Recently, a friend asked if we would advise him on his bedroom dilemma. He had a bed that was only a few years old, yet found it unbearably uncomfortable. The deluxe $1300 mattress slumped in the middle, causing him to wake up with backaches.  Our poor friend had fallen victim of the incredible mattress scam, where bigger is better, and baffling high-tech names like Posturepedic and Microtek are de rigeur. “Give it away to someone who will be happy to have it” we said. “Get yourself a mattress that will work for you.”

Only we couldn’t advise our friend exactly WHICH mattress to buy, except for the trusty Dixie Foam firm mattresses we swore by, with an egg crate memory foam topper (placed indentation-side DOWN),  a hack we’d found wonderfully comfortable for years.

Restoration Hardware
Restoration Hardware

We wish that Jason Kottke, author of the great, reliable blog Kottke had written his piece Busting the Mattress Racket before our friend bought another mattress. Kottke tested out the mattresses of two companies who are turning the mattress industry on its head by offering high quality mattresses at dramatically lower prices, that you can buy on Amazon.  One, Tuft & Needle 
was started by Park and Marino:

Park and Marino, who previously worked together at Los Angeles tech startup Mulu, turned to mattress-making in 2012 after Marino was disappointed by a $3,000-plus mattress. So the two posed as the owners of a small mattress store and called around to vendors to uncover the real cost of making Marino’s expensive purchase. The final calculation — a total of about $300 — confirmed their suspicions: There was significant opportunity to improve.

Tuft & Needle’s description on Amazon makes it sound like our rigged foam + memory foam mattress, only even cheaper, and easily orderable on Amazon. Easy peasy.

The other Kottke tested and liked was DreamFoam Bedding. Writes Kottke:

As far as comfort goes, I can’t tell the difference between these beds and the $1700 memory foam mattress from Design Within Reach.

Our modus operandi for finding great things is to test them ourselves OR follow the lead of someone REALLY trustworthy.

Top image: Japanese Trash


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16 replies on “Kottke on Busting the Mattress Racket + Affordable Mattress Reviews

  1. I can highly recommend anything latex from Ikea. I know, I know. I have a B&B of sorts and my people rave about my mattresses. I also recommend anything wool.

    Wool= proper Japanese futon. So you lay your 3″ of wool mattress on top of 2-3 inches of foam (any type) mattress. It regulates body temperature year ’round in ways nothing else can compare. If you can find an all wool mattress topper I recommend trying it if you aren’t enjoying your current mattress but are unable to replace it immediately.

    Personally I stay away from memory foam as does anyone else who is either chemically sensitive or is undergoing menopause and the concommit warm bits at night.

  2. Latex from Ikea. Who knew? Also, very interesting about the wood mattress topper: it SEEMS like it would heat things up, so am interested to try. I cover the memory foam topper with double cotton mattress cover, so haven’t found any difficult with allergies or heat. But it may be something for the chemically sensitive to think about.

    Thanks for your info.

  3. Thanks for the mattress tip, and just in time for us to replace ours! Now, any tips on finding good down pillows?

  4. As someone who bought a very expensive mattress (and loved it for the first few years) I am really happy to read this. I will think twice about what I spend the next time around. Also thanks for the extra info in the comments!

  5. Let me know how the mattress goes for you. I really trust Kottke, and he’s done his homework. I’m need new down pillows too. Will keep you posted!

  6. I found this post particularly interesting as I bought a new bed only a couple of months ago. Though I spent about three months researching beds and mattresses, I eventually settled on two sources as my primary one: Consumer Reports and, a blog from a now-retired man who spent about sixty years making and selling beds. The latter offers detailed history and incredible inside information on mattresses and their related items. I highly recommend reading it for anyone in the market for a new bed.

    And, no, I have no interest in the blog. I simply found it a tremendous source of reliable information. The bed I ended up with is PowerCore Elite 7000, and I couldn’t be happier.

    Anyway, I thought I would share this since I love your website and posts. Thank you!

  7. Thanks for sharing your find, both in comfortable bed AND information sources. And thanks especially for your kind words!

  8. Well isn’t that swell. Thanks!

  9. I am curious which firm mattress you recommend from Dixie foam. Thanks!

  10. I just looked up the receipt. Hi Res Carbonmate MEDIUM FIRM. As I remember the Firm was really hard. I put an inexpensive egg crate memory foam mattress topper on top and it’s really comfy BETTER than Dixie’s Pillow Top which a friend got (no need to pay for that). (Mine has been going strong since 1996!).

  11. When it comes to selecting the good mattress, it will be good if you read users’ reviews on Amazon website. You will be able to find the right product at the right price.

  12. The other day, while I was at work, my sister stole my
    iphone and tested to see if it can survive a twenty five foot drop, just so she can be a youtube sensation. My
    iPad is now broken and she has 83 views. I know this is totally
    off topic but I had to share it with someone!

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