Most mattresses look very similar to someone who doesn’t know much about what they’re made of. Here we explain the different elements to question before purchasing your mattress.
Most foams are identical in looks except for colour and feel but what’s most important is its density. It is the weight of the compounds that make up the particular grade of foam. Softness or hardness does not come into play, it’s the density that counts. Any foam in any foam mattress or a combination spring/foam mattress has to have sufficient density to support your body over time. Low density will result in quick sagging and therefore sleep discomfort.
An all foam mattress should have a density of no less than 40 kilos per cubic metre, preferably higher. Any topper (memory foam or other) used to soften the surface of a mattress has to have an equal or close density to 40 otherwise it eventually fails and becomes useless.
Foam in a spring mattress needs to be generous in thickness ie. at least 4cm and also have the required density. Less than 4cm is not enough to sustain body weight over a longer period of time. If the foam fails for lack of both, the spring unit will start to be felt apart from the sag that sets in.
Therefore ask your mattress supplier to specify the density and the thickness of the foam used in your mattress.
Latex mattress blocks all look the same with numerous holes on either surface but appearances can be deceiving. In the EU, any mattress that is made up of at least 20% latex can be advertised as a latex product. Latex blocks that have 80% and over can be advertised as natural latex. In terms of price, the difference between synthetic latex (20% latex and the rest in petroleum-derived components) and natural latex (80% and up) is very significant, as latex, also referred to as rubber, is an internationally high-value commodity. So if you’re paying more for a latex mattress ensure it actually is made up of natural latex! No one wants to be cheated!
The value of a latex mattress also depends on the amount of latex per cubic meter as well as other technical aspects. A good latex mattress has to be of sufficient density to sustain one’s body weight over time otherwise body support will suffer from use over a shorter period of time than expected.
There is no way that an untrained eye can notice the difference between different latex blocks and whilst density can be measured, a laboratory test is required to determine the latex content in a block. A low volume latex mattress may be more appealingly soft but over time it won’t last and this is why looks can be deceiving!
To summarise, there are 100% synthetic mattresses that have zero latex in them, mattresses with 20% latex mixed with synthetic compounds that are still advertised as latex mattresses and mattresses with 80% and more latex within in it which is the best option in our opinion. The more natural latex is used the better because latex is natures spring, it is natures bedding. Therefore ask your mattress supplier the percentage of natural latex used in your mattress and that why you will know what you’re paying for!
Most people would believe that all springs are the same but actually, they are not. Superior springs have thicker wire and use prime steel. Some even undergo a hardening process to ensure a longer life and better support.
Pocket springs are different in shape and construction to the traditional bonell springs. They are the result of a research process that has reshaped mattress springs and the way they work to provide support where it is needed. Pocket springs have revolutionized spring mattresses because they allow independent sleep and can also be zoned with softer areas in the shoulder and pelvic region and a firmer centre.
Ask your supplier to provide more detail about the springs in the mattress but the price is usually a good indicator of quality.
4. Mattress Covers
The cover of a mattress is usually quilted to make it more attractive to the buyer. It is either lined with a layer of foam or one of fibre to give it an embossed look that is appealing. In many cases, quilting serves to hide the supplier’s sins because he is creating more volume which is deceptive, especially when thin materials are used and made to appear substantive when they are not necessarily so. A good fabric needs to have a minimum weight of 380 grams preferably, even more, to last as long as the mattress interior especially if the cover is a fixed one (not removable).
Quilting may enhance the mattress look but it also generates unnecessary heat, especially in hot countries like Malta. Today, one can find flat materials that are referred to as temperature regulating, others are made from a high percentage of natural materials that can dissipate heat generated by the body through the capillary structure of fibres and these are ideal for our climate. They do not cool you but they do not increase the heat between you and the mattress.
Ultimately, the more natural materials are used the better for your body and your sleep.
It is said that information is king and nothing beats doing your research before any purchase. In addition put your trust in reputable dealers with a track record and do not get taken in by glib talk. Many are those with 10 and 15-year guarantees on their mattress but with a defunct guarantor.
Finally, ensure that what you are paying for is what you actually get and there is no better way of checking this than by access to your mattress interior. If the mattress cover has a zip all the better because it shows the supplier and creator of your mattress has nothing to hide.