As something I do more than 1/3 of my life, I truly value my sleep experience. After over a decade of use, I gave away my vintage 2008 king-size Simmons Beautyrest Black because my new place didn’t have room for it. Instead, I slept on double-size futon for 6 months until I couldn’t take anymore. The time had come for me to find a new luxury mattress. After a lot of internet research and exactly zero personal testing of actual mattresses, it appeared to come down to 3 options
Simmons Beautyrest Black
Stearns & Foster Lux Estate
TLDR; I bought a Saatva, then returned it the very next day to buy a bed not on this list…
PLUSH VS FIRM VS MEDIUM-FIRM
It is said that
A mattress that is too soft will make you feel really sleepy when you get into it, but waking up feeling that you haven’t had the best sleep.
A mattress that is too firm will give you a good night’s sleep, but it’s likely harder to fall asleep in because it’s less comfortable
Through previous experience at a mattress store, i had discovered my preference for a bed as “medium.” When i’m in bed, i like to feel supported, but also comfortable. I sleep in “all 4 positions” through the night: my back, my stomach, my left side, and my right side. For this, a medium mattress is appropriate. That said, everyone has their own bed preference, and the only way to find that is to try different mattresses at the store and decide what “feels” the best.
BOOK SMART RESEARCH
By all accounts of internet research, Saatva was the best choice. From the large amount of written reviews to youtube videos showing people try each of the 3 beds and deducing that Saatva was “the same” but “for a cheaper price” than the Beautyrest or the Stearns and Foster. It is well-known in the mattress industry that Simmons has gone bankrupt and been sold over and over as the quality of the product declined. My vintage Beautyrest Black was apparently of higher quality than the modern Beautyrest Black (except for the new technology). Similarly, Stearns and Foster “used to be the best bed” but nowadays, it is moving towards Simmons in business tendencies. Before my ’08 Beautyrest, i’d owned, the “Sealy Postopedic” when i was a kid, and the “Serta” in the late 1990’s. These are both out of business or restructured. An up and comer like Saatva seemed to make more sense when I look at quality based on the online research.
To sell a mattress in the USA, it is required that the mattress have a “flame retardant” in the top layer. In the case of mattresses made in China, they often use chemical sprays and chemical materials to pass this “flame retardant” standard. This is not something I want to be spending 1/3 of my life on. Fortunately, Saatva uses a flame-retardant thistle, a “plant matter” that is chemical-free. It has been hinted at through research that Simmons didn’t use chemicals, but i couldn’t get any confirmation. It was the same with Stearns and Foster–unknown if they used chemicals, plant matter, or some type of metals. Saatva was also made of organic cotton. Anyway, at the end of the day, I went with Saatva because “on paper” it made the most sense. It was also impossible to “try out” a Saatva here in Boulder, so i had to pull the trigger to try it. Their return policy is advertised as a $100 return fee. This is a small price to pay for a low-probability return, based on the research, right?
PERSONAL EXPERIENCE RESEARCH
The bed arrived, and it was certainly visually beautiful. I bought the sheets and organic cotton mattress pad, and they came in fancy boxes that looked like they were designed by Apple. Honestly the 300ct sheets were nice, but not as soft as i would have hoped for luxury. I waited to try it out until it was bedtime. When I lied in the bed, I immediately knew that this was not my bed. I returned it an Saatva honored their return policy. They even refunded me for their mattress pad, which i donated. $100 fee.
WHAT IS LUXURY?
What i remembered most about my vintage Beautyrest was its combination of robustness and softness. When i was lying in bed, i felt the support of the base coils but also the comfort of the soft feel of the pillowy medium, without it being a full pillow-top, which takes away from the support aspect, especially over time. The Saatva was not that. The mattress felt decent in terms of support — it made my back feel really straight, and was a clear upgrade from my old futon. It seemed to be sturdy, although I had the 14-inch version, and somehow in the back of my mind the way they stretched the springs it felt a little top-heavy. This kind of made it feel cheap when i would seismically feel the springs in the bottom layer. It didn’t exactly have the “support” i was looking for. Then, on the very top, there was no pillowy-luxury-firm that i would expect from a mattress branded “luxury firm.” It felt more like a “firm” mattress in regard to the topper. Like I said, the support felt solid, and I would recommend this bed at this price point for someone who likes a more firm bed. I wasn’t about to move from that to the pillow-top they offered. It was clear that this was not my bed and I had to return it. At this point, I hadn’t “tried on a bed” in over 10 years, but somehow I knew there had to be better ones out there than the one waiting to be returned.
MAINSTREAM MATTRESS STORE
I went to the Mattress Firm, because I knew they had the other two options on my initial list, as well as a whole lot more. I went through a good percentage of the beds there. I already knew that I didn’t want a memory foam mattress or a purple mattress, i was looking for a traditional. I ended up where I thought I would — comparing the Stearns and Foster Lux with the Simmons Beautyrest Black. The Beautyrest did seem similar to the Saatva, though with more technology and a less “natural” feel. At the end of the day though, it wasn’t the “medium” feel I was looking for, even though it was a medium. The bed of the day in the store was the Stearns and Foster Estate medium. They had the Lux Estate, but the softness was too soft on the top, whereas the regular Estate was closest to the elusive “medium yet pillowy” feel. I was pretty sure that this would be my mattress after my Saatva got refunded.
DUE DILIGENCE LEADS TO THE SOLUTION
My last place to check out beds was Urban Mattress. They are a local Boulder company, and my girlfriend actually bought a bed from them that she likes. I have lied in it and it didn’t exactly have the feel I was looking for, but of course, it was not the “lux” line that I knew I was seeking. Anyway, they had other options. When I arrived I met the dude that was “the designer” of the beds. He picked up an example of their mattress topper foam and, no kidding, the “competitor” illustrating the cheap stuff was Saatva! The guy said that Stearns and Foster was basically the same material as that. However, the foam he used was way heavier and substantive. He said it was mostly used in expensive European beds. Hmmm, interesting. Slowly, i made my way through the store and came to the “medium” mattress I was seeking, but not without competition from their latex bed, which came in a close 2nd place for my comfort. Besides the fact that they had some good latex bed options. they are able to fine-tune the nuance between the support coming from the base springs versus the support coming from the top within the different softness levels provided by their different beds. Top notch company, and I’ve been sleeping on this bed for 4 months now.