To Pillow Top, or Not To Pillow Top?

Pillow tops are a source of much debate, and some pretty strong opinions.  I’ll admit, I’ve owned a few, and I’ve sagged a few.  I find them comfortable, but I don’t own one right now (my beloved Comforpedic is a plush firm).  So what’s the deal with pillow tops?

pillow topWhat is a pillow top?

A pillow top mattress is a mattress that has a separate looking piece on top, that looks like a pillow.  It is attached to the bed, and is not removable.  They usually consist of various padding layers.  The SOLE purpose of a pillow top is to add extra padding to the mattress, thereby making the mattress softer.

Who is a pillow top good for?

Anyone that wants a softer feel combined with firm support.

Who is a pillow top not good for?

Anyone that wants a firmer feel.  You’d be surprised how many people come into mattress stores and want a hard bed, but want a pillow top.  It’s just not possible, people.  More padding equals softer bed.  While there are firmer feeling pillow tops, none are going to be hard as a rock.

pillow topSome people have an extreme hatred for pillow top mattresses, which usually stems from a previous purchase sagging or dipping over time.  I understand being once bitten and twice shy, but there have been so many advances in mattresses, even in just the past five years.  The way that pillow tops were made ten years ago is DRASTICALLY different from how they are made now.

Higher density foams, such as memory foam and latex have replaced easily compressed foams, making sagging and depressions a thing of the past.  Pillow tops are also now “tacked down” from the top of the bed all the way down to the coil system, about every three to four inches across the bed.  This stops shifting and bunching.  Also, since all mattresses are now one-sided, the pillow top is never smashed under the weight of the coil system and the sleepers, so it maintains it’s loft and feel for much longer.

A note on body impressions and being realistic…if you think that you’re going to be able to purchase a soft, comfortable mattress, and have it look exactly the same after ten years of sleeping on it every night for eight hours, then you’re crazy.  If you sat on your couch for eight hours a day, every day, would you expect it to look exactly the same after ten years?  What about the driver’s seat in your car?  Mattresses are made out of foam, and foam will compress.  Consider that you’re laying your entire body weight on that bed, and not moving much for 6-8 hours.  The foam that you’re laying on is going to compress, and eventually, it won’t be able to recover back to normal.  This is perfectly acceptable.  Body impressions in your mattress don’t change the feel, support, or durability.  They are just a by-product of you sleeping on the mattress.  If you want a bed that will be exactly the same after 29,200 hours of a 160 lb person laying on it (that’s ten years of 8 hours a night), then you should purchase a slab of granite, not a mattress.

Sorry for the snarkiness, but it’s true.

So if you’re in the market for a new mattress, take a look at a pillow top mattress: they are more durable, and more comfortable than ever before.  One might just be your key to sweet dreams!

By the way – great options for a pillow top mattress, as chosen by me:

Beautyrest Recharge Flatbrook Plush Pillow Top – for those who like a soft feel

Beautyrest Recharge World Class Trident Luxury Firm Box Top – for those who like a medium feel, with the extra support and durability of a coil system in the pillow top!

BeautySleep Fancy Pillow Top – budget conscious, but still super comfy!

Memory Foam vs Innerspring

So you want a memory foam vs innerspring showdown?

I’m sure that you’re well aware of my intense love affair with memory foam, but is it for everyone?  No, unfortunately not.  I’ve had a few customers ask me which is better for them, and I must admit, sometimes its…gasp…not memory foam.

So, to promote fair and balanced analysis, I’ve decided to step back from my pro-memory foam stance, and give you a list of pros and cons of each bedding medium.  Objectively.  I promise.

Innerspring Mattress Pros and Cons

  • Pro: There are a huge variety of different manufacturers, styles, feels, and price ranges.  It’s virtually impossible not to find one that’s comfortable for you to sleep on.
  • Con: Sleeping on metal creates pressure points.  This means that no matter how much padding your bed has, it will still cause you to toss and turn, eventually.
  • Pro: They are bouncy, making them easier to move around on, and better for other…ahem…bedroom activities.
  • Con:  Innerspring mattresses are more likely to sag, squeak, or creak.
  • Pro:  You can find comfortable models for cheap.
  • Con: Innerspring mattresses lose their comfort level over time – it’s not going to feel the same in 5 years as it does now.
  • Pro:  There are many different manufacturers, with many different coil systems, designed for different levels of back support, weight, etc.
  • Con:  There are many different manufacturers, with many different coil systems, designed for different levels of back support, weight, etc.  Totally confusing!

