How to Choose a Mattress. 5 Easy Steps

To feel refreshed and fully awake, we need to pay attention to our sleeping place. A massive range of mattresses in retail and online stores leads customers to more confusion than making the only right decision.

According to, the issue of getting the most suitable product concerns many consumers. This article will help understand the differences between various mattress models, their fillings, and different firmness degrees.


Firmness is one of the essential characteristics of an orthopedic mattress. Complete rest and well-being of a person depends mainly on the firmness. For comfortable rest, the best option on the scale is Medium, but the choice remains individual.

Extra Firm

Firm mattresses are recommended for people with spinal disorders, osteochondrosis. The filling can be compressed polyurethane foam, struttofiber, coconut fibers, composites. As a result, the surface is not soft and comfortable, but if a person has spine problems, Extra Firm option is perfect support for the sick or injured vertebrae. 

Sleeping on such mattresses is also recommended to people with excellent health, but those over 50 years of age should be careful when choosing. In any case, firm mattresses are quite specific products, chosen either because of the love for hard sleeping surfaces or due to medical prescriptions. There are also softer Firm and Medium Firm options.


The Medium category is the most recommended firmness for a healthy person of average body size and height. Inexpensive models are filled with composite materials like struttofiber, artificial latex, and polyurethane foam with typical orthopedic qualities. More expensive models have a combination of natural latex, memory foam, and coconut coir inside. Such mattresses are in high demand.

Extra Soft

To ensure low mattress firmness, manufacturers use polyurethane foam and natural latex layers. Natural latex filling is assigned to orthopedic padding, and polyurethane foam is not suitable for people with increased weight. Often Soft and Medium Soft variants are chosen for the elderly, as well as for 8-15-year-old kids.

To clarify the firmness of a mattress, you should check the accompanying documents to know its weight limit. A skinny person will feel comfortable on a soft model, and those who have extra pounds should opt for a firmer option.

Weight Limit

In addition to the above criteria, the weight of a future owner plays an important role. It is essential since the service life of the product depends on it, as well as comfort.

Make sure not to exceed the maximum weight per sleeping place indicated in the characteristics of the mattress. It is better to have a reserve for this indicator in the range of 11-44 lbs. Moreover, keep in mind that the firmness is indicated for people of medium size (154-198 lbs). For an overweight person (over 242 lbs), a Medium mattress can be too soft and vice versa, for a person weighing 88-110 lbs, such a mattress can be too firm (Medium Firm).

  • Overweight people will feel comfortable on rather high mattresses.
  • For people with average weight, experts advise opting for mattresses of medium thickness.
  • A skinny person will not be able to exert enough pressure on the thick base of a mattress, so it makes no sense to buy a too thick mattress.
  • Thin models (around 1″ thickness) are not suitable for sleep.
  • These products are called mattress pads. They are suitable for creating comfort on various couches, beds, leveling their surfaces.

These products are called mattress covers. They are suitable for creating comfort on various couches, beds, leveling their surfaces.

Mattress Size and Height 

Comfortable rest depends mostly on the height of a mattress. Moreover, this factor is also crucial in terms of aesthetics. The thinnest mattresses are up to 5.5″ thick. They are usually designed for children or infrequent seasonal use. Experts say that thin models can negatively affect health, particularly the spine if the weight of a person is significant. For adults, the following height reference points will be appropriate in terms of the leading mattress for permanent use:

  • When choosing a mattress for adults, opt for the 5.5-12″ thick products.
  • If you buy a springless monolithic mattress, its thickness should be at least 5.5-6.3″.
  • High-quality mattresses with independent spring blocks are made in thickness not less than 7-7.5″. All that is less are super cheap options with thin filling.
  • Manufacturers also offer models with multi-layer filling, which provides more convenience and comfort. Elite mattresses can be from 9.5″ to 15.7″ thick.
  • The standard height of an orthopedic mattress for adults is the range of 7.5-9″.

For children over four years, the use of very thin mattresses (1-2″) is categorically unacceptable.

When it comes to the size of a mattress with orthopedic properties, the question is about its suitability for the base and/or bed on which it will be used: 

  • If a mattress is wider than the bed, this may lead to either hanging off the bed’s edges or simply not fitting the bed;
  • If the matress width is smaller than needed, this may cause inconvenience during rest, inaccuracy in the look of the bed;
  • In case of inappropriate length, the same uncomfortable picture will turn out, leading to discomfort or impossibility of exploitation.
  • The most popular sizes of mattresses for single beds are 31.5х74.8″, 31.5х78.7″, 35х78.7″. 
  • For double-sized beds, 47х78.7″, 55х78.7″, 63х78.7″ and 71х78.7″ are considered standard. I recommend to take standard sizes – it will simplify the selection of furniture and accessories.
  • If the size of your mattress is out of standard values, you can always order a mattress in a non-standard size.

Tip. The best option is to choose a bed and mattress at the same time, with exact mutual parameters.

Mattress Types

Let’s figure out the differences.

Bonnell Spring 

Mattresses with dependent spring blocks are called classical, and their use lasts more than a hundred years. They are called “Bonnell” and have no orthopedic properties.

The use of old and failed spring mattresses leads to damage to the vertebral joints and curvature of the spine.

Among other disadvantages, there is spring wear due to mutual friction which leads to squeaking and impossibility to have a rest with comfort in silence. Dust is collected between the springs, which not only negatively affects a sleeping person on the mattress but also promotes the development of parasites in it.

The low cost of spring models attracts customers. However, before buying, you should weigh all the pros and cons, to avoid possible health problems.

