I’m the kind of person who tries to research our long-term purchases as much as possible, and unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of ongoing, updated reviews out there for long-term purchases. It’s the reason I’ve continued updating a review I wrote of deck stain five years ago — sure, it looked great when it first goes on, but was it going to continue to wear well?
Many people are initially pleased with a product when it’s new, but the real questions are these: Will it last, and will I be happy with it one, two, or three years from now? (Or more?) I put an enormous amount of research into replacing our washing machine for the same reason. Our former machine seemed nice and had good reviews when we bought it, but it was a piece of garbage that left visible dirt in the clothes.
Last summer, my husband and I decided to replace our mattress. It was a 20-year-old double-sided innerspring Serta that we had likely kept well past its prime, but it was still comfortable to sleep on… until one day, it just wasn’t anymore. We started to feel the springs when we hadn’t previously.
Starting the mattress-purchase journey was not something I was especially looking forward to, because I was already aware that a lot of modern mattresses simply weren’t made to last. Worse, many of them reportedly develop deep indentations where you sleep, and these “sinkholes” often aren’t covered by the mattresses’ warranties.
A friend of mine has an eye-opening post on her blog detailing her efforts to deal with the dents in her mattress — everything from using aftermarket bed-board products to extra bed pillows to fill in the “holes” that developed. Her post has more than 70 comments from unsatisfied readers who also have sagging mattresses.
This is a serious problem! When you’re spending thousands of dollars on something that you spend hours in every single day, you want a quality product.
Unfortunately, buying a “name brand” also doesn’t translate to quality anymore. For example, Serta, Simmons, and Stearns & Foster are all made by the same manufacturer. Sealy and Tempurpedic are made by the same manufacturer. There are many bad reviews to go along with all of them.
There are a lot of mattress options out there. Here’s what I learned and how we narrowed down our choice.
(And, just like with my deck stain review, I researched all of this on my own, and I purchased the mattress without any kind of outside influence, financial or otherwise. I paid thousands of dollars for this bed, and these are my own thoughts and experiences about it. This is not sponsored content.)
- Innerspring vs. foam vs. airbed
- Single or Double Sided? (Flippable or Non-Flippable?)
- Shopping and buying
- One year later…
- Daughter got one too!
- Addendum: Where to buy?
The three biggest choices available for mattresses are these: Traditional innerspring, foam or a foam hybrid, or airbeds. We were solely interested in an innerspring mattress. We like to feel cool when we sleep, and we’re aware that many foam mattresses “sleep hot” and don’t breathe. Our daughter had a memory foam mattress from Ikea through college that lasted three years, at which point the foam degraded to the point that it was no longer comfortable.
Anyone considering a mattress with any amount of foam in it should watch this quick video comparing foam densities.
It’s truly amazing how little time it takes for furniture foam to develop compression dents that simply won’t pop back up once the weight is removed. In fact, we learned that foam degradation is the leading cause of the indentations that plague many modern mattresses.
Remember this video later in this review when you see just how much foam is inside many of the leading mattress brands.
I’m aware that there are a lot of all-foam mattresses out there these days. Just turn on a TV, and you’ll see ads for everything from Casper to Nectar to Purple. I have no experience with any of these brands, but I spent enough time reading foam mattress reviews to see that people are told “sagging is normal” by many of these manufacturers as well as the mattresses wear in.
Between the issues our daughter had with her foam mattress, the “hot sleep” issue, and the potential for the foam to rapidly degrade, we did not consider a foam mattress or a foam/innerspring hybrid. We also did not consider a latex mattress due to the heat/breatheabilty issue, although latex remains firm much longer than foam and is not subject to the same kind of degradation — it’s rubber, after all. You can learn more about latex mattresses here.
We also did not consider an airbed, like Select Comfort. My entire extended family purchased Select Comfort beds about a decade ago — parents, grandparents, aunts. Everyone I’ve spoken to about them has said they would not purchase them again due to issues with parts failing and needing to be replaced. I’ve also slept on one at my parents’, and I’m just not a fan — I like more support than the bed provided.
That left us with innerspring mattresses. My husband and I both like a good amount of support and firmness, and I also believe that an innerspring is built to last much longer than a foam mattress is. Of course, there are options with innersprings too…
Our former mattress was double-sided, and every 3-6 months, we turn and flip it. I believe that’s why it lasted as long as it did. We began looking at mattresses at a Mattress Firm location in our area, and it quickly became evident that most innerspring mattresses being sold today are single-sided. In fact, the salespeople will likely tell you that “You don’t need to flip mattresses anymore.”
