CHOICE members often ask us to test mattresses in our labs, but experts tell us that bed comfort is all about personal preference, so shopping around is vital. See our mattress buying guide for tips. It helps to ask around, too.

This 2010 survey of 3500 CHOICE members ranks 14 major brands and 13 retailers. The results are based on genuine user experiences.

How we survey

Mattress brands

3500 CHOICE members who bought a mattress in the five years to 2010:

  • rated how satisfied they were with their mattress,
  • told us the main reason they purchased a brand (price, comfort, durability, recommended by someone else),
  • identified whether they purchased an inner spring, foam or latex mattress, and how much they paid,
  • advised if they would buy the same brand again, and
  • identified whether the mattress had improved their sleep.

Mattress retailers

More than 2500 CHOICE members who bought a mattress in the three years to 2010:

  • rated their retailer on cost, product range and customer service,
  • identified whether they'd tried out their mattress before buying, and for how long,
  • advised whether they received a discount from a particular retailer,
  • told us if they returned their mattresses to the retailer – and, if so, their reasons why
    – plus any problems they experienced.
Mattress brand satisfaction
Brand
(number of
respondents)
Overall
satisfaction (%)
Would definitely
buy again (%)
Reason for
purchasing
brand
Sleep improved
with purchase (%)
Average
price ($) ^
Tempur (88) 88 64 Comfort 88 3300
Sleepyhead (35) 83 36 Comfort * 2180
Sultan (47) 80 48 Price 77 650
Makin (81) 79 47 Comfort 83 1770
Madison (30) 77 37 Comfort 87 2420
Simmons (99) 76 42 Comfort 80 2160
Dunlop (39) 75 33 Comfort 67 2010
Sealy (599) 74 39 Comfort 68 2000
Slumberland (43) 74 26 Comfort 84 1950
A.H. Beard (296) 74 40 Comfort 72 1910
Sleep City (46) 73 29 Comfort 78 1260
Dunlopillo (55) 71 28 Comfort 73 2710
Sleepmaker (293) 70 26 Comfort 65 1830
Crown (35) 69 28 Comfort * 1650

Table notes

* Sample size less than 30

^ Average price is calculated by taking the mid-point of the brand's price range selected by members who took part in the survey. Prices are rounded off to the nearest $10.

What we found

  • Tempur, a memory-foam mattress, topped our survey with an 88% overall satisfaction score. It also rated highest for the brand of mattress our members would "definitely buy again". Memory foam, also known as viscoelastic polyurethane foam, was first developed and used by NASA in the 1970s for space shuttle seats to relieve the G-force pressure astronauts experienced during take-off. The material was commercialised by Tempur, which markets its products for their pressure-relieving qualities. Members did report some drawbacks with Tempur though. According to CHOICE member Michael, "the mattress hardens up in winter and gets very uncomfortable". Some also noted that Tempur is a comparatively expensive brand.
  • CHOICE members most commonly bought the Sealy brand of mattress, but the brand's satisfaction score was lower than the less commonly bought Madison mattress (a brand only available at retail chain Snooze). "The $3000 Sealy mattress I bought is uncomfortably hot at night," says CHOICE member Heather. "We've had to sleep with the air conditioning on all night, yet I still toss and turn a lot. I go and sleep in another bed in the house, or on the sofa, half the time." Other members voiced similar negative experiences with Sealy mattresses, as well as with the brand's customer service.
  • Sleepmaker was close to bottom of the list for overall satisfaction. CHOICE member Rachel says, "both the retailer and Sleepmaker refuse to replace or fix our sagging mattress, saying we did not flip it often enough. We will never buy a Sleepmaker mattress again."
  • Comfort is the number one priority for members buying a mattress – except for Ikea's Sultan brand, where price is the key factor. On average, a Sultan mattress costs about 80% less than a Tempur, yet still rates third-highest for overall satisfaction. According to CHOICE member Graham, Sultan offers "a great product for the price, with a three-month exchange option and 25-year guarantee".
Mattress retailer satisfaction
Retailer* (number
of respondents)
Overall
satisfaction
^
(%)
Customer
service (%)
Product range (%) Cost (%) Number of
times discount
received (%)
Makin (66) 80 83 78 79 6
Ikea (53) 80 70 83 88 6
Sleepy's (81) 80 86 77 77 69
David Jones (173) 80 82 77 80 87
Forty Winks (299) 78 78 79 76 66
Sleep City (103) 77 77 76 78 52
Domayne (98) 76 76 79 74 68
Bedshed (108) 76 78 76 75 50
Myer (140) 76 77 73 78 84
Beds R Us (61) 75 79 72 75 48
Snooze (224) 75 77 77 70 52
Harvey Norman (347) 75 73 76 73 64
Super A Mart (36) 73 71 71 76 36

Table notes

* Physical stores only. Online stores excluded due to insufficient sample size.

