Consumer Reports Releases 2013 Mattress Buying Guide

Who has the top mattresses for 2013? Consumer Reports’ mattress guide talks brands and shopping tips.

Consumer Reports Releases 2013 Mattress Buying Guide
Consumer Reports Releases 2013 Mattress Buying Guide

Consumer Reports, one of the most well known review organizations, just announced their 2013 mattress buying guide and tips. In developing the guide, they perform tests on a wide range of products for quality and overall value. Their reports are highly regarded and are carefully read and considered by many shoppers before making a large purchase. The 2013 Mattress Buying Guide recently released from Consumer Reports covers mattress construction comparisons, commonly used terms and breakdowns by five well-known manufacturers. We released an article not too long ago about the best mattress types for 2012, and were curious to see how their results compared.

Consumer Reports’ Mattress Categories

The different types of mattress construction the guide compares are innerspring mattresses, memory foam mattresses, and gel mattresses. Consumer Reports 2013 Mattress Buying Guide carefully cut into and compared different models from several manufacturers. They tested their ability to provide support, relieve pressure points and durability. The report includes a basic overview of each type of construction plus corresponding pros and cons.

  • Innerspring mattresses still control a majority of the market, and tend to be less expensive than other types of construction. Pillowtops and gel have been added to many models to increase comfort level. They mention the pros as easier movement, and cons include a lack of motion isolation from partner to partner.
  • The memory foam category received high ranks for pain relief. Pros include comments on contouring and motion isolation, while cons included complaints of heat, odor, and difficulty moving.
  • Gel-based mattresses encompassed a broad category, including both innerspring and memory foam beds with gel infusion or gel layers. The guide listed claims of breathability and coolness as claims, although the report says beds without gel breathed just as well.

Editor note: Memory foam mattresses and latex mattresses were grouped together in the assessment, however the two types exhibit many differences. For example, issues like heat, chemical odors and slow-response foam don’t apply to all natural latex mattresses like those from We feel that consumers would be better served by differentiating natural latex and memory foam in future guides.

Top Mattress Brands by Sales

The online version of Consumer Reports’ guide doesn’t offer reviews of specific brands (which is for paying members only), but they do discuss the top-selling brands of the past year. The following are ranked according to their sale share:

  1. Serta offers a wide variety of mattresses, including their recent introduction of a gel-based memory foam. Their prices for queen sized mattresses across all models range from $200 to over $3000.
  2. Sealy is known for innerspring beds, but has also recently introduced latex and gel memory foam mattresses to their line. For comparison their queen mattresses from all models range from a low of $500 to over $4000.
  3. Simmons offers a wide range of mattresses including spring, latex and traditional memory foam. Their prices range from $500 to $6000 for queen sized.
  4. Tempur-Pedic is well-known for their traditional memory foam mattress, although they will soon be branching into other mattresses and potentially merging with Sealy as well. Their pricing for a queen varies from $1200 to a high of $6000. The guide  also mentions competitors to the brand as becoming more prominent. Memory foam mattress brands like Amerisleep have taken the concept of memory foam to new levels with plant-based materials that eliminate the “cons” mentioned earlier by sleeping cooler, being more responsive and skipping VOCs.

Mattress Shopping Tips from Consumer Reports

The report mentions that in general it can be difficult to compare models from an individual company, let alone across brand names that supply different retailers. It is important to understand the differences in composition and terms before shopping for a bed. Many companies use terms such as “plush” to indicate softness, however there is no set standard for what this means. Descriptive terms such as these will vary and should not be used in determining which bed to buy.

It is also suggested to lie on the mattress for 15 minutes, supported by their panelists rarely changing opinions after the first night. However, a recent article from us actually showed why buying a mattress online might in fact yield better results than in store trial. For example, buying a mattress online eliminates sales pressure and allows consumers ample time to compare features such as construction and price, while saving significantly compared to retail prices.

Consumer Reports also recommends checking return charges and warranty terms prior to purchasing. Ideally a mattress company should extend their customers a free trial and return period to ensure their purchase is satisfactory. A 90 day home trial with easy return a long term warranty would allow the consumer ample time to adjust a different mattress and determine whether they are satisfied with their purchase.

Also included in the Consumer Reports 2013 Mattress Buying Guide is an overview of prices, sales and general tips for navigating the sales process.  An educated shopper will be able to make better choices related to value and comfort than one who goes with what the sales person pushes. The Consumer Reports Releases 2013 Mattress Buying Guide offers one such online resource to help consumers make wiser choices, but doing your own research remains just as important.

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