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Guides How to Use Mattress Reviews

Published on June 5th, 2013 | by Mattress Journal

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How to Use Mattress Reviews

Many people turn to research when choosing a new bed, and rightly so, but knowing how to assess mattress reviews is important if you are using these to determine which to choose. At best, mattress reviews are subjective, at worst, they can be biased to sell a particular item or edge out a competitor. It is imperative to read between the lines when assessing reviews to find information that is pertinent to your personal needs. In real life experience, most reviews are either extremely positive or negative; the consumer who is generally satisfied or has an average experience often doesn’t bother leaving comments. Here we put together some helpful tips for deciphering mattress reviews and putting the information you gather to use when shopping.

How to Find Mattress Reviews

Mattress reviews can be found on independent consumer sites, manufacturer and brand websites, as well as sites that sell more than one type of mattress. They often include a compilation of graded factors based on customer satisfaction with the specific product type and or brands. This information may be obtained through various methods including polls, consumer-submitted mattress reviews, or testimonials.

The first place to look is the retailer or manufacturer’s website. Mattress consumers are likely to find a few different types of mattress reviews depending upon the brand. These are often located under individual styles of mattresses. Brands can often manipulate reviews either by controlling what gets posted, adding their own, or changing text after the fact. Questionable reviews and testimonials are common with mattresses as well as other products. Check whether there is an independent verification audit of review from services such as PowerReviews, which ensures that they have been written by legitimate customers.

Know the difference:

  • Verified Reviews: These take the review process up a notch, by incorporating audit from an independent third party. Brands use these systems to add a layer of trust and transparency for shoppers, as systems identify who has actually purchased from the store by matching emails and orders to reviews, and limiting a retailers ability to manipulate reviews.
  • Testimonials: This form of a review is a throwback from the earlier forms of marketing, where a business might ask a favorable customer to write a letter of referral. Many mattress businesses still only use referrals, offering a page of glowing comments where they decide what will be posted. Testimonials are a valid form of advertisement, but the brand should still allow user-posted reviews as well so you can get a less-biased view.

Mattress reviews can also be found through search engines as well as social networks. Bear in mind that the manufacturer is most likely trying to sell one of their lines of mattresses, most likely the top of the line. The best way to get an accurate picture of a brand is to see what independent reviews on third party websites say. Several consumer oriented websites like ePinions.com and ViewPoints.com exist to help consumers locate unbiased reviews, so these are worth checking out. You can also take a look at social media pages and see what other people are saying.

Trusted consumer websites which are well-known for comparing various products may offer mattress reviews. Some compile statistics and offer reports, others publish articles discussing or comparing specific products. These are generally unbiased; however always remember to check for affiliations (banner ads and disclaimers can often tell you if they are sponsored by a specific brand or purpose) .  Learning how to assess mattress reviews will help consumers weed out the useful opinions and choose the right mattress for their needs, and make better buying decisions in general.

How to Use Mattress Reviews

Begin by making a list of personal concerns and questions regarding various types and brands of mattresses. If neck or back pain is an issue, then attempt to discern what others with similar problems have experienced with various types of mattresses. This holds true for sufferers of any type of chronic pain including arthritis or Fibromyalgia. Reviewer’s comments often mention that they have suffered from a particular ailment and whether a mattress type has helped them.

Understand what problems you hope to correct or improve with the new mattress (back pain, pressure points, durability, allergies, etc). This will help you determine which type of construction would provide the most benefits, and give a good focus point when sifting through reviews. Some websites’ review systems may even allow you search for a specific keyword, or offer summaries of “pros and cons” people have identified in their reviews for information at-a-glance.

One of the difficulties of assessing reviews lies in the fact that so many types and grades of mattresses are available. Are you interested in a memory foam mattress, latex mattress, or simply trying to find an innerspring mattress? Comparing amongst the various brands and qualities of these can seem daunting. Here are how the average mattress categories compare overall, to provide you a baseline for comparing when you start researching:

  • Innerspring – 62% or 3.1/5
  • Memory Foam – 82% or 4.1/5
  • Natural Latex – 85% or 4.3/5
  • Latex Hybrids – 70% or 3.5/5

What to Look for in Mattress Reviews

The difficulty with this type of research is that it is subjective. Not everyone will have the same experience with the same type of bed. Additionally, what one person finds too firm or too expensive another may not, thus characteristics like price and firmness can be  less relevant when assessing mattress reviews. Here are some top ways mattress reviews can offer you useful information for your research and buying process.