^ Overall score is an average of customer service, product range and cost scores.

What we found

  • CHOICE members are savvy enough to buy mattresses on sale or haggle for a discount. Around 60% of CHOICE members bought on discount from all retailers surveyed, including franchises such as Forty Winks and Snooze. A staggering 87% bought from David Jones on discount. "You can always barter down on anything from Harvey Norman," says Denis. "It wasn't too difficult to get a couple of hundred off the advertised price for a mattress I was keen on."
  • Makin, a manufacturer with retail warehouses in Adelaide, Albury, Brisbane, the Gold Coast, Canberra and Newcastle, came out tops for overall satisfaction (80%), along with Ikea and bedding franchise Sleepy's (which has the highest score for customer service satisfaction) as well as David Jones. Members raved about Sleepy's 60-night comfort exchange guarantee, which allows customers dissatisfied with the comfort or feel of their mattress to exchange for another of equal or greater value.
  • Ten per cent of survey respondents tried to return their mattress because they were dissatisfied, and 36% of these members found difficulties doing so. Around 40% replace their mattresses every six to ten years.

Member comments

Here's what you've told us about your mattress buying experiences:

"The whole return process is crap. Apparently the only party fit to judge the quality of a mattress is the company that makes it! It seems consumers have no rights at all in this area." - Neil

"I bought the Simmons mattress because it had a pillow top but was firm. I thought this would make it more comfortable to sleep on. The disruption in sleep from movement from your partner was also supposed to be reduced. I was sadly disappointed with my mattress as both myself and my partner have made decent-sized dents in our respective sides of the mattress and there is a distinct lump between us where we don't sleep. This is despite the fact I turn my mattress every week or two when I change my sheets as I was instructed to do by the shop. I tried to return my mattress but the measurements the company required of me were confusing and difficult to do so I guess I gave up. I will never buy a pillow top mattress again as I like to be able to flip my mattress and therefore prolong its use. I will invest in a sheepskin cover to soften my mattress instead. My previous mattress is in the spare room and anyone that sleeps on it comments on how comfortable it is and it is over 10 years old!" – Sue

"We were not told that the air pressure would vary during the night so I have to wake five to six times a night to set it back to the correct pressure. I would not recommend this Sleep Number mattress to anyone." - Clare

"I did find that being latex it does make you overheat at night thus less blankets make you cold on top, and you're hot underneath. I don't recommend using a doona with a latex mattress." – Jackie

"I would never purchase a mattress through Bedshed again. They do not inform you that there is a no exchange policy. The mattress is not suitable for my back. Trial time in store is not sufficient to actually properly try a mattress. I have had back pain ever since purchasing the new mattress almost four weeks ago. We will probably need to buy another mattress. Very costly mistake to purchase a mattress through a store that does not allow for an exchange." - Fiona

"Latex mattresses are good for the first year but after that not very good. We were recommended to turn and rotate our mattress once a month, which we do. If we don't we get sore backs. It's a pain to turn mattress so often and I'm in my mid thirties. How difficult this would be for older people. Would like to go back to an inner spring mattress. Worth paying the extra money." – Sally

"We found Sleepy's great to deal with. They kept our new mattress in storage for months while my husband built our new bed frame. [They] exchanged mattresses happily when our sleep quality showed no improvement after more than a month. Have since purchased a mattress for our son from the same shop. Shop seems to have changed owners, but we had another trouble-free experience. Recommended! " – Jenni

"The mattress was not fit for purpose. We had to return it three times. Each replacement was of a different level of firmness and/or failed within a few months of receiving it. We will never buy Slumberland or from Captain Snooze again - we'd rather sleep on the floor." – Phil

"I have spent almost $10,000 on mattresses in five years and am still not happy. I found that in both cases the retailers discouraged me from testing the mattress for any more than a few minutes at a time and seemed to continually steer me to the higher-end range." – Gail

"The Snooze staff sell mattresses based on a body profile system, which suggested I needed a softer mattress than I previously had. This was stated as being 100% accurate. Based on this information I purchased the mattress that was softer than I had slept on before. I ended up being in horrible lower back pain and shoulder pain which I hadn't had for sometime, due to shoulder surgery. My physiotherapist said my pain was from the softness of the bed as it was rotating and compressing my tendon. Snooze were not interested in my pain and said I would have to wait for one month for my body to adjust – meanwhile, I was in horrible pain. I went and has another body profile done at another Snooze store and it was different again, saying I needed an even softer mattress. After numerous phone calls, we exchanged the bed after one month for another mattress, but Snooze refused a refund of the price difference and said we had six months to use the difference to buy something else from them. We have since taken it to their head office, but as the stores are franchised it is out of their power. I have now written to the store owner to try and settle this before I lodge a complaint with Consumer Affairs. I believe we have grounds based upon the mattress being unfit for its purpose and being different from what's been described. I did also have a letter from my physiotherapist, which the owner has merely dismissed." – Tania

