Consumer Reports has completed the first comprehensive mattresses tests in its 77-year history, and the news is in: You can get the back and side support you need at night for well under $1,000.
We tested 12 models, six innerspring and six foam, in the best-selling queen size and recommended three from each category for this report. All the picks in our Ratings also fall, price-wise, between the least and most expensive models. In fact, the lowest-scoring mattress overall, the memory-foam Simmons ComforPedic Loft Crestwood Luxury Plush, was the priciest at $1,920.
Besides testing for back and side support using both human subjects and machines, we measured each mattress's "bounciness"—that is, how much vibration from one partner's tossing and turning makes its way across the bed. We also evaluated, for memory-foam mattresses and one latex-foam product, how easily you can change sleep position without the so-called "quicksand effect" associated with some memory-foam products.
Among other tests, we assessed mattresses for how well they retain body heat (for winter months) and "breathe" (for summer). We analyzed them for their ability to provide support without pressure points—in other words, where on your body the mattress presses too hard. And after simulating eight years of use, by running a 308-pound roller over each mattress in repeated cycles, we analyzed each for change in firmness, loss of height or sagging, and any differences in side and back support.
In addition to our Ratings and updated buying guide, our report includes helpful advice on sprucing up an old mattress, asking the essential questions at the store, and practicing good "sleep hygiene" for how to fall asleep—and stay asleep—in that comfortable, supportive mattress you bought. In another sidebar, we include results from a subscriber survey, bolstered with experiences from a dozen secret shoppers we sent to 30 stores around the country.
The models we've tested represent major brands like Sealy, Serta, Stearns & Foster, and Tempur-Pedic as well as Simmons, but we also tested a less-expensive Ikea innerspring and a memory-foam mattress from Costco that comes folded six ways in a box. And we're only getting started. We plan on adding to our Ratings over time, which we hope you'll agree is the stuff that dreams are made of.