The reason you don’t “need” to flip these mattresses anymore is because they can’t be flipped. They’re typically constructed with a large amount of foam padding to create a comfy “pillow top” above the spring coils. It’s much cheaper to construct the mattress in this way.
More links to read on this topic:
- “Can’t Flip” Mattress’ Rant: Mattress companies make “no need to flip” or “can’t flip” mattresses to save on their own costs, not to give you a better night’s sleep or make your life easier. The introduction of [these] mattresses in 2000 is an insult to consumers who can now expect three to five years out of their new mattress. That’s one third of what can be expected from two-sided mattresses.
- The No-Turn Mattress Scam: A one-sided mattress has fillings such as foam or high loft fibres in the top layer of the mattress. These can’t be turned over because if they were, they would get crushed and potentially not return to their usual shape or feel.
- One-Sided vs. Two-Sided Mattress: What’s the big difference?: When you test a one-sided mattress in the store, it usually feels pretty darn comfortable. But that comfort is fleeting, because the components of the mattress will soon start to degrade…
Single-sided mattresses innerspring typically have multiple layers of foam on top with a set of springs beneath. There are many YouTube videos devoted to taking apart mattresses that have failed within just a couple years of purchase to see what’s inside. Take a look at how many layers of (cheap) foam are on top of the springs in this Sealy mattress!
Then, think about the example of the foam being compressed in the “Foam Comparison” video I shared above, and it becomes evident why these mattresses fail. The foam breaks down, leaving large indentations in the pillow top of the mattress, while the spring coils underneath are largely unaffected.
Because of videos like these, I learned that the foam on top of many of these one-sided mattresses fails within the first couple of years, and the only way to “save” these mattresses are to strip the crushed foam out,and replace it with a new pad and fabric mattress cover.
Here’s a Serta mattress being modified to “fix the dips” — they’re cutting the entire pillow top of the mattress off, removing all of the crushed, permanently-indented foam, and stripping the mattress back down to its coils. It’s amazing how many inches of the mattress’s height are made of foam.
(In fact, there is an entire cottage industry devoted to deconstructing your mattress to increase its comfort, and you can buy a new latex topper and zipper cover for the whole mattress to close it back up and make it look new again. There are mattress forums specifically devoted to the how-tos of this DIY endeavor.)
I watched enough of these “what’s inside the mattress” videos to know exactly which styles and brands I wanted to avoid. We aren’t fans of the “pillow top” feeling anyway — I don’t like feeling like I’m sinking into the bed — but if you are, it’s better to add a freestanding pillow top to a coil mattress than to buy one with it built in. Then, down the road when the pillow top fails, you can remove it and easily replace it.
This may seem like a strange factor, but another criteria for our new bed was that it not have any fiberglass in the mattress cover. You might think “What the heck is that about?” In order to meet flammability requirements, some mattress manufacturers use fiberglass “fabric” in the mattress cover. The trouble with this is that when the fibers break down, they work their way through the sheets into your skin, into the air, and into your home.
There are many horror stories online of people trying to eradicate their mattress fiberglass fibers from their home once they escape the bed, as well as the skin conditions and injuries sustained by being stabbed with thousands of tiny glass fibers.
- The danger lurking in your mattress
- Glass fibers in bed mattresses
- Family forced to leave home over fiberglass mattress
- Fiberglass cover – real issue?
- Thought mattress was giving us bug bites but it was shedding glass fibers
- 38% glass fiber in the outer cover
- Millions of tiny fibers covering pillows cases
We began shopping around for a double-sided, flippable mattress without a pillow top. This isn’t as easy as you might think, as most major mattress store chains do not carry any double-sided mattresses at all. Our search led us to Verlo. Verlo is a smaller company with locations in Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, Colorado, Missouri, and Georgia. Verlo mattresses are made-to-order, not only in the USA but on-site in the location you purchase from. (They’ll even let you watch your mattress’ assembly if you want!)
We visited the Verlo location in Sleepy Hollow, Illinois and went to test out some beds. Their showroom features both foam and innerspring mattresses, as well as single-sided and double-sided mattresses. We wanted to spend some time testing out the kind of mattress we wanted. We set a budget of around $2000 for our new bed.
We chose the Verlo V7 model mattress. This mattress came both in standard and “plush” models. The plush model features a quilted top with a memory foam layer underneath, but it’s not a thick layer of foam. You can see it in the image above, and because the majority of the mattress features spring coils, it doesn’t have that pillow-top “sinking” feeling. We also liked that the store had a mattress opened up so we could see exactly how it was constructed.
