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The Definitive Guide to Buying Your Next Mattress

Let’s face it… does anyone really like mattress shopping?

Regardless of whether people actually enjoy shopping for a mattress, it’s possibly one of the most important purchases you can make for you (and your partner or special someone). We’ve all heard the stats: that you spend over a third of your life asleep (and also 7 years of your life trying to fall asleep).

Bottom line: Your mattress purchase is important. Whether you’re trying to relieve pressure, increase your comfort and support, manage back pain, or just get a good night’s sleep, it’s important for you to pick the right mattress for yourself.

That’s why we created this mattress buying guide. Just the hard and honest truth about shopping for and buying a mattress, whether you’re looking to replace your mattress right now with a new mattress or just curious.

firm mattress

Get Over The Word “Firm”

For years, the word “firm” has been synonymous with a “good” mattress. Lucky for all of us, we’re in the 21st century and things are a little different.

A mattress no longer must be as hard as the floor to be good. In fact, too firm may be painful. If you purchase a handcrafted mattress made with premium materials, today’s mattresses can combine luxurious comfort yet still provide orthopedic support. Don’t rely on product labels – lie down, feel the firmness and you be the judge.

Speaking of laying down when you shop for a mattress…

mattress shopping

Try Out Your Mattress In Person!!!

Regardless of what you’re going to read online from online mattress manufacturers, you. need. to. try. your. mattress. in. person. first. Full stop. If you stop reading this mattress buying guide now, at least take that pearl of wisdom with you.

Why’s it so important to try your mattress out in person? There’s a couple of reasons.

First, you should actually make sure the type of mattress is the right fit for you (and anyone else who will be using it). You might think you like firm mattresses, but might actually feel better in a more plush bed. Or vice versa. The only way you’ll find the best mattress for yourself is to actually try it out.

But what about the 100-night trial period guarantees (with free shipping) from bed in a box manufacturers? Well, we hate to bust your bubble, but (just like those returns that are sitting in their return boxes outside your door)… are you actually going to return it? Or just “deal with it” or assume it needs to “break in”? We’re pretty sure it will be the latter. (And make sure you read the fine print when dealing with these 100-night guarantees…)

What’s more, it’s important to try out different types of mattresses because we all don’t sleep in the same position (side sleeper, back sleeper, stomach sleeper, etc). You’ll want to evaluate the best mattress for your pressure point, the appropriate firmness level and the best edge support for you and your body. The only real way to do that is to try it out in person.

Did we mention we have an awesome showroom with great sleep experts who will help you out, and leave you alone if you need to take a quick nap to find your perfect mattress? Come visit!

Understand The Different Types of Mattresses

At Shovlin, we always want to make sure our customer understands the different types of mattresses, along with their advantages and disadvantages. We make a wide variety of mattresses at our factory, from innerspring mattresses to organic mattresses to latex mattresses.

So, we’ll give you a quick breakdown of the common mattress types:

spring mattress

Innerspring Mattresses

Ol’ faithful. Innerspring mattresses have been around since the late 1800s, and for good reason. They give great comfort and support and are affordable.

When it comes to innerspring mattresses, first make sure the mattress has heavy gauge coils and supportive side edges. Most manufactures nowadays use cheaper coils and the mattresses give out faster (protip: we use the heaviest gauge coils in the industry).

You’ll also want to make sure that the mattress has steel side guards (most companies use foam) to keep the mattress from buckling when you sit on the edge.

Finally, you may want to look into pillow toppers for your innerspring mattress. This can add an additional layer of comfort, pressure relief and help with pressure points. Just make sure you actually test out the pillow topper on the mattress you plan to buy, so you can see how it affects the firmness level of the mattress. 

(Pro-tip: Look for a mattress that can be flipped. It will increase the lifespan of your mattress!)

latex mattress

Latex Mattresses

Latex mattresses are typically a pricier option compared to innerspring, but the upgrade can definitely be worth it.

Latex is naturally breathable, durable and hypoallergenic. Even more, latex mattresses are perfect for those suffering with back pain, as they provide gentle cushioning with superior support.

When looking at latex, make sure you’re getting a high grade latex (hint, hint: we use six inches of all-natural Talalay latex – the highest grade latex available that’s also eco-friendly!). Also, make sure the latex mattress isn’t a latex blend. Many companies looking to “save you money” use man-made products created by blending latex with other materials to create an inexpensive, inferior alternative.

Similarly to the innerspring, you may want to consider a pillow topper to customize your comfort and pressure relief.

hybrid mattress

Hybrid Mattresses

Hybrid mattresses are a combination of latex and innerspring mattresses. They can be the best of both worlds for a lot of customers.

But when it comes to hearing the words ‘hybrid mattress’, here’s something to watch out for… a lot of companies claim hybrid mattresses when they’re just adding in some “gel” or latex to an already low-quality innerspring or memory foam base.

Our hybrid mattresses combine the strong steel side supports and innersprings with a top layer of breathable latex for superior comfort. Beyond that, since we manufacture all mattresses in house, we give customers the option to have their hybrid be flippable (hint: basically no one else does this) to increase comfort and longevity.

organic mattress

Organic Mattresses

Organic mattresses are made of all natural components to give you a clean, natural, and sustainable way to sleep. 