  • Trends. One thing that can be most helpful when reading reviews for an product is to look for trends rather than one-off comments. We are all individuals; we like different things and see from our own perspective. Even the best-rated beds still only average reviews between 85-90% in large samples. If one person had a poor customer service experience or found the bed uncomfortable, but 20 others report positively, than you shouldn’t place too much weight on the negative review. However, if 15 people had a bad experience and 15 people have a positive one, that is a greater cause for concern, and you should investigate the specific issues.
  • Durability of the mattress. Mattresses might last forever in landfills, however the support they are able to provide generally has a certain lifespan. Reviewers may have left positive comments regarding an older set from the same manufacturer that led them to purchase another like model. Likewise they may have had a bad experience with a bed that began to sag or wear out around the edges within a year or two of purchase. Pay attention to trends regarding good or bad durability.
  • Overall value. The value of a product may be somewhat subjective, although it can be useful to some degree for making a decision. Shoppers may be able to find a memory foam mattress with the same features and possibly more than well-known brands for much less than they expect. If reviewers mention a bed being a good deal compared to others, or conversely that the price tag doesn’t match the quality, this might be relevant to your search.
  • Retailer operations. One important reason to read mattress reviews is to see what people say about the brand or company. Do they live up to their marketing promises? Did delivery and post-sale service go smoothly? Would reviewers recommend the brand to friends or buy from them again? What do repeat customers say about consistency of service?
  • Average ratings. Consider the average spectrum and how it applies to what you will see. People tend review experiences that either really good or really bad, and individual reviews will likely swing one way or the other. Like we mentioned earlier, people with simply average or unexceptional experiences may not take the energy to review a product. Try looking at the overall picture and seeing if the negative reviews are few and far between or more common than positive comments. Also, compare the overall rating to industry averages (see paragraph above)

Remember that reading mattress reviews regarding comfort can be extremely misleading. Mattress comfort depends on many factors from an individuals size to their sleep position preference. This is very subjective, with some people preferring a pillow-soft mattress while others prefer one that is as hard as a board. Some people might sleep hot and have issues with this, whereas others will not. Some may be very sensitive to odors that others would not notice.

To make the process of analyzing reviews more efficient, it can be helpful to narrow down your selection to a few types or models based on your budget, then start conducting mattress review research. Comparing reviews of a few memory foam mattresses in a similar price range is much simpler than comparing all memory foam mattresses.

Here’s an example of one way to compare reviews and organize information when buying a mattress (we used the same theme from our memory foam mattress technology comparison article). In this chart, we compared a contender from three different memory foam brands, each representing a different technology, but all within the same price range: Amerisleep’s Liberty, a plant-based memory foam mattress; Tempurpedic’s Simplicity, traditional memory foam; and Serta iComfort’s Insight, a gel-infused memory foam bed. In direct comparison, the Liberty has a slight price and review advantage, in addition to offering more memory foam of higher density.

 AmerisleepSertaTempurpedic
ModelLibertyInsightSimplicity
Price (Queen)$1049$1074$1099
Layers– 4″ 4.5lb plant-based memory foam
– 8″ core
– 2″ 4.0 lb gel memory foam
– 6″ core
– 2″ 2.5lb traditional memory foam
– 6″ core
Review Average4.6 / 5 (117 reviews)4.2 / 5 (55 reviews)3.0 / 5 (18 reviews)
% Who Recommend96%84%78%
Trends92% say comfortable
92% say supportive
80% say holds shape
15% say too firm
86% say comfortable
80% say happy w/ price
18% say too firm
11% mention sagging
70% say sleep quality
60% say comfortable
33% mention pain
22% say return issues
Reviews Verified?YesNoNo

*Pricing includes current promotions; reviews gathered from retailer websites 6/5/13.

Keep in mind that according to independent research, even the top mattresses on the market only satisfy about 4 in 5 buyers on average. It is likely that you will see this played out in reviews, as no one bed will prove comfortable to everyone. Because comfort is so subjective, if you find a type of that feels comfortable to YOU, then focus on durability and customer service when reading mattress reviews since these will prove most helpful in comparisons.

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