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Consumer Reports tips for buying a mattress

July 20, 2012 7:11:01 AM PDT
The right mattress can let you sleep like a baby. Trying to buy one, however, can give you nightmares.

"You go into one store, and the mattress has one name, one color fabric," Consumer Reports' Celia Kuperszmid Lehrman said. "You go to another store, and this one is the same as that one, but it doesn't have the same name, and it doesn't have some of the same characteristics."

Consumer Reports surveyed more than 12,000 subscribers about their mattresses. Inner-spring ones didn't rate as well as others.

"We found that people who bought memory foam mattresses or air beds actually said they slept better than people who bought the traditional inner-spring mattresses," Kuperszmid Lehrman said.

The survey also asked people about their shopping experience.

"You hear the big retailers, and they'll say best mattresses, best price, and it seems like a slogan," Kuperszmid Lehrman said. "You think it's true, but that's really not what our survey found. The biggest stores didn't necessarily have the best selection or the best prices."

Consumer Reports says Sleepy's was one of the lowest-rated retailers. Macy's and Sears rated a little better, but their ratings were mostly so-so.

Some larger stories did well in the survey.

Select Comfort sells adjustable-firmness mattresses, but it costs a little more. The average price is about $2,000.

Consumer Reports says you can get a decent mattress for much less at Costco and Ikea. The average price there is under $1,000.

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