How much to spend
Many people who I talk to have no idea what a mattress is supposed to cost. They hear specials on the TV along the lines of “pillowtop mattresses, queen size sets for only $299!” and they assume that it’s for a good quality every night use bed, and there are options even less than that.
The mattress industry does itself a disservice by advertising like this, because that’s usually the absolute rock bottom as far as price and quality go.
I’ll give a breakdown of what you can expect at each price range. These prices are for queen sized mattress and boxspring sets. Subtract ~100-300 for the boxspring, or multiply by ~50% for a king. (Note: These are what I consider the “real” prices for the mattresses, when they’re on sale. Retail prices might be much higher)
$0-200: Unlikely to find a decent mattress at this price.
$200-400: These are your basic guest room mattresses. Expect to see those 420 coil Bonnell units I warn about. These may or may not have a pillowtop, and will have a 1 to 5 year warranty. Can be used by an adult for every night use in a pinch, or if you’re on a really tight budget, but you don’t get much in the way of comfort or support.
$400-600: These range from some of the nicer guest room mattresses to maybe the bare minimum for every night use by an adult. You will either get nicer foams on the top than the cheaper ones, or stronger coils, but not usually both. These tend to be good for college students on a budget.
$600-1000: These are about the average range for every night use mattresses. You will get the better coil systems and advanced foams. This is also the price range that the lowest priced memory foams start appearing. The direct-to-consumer mattresses generally fall somewhere around this price range. If you find a memory foam mattress for significantly less than $600, you should be very skeptical.
$1000-1500: These mattresses will be the entry level of the luxury mattress. The coil systems might be a little more advanced, or they’ll use thicker layers of the specialty foams. The foam mattresses will be a bit thicker, and you start getting into the big name brand memory foam models.
$1500-2500: Mattresses at this price range will have just about everything you could hope for in a mattress. You’ll get the thickest layers of the best foams, strong coil systems, and longer warranties. If you’re spending $2,000 on a mattress, you’re very likely to be getting a great one.
$2500-5000: There’s honestly not much you can add to a mattress to get to this price range. You might start hearing about materials such as “New Zealand wool” and “Mongolian horse hair.” Only spend this much on a mattress if the ones at the lower tiers don’t keep you in proper alignment or relieve pressure as well and you have the money to spend.
$5000+: I’ve only ever tried one mattress in this range, a Duxiana, and it did not feel as good as mattresses for 80% less money. There’s only so much you can add to a mattress before it’s counterproductive. I’d take a $3000 mattress with a $2000 adjustable base over a $5000 mattress any day.