New mattress line takes comfort in a familiar brand name

Consumer Reports News: July 11, 2011 01:47 PM

Think Dr. Scholl's and foot powder and orthotics come to mind but one manufacturer is hoping the Dr. Scholl's name will help sell mattresses. Using a cool blue gel on top of a foam mattress, Technogel is hoping its mattress can do for your body what Dr. Scholl's innersoles do for your feet.

The European manufacturer claims the mattress redefines the sleep experience—likening it to floating in water. The gel is different from the one used in Dr. Scholl's gel insoles, but the mattress company is using the Dr. Scholl's trademark in U.S. stores and brochures to gain instant recognition with American consumers, says Alvise Bertoncello, vice president of sales and marketing for Technogel.

The company claims that the layer of gel molds to a person's body, allowing pressure to evenly distribute and resulting in improved blood circulation. This "redefined" sleep experience isn't cheap—the mattresses cost $2,800 to $4,000. (For $150 to $210 you can get a pillow.) But the mattresses do come with a 20-year warranty. For now distribution is limited to upscale bedding and furniture stores in Colorado and Pennsylvania.

Gel beds join the specialty mattress category that includes polyurethane memory foam, inflatable air with separate adjustments for firmness on each side, and models with an abundance of springs mounted in two layers, such as Duxiana. Even so, innerspring mattresses remain the biggest sellers.

Many mattress retailers sell similar models under different names, making it very difficult to compare models. To help you shop, we cut into 11 innerspring mattresses to find out how they were constructed, and 54 staffers took part in blind comfort tests. We don't rate mattresses because of the role personal preference plays and the fact that competing retailers do not carry the same models, but our survey of more than 17,000 online subscribers reveals their satisfaction with mattress brands and stores.

Kimberly Janeway

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