A Comfy Mattress

Many of the links on this site are “affiliate” links.  If you use the links provided to purchase the recommended items, or to navigate to the web retailer site to purchase anything at all, I may receive a small commission.  These commissions will help me expand this site and provide you with additional recommendations. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.  Thank you!

NOTE!!!: I wrote this article, and then discovered that the Addable Mattress is no longer available! They have a “notify me when this product is available” button on their website. Maybe if enough people click the button they will sell the mattress again? I decided to post the article anyway, as it may be helpful to some. If you go down the path of researching mattresses, I strongly recommend starting with The Mattress Underground as a wonderful and detailed source of information.

After dorking it up for many, many hours, I recommend:

Addable Mattress:

  • My wife and I have slept on this mattress since September 2017, and our guests have used another one since December 2017.  My wife and I, and our guests, have slept great. I highly recommend this mattress!
  • Comfortable, medium firmness memory foam mattress that you sink into just the right amount.  Soft, conforming, and pressure relieving on top, with firmer support beneath.
  • Quality materials (high density foams) that will last. Ten year warranty.
  • Affordable!  (Queen size was $600).
  • Flexible installation:  Works on top an existing box spring, or a slatted or solid mattress base or bed frame.
  • Free shipping and free returns, 181 day return policy.
  • Excellent customer service.  I asked a few detailed questions, and got a quick detailed response.

Need a bed frame too?  See my recommendation here.

Keep reading to Dork It Up!

I needed a new mattress, as my 10+ year old cheap spring mattress was done for.  It was sagging, lost its support, and my wife and I were literally losing sleep over it.  So time to shop around and Dork It Up.  

Functional Requirements (in order of importance, for me):

  1. Comfort (this is subjective, and your preferences may be different).
  2. Durably built with quality materials (this is where some dorkiness is required).
  3. Affordable.  I was actually willing to pay significantly more, but was glad to find something both good and affordable!
  4. For online orders, a free and easy return policy.
  5. Buy from an honest, transparent, and reputable vendor.


I didn’t actually know what I liked in a mattress, so I went to several mattress stores and laid on them.  There is no substitute for field research!

Medium firmness (not super firm, not super soft) is often preferred by many people, and turns out for me too.  Often experts will recommend a firmness based upon how you sleep: side sleepers should have the softer beds, back sleepers medium beds, and stomach sleepers firmer beds.  Despite sleeping on my side, I prefer a medium. I need some give for my shoulders and hips, but don’t like sinking into a mattress abyss.

I was planning on buying a spring mattress, and did find some fairly comfortable.  Despite mattress manufacturers’ advertising focus on springs and structure (which do provide support), the softer stuff on the top of the mattress is the biggest determination of comfort and durability.  The springs and structure are hard and uncomfortable by themselves, so you need some separation and cushion between you and the metal. The firmest mattresses have very little cushion (feels like sleeping on a wood board with a blanket on it), while the softest feel like you are sleeping on a pile of pillows.  Manufacturers adjust the thickness and firmness of the comfort layers to adjust the feel of the mattress. Note that some mattress companies don’t always use the terms soft, medium, or firm. They’ll describe different mattresses with tweaks on the word “firm” (ultra firm, extra firm, luxury firm), and then switch to synonyms for “soft” (plush, ultra plush, pillow top).  I found the medium ones to my liking, but you might like something different. You also might have to figure out which buzzword actually means medium firmness!  

BUT, then I tried a few memory foam mattresses.  Memory foam is visco-elastic foam, having a unique combination of viscosity (gives way under pressure) and elasticity (springs back like regular foam, but more slowly).  It softens under body heat (kind of melts under you), and takes a bit of time to spring back after you move or get out of bed (a memory effect). Memory foam provides great pressure relief, and is typically just a layer over top of a better support layer (springs or more springy foam).  I liked the cozy feeling of sinking into the mattress a bit, pressure relief and support at the same time. I also liked the isolation from a partner’s movement on the other side of the bed. So my research pivoted to foam mattresses.