Note that the image above shows the single-sided version of our mattress. The double-sided one has another layer of the small springs beneath the large springs, and another layer of padding to form the bottom plush side of the mattress. The fabric on the exterior of the mattress is Tencel, a plant-based fiber made from eucalyptus. (No fiberglass.)
We learned that Verlo has a comfort guarantee for all of their mattresses too. If we decided the mattress was too firm, or too soft, at any point during our first year, they would pick it up, rebuild it, and return it free of charge. After the first year? They’ll still do it for a nominal charge — our salesman said it is usually around $150.
This mattress also has a 12-year warranty, although the salesman said we should expect “at least 15 years” out of it. We paid $2197 for this king-size mattress. We did not buy a foundation as we already had a storage bedframe for it to sit on.
Another fun detail: Because your mattress is built especially for you, your name will be on the tag when it arrives! This is also helpful to determine how old your mattress is. Our tag notes our delivery date of 8/10/19.
It’s now 2020, and we’ve been sleeping on our Verlo V7 for over one year. We loved it the week it arrived, and we still love it. It’s the perfect mix of firm and comfortable for us. There’s honestly not much else to say! At least once a week, my husband and I turn to each other, and one of us says “I am so glad we got this bed!”
We do turn and flip it every three months, and it has no dents or indentations in it. While I didn’t really expect to see or experience any kind of wear in it after year one, I have friends whose big-name-brand beds were already developing indentations after the first year. This bed is just as comfortable as it was a year ago when it arrived.
As with my other long-term reviews, I’ll keep you posted on our Verlo around this time next year, but we continue to be really happy with it. We have zero regrets!
In fact, about a month after buying this one in 2019, our family bought another Verlo mattress.
Remember our daughter’s Ikea memory foam mattress? After three years, it was compressed, dented, and no longer comfy at all. It wasn’t a great loss, since she purchased it for her college apartment, and it was one of those vacuum-packed rolled-up foam mattresses that was really easy to move.
She was ready for a “real” mattress though, and she set a $300 budget for a Full. Because her budget was not exactly in Verlo range (hey – they’re not inexpensive) we went back to Mattress Firm to look at their lower-priced models. Their least-expensive full-size mattress was $349, and she laid on it and said it was comfortable enough. It was a one-sided pillow top. I asked the salesperson what the life expectancy was for this particular model, and he said “Three years.”
“Yes, three. Maximum. That’s an entry level mattress.”
I said “We just bought a new mattress for ourselves, and that seems really, really short.”
He asked what we bought, and I told him it was a Verlo.
The salesperson was refreshingly honest. He said “I can’t say a bad thing about them. They make a quality product, and they are really the only ones around making flippable mattresses still, so that almost doubles the life.”
I told him that our Verlo bed has a 12 year warranty and they estimated 15 year lifespan. He said “Our best bed here has a 7 year lifespan.” He pointed to it, and the price of that bed was over $4000!
We thanked the salesperson, and I told our daughter I would drive her to Verlo and see if there was anything we could buy in her price range. As it went, the same salesperson who sold us our Verlo the month before was at the counter when we arrived to see what their more budget-minded options might be. He suggested a Verlo V1 in a double-sided flippable model.
The biggest difference between ours and hers (besides the price, of course) is that our model has three layers of spring coils that are individually wrapped so you don’t disturb your partner when you get in and out of bed. Her model features open springs in a traditional style. Hers also has a standard top instead of the plushier top that ours does. Hers has a five-year warranty and an eight-year estimated life span.
She paid $424 for her V1 Verlo, which was a little more than she wanted to spend. However, the day it was delivered, she called me and exclaimed “I LOVE this mattress!” She is a fan of the pillow-top experience, so she is using a separate memory foam topper for the bed, which she’d previously gotten after her first foam mattress began to fail and sink in. A year later, she’s still very happy with her Verlo mattress too.
I’ll continue to update this post annually, but so far… we’re all sleeping well on our Verlo mattresses, and there are no indentations, wear, or damage to report.
Verlo is not the only manufacturer still making double-sided flippable innerspring mattresses. I came across some other manufacturers in my research too. In the interest of helping others, here are some more brands to look into:
- Campbell Sleep
- Charles Beckley
- Escondido Mattress
- Fox Mattress
- Harbor Springs
- Magic Sleeper
- Mattress Makers
- My Green Mattress
- Nest Bedding
- Oregon Mattress
- Quality Sleep Shop
- Texas Mattress Makers
- The Mattress Factory
If you know of others, please feel free to suggest them in the comments.