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How We Rate Mattresses

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Overview and Methodology

We judge mattresses by the following criteria:

  1. Comfort
  2. Structural integrity and durability
  3. Firmness and support

The oldest known mattress dates back to 77,000 years ago and humans have been using them to get a more comfortable night of sleep ever since.

Early mattresses were constructed out of straw, horse hair, or feathers. Starting in the mid-20th century, innerspring cores and polyfill materials were extremely common. Most mattresses that are sold in North America to this day are of the innerspring variety, although there is increasing interest in other types. All-foam beds as well as hybrid mattresses that contain both foam and a traditional innerspring are becoming increasingly common.

You’ll generally want to place your mattress on top of a box spring or other type of foundation. They are available in a few different standard sizes that are designed to accommodate a variety of sleeping situations.

Here are the criteria we use when writing our mattress reviews. We grade all mattresses on the following standard set of factors so you can get a clear side-by-side comparison when reading our reviews.


Comfort is relative. Some people prefer to sink in to a soft mattress while others prefer a firmer mattress that provides more support. The materials used in constructing the mattress also play a role. You might prefer a memory foam gel mattress, while someone else might want to stick with the classic innerspring style.

There are a few key factors we look at when evaluating the comfort level of a mattress:

  • Does the level of firmness seem comfortable for the vast majority of body types and sleeping styles? If not, do they offer options?
  • Is the material soft to the touch? Does the fabric on the covering snag on other materials?
  • Does the mattress cause skin irritation or other issues?
  • Is the fabric breathable?

Structural Integrity and Durability

Believe it or not mattresses do have an expiration date. Fortunately, mattresses do tend to last a long time. If you take proper care of your mattress, it should last at least 10 years.

Mattresses deteriorate over time. The lifespan of your mattress depends on a variety of factors including materials, manufacturing quality, care, and rigorousness of use.

Innerspring cores typically last 10 years, while a latex core can last up to 20 years. The comfort layer fails first, which is why many quality mattresses are made with dual comfort layers. If you use a separate topper, you can extend the life of your comfort layer.

When evaluating a mattress’ structural integrity and durability we look at the following factors:

  • Will the inner core last at least 10 years?
  • Will the mattress stay intact throughout normal use?
  • Does it require and special care or is the maintenance process straightforward?

Firmness and Support

Obviously a mattress is designed to support your body weight while you are laying down. The firmness or softness of your mattress can make a massive difference in the quality of your sleep. As with many other things, the level of firmness you require is a matter of personal preference.

There are different types of mattresses that are available but all of them should provide adequate support for your back and should be comfortable enough for you to fall asleep easily.

When rating the firmness and support of a mattress we look at the following factors:

  • Do they offer different levels of firmness for different types of customer?
  • Does the mattress provide adequate support for people with bad backs?
  • Does the mattress wear evenly or will it become uneven after sleeping on the same spot over time?

These are the three main areas we’re looking at when we review mattresses here at Sleepline. While we definitely take other factors into consideration, we think it’s important to narrow the focus to the few key points that make or break your decision to buy a mattress. Be sure to check out our individual mattress reviews for more details.