Memory Foam Mattress Pros and Cons

  • Pro:  The back support on a foam mattress is far superior to any innerspring, regardless of coil system or price.
  • Con:  The “sinky” feeling doesn’t appeal to some people.
  • memory foamPro:  Memory foam provides excellent pressure relief, so you toss and turn 80{d066f20f781a5b527d275b31e1f8758c7870657f3e5775941a299b25a4f5af5a} less, and they increase circulation.
  • Con:  If you don’t opt for a gel version, they can sleep warm.
  • Pro:  The density of the foam makes the bed last for about twice as long as innerspring without developing body impressions, sags, etc.  No creaking or squeaking, either.
  • Con:  They can be difficult to move around on, and get off of.
  • Pro:  No dust mites, mildew, or mold.  Additionally, many brands (like Comforpedic) certify their components, meaning that they are non-toxic and there’s no off-gassing.
  • Con:  They can be more expensive than innerspring, but they do last longer!
  • Pro: You can’t feel your partner moving around.
  • Con: The profile isn’t as high as many innerspring mattresses.

Innerspring vs Memory Foam Recommendations:

If you’re a young person, and like the feel of memory foam, I say go for it.  It will benefit your health and your wallet in the long run.

If you’re an older person who may have arthritis or circulation problems, memory foam may be the better option.  Just make sure that you can move around on it easily.  Additionally, it can be used with an adjustable base down the road, if you need it!  If memory foam is too hard to get out of, or it’s not comfortable for you, innerspring will work too!

If you’re a person on a budget, innerspring may be the way to go.  Less expensive memory foam is less dense and won’t last as long as comparably priced innerspring beds.  They will also sleep hot.

If you’re a couple who like different feels, try out a memory foam mattress.  They are often the happy medium, since each partner is supported according to his or her weight.  Additionally, you won’t get the hump in the middle of the bed, and won’t feel like you’re rolling into each other.

If you like a bouncier feel, or sit on the edge of the bed a lot, innerspring is your option.  The edge support is much better, and nothing bounces like a steel coil!


Hopefully this helped you find decipher what is good and not so great about memory foam and innerspring.  The last piece of advice that I have is to try them out.  The feels are very different, and your body may prefer one over the other.  If that is the case, go with whatever feels the best to you, and disregard the rest.  However, if you’re indifferent, remember that memory foam offers superior support, durability, and value in the long run.  Sorry, I just couldn’t resist!!!

Buying Mattress Online? $10 Says Your Mattress is Past It’s Prime

There is a lot of confusion about when is the right time to change your mattress.  There is no concrete answer, because a lot of factors contribute to the wear and tear on your bed.  These factors include:

  • Weight of sleepers – the heavier the users of the bed, the quicker it will degrade
  • What the bed is used for – if it’s used for more than sleep, for example watching TV, reading, or sex, it can become worn faster.
  • Abuse – if the bed has been jumped on, spilled on, moved excessively, or stored incorrectly, it can lose support and comfort quicker.
  • Maintenance – if the mattress has been turned and flipped (if two-sided) regularly, it may last longer than if it was just left or turned only occasionally.

All of the above notwithstanding, there is a basic time frame when you need to think about replacing your mattress set.  While many experts like the Better Sleep Council just state that a mattress over seven years old isn’t providing the best support and comfort, we’ve found some other resources that are a bit more specific:

  • Standard Quality Innerspring Mattresses– says that a low to mid-quality mattress should only last for between five to seven years.  These beds usually cost between $500 and $1000 in a queen size.
  • Premium Quality Innerspring Mattresses – states that premium innerspring sets, which usually cost over $1000 in a queen, should last about ten years.
  • Standard Memory Foam Mattresses – gives standard memory foam (meaning not the higher density models) about ten to fifteen years.  Standard memory foam beds range in price from $500 to $1400 in a queen size, approximately.
  • Premium Memory Foam Mattresses – these mattresses range in price from $1500 to $8000 in a queen size, and last for about twenty to twenty-five years.

According to the above time frames, a memory foam mattress will get you more sleep for your buck.  Premium memory foam, like a Simmons Comforpedic Mattress, will have higher density memory foam in it, which is more durable and resilient than lower density, softer memory foams.  Another way to gauge the life expectancy of a new mattress is to take a look at the warranty.  Most innerspring mattresses come with a ten year full replacement warranty, while memory foam like the Simmons Comforpedic Mattress come with up to twenty-five years of warranty protection.

