The Ultimate Mattress Buying Guide
Ideas and Advice

The Ultimate Mattress Buying Guide

Your sleep is one of the best indicators of your overall health, and the question of how to pick the right mattress is one of the top ways to improve your sleep. According to the Sleep Foundation, 35.2 percent of all adults in the United States report sleeping for less than the recommended seven hours per night, and nearly half of all Americans report feeling sleepy during some or all of the day. Missing out on sleep can have a massive impact on your health and your life, and many sleep problems can be improved or eliminated by selecting the right mattress for you. But what goes into picking the right mattress? Do you select a twin mattress, a queen mattress, or a king size mattress? Do you choose a mattress that's firmer or softer? The experts at Appliances Connection have compiled this post to help you make the right choice.

What Mattress Sizes Are Available?

Mattress Size

The first thing you should consider when you choose a bed is the size of the mattress, as this will have an impact on all the other decisions you make about the bed. There are four bed sizes commonly found on the market, each of which suits a different purpose.

Twin Size

A twin size mattress is 38 in. wide and 75 in. long. This is large enough to handle a single adult, but no more. Twin beds are ideal for children's rooms, guest bedrooms, and other situations where the amount of space in the room is a greater priority than the amount of space in the bed. Twin XL beds are another, less common option: at the same width but with a length of 80 in., they're most commonly found in college dorm rooms.

Full Size

A full size mattress is 54 in. wide and 74 in. long. This allows a bed to sleep two people while still minimizing its profile. Full size beds are ideal for young adults, guest bedrooms, and other spaces where a twin bed is too small for comfort.

Queen Size

A queen size mattress is 60 in. wide and 80 in. long. This is the most common size of bed, meaning that you can maximize your style options by selecting a queen size bed. A queen bed is an ideal choice for nearly all bedrooms, providing a cost-effective way to sleep two people without taking over the bedroom's floor space.

King Size

A king size mattress is 76 in. wide and 80 in. long. This is an ideal option for people who move around a lot in their sleep, or families who will be sharing their sleeping space with small children or pets. King size beds can sleep up to three people, depending on their arrangement. Another variant on king size beds is the California King mattress: at 72 in. wide and 84 in. long, you lose out on four inches of width but gain four inches of length, making this option great for families with taller people.

Your Comfort and Support Options

Mattress Size

Once you've picked a size for your bed, it's time to take into consideration the things that are harder to measure. Do you want a firm mattress or a more cushioned one? Do you go for a modern memory foam mattress, an innerspring mattress, or a hybrid option? There's no single right answer for this question: each individual has their own sleeping style, and the best mattress for them will vary based on that. The Sleep Foundation gives a few pointers on selecting the firmness of a mattress:

  • Softer mattresses are better options for side sleepers and people who weigh 130 lbs. or less
  • Medium mattresses are a good choice for sleepers between 130 and 230 lbs.
  • Softer mattresses are best for stomach sleepers and back sleepers who weigh more than 230 lbs.

Other considerations when buying a mattress include how motion is transferred from one side of the bed to the other. If one person is tossing and turning in their sleep, will it keep the other sleeper up all night? Do you need a firmer mattress to help curb your back pain? All these questions and more are ones you should ask when selecting a mattress.

What Mattress Materials Are Out There?

Mattress Size

The next choice you have to make when buying a mattress is the material it's made out of.

Twin Size

Inner spring mattresses are the oldest style of mattress currently on the market. These are made of steel coils that compress as weight is added to them. Innerspring mattresses are budget-friendly, but they don't last as long as other options. They also tend to squeak and to transfer vibrations from one side of the bed to the other.

Memory Foam

Memory foam mattresses are the next most common option: these mattresses allow you to sink into your sleep. These are a popular option among people who experience back pain, as well as people with allergies, as memory foam mattresses are resistant to dust mites. One drawback of memory foam mattresses is that their dense bodies trap heat, so if you're very sensitive to heat, you may want to make another choice.


Gel mattresses are the new kid on the block when it comes to mattresses. They improve air flow compared to memory foam, helping you stay cool as you sleep. You can also get a wider range of firmness options with gel mattresses, as the manufacturers can easily change the amount of gel that is added to the foam.


Hybrid mattresses are increasingly common in modern bedrooms. They combine the support of an innerspring mattress with the softness of memory foam or gel. These are also quite easy to customize, but the number of choices available can be overwhelming.

What Mattress Top Should You Select?

Mattress top

There are a variety of different mattress tops available as well.

Standard top

Standard tops are an inexpensive option: you simply sleep on the surface of the mattress. This is most common with the newer styles of mattress (especially memory foam), but can lead to back pain for many people on innerspring mattresses.

Pillow top

Pillow tops add an extra layer of padding to the top of the mattress. This can be made of latex, memory foam, gel, or wool. Although these can shift around a bit as you sleep, they're firmly attached to the mattress, and they don't go far. This option is great if you want the economy of an innerspring mattress but need a little extra softness.

Euro top

Euro tops are a type of pillow top mattress that uses higher-end materials, such as wool fiber. They tend to be denser and more durable than standard pillow tops, and they shift around less as you move in your sleep.

Does Your Choice of Bed Frame Matter?

Mattress top

Choosing a style of bed frame is the next order of business.

Platform Beds


Platform beds create a firm sleeping surface and are the most durable style of bed. They are low-profile bed frames that use a solid base to hold the mattress (eliminating the need for a box spring). You can find platform beds that are made of nearly any material.

Metal Beds


Metal beds are tops in terms of durability: you can find nearly any style of bed frame in metal, allowing for quick assembly and long-lasting comfort.

Four-poster Beds


Four-poster beds have a long post at each corner, allowing you to drape the area around the bed for added privacy and even provide a warmer sleeping environment.

Adjustable Beds


Adjustable beds are great options for people with disabilities: they can be adjusted into multiple positions to allow someone to sit up in bed.

Wrought-Iron Beds


Wrought-iron beds are long-lasting and visually striking. They can be made in nearly any style and are extremely low-maintenance.

Storage Beds


Storage beds provide drawers or another storage solution under the bed. This is a great option for children's rooms.

Wood Beds


Wood beds have a classic feel to them. They can handle any type of mattress and are the easiest type of bed to move house with.

Upholstered Beds


Upholstered beds provide a pillowed backrest that lets you sit up against it without needing to prop up pillows.

Buying a Mattress In-Store vs. Buying a Mattress Online

In store

You may be better off buying a mattress in a brick-and-mortar store if you:

  • Want to be able to negotiate the price of your mattress
  • Want to take advantage of in-person sales events
  • Need to test out the firmness of your mattress before you buy
Online Shopping

Meanwhile, you may be better off buying your mattress online if:

  • You don't mind paying a set price up-front
  • You want to be able to comparison shop easily
  • You already know your preferred material and firmness level