Frequently asked questions about buying a mattress
What are the 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)
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.