two dozen mattresses through rigorous tests to help you find the right one.

Consumer Reports' lab was stacked high with mattresses. Chris Regan can tell you just how they measure up. He put 24 queen-size mattresses through tough tests. Some have innersprings. Others are made of foam.

"Ultimately it's a matter of personal preference, Regan said. "So whether it's foam or innerspring, make sure you're comfortable."

An important key is how well the mattress supports you. There were tests to measure back support and tests that check for support when you sleep on your side. (Your spine should be in a straight line.)

"Most people sleep either on their side or on their back. We want to make sure that mattress is going to support your body in the position in which you sleep."

Other tests check how firm the mattress is and whether it is overly bouncy.

In the end, Consumer Reports top-rated the i8 Dual Air in the Innovation Series from Sleep Number. But it's expensive: $3,000. There was also the $650 Novaform Serafina Gel Memory Foam mattress-in-a-box from Costco that rated almost as good.

If you prefer an innerspring mattress, Consumer Reports top-rated this one in Serta's iSeries. It's the Serta Perfect Day iSeries Applause for $1,000.

It's important to check the return policy before you buy a mattress. Some retailers give you several weeks to return or exchange a mattress or box spring you don't like. But the rules vary, and a return usually costs you something. For example, at Sears you'll have to pay return shipping plus a 15 percent restocking fee.

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