Regardless of the estimated life spans listed above, you should listen to your body to assess if it’s time to go mattress shopping.  According to Abe Abbas, an guide, when your body starts to ache, ifyou feel uncomfortable on the mattress, or if you see visible wear and tear like lumps, sags, or coils crunching.  He also states that if you suffer from allergies due to dust mites in the mattress, or if you’re over forty and have been sleeping on the same bed for more than ten years, it’s time.  Abe says that this last reason is because your body becomes more sensitive to pressure points after forty, and you may be tossing and turning too much, and affecting your health.

Finally, we’ve heard some unproven facts, stating that your mattress’ weight can increase 10-20{d066f20f781a5b527d275b31e1f8758c7870657f3e5775941a299b25a4f5af5a} over 10 years, due to dust mite feces, dust mite carcasses, and bodily fluids leaking into the mattress.  And if that doesn’t make you want to change out your mattress, I don’t know what will.

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Two-Sided Mattresses versus One-Sided: The Showdown

Mattress buying is tricky, especially since everything has changed since the last time that you had to buy one.  The most glaring example?  Two-sided mattresses.  I cannot tell you how many times PER DAY I have to explain why the new one-sided mattresses are not just a two-sided mattress cut in half.  So, to save my voice, and my sanity, here’s my speech on why one-sided mattresses are not just as good as the old two-sideds, but better.

  • Lifting and flipping a queen or king sized mattress is difficult, and can be dangerous. Additionally, mattresses are made with denser materials now, so they are even heavier.  No one should be lifting a 300 lb mattress and trying to flip it over.  Dragging them around from head to toe is much easier, and may not even be required, depending on the manufacturer.
  • Did you know that you were supposed to be flipping those two-sided mattresses once every two months?  Did you ever do it that frequently?  I didn’t think so.  Since your mattress was designed to be flipped frequently, and it wasn’t, you were putting more wear than the manufacturer designed the bed for, and probably increased their warranty return percentage.
  • Think about a coil system.  Are they more steady sitting on a firm, flat surface, or a bumpy, soft surface?  You can get more even and consistent back support by placing the coils on a firm foundation, instead of balancing them on the other side of a soft cushion.
  • Pillow tops are meant to be soft and conforming.  Would you smash yours underneath 250 lbs of mattress, and 300 lbs of sleepers for half the time?  How do you think that it would maintain it’s loft?  No one wants a dense pancake pillow top.
  • Flammability standards have changed in the past ten years.  Now, each mattress has to have a certain fire retardant fiber underneath the cover on all sides of the mattress.  Only one company makes this fiber, and it’s not cheap.  By making the mattresses one sided, manufacturers only had to use that fiber on the top and sides of the mattress, since the bottom of the mattress is flush with the foundation.  Instead of increasing each queen set by $300, they only increased by $200.

Those are just a few reasons why you need a one-sided mattress, I’m sure that there are more technical support issues, but these are the ones that make the most sense to me.  Of course, if you’re still a die-hard two-sided mattress fan, we still carry them, made by American Bedding.  Check out the Crest Plush or call us at 855-377-6669 to see what other models we have at the time.

Air Mattress versus Innerspring

memory foamI had an interesting conversation with a potential customer today, regarding specialty mattresses.  They wanted me to compare a regular innerspring bed to an air mattress.  Needless to say, even though I’ve sold both in my lifetime, I had a difficult time.  This particular customer wasn’t happy with their innerspring bed, which was of good quality and only one year old.  They didn’t like memory foam, and wanted to know what I thought about air beds and if they were worth the hype.

At the risk of sounding like a cop-out, I told them that some people swear by air beds, and some people don’t like them.  It depends on the person, and what they want and need out of their mattress.  The same applies for memory foam beds, as well as latex.  These beds that are made of different materials than the traditional innerspring have fans, and have haters.

Different People Different BedsI told the customer that not everyone is comfortable wearing the same shoes, not do we all wear the same pant size.  What is cozy for me might be sinky for them, and what is nice and firm for them might be too hard for me.

I will say, however, that air beds are the only beds that you can buy parts for, and that they tend to last a long time.  They can also change with your body (your support needs change about every seven years, so at some point, your mattress won’t be comfortable anymore).  Additionally, partners can have different feels on the same mattress; they can be drastically different firmnesses, ending the eternal fight over which bed to purchase.