Foam mattresses come in a range of softness and firmness just like spring mattresses do.  The structure of a foam mattress is very firm support foam. The support layers hold you up and provide a bit of spring.  The top comfort layers control the firmness of the mattress, and firmness is adjusted by using foams with different gives and thicknesses.  The “give” of the foam is actually a measurable quality, called the Indentation Load Deflection (ILD),which is how much force (weight) it takes to compress a defined thickness of foam.  You don’t need to know what ILD you need, but it’s useful to know what the term refers to.  

For memory foam, the thickness of the foam is important.  All memory foam is relatively squishy, so the thicker the memory foam, the more you will sink in.  I actually didn’t like a very thick layer of memory foam (4 inches or more). Its comfortable, but you sink in so much you feel stuck, making it difficult to roll over or move in bed.

The mattresses I liked in stores tended to have thinner layers of memory foam on top of support foam, or hybrid mattresses that are memory foam on top of a more traditional mattress spring.  Both of these gave a little sink, with some springiness underneath.  

Another factor of memory foam mattresses is heat retention and cooling.  Memory foam has a reputation for retaining heat and making the sleeper hot.  To fix this, many companies have various “cooling” memory foams, infused with gels, copper, magic ice cubes ;-), whatever.  Many of these cooling mechanisms provide only a subtle effect, and just keep you from getting too hot. However, Temperpedic’s “Breeze” mattress covers are downright cold, as they use some sort of “phase change” material to provide a profound cooling effect.  They actually feel like they are sucking the heat out of you! I sleep cool naturally, so I didn’t like it. If you sleep hot, maybe you would!

A note on latex mattresses:  They are popular, but are not my preference.  High quality latex is one of the most durable mattress materials, is offered in natural latex versions (good for people with sensitivities or health concerns), and is very comfortable for many people.  I tried one, I just didn’t like it as much as other choices. I personally found latex to feel very much the same as a spring mattress – bouncy, springy, transmits movement, etc. – but cost twice as much as the spring mattress it was next to in the store.  I also preferred the feel and sink of memory foam instead. However, I only tried one latex mattress, and wish I tried some others. There are different types of latex used (talalay vs. dunlop, natural vs. synthetic), so there are different feels available. The one I tried was a talalay.  Dunlop is supposed to be denser and firmer, perhaps I’d like that better? 


The most important part of mattress quality and durability is the quality of the foams used in the mattress.  This applies to both the comfort foam layers on top of a traditional spring mattress, and to all the layers of foam in a foam mattress.  After dorking it up on TheMattressUnderground.com, I learned that foams must have the following minimum density:

  • Polyurethane foam is used in spring mattress comfort layers and foam mattress support layers.  It should have a density of at least 1.8 lb per cubic foot for mid-level quality. This is considered “high density” foam.  Even better would be “High Resiliency” foam which is at least 2.5 lb per cubic foot, and is the highest quality.
  • Memory foam is used as a comfort layer.  It should have a density of at least 4 lb per cubic foot for mid-level quality.  Even better would be foam with a density of at least 5 lb per cubic foot, which is the highest quality.

Foam breakdown is the primary cause of wearing out a mattress.  It can result in sagging and permanent body impressions, such that you sink in the mattress at the shoulders and hips much more than when the mattress was new.  This leads to lack of support and discomfort. Spring mattress manufacturers tout their various spring construction and quality, but the best springs won’t do you any good if the foam on top wears out first.  The foam is the weakest link. Spring quality on any mid-level mattress will be fine for most people.

A person’s body weight will affect foam durability.  The heavier you are, the more stress and compression is put on the foam, leading it to potentially wear out sooner.  If you are more than 200 lbs or so, you may want to focus on the highest density, highest quality foams for your bed.

The trouble with many mattress manufacturers is that they don’t tell you the specifications or quality of the foam they use!  If they don’t tell you, you should probably assume it is the cheapest and lowest quality foam available, since cheap foam will lead to higher profit margins.


