I think we can all agree on the fact that no one really likes to buy mattresses. They are bulky, come in a plethora of designs and sizes, there is a lot of research involved, and you may still end up with a product you don’t really like.
However, regardless of your feelings towards the activity, if your current bed is saggy and you can feel your partner’s every move, a new mattress is long overdue. Now, to make sure you will manage to go through the process and find the best mattress for your needs, I put together a short guide with instructions and details on each type of sleeping surface.
Today I’ll focus my attention on best queen size mattresses because they accommodate most people just right. If you go wider (a king size, for instance) you may have too much space for yourself and if you go narrower, then you may feel like in a crib. In my opinion, the queen size is the best one can choose – it’s small enough to fit most cozy bedrooms and it’s big enough to allow two adults to sleep comfy together.
But first, let’s discuss the shopping process. There are two ways you can go about it: online or brick and mortar stores. I personally like the first one because it completely cuts out the salespeople. When you buy online, you get to enjoy a pleasant experience and you can shop for the best mattress in your jammies. Maximum comfort and relaxation!
However, the downside of shopping online is that you can’t actually test the surface until it arrives in your home. Of course, if you don’t like it, you can return it and try a new one, but many buyers prefer to stick with the one they’ve got just to avoid the hassle of the return process. Most online companies try to make it as easy as possible, but just the thought of moving the mattress and getting it out again is too scary for most of us.
The best solution is to combine both retail and online stores for a successful first purchase. This means that you’ll have to go to local stores and test various surfaces and once you find the one, order it online. Still, I recommend ordering the exact same model as features and settings are different from one producer to another.
Buying Guide for Queen Mattresses
There are plenty of top rated mattresses on the market right now and each comes with tons of features, designs, materials, and other specifics. In fact, there are so many models and they all look so great at first sight that it may confuse you.
But don’t worry; I am ready with the details so you won’t have to sleep in a horrible bed for the next 10 to 15 years. First, let’s talk about the size: is a queen mattress for you?
If you don’t know the size of a queen mattress, you should know that it is smaller than a king size one but bigger than a full-size bed. As I mentioned above, to me, this is the best size as it offers the level of comfort you need in a couple. With a king size mattress, there will be plenty of space left unused and it is just a shame to waste space just because you wanted a huge bed.
The size of a queen mattress is 60 inches wide and 80 inches long (7 inches wider and 5 inches longer than what we know as a double or a full-size mattress). This is the ideal size for most couples all over the world as it offers about 30 inches of personal space. So you can cuddle whenever you want, but still get some space for yourself when you feel the need.
Of course, the best queen mattress can also be a great bed for a single person, but only if you want lots of space for yourself. If you like to change your sleep positions often, then this type of bed may be the perfect size.
But the size of the mattress doesn’t just mean the space you have available for sleeping or moving in the bed. It’s also about the space it occupies in the room and how easy it is to maneuver. I have to be honest with you: a queen size is quite difficult to maneuver (considering the dimensions). If you have narrow halls and your room is small, this would be a bit of work (however worth it). Still, there is a solution around demolishing the house in order to bring the mattress inside, and this is the mattress in a box.
Just like it sounds, the mattress (regardless of size and material) is rolled and compressed until it fits in a box. This makes the transportation and installation a lot easier, but you should know that the concept is mostly implemented by online mattress stores. So, if you don’t like buying online, you may have to deal with the full-size of the mattress all the way.
Finally, because the queen size is quite a common dimension and most people own at least one in a lifetime, there are plenty of accessories available. This means you won’t have to pay extra for sheets, duvets, and other materials that make sleep so comfy.
Overall, the size of a queen mattress is perfect for comfort and it goes well with most bedrooms.
Types of Queen Beds
Now that we talked about the size and accommodation, I think it’s time you learn about the various types of mattresses. This is important because each comes with a unique set of features that will have an effect on your sleep comfort.
#1: Traditional Memory Foam
The traditional memory foam mattress is filled with a material called viscoelastic. This is a combination of a viscous and flexible type of foam that can change its shape under the action of heat and pressure. Of course, the change is not major, but it allows the body to sink in just enough to eliminate the painful pressure points that show up during sleep.