Pocket Spring 

Such mattresses attract consumers with a simple but very convenient design. Each of the springs is located in a separate case, which allows you to move without contacting other spring blocks. When pressing several blocks, the neighboring springs will remain in the same position. At the top and bottom of the blocks, fillers are placed horizontally, which, along with the springs, creates an exceptional mattress with excellent orthopedic and anatomical properties.

Each spring works pointwise, independently – this means that the mattress is perfectly adapted to each human body bend, providing the necessary spine support. The usual spring tightness is 250 springs per 10.8 square feet (1 m). However, there are also models with advanced design blocks – Multipocket (about 500 springs per 10.8 square feet) and Microprocket (more than 900 springs per 1 m). Such models can be recommended to people with high weight, as well as to those who want to get the best orthopedic back support and get everything from modern spring mattresses.

Mattresses with an independent spring blocks are good for people from 12 years of age, considering the firmness degree. The following points can be considered as advantages:

  • Expressed orthopedic properties with excellent back support;
  • Long service life;
  • No spring creaking;
  • Can be used by overweight people;
  • Reliability (preserving of basic features even after active kid games);
  • Sleep and rest convenience.

The price for these mattresses varies widely – from inexpensive TFK models with spring blocks and artificial fillers to expensive mattresses with solid super-tight spring blocks and high-end class materials.

Springless Mattresses with Polyurethane Foam

This is the most common type of inexpensive springless mattresses today. They are often sold in compact wrapped packages and purchased for children, teenagers, and adults as cost-effective options. Perfect for a summer house or a rented apartment. However, there are good options that are perfectly suitable for permanent use. However, pay attention to the firmness of polyurethane foam – such mattresses should be “Medium” or “Medium Soft.”


  • Availability and low cost;
  • Firmness range from Extra Soft to Medium;
  • Quite good orthopedic qualities of models with dense polyurethane foam;
  • Portability convenience.


  • Low service life;
  • Anatomical properties are not the best.


A well-thought-out approach here will allow you to purchase a model suitable for personal needs because filling material directly affects the firmness, eco-friendliness, and reliability of the product.

Remember! Such fillings as fluff, inexpensive foam padding, and cotton wool do not have orthopedic characteristics. Among the unpopular cotton wool properties, there is lump formation, which prevents comfort during sleep.


The basis for the production of latex layers is the hevea juice which is processed in a unique way to produce foamy mass. The prepared material serves as a perfect filler that fits the body and supports the spine. 

Latex can be both soft and firm enough. At the same time, the artificial material is characterized by a higher degree of firmness than the natural one. The popularity of latex mattresses is evidenced by their demand among both children and adults.


  • Comfort;
  • Anatomical repetition of body contours.
  • Sleep comfort for people with back problems;
  • Perfectly withstands heavy loads and overweight people, fast recovery.
  • Combination with different materials allows for increased firmness if necessary;
  • The use of the content in soft mattress models preserves both sleep comfort and orthopedic properties;
  • No allergic effects;
  • Fast elimination of excessive moisture;
  • Wear resistance under heavy loads.

Among the cons are the high cost and fragility of artificial material which dries up after some time, resulting in a split.

Polyurethane Foam

The high popularity of polyurethane foam (PU foam, orthopedic foam, artificial latex) is explained by a foam rubber that has various orthopedic additives. Polyurethane foam allows making orthopedic mattresses with significant characteristics at a rather low price.


  • Affordable price;
  • Immunity to high loads, jumps and games are not critical;
  • Orthopedic properties, for those who care about their health.

Problematic aspects include the difficulty of removing absorbed moisture, as well as cleaning problems. Besides, the service life of mattresses with polyurethane foam is rather short – from 4 to 9 years.

Coconut coir

Elastic plates made of pressed coconut fibers are among the reasonably durable materials that are often used to fill orthopedic mattresses. Coir is usually combined with latex and polyurethane layers to create an excellent surface for sleep and relaxation. Alternatively, it can be used without any additional softening agents, thus, resulting in high-firmness mattresses.

The advantages of choosing a coconut bed mattress include:

  • Hypoallergenic material;
  • Prevents bacterial growth;
  • Has rapid moisture evaporation;
  • Not a subject to rotting;
  • Eco-friendly material;
  • Excellent ventilation;
  • Therapeutic and orthopedic properties;
  • No harmful components;
  • Proper back support during sleep;
  • Acceptable for children of all ages.

The disadvantages include high cost due to the complexity of processing and material preparations.

Mattresses with coconut filling are characterized by fragility (should not be exposed to impacts and twists).

Holofiber and Struttofiber

An interesting name refers to the unique properties of a material, due to its unique structure – vertically positioned fibers. Struttofiber mattresses can also be produced with goat hair, horsehair, and linen threads. The excellent combination is received by mixing struttofiber or holofiber with polyurethane foam or independent spring blocks. Holofiber is a very similar material, but the fibers in it are directed randomly, which makes this material slightly softer in comparison with struttofiber.

The advantages of struttofiber/holofiber are as follows:

  • Elasticity;
  • Wear resistance;
  • Hypoallergenic material;
  • Excellent breathability;
  • Perfect orthopedic features;
  • Rapid moisture removal from the surface;
  • Fast restoration to the original shape;
  • Wide firmness range, from medium to high.

Mattresses with Memory Effect

Memory foam is a material with a foam structure that allows the surface to adapt to the body by bending under the person, taking shape, and recovering within minutes after the load. Such mattresses provide excellent conditions for sleeping, though at low temperatures the unique material becomes firmer.



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I'm a co-founder and writer here at Unfinished Man. I write, manage the look and feel of the website, and make sure that nothing breaks. I also reply to the vast majority of our emails, so if you're sending one through, I suggest you be nice. Everyone says I'm the least offensive of our writers, so they gave the email jockey task to me. When I'm not improving the site, I write about fashion, video games, politics, and anything related to science and technology.

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