Everyone will need to set their own budget for a mattress.  I was looking for a quality, comfortable mattress at a good value, with a notional budget of around $1000.  I would have spent that much for a mattress to provide high quality sleep for the next 10 years of my life. It’s fairly easy to find a decent quality spring mattress at a physical store at this price, but I found it a bit trickier for a memory foam mattress.  The most famous memory foam mattress manufacturer which sells in stores everywhere is Temperpedic. Temperpedic mattresses are of very high quality, but the Temperpedic mattress I liked best in the store was $2250! Other mattress store brands have cheaper memory foam mattresses, but these brands do not reveal their mattress specifications, so are of unknown quality.

Thankfully the internet and the invention of mattress vacuum packaging techniques has created the “bed-in-a-box” that can be affordably shipped across the country.  There are dozens (hundreds?) of mattress options to choose from on the internet, which cover a range of qualities and prices. It’s easy to find something around $1000.  Picking one is the hard part…

Return Policies

Buying a mattress online means you need a generous return policy, that allows you to try out a mattress for a significant period of time (at least 3 months), and provides a process for a full refund if you are not satisfied.  Turns out, one can not really “return” a bed in a box mattress – you will never get it back in the box! Most companies “return” policies provide a process to instead donate the mattress to a charity, and then refund your money.  Some companies will actually arrange pick up of the mattress from your home, others will ask for a donation receipt.

The bottom line is that you can try most online bed-in-a-box mattresses with little to no financial risk.  This is better than most physical retail stores, where you will be lucky to get full store credit for a mattress you don’t like, which can only be used at the same store that sold you the bad mattress in the first place!

Find an Honest, Transparent, and Reputable Vendor

A lot of mattress stores and manufacturers suck.  They sell low quality S-brand mattresses at too high prices.  S-brands are the usual ones you’ve heard of like Sealy, Serta, etc.  They sound the same, and produce the same types of products, with unknown quality.  They don’t tell you the most important specifications about the mattress, and purposely use slightly different model names/numbers for the same mattress at different stores to make comparisons between stores difficult.  With no specifications, the quality of the mattresses are unknown (or even suspect). Mattress stores then play games with “sale” prices, where they compare a sale price to a “regular” price that they have never actually sold a mattress for.  This creates the illusion of a good deal, and an urgency to buy before the sale expires. No thanks.

Some mattress stores are good or even great.  They are sometimes specialty or higher end mattress stores, with high quality but pricey goods.  They are sometimes manufactures with their own direct sales to the public. Theses stores can often be a very good value.  Seek out a good mattress store in your area. Avoid most national chains, department stores, etc.

In the eastern part of the US, Original Mattress Factory is a good place to shop.  I started there in my shopping quest, and would have purchased from them if I wanted a spring mattress.  I actually did buy a spring mattress for my daughter there. They have no sales, just reasonable regular prices.  There is no pressure to buy. The sales staff is very helpful. They provide more information on mattress construction than most other stores, although I don’t remember seeing specs for polyurethane foam density on spring mattress comfort layers.  Return policy was OK, but you’ll be stuck with store credit and not a refund. I didn’t buy a memory foam mattress from Original Mattress Factory because they started at $1699 for a queen size.

Thankfully the internet provides lots of bed-in-a-box options!  If you buy online, pick a vendor that provides clear technical details on quality, construction, and materials, and not just marketing spin.

Options Considered

There are actually so many bed-in-a-box options that it is overwhelming.  How to narrow it down?

From my field research, I knew what I liked:  a smaller thickness of memory foam, over either springs (hybrid mattress), or a medium firm foam base.

I ruled out latex mattresses, or any mattress with latex or “latex-like” or “springy” comfort layers.  I ruled out all the variations of foam mattresses that didn’t have plain memory foam as the top layer. I ruled out mattresses with foam less than 1.8 lb per cubic foot for polyurethane foam support layers, or less than 4 lb per cubic foot for memory foam comfort layers.  I ruled out mattresses with a lot of emphasis on strong cooling mechanisms or materials. All these rules eliminated much of the most popular (and heavily advertised) brands of beds in boxes.

