Mattresses Put To The Test

If your mattress is at least eight years old and you wake up with aches and pains, it might be time for a new one. But shopping for a mattress is no easy task.

New information from Consumer Reports can enlighten you to the tricks of the trade.

Tod Marks of Consumer Reports says, "You're going to hear all kinds of hype. You'll hear about fancy fabrics, you'll hear about coil count and the number of springs, and you'll hear about thick luxurious padding. But it doesn't really matter."

So what's the difference between a $2,000 mattress and a $1,000 one? Consumer Reports found-not much.

Testers cut through queen-size innerspring mattresses from Sealy, Serta, and Simmons. All were well constructed with few differences.

Next, Consumer Reports had 54 panelists try out 14 well as memory foam mattresses...and an adjustable-air mattress.Panelists did a 15-minute "rest test"-spending five minutes on their back...their side...and their stomach.

Marks said, "All the panelists felt that all the mattresses were at least moderately comfortable. But every mattress regardless of price, regardless of type had its supporters and detractors."

Bottom line-comfort is a personal preference. That's why Consumer Reports does not rate mattresses. So you always want to be sure to try out a mattress-spending at least 15 minutes in several sleep positions.

And once you find the one you like, watch for a sale...or start haggling. Mattress markups are huge, so aim for 50% off list price.

Consumer Reports says when you're shopping for a mattress, start at the low end of the price scale and work your way up until you find one you like.

That way you won't overspend. Also make sure you understand the return policy, so you don't end up paying hefty fees.

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