While many manufacturers claim to make “green” mattresses, it’s important to make sure your manufacturer of choice can verify the origin of all of their components.

Not to toot our own horn, but our organic mattresses are two-sided, natural, eco-friendly, non-toxic and made from the greenest, raw materials in the industry. Beyond this, we’re proud to also offer a Vegan organic mattress, made with organic cotton used is not genetically modified or subjected to chemical pesticides or fertilizers.

Memory Foam Mattresses

Here’s where we’re going to get controversial, but we’re not fans of memory foam.


Some memory foam is extremely inexpensive, which means its lower quality. That lower quality can cause issues like mattress sagging and breathability issues. Even with companies claiming more expensive “gel” or “breathable” foam, it’s all marketing jargon that – at the end of the day – won’t give you a great night’s sleep.

Simply put, we strongly consider you to try an innerspring, latex or organic mattress before you think about shipping yourself a memory form mattress in a box.

Consider More Than Just Your Mattress

When it comes to buying a mattress or replacing a mattress, be aware that it’s not only important having a great *cough*Shovlin*cough* mattress, but it’s important to consider your bedding as well.

The Pillow

Did you know that 9 times out of 10, when someone complains about neck pain in the bed, it’s the pillow – not the mattress? Translation: Ditch the inexpensive, one type fits all pillow and get something better.

When you’re laying down on your pillow, especially if you’re a side sleeper, you want to make sure your pillow helps elevate your head so your spine is properly aligned.

As a result, big fans of BedGear pillows. They come in a variety of heights that can help you make sure you’re sleeping with an aligned spine for your sleeping position.

The Bed Frame

Getting a good night’s sleep is often attributed to mattress quality. But the bed frame that mattress sits upon can play just as important of a role. The bed frame is the foundation of the mattress, and without a quality frame in which to place your mattress, sleep can be disturbed by squeaking, creaking, sliding, and more.

One of a bed frame’s primary purposes is to hold your mattress in place. That’s why you don’t want a frame that’s too big or too small for your mattress, because it will inevitably cause unnecessary shifting and sliding as you move around in bed. (That creaking in the night? It’s not a ghost.)

Let’s be honest, you don’t want to wake up to disheveled sheets, pillows sliding down into cracks, or, if the frame is too small, or the mattress hanging off the bed frame (which is VERY unsafe).

Bed frames also need to be able to physically support the weight of a mattress.  A weak bed frame could allow the mattress to sag or result in instabilities that require a premature frame replacement.

Bottom line, get a bed frame made with high-quality materials, such as metals (wrought iron), or solid hardwoods (oak, walnut, maple). (PS: Check out our Beds & Accessories page to see our massive catalog of solid bed frame options)

The Mattress Pad

If you’re not familiar with the value a mattress pad can offer, it’s time to get acquainted!

A mattress pad is a relatively thin cushion typically made from three layers of material. The top layer is often quilted and highly-absorbent, and made from something like cotton. The second layer is the filling, made from a mixture of materials and typically an inch or two thick to keep the pad even and provide comfort. The third, bottom layer is the one that comes in direct contact with the surface of your mattress.

One primary reason to purchase one is to protect against general wear and tear. A mattress pad can add extra years to your mattress’s lifespan because it acts as a protective layer, decreasing the likelihood of rips, tears, sagging, or staining.

Pads also keep the body’s natural oils and skin cells, along with bacteria and dirt, from seeping into your mattress. Over time, this dirt and grime gets trapped within the mattress, which means that every time you go to sleep, you’re coming back in contact with that unclean surface. (Ew.)

Lastly, there’s added cushion and comfort that comes with using a mattress pad! If you haven’t been fully satisfied with the feel and firmness of your mattress, a mattress pad can be a quick, simple fix to gain the support you’re looking for, without buying an entirely new mattress.

The Box Spring

Buying a new mattress? Ditch the old box spring. You really want to avoid putting a new mattress on an old box spring.

A mattress and its base are made to work together, not fight each other. Using them together will prolong the life of the bed and reduce wear and tear. Be sure that your set is the right match.

Not sure what you need for your base? We’ve got you covered.

The Size

Size matters. Especially when it comes to mattresses.

Just because you have great memories on the Twin XL from college, doesn’t mean it’s the right choice for you into your mid to late 20’s. You need to get a good mattress size that works for you and your body (and anyone else who might be using it).

Bottom line, if you sleep with a partner, don’t get anything smaller than a queen.  Make sure you can both fit comfortably and save some room for the kids, pets, blankets, or stuffed animals. (We don’t judge.)

The Bottom Line

When it comes to buying a mattress, you need to take your time and make an informed decision.

While online bed in a box manufacturers are pushing for the here and now sale, you need to try your local brick and mortar mattress store so you can actually try out the bed in person. (Your body will thank you!)

We hope this mattress buying guide gives you a cohesive list of things to consider – whether you’re thinking of buying a mattress now or just doing some research.

Have questions about shopping for a mattress, what type of mattress is best for you, or ready to get a new mattress? Give us a call, what online with Super Ron at the bottom or swing by our showroom and factory in Fanwood, New Jersey. We’d love to both hear from you and meet you in-person!


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Sunday 12pm – 5pm
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