"The mattress is a pillowtop. We thought it was ideal but it turned out to be very warm in summer because of the polyester top filling." – Jim

"It has a latex pillowtop, which makes it extremely comfortable, but also makes it quite hot which is uncomfortable on warmer nights. This was not explained to us before purchase." – Tony

"The brand is not as important as the material used, which was latex. We have had difficulties adjusting to the heat that latex generates. It was supposed to be balanced off by the 'flexigel' and other materials used in the mattress, but the end result does not come out quite the way intended and it still generates heat. Forty Winks has been very helpful and have offered to change it, but in our calls to (mattress brand) A.H. Beard, they have been very disinterested in our complaint and have tried to fob us off as quickly as possible." – Ian

"Tempur mattresses are only sold through Forty Winks and they are only warehoused in Melbourne - so you have to wait for it to be delivered to you from interstate. It took a month! The mattress had a strong mildewy smell when you lay on it and air was pushed out of the mattress. The retailer tried to claim that it was glue that was still damp inside the mattress and that it would pass. However, it was DEFINITELY mildew. Eventually they agreed to return it." – Dan

"Buying mattresses can be very overwhelming. Ikea was helpful in showing what material and firmness level to choose, and why. We ended up purchasing elsewhere, but had an idea of why we were choosing medium (which the salesperson also recommended), so it gave us some buying confidence, especially when you can't return a mattress easily." – Solvieg

"In Western Australia we found purchasing a mattress very confusing. Every bed shop sells mattresses under different brand names so it makes it near on impossible to shop around and compare prices. We were very confused until one retailer let the secret out that many of the brands have different model names for the same product, and many brands come from one manufacturer! We dug deeper and tried to find out the different brands and names for the model we liked to compare prices. It was a difficult task as retailers like to keep this to themselves but we were able to get some leads and indeed tried virtually the same mattress under a completely different brand name and model name in different shops. Only then were we able to work out which shops were giving us a reasonable price. Different bed shops which could be right next door to each other selling virtually the same mattress under different brand names and prices. Most consumers have no idea and are trying out mattresses thinking that they are different. No wonder it gets very confusing!" – Evonne

"Take your time and ask lots of questions, and be prepared to go to a few stores before you decide."
Chris

"It is a pocket spring mattress, which is the only mattress I'd buy again in the future. However, the memory foam pillow top has developed prominent indentations where we sleep and I find that it makes the mattress too hot for me to sleep on most of the time." – David

"We have found David Jones, and A.H. Beard in particular, to be exceptionally helpful in addressing faults and returns. That is why we have consistently used their products."
Paul

"Generally I find that the retail mattress industry is dominated by people who know very little about matching mattress types to people. Only after 22 years of marriage and some very badly matched mattresses have my wife and I found a mattress that we both get a good night's sleep on. Thank you Sleepy's." – Warren

"Don't hesitate to lay on the mattress for a very long time, don't be embarrassed in the shop - that's the only way to know if you're going to be comfortable. That really should be emphasised."
Fabienne

"This Sealy mattress that I purchased (plus the frame) was a nightmare experience for me last year. I received very little guidance in the first place and didn't realise how much the mattress decision could affect my sleep because I'd never had any problems at all. It ended up causing my severe back pain. I started by calling Sealy and they told me I should continue to use the mattress for around eight weeks so I could "adjust" to it. They then advised me that they could come and look at the mattress and could potentially alter it to suit my needs for a price. I decided instead to contact Harvey Norman. One staff member was helpful and seemed interested in exploring what the problem might be - we tried different slats for the frame, and later a replacement frame, but this made no difference. On advice, I then began looking at other mattresses and spent a lot of time finding an alternative (Sleepmaker). The original purchase was in July 2009 and I had the final delivery of the new mattress in early February. It was a very long process and I only wish there was better advice available in the store when I first made my purchase." – Katharine

"A mattress has to be given time to see if it suits. At first your body has to have a period of time to get used to the new bed. Maybe after a month or so you may wish to try another, but it's such a big deal to return a large bulky item back to the shop and argue it's now not suitable, I think most people are inclined to put up with a mattress that is less than perfect for an aching back and hips." – Andy

"The retailer recommended this Slumberland mattress as a chiropractic mattress but I find it too soft with a pillowtop and I wake up with a sore, stiff back. We will be looking forward to replace it soon."
Tracy