This type of material is a great fit for people who sleep on their side (which is over 70% of the world population) because it accommodates the hips and shoulders area and keeps the spine perfectly aligned. It’s also one of the most recommended sleeping surfaces for people who suffer from lower back pain.
However, you must know that viscoelastic is sensitive to the ambient temperature as well. This means that, at room temperature, the mattress will seem hard. The foam will get more squishy and flexible only after you lie on it for about 15 to 30 minutes as it will start warming up from your natural body heat. This aspect is important because many people expect something similar to the foam used for cushioning and when they are faced with the memory foam they consider it to be defective.
Features that matter the most
A queen size memory foam mattress is a fantastic choice for anyone looking for a comfy bed (not to mention that this type of material is easy to roll and deliver in a box)! However, there are two features that you must consider before making the purchase: density and response time.
The density is important for durability and firmness and there are three settings that can serve as guidance:
- Low density (2lb to 3.5lb)
- Medium density (3.5lb to 5lb)
- High Density (5lb to 5.3lb) –there are mattresses with higher density than this, but these are really firm and only work for certain types of sleepers.
A low-density memory foam mattress is not recommended because it is not durable and the surface is very soft when heated. This is also the surface that gives a weird feeling (like you are sinking in quicksand).
Medium density is good, but it will not be as durable as high-density mattresses which are the best in this category. They also have a good response time (the time it takes for the surface to return to the initial shape).
The response time is important if you tend to change positions during sleep. If the mattress doesn’t react to your movement quickly enough, you’ll end up feeling stuck.
#2: Gel Memory Foam – Top Queen Bed Choice
I am focusing my attention on foam mattresses first because these are the most popular models right now. This happens because they provide amazing back support and spine alignment while canceling out any motion from your partner. They’re also very durable and memory foam is highly recommended by specialists.
As we’ve already discussed traditional memory foam, I think the next best choice on your list of queen size mattresses should be a gel memory foam surface. This type of surface is nothing else but the mattress above with gel insertions.
The gel is designed to overcome one big downside in memory foam mattress: heat trapping. Because the foam is dense, there is no ventilation and the heat can’t escape. This leads to a hot mattress that can keep you up at night, transforming what was supposed to be a wonderful sleeping surface in a furnace. To reduce this problem, producers implement various cooling systems and one of them is gel microbeads.
The gel microbeads inserted in the memory foam open the cellular structure of the foam and allow for air to flow. This helps heat dissipate and the surface keeps a regular temperature during the night. The gel is also helpful in increasing the density of the foam so the surface will feel firmer and less like a giant hug.
When it comes to features, the gel memory foam surfaces are very similar to the traditional memory foam with the added benefits of the gel. So, you’ll get very little to no motion transfer, and your spine will be well-supported while your body weight will be distributed evenly all over the surface.
Some gel microbeads also have a hypoallergenic effect, keeping bed bugs and dust mites away from the foam of your mattress. Even more, it helps with reducing the specific odor of the viscoelastic, making it more bearable during the first few days.
Still, before you rush up to buy the best gel mattress, you should know that there are some downsides. For instance, if the gel beads are too big, they will damage the structure, reducing the durability of your mattress instead of supporting it. The effect won’t be visible right away, but in time, you’ll notice that your bed will start to fall apart sooner than expected.
Finally, some users noticed that, after a while, the gel microbeads don’t have that much of an effect on the level of heat in the mattress. So, I think this is more of a temporary fix up.
#3: Plant-based Memory Foam
In order to understand what exactly plant-based memory foam is, it’s important to understand traditional memory foam. As I mentioned above, this is a material called viscoelastic, but I didn’t mention that this is a 100% synthetic material. It was designed by NASA in the 1960s, to make seating more comfortable for pilots.
Since it is a manmade material, most of the substances used to create it are petroleum based which is why the mattress has a strong chemical smell when you first unwrap it. The smell goes away with time, but many people prefer to avoid memory foam, because of this smell.
It’s also a good place to mention that some producers, to make cheaper products, go overboard with the chemicals used for viscoelastic, creating possible health-threatening beds. That’s why the CertiPUR-US certification was necessary – any foam mattress with this standard is safe to buy.
