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Which innerspring and memory-foam mattresses top Consumer Reports' new tests?

Beds from Serta, Sleep Number, and Costco are best for back and side support

Published: January 07, 2014 06:00 AM

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Sleep Number Innovation Series i8

A new top-rated memory-foam mattress with an adjustable-air layer; a pricier boutique-brand innerspring that could disappoint back sleepers; and two discount-brand foam mattresses that made our list of top mattress picks are among the highlights of Consumer Reports' latest round of comprehensive mattress tests.

Our tests of 24 mattresses, split evenly between innerspring and memory foam, combine the best aspects of human subjects and machines to gauge the ability of a mattress to maintain the body’s natural curves when you’re lying on either your side or your back. In addition to other tests mimicking eight years of use, we measure how innersprings resist transmitting bouncing across the mattress—say, from one partner’s side to the other. And for memory-foam mattresses, we assess how easy it is to turn over, not a given for some models.

At $3,000, the Sleep Number Innovation Series i8 bed Pillowtop costs more than many. But in addition to offering impressive support for side sleepers, this Sleep Number was the only mattress in our Ratings with top-notch back support. As with other Sleep Number beds, it includes an air-filled layer beneath its foam top, and you can adjust firmness using a remote control. We tested it at two different firmness layers and found both especially supportive. Partners with different firmness preferences can also adjust their half of the bed independently.

But you don’t have to spend even a third of that to get ample side and back support. The $800 Novaform Memory Foam Collection Serafina 14" is a mattress you can’t see or try out at Costco, and it comes folded up in a box—an increasingly common trend for memory-foam beds. Yet it was consistently impressive for both back and side support. Another pick: the Bob’s Discount Furniture Bob-O-Pedic 11" Firm, also $800, wasn’t as good for back support but did just as well for those who sleep mostly on their side. As with the Sleep Number, you can order the Bob-O-Pedic in different firmness levels for couples with different preferences.

Serta Perfect Day iSeries Applause

Among innersprings, the best we tested is the Serta Perfect Day iSeries Applause, $1,075, which was consistently notable for side and back support. You can pay more than four times that price, $4,800, for the Duxiana DUX 101 but get less performance. The manufacturer calls the DUX 101 “the perfect introduction to the legendary DUX comfort and support,” yet back support trailed side support in our tests. The mattress was also among the bouncier models, less than ideal if one sleeper is restless and turns often.

We also feature Ratings, from our subscriber surveys, of 15 mattress stores and 10 mattress brands. In our store Ratings, we list reader scores for their perception of price, quality, selection, service, and delivery. Our brand Ratings include reader scores for comfort, value, and improved sleep. And they include an assessment of whether they’d buy that brand again.

Before shopping, check our buying guide for mattresses. Then review our Ratings of 24 models from popular brands including our 10 top mattress picks.

—Ed Perratore

   

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