NOTE:  The details below were accurate per the manufacture websites at the time I wrote this article (~mid 2018).  However, manufacturers change their materials and manufacturing methods often, so please verify the details if they are important to you!

Casper:  Polyfoam on the top layer, memory foam is below it.  I wasn’t sure how this would feel. Also support foam is only 1.5 lb per cubic foot, below the 1.8 lb recommended density.

Tuft and Needle:  No memory foam.  

Purple:  Unique purple gel layer on top, not memory foam.

Leesa:  A “latex like” foam is on the top layer, memory foam is below it.  I wanted sink on top, not have a latex like springiness. Also, memory foam is only 3 lb per cubic foot, below the 4 lb recommended density.

I looked at others too, including Brooklyn Bedding, Sleep EZ, and Novosbed.  I wasn’t confident in any of them for similar reasons as the above, such as lower density foam, no memory foam on top, and cooling mechanisms that might be too cold.

I’m sure some of these are very comfortable, and I’d love to try them.  But I didn’t know what they would feel like, as I couldn’t relate them to mattresses I was able to try out in person.  I didn’t actually want to exercise return policies, as that is always some level of hassle, no matter how generous or easy they are.  I also wanted to stick with the quality foam density recommendations.

Then I found Addable in a list of bed in a box vendors on TheMattressUnderground.com.  

Addable seem to sell just what I wanted:  

  • High quality materials, with memory foam on top:
    • 2 inch, 4 lb density memory foam comfort layer
    • 1.8 lb density middle layer
    • 2.0 lb density support layer.  
  • They advertise the feel as “the comfort of memory foam, without that deep sinking feeling” – perfect!
  • While the memory foam has a cooling gel in it, the vendor reassured me via email that the cooling effect is subtle, not profound.
  • Good customer service:  I asked a few detailed questions, and got a very detailed response to all of them.  As someone who seeks and appreciates technical details, I love companies that feel the same way and share the details freely and clearly. 
  • Price!  While I was prepared to spend around $1000, I was pleasantly surprised that the mattress that appeared to be the one for me was significantly cheaper at $600 for a queen size. 


I highly recommend the Addable mattress.  My wife and I have been sleeping on the Addable mattress since September 2017, and are very pleased with it.  Our guests sleep on another Addable mattress in the guest room, and have had nothing but praise for it.  

I chose Addable based on my own independent research, purchased two mattresses with my own money, and am sharing my personal experience with the product.

Many of the links on this site are “affiliate” links.  If you use the links provided to purchase the recommended items, or to navigate to the web retailer site to purchase anything at all, I may receive a small commission.  These commissions will help me expand this site and provide you with additional recommendations. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.  Thank you!

Alternatives to Consider

If you don’t think the Addable mattress is for you, I would suggest you look into:

For a spring mattress:  Original Mattress Factory, or a similar regional mattress manufacturer near you with direct sales.

For a latex mattress:  Spindle, a sister company to Addable, sells an all natural high quality latex mattress for significantly cheaper than you’ll find in stores.

For different firmness:  While many online mattress vendors focus on “medium” firmness as a one size fits all, there are companies that provide a selection of firmnesses, such as Brooklyn Bedding, Sedona Sleep, Love and Sleep, or Sleep EZ.  Sorry I can’t narrow this down for you, there are lots of choices!

Dork It Up Yourself

By far the best website for detailed info on mattress construction, materials, and manufacturers is TheMattressUnderground.com.  You’ll find very detailed articles on all things mattresses, as well as a forum where the website founder answers questions in amazing detail and thoroughness.  

Beware of many mattress review sites.  They read more like advertisements than honest reviews, and likely have financial arrangements with manufacturers.  If they have nothing but positive reviews and praise for every brand of mattress, do research elsewhere.  

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