And as for their complaint about memory foam, I love it.  I sleep on a memory foam bed, and wouldn’t ever go back to a traditional innerspring.  But I also like pickles dipped in peanut butter, which I’m pretty sure that no one else on the planet would ever eat.

Mattress Cover Materials: What They Say About You

I write a lot about coils, memory foam, and edge support, the guts of the mattress.  I have never written about mattress covers.  Mattresses used to be made with polyester covers, which could be wiped clean of stains and soils.  While some would prefer this to the current trend of natural fibers, I, for one, am glad that they are gone.  Those old covers didn’t stretch, and the beds always felt firm.  Also, they were HOT.  There was no breathing done through these mattress covers.  They were like crib mattresses, for goodness sake.  But that’s enough of complaining about the past…

Now, covers are made out of cotton, bamboo, cashmere, stretch blends, wool, just about anything that’s soft, comfortable, and breathable.  What’s the big difference between them?  Cotton mattress covers are the least expensive, but still breathable and soft.  They have varying degrees of stretch, but are a great option for less expensive beds.  My main complaint?  They can pill if something rubs against them too much, but hopefully you’re using a mattress protector, so this wouldn’t be a problem.  Ahem.  A great bed with a cotton cover is the King Koil Eternity Euro Top.

Bamboo mattress coverBamboo (which is my personal fave) is soft, breathable, and comfortable.  Also, it’s renewable!  This means that it’s a green product.  I’m sure it seems weird to sleep on what’s basically wood, but it’s super luxurious, and makes a great mattress cover.  A little more expensive, but as it is always for saving the Earth, right?  For a great bed with a bamboo cover, check out the Spirit Sleep Legacy.

Cashmere covers were all the rage for top of the line beds a few years ago.  They are fuzzy, comfortable, breathable, but they sleep a little warmer than cotton and bamboo.  Also, they are super expensive.  Overall, I’d recommend the previous two over cashmere, unless you have a thing for it, and want to tell all your friends that you’re sleeping on it.  The Luxury Support Cashmere is an air mattress with this luxurious mattress cover.

Stretch blends, such as the Beautyrest Evenloft cover, are great hybrids.  They are a evenloft mattress covercombination of cotton, spandex, and sometimes polyester.  They are breathable, soft, and super stretchy in all directions.  These are great because they really form fit the bed, don’t take away any of the softness, and provide a little extra motion separation.  The Beautyrest Leedsgate Plush Evenloft is a fabulous bed with the patented Evenloft stretch mattress cover.

Finally, wool.  I’m not a huge fan of wool for many reasons, mainly because just writing about it makes me itchy.  If you’re a cold person, these covers will keep you a little warmer, as they are not as breathable as the other options.  Some brands used to have two sided mattresses with wool on one side and cotton on the other, for different seasons.  Those went the way of the cassette when everyone switched to a one-sided mattress, but some manufacturers still use wool covers and wool padding in their beds.  I say, just buy another blanket.  Currently, we don’t have any beds with wool mattress covers.  Coincidence?  I think not.

The cover can make or break your mattress, so select wisely!

The Best Mattress – Direct From Consumer Reports

As I was surfing the net a few days ago, doing my “research”, I ran across a video about Consumer Reports actually testing mattresses.  Up until now, they’ve had the stance that they cannot recommend a specific model or brand because everyone needs something different, support and comfort wise.  Now, they are apparently having people lay on them and rate them, put them through virtual wear and tear tests, and measuring the disturbance between partners.  Which is the best mattress?  Check it out below:


First, the good news – Simmons has been rated the number one innerspring mattress, followed by a Serta model, and a Stearns and Foster in third.  As you already know, I’m a huge Simmons fan, because of their support system, durability, and quality of craftsmanship, so this was no surprise to me.  The one that they tested, while I’m not sure of the model, was probably at the beginning of the Classic line-up, so it had all the guts, but none of the thrills.  Regardless, I’m happy that Beautyrest has received their due and got the best mattress designation, even if they didn’t show up on the memory foam section…

I find a few flaws with this particular endeavor by Consumer Reports.  First, how long did these testers actually lay on the bed?  Did they have back pain?  How does that translate to eight hours a night for ten years?  Were they average sized, overweight, short, tall?  Did they use a variety of different body types and medical issues?  Do they tell you this?  I couldn’t find out myself, because I don’t subscribe to Consumer Reports, so I couldn’t access the whole report.  But when you think about it, I think that probably most people don’t subscribe, so they’re just going to go off of the top three best mattresses that were on the news, and not know the rest of the story.  Did they test every manufacturer, and every model?  Which did they test?  The news story stated that they would be doing more testing and releasing more results in the near future, so I’m sure that they didn’t cover all of the bases.  Finally, are they going to be doing this every year, since models change every year?

