03.Do you get what you pay for?
Manufacturers say you get what you pay for — the more you pay, the better you get. This is apparently because the quality of the springs and padding improves with price, and while two beds may seem similar when new, the cheaper one will probably deteriorate more quickly.
This is all very well when you’re comparing beds within a brand, but what about between brands? Unfortunately there’s no easy answer.
Some of the big-name brands spend a lot on research and development — and marketing — and these costs are built into their prices. You’re also paying for their reputation. But it is possible to buy an equivalent-quality mattress made by a lesser-known brand for less, just as you can buy an expensive brand of poor quality.
What's in a name?
One of the most confusing things about shopping around for beds is that it’s almost impossible to find identical models from store to store, making it difficult to compare prices. Stores want to carry their own ‘exclusive’ models and each has its own requirements, according to its clientele (luxurious, trendy, budget, etc).
The only practical advice is to visit several stores that cater to your price range, and lie on as many beds as possible. If you find a couple that are equally comfortable and the quality seems comparable, buy the one at the best price.
Don’t buy a mattress just because it offers a long warranty — it’s no guarantee of durability, and it won’t help you if the manufacturer goes out of business. A warranty should be an indication that the manufacturer is willing to fix faults in design, materials and construction for a stated number of years.
Changed your mind?
Despite your best efforts testing a mattress in the shop, it may not be until you’ve slept on it overnight — or even for several weeks — that you discover whether or not you’re really satisfied with it.
We recommend you choose a retailer who gives you the option of returning or exchanging a mattress you’re not happy with. Conditions vary from store to store, so check before you buy. You might be charged for re-covering the mattress (for hygiene reasons - which could be considered a plus if you don't like the idea of buying a 'second hand' mattress yourself!) and return delivery costs. Check whether you can get a refund, or are only entitled to exchange the mattress for one of equal or greater value.
Returns can cost retailers — they may have to sell the mattress at a discounted price even if it’s been cleaned and/or re-covered — so a good retailer knows it’s in their interests to help you get it right first time around.
The bottom line
Once you’ve found an acceptable level of comfort, support and durability — as well as appearance — there’s no need to go any further, especially if the price is right.