Frequently asked questions about buying a mattress

By The Mattress Nerd

What are the different sizes?

The most common sizes are Twin (also called Single), Full (also called Double), Queen, and King. A Twin is 39″ x 75″, a Full is 54″ x 75″. A Queen is 60″ x 80″. A King is 76″ x 80″. There is also a Twin Extra-Long at 39″ x 80″ There are also some odd sizes in between, but they are much rarer (such as the Full XL, the Three Quarter Bed, etc).  If you need more information, I have a whole guide on this that can be found here:  Mattress Sizes

What’s a California King?

Contrary to popular belief, a California King is smaller than a regular King in width and overall surface area. It’s 4 inches narrower and 4 inches longer than a regular King. A California king is 72″ x 84″.

Do I need to buy a boxspring?

Boxsprings these days, despite the name, rarely contain actual springs. Most are just rigid foundations. They exist to support the mattress. As long as you have a solid surface to support the mattress, you don’t need a boxspring. This means the floor is fine and most platform beds are fine. Old boxsprings that had actual springs in it are not fine. Neither is just a plain metal frame with one bar, or a bed with 3 slats. As long as you have a platform bed with either a solid surface or enough slats that the mattress won’t be able to bend in between them, you can get away with not having a boxspring.

Do I need a frame?

Like a boxspring, a frame is there to support the mattress. You can put the boxspring and mattress directly on the floor, but that 1) doesn’t look nice, 2) isn’t as clean since you’re closer to the floor, and 3) eliminates any possible storage space under the bed. If you get a mattress a Full size or bigger, make sure the frame has a center support bar with at least one leg going from that bar to the ground.

What’s the best mattress?

The best mattress is the one that keeps you in proper alignment from head to toe while simultaneously minimizing pressure to your body. This varies from person to person. See my guide on how to select a mattress for more details.

If you’re looking at the direct-to-consumer online mattresses, check out my Mattress Quiz to help select which one might be good for you.

How much should a mattress cost?

Spend as much as is necessary to keep your body in proper alignment and minimize pressure to your body. In my mattress buying guide, I give some examples of what you get for each range.


Comments (55)

  1. From what I have read, mattresses made of latex last longer than those made with memory foam. I cannot find latex mattresses in stores, however. They all seem to be found in the “bed in a box” sites. Is it possible to get a latex mattress in any of the mattress chain stores? I am not wanting to repeat my last two experiences with mattresses that deteriorated in a short time.

    • Hi Peggy!
      Latex mattresses can definitely be found at various retailers! One of our favorite “traditional” brands that offer a latex mattress is Aireloom. They are sold at many Macy’s locations and other mattress retailers. They have a helpful location finder on their Arieloom website depending on where you are located! Additionally, most “bed in a box” brands offer generous trial periods, so you can ensure the mattress you buy is right for you! Feel free to check out our top picks for best latex mattress

  2. I am looking for a Sealy firm queen mattress PP Caversham, #512574, SN 120524163457, manufactured on 05/24/2016 in Reg No. 14 Texas. I know model names and numbers change constantly, so I am looking for a comparable Sealy mattress. I especially want a mattress with a firm edge since I sit on the edge to put on my shoes, etc.susa

  3. Hi I purchased a Pineville LCF PT mattresses and base form Sears as is. With that being said, I need a remote and the electric parts that operate the bed a piece is broken think the item # is 82/6394 or 82/6335 Can you please help me with this

  4. My mom is looking at a Beautyrest Greenmont full mattress for sale at Mattress Firm – mattress only for sale (I think this may be a sale price at
    $ 1263.20.
    This seems pricey. What other names does this mattress go by made by BeautyRest.

  5. I’m in Australia and need to source an electric blanket for my Super King mattress / bed. This would be different to US sizing as, in Australia, a “Super King” is a square mattress, measuring 2030 millimeters by 2030 millimeters, or 79.92126 inches by 79.92126 inches according to Google conversion. I don’t suppose you would know how I would go about obtaining an electric blanket for this?

    • That’s not much different from our regular king, which is 76×80 inches. Blankets aren’t the exact same size as the bed to begin with (they’re much larger), so that 4 inch difference on one side (about 10cm) won’t make a big difference.

  6. I have a European king size bed with a center beam ( top about 1 1/2 inch wide) and two separate box springs underneath. The mattress on top seems to be much higher in the middle from front to back. we suspect the box springs are slightly lower than the center beam. Can we put in two plywood sheets on top of the box springs — or what else can we do?

  7. I have tried a bed in a box type mattress for over a month and have found that it is not supportive enough and will be sending it back. My spouse and I have always been a back and stomach sleeper and preferred firmer mattresses. With this mattress, I am only able to sleep on my side and have been feeling more tired upon awaking. I was hoping to try a different brand of innerspring before I end up going to a retail store and purchasing a well known brand, such as Stearns & Foster. Is it possible the coil gauges are not as strong in the compressed bed in a box mattresses? I am considering firmer options in the Nest Bedding Alexander Hybrid, Sapira, Aviya, Voila, and Winkbed as potential options. From your knowledge and experience, which would have good quality springs and be comparable to a Stearns and Foster luxury firm?


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