Now that you know about viscoelastic, we can move on and talk about plant-based memory foam surfaces. These are mostly designed with viscoelastic created with petroleum-based chemicals in combination with plant-based ingredients. Usually, about 20% of the content is plant-based elements and 80% chemicals. This type of foam appeared as a response to the concerns connected to the traditional memory foam like off-gassing and a slow response time.
The plant-based elements are usually vegetable oils (mostly soy) and have a certain positive effect over the traditional foam. However, the improvement is not huge and there is no 100% organic mattress that you can buy (that if you feel like being eco-friendly).
The main benefits of a plant-based queen memory foam mattress consist of improved breathability and better response time.
Better breathability means less heat will be trapped in the inner structure so the mattress will sleep cooler. This is a great improvement, especially if you live in a warm climate where heat and humidity can affect the performance of a memory foam mattress.
Also, the plant-based foam is known to help eliminate or reduce the use of harmful chemicals such as CFCs, formaldehyde, phthalates, PBDEs, and VOCs in the manufacturing process. Just make sure you follow the CertiPUR-US standard as you’ll also find some cheap imitations on the market.
Finally, the response time is improved with plant-based memory foam so, if you don’t like to feel stuck in your mattress, this can be a good choice. It seems that the plant elements improve the flexibility and firmness of the surface, making it more responsive to change.
Compared with the foam beds I mentioned above, an innerspring bed comes with a different structure and construction. First of all, this type of mattress has three elements:
- The core
- The Foundation
- The Upholstery
The core is a steel coil innerspring support system that provides the back support and distributes the body weight. If it were to compare with a memory foam mattress, this is the middle foam layer, the one around which the entire mattress is built.
The foundation is usually wool and offers support for the spring layer, while the upholstery is the comfort layer and can be designed with any material that fits. Sometimes, the comfort layer can be created with a type of foam, to make it softer and more interesting.
Overall, the innerspring queen mattresses are well-built but heavy and offer great support to sleepers everywhere. They’re also some of the most popular mattresses in the world as they’ve been around for ages. Of course, the back support and great comfort have something to do with their popularity as well. Even more, some people prefer this model over any kind of memory foam design.
Besides being a sturdy bed, the innerspring mattress is also one of the less expensive quality designs on the market. This is possible because this type of surface has a lot of history in the industry and modern technologies made the production process easier and less costly. Even more, the designs we can buy today are better than the ones used by our parents because now there are new types of coils and the materials used are eco-friendly and more comfortable.
It’s also a bed you know will stick with you for a long time. It can be even repaired if it starts to sag and the upholstery can be refreshed. This allows this type of mattress to remain comfortable and offer great back support for years to come.
Finally, an innerspring mattress won’t get hot while you sleep on it because there is plenty of space between the coils. This allows for the air to flow and the heat to dissipate.
If you’re looking for one 100% organic mattress, the latex is the best choice you can make. This type of surface is created using natural latex, which is the sap obtained from the rubber tree, that has been processed into a type of plush latex foam.
This type of is one of the best queen mattress in quality to many other surfaces, but it is also firmer and bouncier than most of the foams out there. The cool part with latex is that it can be easily customized to your needs so, if you want a mattress for a side sleeper that is just about right in firmness, a producer is able to input these settings in their manufacturing process.
Because of its naturally buoyant surface, latex is a great material for every sleep position. However, it doesn’t have the softness of a memory foam mattress so you need to expect a bit more firmness. The material is flexible enough to accommodate most types of bodies and it has a fast response time. It’s also a great surface for couples as it doesn’t transmit motion through its surface.
An organic latex mattress is also hypoallergenic and one of the most hygienic surfaces one can sleep on. The inner structure of latex foam doesn’t allow for dust mites to penetrate the mattress and it discourages deposits of mildew (that usually happen because of humidity). This makes it a great choice for people suffering from allergies or asthma.
The same inner structure that makes it hypoallergenic also makes it a great temperature regulator. Latex has an open cell structure that allows the air to flow unhindered and keep the level of temperature just right. This helps improve the sleep cycle and allows you to feel well-rested and energetic in the morning.
Finally, a latex queen size mattress is one of the most durable sleeping surfaces on the market. According to producers and satisfied users, a high-quality latex surface will withhold its features for about 15 years of constant use. So, even though it may be a bit costly now, in the long term you’re in for a fantastic bargain!