I do think that the durability testing and motion disturbance testing is valuable.  Manufacturers have long done durability testing on their own beds, to improve their warranty exchange rates, and it’s great to have an independent third party doing it.

It’s a step in the right direction, but far from perfect.  However, I applaud Consumer Reports for wading into the murky waters of mattresses, and trying to recommend the best mattress for the masses.

Choosing an Innerspring Mattress is Making Me Crazy!

I hear the same thing all the time from my older customers: “Why are there so many different mattresses to choose from?  When I was young, there was a soft one, and a firm one…”  The short answer is that one size does not fit all.  The long answer is too long to answer in one blog post, but I’m sure that I’ll end up covering it all at some point.  Today, we’re going to focus on the innerspring mattress.  Even when you strip off the padding, covers, and edge support, there are huge differences in coil systems between beds.  Please note that this is not an exhaustive list of all the different coil systems that are out there, just the most popular ones.

Pocketed coil beds are perhaps the easiest explained coil system that is currently made.  Each coil is individually wrapped in it’s own cloth bag.  The coil is usually compressed before it is sealed up in it’s bag, so it’s always tensed and ready to spring.  The bags are assembled and glued together, about half way down the length of the coil.  This allows for individual movement of each coil.  These are great for eliminating motion disturbance, and they offer better conformance than most other innerspring mattresses.

The Bonnell coil system is the most traditional coil system, and is used in most entry level beds.  Each coil is attached together at the top and the bottom with a helical wire, usually across the bed side to side.  Each coil is in an hourglass shape, being thinner in the middle of the coil than at the top and the bottom.  The Bonnell coil system is inexpensive, and offers adequate support.  However, they aren’t built to last forever, and are pretty bouncy.

The double offset coil unit is the next option.  These coils are very similar to Bonnell coils, because they are also in an hourglass shape.  However, they have a squared off portion at the head and foot of the coil, making them more durable and easier laced together.

Some manufacturers make their innerspring mattress out of one continuous wire, called a continuous coil.  This is type of coil system is very durable, as each coil can be supported by the coils around it, but this type is very bouncy, and not necessarily the best for couples.

The coil system is what gives each innerspring mattress it’s support.  Coil counts aren’t as important and the coil composition, and placement in the bed.  Add to all of these different brands, types, feels, memory foam, latex, pillow tops, and euro tops, and you’ve got hundreds of beds to choose from.

Ready for a New Kids Mattress?

Parenting is hard, and really expensive.  Making your kids comfortable doesn’t have to be.  I don’t know about you, but I grew up sleeping on some terrible cheapo mattress that was not comfortable, and did not make me feel good in the morning.  Did you know that growing children actually need a more supportive mattress than adults do?  Their bones are growing, adjusting, and need proper support.  However, that doesn’t mean that you need to take out a second mortgage to buy your child a good, supportive bed.

For toddlers transitioning from a crib mattress, moving to a medium feel will be easier, since it will feel similar to what they are used to.  However, since most kids of this age are only about thirty pounds, realize that they will be sleeping more on top of the mattress than in it.  A good option for your kids mattress is the Mount Laurel Euro by BeautySleep, or the King Koil Hathaway Pillow Top.  Both of these mattresses have great support, and a medium feel that will grow with your child.  Another great option is memory foam.  Foam beds will support, cushion, and possibly last until they graduate high school!  Check out the Serenity by Spirit Sleep, it’s a great mattress at a great sale price.

For older kids, around seven to twelve, they will probably want something softer.  Keeping support while indulging in comfort can be difficult, but is attainable.  The BeautySleep Fancy is a great bed, and has a very soft feel with great support.  On a side note, keep in mind that this is the bed that they will either take with them, or that will morph into your guest room bed.  The Aikenton Plush Euro Top by Beautyrest is a great option, and is durable and comfortable for one person, or two.

Remember to plan for your child’s needs in the future.  Maybe a full size would serve their purpose longer than just a twin.  Also, make sure that you protect the mattress with a protector, one that’s waterproof and washable.  Once that bed-wetting stage is over, there will still be food and drink on the bed (whether you know it or not), as well as sweat, and probably some tears.

In conclusion, purchasing a quality bed for your child can save you money in the long run, and get them set up for proper alignment, development, and growth.